Today I celebrate Juneteenth by paying homage to the contributions of African Americans which have significantly impacted me, that being their music. There’s no greater medicine for me than music. I consume A LOT OF IT, so I am grateful to all of those who’ve enhanced my life, helped me through crisis, uplifted my spirit, and moved me to dance through their creative work. Here’s the playlist from today’s show.
In between songs, I share and speak about the recent New Moon and the upcoming Summer Solstice inspired by the work of Tanaaz and Kim Krans‘ archetype guidebook.
Today is about The Goddess Party, a new project spearheaded from long time Hudson Valley musician Shana Falana in collaboration with Erica Quitzow and Sarah Perrotta. Featuring a choir of 30+ local singers, a rock band, and a willingness to interpret the likes of Kate Bush, Panda Bear, and PJ Harvey. “A cult worth joining.”
I am joined by Beth Carestia a member of the Choir like myself, and we hear from several of our co-creators by way of voice memo describing in some way what The Goddess Party means to them… magic, mystery, heart healing, collaboration, trust, creation, fun, true-self, singing, connection, the feminine, The Goddess…
We’re performing Friday at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6:30pm and the movie Midsommer will follow our performance. You can get tickets ($12-$15) via Opus 40.
The Goddess Party band is Erica Quitzow, Sarah Perrotta, Betsy Wright, Sarah Carlson, Shana Falana, Lysa Opfer and Jenn Anderson.
Today I enjoyed speaking with Heather Duke – who is one of the sparkly beings and co-creators over at the Center for Symbolic Studies. A non-profit with a mission to inspire nature-based spirituality, leading to personal growth and communal awareness. Founded by Drs. Robin and Stephen Larsen, inspired by the works of friend and mentor Joseph Campbell- The Center for Symbolic Studies has been offering a window into the Mythic Imagination for over 30 years through seasonal festivals, Dream Workshops, sacred teaching by Shamans from around the world, lectures, and celebrations of art and dance surrounded and inspired by nature.
Heather talks about her own work in neurofeedback, dreams, Beltane and the Center’s other happenings, Vanaver Caravan, Wild Arts, nature and community. You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Later in the show I share my conversation with Daphne Fiori-Wood who is shaving her hair on April 29th to raise money for childhood cancer research with St. Baldrick’s. Research is hope for kids with cancer, but donations to find cures have been down since 2020. She will also be donating her hair to Wigs forKids!, wigsforkids.org, at the end of the event. Your gift will give kids hope, supporting the best research across the country, through the largest charitable funder of childhood cancer research grants. Cancer kills more of our kids than any other disease. Can you help? Thank you!
PAU Quintanajornet doesn‘t paint pictures. Pau creates worlds – open invitations to a journey into the beauty of Latin American influences and into the spheres of an artist, who with brushes, paint, ink, paper and wood, playfully turns her world inside out. The cleavage between cultures loosens up. From the friction between her Chilean roots and her German home she draws her own symbolism in bright colors and shapes which grows out of the ground like plants rising to the sky. Birds also occupy a large space in Pau‘s World: in her „cosmovision“ they symbolize free spirits of wisdom and peace, spreading their wings and coping with highs and lows of life.
Born in Chile and raised in the former DDR, Pau moved to Berlin at the age of 15 to broaden her horizons and find a creative outlet. She studied communication-design and illustration at the FHTW before taking off to South America. In Valparaiso, Chile, she recharged her batteries and set the course for her future. Falling in love with the Urban Art Movement and Artivism, Pau started to create her first wall pieces down South. Although she eventually returned to Germany, Pau would frequently revisit Latin America – her Motherland – her emotional home. During these returns, she might discover something new about her self or her art, socialize with other artists or improve her techniques. In the collective of the Artivists, Muralistas and Street Artists, Pau found birds of the same feather.
Over the last couple of years Pau has participated in numerous festivals and art projects around the world. These travels and interactions with the people around helped her to find a deeper meaning in her work and get more sensitive for different global realties. Inspired by the words of Pablo Neruda, “The murals are the books of the people “ she started a long term art project called PROJECT WALLFLOWERS in 2013. Her work is found on walls in Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Germany, United States, China, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile … . While Pau‘s walls are on display in public spaces, they are created with the permission of the communities. Her interest lies in sharing her art with people, not creating notoriety for her self.
Today Pau shares begins by telling us how art became the tool she was drawn to as a young person to help her emotionally as her family fled Chile as political refugees and the danger they faced prior to relocating to Germany. There’s no doubt that while her childhood was traumatic, it set her up for some profound perspective on who she is and how she wants to live her life. We talked about her becoming an Artivista and how it was the first identity that she claimed as her own versus it being imposed on her by others. We talked about the masculine and the feminine and how she connected with her own inner manifestations of those as she navigated heartache and learned to cultivate love in all she does. Inspired by this quote: “You also learn that there are real priorities and imposed priorities. The beauty of this lifelong journey is that you get the tremendous opportunity to get to know the real you with all its flaws and all its magic. I gain stability when I feel centered and reflected in my work and with the people around me.” We talk about how she established her own priorities and how she works to live them each day, including how this impacted her “Art World” and how she moves through the “Art Market.” She shared about her work Project Wallflowers, the Blooming Seeds, and #staywithhumanity. We end with a quick share on how she takes care of herself with her active life and how sobremesas are a special part of that.
Today’s show was engineered by Ian Seda from Radio Kingston.
For nearly 20 years, Lauree Ostrofsky has served as a speaker, author, coach, and communications consultant with clients including IBM, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Fodors Travel, Liz Claiborne’s domestic violence awareness program Women’s Work, and the Girl Scouts of the USA. I’m also founder of Hudson Valley Women in Business in upstate New York, and the #HugTour Movement.
She returns to the show today to talk about taking a pause and the permission needed to do so. She shares an abbreviated version of an important life transition that propelled her to where she is today, and then catches us up on where she is now, as a new step-mom and someone who needs to take a break from certain work obligations in order to keep the balance in her life and the clarity in moving forward. We talk about the difficulty in saying no, or taking a pause from something important as well as how she is doing motherhood differently by keeping some of her time and her things sacred to her alone. Finally she walks us through how she finds the “permission” to do difficult things and shares ways for you to find that for yourself.
Karen Ranney taught Early Grade Science, Kindergarten, and Pre-K for more than 20 years. She now maintains a little woods in the Hudson Valley. She gardens, photographs and writes for children every day. She thanks all the young children who observe nature, show curiosity, ask questions, and inspire everyone in their world. She’s written All About Leaves and My Hear Your Heart under her pen name Lea Utsira.
Today we learn about and visit Karen’s garden, and she shares about how and why she’s cultivating pollinator plants, how’s she’s bringing her yard back into a more native state, how she manages critters and poison ivy, and the two books she’s authored for young (and old) readers. If you want to reach out to Karen and talk gardening or pollinators, you can find her at email@example.com.
“So not every female human being is necessarily a woman; she must take part in this mysterious and endangered reality known as femininity. Is femininity secreted by the ovaries? Is it enshrined in a Platonic heaven? Is a frilly petticoat enough to bring it down to earth? Although some women zealously strive to embody it, the model has never been patented.” Simone de Beauvoir.
This seems like a good place to start. It may not be where we end because this is a big subject. One that has been studied and debated by many scholars and will continue to evolve as we evolve as humans and our society evolves as the collective of we humans. This discussion is not meant to reinvent the wheel or suggest that I have the answer that someone else hasn’t already shared. It’s not meant to suggest that this is the one and only definition of female, and that there can be no others. No, it’s really about establishing where my head is at so that you know where I’m coming from, so that we’re working from the same foundation in how we define the words that shape the work and the thoughts here.
Let’s start with some of the easier points. For our purposes, female is essentially the embodiment of the feminine. We’re using it as an adverb, not a noun. It does not mean gender although many women tend to embody female “characteristics” well, not always, but often. However, we all have the potential for embodying both feminine and masculine qualities and many of us already do. Yes, let’s look for opportunities to recognize and honor the embodiment of the feminine in a male body hoping that one day, there will be no need to distinguish between the two. So for the purposes of this work, this philosophy, this opinion, female is the feminine regardless of what it looks like or what shape it comes in.
But what does it look like? How do we know it when we see it? This is the real work. This is where things get difficult and confusing, gender lines get blurred and challenged and emotions get triggered when identity is challenged or perceived to be judged. So let’s start with something less personal, the female in nature. From a Chinese perspective, the female is yin, and yin is described as earth, passive, docile, slow, dark, cold, soft, moist, and consuming while the male is Yang and represents the opposite. In Chinese mythology, it is believed that the world went from being formless chaos to what it is today because Yin and Yang at one point became balanced with one another allowing for creation to take form. Today, Yin is always dancing with Yang, sometimes they are balanced and in equilibrium while at other times there is more of one than the other.
While women and men may embody many of their respective Yin or Yang qualities, it’s more complex than that because of this dance between Yin and Yang within everything, even ourselves and how that interacts with our actions and interactions as humans. When we think of the feminine as embodied in human form it is receptive, it welcomes with open arms, it is inclusive, it is nurturing and it is love. It is community, it is the great Mother, it is the greater good over the individual, it is peace. When we see the feminine in action, we see a bountiful existence for all. We see equality for all. We see life.
Being feminine means being gentle but not necessarily weak. Being feminine means taking care of oneself in order to best serve her needs and not just the needs of others or the corporation. Being feminine means tuning into all wisdom not just that of the analytical thinking brain. Being feminine means living in harmony with our surroundings recognizing that we are all one sharing in this planet and not extracting from these surroundings in an imbalanced way. Being feminine means being capable of empathizing in order to prevent the mutual damage of otherizing. Being feminine is creating, tapping into that creative flow, in all it’s many forms.
As the Tao suggests, it’s not Yin or Yang, black or white, feminine or masculine? It’s questionable that we should even be using the words feminine and masculine because of their origin. They grew out of a need to describe the traits that were generally observed to be embodied by each respective gender or even imposed on each gender. As the world changes and the concepts of gender are becoming challenged and possibly even obsolete, we may serve ourselves better if we understand the characteristics that were once assumed to be gender specific to be gender neutral and therefore requiring of new terminology. Maybe that’s the best way forward after all. Until that time, I’ll still be talking femininity.
Today I am joined by Melissa Hewitt, Mirabai Trent, and Jenny Wonderling from Circle Creative Collective to talk about their upcoming happening, BLOOM, and their ongoing work to build on their commitment of connecting and inspiring diverse communities by sharing and preserving traditional crafts and skills.
BLOOM: the Rebirth invites you to rediscover your dreams and your most joyous and authentic you. Step upon candlelit paths through interactive dreamscapes celebrating wonder and the fullness of spring. Join our visceral journey through the woods and be both witness and player on an exuberant full sensory experience where performance meets the sacred and celebration. This is avant-garde ceremony, breaking the bounds and touching pure magic as creativity emerges from the trees and forest floor, falls from the sky, and is illuminated all around you. It’s a spectacle, an inspiration, an awakening and an offering to the earth and our collective future. This May, meet magical creatures who will share wisdom, music, dance, and even bring healing. BLOOM is living theater wrapped in a prayer.
We also talked about their offerings Sankofa, Chrysalis for teens program, and their Craft Preservation workshops. It was a lively and loving conversation about their relationships to rebirth, joy, conscious living and connecting in community.
Hope to see some of you at BLOOM on May 28th or June 4th at the Stone Ridge Orchard! Remember to reach out to them if you want to help out or would like to request a sliding scale ticket discount.
Nancy Graham serves on the board of Mohonk Consultations and the arts council of The Lace Mill, where they live in Midtown Kingston. They have worked or volunteered for numerous nonprofits related to social justice, alternative media, theatre, film, and writing. Poet/writer/visual artist under the name Nancy O. Graham; actor under the name Noa Graham. Her most recent theatre project was Orchid Receipt Service, starring Asia Kate Dillon, at Theater MITU580 in Brooklyn, pre-pandemic. Most recent film project is a short called Elegy for a Glacier, about an environmental activist and her glaciologist daughter forced to face off about the construction of a ski resort in the Rockies.
Louisa Finn is a Hudson Valley native, whose mother was a member of the Quaker Smiley family of Mohonk Mountain House, and father a Russian Jewish pianist from the Bronx. She has spent her life thus far actively engaged in learning what it is to be human and to be herself. She works as a Speech/Language Pathologist and Reading Tutor, and clinical instructor at SUNY New Paltz. She is on the Board of Mohonk Consultations, where she serves as Administrative Coordinator, and Sky Lake Shambhala Center Buddhist Retreat. She writes poetry, and is creating a forest garden in her front yard.
Today we’re talking about Love and a myriad of related and thought provoking subjects. Nancy and Louisa share about their first memories of love and how they relate to the word which takes us into the realm of spiritual materialism, caring for others, and being a mother. The show is inspired by bell hooks and her writings on love and self love/self worth so we dive into self-love as Louisa and Nancy share their own process to love themselves better as well as how self-love relates to caring for others and being a woman. We then leave the personal towards the end of the show to talk about the public and how the work of Mohonk Consultations is cultivating love in its own way, bringing folks together to collaborate, lifting voices, and caring for land and others. We leave you with a call for your own definition or thoughts on Love. bell hooks herself seemed to have a few, “love is the action we take on behalf of our own or another’s spiritual growth…” “love is a combination of trust, commitment, care, respect, knowledge and responsibility…” So, what say you?
Thanks to Ian Seda from Radio Kingston for engineering today’s show!
Today I speak with Elizabeth Gross, an herbalist, bodyworker, meditation and yoga instructor, and end-of-life doula based in the Mid Hudson Valley of NY. Her mission through Selkie Medicinals is to provide optimal comfort and care to people experiencing major life transitions related to birth, sex or dying. Her services include prenatal Thai Yoga herbal bodywork, sexual health focused herbal consultations with a specialty in hpv and cervical dysplasia, and end-of-life doula care focused on abortion and miscarriage support.
Some of what we get to chat about today is the myth of the Selkie, masculine and feminine in the tantric tradition, the patriarchy, healing the patriarchy, slowing down, pelvic health and vulva gazing. Note, we do talk about men’s and women’s reproductive body parts!