I read a few days ago on TaoistPath.com that as we approach the Winter Solstice, we are in the most Yin time of the year - the time of the most darkness, the time of cold weather. So for us in northern climates, we find ourselves inside most of the time, waiting for the return of the Sun - the Yang energy. This winter I have definitely dedicated myself to my inner work and hermitage, and that has included forcing myself to sit in meditation every day, cultivating a QiGong practice, doing Yin Yoga, being creative (that's why all these youtube videos are getting pumped out!) and eating healthy home-made food & even doing a blessed herbs colon cleanse. I really do think that this is the time of year for all of us to really go within, spend more time in our inner hibernation creative space, and give ourselves the self-love & self-nurturing that we all desire. Who else is going to love us for us if we can't commit to loving ourselves first?
Given that there is so much stress, over-consumption and people freaking out about what's going on in our planet & culture - there is a lot of negative energy to combat to stay sane & healthy. We are living in energetically frazzled times, with the news & facebook feeds serving to support freaking out over everything. Coupled with that, there's financial losses that are popping up on the radar and I am seeing desperation both locally, close to home, as well as in the distance - on the news. My heart goes out to everybody that is going through it, and I pray that everybody find their inner peace and gratitude for what is, in the process.
Akara's debut album is my favorite of 2011; its cinematic, orchestral, transcendental downtempo electronica breaks genres and creates its own world - unlike anything I've heard before. As an artistic statement, the album is completely cohesive and creates a cinematic sonic realm that is at once both totally unique & yet soulfully familiar. I urge you to take a listen to this amazing work of art! My favorite live music performance this year was seeing Akara perform at Beloved festival; it was pure magic. Check out this interview with Joshua Penman!
Find it Here: http://akaraproject.com/
I've been an ecstatically obsessed fan of Bluetech since 2005, and every album he's put out has been pretty much amazing. His latest release, Rainforest Reverberations, showcases some of my favorite tracks of his yet, and he co-created several tracks with other producers including Kilowatts & Kalya Scintilla, and featured the voices of both Eve LadyApples & Katrina Blackstone. Personally, I'm completely obsessed with the tracks 667 & Emerald Epiphytes, and I adore the poetic invocations of LadyApples that begin & complete the album. Additionally, this album is part of the Critical Beats series, so proceeds of this album go towards supporting the Amazon Rainforest.
Find it Here: http://criticalbeats.bandcamp.com/album/bluetech-rainforest-reverberation
I am launching a series of Videos on my Youtube Channel, sharing my stories about Entheogenic / Psychedelic experiences.. Most of these stories are not recent at all, but took place between 2003-2006.. I do not advocate the use of entheogens, but am simply sharing my personal, intimate & deeply subjective experiences.
This year at Beloved Festival, on Sunday morning we were blessed to experience the first full orchestral performance by Akara to date. They played the entire album from beginning to end, with live orchestral instrumentation. The entire night had been an unbelievable journey of ecstasy, but when Akara went on at 5:30 in the morning, while some of us sat huddled together in blankets staying warm and others danced, we were collectively bathed in transcendentally celestial music that lifted us all to a state of blissful rapture.
Honestly, witnessing Akara live at Beloved was one of my favorite musical moments of the last year, and for most that was present - it was a moment to treasure forever. I immediately bought the then unreleased album and listened to it on repeat for days when I returned home. I soaked up that blissful transcendence and stored it in my cells to return to every day since then.
After repeated listens, I can honestly say that this is one of my favorite albums to come out in 2011, and it deserves to receive the attention and recognition by as many people as possible.
The current situation with #OccupyWallStreet is a powerful statement that has been waiting for its moment to arise, and finally the collective voice is exploding. I am grateful to those thousands of people who are converging in New York and all over the country to begin a culture-wide dialogue about the real underpinnings of the inequity of our current economic & social system.
One of the things that keeps coming back to my mind is the idea that the people who own the banks, who own the big multi-national corporations and the people who own the government are like selfish children who forgot how to play nice and share with others. These are humans who have forgotten how to be human and have forgotten what a responsibility it is to gather massive resources. These people have fallen under the idea-spell that the purpose of life is to gain wealth, and that gaining wealth is to acquire more and more, to endlessly hoarde that wealth and keep living in an isolated bubble of wealth and elitist aristocracy far away from the real lives of down to earth working class people everywhere. These people have billions and trillions of dollars worth of assets that they are holding onto, whilst countless others around the planet are struggling to survive. It is truly on their conscience and it is their responsibility to start giving back to the rest of humanity, beyond feel-good donations to charities. It is time that they develop a conscience & compassion and level the playing field and give back to their fellow citizens and show how truly selflessly they can give and share.
I am not naive, and I know that these people have no intention of sharing with others or releasing their insatiable hunger to hoard more wealth and resources. And I know that these people probably think they are above the law and can get away with anything they want; that's what bribing the NYPD with 4.6 million dollars is for. At this point, the pyramid scheme of the American Government & Financial Sector is so transparent that it's beyond fake, and the tipping point in American consciousness is nearly arriving. My only hope is that more and more people drop their skepticism and really look at the truth with wide open eyes and see the clouds for the rain.
One of the biggest challenges, however, to this shifting of consciousness in America is that we are all collectively inspired and programmed to be successful according to an image of affluence that is unrealistic, unsustainable & inspired by the wealthy elite. The problem with that, is that in order to attain that level of affluence that we are programmed to aspire to, we must become so detached from other humans and our impact on the environment that we lose touch with what it means to be really human. Instead, we become just another elitist marching along with the social programming enforced upon us by the pyramid scheme of the top 1%.
[caption id="attachment_1507" align="alignleft" width="280"] AXIS MUNDI painting by David Heskin & Aloria Weaver[/caption]
In my recent viewing of the film, Vision, which is a film adaptation of the life story of the great female Christian Mystic, Hildegard Von Bingen, I am reminded yet again of the importance of heretics in Christianity. Indeed, Christianity was founded by one of history's greatest heretics, and began as a spiritual revolution by a visionary. Throughout Christianity's history, there have been special visionaries that have continued the original flame of Christianity's founding; the mystics that sought direct communion with Spirit, with God rather than blind obedience to hierarchical religious structures of dogma - and Hildegard Von Bingen was but one of them. Indeed, the entire Anabaptist wing of Christianity began as a heretic religion, and growing up in Ohio in the Church of the Brethren, I was constantly reminded of this left-wing, conscientious-objector, progressive source of our founding. It's funny how progressive, visionary heretic sects evolve and begin to embody the very same qualities of hierarchy and structured dogmatic control that they originally rebelled against. I guess it's the metaphor of a young teenage boy rebelling against the controlling patriarchal father, only to mature into manhood and becoming the same authoritarian father that he rebelled against. But it is this essence of rebelliousness and spiritual inquiry, of seeking direct communion with the spiritual source - of God, that excited me and spurred me to be a heretic against my entire family and Church, to find out for myself what is spiritual truth from direct experience rather than from what is handed to me in religious propaganda. When I was 17, It was a friend at a Youth Conference at Manchester College that triggered me to begin asking questions - like 'What is God?', and 'What's wrong with drugs and sex and nudity?' rather than just accepting what I was told. Thus I left my home and my Church as I entered college and began my spiritual quest of mysticism and seeking God in the many paths to enlightenment.
Also Found at RealitySandwich.com
In February, Lady Gaga appeared on 'Good Morning America' just two days after her legendary entrance at the Grammy's in a space-age egg vessel, where she won 3 Grammy awards and performed 'Born This Way' live. In her interview with Robin Roberts, she talked about AIDS and 'safe sex' wearing an outfit inspired by condoms. When Roberts asked her about her egg entrance at the Grammy's, Gaga told her she had been in the egg vessel for 3 days. Roberts asked her, "What did you do in there for 3 days?" Gaga responded: "I wanted to have a rebirth, and I think the universe needs to have a rebirth. I think we all need to be inside a vessel for 3 whole days, thinking about how we can love ourselves more, protect ourselves more, live life with more passion, and look not outwards for validation but inwards - look inside of yourself to your spirit and your inner light." Gaga's comments about bringing the gaze inwards, to our spirit and inner light is central to spiritual and yogic philosophy, and in that I witness Gaga as a spiritual pop star that is expanding her heart and unconditional love to the world. The first time I watched Gaga's interview on Good Morning America, tears spontaneously erupted out of my eyes as I felt the authenticity of her sharing on such an enormous global platform.
Lady Gaga is a visionary pop star icon for the 21st century and the emerging new paradigm. She communes with her fans intimately through facebook, twitter and videos with an incredibly open heart, and seems to be saying over and over again that the core of her message is about how to love oneself. Her message to her fans is to inspire them to love themselves more and more fearlessly despite external conditionings that project a message of lack of self worth. Indeed, the chorus of her latest single croons, "I'm beautiful in my way, because God makes no mistakes - I'm on the right track baby, I was born this way. Don't hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and you're set - I'm on the right track baby, I was born this way." When singing the song to oneself, as a catchy pop-song is meant to do, the message is a mantra for opening to self-love. By using the mind-embedding hook of a pop song, she is impregnating every fan with the message that "I am beautiful, God makes no mistakes - I am perfect exactly as I am, I am divinely created, I love myself." What message could be more important in this world where so many struggle with self-acceptance, depression, hopelessness, loss of soul-purpose - triggered by the messages that we receive from the external that limit and subjugate our self-worth?