[Pictured: The Venus of Willendorf Statue]
I recently dreamt that I walked the long corridors of a warehouse storing the world’s treasures and magical objects: statues, tablets, chalices, and the like.
My eyes passed easily over the thousands of golden tools and trinkets, until suddenly they fell upon a stone statue of the divine mother. She vibrated with energy, as if daring me to be strong enough to pick her up.
I knew her power had survived longer than anything in the structure. I also knew she was she was asking me to allow her to accompany me on my next journey.
To take something from this place, you have to do something you’ve never done before, my friend's voice said next to me.
I stepped outside the old building to find that it sat on the edge of a seaside cliff. All around were people pushing themselves to the limit to try and earn their right to take a piece of sacred treasure. They skydived, cliff jumped, did acrobatics on top of each other, without hesitation or fear.
As I watched, I tied a thick rope around my waist and the other end to the building.
And, I jumped.
I swung wide around the structure, floating out over the hungry chaos of the people and the waves of the crystal blue sea.
I looked down to see that my clothes had been replaced with a baby pink ballgown and ballet slippers.
I felt graceful—a feeling I am not very familiar with in waking life. More than grace, I felt at peace, at ease in the risk I was taking to be worthy of the power that was calling upon me.
As creatives in this chaotic and hungry world, it feels increasingly difficult to find the balance between what we do in service of our souls, our duties, and the expectations placed upon us. I know for me personally, the challenge to find my footing in creativity over the last few months has brought on more existential crises than I care to admit.
The winter’s forced hibernation has allowed me to become steadfast in tending to the practical. I’ve found solace in the physical realm, warming the hearth, cooking meals, talking with friends, and solidifying work routines. The result is that I have found myself thriving professionally, getting swept up into roles and worlds I never thought possible.
But at what cost?
Many things have sparked over these long, dark months, but my ability to be aligned with my creativity is not one. I am sure I’m not alone in this—I know many of my fellow writers struggle to find their spark in the heaviness of winter.
Today is the Full Snow Moon in Leo opposite the Aquarius Sun. This Leo-Aquarius polarity asks us to take a good long look at how we are balancing all that is personal (Leo) and all that is impersonal (Aquarius).
As Café Astrology writes of this full moon:
The energy of the Leo Moon is creative self-expression and the boost to the individual ego that we receive through pleasure and romance, while the Aquarius Sun rules the group, more impersonal friendships, and objectivity. This Full Moon urges us to strike a balance between romance and friendship, and between expressing ourselves in personal and impersonal ways.
This moon asks us:
At first glance, the desires of the Leo side of this full moon might seem a little selfish, especially under the influence of the all-practical Aquarius Sun. But Leo is also incredibly loyal to its pride, meaning that this kind of self-care and delight allows Leo to be better equipped to be a part of and protect its community.
Make no mistake: pleasure is a political act. One that serves many purposes, but above all, allows us to step into ourselves authentically so that we can then be in better service to the world around us.
On the flip side, Aquarius reminds that not all things can be at the will of the ego. Like it or not, we do have duties to fulfill. We do have passions, people, pets, plants, and the like that rely on us to get shit done.
And there is so much we still need to get done.
But we can never forget that we, too, rely on ourselves. We can never forget that self-care and self-expression are duties to ourselves that cannot be buried under the others.
This might be truly uncomfortable for some to hear. This is far from the dogma we are taught and will likely require a major shift in habits.
But if we can do it, if we can make the leap in a fashion that makes us feel free, can you imagine what can be learned and transcended?
Can you imagine the power and creativity that is there waiting, if we simply make room for it within our hearts and practices?
Can you imagine the work that can be done together?
Do something you’ve never done before.
We are starting the new year with a Full Moon offering from Collective Aporia's own Harris Armstrong! Harris is a poet, writer, teacher, and administrative member of Aporia. I tend to say, "if you need something done, just ask Harris." Please enjoy and Happy New Year!
January Full Moon
Welcome to the other side of the crossroads to 2023! Last year around this time, collective.aporia offered a workshop called “Imbas Forosnai as Rest” that I led. Though we are a creative collective, my intention behind that workshop was to encourage participants (and myself) to take a cue from our northern hemisphere weather and hibernate artistically.
‘Imbas forosnai’ is an Irish term that more or less translates to divine inspiration or poetic frenzy. Does that not seem like an enviable state? In the tradition of the bards and druids, I led our workshop in creating a ritual to bring us to that place of restful restlessness. Power naps have gotten me through the most difficult, time-consuming, and stressful parts of my life; I set an alarm for twenty minutes exactly and lay down, eyes closed. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I don’t. Either way I have to spring out of bed, ready to go on to the next task. The workshop was meant to evoke that feeling, resting so purposefully that at the end, there is a restless, irrepressible need to create.
Given that this Wolf Moon is the micromoon (when the moon is furthest away from the earth), we take a page out of the moon’s book and pull away in a similar fashion. I invite you to think about how to rest purposefully as the bards partook in the imbas forosnai rituals. Before, the bards would fast, then chew (but not swallow!) the meat of an animal that is taboo to eat before sequestering themselves in a dark tent until the inspiration struck. We can create something that suits our needs with those elements. Here are some guiding questions for creating your ritual:
An important note for this restless, frenzied creation on the other side: in my ideal world all our bodies, art, and labor will not be devoted to capitalism, despite our current need to make ends meet and care for our responsibilities. Though you may need this frenzied rest to continue your day job or finish a manuscript you’re hoping to publish, though this ritual may be a desperate attempt for control in a landscape of increasing need, please think about engaging in an act of private art. Maybe that art is small and ephemeral, a painting entirely of water, a poem you only recite aloud to yourself, or even making a snow sculpture that will not survive the season. If you have troubles doing things for yourself, as I often do, think of this act as an offering to that inspiration. Give the divine who provided that inspiration your thanks by giving your plenty. But I hope you can make that art just for you. It’s okay to be selfish. The ritual is meant to fill your cup first.
February 1st is Imbolc; climb out of your poetic caves and take a walk to observe the changing earth in honor of Brighid. Return to the orbit of your life by having an Imbolc feast or building a fire! Make a celebration, as even the small milestones are worthy of joy.
Please let us know how you craft your imbas forosnai rituals! We want to celebrate your blessed rest along with you.
Salutations! This month the Full Moon will appear in full on 12/7 at 11:08 EST. This Moon is often called the Cold Moon, Frost Moon, Long Night's Moon. We get it. It's Winter, right? The Solstice will be on the 21st. I don't have to tell you that this is the biggest holiday mashup of the year and, unless I miss my guess, most of us are already celebrating in some form. Please enjoy this Full Moon offering from returning writer Lindsey Higo. I also offer you my warmest blessings to see you through the season.
Cheers fellow moonbaskers and stargazers,
Another solstice is almost upon us. My last offering was at Summer Solstice so it truly feels like I have come full circle to offer this musing just days ahead of the Winter Solstice.
This month’s moon, the Cold Moon, is the last full moon of the modern calendar year. The moon heralding winter. This moon is piercing in its clarity in the velvety night sky and thin air, when frost glitters on bare branches and snow blankets the ground. Its light, like an icicle, is clear to silver white, and invokes that slight freezing burning sensation when you hold ice in your bare hand for too long. It’s beautiful but even bundled head to toe it’s hard to gaze upon it for long. These few moments in the breath stealing night are worth it, not only for this moon but for the restoring wave of warmth as you leave it to shine and return indoors.
Nature has gone quiet but inside my home, the short days are buzzing with energy as I clean and decorate to welcome friends and family for Yule and holiday celebrations. In stark contrast to summer, where keeping my guests cool, relaxed, and refreshed is my priority; I turn inward to my home and my hearth spaces in the wintertime to craft a place of comfort, warmth, and refuge for when loved ones brave the moonlit roads in icy weather for a visit.
My hearth and kitchen provide not only practical warmth but are a source of nourishment essential to life. The wood burning fireplace is a well-loved centerpiece. It anchors the room and plays its part in keeping the household harmonious. It’s a place to thaw tired bones and the meeting point for important events and discussions. While we do not cook our meals over its flames, I tend it lovingly with wood, kindling and pinecones gathered and dried in the warmer seasons. I also carry my hearth into the kitchen by lighting a candle from its blaze. Resting the candle on the stove allows the fire’s bright energy to charge my daily meals and household tasks. I take extra care in preparing both spaces during the winter. I place intentions for health and nourishment when I clean, or bake, light candles and build and bank the fire on particularly cold days and nights. In celebration of Yule, I prepare special meals and hot drinks for my guests to carry heat and love through my home and keep the cold dark at bay.
I invite you to embrace the warmth in your space, whether through a large fireplace or a small apartment kitchenette; give it a little extra attention and welcome your loved ones in for a simmering cocktail and a cozy catch up as you gaze at the moon through the window safe in the comfort of a heavy blanket.
Mulled Cider for Yule & Solstice
1.5 liters of dry cider (I recommend Aspall from the UK or your local cidery)
400ml fresh pressed apple juice
100ml Calvados apple brandy
75g brown sugar
4-6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3-5 whole star anise
One orange sliced into wheels (hold aside half of the slices for garnish)
In your favorite simmering pot combine cider, apple juice and sugar and gently bring to a simmer to melt the sugar and warm the liquids. I use my favorite copper pot for its love and energy transference properties. When steam gently starts to rise, add all of the spices infusing them with intentions for protection from the elements and healing warmth. Gently drop in the full orange wheels along with your wishes of friendship and love for your guests about to arrive. Let the pot return to a simmer, then reduce to low heat. Add brandy with a light stir and keep on low for 20-30 min to keep warm and mull the flavors. Your home will fill with a spicy tart scent unmistakable with winter. Time this last warming cycle to finish just after your guests arrive and have shed their boots, coats, and hats. Encourage them to find a cozy seat or perch in or near the kitchen and ladle the cider into your favorite mugs, garnish with an orange slice. Serve with not only to warm your guests’ hands and bodies, but to encourage free flowing conversation to warm your souls.
Lindsey Higo is a spirited hostess living in Denver, Colorado, who spends time puttering around her kitchen and patio garden, reading on a dark and stormy night (or any night for that matter) and entertaining. Her cocktail crafting skills have been honed through years of trial and error and “here take a sip of this” is a key step in her creative process. When inspiration strikes you can find recipes and her favorite haunts on her Instagram @cocktail_curious. She is also an active member of the Japanese Tea community in Colorado where she practices the spirit of boundless guest hospitality and mindfulness in the principle of “ichi-go, ichi-e”/“one chance, meeting” taking it beyond the contemplative Tea space and into her home and community.
Dear friends and friendarinos, once again we find ourselves on under the looming eye of mother Moon. I November we celebrate the Moon as a reminder of the looming winter ahead. This is the time when our ancestors looked to the beaver's as they boarded themselves in for the winter. This is also a blood moon for the striking effects of light reflecting off the moon this time of year. Darkness is falling across the land and one can only hope they find themselves ready when the heart of cold and shadow comes beating at the door.
Today, I will be filling in for our monthly contributor. I've selected two short pieces from previous lessons. I hope you enjoy and weather well. Blessed be!
The main theme of the poem is “the life cycle.” Everything which is born eventually dies, and the cycle starts again.
The End. The Beginning.
The last heart beat. The first budding leaf.
The storied skin. The fresh clean slate.
The fruit. The sowing.
The Sweet relief. The hopeful beginning.
Arts Night Creative Non-Fiction
Terms – What is Creative Non-Fiction?
Creative nonfiction (also known as literary nonfiction or narrative nonfiction or literary journalism or verfabula) is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as academic or technical writing or journalism, which are also rooted in accurate fact though not written to entertain based on prose style. Many writers view creative nonfiction as overlapping with the essay. Creative nonfiction is true stories, well told. If novels are fiction and poems are, well, poetry, then what are memoirs? - credit the internet. I forget what I changed.
Tell a story well. What happened within the last week?
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to tell when I'm getting older. It was about a week ago from this writing that I was sitting in the waiting room of my Dermatologist people. I was always taught to arrive early for appointments. It's polite. It also gives you the chance to sit and notice things. At that time I was noticing that there are two kinds of people who go into a dermatologist's office. There are the young, suffering from puberty, and there are the old, suffering from being old. I was there for eczema on my shoulders. Eczema is when your skin decides that it hates everything and wants everyone to know it. Another thing you notice about a dermatologist's office that everyone exudes an air of shame. There's something special about skin diseases. They're hard to hide. Maybe each of us have some primal fear of being rejected from the tribe, of being unclean in their eyes. Upon receiving a prescription for some other creme that I was quit certain would never make my skin find happiness, I walked the sterile halls of the hospital. Then descended the sterile empty stairs. I found my party sitting by a nameless statue in the courtyard. It's hand was extended toward the sky behind the hospital. Then we left and navigated the abomination of city planning that was downtown Anderson. Anderson home of my Alma Matter. Another armpit of human social failure.
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