Apologies for the radio silence, all. Last year was such a weird and wonderful doozy for me that by the time I got to December holiday madness, my brain kicked into full on hibernation mode. I had two blessed weeks off, in which I saw family, reconnected with some old friends, met my dear friends' new baby girl, watched loads of movies, read, exercised, and slept a ton. There was some magick-making for Solstice and the new year, but generally speaking I allowed myself to splash around in more exoteric pools. My reading list consisted solely of books that were funny and/or feminist, including the gargantuan Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests, Caitlain Morain's rollicking and heart-pangy novel about a music-obsessed teenage misfit, How to Build a Girl, and Roxane Gay's powerful and prickly essay collection, Bad Feminist. I felt resistant to blogging, emailing, planning, writing, talking on the phone. I battled feelings of guilt that I was not using my time off more "productively" or "creatively." I wrote lists of chores and errands to accomplish, and got through 1/3 of them. I refolded and filed all of my clothes (clothes filing is the best, yo). I hung out with Matt. I pet our cats. I watered our plants. I slept some more.
When New Year's Eve came around, I fell suddenly ill. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say it felt like the equivalent of an ayahuasca purge, except without the fun visions. It was a bummer to miss celebrating with friends, but I think important for me to be housebound, getting residue of the year out of my system. That night, I did my usual New Year's ritual: lighting candles, taking stock, giving thanks, making wishes. As I listed out my experiences from 2014, it struck me that it was no wonder I was so depleted.
Last year, I led a big project about repicturing women in imagery for my day job. This project and I got a load of attention, something that was unprecendented and that I was not entirely prepared for, though I handled it with as much enthusiasm and passion as I was able. I'll not catalog the press and conferences and such here, because it's felt important to me to keep that separate from what I talk about on this site. But my travel schedule was intense, and the pressure triply so. I'm proud of the project, and grateful for the opportunities it brought, the skills it's allowed me to hone, and the amazing people and places I've gotten to encounter because of it. I went to Austin, LA, SF, Seattle, Chicago, Brazil, and France. I met incredible human beings from all walks of life who genuinely want to make a difference in the world, and I was humbled to be in the same room as them. I did my best to rise to each occasion.
At the same time, my Phantasmaphile-related talks and curiosities led me to such places as far-flung as Lily Dale and London's I:MAGE conference. The arts and events space I co-ran for 5 years, Observatory, dissolved, which was bitter and sweet and a relief and a loss. I did events at NYC's META Center, Catland, and Morbid Anatomy Museum. I started my own mailing list, and learned that I could fill a room with my own programming and talks, independent of a collective venue. I spent time in Catskill and Hudson with some of my favorite people on earth. We visited the Witchcraft Collection at Cornell, and subsequently saw the incredible "Surrealism and Magic" show they had at their jewel of an art museum. Matt and I went to Scotland and communed with beauty and whisky and wonderful friends and cairns. Matt got an illustrious and ridiculously well-deserved honor when he became a member of the New Dramatists. I gave my "Witch Pictures: Female Magic and Transgression in Western Art" talk several times, one of which led me to putting together a video essay on witches in cinema for Lincoln Center's Film Comment. Rik Garrett's monograph, Earth Magic, came out, and I thrilled to see my introduction for it finally in print. I worked on new issues of Abraxas. I'm forgetting things. I know I'm forgetting things. But you get the idea.
So. I am trying to be at peace with limping toward the finish line at the end of the year. I am trying to accept that it's natural to need to recharge and replenish. To allow the fields to lay fallow for a bit. To trust that beautiful things are going to burst forth for 2015, even if I'm not sure what they all are yet. And that the best way to cultivate them is to rest and laugh and be still and take care. I have projects to work on and things to work toward. We all do. But for now, I offer you this vision of universal harmony and lunar manifestation, courtesy of Rithika Merchant. May you trust that there are deep and sparking actions happening quietly beneath the soil, right now in the dark, getting ready to flourish verdantly in the year to come. And may you enjoy some gentleness and mirth in the meantime.
Happy New Year.