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Ash and Stardust ix: Recalibrate

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by energy worker and artist/writer DHIYANAH HASSAN explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. You can read the rest of the series here.

While our Northern and Southern hemispheres exchange weather, monsoon rains pour its threats and blessings on the equator. Toasty lands find relief with aid from migrating clouds, storm winds push the haze in and out, rising mud ring in flowers along the roadsides like celebration, bursts of heat and humidity break any rhythm we might try to tame with reason – the combination is calming, chaotic, and languid. Our eyes are sleepy from rain then watchful for floods and typhoons while our trees and shorelines swell with volume. Sometimes an irrational anxiety stirs our body, coaxing us to consider our roles with each other in unexpected ways. Other times a cloud inside us wrings itself dry, releasing its burdens and we find ourselves drained from feeling it all.

Rain drumming against awnings, earth, and windows bring old lullabies back to the heart.

As seasons change, so do our daily habits, our bodies adapting and compromising with us. Temperatures shake up circadian rhythms, stunting or catalyzing growth within the myriads of topographies making up our bodily beings, emotional terrains, and mental health. Our pendulum of awareness may swing from one side to the other with frightening intensity. We breathe to find our center, then we keep breathing – devoting ourselves to Earth’s gravitational pull to keep us steady.

We were made to feel our seasons, our weathers, personally.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust ix: Recalibrate”

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Translations of a Post-Apocalyptic Love by Jessica Ciccarelli

I stand in the shower and let the water pound against the knot in my neck until the spasm seems so strong I register pain before terror. Every possible nerve I can find rests against the jarring freeze of the granite. Water drenches my arms, face, and stretch-marked body – kissing parts of me I used to reserve for your masochistic ego. Continue reading “Translations of a Post-Apocalyptic Love by Jessica Ciccarelli”

The Unforgiving Season by Paula Geanau

1.

Out of all four seasons, summer is the least inviting to love. Continue reading “The Unforgiving Season by Paula Geanau”

Ash and Stardust vi: Mars and Saturn walk into a teahouse and are ambushed by the Moon with Neptune cackling on the roof

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by artist and writer DHIYANAH HASSAN, explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. These are personal essays and articles sharing experiences of growth as someone who has recently found a deep connection to tarot. You can read the rest of the pieces here.

As a Scorp Sun with Cap rising, this Mars Retrograde plus Capricorn full moon has been at the forefront of my headspace. It’s proving to be a groundbreaking combination for energetic upgrades. Nevermind that since Neptune stationed retrograde, I’ve spent most of my night-time hours getting deeper into dream work. Maybe I’ll write more about that one day – I’m mostly reeling from how absolutely sublime and affirming these experiences are and although I do feel like sharing about them, I still tip-toe around the language for it, hesitant for now. Mostly I’m just allowing things to unfold while my body nags me to both get some work done and to take time off so it can fully catch up with everything.

This Mars Rx reminds me a lot of the Knights cards in reverse, particularly the Knight of Wands. A warrior in reverse is a warrior that performs best in the shadows – observing, strategizing, recharging. Forced into action, this warrior might catalyze chaos via misunderstandings, accidents, or battles with no victory in sight – but not all chaos is unnecessary and a warrior can hold this knowledge well in their body when they’re able to get out of their own way. One way to override self-sabotaging habits is through intention setting and gratitude journaling.

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust vi: Mars and Saturn walk into a teahouse and are ambushed by the Moon with Neptune cackling on the roof”

Footnote to silence

By Fredric Nord

Zero is the only numeral with the ability to remain itself in solitude. Zero is defined by the ability to not change. All other numerals are relative to each other and depend on each other for existence. They always change and change together. Without each other, stripped of cohabitation, they have no meaning or personality. That’s why all numerals in solitude equals zero. The total amount of numerals aren’t gazillions but one and a half, generously measured. Continue reading “Footnote to silence”

Ash and Stardust v: The World Turned Upside Down

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by artist and writer DHIYANAH HASSAN, explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. These are personal essays and articles sharing experiences of growth as someone who has recently found a deep connection to tarot. You can read the rest of the pieces here.
In the past month, I saw my childhood dream of having a conventionally successful art career – this dream that kept me alive through overwhelming traumas – die off. I made the decision to orphan myself from the biological family because they still couldn’t respect my boundaries. This country I’m in saw its first ever government change in the recent elections and despite the hope sizzling in the air, I still felt like it was trying to kick me out. Hope tends to follow change, it’s true, but so does apprehension.

These were the background noises weighing down on me for the past two weeks, as I worked through illness to meet deadlines, rummaging resources in search of plant-based remedies that could help alleviate all the gross ways stress had affected my body. I was thick in the overwhelm and it felt both familiar and foreign at the same time.

fullmoonscorpiotides_forAshandStardust.gif
GIF snapshot of ocean waves, taken a day before the full moon

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust v: The World Turned Upside Down”

White Boy On The Bus by Michael Bennett

4 TROY HILL to DOWNTOWN

The thing about the 4 is, it’s always five minutes late. You tell yourself that, getting ready. You say: Mike, wait five minutes. But the thought of the bus passing makes every car outside sound like a bus, and besides: what if today is different? A new driver, a training bus, a holiday unaccounted. You leave early. Too early. No loitering at bus stop. No smoking. Caution. Watch your step. Have payment ready.

Continue reading “White Boy On The Bus by Michael Bennett”

A Necessary Silence by Jenne Knight

“More and more I forget what I need, and remember what I’d like to forget. And sometimes I keep talking, keep recalling, as a way of not saying what I feel.”

—Stephen Dunn, “Memory”

My fingers clink like ice as I sit, cliffside, listening to the slow wash of water against rock. Two Canada geese honk a route overhead, and I look out to Victoria, which lies across the narrow stretch of water from San Juan Island. Continue reading “A Necessary Silence by Jenne Knight”

Genesis of a Writer: A Memoir by Deborah Hansen

“Where you from?”
“Got me. We never stay anywhere long enough to be from there.”
“Must suck. Where you been?”
“First I remember was someplace cold. Then palm trees. We go wherever they send my dad.”
“Got any brothers or sisters?
“One.”
“One what?”
“Of each. On either side. They go, too.”
“Go where?” Continue reading “Genesis of a Writer: A Memoir by Deborah Hansen”

Ash and Stardust iv: The Care in Chaos

Ash and Stardust, a monthly column by artist and writer DHIYANAH HASSAN, explores the intersections of tarot with healing and creativity. These are personal essays and articles sharing experiences of growth as someone who has recently found a deep connection to tarot. You can read the rest of the pieces here.

“To be strong does not mean to sprout muscles and flex. It means meeting one’s own numinosity without fleeing, actively living with the wild nature in one’s own way. It means to be able to learn, to be able to stand what we know. It means to stand and live.” – from Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Last year I designed a spread that was meant, according to my earlier notes, for days when you’re “intellectually and emotionally fucked up.” I named it the Chaos Spread. Here’s how you use it:

Continue reading “Ash and Stardust iv: The Care in Chaos”

Three Fragments On The Portative Organ* by Eva Ferry

Fragment I
The story of a screech: it rose as the last bus of the evening crossed the borders of the city to the motorway. All seventeen of us on the top deck turned our heads. Oh yes, it was perfunctory (because on a double-decker you cannot really see what’s going on behind you on the road, even less so in the dark), but the gesture had already captivated me – the meaning, the intention. By the time all heads were turned, it was clear that we had all misjudged the nature of the screech (pitch dropping, frequency decreasing as it unwrapped). This could never come from a human throat, but rather from the strained brakes of a vehicle. Continue reading “Three Fragments On The Portative Organ* by Eva Ferry”

Phrygians In The Rigging by Caroline Stockford

“I seek a place that can never be destroyed, one that is pure, and that fadeth not away, and is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be given, at the time appointed, to them that seek it with all their heart.”
– John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

Our pilgrimage almost came to an end under the wheels of a 10-ton truck on the D650 from Istanbul to Eskişehir, on a summer night made darker by no highway illumination and no towns for miles around. The four-lane highway was flanked on one side by dry,  empty country and on the other by two-hundred-feet-tall black crags, out of which the silhouettes of pine trees leered, high up. Continue reading “Phrygians In The Rigging by Caroline Stockford”

Jo Tinsley: In Conversation with C.C. O’Hanlon

Jo Tinsley is the founder and editor of Ernest Journal – “an independent magazine for the curious and adventurous”. She is also the co-author of two books, The Odditorium: The tricksters, eccentrics, deviants and inventors whose obsessions changed the world and The Mysterium: Unexplained and extraordinary stories for a post-Nessie generation, and editor of Waterfront, a magazine celebrating a connection with water for the Canal & River Trust. Somehow, she also finds time to work as a freelance writer and curator. Continue reading “Jo Tinsley: In Conversation with C.C. O’Hanlon”

A Believing Place by Nina Foushee

For months before going to Alaska, I thought about how six hours of daylight would feel. In California, I’d lay in bed and imagine the darkness as a hand closing around my throat. Continue reading “A Believing Place by Nina Foushee”

L.A. Lust by Yanina Spizzirri

This city, this big sprawling dream of a city, mighty and misunderstood Los Angeles, is often defined in terms of tired cliches and sweeping generalizations. Soul-less and a-historical L.A., they say. A city where nobody walks, they lie. A far-reaching enigma going on for miles and miles, they all nod and agree, baffled. Continue reading “L.A. Lust by Yanina Spizzirri”

Who’d Pick A Fight With Lee Marvin? by David Dragon

Douglas, Arizona, is a border town.

I pull up outside the Gadsden Hotel around 10.15am after driving down State Highway 191 from an overnight stay in Willcox. The road follows the line of the Dragoon Mountains, where, in the 1860s, the Chiricahua Apache leader Cochise took refuge with two hundred of his people and for ten years waged a guerrilla war against the US army Continue reading “Who’d Pick A Fight With Lee Marvin? by David Dragon”

This Is Not A Memorial, And Other Stories Of Remembrance by Alan Nance

When he died, they covered his tracks and made him hard to trace. Eighty years on, he’s the talk of a frontier town. Philosopher, critic, storyteller, Jew. A father who never knew his granddaughters, born later to an exiled son in London. Continue reading “This Is Not A Memorial, And Other Stories Of Remembrance by Alan Nance”

Dreaming St. Conan’s Kirk by Ever Dundas

When I was nine, I dreamed of going to Mars. I dreamed of being swept away to fantastical lands. I dreamed of joining David at Groosham Grange, and travelling with Sarah in her quest to the Goblin City. I’m still a dreamer, but I no longer dream of escape. The ordinary and the fantastical inhabit the same world. There are ghosts, vampires, goblins, cyborgs, and aliens round every corner, lurking down every close. There are mermaids and krakens in the ocean, dragons in the sky. Continue reading “Dreaming St. Conan’s Kirk by Ever Dundas”

The Tyranny of the Horizon by Laurence Mitchell

“A frontier region… the resort of brigands and bandits”
– Sir Clifford Darby, from The Medieval Fenland

Two summers ago I walked coast to coast across England and Wales, from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to Aberystwyth on the Welsh coast. The idea was to etch a furrow in the map along a route that traced familiar haunts and places of personal significance. My aim was to rekindle the memory of places I once knew in East Anglia and the Midlands; join up the dots, to connect all the places along the way with a line made by walking – a pagan pilgrimage, if you like, a personal songline. Continue reading “The Tyranny of the Horizon by Laurence Mitchell”

On Becoming A Storyteller: A Berlin Memoir by Jessica Ciccarelli

There’s a five-mile block in the northernmost part of Prenzlauer Berg that I haunted during my last weeks in Berlin. Within this five-mile block, I allowed myself to fade in and out of memories – I let past and present mingle surreptitiously. I chose it in the exact breath it chose me. Even knowing what writing my memoirs would mean, I had no idea the gravity, but each time I got too lost or too overwhelmed, one man was there to encourage me forward. Continue reading “On Becoming A Storyteller: A Berlin Memoir by Jessica Ciccarelli”

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