The card for the week is the Queen of Cups! Practice becoming quiet and observing, and putting your own emotional needs first.
Today's update is a brief because of the holidays - I've been busy housesitting, petsitting, and plantsitting all over Los Angeles, in addition to my normal work and travel. This week's update is coming from Glendale where I am staying for the next several days, while watching a french bulldog named Sailor.
Apologies for the camera quality - the light has to be just right for the Macbook Air camera to not look pretty grainy, and I just missed the natural light I wanted to capture.
Hope your week is going well! Take care of yourselves, loves!
Moon rising in the Organ Mountains, New Mexico
I am molting in this long night
what is dry and old is falling
what is cracked and lifeless is gone/shedding
because I am in bloom
I emerge from these leavings
refreshed and vibrant
I emerge renewed
Spell by Alia Walston
I don’t know about you all, but I am feeling a lot of feelings today. I ask myself how can I let go? How can I continue to rise through my challenges? We are molded by the hard times, yes, but how can we also learn through gentleness? AKA when can we get a break?
This year has been a big one. Expansive, yes - it felt like being cracked open, over and over and over again. Not knowing what might come out of that exposure, but reaching for the light anyway. Trusting that the dark holds love for me too when I retreat into it.
Today is the winter solstice, our longest night of the year. We honor the darkness, while hastening the arrival of the sun by lighting candles and fires. May there be peace that you find in the stillness. May there be renewal that you find in the light.
Here is a simple spread for tarot or oracle cards - we will pick just 3.
1. What am I leaving behind in the darkness?
2. What am I welcoming into the light?
3. How can I claim my Divine Authority?
Question number 3 comes to me upon reflection of our upcoming Emperor year in 2020 - bowing to the Divine Masculine and trusting our ability to work with its energy, while doing no harm. How can we step past our fears of authority and responsibility to embody the power of this card?
Take the best care of yourselves, loves. Feel free to leave a comment below with any winter ritual plans you may have!
I lowkey love the winter holidays and the solstice. The invitation into peace and stillness, whether or not we choose to accept it, is always there. It’s an opportunity to allow oneself to rest, practice gratitude, do spellwork to hasten the arrival of the sun, and make room for the change that comes with the solstice and the new year. It doesn’t come without its challenges, of course - especially if you have difficulties with your family, organized religion, and/or capitalism (no big deal, right?). But this time of year is really about taking it slow, connecting with your roots, allowing release, and planting seeds for the coming light of spring.
I was very happy to be a guest on my friend Kate’s podcast Witchcast with her wonderful co-host and pal Emily, where the three of us talked Yuletide, the winter solstice, and finding meaning during the holiday season. You can listen to it through Spotify below or anywhere you find your podcasts!
Greetings from New Mexico! The state that lowkey I've been most excited to get to since I first started imagining this journey for myself. The beauty of this state does not disappoint, it is truly like being on a gorgeous alien planet here.
The card for this week is Strength! What a gorgeous companion as we move through the 12/12 portal that ends on the solstice on December 21st! Time to befriend our fears as we step into the new paradigm we've been asking for. The inner work we have been doing is finally materializing in the real world - so we are being asked to be responsible stewards of our dreams and leave behind any antagonism we have with ourselves, any language that belittles us. Strength will help us step through this threshold, this owning of our gifts.
Enjoy the medicine, loves! Have a great rest of your week!
A meditation on tomorrow’s Full Moon in Gemini. On breathing life into our inner flame.
After a 5 hour drive through west Texas as I left Austin, I pulled into the Walmart of the small town of Fort Stockton. Walmart has been considered a staple place of nomads around America for years. Many of their locations allow overnight parking for free, so you can find RVs, vans, trailers, and trucks parked all night alongside each other near busy interstates and in towns and cities across the country. I’ve spent most of my time in cities stealth camping, so prior to this particular evening I’ve only stayed in a Walmart overnight once before. I was eager to stop for the night on my drive heading to New Mexico - though in good spirits I was pretty hungry and ready to not have my full attention focused on the road. As I checked for a suitable place to park, my eyes looked across the lot and fell upon the most elaborate rig I have ever seen - I had to look at it over and over again to confirm that it wasn’t just a commercial truck towing smaller vehicles. Behold: an 18-wheeler cab with two ATVs stacked on the back, towing a large RV trailer with a Smart Car hitched behind, plus a satellite dish, two fans, and an AC on top. I’m talking…the works.
And that’s just what’s visible from outside! I took a video that I posted to Instagram so I would never forget this rig. I was in awe. I continue to be in awe. I kept rewatching the video I took. I kept sneaking peeks at it from behind my privacy/insulation curtain separating the cab and the camper area of my van. Then I would retreat back to my seat or bed, look around my comparatively humble little setup, and smile. Though some folks might judge the trailer owner for not “roughing it" or having too many creature comforts or for their perceived privilege. But I was actually stoked to see that setup. Not necessarily because that is something I want or need for myself - I went the white Sprinter van route for a reason - but because I love the equalizing effect of choosing to be nomadic, even if it’s just for a short period of time. I love that it’s possible that someone which such a, shall we say, EXTRA, rig is also just looking for any easy place to rest their head for the night. That they're sharing the same space with a person whose van includes a portable toilet that doubles as extra seating (lid on, of course) and streams TV on their iPad mini with a broken screen. And next to them is a cute Japanese style RV. And next to them is a couple with a pickup truck towing a 13 foot Casita trailer. And next to them is a person who is sleeping in their sedan. The road makes us all neighbors and a funny community of sorts.
This is even more exemplified in the ways that nomads intentionally choose to create community. Part of the reason why so many people choose to travel extensively or live on the road is because they like to do things their own way. You can go where you want, when you want, and you can take all that you have with you. No one to answer to. But even if you are a traveler and identify as a loner, there is still that desire for community and conversation, especially if you are mostly solo. And that’s what events such as vanlife gatherings are for. To cultivate community among a group of people that have intentionally chosen to live unconventionally. To celebrate our wild souls and create the human connections and friendships we all need.
There is a distinct leaning towards non-judgement, availability for magic, and conscious living among vanlife folks in particular (whose vibe can be a bit different than those who for example travel and find community within groups for people with vintage travel trailers, or retirees at expensive RV parks with uber-comfy rigs). I have had the great pleasure to meet some amazing fellow nomads at some truly special gatherings. The most precious one for me was my first, the New Orleans Vanlife Gathering, which I talked a bit about in last week’s intuitive update video. Organized by the luminescent Noami and Dustin of @irietoaurora, this gathering intentionally focused on environmental sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. This joyful event brought what many other fellow Black attendees noted was the most diverse group that they had ever seen at such a gathering. Opening with storytelling and a ceremonial blessing from Grayhawk Perkins of the Muscogee Nation, the weekend-long gathering included talks on mental health, Leave No Trace principles, and solar power, along with daily yoga and breathwork, plus a powerful panel on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It was a gorgeous weekend, full of sun, laughter, and new friends.
It was a real treat to hear the beautiful family of @themeditationbus share on the panel as they spoke to the spiritual principles of nonjudgement, while simultaneously acknowledging and reflecting on racial and economic injustice. They decided to move into a converted school bus after seeing the lack of empowering opportunities for home and land ownership for their community in their home state of Georgia. As they spoke, while I loved what they were saying, I also noticed that I felt a discomfort - they were speaking to a mostly white audience about something fairly huge: the spiritual fallacy of assuming the moral high ground for people who have historically been marginalized. It almost felt like - “Hey! You can’t say that in front of these people! What if they get ideas or take this the wrong way?” Because, I mean, this stuff is not easy to integrate - nonjudgement is one of the greatest challenges of ones' commitment to deep spiritual work. But it’s also one of the most rewarding. (Note: I hosted a workshop in Chicago last year on the revolutionary invitation of Judgement both in the tarot and as a tool for awakening radical acceptance. Stay tuned for an updated version of that coming again next year!) Of course, folks (of the privileged variety) might misinterpret the message - the signs of such are spiritual bypassing and declarations of color-blindness - but the evolved perspective recognizes that we cannot manage the feelings and prejudices of others. That this bypassing is not our responsibility to judge - it just shows where that person’s comfort lies and where they need to continue to grow, but not their worthiness as a soul. When we truly integrate that we are all One, we are also actively and consciously accepting that all we can do is choose to live authentically and in alignment with our values - values that promote peace, care and healing of Nature, and racial, economic, and gender equity.
Which is what makes vanlife so special. Living this way is a way to say no to the oppressive systems designed for exploitation and manipulation that we are brainwashed from birth into accepting, while simultaneously being able to create new worlds that cultivate genuine compassion, trust, sustainability, and communion with Spirit. Of course, not all vanlifers are necessarily consciously spiritually minded. I have attended two other vanlife gatherings, both in Austin, and spent days at a time after those gatherings with other attendees, people who I now count as friends. And through all of those experiences, I have seen how the intentional practicing of values of vulnerability and availability make this group and nomadic living special. I have found that many of the folks I have met in this community are deeply generous, exceptionally environmentally conscious, and very willing to accept new ideas and share them readily with others. I think a huge part of this difference is the intentional choice to be in community - it could be easy for nomadic people to just live on their own, and/or to perpetuate the same kind of territorial colonization that we’ve all been brainwashed to believe is simply human nature as opposed to deliberate structural violence. The folks that I have met, as flawed as we all may be, seem to genuinely want to cultivate a sustainable way for people to connect, learn from each other, and share joy together.
No one is perfect. And there are certainly plenty of vanlifers and nomads who are not as conscious or evolved on these issues. But it’s been really incredible to have communed with so many similarly-minded adventurers on my journeys. I am so grateful to be able to live this work of community and nonjudgement from root to crown - to live, speak, and breathe these insights everyday, whether I’m traveling solo or surrounded by friends.
Alia Walston is a traveling writer and intuitive making connections between the challenges and ecstasies of our evolution