11.11.14. – HEARTFOOD

by angeliska on November 11, 2014

Last night I dreamt I was getting married. Walking through a garden with tables set for a banquet, floral arrangements spilling over with bright orange berries and paper lantern flowers. Lights were strung from the trees. Everything was being prepared, made ready. The guests had yet to arrive. But the colors were all wrong, not mine. Everything was secondhand, leftover from somebody else’s wedding, but I’d agreed to make do. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? So much rushing around to do, and all alone, because I can’t see my fiance until we’re both standing at the altar together. I miss him. It seems wrong that we should have to be apart for all this madness, even for just half a day. I’m standing in front of a pair of priests in suits with my husband to be. I don’t know him. He’s a stranger to me (but I think he might be Frank Zappa.) The old men in suits, the priests, they can’t find the paper with our ceremony written on it. They dig through their suit pockets and get red-faced, flustered as we stand there stiffly, awkwardly waiting. After awhile, my bridegroom leans in towards me and whispers, “Hey – I love you and you love me, so how about we just leave it at that and blow this pop-stand?” He takes my hand and we leave the priests blustering, gobsmacked and we’re out the glass doors and I’m thinking – but we didn’t even kiss. We made no vows. The wedding party has been gathered out on the stone stairs below, taking photographs of themselves for some time. When we emerge, arm in arm, there is nothing but a stunned silence. I instruct them to clap for us, cheer, throw rice or ring bells, blow bubbles – something, for god’s sakes. They half-heartedly manage a hurrah, but we’ve already escaped. I think we might not even know those people, that they are possibly somebody else’s wedding party after all. I pause for a moment on the garden path to examine the ring on my finger. It’s made of gray and heavy lead and set with sapphires, inscribed with words I can’t remember. This, and the wedding gown I’m wearing belonged once to his first wife. The dress doesn’t fit me – it hangs off my body like a brocade sack, much too big. I wonder where my sisters are, all my ladies – surely they would’ve helped me prepare, done my hair, taken this awful dress in, told me not to go through with this thing. I wonder where everyone was. It seems we didn’t invite any of our friends or families. I feel like I’ve been swindled out of a wedding. I’m married now, Mrs. Zappa, apparently – but I wish we could have a do-over, because none of this seems right. My husband is a taciturn type, and not likely to put up with another wedding, now that we’ve just had one. There’s a finality to it – something I had wanted for so long, and now it’s done. The wedding as a thing, a seal on a canopic jar – but nothing like a long life, a long marriage. The actual work and joy of being together. I see my boyfriend down the way, and he doesn’t seem very happy that I’ve gone off and married Frank Zappa. I squat down in the dirt beside him to examine the impressive array of alien mushroom species on display in this garden. They look more like psychedelic jellyfish than fungi – glassy and swirling with an otherworldly sentience. Feathery anemones undulating inside shiny orbs like millefiori paperweights from outerspace. He pokes at one sullenly with a stick, making a hole in the slick, bulbous clear surface. It regenerates, morphs, comes back together bigger and better – healing itself like a starfish, growing new appendages.
Well hot damn, cactus friend. No filter needed for you, huh?
Cactus friend in my garden. No filter!
I wake up, and it’s 11.11.14 – maybe no surprise that my subconscious spent the night struggling to parse the anxiety of a wedding, given that I was supposed to get married on this day, three years ago now. Dreams are funny that way, showing us the ways our psyches are still preoccupied with certain subjects and scenarios. Trapped in a situation that you suddenly realize is all wrong. Marrying someone you thought you knew. I don’t really think about that part of my life all too often these days – or, I guess I try not to. It comes up, of course. But the way my dreams will hand these things over sometimes still shocks me. They hiss: Pssst. Hey. Hey, you! Did you forget? Does that scar still ache? Well, sure it does, if you poke at it like that. Conversations can happen in dreams that might never happen in waking life. Things can surface in dreams that can still make you hunch over your teacup at the kitchen table early in the morning, weeping helplessly over what was lost. I wanted to be married, so much. I wanted to belong to someone, to be part of a partnership, a team. You and me, baby. Together, we can handle anything. Me for you and you for me. I think I still crave that: the companionship, the connection, the surety of knowing that you have someone to come home to. I still want that, but I see it somewhat differently these days. The past few years have made me question deeply my own motivations behind wanting a partner. I realize now that there was something about that ring on my finger that symbolized the ultimate validation, proof that I was loved eternally, unconditionally. I think that there are maybe a lot of people, perhaps women especially, who secretly view being married as “winning” somehow. A golden ring won like a prize at the fair. It’s 2014, and yet – I think many of us still feel the imprint of a heavy weight made up of a thousand years of human history where marriage has existed most commonly as a financial, social and logistical transaction, as an institution where the worth of a woman was indeed based upon her marriageability. For most of us in the Western world today, marriage is supposed to be solely about love – not necessarily about our the wishes of our families, or security, society, money or children – and yet all of those things are still very much part of the story. There’s the idea that being married means that someone wanted you enough to pledge their life to you, to stand in front of god and everybody and say the magic words that would bind you together forever. I think about this a lot, especially when I am called to perform wedding ceremonies, as a priestess. It is not something I take lightly at all, and truly – the main reason I do it is because I would rather a couple have someone participating in their ceremony who actually cares about them and their union, rather than a blasé Justice of the Peace who gets their names wrong. In the Catholic church, when a couple wants to get married, they must go through a lengthy preparation process with their officiating priest. I think it can potentially take months, for discussion, answering questions, and considering deeply the proposal before them – which is: nothing less than eternity, in a religion where divorce is an extremely undesirable outcome. Even though I only have a sort of vague idea of what this process actually entails, I’d like to know more, and perhaps somehow adapt it for the couples who come to me wanting to get married. I think of myself, three years ago – and how I wish someone would have sat me and my (now former) partner down, and asked these penetrating questions of us – made us look clearly at what we were getting into, what we were truly asking of one another. I don’t think either of us actually knew. I want to believe that it was more than just the idea of marriage that bonded us then, but now it’s hard to see more than disparate points in the sky where our lines once met, intersected. What we were to each other is now a constellation whose true shape has been forgotten. The dots still exist on the map, but the roads connecting them got washed out over time, and after many storms.
Cleaning and dressing altars for fall. Bringing in happy-home-hearth-heart-harvest-hella blessings!
One of the biggest things I’ve learned from all of this, is that in order for one to have a good relationship with anyone else – you must first have and continue to cultivate an extraordinary relationship with yourself. This is an ongoing process of learning for me – how to nurture and nourish that relationship with myself. I see now how completely I used to neglect it, and how it caused all my other relationships to suffer greatly in turn. More and more I understand profoundly how you really just can’t give what you ain’t got. We hear it all the time, how you gotta love yourself before you can love anybody else (can I get an amen?) but I’ll remind you that that is just the goddamn truth. So, I’ve been focusing on that more and more in my life – all the different ways that I can replenish the well, keep the fountain flowing. To not feel I need anyone else, to be validated, to be desired, to be a whole person. But just to be enough in myself – no matter what. Of course, we are creatures who are built for connection – we naturally gravitate towards the idea of a mate, a family, community. Belonging. It is an idea that is still hardwired into us as true survival. But it has to go further than the illusion of safety and comfort. It has to be concurrent growth, awakening, and mutual understanding. And this is where the real work comes in. For both individuals in a relationship to be actively and devotedly attending to the care and feeding of their own souls/minds/hearts/bodies – that’s what the work is made of.
“I ache for shared silence, not the awkward lulls in conversation where we reach for something – anything – to cover the tension of trying to be with too much of the other and too little of ourselves, but the moments of fullness that let each of us unfold and know who we really are. I long for silences with another where there is nothing to forgive or explain or justify, where we agree to abandon quickly spoken words for a time so we do not abandon ourselves or each other, the silences where no one asks me to choose between belonging to myself and being with the world. And when these silences come, I feel how I am working my way home through whatever they hold- terror or tenderness, grief or celebration – spiraling ever closer to a sweetness I have ached for all my life.”
May we find some shared silence today – where we are present with each other and whatever the silence holds. How sweet and intimate it is to be able to truly be together with or without words.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer from THE DANCE
Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” – Fred Rogers
This applies to self-love as well. To accept yourself exactly the way you are, right here and now.
And so to that end – I’ve been going inward, taking time for myself to do the things that feed my heart, that reconnect me with who I am. There’s this quote I read one day that moved me so much: “If you want to see the face of the one true love of your life – just go look in the mirror.” It’s silly, maybe – but it hit me that I’ve been searching for this love outside of myself desperately my entire life, and all along, the real love was here – always. There is one person who can count on to never leave you, never betray you, never deny you – but only if you will recognize yourself of being worthy of that steadfastness, that kindness, that generosity. To radiate that love inward, so that it can shine outward. There are so many ways to do this, and each person (hopefully) will find the different sources of that sustenance that is always available – but for me, this heart food is made of light, of quietude, of time to think and to create. I have been retreating to my studio to putter for hours, my happy place that receives the afternoon sunset through open curtains. Sometimes I listen to music, or sometimes just the sounds of grackles squawking in the cedar outside, motorcycles whizzing by, schoolkids chattering, the last calls of the cicadas. I clean my altars and light the candles. I cut zinnias from my garden and make bouquets, offerings. I give thanks. I anoint my wrists, temples, throat, heart with oils that make me feel strong: frankincense, ginger, black pepper, rose. I take tinctures, medicines made with love by friends: El Corazón Elixir and Passiflora Spagyric. I calm my rattled nerves and breathe deeply. I remember.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
Todos los santos.
Todos los santos.
Owl & Unicorn window in the tarot trailer.
Owl & unicorn window in the tarot trailer.
Making magic at Sister Temperance Tarot today.
For so long – years and years – there was a part of me that was hungry like a starving dog begging out in the cold. Pleading eyes and ribs jutting out over a concave belly, and yet – all the while I was begging for scraps in empty alleys behind long closed restaurants. Looking for love in all the wrong places. Barking up the wrong goddamn trees. It’s just true. You can’t expect someone to give you what they ain’t got. To finally come in out of the cold, to learn to receive love rather than just shiver and hunger for it. The question is: do you know how to feed yourself? Do you know what nourishment your heart craves? What’s the recipe, what elements, once mixed will bring you back to a place of fullness? Sit still and listen to what your soul craves. Feed yourself like a mother taking care of her child: gently, lovingly, tenderly. Do you want to sit at the table and draw? Rock in the hammock on a slow day? Sleep in ’til noon and dream? Take a four hour bath with your book? Eat chicken pot pie on a cold night? These inquiries, aimed within, are how we can begin. It takes some time to learn, but it can happen if you tend to it: this process of blossoming, heart-opening, self-honoring.
I cup my hands around a lit candle, warming my fingers on the glass.
I stand in the afternoon light, making wishes.
I go back to the source, call upon my ancestors, obscure saints, strange angels,
whoever might be guiding me, looking out for me.
I know there’s someone, something out there –
or I certainly wouldn’t be here now, writing any of this today.
Help me, bless me, guide me, show me. Lead me back to myself, back to love.
Listening to Judee Sill's Heart Food all day today. The cold front blew in early this morning, but I'm keeping warm enough in the kitchen.
Listening to Judee Sill’s Heart Food all day today. The cold front blew in early this morning, but I’m keeping warm enough in the kitchen.
Judee Sill, the Shockingly Talented Occult Folk Singer Time Forgot
“Down where the valleys are low, there’s a refuge so high
And down where the coldest winds blow, there the warmest winds hide
And deep in the forest of woe, sweet deliverance is nigh
And deep in the heart there’s a rose that a glimmer keeps guidin'”

– Judee Sill – “Down Where the Valleys Are Low”
Here’s a recipe for happiness, in the form of actual food (with many thanks to Miss Allyson Garro):
(this is good for gray mornings when you need some light in your belly)
Make some oatmeal on the stovetop (I like Irish steel-cut oats)
Add coconut milk
Dried coconut flakes
Butter, and a little salt and honey
White mulberries
Toast some raw cashews in a skillet
That’s heartfood, too.
Strait is the gate.
11.11.13. – MENDING
11.11.12. – INSTEAD


“…blossoming, heart-opening, self-honoring.”
You always have the right words.
And oh, oh, how I struggle with myself, my plump, snaggletoothed self. Looking in the mirror I am not always happy with what I see and who I am, but that is not at all what I want to reflect back upon the world and so I do work to change it the way I feel about myself -but it is oft-times a cold, lonely, aching road.
Sometimes I am still trying to find out what those things are, those things that that feed my heart, and that reconnect me with who I am. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am.
But I think I am closer now than where I was 3 years ago, 5 years ago, 15 years ago. It’s a process, isn’t it?
Thank you for sharing yourself, for putting to words, in your unique language of poetry and heartspells, what I know so many of us struggle with. We are all trying to find our way, to create ourselves, and it is so hard to go it alone.

by mlle ghoul on November 12, 2014 at 6:30 am. Reply #

i learn so much from you, sweet angel. and i’m so glad to have you in my life. thank you.

by lau on November 12, 2014 at 7:35 pm. Reply #

Merci, dear. I have never stumbled upon your Gazette and the fact that I happened to read THIS one at THIS time was the ultimate kismet I hoped for to lead me into my Scorpionic birthday weekend. The arctic and seasonal metamorphosis threatened to bring darkness and melancholy as a shadow over what should be cause celebre. This piece did so remind me of why and what and who I am to celebrate, so you are greatly appreciated.

by Alyssa Taylor Wendt on November 13, 2014 at 8:33 am. Reply #

Thank you for this. Much love.

by Logan on November 16, 2014 at 11:30 am. Reply #

It’s all SO TRUE. I didn’t realize this until I was 30. Also I didn’t realize what love really is until about 32. Some people never do. I never feel the need for outward love anymore. I LOVE it, of course, but I never got it until I didn’t need it.

by Lorra on December 1, 2014 at 9:51 pm. Reply #

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