4 True Things I learned from TV Growing Up

I think most of us have been thinking a lot about how to create the kind of widespread change of heart that is needed in order to continue to live on this planet, like what really really works, and I am surprised to find that the answer I keep getting is art and culture in general, but specifically TV and Movies, mediums I will be honest and say I have historically tended to dismiss. And the more I think about this, the more I am becoming aware of just how many of my beliefs around wether or not  it is possible to be myself came from the visionary storytellers of the 80’s, and feeling that in a strange way, those myths are as much my parents as the people who gave birth to me!  So Here it is, my homage to what I value about what I internalized from the TV and Movies of my childhood, in no particular order:

 

1. The Little Mermaid

That it is perfectly plausible that your destiny will be fulfilled by becoming a completely different species, That giving up your voice for a man is a bad, bad idea, so don't let anyone sell you on the idea that your self expression is not that important, That often when a woman decides she simply must follow her desires, that the situation has to get really really bad for a while, like you naively empower dark forces that almost destroy your entire family and species, in order to break on through to the other side, prove how serious you are about needing this transformation in order to be happy, and stay strong in your truth while everyone grieves and works through their resistance, but in the end they will accept your choice and let you go with love and maybe even the understanding that if they had just supported you from the beginning, all of this drama could have been avoided.

2. Augra, the Oracle from Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal:

That sometimes beings emerge  into an ecosystem where they are the only one of their kind, that someone with a voice must speak for the elements, and that you can of course  be simultaneously bestial, gross, and totally adorable.

3. Star Trek The Next Generation:

That when intergalactic ambassador healers finally do take a day off, they want to dress real weird, exercise with their girlfriends, who are of course other healers, and talk about sex, That aliens are mostly more evolved than us and contact should be considered a benefit to our process, that accomplished mediums who are highly emotional and sensitive to the emotions of others will be considered extremely valuable to any leader and given a seat of honor and a voice of authority in the governing body of any group, and that this role would be so honored that you would always have your perspective heard and considered by the captain, and even get a permission to wear a special, much cooler, much sexier outfit than everyone else in the entire group…

4. Total Recall

That giving yourself permission to explore your fantasies will lead you on a journey that reveals to you who you really are, and that there are in fact men out there who’s dream girl is a mestizo alien prostitute who will join forces with them to save the planet from environmental crisis.

…How about you, I would be so curious to hear what stories made you who you are!

Private Coaching for Witches, Wise Women, and Weirdos

Hard at work I mean getting paid to hang out with nice ladies and babies and goats while drinking home made kombucha and talking about menstruation. Not your dream? No problem! The point is, you have a divine purpose and it is absolutely possible to be paid to just do that all day, whatever "that" may be!

Hard at work I mean getting paid to hang out with nice ladies and babies and goats while drinking home made kombucha and talking about menstruation. Not your dream? No problem! The point is, you have a divine purpose and it is absolutely possible to be paid to just do that all day, whatever "that" may be!

Who wants to play a game with me? It goes like this. First, manifest a sum of money, you know the way. You can pretend it belongs to you for as long as feels good to you. Then at the perfect time, come see me for one of my services. You know the one, and also it matters not which one. You know this too! They are but portals, so don’t over think things, just come! I will do and say entertaining things and pretend to heal you, but really your healing occurs because you asked for it with great sincerity and the spirit doctors and triage nurses of the universe agreed it was your turn. I will enjoy my front row seat and occasional ever so slight facilitation of this exchange immensely, and am deeply honored to bear witness to the mystery of you, revealed, one glimmer at a time. And one day soon, when all this nonsense about uncertainty, illness and lack is behind you, and you present confidently in this dimension as your full self, bursting with unique and valuable offerings that people can’t wait to pay you lots of money for, then we will play the game again, and I will manifest whatever amount of money you need to charge to be well, to offer sustainably, and I will come, and receive the goodness you are offering- so this thing called money, let us never forget IT’S NOT REAL! It’s just the finger pointing to the moon, not the moon itself, just an altar item to help us make contact with each others essence- if you pass some over to me, I will pass it back to you (or to someone else who will pass it to you, etc…). We can just keep doing this game into infinity or as long as we still enjoy this whole business of being separate entities!

Intrigued? Triggered? Both? Click here when your ready to explore what that's all about!

 

Black Lives Matter

photo via www.thestorkandthebeanstalk.com

photo via www.thestorkandthebeanstalk.com

I have not posted in 8 days. We are grieving. We are increasingly allowing ourselves to FEEL the full impact of the way the systems we have created are failing us, and in there somewhere is a tiny opening when change becomes possible. Shame is where we have been stuck- shame freezes us exactly where we are, so blaming shaming language is part of the problem, but feeling the fullness of our outrage and sadness and grief and disgust mean that we are allowing ourselves to be touched by this, to feel that on the deepest level there are no humans unaffected, that the oppression of any one group eventually hurts all groups…and when these invitations to greater awareness of this rip through our communities, it makes it hard to do things like work. It makes me feel like a complete a-hole for trying to sell a necklace when there are children out there that just lost their parents because of the failure of an experiment that is contemporary american "culture". Like when it comes to our institutions, the way they where designed was based on a lord of the flies style power game that we have allowed to persist and accept as “the way things are” for a duration of time that there is simply no excuse for.

I have to be honest. I become cripplingly overwhelmed when considering taking on these systems through politics. I have been grateful for those who provided lists of what we can do that might actually make a difference, (here's just one for those of you who are so inclined: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/06/this-is-what-white-people-can-do-to-support-blacklivesmatter/  ) and have emerged from reading them all and contemplating my roll with the truth that all approaches are needed, it's all hands on deck, so those who say provide bodywork to others who organize rallys are doing their part in their own way. My way has been to slowly begin to open my temple doors to white males, the group who has historically scared me the most, and bring my creativity to the rekindling of innocence and heart centered consciousness and respect for the cooperative, gentle way of doing things as valid, even often more effective in the long term. These values render one increasingly incapable of making decisions that affect the whole that don’t consider and support the wellbeing of the whole. Yes, perhaps my choice to dismantle patriarchy from the inside out, one person at a time (through working deeply, patiently, tenderly with the wounded little boys inside these men <and inside myself>  who may one day be in a position of power significant enough to make decisions about how to run the third dimension) Maybe it’s not enough in these times. I don’t know, but it’s what I’ve got and I’m giving it with all my heart.  (photo via aim.com

Intimacy Implies Loyalty

photo by Leslie Satterfield

photo by Leslie Satterfield

I wrote this article about 3 years ago, while employed as “ Secretary of Magic and Kava Education Specialist” at a small local company called Magic-Flight.  About a year ago, we amicably parted ways when I realized that I had become unable to act on any company initiatives involving the Kava plant that did not come directly from the Kava. I realized that I worked for the Kava, not for Magic- Flight, and being a magical company, this distinction and necessary transition of the employment relationship was recognized and honored. This is how I came to be so deeply bonded with Kava and set on my path as steward of this most precious medicine that I have chosen to continue to share as part of my offering Kava Temple: Sacred Sexuality.  

In my time at Magic-Flight, I was asked to write an article to help people understand the intended meaning of the quote “ Intimacy Implies Loyalty” etched on the back of each Kava vaporizer. As I stumble upon this piece of writing years after I wrote it, I am touched by its continued relevance in my life. Having a vocabulary that helps us distinguish intimacy based relationships from exchange based relationships has helped me avoid a lot of disappointment and misunderstanding, and better express to people that the business that I do is never just business. I am interested in meaning, connection and soul level fulfillment, AND also realize that people often are not free to pursue these things because they need to work, and so I attempt to create blended realities where work, play, business and intimacy combine.

 

Intimacy Implies Loyalty

 

“I just received my new Muad-Dib Concentrate Vaporizer, and was wondering what does the quote on the back “Intimacy Implies Loyalty” mean? Is it about sex and monogamy? I thought Magic-Flight was all about enabling choice!”

 

We believe above all in enabling choice and that there are a huge range of relationship arrangements that would constitute making good choices. The aphorism “Intimacy Implies Loyalty” is actually, like the aphorisms that accompany our Launch Box and Power adapter, an observation about what is necessary to have a healthy community. In this aphorism, the notion of “implies” can go both ways: just as intimacy naturally goes with loyalty, loyalty goes with intimacy. Another way to think of it is that if you are interested in receiving loyalty from someone, then it is a good idea to nurture an intimate relationship with them, and if you desire closeness with others you will want to offer them your loyalty.

Intimacy is an often misunderstood yet essential part of experiencing meaning in life. The word intimate is often used as shorthand to mean sexual a relationship, when in fact this is just a small part of intimacy. Eastern though promotes a more accurate use of the word when it describes enlightenment as an intimacy with all things. In order to understand why this aphorism is so important, and why we believe it to be essential to sustaining a healthy community, it helps to more fully understand what intimacy is. Intimacy is a familiar and close connection with another as a result of a bond that is formed through knowledge and experience of the other. Genuine intimacy in a relationship requires candid dialogue, transparency, vulnerability, and reciprocity. By embracing these values, we move beyond simple rapport building to create the conditions for trust to evolve (trust being a necessary ingredient of loyalty). Loyalty is very important to the integrity of any group. A desire for loyalty is the desire to see a group persist over time. It is the hope that amidst the myriad of choices a person is faced with each day (for example, the choice between 40 different brands of toothpaste) we will choose to return to a particular person, group, or product again and again. The successful long term strategy for those hoping to receive loyalty from a customer, employee, or friend, is to be trustworthy, and nurture that close, personal connection, making time and space for the spontaneous, unscripted interactions that characterize an authentic relationship.

Especially when considering intimacy as necessary for loyalty to a business, it is important to understand the difference between intimate relationships and strategic relationships, or relationships of exchange. Although intimacy may exist in a strategic relationship, it is governed by an agenda of which the other person may or may not be aware. This happens when a person seeks to become close to someone in order to get something from him or her that might not be offered so freely if it did not appear to be an intimate exchange, and if the ultimate strategy had been visible from the beginning. A 1982 study by Mills and Clark found that emotionally intimate relationships are much more robust and can survive considerable and even ongoing disagreements. Think for example of the great variety of small and large disagreements that make up the life of a large family. Despite this, members often continue coming together in times of joy and hardship to experience life’s happenings within the context of the familial group across an individual’s entire lifetime. Exchange relationships on the other hand have been found to be fragile, easily breaking down when there is any amount of disagreement. An example of this would be a once loyal customer to a health food store who decides never to shop there again after learning that they mistreat their employees. We see this fragility evidenced in the way that business owners invest a great deal of time in training new employees, making it important to try to keep those people around long enough for their newly developed skills to be used in service of the company. This agreement that the employer will provide help in meeting our basic needs in exchange for our time, skills, and labor, has proven not to be enough to motivate people to give a company their loyalty or give a job their best. Businesses with a high degree of turnover are likely relying too heavily on the strategic aspect of the relationship, with not enough (or any!) attention paid to developing real bonds of connection between team members. Marriages tend to disintegrate when there is insufficient energy invested in maintaining intimacy in the relationship and members of the union fall back on the strategic aspects of the partnership to ensure that it continue. 

Given how unstable we know a strategic relationship to be, it is clear to see why if we wish to have lasting friendships, love relationships, employment, or customers, or desire any bond to persist in time (not necessarily for security’s sake, but also for the possibility of exploring more deeply and co-creating out of our connections) it is a good idea to open ourselves and allow for genuine intimacy with those around us. People want to be seen and acknowledged for who they are as individuals, not just the value they can add to others existing agendas. Valuing the personal bond provides a framework for the resolution of misunderstandings that enables conflicts and differences of values to become opportunities for dialoge and increased understanding that may even strengthen the relationship. So although intimacy is worthwhile in and of itself for the layers of meaning and fulfillment that heart centered connections bring to life, it is also important because it is a requirement in building trust. Without trust, loyalty is not possible, and no group can persist in time for long enough to make a positive difference to each other or the world at large. We believe in the value and benefit of defining our relationships in terms of intimacy and loyalty whenever possible. This is why we have chosen to print this particular aphorism on the back of all of our new concentrate boxes.

Click Here to learn more about Kava

Go with your flow

Go with Your Flow. Attempting to go with “The Flow” can lead us to self sacrifice and martyrdom. Going with your own flow is an act of self love!

We have some exciting news! Nadine Lee of www.tantricalchemy.net has generously donated moon cups and ritual chalices to our monthly women's moon lodge, in support of women everywhere deepening their relationship to their monthly cycle and connecting to their holy blood as the thread that bonds us deeply to earth, the moon, and all women everywhere, past, present, and future…These bonds, among other things, support us in getting free and staying free of harmful cultural agreements and myths that don’t serve us! So what am I really saying here? I’m saying that anyone who registers for one of our next 4 moon lodges will be entered to win a Tantric Alchemy Moon Cup, which is simultaneously an eco-friendly reusable silicon menstrual collection product and sacred ritual tool that allows women to collect their blood and offer it back to the earth in gratitude, as the ancients once did…

 

Already use a moon cup? Follow the link below to take the hilarious online quiz “How Gnar are Your Menstrual Cup Habits” ( We got "You are so Gnarly" Best compliment ever!)

www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/how-gnarly-are-your-menstrual-cup-habits

 

 

So What Do I Mean by Sacred Sexuality, Anyway?

I recently had the honor of traveling to an amazing women’s community in Portland Oregon to share Kava Temple and open a group exploration of the idea of sacred sexuality. The most common reason that women attend this workshop is because they are open to the idea of integrating their spirituality and their sexuality, but aren’t really sure what that looks like. Just hearing the phrase “Sacred Sexuality” can begin to arouse something instinctual deep within us that then demands to be acknowledged, embraced and expressed.  

So what is Sacred Sexuality? It’s an umbrella term that includes everything from traditional Goddess Worship with mantra and visualization to parties where people have sex with strangers.

Because I am a practitioner of classical Tantra, it is often thought when I am speaking about sacred sexuality, that I am speaking about Tantra, but they are not at all the same thing. Sacred sexuality is for everyone. Anyone, anywhere, can spontaneously have an experience of their own divinity through allowing their authentic, unconstrained sexual energy to be expressed (in consensual way, of course!) From the personal perspective, I experience Tantra as a sentient stream of consciousness that reaches across time and has a particular set of teachings to impart about the human experience and a particular teaching style, or way it likes to reveal the underlying non dual nature of reality. Those teachings are accessed primarily through daily practice. It is sometimes called a dangerous path because of how rapidly and completely it can strip away the false self. We don’t always have support for these kinds of big ego shattering experiences in our contemporary culture, so it is said that it is “not for everyone.” Why Tantra is often confused with sacred sexuality is because Tantra, unlike other religious systems seeks an embrace of opposites, and makes room for our sexuality as an honored guest at the table of self, even containing a handful of rituals and practices where sex and the associated chemicals released are used as Ayahuasca or Mushrooms have been used in sacred ceremony by other earth based religions- as medicine- as a time tested way to move beyond ordinary consciousness, transgress norms, and access deeper truths about ourselves in relation to reality. 

For me, sacred sexuality is not a thing or a practice, but a journey to remember our own divinity and reclaim our right to use our evolutionary creativity for our own highest vision for our life. Our family, friends, and cultural norms are quite content to tell us what our self expression in general and sexual expression specifically should and should not look and feel like. Even those who have never personally been overtly violated or oppressed in this life repeatedly have their boundaries transgressed by destructive myths designed to keep us from realizing our power and divinity.  Cultural norms are communicated through a 360 degree surround sound wall of media, and then transmitted at close range when regurgitated by family and friends, leaving most people feeling that they are not measuring up at best and irreparably broken at worst. The basic message being that each of us possesses some basic flaw that makes us unattractive, and unlovable, but if you pay enough money and buy the right things, you might become worthy of belonging. To hold our sexual energy as a sacred and primary aspect of self rather that something to be repressed and avoided yolks us firmly to our own inner truth, which reliably produces personal power rather than the fickle, revokable power of collective approval, and uses it to propel us through life towards the things that most deeply fulfill us. It is a journey of putting aside everything you where taught and getting to know what is, forgetting what other peoples bodies supposedly can and can’t do and entering into a goal-less inquiry of what your body wants to reveal to you about the universe and your place in it. Arousal or lack there of is a really great way to uncover our deeper values, and mindful, non judgmental observation of what truly turns us on is a great practice for enjoying self mastery. It is less about becoming orgasmic or desirable to others and more about coming to love and accept what our own, unique sexual and creative expression looks and feels like. It is a journey of radical self acceptance, about allowing ourselves to bring the same level of conscious inquiry to understanding our sexual energy as we give to our spiritual journey, and ideally eventually dissolving the distinction between the two.  

I hold my workshop Kava Temple: Sacred Sexuality about once a month in different communities throughout the west coast. I aways come away with such an appreciation of how different the journey is for everyone, and how those who are single, those who are exploring polyamory, those seeking monogamous relationship and those who are interested in exploring within the context of an existing relationship each represent a different group of needs, wants, and pathways. That’s part of what we come together to explore in Kava Temple, because It’s such a huge subject, and means so many different things to different people, it takes a good sized group to even begin to cover the territory in 3 hours time! 

Interested in bringing this conversation to your community, women's circle, or school? Email me! Kava temple is educational, healing, and fun, and 15 women and a plane ticket is all it takes to make it happen!

How to Break Up Without Breaking Anything

“So when we found that we could not make sense

Well you said that we would still be friends

But I'll admit that I was glad that it was over

But you didn't have to cut me off

Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing"

              - Gotye

Do you folks remember that song? While not the most conscious in its use of blaming language, It was kind of brilliant, in that someone was finally using the institution of the break up song not to get the world on their side and in support of their victim story, but more to acknowledge the co-creative nature of fulfillment or lack there of in a relationship- that it’s a two way street, and there’s always another side to the story. 

We all kind of agree that breaking up in a text message is not cool, but we don’t see movies, TV shows, or classes helping people get on the same page about what constitutes respectful communication when close relating stops feeling good. Add to that equation legally binding contracts, shared bank accounts, or children, and we have created a recipe for feeling stuck in situations with others that feel both impossible to enjoy and impossible to change. 

I am a student of relationship and communication, with my personal relationships, private coaching sessions, and women’s circles being the various places where those lessons show up. What I am seeing is that we are actually doing an amazing job at structuring our lives in such a way that we are free to explore really deep connections with as many people as we please. This is such a huge accomplishment for womankind. We are shrugging off cultural programs and habitual ways of relating, more rapidly shedding identities we have outgrown, and having the courage to express our genuine desires. We are creating agreements with others that allow for the freedom to connect with whoever we connect with and go as deep as we want to go. Amazing- Good job us! We seem to be, as a group, generally speaking, quite good at getting into relationship. 

I am also seeing a lot of situations coming up where our communication has not quite caught up with the level of freedom that it is now possible to enjoy, and we find ourselves in really deep places after sharing psychic space or physical intimacy, without having had any conversations about our expectations or needs, without having made any agreements about our willingness or even ability to meet said needs. We are often not aware that we even have a need until someone doesn't meet it, and sadly often blame them for not delivering something that we ourselves did not know to ask for. We are, again, very generally speaking, not as good at negotiating getting our needs met within relationship, or moving out of relationship if it is determined that someone is unwilling or unable to meet our needs.  It seems the collective is desiring a shared language for how to moderate, steer, and navigate the waters of intimate connection, and also how to transition out of a relationship when the time comes to do so. I certainly am! Most of us don't live in a village and everyone ends up with a different rulebook, wondering how another could possibly behave as they have or how we could possibly be so misunderstood. It's because we are literally speaking different languages! I’m hearing that we would be more stoked about playing in the realms of the heart with more people if disentangling from a person felt as graceful and good as engaging with them in the first place, and I absolutely believe this is possible. 

There is increased cultural awareness about the idea of “the ceremony of everyday life” and we can look to ceremony for clues for how to do this. The ceremony could be amazingly revealing, powerful experience, but if you don’t do a closing prayer, those energies can play out in a really messy, chaotic way in your life. You call in support of the ancestors and ally’s in the beginning, and then you thank them at the end. What if every relationship ended with a genuine Thank You, and a listing of all you still love about the person and all you learned? It seems like it would go a long way to have a shared toolbox for saying “ Hey- something’s not feeling good to me- can we talk about it?” Or-  I honor and cherish the time that we have shared, and because of that, want to communicate that I’m feeling really called to explore other things right now. I love you. Thank you.” 

I love to play in the deep realms of interpersonal relationship, and so am out there asking for what I want (To play! To transgress norms! To dive in deep!) and getting yeses and no’s with great regularity. Yes, asking more people to play means hearing no more, and I have had some very confusing and painful experiences around this recently. I have also recently been on the receiving end of some extremely honoring and respectful declines of my company. This lead me to believe that there are a surprising number of human beings who have done the work to figure this navigation through communication thing out, and that some of you might be reading this right now and may even be willing to share your best practices so we can learn from each other. It’s simply too big of a subject for anyone to address for the collective, but I thought we might be able to come up with some good possible solutions as a collective…I think if we can take heartbreak, and break ups, and the whole language of breaking things out of the equation, we could dive into loving with our full enthusiasm and childlike, innocent love of adventure, trusting that we have the tools to navigate the terrain, and if it doesn’t end up “working out” (whatever that means to you), we could take pleasure in knowing that we tried- we explored, we danced together in these human forms for a moment or a decade. This has been my question, my intention for the past year and a half- “I don’t want to break anything” For me, what that looks like is thinking of a relationship in it’s current form and flavor as one of a million possible combinations of you + me. If it’s not feeling good, I like to have a conversation to see if communication can restore the enjoyment. ( Full disclosure- I need to have that conversation, and if it is denied, well, that's when things get weird/ sticky  with me) If less than awesome feelings persist,  then I like to have another conversation about shifting the direction. And maybe that new direction doesn’t feel good either. So we try something different. One reason why I think open relationships work so well (when done right) is that  you don't need to entirely cut someone out of your life just because they are not meeting all of your needs. You can have a vast, supportive web of relations that all look different and support you in different ways and different, self selected, clearly agreed to amounts. ( If you are also a geek for this kind of stuff, my friend Arden wrote a great blog post this week about the notion of care and support in relationships, that you may find especially interesting if you have attained awareness of that sneaky demon called co-dependance that tries to pass itself off as love, and causes us to try to get people to show up for us who are for whatever reason just not interested in doing that) 

I’m pretty into this experiment (that you don't have to break it), and so have quite a bit of willingness to try a lot of different configurations of boundaries, agreements, and ways of interacting before concluding that the best configuration is to love someone unconditionally but from a distance. I would love to hear all of your experiences with conscious, loving alternatives to what so many of us have experienced, or have participated in on our way to learning a better way. What’s your favorite way to let someone know that something’s not feeling good to you, that you have a need that’s not being met, a value that’s not being honored, to say you have changed your mind, are needing to change the way you are relating, or are wanting space to explore other things? OR what’s your favorite way that you have been told “No”, had someone end a relationship with you, your preferred way to be communicated with about a difference in values, or have someone end a friendship or love affair with you?

Gender Alchemy in the Redwood Vortex

 

Spirit Weavers 2015

 

“ I release control, and surrender to the flow, of love, that will heal me”

 

photo by kacie tomita

photo by kacie tomita

In May we gathered, 500+ women in the Mendocino Redwoods, for 5 days of sisterhood and remembering. With many of us traveling from afar, each had a long and genuinely arduous story about how they got there. My own involved a crippling shoulder spasm that caused me to leave home with as little as I could possibly carry. I arrived tired and in pain with a 50 pound bag as large as me in tow. Of course 4 different ladies offered to drive me up the hill to my reserved Adirondak shelter, but one by one, something would come up;  lost keys, an emergency on the walkie talkie. After the 4th time this happened, I finally realized“Oh- duh! Maybe I’m not supposed to be up there…”

 

I released all attachment to where I would call home for the next 5 days, opened myself to be lead.

 

Just as it was getting dark, a woman offered me a place in her cozy Soul Pad and I accepted, too exhausted to do anything but completely surrender to spirit’s plan for me. Darkness descended, and I sought the wellness center for relief from pain, disappointed to feel drawn back into that very old strategy for handling big energies, and just surrendering into that too. It's hard for me to ask for help, to not be able to be helpful. To my delight, one after another my most beloved sisters poured through the door of the wellness hut, as if following some kind of invisible ant trail from around the camp. The presiding herbalists poured me a little warm cup of wild lettuce tincture for my shoulder, which, although not immediately eliminating the pain, did begin to shift my mood from cranky and wrung out to mild discomfort suffused with the childlike joy of just being with your family. 

 

I tucked myself into my borrowed shelter, recited my nightly mantras and slept, dreaming of male tribal energies with sticks and masks, poking, prodding, investigating us all.

                                       photo by amara dreamer

                                       photo by amara dreamer

My first morning was spent with Amara Dreamer, making my own rattle. Women made the rattles as gifts for their husbands or a special baby in their life or to use in their healing work. The sound of the swirling corn paired with Amara’s medicine songs set the energy moving inside my body in a coordinated, complex spiral motion. I began to experience us all to be coexisting within a woven rainbow tapestry container of energy- safe, held, ecstatic. I felt so completely absorbed in the task of stitching my rattle, eventually only aware of the continuos message beaming at me from a seemingly separate consciousness residing in my hands, intent on getting my mind’s attention to say “ We love this! We love this! We love this sooo much” referring to the feel of wet animal hide in my hands. This is what it means to remember- to have the whole body tell you that this is what it knows how to do, was born to do- to be creating with only what mother nature so generously provides.

 

       photo by larry keenan

       photo by larry keenan

 

On the second night, I dreamed of the land being full of disincarnate hippies, not bothering anyone, just observing. I still did have fear of disincarnates, but surrender, soften, allow. I asked them why they were there, and learned that they are me, they are us, “coming back” or bleeding through the fabric of time to observe our work and heal the trauma of believing that their work had failed. I felt a huge healing and releasing of cultural grief- a healing for all those souls who had felt that they had come so close to changing the world and ushering in a culture based on love, sharing, and belonging only to see the pendulum swing the other way for a few decades. I felt the awe they felt to see that they had not failed, that it was not all for nothing- to see that the seeds they had planted where watered, and their dreams for humanity's collective awakening were carried forward. I experienced this as a soul retrieval, accepting back many parts of myself traumatized by the failings of that era- embracing my own psychedelic feminine, the romantic,  sweetly devoted, radically idealistic lover. 

From that moment of welcoming back this deeply psychedelic aspect of myself, I felt the tapestry of the gathering begin to shimmer and transform, revealing the nuanced, multidimensional nature of reality. It was truly stunning to see women I have known for years open just a little further, revealing more primordial aspects of themselves.

 

 

And in this complete absence of the embodied masculine, I felt able to tune in to the more subtle polarities of masculine and feminine energies within each woman.

 

To my surprise and delight, I felt able to begin to play with great fluidity and ease at running masculine or feminine energy with different people depending on what they brought to the moment. I watched a woman I know very well strolling across the lawn in the sun, and felt pulled back in time, again to the 60’s as the thought ” “Hey- thats my man” darted across my mind with an accompanied feeling of warmth and pride. She tossed her structured hat atop my floppy hat with a casual remark about masculine and feminine, structure and softness, and each time I saw the hats on the chair next to my table of goods in the marketplace,

I felt a flutter and a rush to be truly experiencing life as ceremony, where casual comments become invocations, and small symbolic gestures become mudras: micro movements with macro results. 

 

photo by amber magnolia hill

photo by amber magnolia hill

Night falls. It is cold and I am in my pain body again, and ask a friend for help. Perhaps a nice hot shower together would set us on a better track? We get to test all of our philosophies- of being vulnerable, of asking for what you want- of communicating hopes ( to help each other drop into a juicer, more spacious and sensual vibe from which to teach from) and fears ( that it might get weird, feel weird, bring up new feelings, change our friendship) and just speak really honestly about it all. I tell her the truth- that whatever happens, I will stay in the conversation, promise to show up for it. We choose the yes, agree to meet at 6 am, before the bustle of the day takes hold. The cement floor is sticky and cold, the water pressure weak. It feels innocent and nourishing to indulge our child-like curiosity- “oh! your nipples are so cute and pink- now we know that about each other…” more amusing and sweetly transgressive than sexy…a nice way to start the day.

In my own Kava Temple + Talisman Making class, I am reminded so beautifully that the medicine is there with us through the power of intention and calling in the spirits. The energy is palpable before the Kava is even served. I am shown again and again that the medicine is just a medium, an externalization of something that is already inside of us. We spoke of Kava and Mugwort, The Mists of Avalon and my belief that mindfulness is your best protection. I am enjoying myself, at first unsure of the groups response, and thankful for tears as feedback, some sign that the medicine is working and people are experiencing the small shifts that open us up for healing to occur and continue. People’s wheels are in motion, and I am happy.

The next day we dive into my newest content for Kava Temple: Sacred Sexuality. Growing up on the puritanical east coast and having only a handful of lovers in my life, I could not have been more surprised a year ago when spirit tapped me for this mission- to make sure there was a space here for women to bring forth their questions, hopes, fears, and triumphs of our collective clumsy stumble towards embodied spirituality, in a culture that so often makes spirt and body opposing forces. My journey with Tantra has been a steep learning curve, but the message clear- its time to weave these parts of our journey together, the crown to the root and everything in between.

                            photo by renata chebel

                            photo by renata chebel

 

I am becoming more comfortable, and ask another friend to help me do a tick check, where I begin to understand that to see a woman’s breasts up close, the right kind, puts me in a trance. I have thought about this a lot, and believe that

SO MANY OF US remember this POTENT symbol of deep fullfilment, love, and home base from nursing and receiving our first nourishment from our mothers this way. Why should men alone get to return to that space through the initiations of hormones and puberty? The comfort of the breast belongs to all.

 

Image via kimcampion.com

Image via kimcampion.com

No one denied us this, we deny ourselves this based on cultural agreements about the meaning of our behavior. It has been a major epiphany of the last year to learn that nothing we do has any inherent meaning other that that which we assign it. 

Now it seems everyone is in this collective ascent, shedding further layers of masks. Larger, juicier, wilder, more complex soul designs are emerging out of every woman I see. One of my dear friends began to transform into a powerful snow leopard, eyes tracking me as I moved around the camp. And in that tractor beam gaze, that dance of hunted and hunter, I felt the ecstasy of participating in the dance of life and death. More than fear I felt awe and reverence, and swooned with longing to be the prey. In beholding the sweetness of surrender, I remember that in every moment of surrender, in every YES, we are yielding to the reality of death-the death of the past which is certain, to embrace the present, which is unknown.

 

It has been a long time since I felt this feeling, a curious mix of fear, desire, reverence, and sedation, the feeling of love as indistinguishable from the ego’s dissolving at the moment of death. 

 

The next day I had signed up for peyote stitch beading taught by my tent mate. I work with my hands all the time and am always the one where teachers say “ Oh- you’ve obviously done this before”  but this time was different. I felt incapable of following the instructions. I felt the world was gently pulsing, and that each time I pulled the thread out, I went far out on a cosmic journey. Each time I brought the thread back to the beads, I felt I had arrived in the present moment for the first time, and that I had no idea what was happening. I started to say “I feel like I’m trying to do this while high” to which the teacher replied “ well, your really sensitive- I wouldn’t be surprised if you have thousands of years worth of people doing this in ceremony streaming through you right now.” The harder I tried to concentrate, the deeper my swoon back into the tapestry became, and in there, I felt the stalk of my big cat friend, and felt a magnetic pull to find her. No goal. No narrative, just the pull of her presence. I decided to take a break and get some tea/ try to ground myself, and I excused myself from the shady picnic table grove where we sat and crafted, abandoning my mangled pile of purple beads and string.  Of course I walked straight into the arms of the very friend I had been immersed in this psychic dialogue with. We hugged, and I burrowed into her chest, laughing…500 women in the woods, but somehow you will always find who you are meant to find. We wander hand in hand, find a quiet place to sit, heart to heart, allowing our vibrations to harmonize, our song bursting with beauty. My mouth finds hers. Are we lesbians now? It doesn't matter.

We are being guided, and allow the Shakti and downloads to pour over us like a waterfall, the pure, unadulterated, amplified essence of woman, the essence of embodiment- spirit flowing downward into the world of body and form. We are drawn into a breathless and beautiful initiation into an ancient knowing- that spirit cares not for our chosen gender identity. That our bodies are but instruments, and when spirit has a message for us, it is best to let it come through the channel. Much beauty can come of allowing our bodies to communicate directly- letting the quantum membranes of our skin relay codes and messages of great importance and subtlety...the remembrance that we are allowed to activate one another. We are allowed to communicate in this ancient way. I am filled with wonder at this new way of understanding what is possible as sisters on this journey. 

 

           photo by renata chebel

           photo by renata chebel

I have a vision for a photo shoot with 4 of my most dear witches, never all together in the same place. It is perhaps too much to take on, to attempt to coordinate 4 different women’s complex agendas for this time together, and we end up with 3. The vibe is quiet and reverent, and I  ruin it by channelling bad 80's music, as I am often compelled to do

"So here we are again- this time it's truly right"

(and by truly right, I mean I'm pretty sure no one will be burned at the stake for their participation in this moment of pleasure) . Afterwards, I return to my home base, my table in the marketplace to be still, to integrate.

From my place of observation, I begin to drop into yet another reality. At the intersection of tables in the center of the market, lies an instant manifestation vortex, where whatever is voiced within it comes to pass immediately. I watched this happen again and again, until I literally could not tear myself away from the unfolding phenomenon. And after a day or so of sharing with anyone who would listen this incredible occurrence that I believed myself to be observing, it occurred to me that the marketplace had come together as a result of many hours of administrative advanced pre-planning…by me!  I had, somehow, participated in the construction of this energetic phenomenon, and the mystery of that was beyond my ability to comprehend. I could only be in awe and reverence for it, that each action we take in the mundane world, if done with love and intention, carries some kind of magical, 4th and 5th dimensional counterpart- that we are doing magic all the time, but may not be in a space of presence enough to notice the many dimensions our work may echo into. Between each class taught or attended, between it all, I return always to the marketplace. There I release all agendas and just bask in the flow of beautiful hearts all around. I invite women to come sit with me for a meal or a chat. There is a whole world of beauty out beyond the Market doors, but I am content to just BE there, needing for nothing.

 

spiritweaversgathering1.jpg

And then, as quickly as it had begun, it is ending, and I find myself on the little stage conducting the closing announcements. My snow leopard shaki sister sends me a little cacao in a beautiful ceramic mug, delivered to me in the hands of the 8 year old daughter of another council member- delivered by a virgin messenger. Deep in the prayerful flow, I take a moment to hold the cacao, to look within at the prayer wanting to come forward, and whisper silently“ I am a yes to the journey, whatever this is- I will show up- I will clean up my side of the street” and imbibe of the blessed muddy water.

 

The crowd proceeds to the Angel Wash, the closing ceremony that was the most powerful aspect of the gathering for me in years past. The world is shimmering, tears flowing, and I feel within my belly the unmistakable sensation felt just once before in my life, when I conceived my son- I felt the moment of conception, and am floored with emotion, wonder, deep love and gratitude, totally incapable of reason. My shuttle is due to take me to the airport in a half an hour, and so I find a friend. “ I have to talk to you!” I gush. She’s in a different space, holding a measured, careful, clinical kind of presence. I feel ashamed, shy, vulnerable, suddenly alone, like I have ruined something- didn’t occur to me that she wouldn’t be right there experiencing that moment with me.

 

We are collectively descending now, falling from congruity at different rates. I tumble back through the rarefied dimensions, back to earth.

 

Tears at needing to part in this way- heavy, uncertain, yet blessed, honored, deep in the pool of mystery within my heart, reverent and in quiet awe of the beauty. The cacao holds me steady in that space for the long shuttle ride back to San Francisco, my friend from home carefully stewarding me through the airport lines and gates, helping me keep track of all my belongings, beautifully present without needing to know the details of the space I am in. I am grateful to return to my husband, my son, my family. After many years of bumpy landings after ceremony, we are learning how to help each other- the house is clean and he is present, listening to some stories, giving me lots of space to to reel in all my trailing bits, to be in continual arrival and begin the integration. The play is real, the unparralled sensual pleasure of being completely and totally in flow, but now the real work begins- the work of watering the seeds that have been planted, of processing and making meaning of what new parts of ourselves where seen and felt and experienced within this sacred rainbow tapestry of light that we are all weaving together. 

Written By Erin Rivera Merriman of Active Culture Family

 

 

Western herbalism, witch burning, and Amber Magnolia Hill's juicy new E-book

Susun S. Weed, Voice of the Wise Woman Tradition- photo by Marlis Momber Photography

Susun S. Weed, Voice of the Wise Woman Tradition- photo by Marlis Momber Photography

Have you noticed the growing popularity of Western Herbalism? It's so exciting. Far from being a new trend, it's actually the result of decades of dedicated efforts on the part of amazing pioneers like Rosemary Gladstar and my own teacher Susun S. Weed who have been tirelessly working to break down western cultures resistance to remembering how easy it is to heal ourselves with the use of common and widely available plants (weeds!) My favorite thing Susun said to me during by apprenticeship was about presenting at a conference at a popular retreat center, and being approached by someone asking “So you are teaching women to be herbalists? To which she replied no, 

“I’m teaching women to be bitches, witches, dykes, and sluts” 

 

 

Think about it- a bitch is a women who is not afraid to speak uncomfortable truths, a witch is a woman who’s not afraid of nature, a dyke is a woman who is not afraid of other women, and a slut is a woman who is not afraid of pleasure...

These are some of the most commonly used words for shaming the feminine in attempt to get her to play small and cooperate with the patriarchal agenda... it also reads like a treasure map/ instructions manual for any woman seeking to actually be present as herself and even dare I say enjoy her  life...

You would think in times where sex and death are a part of almost every TV show, it would not be such a big deal to speak up about the magic of plants, but… witch burning happened, so, it is. No, seriously. More than 5o thousand women have been executed for being too weird. And if those women happened to be your ancestors, well rest assured that you received some really mixed messages about how to sit up straight, don’t ask too many questions, don’t be too pretty, too smart, too exceptional, and for god sakes keep your mouth shut, because that's how they learned to not end up drowned in the river or burned at the stake. In his upcoming retreat SHE: A lifetime of true wellness for women, Ayurvedic master Prashanti de Jager will be sharing about how thyroid disease is the result of thousands of years of humanity's attempting to silence the voice of the Wise Woman within…go Prashanti! 

But anyway, enough of the why- the point is, I think many really unique, sassy, amazing souls decided to incarnated as women in this lifetime en mass with a clause in their contract that says “I will not be silenced.” Through the efforts of this far reaching group of women, the collective feminine has decided to heal the witch burning wound once and for all.

Like enough is enough. Plants are magic and Yoni's are magic, we all have the power to heal ourselves, heal each other, and talk directly with god, and that’s that. It’s time to move on from the collective, immature and irresponsibly implemented experiment that we all conducted to see what would happen if we let a few people manipulate the spiritual and material resources of the entire planet for a few thousand years. I think we have totally crunched the data on that one and the answer is, the planet will be systematically destroyed and we all die.

 

…So each and every time a witchy sister speaks, and doesn’t loose her life, the voice of all of womankind is strengthened, and we take note, do an totally un-sexy happy dance, and send blessings her way. Today, we are taking note of Amber Magnolia Hill, creatress of Mythic Medicinals, for her efforts to bring the ancient practice of herbal body oiling into the year 2015 and beyond with her timely new ebook: 

Herbal Body Oiling: Ancient Sacrament, Modern Neccessity, which we were honored to get to contribute to.

The basic message of the book in my opinion can’t be beat, and goes something like this: Herbal body oiling- it’s easy, it’s fun, it's for everyone. Make it yourself, its practically free, but if that’s not your thing you can buy some from me….( that rhymed and i’m going with it!) 

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: Welcome Home
  • What Others Have Had To Say After Using Herbal Body Oils
  • What The Ancients Knew
  • My Story: Overwhelmed Mama Desperately Seeks Relief
  • The Nervous System
  • The Lymphatic & Immune Systems
  • How To Use Herbal Body Oils
  • How To Make Fresh Plant Infused Body Oils
  • A Partial List of Healing Herbs & Their Medicinal Actions
  • Carrier Oils
  • Unexpected Radical Feminist Conclusion
  • First Steps Forward From Here
  • Notes & Suggested Reading
  • Thank You!
  • Bonus #1: What is the Difference Between Herbal Body Oils, Essential Oils, and Flower Essences?
  • Bonus #2: Oil Pulling

With contributions from eight amazing herbalists, the wisdom in this offering is both deep and wide, covering many aspects of Herbal Body Oiling and sacred self care. Contributors include Erin Rivera Merriman of Active Culture Family ( that's me!)  Ally Sands of Aquarian Soul Designs, Rachel Budde of Fat & the Moon, Vicky Salcido-Cobbe of Grandmother's Medicine, Kelsey Barrett of Heavy Nettle, Sophia Rose of La Abeja Herbs, Kari Jansen of Poppy & Someday, and Kiva Rose of Traditions in Western Herbalism.

Written By Erin Rivera Merriman of Active Culture Family

Click here to read our interview with Amber, now up on the Collaborators section of our website, 

and visit www.aquariandawn.com to purchase your own copy of

HERBAL BODY OILING: ANCIENT SACRAMENT, MODERN NECCESSITY

Plants, Relationship, and Evolution

IN COLLABORATION WITH VEDA MANDALA + BLUMHOUSE WELLNESS

 IS EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE:

PLANT MEDICINE THROUGH THE LENS OF AYURVEDA

 

Session 3: Epigenetics

August 15th and 16th, Los Angeles, CA

Although teaching (sharing really) is something that I occasionally DO, what I really AM is a student- a student of communication, metaphysics, nature, energy, wellbeing and relationship... and one thing that I have worked out so far in my attempt to comprehend the mysterious relationship between love and its ability to motivate us to grow is that 

RELATIONSHIP IS THE FAVORED MEDIUM OF EVOLUTION

and the channel through which our prayers are most likely to be answered. One such prayer that I have held was that I would find a way to connect with authentic Ayurvedic teachings despite not being in a position to go back to school. And out of the tapestry of everything emerged Raven Olay, and her beautifully curated suite of Los Angeles based workshops featuring the teachings of her mentor Prashanti deJagar, Ayurvedic Wisdom Keeper, pioneer of sustainable business, and founder of Organic India. We are thrilled to have Raven on board as a collaborator (read our interview with her now up in the Collaborators section of our site)  and look forward to unveiling projects we are currently incubating later this year. In the meantime, we hope you will join us for this weekend of rich teachings on Epigenetics, or plants capable of evolving a bloodline of species. ( <---!!!!!!! ) 

 

CAN'T MAKE THE WORKSHOP, BUT EXCITED TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD ON THE VALUE OF MAKING AUTHENTIC AYURVEDIC WISDOM READILY AVAILABLE IN THE WEST?

 

ENTER OUR INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY

 


In support of and gratitude for the availability of these teachings, Active Culture Family and Blumhouse Wellness are currently co-hosting a giveaway through our Instagram accounts- visit Blumhouse Wellness (  @raveyolay )for details on how to enter to win!

KAVA TEMPLE AND TALISMAN MAKING IN THE REDWOODS

1000 Ovaries United in common intention is indeed good medicine...

 

In this years Kava Temple at Spirit Weavers Gathering, we created Ojo de Dios talismans to ground our Kava Meditation experience and emerging intentions in the act of creating a physical object that can serve as energetic shorthand and reminder of what was made clear within our time together. To make things with your hands from a prayerful frame of mind engages more of the senses and more parts of our brain simultaneously, anchoring our experiences more deeply in our being. 

Although most well known on the west coast as expressions of Native Mexican spiritual culture, these God’s Eye forms where chosen as the focal point for our intentions because they have simultaneously arisen as expressions of spirit in many different cultures around the globe. Our classes attract highly mixed groups of women from many different parts of the world and ancestral backgrounds, all of which are welcomed. Both Kava and community ask us to look for the common thread that unites us across perceived differences. God’s Eye forms are just one such common thread. 

For thousands of years, Kava has been used as a means of coming together as a group to discuss topics of shared interest to the community. Over the course of the last year, I have received so much conflicting, and not necessarily helpful advice around the need to maintain many layers of boundaries and protection. I had taken everyones advice and had ended up with a totally impenetrable fortress around me, from within which intimacy with others was not possible. I was lonely and exhausted, and needed to find a better way. I initially hoped to find different ways to feel safe, but ultimately realized that safety is never guaranteed. I have come full circle back to my early Buddhist days of understanding that the need is not to find what could make me feel safe, but to become really spacious and comfortable with the reality of life’s uncertainty, while also allowing myself to use my words to navigate towards my personal preferences when possible. 

And so I invited 15 women to join me in a discussion the concept of spiritual protection, and what those words mean and evoke in us. Although "protection" is essentially a neutral word, even the concept can evoke a defensive stance, which constellates the same in others. Although maintaining the integrity of our personal energetic container is essential, for me, the best "shield" I have found is mindful awareness in the present moment. I feel most safe when I am relaxed but curious, attentive, and aware.

Together we chose colors intuitively to conjure a relaxed awareness of whether or not we where aligned with our intentions in a moment to moment way, and we wove our Ojos together in community, to be worn and enjoyed throughout the year as a reminder of the sisterhood and belonging that we experienced when cradled in the arms of our temporary redwood cathedral home. Thank you all for showing up, for bringing your breath and hearts, your presence and your prayers. It is an honor to hold space for us all to put our puzzle pieces on the table and help each other understand what role our individual experiences play in the creation of the big, beautiful picture that is this moment on planet earth!

Born to Be Wild

I was introduced to herbalist Kelsey Barret by our mutual friend and previous visiting teacher Jane Anne Thomas. As a seer, Jane Anne's sister witch match making tends to be of the highest order, and this was no exception. February's event "The Instinctual Reemergence of Nature Communication" was Kelsey and I's first time teaching together, but I'm pretty sure it won't be the last!

Teaching with others requires a bit of a leap of faith, but that very quality of unpredictability, or variable within the controlled experiment, is in my opinion the proverbial fifth element, and the very thing that "Magic" requires in order to come into and enhance any situation. Our workshop began with Kelsey's sharing of a song sung in invocation of the god of the plants. Later in the workshop as she was speaking, I found myself interrupting her to share that  the god of the plants was in fact there, had an amazing sense of humor, and was presently blasting our space with an astral transmission of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" as a way of communicating to us the nature of what exactly plants would like to help us with- that it is meant to be an adventure. For those of you unfamiliar:

Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
......
And explode into space

......
Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild

 

Thank you to everyone who spent the afternoon journeying with us to remember how to hear timely (and hilarious!) messages directly from some of our greatest teachers- the plants!

In Celebration of the Canyon Spirit

Our booth at Mercado Sagrado 2014, showing ACF jewelry alongside collaborations with Adina Mills, Three Arrows Leather, Ghost Dancer, Blue Skye, Jetter Green, and more!

Our booth at Mercado Sagrado 2014, showing ACF jewelry alongside collaborations with Adina Mills, Three Arrows Leather, Ghost Dancer, Blue Skye, Jetter Green, and more!

I met Carly Jo Morgan, 1/2 of the team behind Mercado Sagrado (the other half being celebrated photographer and canyon dweller Heather Culp)  in 2009 when we where both living in Brooklyn, making jewelry, and on the cusp of making some really life changing decisions.  Without ever exchanging phone numbers, we both ended up meeting someone special, falling in love and following an invisible ant trail to California by way of the desert. (Taos, NM and Joshua Tree, respectively).

photo by Kacie Tomita

photo by Kacie Tomita

 As an introvert, it don't do very many large scale events, but when Carly and I reconnected and she invited ACF to curate a space at the first annual Mercado Sagrado, I immediately said yes. Why? Because Carly is a true visionary, and beyond that completely undeterred by the rigors of actually nurturing a vision all the way through to fruition, so I knew that if this was what she had set her mind to creating, that it would be a marketplace like no other. From the moment the doors opened at noon on saturday, the weekend was a cardamom popsicle fueled, high speed blur of what in my opinion California does best: mix business with pleasure. Many different worlds collided for me in the space of those 2 days, as artists I had known from New York nibbled raw mini vegan cheesecakes alongside my new west coast family from the Spirit Weavers Gathering. Throw in some television stars and magazine models that I admired from the comfort of my parents living room  growing up in the 80's and 90's, and you have Mercado Sagrado, proof that LA is one long, collective lucid dream,  yours to be enjoyed if you can manage to quit wondering if everyone could possibly be for real.

Peace River

“I’ve got peace like a river in my soul”

Although I do mantra and dream practice daily, and make new moon intention ritual monthly, at least 4 times a year, preferably with the changing of the seasons, I like to try to find an elder to sit in ceremony with. On one of these more significant ceremonies, I realized that pregnancy had really activated the "holding" aspect of the feminine in me, but that the only time it's really appropriate to be holding onto everything is when there is another life that is depending on you to retain every scrap of nutrition you possibly can so that it can grow. From the moment they come out, the work changes to that of letting go. At this time, my son was 3, and it's like I still hadn't got the memo that it was time to let go. I was still thinking of him an angry baby, even though he had long since outgrown that brief phase. I got so excited about letting go of things, I began to wonder if it was ever appropriate to hold onto anything. By the end of the night, I realized that on a deep level, there is very little in this world that belongs to us or can ever  really be possessed anyway. That peace was real, and love was real, but that they are not values believe in, but rather real, living energies that are asking to be embodied. When it came time to share, all that I could say was that I had realized that "My true name is Peace, and my true home is the present moment".

 This is how the idea for the “Peace River” collection was born. It’s not a new idea, but with so many really great things on the table in life, it can feel hard to know what to quest after that might actually be sustainable or worthwhile to "have". Peace seemed like one of the few things worth trying to hang onto, and I have been lucky enough to find my way to a group of artists who are making spaces in which to play and see what we can co-create together, people who where willing to say “ok- yes- let’s take a minute and revisit this Peace thing together”

The Peace River collaborative collection debuted on June 12th at The Platform, a San Diego gallery space co-owned by Tend Living, Jetter Green, and JXL Studios alongside new work from Breadwhiskers and Mr. Blueskye. Gnome Juice was served and records where spun, with the night culminating in a local designer goods raffle (shown left) where we raised money to donate to Bay NVC, a California organization that teaches Non-Violent Communication skills to underserved populations.  

Non- Violent Communication, or Compassionate Communication as many now refer to it, is a method of dealing with conflict that is based on a philosophy that understands that all people have the same basic needs, we just go about trying to get them met in different ways based on our different life experiences. Although it has been criticized for feeling  forced, in crisis situations, and when exercised skillfully, it is one of the best tools I have encountered for returning us from separation and otherness back into harmony and oneness. To learn more about NVC, click here.

 ( P. S. The event started off with everyone in different outfits, but after a few too many mugs of Gnome Juice, we all ended up going home in one of Rachel's kaftans! )

Peace River at The Platform

  Thursday June 12th, the newest collaborative collection of wall art will be unveiled in an opening reception at The Platform in San Diego, CA. New Collaborations with All For The Mountain, Adina Mills, Spoke Woven, Three Arrows Leather, Tend Living, and Jetter Green.  Additional work by Jason Lane,  Bread Wiskers and Blue Skye. Join us for snacks, drinks, and raffle to benefit Bay NVC, an organization that teaches Non Violent Communication and peacekeeping skills to underserved populations.  

 

Thursday June 12th, the newest collaborative collection of wall art will be unveiled in an opening reception at The Platform in San Diego, CA. New Collaborations with All For The Mountain, Adina Mills, Spoke Woven, Three Arrows Leather, Tend Living, and Jetter Green. 

Additional work by Jason Lane,  Bread Wiskers and Blue Skye.

Join us for snacks, drinks, and raffle to benefit Bay NVC, an organization that teaches Non Violent Communication and peacekeeping skills to underserved populations.

 

ACF at Otherwild in Los Angeles

  On saturday evening, I will be sharing some wise wierdo wisdom in the form of a zine this saturday at Otherwild in Los Angeles , where super babes All For the Mountain and Maria Calderon will be unveiling similar book projects. Additional good vibes from Jacquelin Suskin's Poem Store and SUJA Juice ! Upcoming Book Release!  May 31st, 2014 6-9pm Otherwild  1932 Echo Park Ave Los Angeles, CA 90026   About the Books: Starseed Survival Guide- Volume 1, is the first chapter in a series by artist Erin Rivera Merriman, founder of the multi-dimensional collaborative experiment Active Culture Family. SSG is a “what to expect” guide to the early stages of individuation from our family of origin. Originally conceived as a remedy for teen depression, it aims to counter some of the cultural programming that interferes with our ability to experience joy by depicting “growing up” as an ongoing and highly personal inner journey of healing and self discovery. www.activeculturefamily.com THE SACRED DOOR by Carly Jo Morgan is a magical quest inspired by her daughter when she was a seedling in the womb. It is a visual  journey of an inquisitive soulmate duo learning the importance of manifestation. Two canine  companions, The Boo Boo and Wings Livinright, set out on a cosmic expedition to find a place where all dreams come true.  Along the way they encounter a series of mystical characters who offer clues and challenges that propel the pups to far-off lands and places deep within themselves.  An epic poem about companionship, faith, perseverance, and the power of nature, THE SACRED DOOR is a children’s book that is really for all ages of the New Age. www.allforthemountain.com   How You Made Mama a Magical Mystical Miracle by Maria Calderon is a conversation of gratitude for our children and the out of body sensory experience they reveal to us. Child-guided birth is a psychedelic journey. It's a series of altered states of consciousness spiraling through the senses, in each realm of our sensory understanding. Our children unleash questions of progression and replay our own life journey while residing in our wombs, inviting us to grow along with them.  Children awaken the dormant energy within us and bring clarity to our ego-based blocks—but only if we choose to face them. www.mariacalderon.com  

 

On saturday evening, I will be sharing some wise wierdo wisdom in the form of a zine this saturday at Otherwild in Los Angeles , where super babes All For the Mountain and Maria Calderon will be unveiling similar book projects. Additional good vibes from Jacquelin Suskin's Poem Store and SUJA Juice !

Upcoming Book Release! 
May 31st, 2014 6-9pm
Otherwild 
1932 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026

 

About the Books:

Starseed Survival Guide- Volume 1, is the first chapter in a series by artist Erin Rivera Merriman, founder of the multi-dimensional collaborative experiment Active Culture Family. SSG is a “what to expect” guide to the early stages of individuation from our family of origin. Originally conceived as a remedy for teen depression, it aims to counter some of the cultural programming that interferes with our ability to experience joy by depicting “growing up” as an ongoing and highly personal inner journey of healing and self discovery.


www.activeculturefamily.com

THE SACRED DOOR by Carly Jo Morgan is a magical quest inspired by her daughter when she was a seedling in the womb. It is a visual  journey of an inquisitive soulmate duo learning the importance of manifestation. Two canine  companions, The Boo Boo and Wings Livinright, set out on a cosmic expedition to find a place where all dreams come true.  Along the way they encounter a series of mystical characters who offer clues and challenges that propel the pups to far-off lands and places deep within themselves.  An epic poem about companionship, faith, perseverance, and the power of nature, THE SACRED DOOR is a children’s book that is really for all ages of the New Age.

www.allforthemountain.com

 

How You Made Mama a Magical Mystical Miracle by Maria Calderon is a conversation of gratitude for our children and the out of body sensory experience they reveal to us.
Child-guided birth is a psychedelic journey. It's a series of altered states of consciousness spiraling through the senses, in each realm of our sensory understanding. Our children unleash questions of progression and replay our own life journey while residing in our wombs, inviting us to grow along with them. 

Children awaken the dormant energy within us and bring clarity to our ego-based blocks—but only if we choose to face them.

www.mariacalderon.com


 

Everything Is Medicine

   

 

 

I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity to collaborate with one of the most talented artists I have had the pleasure of meeting for the cover of our new summer 2014 mix CD.  Containing music from brothers and sisters, friends new and old, and those I have yet to meet in this lifetime, it is a genuine offering from my heart to yours- some sweet medicine for your earth walk! Free with purchase to the first 25 women to visit our booth at the Spirit Weavers Gathering.

                                           1. Song Yet To Be Sung • Perry Farrell
                                                        2. True Colors • Abuela
                                                    When I Grow Up • Fever Ray
                                                           4. Be A Body • Grimes
                                                               5. Sun • Cat Power
                                  6. ‘Til I Whisper U Something • Sinead O’Connor
                                                        7. Purple Dream • Seequill
                                                           8. Torture • Luis Mojica
                                                    9. Wicked Rule • Living Sacrifice
                                                10. Rainbow in the Night • Santiparro
                                               11. Hey Mama Wolf • Devendra Banhart
                                                         12. The Wind • Cat Stevens
                                                       13. The Will to Grow • Ben Lee

ACF Interview Up on Maker's Workshop

activeculturefamilymakersworkshop.jpg

Read the full story of our transition from Bearhead Factory to Active Culture Family over on Maker's Workshop, an inspiring blog about about all things Made In America.

 

photos: Erin Rivera Merriman of ACF, ACF Liberty Cuff, "Weavers of the Web" collaborative show currently on display at The Platform in San Diego, CA

We are Woven

spiritweavers2013.jpg
activeculturefamily.jpg

When I graduated my apprenticeship with my herbalist teacher Susun S. Weed, I confessed that I would probably not ever teach or become an herbalist- that I believed that intimate knowledge of the plants was my birthright, not necessarily a career path. She nodded knowingly and said something equivalent to "that's what they all say".  

Words cannot express my grattitude for the opportunity to share Kava and the wisdom of The Wise Woman Tradition with this incredible group of women!

Spirit Weavers Gathering, November 2013. Photo by Maximilla Lukacs