What is inspiring you at the moment?
Mmm… I feel so lucky to have really inspiring people around me, so I will try to keep this at a minimum! I finally received a copy of a book written by my dear, dear friend Adrian Shirk. It is called And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy—I have been hearing little snippets of it here & there, but my preordered copy got lost in the mail when I was in the midst of moving this summer! Anyhow, now I have it & I am savoring it though I want to devour it entirely.
I have also been so inspired by my wonderful friend & collaborator, Caitlyn Swett. She is an intuitive movement maker & will at times perform alongside me. Her dance is her magic, it is her joy. She has taught me so much about movement, about using the body as a vessel for ritual & expression. Sometimes we perform with a bigger collective, four-five of us who make sound or move. We are all doing a huge show in Greensboro, NC on the 9th of November as part of the North Carolina Dance Festival. But working solo with her has been the most engaging & inspiring for me, such a beautiful & quiet experience, it is like we are sharing secrets. She & I are working upon something special which I am so excited about because I will be making a recording for her & maybe including my harp (I normally keep the harp as a secret with myself), so we shall see what comes out!
Another good friend Ryan Martin just released a cassette & digital compilation of local sound-makers as a token for the 9th anniversary of his record label, Hot Releases. We just had an amazing two day show as celebration in Chapel Hill & everyone really blew my mind. I find that I am mostly inspired by the people making music around me, many of them are really playing with sound & expanding it beyond the forms we normally associate with “music”. It is a very humbling community to be part of. Anyhow, you can find the digital version & order a hard copy of the cassette by following this link, I highly recommend it! Minori & I have a piece on there, too. We go by de_Plata:
Oh & I have been having an Herbal Highway resurgence lately—both Karyn Sanders & Sarah Holmes totally inspire me so much. I just love listening to them it is like I am hearing about herbs & essences & medicine for the first time. Plus, they both have such distinct personalities that clearly come through in their subject matter & that just fills me right up. Another podcast series I have been tuning into lately is Dream Freedom Beauty. I am actually going to be a guest on the Self-Care Club in late November, the 28th to be exact, so you’ll have to tune in! Natalie has interviewed some incredible people on her show & I love how she begins each session by inviting her guest to lead the listeners in an invocation right off the bat. There is this one invocation lead by a woman in Asheville who does stone work, & wow I have never been so immediately dropped into a guided meditation before. It really stuck with me.
Do you have a recipe, remedy or ritual you feel like sharing for people to make or do at home?
Okay, yes, I have three things! One is for making a simple altar space, because altars are really special & extra potent during the autumn & winter times, when things slow down & we have more time to drop in to visit with them. Another is for a warming, rooting, deeply nourishing decoction to brew as we trod into these colder months. The last is for an Autumn mixtape or playlist to listen to in the bath, on a slow day, or whenever you’d like, really.
.:. An Altar a Day .:.
Take a few deep breaths & clear your mind, you are about to walk around your home & allow a space to make itself known to you. Take your time going from room to room, allow yourself to really take in each space, let yourself guide yourself to where you will build a little altar. This could happen in a number of ways: you could immediately feel drawn to a spot, you may feel a tingling or a shiver when you get to a certain area, you may feel you have spaced out when staring into a particular corner, maybe you just know you want to have your altar right here… all of these are little nudges that you are giving yourself, listen to them!
Once you find your spot, clear it out if there is clutter, give it a good sweep. You can burn some cedar or sage too if that feels right. You are now ready to place a table, a stool, a crate, a shelf, or whatever kind of surface you may have in this special place.
Having placed your surface down, you are now free to start laying it with various, meaningful objects. Perhaps you have a lovely piece of cloth you’d like to set down first, perhaps is it better to have a bare surface. Your altar can have a theme, or you can allow the theme to take form in front of you, as you spend time with it. Some commonly used & special objects you may want to include are: a candle, incense, tobacco, gemstones, dried roots, an anointing oil, flower essences, photographs, honey, a bell, special knick knacks… it all counts! If an object or herb or scent feels potent & magical to you, then it is potent & magical.
Once you have set your space up, take a small moment to sit with it, breathe yourself into the space & likewise the space into you. Let yourself have that moment. Know that you can come back here whenever you’d like. That you can pray here, wish here, dream here. You can offer your tears here or your secrets. You can also just simply sit. Keep a notebook to write special things inside of that may come up when you visit this place. This is your special spot, think of it as a room you walk into that is both part of the world & a world unto itself.
One last thing: remember to keep your altar clean, move it around, switch out objects, bring in new scents, dust it off here & there. This is a living space, & so often when we let them go unused, they just become a decoration in the room.
.:: The Root, The Seed, The Fruiting Body ::.
You’ll need: angelica root, cardamom pods or seeds, & reishi. If you’d like, you can also have: honey or maple syrup & the milk of your choice (I like oat, especially). This will make about 5 cups of decoction
::: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil
::: Add in a heaping cup of combined angelica root & reishi
::: Toss in a nice dash or more of cardamon pods/seeds
::: Cover right away with a lid & bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, the water should noticeably have changed color & be quite aromatic (the longer you let it go for, the stronger it will be, but most likely you will need to add some more water along the way as it will steam off!)
::: Add a nice amount of honey or maple syrup in the bottom of a teacup
::: Strain your decoction & pour into your sweetened cup
::: Add some milk, if desired, enjoy!