movements x exhaustion

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#sundayspread on the relationship between movements and exhaustion. (this read stunned me, I hope it will be of service)

what we bring? reversed traveler of knives: “emotions muddling your ability to think rationally and communicate clearly, or the inhibition of emotional intelligence by an over-reliance on logic, or alternating between the two.”

what exhaustion is bringing/saying, reversed visionary of branches: “finding inspiration in unexpected places. making one last push before your work is completed.” just a bit further…

the composite energy is reversed two of vessels: “conflict or blocked communication with a friend/lover/coworker. overwhelmed by emotions about someone, unable to see them or the situation clearly.”

the next step? six of knives. “pack light. release. prepare for departure. leave behind what you cannot carry. you’re in a period of transition. embark on a new journey. when you struggle to trust your own sense of direction, know that you have support. your grief can be transformative. recognize that a departure from a stagnant space means an opportunity to arrive at new places that sustain your growth. be patient with the future, it will reveal itself slowly. for now though, it’s time to wash your hands of a bad situation that’s been draining your resources. gather your energy back for yourself, and get ready to doing it ahead of you like an arrow.”

from @slowholler deck

earthseed poem

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the compass spins around
north becomes south,
becomes simply the horizon
the direction that matters is forward
we conjure from the darkness
a future orientation of the people
moving like firstlight, touching everyone
moving like water
weeping and crashing through mountains
nothing is permanent
“to shape god
shape self”
our destiny is to “take root amongst the stars”.
where do you think earth is?
root.

#earthseed #octaviabutler

ode to Tarana Burke

i hope you feel the black joy, and woman joy, and human joy
our species is writhing free of an old shape
and celebrating you, goddess
griot of your own survival stories
ground for a swell of truth
standing next to you we transform our shame into a spotlight:
here is the wound
and we are the healers
thank you for putting seed in the dirt
now the bloom is blood red
we reclaim our right to be wild
to be whole
to be here
we are not the error,
we are the unveiling

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Bitch 50

y’all…

i’ve been writing for Bitch magazine for the past year and it’s been such an incredible exploration. and i respect the team and the political stance they’re holding so much.

so it was a huge honor to discover this week that i was named as one of the first ever Bitch 50!!!!

“The Bitch 50 recognizes the most impactful creators, artists, and activists in pop culture whose imaginations extend beyond normalizing and affirming the same mainstream messages. The Bitch 50 have utilized their creative or political power to further advance visibility, equality, or access for marginal folks—especially LGBTQ communities of color.

We honor those who have taken risks in their work that push us closer to progress—a world where more LGBTQ people are in leadership and decision-making positions, democracy is a practice not a hope, and racial inclusion is a basic start instead of a goal. The Bitch 50 highlights the firsts and the pioneers; the people who created a ripple or a path from the margins to the center. We looked at cultural work that generated exciting possibilities for expressing identity, power, gender, sexuality, and relationships—work that intentionally focused on freeing others.”

there’s so many people i look up to on this list – Tarana Burke, Amita Swadhin, Lena Waithe, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah…and then star people like Ava, Oprah, Shonda. first name people. and then!! Beyoncé and Rihanna. mmhmm.

this ain’t some every day kind of list…as a facilitator i’m generally not on lists anywhere and that’s fine, AND this is thrilling for me. check it out.

loving the people like Fred Hampton

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“i’m going to live for the people
because i love the people”
– Fred Hampton

lately everything has been changing fast
and we are reminded, in case we forgot,
that our blood is sacred
that it might be required
for the spell, the strategy, the next move
we are called extremists for our love
of ourselves
of our people
of our humanity

it is not enough to articulate
a radical politic
we have to declare a warrior nature
we have to embody yes-to-the-mystery
for, knowing nothing about our deaths,
we must promise to give our lives
to the future
to the children
to strangers with our skin

and maybe it isn’t your last breath
that is most needed right now
but, for the people, would you change?
for the people, would you apologize? forgive?
for the people, would you be honest?
for the people, would you learn, and learn?
– not for me
not for you
but for all of us?

because if you refuse to change
to look within and seek yourself out
your freest self, and your systemic self
your self which is imperfect and must grow
your harmed self who causes harm
your heartbroken self, and your resilient self
how can i trust your blood
how can i trust your work
how can i trust your love?

we do not survive when we live for ourselves
when we die our truths are forgotten
held in no heart, at most a legend
part of no wholeness, tender in no memory
when we live for the people
we never die, seeded so deeply in each other
love yourself, and the people
give your life for the people
give yourself to the people

bears ears, grand staircase, a bargaining spell

great life of the universe,
which only changes and changes,
help us learn to love you again
let us flood with gravity
so that our words cannot be ignored
for we must make sure everyone knows
it is not too late
but it is almost too late

help us stop tearing ourselves apart
with knives, laughter, and violation
stop all this rape and rape and rape
let us learn this mistake
we do not know how to do this at scale
at the velocity you are running
we are humbled
we have been so deeply humbled

I put my neck to the dust
blade to the beat
what I mean is we surrender
we have nothing but everything to lose
the mountains are shuddering in terror
can’t you feel them
tell me you can feel them
tell me you still feel us

universe we are not dead yet
we are caught in a web
spun like a veil
spun like a sticky white sugar
all we want is tomorrow
even if nothing real makes it
we think we think we think
it’s ridiculous

great life of the universe
I grovel alongside so many
who love you so dearly
we come begging miracles
with empty hands and bellies
we’re the worst, the very worst
and yet, a brief moment of our love
brings a purpose as great as you

make us brave
make us brave
make us brave

let us grow
let us grow
let us grow

– cast backwards at last night’s moon

one liners for the full moon

a. one liners and
b. conclusions

a. if i can’t feel what you love, i don’t care what you hate.

b. let love lead, and let it show. realize that ‘hate’ is another way of saying ‘lost’.

*

a. if i can’t see what you are creating, i’m not interested in watching you destroy.

b. creating is the hardest work.
creating when you could destroy is a sign of maturity at any age.
without the creative thrust, destruction is jealousy, grudge or bitterness in action, immaturity unleashed.
the creative only destroys in order make new, to repurpose what is into what will be, or when the new is bursting out of the old.
focus on creating.

*

a. we must practice turning away from the destroyers.

b. if our mouths water at each other’s destruction, we are becoming cannibals. human flesh makes humans sick. imagine what consuming human dignity, joy, freedom and spirit does.

*

a. if you tell a story without the mess and failures, the iterations, i don’t trust the success and lessons.

b. you are nothing pure except human. neither/so am i.

*

a. if you hide your mistakes, you’ll never be known.

b. perfection is impossible. projecting perfection is impossibly lonely.

*

a. everyone makes mistakes – what matters are the steps you take to learn the lessons.

b. be humble/d, laugh, own your shit, stay in your dignity, make new mistakes.

*

a. don’t come for healing under the cloak of love…bring healing in the light of love.

b. be honest: you need love, and the only way to get to it is to love.

*

a. don’t be a love tap, be a love river.

b. stingy love leaves scars. flow towards me, or flow away.

*

a. you are not in control, you are in collaboration.

b. release your plans, but not your responsibility. shape change, your fingerprints are on the future.

*

a. you are the only one who will ever get to love yourself from the inside out.

b. be especially generous with loving the parts of yourself no one else knows.

*

a. we must remember ourselves, remember our original shapes before all the wounds distorted our divinity.

b. we are the cells of god.

boom we gotta podcast (we meaning all of us)

dear reader,

last week my sister autumn and i launched the pilot season of our podcast How to Survive the End of the World.

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you can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

and we’re on facebook, instagram and twitter.

for this pilot season we’re in a lot of questions. there’s so much we want to tackle, but first we want to just let y’all get a sense of who we are, what we do, how we think. we have one interview this season, and are starting to organize future interviews that are organic and of interest to us to intersperse with our conversations.

in our sister life we talk a lot about beginnings and endings, about survival and science fiction, love, grief, transformation, movement facilitation, passion, writing – everything. the podcast is mostly to open these conversations up to others who we think are interested in this same content.

for this first set of episodes, we are just learning everything – how to record without picking up all the sounds in the universe, pace, how our voices sound alike and different, our verbal tics, our rhythm with each other, and how our ranging conversations can make sense and be of use to listeners.

we welcome/desire feedback – please let us know what moves you, if we lose you, and what you would like more or less of. please don’t pitch us your work! we’re proud of you, but that’s not how we’re going to generate content. we want listeners, and we want to be shaped by and for and with our listeners…we have a ton of content already lined up.

so grateful to Mahfam Malek for the awesome name, Tunde Olaniran on musical offerings, and very very especially Zak Rosen as our beloved producer. thanks for believing in us and making a podcast even though you were already making a baby this season!

i think that’s all for now, xoxo.

ps. shout out to our sister April! she is excited about this podcast too.

outgrowing patriarchy (tarot spread)

some of you know about #resistancetarot, #movementtarot – each day since the 2016 election i have consulted the tarot to ask the universe for guidance for our movements for justice for people and the planet. i post these on instagram. on saturdays i do a past/present/future spread on the week we just survived and the one to come. on sundays i do a relationship spread to explore our interactions with various experiences or systems – trauma, funding, etc.

this came through yesterday and i want to lift it up.

soundtrack, Roxette’s classic Listen to Your Heart, and Björk’s stunning new album Utopia (she read Octavia as research for it!! #swoon)

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#sundayspread on the relationship between movements and (outgrowing) patriarchy. patriarchy is dying as a system, fighting for air where no more can be offered. so what do movements that include men, masculine of center people, and others shaped in reaction to/defense from patriarchy do/be now?

we bring the energy of the queen of swords: “reinvention. here we are being asked to renounce old roles. we can get stuck in certain modes of performance, thinking that this is the only way we can exist, be loved, nurtured or accepted. we are being asked to grow out of these roles and find the truth of who we really are.”

ooh.

the work of outgrowing patriarchy (nothing just disappears, it must transform) is queen of cups work: “openness, transparent emotions, authenticity. in a hard world it can be more than difficult to remain tender. go the distance in your emotional being and pull out the gems through your own tenderness. remain open to others, in spite of any trauma.”

oof.

the composite energy is the star. “divine clarity. it takes time for ideas and wisdom to crystallize within us, but when they do, the clarity shines down like a northern star, guiding us and inspiring us.”

true.

the next step is in the realm of the lovers. “communication, awakening through bond. two wolves howl at the sky. they bring each other to higher levels of consciousness. but in order to find union, they first must be confident on their own. this card asks us to find our own voice, love ourselves. mantra: I work on myself in love.”

well damn. unexpected deep read. from serpentfire tarot deck.

first the unbearable (learning of Egypt)

i hear the condolences first
read the written word, the name, the place
someone is sending love, with rage,
with shock, with tears, with analysis
with their people
with all people
and i go looking for the fresh wound

i want to not know
to not step from here, without this pain
to the next moment, marked by blood
looking past the flayed horizon
whispering no. no not this many no.

the numbers grow on my tongue
i say them to no one
i read the news to whomever is near
even if they have read
or are reading it
i want to lend my voice
to the spell of awakening
to make every head turn
look, look what we’ve done
look what we have not undone
what we have allowed and encouraged
what we have invested in
what we forget, what we remember
look who we are now
look who we still are

i want to change the story being written
the history still warm and wet on our fingers
i want to focus on the intimate heartbreak of violation
what stole my smile, my childish peace
boorish men, the mountain of offense
we have all burrowed through
the memories we walk with, and the terrors
navigating legacies of genocide and erasure

i know all of the harm intertwines at the root
i know the medicine has to go deeper down
to the core of existence
to the cord between us and god
to the faultlines between us
that make us think: i can be without you

but first, the unspeakable
the unimaginable, the unbearable
we have created hell with our boredom
we birthed hierarchy, greed, and the foolish need for victory, for righteousness
it is killing us
it is killing everything
eating us up from within
the detonation of cancer in a living body
the cancer of violence in a living world

some days i am nothing more than a prayer
a vessel of tears being emptied
stunned by my own insignificance,
our inability to stand in the way of our demons
the brightest truth about us

some days i have to focus on one story
out of the hundreds of deaths,
one person telling god everything
feeling the sacred flood all of their senses
planning the next meal’s portions
and what to say to their sweet and distant lover
one person remembering they are enough
one person smiling as they gather themselves
for the world outside
enjoying the mundane pleasure of bodies
all around
in and of faith, wearing faith, speaking faith

the doors will open
the violence will burst in
so sure of itself, so wrong
i will learn your name in your absence
perhaps i cannot fathom
the entirety of gore
the scale of destruction we have committed to
but you, stranger of faith
comrade in the act of prayer
beloved to your God, your mother, your son
you i will grieve for
you i will grieve
for all the time and sea between us
i feel the shock of losing you
it is a devastation
i would have loved you
but my species
we are terrified of love.