American Love Story

art: kerry james marshall

This is not a post about astrology or tarot or the moon. But it is about spiritual ritual—because rituals mean nothing if they are not ultimately for the higher and thus common good. Activism can be just as enlightening a ritual as meditating all day on a mountain. In fact, when the humanity of everyone is not honored equally in the country where you live, activism can be the most enlightened thing you do. And make no mistake: we live in a country where 20 percent of its denizens make 86 percent of the money and are barely taxed. Where it’s harder to vote than buy a gun. And where the people paid to protect the peace may very well kill you if you are black or brown, even if you’re a child, because racism is core to American policing.

I send love to anyone in pain today or any other day because of the inequities built upon this land by European settlers. I send love to everyone actively fighting for the first truly multiracial democracy to flourish under the American flag. Cornel West said it and it is true: Justice is what love looks like in public.

Painting at Audre’s: Part I

Once when I was 9, a mother and her two kids disappeared from our neighborhood. It wasn’t a kidnapping. It was just that for years they lived down the street from our house, then one day they were gone.

The husband was still there, but when my mom took my sister and I around to visit his wife and kids, he said they were out. His normally polished appearance was a little unruly—clothes rumpled, face unshaven—but he offered no further explanations and shut the door before my mother could ask any more questions. When we went back the next day, he didn’t answer the door, though his orange Volvo was parked in the driveway. Nor did he answer it the day after that.

For a full week my mom kept finding reasons to drop by. A cutting from her favorite fern, an invitation to take all the kids to the park, cookies she’d just baked, a mug that seemed up the wife’s alley. My mother liked to collect things for people, like a mother bird dragging treasures back to her chicks safe in their nest.

But no matter what time of day we stopped over, no one ever answered the door. The orange Volvo was always there, each day covered with more early autumn leaves, but the mother’s car never reappeared.

The real reason my mother kept looking for this woman is she was one of the few people in our neighborhood whom my mother liked. Having spent her young adulthood in downtown Boston, she’d never cottoned to the suburban town to which my parents moved after I was born. She never said it directly—my mother said almost nothing directly—but even as a kid I could tell she found the other mothers in our neighborhood grating or phony or both. She relaxed around this woman, though–told jokes, pulled faces, lingered over the coffees they shared.

I liked this woman too. Let’s call her Audre, because it’s close to her real name and she possessed the practical, large-hearted lyricism of Audre Lorde, whom she liked a lot.

Back home we spent a lot of time wondering where Audre might have gone. Was she sick, I wondered. Does she not like me anymore, wondered my mother. It was my father, surprisingly, who came up with the right answer.

Maybe she left her husband, he said. Continue Reading →

Astro PSA: A Firestarter of a New Moon

A true Aries goddess

Normally I recommend meditating during new moons rather than setting intentions or making wishes. Today’s new moon is a different story entirely. Taking place in fire-starter Aries, the same sign where we find the Sun, Mercury, Chiron, and Venus, today’s energy is all about initiation. The youngest sign of the Zodiac, Aries represents the first individuation from Source, the “I.” More to the point: “I want.” Aries encourages us to get in touch with our innate natures and completely trust our desires, so this is not a cerebral or celestial moment. This is a 2nd chakra moment—a “get down and dirty” moment. The question to ask: “What turns me on?” So take some tonight to stand outside or near a window and breathe into your lower chakras—abdomen, pelvis, even the soles of your feet. Then notice what floods you as the exhalation rushes through your body. These sensations and associations are the union of your personal desires and divine will, and are perfect charts of where and how to direct energy for the next four weeks. Sexy is as sexy does, my pretties.

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"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy