“That’s okay, it’s been my pleasure having your stay. Now I can say I hosted and artist.”
I don’t think this person knew how much these words meant to me. I know I’ve written a little about imposter syndrome before but when I accept gifts or help from others it is always the first voice in my head with the microphone. One I am slowly learning how to turn the volume down on.
Over 6 months ago a wonderful human messaged me about participating in my tarot deck, I responded as I have done with quite a large number now of other cards. “Here’s how the queer tarot deck Im making works and thank you for messaging me – where do you live?”
I’ve never considered myself a professional photographer, I’ve been in front of a camera far more it feels like, than I’ve been behind it. Some of my favourite photos have been pure flukes or magical creations by my camera which I have unconsciously facilitated. Feeling my confidence in myself slowly growing is exciting and a constant reminder of the shadow self that comes up with it.
We email back and forth sporadically many more times over the following few months and I like how this person communicates and writes, telling me a story that maybe one day I can share. We move off email to chat and still barely know who I’m talking to but I’m excited about the thought of meeting them.
A queer tarot photography tour. Well that’s what a real artist would have called it. Visiting different towns and cities and taking pictures of magical queers, capturing their magick amd stories to tell through tarot into the future. That’s what an artist does.
I was “traveling to visit my family, and maybe a small wee day trip out to visit this person”. A day trip turned into a week visit somehow with very little sleep with each overland train ride. I arrived and promptly got food poisoning. “This is not how a professional does it” running through my head as I made friends with the toilet bowl. I’ve never felt more looked after and taken care of by people I barely knew, ever before in my life. Yet it felt like there was part of us that knew each other and had done for lifetimes before.
I feel like I’ve fallen in love with a few of the subjects in my tarot deck. I fell in love with the two most unlikely cards that met each other at one of my tarot card gallery exhibitions and have been seeing each other for a while now. I fell in love with the deep eyes of a wolf that I’ll never understand and tried so hard to capture in a still photo. I fell in love years ago with the wandering bush pirate who saw my vulnerability and openness when I newly out in the queer community and saw it as precious magic not naivety. I fell in love with the devilish seductivity of latex and humans who pursue what excites them and stand actively in their community. I fell in love by a muddy icy river watching excitement and laughter wash over this humans face as they did a photoshoot that might have otherwise been completely out of their comfort zone.
I’ve fallen in love with the bravery of the stories I’ve heard. I’ve fallen in love with the beauty that exists so fiercely outside of society’s standards. I’ve fallen in love with the activism and power with which that queers are making sure their voices are heard.
Falling in love with the art I’ve made is the biggest political statement I have made so far. I accepted the magical task of creating a tarot deck with my artistic skills to facilitate voices being heard, in April 2017. It is teaching me the confidence to say “I am a real artist and these voices must be heard!”
I’ve known a while that this project is so much bigger than me. It is the love, art and voices of all of us making magick together. Even if all you did was “hosted an artist”. You changed my life and made this queer tarot deck possible.
I find myself in my head a lot. Over thinking, planning and analysing. More often than not I operate from a head space, or so is my perception of myself. My body has a super loud voice, viscerally telling me if something is right or not, but it’s taken me 33 years to learn really how to truly listen to it when it shouts at me. Even if it is as simple as communicating to those around me that I’m doing something outside of my comfort zone and am feeling super anxious about it.
I got back from Evans Lake on Saturday. A beautiful camp on one of those stereotypically breathtakingly beautiful and picturesque lakes with pine trees right to the shoreline and towering blue mountains in the background that Canada is so famous for. The air filled with bird and tree noises during the day, woodpeckers tapping out bugs from trees, the ravens caw echoing across the lake as it imitates some bizzare cackle, and the trees talking to each other around the valley. The water lapps listfully at the dock I’m sitting on in the sun, watching it sparkle and dance over the slight ripples the wind is making in the water. I’m feeling very vulnerable and open – witch camp has this magical way of creating a safe space for me to explore all my deepest vulnerabilities and edges, roughly destroy any lingering crutches or unhelpful security blankets, then provide the support and love needed to put my heart back together and repattern, and re-wild my being into a stronger, more self loving, more self confident version of me.
My comfort zone is interpersonal skills, performance, facilitation, or things that ask me to step outside myself and observe, analyse or look at myself in relation to others. Looking at myself in relation to nature, the earth and my existence and communication with it, is all very new ground.
Innately I am drawn to it. My mind calms when I am in the forest, swimming or splashing in a waterfall, but when I am not moving, when my body is not galavanting my brain across a mountain path, I find the brain voice takes over. I start looking at things technically, as photographer, or even drifting mentally far away checking in with all the minute and mundane carry on in my life that may even be the slightest bit worrisome.
Being the city version of wild has been a massive part of my story, drug and alcohol fueled mischief and mayhem. Getting lost in music, darkness and nightclub lights to shut up the constant static dribble in my brain. Here my body is vibrating to the boom of bass, writhing in a sea of hollow beings, zombied and numbed out of this reality into a darker world. All the connections or what I thought were friendships from this era of my life have evaporated, realising these friendships were parasitic for what they could use me for. My little socially awkward, shy inner child learning to ‘perform’ friendship, devastated and longing for connections that meant something more lasting.
Survival is animalistic, and sometimes comes at a cost of shutting down bodily and emotive responses to accomplish a task. I’ve run away from life and survival several times, turning to sex work to survive, selling my body to feed, clothe myself and at one point in secret also support a partner. All my life I have admired the strong ones, who stood up for sex workers, were proud of their profession and choice of work. My experience felt shameful, full of guilt from my conservative christian upbringing. I couldn’t talk about it, I can’t even physically remember large chunks of time I spent servicing the patriarchy.
Since I started talking about it again I have been slowly healing, taking down my walls against all those I saw that resembled the men who used to use me in exchange for my survival.
Belonging. What is belonging? Is it feelings of validation that are not connected with sexual gratification? Is it feelings of being worthy or valued that doesn’t come with expectations of submission or meeting sexual needs? Part of my healing process has been crucially connected to the difference between intimacy and sex. Feeling connected, belonging and letting go the desire to please, present a version of my self curated for the audience at hand in order to please, or be liked. I always felt like didn’t belong in my conservative christian family who still to this day pray daily for me to repent of my homosexual lifestyle, and who would probably turn a horrified shade of pale if they read this story.
I am a feral Sagittarian body, held in check by a cautious, risk averse, slow processing Capricorn brain, with my delicate Piscean moon flowing with emotions, feels and love looking for a safe place to share and be seen and heard.
I allowed my body and emotions to drive me all last week at camp. I let it break me, re-wild me, re-wire, re-pattern me. We had a cave, we wrote, scrawled cried our stories out on the cave walls. We talked to the earth, listened to the guidance of the stones, connected our hearts, skin, bones and beings with the living things all around us. Green bloods, the bones and life force of animals worked into our magick with permission, consent. Remembering that we were all once in constant communication, that the seasons worked around and within us all. Throwing off the constraints of the over culture of today, the expectations, the internalised shame and believing in each other, being and believing in ourselves.
I stood in that circle of humans, markings of my feral wildness smudged all over my face. I had made my mark on the cave wall. An outline of my hand, the word “body” and a love heart.
My commitment to myself, to stay true to myself, be aware of painful of situations where my bodily responses completely shut down in order to survive. A pact of self love and kindness that I am worthy of love, I am loveable, and that I can find intimacy that isn’t sexually dependant, and sex that is conscious, gloriously consensual and doesn’t ever define my worth as a human to myself or to others. My body went into shock. I stopped being conscious of the story my lips were sharing with the group. I let go, broke, and my mind fully released control – to my body. Tears flooded down my face, and my lungs heaved with relief of releasing and acknowledging my trauma and pain. Not comparing it to the gravity of the experience that others shared, but appreciating the healing, and space held around me. Conscious of the arms that slinked in around me, not conscious of who they were, as I collapsed into the soft caring shoulder offered to me. You all held me in my moment of grief, vulnerability and fragile healing. You all have a special place in my heart.
Feral. Wild. Animism. Belonging.
A collection of thoughts:
Traveling is like getting to know another dimension of yourself under a microscope. Everything in heightened.
Adventure, stress, excitement, exhaustion, feelings, happiness, and displacement. Being able to feel at home in yourself when your surroundings are constantly changing and on the move, letting go. Letting go of perceived stability, routine, things in the past that will never be the same again. Opening up to the unknown, new versions of friendship, new journeys, new depth of understanding of self and what my body needs, what is important to me, what I love, who I love and even what it means to love.
I feel like I’ve had three life times already on this trip – I’ve seen so much, fallen love a little with Irish countryside and all over again with traditional music. I feel so fortunate to be able to make these travel opportunities happen. ♡
Traveling on a shoe-string budget.
Traveling as an extroverted introvert finally having a moment completely alone to crash, cry and be vulnerable with myself. Realising how “on” traveling requires on to be. Feeling grateful but also so helpless when surrounded by both gratuitous displays of wealth and drug/migrant poverty… and not knowing how to make a difference in each place I go.
Learning more about my spirituality, my ancestral roots, the respect for nature and culture that builds a motorway around a tree because it’s a Hawthorne fairy tree… meeting wonderful people and shooting them for a queer tarot card, in different places around the world…
Looking at the grey rainy-sky with patches of blue and remembering loved ones lost. ♡
“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.” ― Pema Chödrön
I trust my abundance is in my pleasure. I trust it is in my alignment. When I feel abundant I am abundant, when I feel happy that is my definition of success.
Pleasure is success, the way it feels is success. When I am in a state of self love, I am going towards what is good for me, what is right for me, what is aligned with me.
When I am not able to pleasure myself, not loving myself it exposes where Im at, my inner circulation of love.
I am worth of pleasure and love and I will make time for it. Taking a moment to check in and trust myself to look after myself. Trust that I will check in with myself, help myself process big feelings my whole nervous system softens. I become less anxious, I feel better and radiate joy, life and vitality.
Create Magick: Waterfalls in my heart
I’m breaking my addiction to struggle, guilt and lack of self pleasure. Moving from my head into my heart… Working through the discomfort, feeling it, and challenging my belief systems and changing where I focus my energy and healing.
Breathe in nature, breathe out gratitude. Feeling so small in this giant planet, and feeling an appreciation for the temporaryness of everything through my rose tinted glasses of wonder, curiosity and joy.
Learning self generated happiness, learning to let go of external validation and examining all the patterns and resistances in myself for what it can teach me.
Being thankful for the gentle and precious love and strong trusted friendships I have in my life. Making space for sexual and non sexual intimacy and examining my subconscious desire. Stepping back from “group-think” influence and allowing space to listen to what my gutt is telling me with out feeling like I need to know “why” or defend my desire.
Self love is my sacred ritual.
Create magick: Self love is my sacred ritual.
When an adventure allows you to discover more about yourself and grow from it. Thanks Canada you’re showing me love and how to love myself more.
Finding patience to just “be”, love to share and heart to open to the unknown and unexpected.
Momemtary, temporary, transient, impermanent, fugutive short lived, fleeting. We pass each other by and we don’t share our time for long. We have a change of mind and the moment ends and life goes on. We go on by ourselves and that it wont be for long. Then we find someone else, it starts again. I should let go.
I think of you more than you know. We weren’t a big deal and you’ve probably forgotten me, you seem happy – guess that I am too. But I can’t forget about you.
There was something great about you, something that will never be the same without you, something that I’m gonna miss but I guess that is how it is. And live goes on.
Aloneness is presence to ones self.
Create Magick: Sunset on my soul
My goal is to do something that scares me a little bit every day. To say yes to new opportunities or doors that may open. Even if it doesn’t work out or I get it wrong, I’m actively working on being my truest self and putting myself out there just a little bit more than yesterday… I’m responsible for my own adventure so why not make it an open, interesting and heartfelt one?
My happiness is my own damn responsibility. ♡♡ And the life you manifest is the life you get. So here’s my life full of love, happiness and adventure. Not in some wishy washy new age kinda way. But in an authentic *it’s not always easy* “I’m constantly working on being a better person for me, so I love myself more.”
Diary of a #queerwitch 2018
Wicca, with its focus on goddess (rather than a male god – it has those too) is one of the few spiritual methodologies that, even in its most primitive stages, has always been associated with women. Embracing the “witchiness” – might be just be a new way by which women can come to trust themselves, their autonomy, independence and strength.
I like to identify with the stories of women past – wise women, women who practiced that kind of ‘kitchen table’ healing that wasn’t part of the patriarchal progression of medicine.” After all to me, what is being a witch if not owning the right to be yourself?
As a fiery red head for about 6 months LOTS has changed in my life. In one sense I’ve calmed down. In an other I’m 3 times more radical and out there. I’m living more and more my true self. Backing myself. Saying NO when I mean it and not backing down, and saying YES with confidence when I believe whole heartedly in or about something… It’s incredibly exciting.
These photo are from the FECK Melbourne art competition exhibition Gallery opening. They are glorious and I love the celebration of the Sacred Yoni and feminine intimacy. Love it. That whole night was a completely crazy experience. Black light body paint = nakedness. That is a story for another time
Today my #WILDUNKNOWNTAROT cards arrive. The Wild Unknown Tarot from “The Little Red Tarot” Queer tarot community site are soooooo gorgeous. I’ve take a picture of a bunch of my absolute favourites. They’re dark but bright and colourful and I feel so excited to use them soon. I’m going to a large class/ workshop on Tarot this weekend, I can’t wait to be a sponge and absorb and learn all I can using these. Above you can see my notebook where I write down all my readings. Most all the ones I do myself for myself. It’s interesting and I’m slowly memorising all the meanings and the depth to the cards, each book I read adds another layer to the interpretations – sometimes remembering all the information just seems so overwhelming.. BUT reading with a book still leaves it open for the feeling and energy to come through and room for the interpretations of the moment.