Archive | Art Matters

Split at the Root, Part II

This is the second installment of my tale about Ute. You can find the first here.

By 1998, I was finally on my own after a decade of living off men after leaving my parents’ house—frying pan, meet fire. I was living alone in a ridiculously affordable Prospect Heights floor-through with a backyard, rotating through a series of lovers, free-lancing as a copy editor, working out at least once a day, and writing the occasional magazine article about holistic health. Back then you could make grownup money as a journalist but working full-time in a magazine would’ve cramped my yoga girl lifestyle so I resigned myself to pitching articles that would earn me coin while I learned about something that already interested me. Getting paid a buck a word to take a vacation where anorexic me could manage the food always felt like a good call.

The magazines I wrote for were mostly the kind of rich-people vanity projects that were long dead by the time everything crashed in 2008, and their editors were usually inexpert enough that they were desperate for my “boho girl” ideas. So when I pitched a raw foods spa I’d read about, they bit though back then nobody ate raw; my friends thought it meant I’d be eating steak tartare by a pool.

I don’t exactly know what I was expecting—spa treatments and beautifully arranged greens and fruit, probably–but it wasn’t what I encountered. The Hippocrates Health Institute was located in West Palm Beach, which is a lot grittier than Palm Beach. Think gravel and gutted strip malls instead of white sand and perfect vistas. Founded in the 1950s by raw foods advocate Ann Wigmore, it was in definitive decline by the time I showed up—all peeling pink stucco, diseased palm trees, unfilled pools, moldy wall-to-wall carpeting; pale people with insipid smiles and desperate eyes.

Shit was bleak.

At the orientation meeting, laminated folders were passed around and my heart sank. Our diet was to consist solely of raw cabbage, spinach, pea shoots, watercress, wheatgrass and cucumber juice, and sprouted grains. In between meals we would be learning about the diseases we’d apparently already incurred from eating cooked food, and submitting to regular fasts, enemas, rigorous tests of our organ function, and electromagnetic and infrared therapy to draw out the many toxins impeding our body’s “natural processes.”

There wasn’t so much as a massage table on the premises.

As our guide—40ish and clad in 70s cult whites—droned on about the benefits of eating raw I gazed around the circle sitting cross-legged on the dirty floor. These were the people with whom I’d be spending the next month of my life, and everyone looked lumpy and wan. The only other person under 40 was a blond woman with angry eyes wearing a long-sleeved floor-length dress though it was 90 degrees in the meeting room, air conditioning apparently counter-indicated for cleanses.

This woman of course was Ute, and though I could usually take people in without them noticing, she looked up and met my gaze hawkishly before I got a chance to register more than a general dislike for her. Continue Reading →

The Artist’s Way

As businesses and beaches slowly (and not so slowly) re-open, I’ve been thinking about artists as essential workers.

We’d have lost our minds this spring were it not for movies, TV, books, DJ sets, Zoom dance parties, all sorts of creativity. This tracks, because artists always have been the ones to lead us out of chaos by dancing on the precipice between order and disorder, and combining holy patience with holy impatience. It’s a vital model, for to rise wholly (and holy) from this viral dis-ease–to effect conscious, constructive change–we must reject the 21st century, post-industrial concept of linear time in which every hour, minute, second (and nanosecond) has been scheduled and over scheduled. Instead, we must embrace the lessons of our Covid-19 tesseracts, and continue to rest, to look and listen mindfully, to practice gratitude and economy, and above all: to create.

For art was never meant to be consumed and collected the way capitalism has taught us. Instead, we are each meant to process our unique joy and pain through creative expression—be that baking, sewing, sowing, singing, spreadsheeting, painting, witching, writing, whatever suits us sustainably and beautifully.

To be an artist is to be a spirit worker, social changer, chaos wrangler, and time traveler—and we all must be artists now. This is a key lesson of Venus Retrograde in Gemini. And this is a key lesson of this Wrinkle in Time.

For a reading or ritual to activate your own creativity, book here. Art: High as Fuck, an open-air quarantine creation by Josh Smith, courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery.

The Radical Receptivity of the Buddha Moon

Painting: Shara Hughes, doctored by yours truly.

If you’re feeling everything incredibly intensely, even for quarantine, you’re not alone. Today is a full moon in Scorpio—a supermoon, no less. Known as the Buddha moon because the Buddha himself died and was born on a full moon in Scorpio, this potent lunar aspect is all about disclosing hidden information to move us toward enlightenment. Normally such a path can be rocky–and since we’re in the shadow of shatter-all-illusions #VenusRetrograde (beginning May 13), it still may be. But while the sun is in Taurus, information is generally delivered in the form our souls most require and desire. So tonight isn’t about willing anything in or out of being. It’s about divining information, guidance, wisdom through signs, sirens, stars. In fact, this whole month is grounded on the Divine Feminine Principle—abundance, radical receptivity, and limitless kindness. So anything not living up to this love is being ushered to the door graciously, so graciously. The real question this moon is tackling: How may we best behave? Dolls, if you unplug your devices while gazing at the sky, you’ll receive plenty of answers.

For a reading for yourself or a loved one, book here and feel free to join my IG Live on Sunday at 1pm for The Sky Inside, my non-churchy church. Mother’s Day topic: the divine feminine principle. Special Mother’s Day readings also available.

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