No surprise here that into week three I bought more books I probably don't need (talk about not traveling light... I will be shipping many books back to Philadelphia). I've got a belly full of super yummy Ethiopian Food (notice how I reference food in every post.. its no wonder I've gained 8lbs since I left Philadelphia), so Im ready to update y'all on the going-ons in Toronto.
Maria and I have been diving deeper into the clown piece we are making for the Good Vibrations Cabaret next Tuesday. Check out a silly video I made from our first jam session in the studio on my page for the Toronto project we have temporarily titled Configurations of a Divine Bitch.
We also did a devising session on Monday the 25th with a merry-ol group of actors from Toronto. I taught the crew open canvas and lead some writing prompts, and Maria lead the crew through an exploration of owls. Afterwards we fed the group a home-made, all organic, locally-sourced, gluten-free (except the optional bread on the side), soy-free, and vegan meal as a thank you. The workshop prompted some interesting conversations around zealotry, the crisis that might turn a person to spiritual practice, forgotten spiritual traditions and paths, the complicated relationships between Gurus and their followers, appropriation of spiritual traditions/the decolonization of native or eastern spiritual traditions, and so much more. Maria and I are super interested in how animal work plays a role in this piece - I am especially interested because of the frequency animals appear as guides or guardians in many earth-based and shamanistic lineages. I'm really excited to run a longer - slightly more focused workshop next Monday with another group so that Maria and I can develop some of the seeds we found in open canvas and so that we can do a more in-depth exploration of animals. Check out images from this past week on my Tumblr, here and here.
I watched a documentary called The Burning Times about the witch trials in Europe and the modern resurgence of witches. The documentary wasn't very good (it was made in the 90s and its my understanding that some of the information in the documentary is inaccurate), but it made me think about my bloodline and how my lineage's practices were decimated by the spread of Christianity and patriarchs who were determined to control women (or murder women that could not be controlled). They would label any "troublesome" woman "witch," cruelly torture those women, and then murder those women. It was a war against the female population for 200/300 years. I am lucky that the women in my family found the bravery to continue their practices in secret and reclaim the title "witch" (this is a huge reason why I find it so important to call myself a "witch" - AND NO, I DO NOT PRACTICE WICCA - your ignorance irritates me), but the truth is the majority of their practices and knowledge were not saved - I sometimes feel a great sadness around that. I bring this up because it feels relevant to this project. In the West, earth-based spiritual practice valued and empowered women (and in many cases those who don't identify as any one gender), which was threatening to the patriarchal Christian tradition, so earth-based spiritual practice was wiped out. This is were intersectional feminism begins to creep into the conversation. Its also how this project becomes deeply person for me.
On a totally irrelevant note, I've been taking a lot of selfies this week. Mostly before yoga. Starting a rigorous and serious Mysore practice has apparently brought out my inner narcissist - this feels counter intuitive somehow. AND on a even more irrelevant note, I found out there is a clothing optional beach in Toronto and have begun making plans to go.
Until next time!