Monthly Archives: January 2014

And the third theme of 2014 is…GROWN(-)UP.

I’ve been keeping a deck of tarot cards on my bedside table (Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck, for anyone interested in knowing).  It’s been a source of inspiration sometimes, as well as a starting point for much-needed introspection for me.  Also, oddly enough, it makes me take the time to pray.

I haven’t been a prayerful person in years, and I’m still trying to work out what prayers are and whom they serve, but it has always been my habit to say some sort of prayer before drawing a card, doing a reading, consulting someone (or something, in this case) for better perspective.  It all started when I bought my first deck of tarot cards.  I was in middle school, I think, and my mother took me to Seven Stars (back when it was in Harvard Square).  After poring over many beautiful decks I chose one that was painted in watercolors, big fat lines and blurred edges.  I had three favorites: the Star (a naked woman in a lake, surrounded in varying shades of black and green), the Six of Cups (two chubby-legged children playing with the fairies and rainbows that spilled from golden chalices), and Death (partly because I felt badass to know it wasn’t a negative message, partly because it was a skeleton with a butterfly floating from its pelvis).

In the car, my mother reminded me to put on my seat belt, then asked me to promise her that I would always take a moment to say a prayer before a reading, for the benefit of the seeker, of myself.  In deference to God or some other higher power as I dabbled in esotericism.  I took this tarot thing very seriously, and I always said a prayer.  Something solemn but perfunctory.  God, let this go well.  Or, God, I don’t mean to offend.  Something like that.

The other night I asked the air for advice, for insight, before drawing three cards to see what I needed to know at this stage in my life.

Tonight I held the deck to my heart and thought of all my fellow Kindreds, some whom I know quite well by now and others whose expressions in this project give me a better understanding of who they are and how they work.  I wished for you, specific wishes and vague, but always concentrating on you.  I drew this card:

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I had never seen the Six of Cups reversed before!  Upon reading some more about what this means, I learned this card can suggest that one is clinging to one’s past in such a way that you inhibit yourself from experiencing the present and moving into your future.

This particular guide said something that really stood out to me:

“The Six of Cups is a card of nostalgia, childlike love and generosity, and a carefree, naïve outlook on life. Reversed, it suggests that you may have had unrealistically rosy ideas about a particular stage of life, based on your dreams and ideals from when you were younger. For example, you may have always pictured yourself as married with children by 25, only to realise that once you hit 25, you had other goals in mind. Or you may be disappointed that you have reached a particular age but have not fulfilled your childhood dreams just yet.”

When I said it stood out, I mean it sang to me.  I keep making fun of the idea that, at age 30, I’m still not an adult.  My expectations of myself as a child were so huge that I may never be an adult.  And the more I complain about this, the more I realize that most people feel this way, at one time or another. But it’s not that we’re all living in the past, and it’s not that we haven’t matured (do you see how my tarot prayers and uses have changed?) – we just aren’t living the lives we expected.  And frankly, who does?

So I ask you all kinds of things: are you living up to your own expectations? What have you wanted for yourself?  Has that changed over time?  Do you feel like you’re moving forward?  How might you be holding yourself back?  And if you’d rather this weren’t so introspective, tell me this: what is a grown-up?  Who are your favorite grown-ups?  Make one up for me.

I say this as a person who just bought a Little Prince sweatshirt, as a person who just caught up with her best friend from elementary school (over drinks!), as a 30-year-old who lives with her father, as the girl who first stood up for herself because she wanted to be Peter Pan in the school play, as the college dropout who is taking an acting class simply because it is impractical.  But also as the woman who just bought a juicer, as the woman who is trying to commit more to yoga…

That’s actually all the adult stuff I’ve been up to of late, but you get the idea.  But good luck!  And let this go well.

Jess Mullen

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The Kitchen Witch

There are many types of witches, some get the best returns for the energy they expel through ritual, casting spells, setting charms, and calling the corners. Other witches find their energy is best spent on the mental/spiritual realm through meditation, and astral projection. Still yet other witches find they draw the most power from nature, and so use botany to create living vessels of will and energy…….and then there’s the kitchen witch. The Kitchen witch really puts a new spin on “you are what you eat” when preparing a meal, by pouring energy and intent in with each and every ingredient added in the recipe. While the witch may add enchanting ingredients from the harvest of another witch(or even their own…there is no rule saying you can only be good at one kind, you know), or charm the dishes, or cook the meal for a ritual for an added boost, the kitchen witch does the real magic with preparation. Finely slice this, chunk that, simmer this over here, broil this down there….these are the rituals of the kitchen witch, focusing energy on the preparation, and keeping one intent in mind. Once the meal is prepared, and served the kitchen witch relishes in the work accomplished, watching as others partake in the food and drink prepared. Those partaking in the meal of a kitchen witch are sure to feel the intent cast unto the dish and drink. From happy, to loved, to tired, to ill….the dishes cooked are always with purpose.Image

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Foodie in Italy

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In Lucca my pants size shrunk a size without me even trying. In Lucca I ate pizza every day and gelato at least once a day. Sometimes I had chocolate filled pastries for breakfast and during the weekend in Rome I insisted we seek out a bakery to find Cannoli – they’re more of a southern Italian pastry – and ate two for breakfast. I was at a sit down restaurant, sitting outside in the lush weather of Italy when I had my first official true authentic Italian pizza. It was a margherita pizza and it came with an olive in the middle as if to identify itself. In Italy the olives on pizzas are whole with pits and they roll off the slice when you pick it up. There are gelato shops all over Lucca sucking you in. I ate hazelnut milk chocolate all of the time and drank Diet Coke light. When you order water it comes in glass pitchers with or without bubbles. There are sandwich shops with Panini pressed fresh for you. I find myself wishing I remembered terms for words I’ve long since forgotten, but I remember that the hot chocolate was thick like pudding and Limoncello tasted amazing. The tomatoes were the most flavorful I’ve ever had. The bread served before dinner wasn’t as salty as what we have in the United States. We would ask for olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper before dripping chunks of fresh bread in it. I didn’t take so many food photos seven years ago. But I tasted. And I still insist that in Italy I ate the best food I’ve ever eaten.

Xo
Melanie Kristy

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foodie: some notes on food and memory

1.         1. There is the desert  and  food stand and the expansive blue sky like a bonnet holding it all in.  We are in Mexico.  It is probably 1990, one can just walk straight across the border, no passport or fuss, just “American” to get back in, the password into the party. We are visiting my Nana Nati—short for Natividad—and we are at a food stand in the market.  We have a lunch of pita pocket filled with ground meat and sauce (a gordita) and green glass bottles of orange soda,  there are vats of horchata (milky coconut, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberry) and the smoky aroma of  grilled corn is a fine mist.  The cool of the glass bottles and plastic cups and the wrinkle of foil are tastes my hands still reach for.

t       2.The dead of summer 1999. I am cupped by my Nana Nati’s death (We go back to Mexico for the funeral. In the market I feel like an observer this time around instead of obliviously in the thick of it) and my freshman year of high school. I spend the summer mostly by myself and reading. I read Francesca Lia Block, Shakespeare and mythology books over and over. I have a summer job at a daycare in a women’s shelter. I only eat in the afternoons. I drink coffee and fix myself peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I order fruit and salads at restaurants. I read cookbooks and make muffins and kolacky and take them to my room and read some more.

2.    3.. 1989. My abuelo’s  funeral. Us kids have to stay with my Madrina.  I am small and the grown-ups are so big and I don’t understand death. There are hotdogs. Buns and ketchup and paper plates. I don’t understand why no one feels  like cooking.

3.       4.. 2011. J.’s funeral. There is a brunch of fried chicken and sweet things and bread and eggs and bacon.  I eat none of it. I want to stuff my face but the thought of it makes me sick. We go home and make tamales and red rice and pintos and eat that instead. I finally understand the true and absolute essence of comfort food: the child I once was still nestled in my stomach and screaming for something ancient and familiar.

4.      5.  I am 16, it is 2001 and I live in an apartment with my friends. We are 16 and 17 year-old cast-outs and runaways and we have schemed our way into a $275/month 2-story apartment. There are no parents to tell us what to eat! I cook us Ramen with broccoli and some kind of dollar seasoning. We fill plastic goblets with ketchup and potato tots. There is cheap beer and cheap vodka. We are the kings of our castle.

5.      6. Sunday. 2014. I visit my mom on Sundays. We have split-pea soup, and spinach lasagna, and oranges. The times have changed. There is a brightness like a bonnet holding it all in.

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Week 2: foodie

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Oh baby. I am always so excited to photograph delicious meals and gush about new favorite restaurants that when I dated a picky eater for three months I was surprised by how much I missed the excitement of tasting new flavor combinations. I filled up on pizza and love instead (and it was a whole different kind of satisfying). Now I have more free time for restaurant adventures, experiments in cooking and instagramming my meals. I’m even thinking about starting a mason jar herb garden this year. Why not, really? So tell me about your favorite cuisines, why you are afraid to try any food that’s write and creamy, vinegary, etc. I want photos and recipes, restaurant reviews, poems about love affairs with food. Anything!

tastefully yours,

Melanie Kristy

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synchronicity.

A blossom in my chest when it happens my heart

like petals and a breeze

Breezing through.

A call. And an answer.

A knock in my solar plexus wake up

Sleepyhead and an opening.

A breath caught with arrival.

Skin on fire and  blood reaching like hands

In child’s pose in gratitude and like new.

Each time an awesome exhale of thank you. So much thank you.

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I look for you everywhere

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Once you know you want something, you start to see signs of it all around you.
This is the year I’m going to see the northern lights.
In Iceland.

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Ladybugs & Families

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My aunt believes that ladybugs are signs from the grandmother I barely knew.
When I tattooed my foot with a ladybug, though, it wasn’t Nana I had in mind, 
but a reminder of faith stemmed from watching Under the Tuscan Sun many times.
Still connecting dots I realize: faith and Nana are connected.

My Papa died before I was even imagined
sometime in 1970-something on December 22nd.
He shared a name with my uncle B, and his son Baby B

Uncle B passed away a few weeks back, December 23rd from the big C
then something around twenty-four hours later
we lost our cousin, Baby B
Three men with the same name passed December 22, 23 & 24

The morning of the family services
Auntie D asked for a sign from her mother
then went about doing her hair
only to find a ladybug in the bathroom sink in the middle of winter

Earlier in December my dad found a ladybug in a coffee cup his garage 
he tried to let it go, thought he may have stepped on it in the process
Only to find the ladybug back in the cup the next day

My tattoo never healed right
the red ink fought my skin until bits of it oozed off
and still the representation of faith remains blemished on dry skin
Even connecting the dots, identifying synchronous moments 
in time & life & on movie screens
I think it might keep it this way

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Synchronicity Week 1: Changeling

I see these omens in the smallest things. Torn off toe nails scattered in skeleton patterns, blood spots on sun-blanched concrete, and broken clothes line strings, hanging down like strands of drowned maiden hair. That patch of yellow dust lawn where the dog likes to bury his old marrow-sucked bones. I see them in the way the paint peels off our weather boards, how they make shapes like cave paintings, like the ring-barked tree graffiti in the park behind the parking lot. These are marks cut with blunt knives, chicken scratchings carved into the hard clay soil. I couldn’t make them, not with my hands all messed up as they are, but I can read them well enough.
I shout across the front garden at my sister, who is picking at the paint on the west wall with her bitten off fingernails.
“Don’t mess with those messages from God, Matilda Jayde,”
Tilly looks up from her absent-minded work, and scowls at me as if I were the sun or something; she turns away to face the broken back fence and lets them fall from her hand, opening like those flowers do in fast motion. The paint chips scatter across the dead-dust lawn like flakes of snow, colouring the yellow earth with specks of robin’s-egg blue. I sigh.

Tilly doesn’t take much notice of my story-telling. She likes the world to run a straight shot into the future, she wakes in the dawn light with her arms and her mouth wide, ready and waiting for the day to fill her up, to make her fuller, and taller and take her on into the next one, where she might find all of her growing done, where she might find that she is finally a full-fledged, belly-bleeding woman.
“But it’s the looking back that make you wiser, Matilda Jayde,” I tell her, “you’ve got to let the stories weave their magic, and cast nets over the hollow places in your heart.”
“I’m not going to be a wise woman,” Tilly says, arms crossed over her bare, flat chest, “I’m never going to get old. My heart is whole.” She beats her sternum with her rosey clenched fist, a heavy thud of flesh on bone, like the running of flat feet on clay.

Today is a good day for omen-hunting. The wind is up, pushing the soft cotton clouds into the shapes I have found on the west wall, and shaking down the rose bushes. The fallen petals, plush peach and red kisses in the yellow dust, are gathering too, to make the Queens Cup’s and the Hanged Man, and now it is clear that today, the earth and sky are telling secrets. I sit on the porch with my notebook open on my knees, chewing on the end of my pencil until I break the wood and can taste the graphite-lead. I am trying, best as I can, to keep up with the conversation, to trace the symbols, to have them speak to me. But today, I’m not having much luck with deciphering their synchronicity. Today, the earth and sky have dropped their voices down to whispers, today they have drawn their circle, and I am on the outside. Today, just like my Tilly-girl, peeling paint and digging earth and running on towards womanhood, the world has turned it’s back.

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2014 Week 1 “Synchronicity”: I Once Met A Man

Welcome to a new year everyone! I’m excited to get back in the swing of things! This theme is perfect for some of the things going on in my life right now! I haven’t had a manic depression attack in over a month, timing perfectly with meeting a guy who has me giddy as a tickled child! I have been taking a new approach towards life, backing away from my typical “rush into it” social mannerisms, pushing myself deeper and deeper into my various artistic outlets, and trying to organize myself a bit better. It is a brand new year, and it’s just getting started, so bare with me as it is an uphill struggle for me, and I’m getting a slow start.

This period’s theme is synchronicity, “the simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence.”. How I will illustrate my connection to this theme in this poem is to tell the story of a random, and chance meeting of someone who, to the naked eye, I have very little in common with…someone who ordinarily would have given me no notice, nor I him. Now, I am not one to believe in love at first sight(I tend to believe it is more often lust at first sight), but in the moment we finally met, there was a connection that felt both old, and new. Upon our meeting I suddenly felt that our chance meeting, while not directly explainable, was meant to be. Since we have been talking, my manic depression has lulled its ugly head, and I have been inexplicably more confident in myself. In short, I feel as though I truly understand synchronicity all because I once met a man.

I Once Met A Man, By EnigmA Jade
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I once met a man. I knew him instantly upon gazing into his eyes.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly from the sound of his voice.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly by the way he carried himself.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly by the beat of his heart.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly by the depth of his soul.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly, but I didn’t know why.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly, and now I know why.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly, as if I had known him forever.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly, and now I am in love.
I knew that we were different.
I knew that our differences were superficial.

I once met a man. I knew him instantly.
I knew that I loved him.

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