In my own journey to Babalon I came across Pomba Gira (or she came across me) a vivacious gypsy slashed with lipstick, trailing cigarette smoke and promises of witchcraft. My heart skipped a beat, as it should, as it must. Who was this beguiling beauty in red, the devil’s mistress who like all lovers seemed so immediately familiar and yet so impossibly other? -Scarlet Imprint
At the end of my travels she left the taste of bitter red wine mixed with blood from the cut on my bottom lip. In dreams I saw images, intricate lines, symbols etched into skin packed with herbs, saliva, smoke, anisette, and the seeds of the pomegranate. She said “I will do for you as long as you receive my mark. We will be level, balanced, equal.”
The days of the retrograde passed slowly. I wanted to come into the ritual gift when the energy had cleared. It came with two eclipses and a promise to start anew once priorities had been set. A bottle of red wine on the altar and red roses. A small vessel to be purchased. It all sounded familiar and foreign at the same time. I sought three sets of divination and each said the same. The green light was given for a ritual tattoo.
When I messaged Jon Jon he simply said, “Come in when the time is right.” And I did, with a bag full of offerings that sat on my lap as he worked. After the lines had been traced I added the offerings one by one while singing softly under my breath. Outside Marty blew smoke into the ponto riscado.
I took this photo when I got in. Sherene wrote right away. “She’s changing you, for good, in ways you can’t imagine.” And I knew what she wrote was truth. I traced the lines with my fingertips. Over the course of the week, many of my favorite people did too. I took these as blessings, her ponto riscado attracting the attention she chose.
And just a few nights ago lying on one of my childhood beds in a house where dreams and secrets were told. I took a few more.
I’m not part of the Quimbanda tradition but I have a great respect and love for it and Pomba Gira. She has come through for me in ways I have never seen before and to this I devoted the ritual act of tattooing to her. As a note: Before you get any ritual tattooing done please have divination done to see if it is right for you. The spirits call us in many ways but each has their own personal declaration of faith.
“The grass whispered under his body. He put his arm down, feeling the sheath of fuzz on it, and, far away, below, his toes creaking in his shoes. The wind sighed over his shelled ears. The world slipped bright over the glassy round of his eyeballs like images sparked in a crystal sphere. Flowers were sun and fiery spots of sky strewn through the woodland. Birds flickered like skipped stones across the vast inverted pond of heaven. His breath raked over his teeth, going in ice, coming out fire. Insects shocked the air with electric clearness. Ten thousand individual hairs grew a millionth of an inch on his head. He heard the twin hearts beating in each ear, the third heart beating in his throat, the two hearts throbbing his wrists, the real heart pounding his chest. The million pores on his body opened. I’m really alive! he thought. I never knew it before, or if I did I don’t remember!” ― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
I sat by the river in a red velvet dress and cowboy boots blessing poppets for clients in Oshun’s waters. She had called me there. First to make a honey jar, next to film a video, now to make poppets. She asked me to sit by her daily and I did. At high tide she showed me what it’s like to feel fully alive. I stood up on the highest rock and assessed water levels. At low tide she pushed back her waters to show me her secrets and in some moments her magic.
I sat on the peninsula of rocks, the way I always do, same rock, same place. It was high tide and the ships passes by on their routes. During low tide you can see the jagged rocks, they were once so deadly along with the whirlpools that they’d sink entire ships. They called it Hellgate and the 25 tons of dynamite to create the explosions to break down those rocks was considered to be the largest of this process. But that afternoon as the waves crashed closer and closer I knew what it was like to be human amongst a vast body of water. At any moment she could have taken me, rocks slippery, tide higher, waves crashing back and forth inching closer and closer to my boots.
Below you can see a little of what high or mid tide looks look for the East River. But what I really want to know is what makes you feel alive?
I always loved silent movies. I was not a specialist, but I loved them. And when I started directing, I became really fascinated by the format - how it works, the device of the silent movie. It’s not the same form of expression as a talkie. The lack of sounds makes you participate in the storytelling. -Michel Hazanavicius
In a past life I was a silent film star. I danced in black and white and pouted with alabaster skin and dark stained lips. The time that slips in from those years switches gears and brings them into present forming and equation of energy and vibrational tones. The rate of oscillation range responds to the waves wiping out one pattern and creating a new pulse.
I think of kawlo chirriklo
It has been said that when a crow is hurt in a particular area, others send out a warning call and no crow will visit there again thus rejecting the area now deemed dangerous. A shift in frequency comes when one rejects the signal they are emitting and switches to another, attracting the signal they are now dispatching.
In storytelling I create magic, weaving threads together from small vignettes taken by river and forest. Into them I place other symbols and secret languages. Each is personal and universal at once. In each we partake in an interaction of sound, word, memory, and illusion. In each,differences noted in frequency, intonation, and loudness are correlated with feelings and emotions. In each we shift frequency vibrating higher or lower. Choose your frequency.
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” ― C.G. Jung
He had brought the dream time back. I don’t know how he triggered it but it was back and it was in color. Years ago when I first discovered it, it was in black and white with specks and then it was film tinted. For a moment it was technicolor, then sepia and after that it all went silent. They were usually warning dreams. I had them a lot when surrounded by people who’d drain and likely cause problems, little bits of information reminding me not to trust. I would forget them or ignore them so eventually they went away.
But now the dream time was back and they were surreal and beautiful . He said they were keys. I understood something at a core level today that I only understood as words before. “You are here.” You are here. You are that’s all you need to know. You can’t meditate or focus on it. You are here right now. There’s no inner work, you just are. And it doesn’t mean you can’t be human. You can have tantrums and hissy fits. You can have messy goth girl moments and lie face down on the floor in a sea of tears. You can have them but you’re still here. You can’t step into it you just have to be it because you’re here and you’ve always been.
Now that the dream time was back it wasn’t heavy but my heart was. In opening the dream time I had absorbed it. It’s been a heavy retrograde. At the gadjo’s suggestion I took some portrait no makeup, hair a mess on one of the hottest nights of the year. With all my portraits of image and emotion I had never really taken one of me, just me, because I am here.
I only listened to this album once when it came out. Something in it struck me and made me so sad I couldn’t listen to it. The other day while looking up articles on Mercury retrograde I stumbled upon it and well it seemed quite appropriate for this retrograde period.
He who sits under the moon and contemplates was talking. I was listening in between words. I call him Gadjo even though he’s more of a Gitano. He sends me a picture of the moon.
I love the way my typewriter sticks. I love that it sometimes prints heavy and sometimes so light there is barely a trace. No evidence that the key hit the paper at all. Sometimes those marks are non-existent. I rarely go over them. Sometimes the mistakes are what makes the art. Sometimes knowing something is there even when it’s invisible is the greatest gift.
By 10 a.m. on day 2 I had been kidnapped by a businessman wanting Patron. “I’ll get you coffee if you help me find Patron.” He originally offered me breakfast but the kitchen at the W was closed for another hour. I waved to the parking attendant and made my way down the street. “You can trust this guy.” I said to myself, “He’s wearing neon yellow sneakers.” and so I did and my day began.
We ended up on Bourbon street which was a fine place to find alcohol. Sammy told me about his life and his wife and his family he married into. He told me of gambling and making three million a year. I told him, “I don’t know what that feels like yet.” Then Sammy got serious.
"You’re a smart girl. Well poised and very pretty. Whatever you do don’t settle. I’ve been through a lot and dated many but when I met my wife I just knew. We both know we’re damn lucky to have each other. I make a lot of money and I take care of her and the kids and she’s grateful but damn, I’m grateful for her too. She’s the greatest women I’ve ever met. Find someone who balances you. Find someone who can take care of you and vice versa. It doesn’t matter who they are as long as when you see them you feel free. It should never matter whether someone is rich or poor etc if you connect with that person and it feels right just go for it." Sammy then tells me I have kind eyes and a beautiful smile. "I hope you get everything you ever dreamed of."
Melissa came to the bar soon after and we said our goodbyes to Sammy and went on our way. I was in desperate need of coffee. I adore the taste, the texture, the cream and sugar. I adore it all. A bit down Bourbon street we stopped into Cafe Beignet and sat down for breakfast. The rain poured down as we ate. And magically as we finished they cleared once again. Melissa and I were on a mission, we were going to see the Santisima Muerte altar and then pay a visit to my dear friend Marie Laveau.
We said our prayers and gave her some tobacco. There was a service that night but we had other plans and well Marie was calling my name.
I marked three crosses, turned myself around and kissed three times. Marie is one of the great loves of my life and I wanted to show her respect. She has brought so much magic into my life that I tear up every time I visit.
Later that night we attended the BBQ of a new friend. Marcus their next door neighbor has the most amazing set up. I was entranced.
I’ll tell you a little secret about that night. Watch below.
The moment I stepped off the plane and into the magic city it was a whirlwind. Melissa messaged me that we’d be having brunch with friends and nude swimming afterward. I knew the day was starting right. We ventured to Country Club where we sipped poolside punch, talked, and ate. I wasn’t at my most social as I hadn’t any sleep and my body was feeling out of whack but I swam anyway and soaked up some Vitamin D.
Nick had us meet him and some lovely people from Myriad Supply at Restaurant August on Tchoupitoulas St. The food was amazing as was the company. Such a wonderful group to share dinner with. I had the Farmer’s Market Vegetable Tasting. The crispy squash blossoms are to die for by the way. After dinner we ran through the streets joining a parade that lead us to the Natchez steamboat. There are certain moments in your life that feel like magic, like a spell has been cast, an enchantment come to reality. Running through streets with beads and marching bands and into a steamboat makes you feel like you’re living in a movie. So this my darlings is what I give to you. A short little film, so that you can be there with me. So come, put on your finest and lets make magic together.
I knew coming back to this city, that the city itself had called me. Marie and I had unfinished business. The last time I saw her I wrapped a small note and kissed it, put it into a crack. I asked for one thing, guidance. They say if you go to Marie with sincerity in your heart she will help you any way she can. I went back in December and she showed me the way. It was difficult and filled with tears but she promised me that after that time, things would become clear, that she would show me the path.
And this she did…
Death of the Queen of the Voudous Just Before St. John’s Eve.
“On the eve of St. John I must wander alone, In thy bower, I may not be!”
" Marie Glassion, nee Lavaux, was buried yesterdy evening, and her funeral was attended by large numbers of the colored population. Marie Lavaux, as is well-known by all the old residents of the city, was the queen of the Voudous, that curious sect of superstitious darkies that combined the hard traditions of African Legends with the fetich worship of our Creole Negroes.
She was a woman of some presence and considerable conversational powers. Somewhat bent with years when she last officiated as regnant mistress of her weird domain, she yet retained a remarkable control over her whilom subjects and impressed them with her sovereignty. As a rule reticent on subjects other than fetich worship, she was somewhat loquacious and quite a spirited talker.
Her eyes were peculiar in their look and had considerable magnetism about them. Her face was of the old Negro type, expressionless except when highly animated, wrinkled from forehead to chin and with a skin not unlike parchment.
She was a peculiar character, and one which essentially belongs to an era of Louisiana long since passed away. That remarkable woman died at the advanced age of ninety-eight years, and it is curious that her demise should have happened within a few days of the “eve of good St. John,” which is the anniversary of the Voudous, and which has been commemorated by the sect under her regency, for the last forty years, on the twenty-fourth of June of each year. When the next celebration comes, the Voudous will have no queen and on the eve of St. John Marie Lavaux will be voudouing with the ghosts of the past and her charms and incantations, will be of no avail. For she had love charms that brought lovers together and fearful drugs that sundered loving souls. Among her people her incantations, fetiches and charms were supposed to be without fail, and thousands crowded around her to obtain relief, fortune or revenge. How they were satisfied is neither here nor there, but they believed in the dark superstition, and faith covered all the faults and lies that made her a sorceress and a queen. With Marie Lavaux dies the last of these old Negro Creole characters that had almost risen in New Orleans up to the standard illustrations.
First went old Zabette, the celebrated cake woman of the St. Louis Cathedral, who in old times delighted the children and even some of the grown folks with her home-made pastry and delicious “boiere du pays,” always kept cool in a bucket of clearest water. Of early mornings Zabette gave out choice black coffee in tiny cups to her clients, and we remember an old song composed ex tempore by a representative Creole on a certain morning succeeding a sleepless night, which she took as the price of a cup of coffee, and which began in this wise:
"Piti fille, piti fille, piti fille, Piti fille qui couri dan de lo.”
Then went Rose, the coffee woman of the French Market, one of the comeliest of her race, black as Erebus, but smiling always and amicable as dawn. Her coffee was the essence of the fragrant bean, and since her death the lovers of that divine beverage wander listlessly around the stalls of Sunday mornings with a pining at the bosom which cannot be satisfied.
Now Marie Lavaux is gone, the least graceful or poetic of these strange personations of the past, but undoubtedly the most powerful, and we can say that with her vanishes the embodiment of the fetich superstition and the last representative of that class whose peculiar idiosyncracies were derived from the habits and customs of old Louisiana. Much evil dies with her, but should we not add, a little poetry?” New Orleans Democrat - June 17, 1881
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac
I was supposed to be packing. Instead I updated websites and organized small things. Kim stopped by and we went for lattes and talked about a new video. I gave her a dragon dress to wear to Speakeasy Dollhouse. It was a gorgeous velvet number that never fit me quite right, on Kim though, it was stunning.
I dressed for the play and ran out the door. The play was beautiful and wonderful and I wished I could stay out with the cast. Instead I ran home to pack. Amanda greeted me at the door and we walked around picking up a few last minute items from the 24 hour pharmacy. My flight was at 6 and I knew full well I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I packed, answered emails, and tried to be quiet as Amanda slept in the other room. The days leading up to travel are anxious. I try to fit in as much as possible but I run behind. I’m annoyed and frustrated by this. Instead of honing in on these frustrations I pack slips into a bag. I’m tired and cranky. I think about photographs and films until the time comes. I wake up Amanda and give her a hug.
The flight has a thirty minute layover in Chicago and I desperately want to visit with friends. But I know soon I’ll be in new Orleans and I know it will be amazing. I step onto the next plane and drift off. It all seems so easy now.
Privacy issues had been on my mind as brunch was served Sunday afternoon. As the road continues to twist and turn my words become more guarded. I don’t have it in me to share. I step back and evaluate. But these friends understand that. They understand that my public and private lives are becoming increasingly separate. They understand that everything is about to change, that it is changing, and it’s not always a smooth transition.
I start to become anxious about blogging. I can post images and video but my words seem stifled and secretive. I decide to take a break and I’ll catch up later. In the meantime I prepare for the play. In odd ways it’s mimicked certain aspects of my life. It makes me think about villains, how sometimes you have to play the villain in life in order to make progress. Sometimes it’s important to break away. Sometimes it’s important to answer the call no matter what call it is.
“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.” ― Maya Angelou