I just finished some errands and was walking through the playground next to my house and decided to stop and admire some of the flowers. the weather is perfect out today. as I was taking photos of the flowers I thought, “wow I’m so lucky to live next to such a lovely park. how peacefu this place isl.” and then as I was exiting the playground I saw the police had pulled up in the alley next to the entrance and my mood shifted. I remembered an incident that happened in this park back in September.
it was a Sunday. I had spent all day indoors cleaning my living room and then I suddenly heard this wailing coming from outside. screams and wails are pretty normal in my hood, there are a lot of kids around, so I didn’t think much of it initially. but it kept going, so I looked out the window and saw two kids, one a preteen, the other a bit younger, both black. the older kid was exasperatedly trying to get the younger child to come with him but the little one was not having it. occasionally they would stop and talk for a second but then the screaming would start again. I assumed they were related based off how they were interacting with each other. it was a really nice day and there were tons of people in the park, mostly white families. no one else seemed to be engaging with these two kids but occasionally folks would look in their direction. it wasn’t really a look of compassion or concern. just looking. it went on for so long I finally decided I would go out myself and see what was happening. like, I work with kids, you know? my day job is at a high school and I also run a summer camp for elementary school students. if I can’t help these kids in my own neighborhood then wtf am I even doing with my life? so I went out in my head wrap and sweaty clothes, and saw at this point the older kid had resorted to just trying to pick up the little one, who was still screaming, and drag him down the street. and I said “hey what’s going on? why don’t you just let go of him for a second?” the older boy stopped for a moment and said to me tiredly but firmly, “I don’t have to listen to you.” and I said “you’re right, you don’t. but clearly he doesn’t want to leave right now and the way you’re doing this isn’t working. so what if we just stop and talk for a moment?” and so he did, I managed to get them to sit on the curb with me and chat. he told me it was his little brother, that they had been in the park for about half an hour, but when it was time to go home, he freaked out because he was in trouble with their mom, and he couldn’t play his video games. the kid was crying next to us and so I turned my attention to him and just asked him some simple questions, and he started to calm down. it didn’t really take much. just some attention. they told me they lived just down the street.
we had been talking for about 5 minutes or so when I turned around and I saw three cops walking towards us. “oh my god, why?” I thought. why? why? in a playground FULL of adults, not just adults, but PARENTS, did someone decide that calling the cops on an 11 and 7 year old was the appropriate measure for this situation. not ONE of these people, again, mostly white, made any effort to help them or see what was wrong. and I got them to be quiet after maybe 60 seconds of speaking with them. and why were there three police officers for these two babies? I could probably pick them up with one arm. I was so angry, so disgusted. that none of these people could see the humanity in these children enough to be able to just take one moment and just talk to them.
thankfully this story has a decent ending. the cops were polite enough and offered to take them home. I asked the two boys repeatedly if that was what they wanted, and the little one said multiple times and firmly that he did. I guess he hadn’t developed a fear of the police yet. because I was afraid. I was afraid that I would have to die to protect those kids because grown adults are such racist cowards that they can’t take the time to help the children who live in their own neighborhood. they weren’t threats. just kids who didn’t know what to do with themselves. people in power use the police as weapons against black and brown people. in 2018 there is no way to feign ignorance about what can happen to a black life when a police officer is around, no matter what the age.
I don’t have anything insightful or loving to say about this. I haven’t seen those kids since that day. I hope they are healthy, I hope they feel safe. all I know is that my work is to protect and support kids like them. and I will do that by nurturing, not policing them.
I am so grateful to be a guest on Lindsay Mack's beautiful podcast, Tarot for the Wild Soul this month! Deeply honored to be present with one of my greatest teachers in an intimate conversation around accepting my intuitive nature, the cards that have both guided and stumped me, and releasing painful habits around addiction. Check it out here!
I'm pleased to announce a new offering, Tarot for Empowerment, an invitation to self-reflection and transformation through the tarot! This is meant to be a way for folks who are new or intermediate tarot readers to learn more about how to use tarot for personal and spiritual growth. Tarot for Empowerment is a series of live webinars that will kick off with a three-part workshop on the Major Arcana. Each 2-2.5 hour session takes place Sundays July 15 - July 29 online via livestream so that participants will be able to engage and ask questions. The course is $45 for all three sessions and recordings will be accessible afterwards.
July 15 - The Fool through the Chariot
July 22 - Strength through Temperance
July 29 - The Devil through the World
If you feel called to join me for this course, you can snag your spot by purchasing through my Square page. Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tarot for Empowerment course is the intellectual property of Alia Ra'naa Walston
Today is the eve of mother’s day, on an Aries moon, the same as my own mother’s natal lunar placement. My mother’s a 30 minute drive away but I won’t be seeing her tomorrow. As I have mentioned on my posts on Instagram before, it’s been since August since I’ve seen my family. Besides one very healing conversation with my brother this spring, I haven’t been in communication with any of them since December. Me breaking off from them was the catalyst to so many death experiences I have been moving through over the last year. I have died countless times since I began my soul mentorship with my teacher Michelle Sinnette last March. The death of the me that embodies the name Walston has been the most deep and life changing.
I’ve been through many of the phases of mourning of the passing of my relationship with my mother as she and I know it. Grief is not linear. And my mother took up a lot of space in my world, both emotionally and energetically. I rarely questioned her role and power; it wasn’t until just a few years ago that the realization that our dynamic might not be healthy slowly unfolded in me, creeping about at a snail’s pace. And then, last year it ripped open in a series of bright, blinding lights as reflected through the powerful and sacred mirror that is my mentor.
When I think of all that I have learned about the nature of relationships and the soul through the deep internal work of reflecting on the pain of my relationship with my mother, I am in awe. My mother has been such an incredible, potent, powerful teacher. But on an emotional level, I feel betrayed still. And when I dig deeper into that feeling of betrayal (and that’s all it is, just a feeling), I see myself bare. I see that I am angry at myself for wanting to be loved. I am learning how to open myself up to love.
It may feel unfair to hold mothers to such a different standard than our fathers. We expect so much from womxn. We expect the world. And it’s because womxn carry the burden of the world, in the ecstatic and in the pain, and all that is in between. When we feel stifled or denied by our mothers, it’s almost like she’s not allowing us to be born. And yet here we are, as we live and breathe. So what the fuck are we even doing? we might say. Who are we? What are we?
I am learning how to forgive my mother. She loved the way she knew how and the way she was taught. I agreed to the way she loved me. I asked her for it. This is not victim-blaming; this is taking responsibility for the wonder of what we have created together, this harrowing dance towards enlightenment. Me not forgiving her is me not forgiving my own confusion surrounding what love is. It’s me not forgiving me for the way I have judged myself and hurt myself.
My mother was my whole world, warts and all. When I don’t forgive her, I am saying, How dare I love her blindly? How can I forgive myself for feeling like a fool? A fool? For loving my mother? For being a child in awe of she who birthed me into existence? The absurdity of feeling is revealed so perfectly in this understanding. Why did I allow myself to let another dictate the boundaries of my world? Because that is the lesson and nature of being human.
How do I allow myself to truly be willing to receive love?
Love is availability, vulnerability, a willingness to learn and evolve through both hurt and happiness. So I am taking the time to learn it. I bow to my mother and all mothers. I lean in to hear the whispers of their hurt. I hope to find the happiness there too.
I am currently moving through the medicine of my monthly cycle. It’s a painful one this time, and while I know part of that is related to diet choices over the last few days (so hard for me to resist fried foods when this time comes around), in general I actually really like having my period. When I separate myself from the narrative of PMS-driven bitchiness, I actually find joy and peace. I like the pain, I like the weirdness, I love the excuse to be really really human, messiness and all. When I find myself complaining about it, it is a good opportunity to for me to practice and appreciate several modes of understanding:
This morning I had a utopian vision of a world in which we all honor this sacred part of our life cycles. In which we all acknowledge that there are men who bleed, and women who cannot. A world in which those who do bleed, can let it happen freely. we would let our blood flow and stain our clothing and sheets and seats and chairs and instead of feeling shame or embarrassment in this moment, we would stop in wonder and awe, and divine our truths from the blood patterns that emerge.
I’m a Scorpio, I can’t help myself.
I’m excited to share a recipe for a soothing and delicious tea to help with the pain and irritability that comes with blood flow, but also keeps you moving because we have jobs and lives to tend to! You might have some of these herbs sitting in your kitchen already. Many health food stores carry bulk herbs as well. If you're feeling serious pain, don't be ashamed to use medicine like ibuprofen too! It's great to use folk and pharmaceutical medicine in tandem with each other. They both provide great assistance.
Tea for soothing menstrual symptoms:
Combine all ingredients in tea infuser, french press, reusable tea bag, etc, whatever you have available. Pour just boiling waiter over herbs. Let steep for 20-30 minutes. Strain and drink. Enjoy several cups throughout the day as needed.
I’m thinking about Chikesia Clemons and trauma, and where we go from here. I’ve seen a glimpse of the video of her being attacked by the police but have avoided watching it otherwise. there’s research and articles that confirm that black folks in America are living through PTSD collectively. then what does it mean to have to our trauma broadcast over and over again?
the stories are pretty much unavoidable. for the most part, I have chosen to not watch the videos anymore. I made this decision in July 2016 when the back to back murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were broadcast. they made me think back to 2014 and watching the video of Tamir Rice’s execution. I remember I was sitting in the back seat of my dad’s car as he, my mom, and I were going grocery shopping for Thanksgiving. while my parents chatted about the state of black folks in America in the front, I quietly pulled up the video for the first time. I watched it over and over again; the time between the officers pulling up to this little boy among the snow and the moment of his execution was so brief, that I had a hard time processing what I saw. something truly broke in me then. I had for such a long time been inclined to cynicism and pessimism, but I don’t think I was really ready for something like that, a 12 year old shot dead in an instant. as my parents paused in their conversation, I said to my mother, “I just watched the video just now. do not watch it. I do not recommend looking at it.”
and yet through this despair, I naively felt certain that something would be done, justice would have to be served for this child. not because I believe in the American justice system (I did not then and I do not now), but because this was a baby. and it was so blatant. as the months and years passed, I kept watching other videos, more examples of state-sanctioned murder, thinking that I had to stay informed, that I had to keep up, or else. or else what? I don’t even know. I had to feel like people saw it and recognized the injustice and the terror of it. this was real, this was happening, and if I take it on and absorb it, and scream and cry and protest about it, then….
it’s been almost four years since Tamir Rice left this plane of existence. what has changed?
when we share videos of black folks brutalized by the police, we publicize them because the public must know. they are pleas for help, for recognition, for humanity, for justice. but sometimes I imagine the other side of that, and wonder who else is watching? is this entertainment for them? does it reinforce the worldview that black folks are property to be put down when they are too much trouble? does Trump and his ilk jerk off to this shit? indeed, sometimes I feel like the videos are only masturbatory for our society, a way for our oppressors to get off with their rage, defensiveness, and racism, before they then get off legally, time after time.
I no longer watch videos of my people being murdered and abused. I’m not talking about being ignorant, escapist, or putting the blinders on when it comes to acknowledging these disgusting blatant injustices. I’m talking about redefining our understanding of ourselves for the sake of our liberation. so I feel compelled to question, what are we really inviting into our energies, hell, into our DNA, when we as a collective watch state sanctioned murder happen to the marginalized, over and over and over again? what comes next?
I can’t plead for my humanity anymore. I can’t make myself feel like I have to actively absorb the pain of others so that we can be saved. there has to be another choice, another way to live. I have to focus on providing folks the tools to not only survive this seemingly endless onslaught of torture but ways for us to thrive through it all. so I wanted to post this to make it clear that if you don’t see me posting about Chikesia Clemons and Brennan Walker and Stephon Clark, embodied souls and those no longer with us, it’s not because I don’t care. it’s not because I don’t mourn. it’s because the only way I know to be whole is to help other people navigate this fucked up world we created. the only way through this is to heal. I have to help call in another way to live.
please read the original post, linked below, on my cat before you comment! I am not looking for advice or tips on how to train my cat. I am looking to find him a loving new home. please respect that!