What an Ally Does

BLMVanessaLeigh

I am not here to answer monolith questions about Black lives, or for that matter Black death. You are grown and living in the internet age.

Let Google be your mammy.

I am not here to bare my soul, expose my open wounds,
prove my worthiness,

I am not here to demonstrate that I bleed, that I hurt, that I anguish.

I am not here to certify my humanity.  

I am here and plan on staying here, getting through this recurring nightmare and being a part of transfiguring this deformed society.

I am sustained by my immediate family, and a beautiful diasporic community of Black folx, so many I have never met. I am championed by friends and anti-racist accomplices.

I am supported by those who help me to remember my joy and my peace in these terrorizing times, in these times of trauma that generation after generation, we Black folx know so well.

All you need to know is that Black Lives Matter.
Alton Sterling mattered. Philando Castile mattered.
#BlackLivesMatter

And all you need to do is act as if they do. This is how 4 people in my life are showing up for me and Black lives right now.

 

BLMDannya

Danny

  • Danny is a remarkable new friend who checks in with me.
  • They recognize the criminalization of Black People in this society.
  • They have offered me tangible support in the aftermath of the recent murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
  • They were one of the first and few people to simply ask me how I was doing.
  • They listen without judgment.
  • They do not devalue my lived experience.
  • As a person of color who shares some of my experiences,  they recognize that Anti-Black racism is perpetuated among PoC communities as well as white communities.
  • Danny calls in others when they are perpetuating anti-Black racism and stereotypes.
  • Danny is also wicked cool company and a great cook.

 

BLMMargaritaa

Margarita

  • Margarita is one of my soul mates.
  • She has not only listened but encouraged me to vent my rage.
  • She recognizes the criminalization of Black People in this society.
  • As a person of color who shares some of my experiences she recognizes that Anti-black Racism is perpetuated among PoC communities as well as white communities.
  • She calls in others when they are perpetuating anti-Black racism and stereotypes.
  • She listens without judgement.
  • She offers me her tangible support and gives it freely.
  • She has never devalued my lived experience, ever.
  • Margarita and I share our love of glamour, camp, magick & can discuss movies for days.

 

BLMNatia

Natalie

  • I have watched Nati transition from struggling w/privilege to being an accomplice in the anti-racist struggle.
  • She recognizes the criminalization of Black People in this society.
  • She listens to my experience around racism w/o making it about her.
  • She calls in others when they are perpetuating anti-Black racism and stereotypes.
  • She does not fear my expressing a full range of human emotions including anger.
  • She offers me tangible support freely.
  • She does not devalue my lived experience.
  • She demonstrates accountability around her white skin privilege, understanding that it shapes her perceptions and experiences in a biased society.
  • Nati has a mammoth heart, shares my love of 80s music and sends the best gifs.

 

BLMJessicaa

Jessica

  • In nearly fifteen years Jess has never devalued my lived experience.
  • She recognizes the criminalization of Black People in this society.
  • She listens to me vent about racism w/o making it about her.
  • She offers me tangible support freely.
  • She does not fear my expressing a full range of human emotions including anger.
  • She has never shied away from discussing racism as a white person.
  • She evaluates her own bias around race and identity and makes herself accountable.
  • She has stayed up till all hours across 3 time zones to listen to me without judgment.
  • Jessica and I share our neurosis, talk writing and she makes me laugh, hard.

#whatanallydoes

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How are you showing up for Black Lives?

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Magick: A Full Moon & the Summer Solstice

Honey Moon by Vanessa Leigh

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. The Sun is at it’s highest and we get to bathe in sunlight for that much longer. Some are suffering and are at risk from this heat wave in the U.S. we are having, and I send you and myself love and respite from it. Let’s be mindful loves and take care of ourselves. A Honey Moon is seen at it’s lowest point in the atmosphere.  Because of this, there may be an amber haze to it which is why it is called a Honey Moon. Too delicious.

I will spend the solstice at the beach finally. I have been needing to be near open water and I will be doing some ritual because the time is ripe. A full Moon in combination with the Solstice and all sorts of astrological goings on synched with my chart makes this a gorgeous time to  attempt some karmic completion and break old harmful habits or at least begin to. YES PLEASE!❤

Chani Nicholas reminds us that the second full moon in a row in Sagittarius, which is my Moon sign and ascending sign. “It puts a double emphasizes not only  on the house that contains Sagittarius in our personal astrology charts, but also on the themes of Sagittarius for us collectively. Sagittarius is the archer, the rambler, the gambler, the one who bets on hope and runs on faith. Sagittarius moves. Swiftly. Sagittarius seeks. Endlessly. Seeks meaning. Seeks experience. Seeks the horizon. The archer can’t stop for fear of missing out on the next adventure. This is the sign that wants to run with the big questions. The ones that are sure to send us on the most open-ended quests.” For me too many questions at times. 

I am so excited for this seasonal shift and its correlation with the full moon and I plan to charge my crystals in the moon, make some moon water, and charge some herbal infused oils I recently made. I normally find myself more excited by the New Moon to set intentions, but this year with all of my shadow work and this astrological time being right to settle our karma, I will look forward to cleansing rituals.

The full moon is best used for banishing spells, releasing those things that don’t serve you and for I will be releasing long-standing patterns that don’t serve me. The waning moon is a time for forgiveness, acceptance, surrender and learning lessons. So I will be engaged in rituals that support all of those things for the duration of the waning cycle.

The moon will be visible Sunday evening, early Monday and Monday night. The Full Moon is technically full for 48 hours, Twice the Honey, hunnies. So should you care to simply celebrate the moon with a cleansing ritual on the longest day of the year with the Sumer Solstice, join me. Tell me how it worked out for you.

xoxo,

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Summer Vibes, Creative License & Healing

 

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I was watching music mogul TomSturges address some teenagers in a talk for the Aspen Institute. He quoted songwriter Allee Willis “The path to self-respect goes through creativity”.  In  his book  Sturges expands on Willis’s words and writes, “The more we create the better we feel about ourselves. The better we feel the more we feel like creating. The more we feel like creating, the more we get out of it. The more we get out of it the better those ideas are. The better the ideas are, the more we respect ourselves for having them. And so on. It’s an endless cycle of good, a never-ending circle of growing self-respect.” And all I can say is YES!

Seeing myself with love and understanding was very much born out of the respect I rebuilt for myself while putting my mind and hands to work. While seeing projects I had envisioned through. While filling my creativity vault with visits to the museums, late nights on the interwebs researching artists I’d only just heard of or watching a tv show that made me genuinely laugh aloud. Spending time caring for myself allows me to percolate, and my mind explodes into synaptic fireworks flashing. Spending time creating allows me to automatically refill my empty well.

To be creative is to be curious. If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I am returning to my yoga for self-care and am really delving into tarot! Which is exciting! I am doing a spirit guide challenge with is both challenging and a great comfort. I am also doing a lot of shadow work through Tarot. I have been looking inward for a long time and I am seeing great benefit from doing so.

 

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Shadow Working with The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

 

What I am working on now is my health. Mentally and physically I am changing, as we all do throughout life. I am choosing to treat those issues with as much curiosity, love, and admiration as I do my creative process. It is the priority. Part of that attention is getting back to prioritizing making art. Wearing art. Celebrating art. The Mood Board at the top of the page is a cross between my summer make plans and the good vibes I am inviting in.

There has been a lot of death this year, a lot of collective grieving this year. I have struggled through three beloved idols passing, two family members dying and the traumas around the world including Orlando in this quickly moving year. The struggle is real but we’re still here and that’s worth celebrating. Practicing being loving, kind and patient with ourselves is maybe the most important thing of all. Be well lovelies.

xoxo

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Magick: Blue Moon Fever, Retrograde & Life on Mars

UntitledIn the last 6 weeks+, I have had writer’s block,  all of my social plans have fallen through, fatigue has been at an all-time high, my period has been MIA and I missed 2 out of 3 Dr.s appointments this month so far.

If like me, you’re into astrology and universal signs, you have a basic understanding of what it means for Mercury to be in retrograde. It tends to mean communications get a lot more complicated, understanding gets much more challenging, and it often feels as if everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

In astrology retrograde takes place when planets travel in a ‘backwards’ rotation from our point of view here on earth. In astronomy, planets don’t actually move backwards, the Sun is casting a shadow on the planet that makes it seem as if they are. It is an illusion. An illusion we humans have become apt at reacting to with a certain amount of intensity. Like the Moon, the planets can influence us, or at least me, greatly. When planets go retrograde (Rx), you may find barriers showing up in your life around their areas of influence. Lessons to be learned.

Retrograde Chart

When Mercury went into retrograde April 28 until Jupiter ended retrograde on May 9th, five planets were in retrograde for the first time in 10 years. According to Astrology King, this happening was “resolving karmic issues (and)can result in a massive transformation and evolution of your soul this year.” Having been exploring my shadow self and working on healing, I feel very comforted by this. All that feels chaotic in my life is likely not chaos at all. My struggles having a purpose and playing a role in my karma being resolved makes the discomfort in my life, feel worth it.

Right now Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Pluto are still in retrograde. And I’m finally getting myself grounded! That means I am more mindful about having challenges with logistics, communication, my moods, particularly anger, and change. As a result of this, I am determined to be especially kind to myself, slow down, and appreciate that things will take a little longer to process and manifest. To help me do these things I use crystals, scents via incense or essential oils to work on these areas.  I have finally gotten back into a space where I can use ritual and will do so this Full Moon.

So as the Full Blue Moon hovers over Mars for the fist time in ten years, I will be reserving energy, relaxing into the upheaval and releasing cleansing and clearing my way through the lessons to be learned.

xoxo,

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The Little Things – Valerie June

 

Valerie June PushinSometimes more often than not these days, it’s just about being in the moment. And as Beltane passes and the Moon is in Pisces, and the days continue to get longer,  I celebrate the little things that bring me joy. So I thought I’d share them with you.  I am so in love with Valerie June and love roots music so much. I’m listening to her album Pushin’ Against A Stone. I came across this collaboration between her and my loves Style Like U. The mother-daughter duo who examine style beyond the surface…. So very lovely. Be grounded in the magick….

xoxo,

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ReFashion 2016: Denim Repair

Denim Repair Inspo

Boro and Sashiko are Japanese mending techniques. Sashiko refers to Boro means  rags or tattered cloth. Boro is the textile created from clothing that has been patched several times. Japanese borotextiles (usually clothing and bed covers) were sewn from rags and patches of indigo-dyed cotton during the 19th and early 20th century. The rural population of Japan couldn’t afford new clothing and had to literally make ends meet by patching together discarded cotton rags. Japanese families repaired and recycled everything from fisherman’s jackets to futon covers, handing them down for generations. Sashiko, meaning “little stabs,” is a long, embroidery stitch used for mending or purely for decoration. source

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Although I love hand work I haven’t been able to carve out the energy or time for a lot of it lately. When my mom asked me to repair a couple of pairs of her favorite jeans I took inspiration from the visible patching and stitching techniques of boro and sashiko.

PicMonkey Collage

  1. I pinned a patch to the inside of the jean to cover a large vertical rip.
  2. I started sewing across the patch in a zig zag formation vertically.
  3. Then I did the same thing horizontally.
  4. I turned the jeans inside out.
  5. Next, I added a decorative patch from a piece of a vintage japanese kimono I thrifted.
  6. Then I followed the same technique on a hole on the inner thigh using some recycled denim, also thrifted.
  7. This time, I patched it from the outside.
  8. I turned and repeated the process on a third hole.
  9. Finally, I have a repaired jean that hopefully will become more interesting with wear.

My mom was pretty pleased to be wearing her jeans again.

 

xoxo

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Melancholia, My Shadow Self & the Spring Feels

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I equate Spring with joy. It is promise fulfilled, after all. For me, spring symbolizes blooming flowers, showers, temperate days and the coming of natural abundance. But spring is also another transitional season and as we know transitions, no matter how beautiful the outcome, can be really challenging. My last spring living in New York City was awful.

It was icy and cold throughout March and by the time mid-April came, it was humid and muggy and would pretty much stay that way all summer. Sometimes transitions are downright oppressive. This year the Spring Equinox coincided with a full moon and a solar eclipse and things got pretty emotional. My body chemistry was out of whack and my coping skills were a mess. My shadows came into the light and issues I never before acknowledged were ever present. But that is just how transitions sometimes go.

A dear friend  and I were just talking about how one day you can feel great and the next you are struggling and how we both have learned to stop scrutinizing it. Embracing the darkness, my fears, my darker impulses, desires, and frustrations is to see my shadow self. Psychologist Carl Jung coined the terms Persona and Shadow Self as reflections of a person’s innate duality.

The persona is your ideal archetype, that which you want to be or what you imagine for yourself. The shadow self is the archetype that forms the unconscious part of the mind made up of repressed ideas experiences, instincts, weaknesses and embarrassing fears and desires, things that can be associated with negativity in society and therefore, are avoided. The shadow self is the self we hide, where hurt and shame can live without being addressed because of that fear or stigma. Sometimes the shadows are old wounds meant to be healed. So on with the healing.

I have finally received my Goddess Tarot deck. My tarot deck of choice. I am excited to explore healing those spaces through magick and use my Tarot as a magickal tool to do so. The journey continues.

xoxo,

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