On Magic and Artifice ...

"I live halfway between fantasy and reality at all times because I choose to, and anyone can choose that, and I believe that everyone has something so magical about themselves, and why, as a society, are we so afraid of magic?  Why is magic synonymous with artifice?  Why is the fantastic synonymous with a lie?  If art is a lie, then I will tell that lie every day until it's fucking true."

- Lady Gaga, on Magic and Artifice

That bit, right there, is why I have become a Gaga fan.  The idea that it's possible to take the things that I do, magick and shamanism and walking between the worlds, and jiggle it a little and apply it to pOp, to the grand gesture, to glitter and dancing and bright lights and still change the world ... that is POWER.  Say what you will about Ms. Germanotta, but I chose to say bravo!

Today was a quiet day, my second day or rest after the kiratn beating.  I slept late again (and had an interesting dream where I was explaining The Mysteries to Nicole) before having a long breakfast chat with Bug about my ongoing changes.  I then spent a few hours up in The Icebox, organizing some books and reading the Gaga / Stephen Fry interview in the Financial Times, referenced above.

The heart of the day ended up being the five hours that Bug and I spent redesigning the Starseed website.  Obviously nothing is working yet.  This is just a flat image, done in Photoshop, and there is still much designing and coding yet to be done before our September launch, but honestly ... we hit it out of the park, and far surpassed anything we've ever designed.  What do you think?

After doing work like that, it always feels like playing with the house's money, so to speak, so we enjoyed a quiet evening afterward, with E in the garden before late dinner and then a couple of episodes of The Doctor.  Now it's time for bed, and I think about youth and age, about deep space, and about masks, always masks.  How do I make this one I wear work for me ... ?


Once Again, Above The Mighty ...

It's super late, and super deliciously icebox cold up here, and I should go to bed, but first, here are today's top stories.

With the central air finally fixed (oh, did I not mention that yesterday amidst all the bowing?!?) and my entire body exhausted, I slept until almost 11, which I never ever ever do anymore.  I felt bad accepting E's offer to cover the desk at the 'Seed for me, as it ended up being a real energy suck for her, but it was the right thing for me, as I was able to hold onto to the sweet vibe from yesterday.

After a late breakfast, we decided to take a Memorial Day ride, but not before stopping in at the 'Bucks and chatting a bit with a few of the boys that E works with.  Eventually, we made our way to the Thruway and up to Poughkeepsie, so we could walk over the Mighty Hudson, which I wanted to make sure I did before leaving.  That river is one of the things I'll miss the most when I'm gone.

It was a hot day, especially in the Standard Icarus! Outfit, but once we got out over the water, there was a breeze and we made a T.A.Z.  The shot above is from where we stood, facing South, for about an hour.  Always so much magick at the Mighty.  So many years we've been going there, and it never fails to provide.  Dear Mister Cole and Mister Durand and Mister Seeger all knew that truth so well.

Sadly, the breeze did not follow us off of the bridge, so though we had a lovely coda of a drive down to New Paltz, we did not get out and walk the hill.  (Besides, not going to the Inquiring Minds Bookstore would've been waaaaaay too difficult.)  So we headed home contentedly and got back around 9, and it's been as quiet and gentle as it gets around here ever since.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Off to bed, then.  Good night.


Bhagavan Das Part Deux ...

When I was asked to play drums for Bhagavan Das back on New Year's Day, life was so very, very different.  The Solstice Salon had only been a few weeks before.  My Muse was there cheering me on, settling me down when I was nervous, like she used to do.  I was months from even having the thought of becoming Icarus.  Just under five months ago ... might as well be a parallel earth.

Today, at Yoga Basin in Asbury park, I was given the chance to do it all again, in this new life.  After the success of the last gig, I was a known quantity to Kali and Mr. Das, and they were much warmer towards me.  (Not that they were nasty of lousy or anything last time, mind you, but now we weren't strangers anymore.)   It made for a really great vibe, and the music was that much stronger because of it.

Reggie had a great setup for this event.  That room of hers sounds amazing, which I already knew from playing there with Lisa, and we had a production assistant and I had my own dressing room and the whole bit.  Even though these people are becoming good friends of mine, they treated me the same as they treated Kali and Baba, which is to say, pretty much like rock stars.  It was quite nice, as you might imagine.

The afternoon workshop was considerably longer and more intense than the one we did in Montclair in January.  Maybe it was because he was more comfortable with me, but there was A LOT more singing and playing, in addition to that kick ass chakra balancing meditation, which was just as cool the second time around.  What was supposed to be 2 - 5pm went 'til almost 6, and I was quite beat up, with half of the proceedings yet before us.

As is my way in this sort of environment, I needed to get off site for a little while, just to remove myself from the very heavy energy that the faithful create during his performances.  Many of the people who come have very physical experiences (arms waving, eyes rolling back, etc) and while I feel like I have the best seat in the house, seven hours of this uninterrupted would be a bit much.

So out I went to the streets of Asbury Park.  It was Memorial Day Weekend, of course, so it was fairly busy, but I got a table at Old Man Raffertys pretty quickly.  Eating alone is odd, as is the attention I get from waitresses, but public Icarus just smiles and rolls with it.  What is a little harder to just roll with is the attention I get from the faithful.

Mr. Das is not just a singer to these folks.  He is a guru, passing on secret knowledge.  Though it's not my path, I feel the power coming off of him and it is quite impressive, make no mistake.  I guess what happens is a bit of guilt by association, for lack of a better phrase.  Three or four times on my break, I ran into people on the streets, and every one of them started bowing at me ...

The question is, how do you allow these people to have their experience, their trip, while basically saying "Ixnay the owingbay!!!"  My solution was to play it cool, to gently tell them, "No no no, I'm just a kid from Jersey, just like you.  There's no reason to bow.  Let's hug instead!"  They didn't seem entirely convinced, but they did stop bowing, and I was able to have nice little conversations with everyone I met, though they did still have a bit of that starry look in their eyes.

Since the food at Rafferty's was not as agreeable as the wait staff, I stumbled into a deli right on Mattison  for a quick sandwich and soda.  The two guys who ran the place were almost as flirty as the Rafferty's girls, which basically tells me that my Jack Harkness powers are working.  They made me a special bacon and egg on a bagel even though they were on their dinner menu.  Yeah.  That'll do just fine.

I was running a little late getting back, and I must have been quite a sight walking into a yoga studio / organic juice bar with my can of coke and bottle of ibuprofen.  Getting through the growing throng to my dressing room was a bit of a challenge as well, but Jeff took care of me and got me settled in.  I did shake hands and have a few more hugs (and one more bow) from people who were at the Montclair gig, and they all recognized me, despite my quite different appearance.

The evening portion was a full house, and the energy was hot, and once again he went deep and long and well over the projected three hours.  About an hour in, every bone in my body started screaming at me.  My hands and arms, of course, but also my back and my knees and my neck and, honest to god, even my ass was hurting.  The gig went spectacularly well, yet again, but it was a real challenge to not let on how much pain I was in.

When we were finished, Kali, Baba and I shared a few more hugs, and they asked for my email address, so we can have direct contact in the future.  They also said they wanted to pay me this time, which I thought was a very kind gesture.  It'll be a pleasure to see them again and play together one more time, three weeks from tomorrow at Starseed.

After talking to a few more of the faithful, and getting gushed on by Reggie, I made my way back onto the street around 11pm.  Walking to the car, I was just bombarded by music from every direction.  What a great music town Asbury is becoming again!  Right across from where I was parked, at a place called The Trinity and The Pope, a band was playing a heavy rock version of Seal's "Crazy" that was so awesome I had to stand in the door and listen.  Daaaaaamn.

I drove down to Avon and called home while I walked along the mostly deserted boardwalk.  To have the place to myself, especially after Wednesday, was such a gift, and it really helped ground me in my own magick and tradition after a day spent visiting elsewhere.  I was tired, and the drive home felt long, but I was happy, and felt like things are continuing to proceed according to plan.


"Shut Up Icky!" ...

I was sitting in Starbucks yet again this afternoon, when one of E's more outgoing co-workers uttered the title of this entry.  For some reason, known only to her, this girl uses Shut Up interchangeably with Hello.  Strange, to be sure, but oddly validating, as this means that after E's recent explaining of our situation, I am now (insert C3PO voice) a part of the tribe.

It should be noted, also, that Nicole here is not the first person to shorten my serious mythological name to Icky.  That honor goes to Reggie at Yoga Basin, and to my knowledge the two of them have no knowledge of each other's existence.  Dear god ... are more people going to figure out that Icarus shortens to Icky???  So much for my serious, dashing public persona ...

: )

I hadn't been planning on going back to Starbucks, since I was just there yesterday, but there was some rather noisy landlord activity going on in the basement all morning (yet the central air is STILL not fixed) and it made me feel more jumpy and vulnerable than I have since the heyday of the parent problems.  I was just grateful to have somewhere to go.

After spending the afternoon at the 'Bucks (during which I had a long chat with Bug and watched about half a dozen Ray Kurzweil videos about The Singularity and related topics) my heart rate still hadn't slowed down, so E and I went for a ride, which ended up surprisingly but not surprisingly at Seven Lakes Drive / Bear Mountain / Perkins Drive.

Motion is still the only thing that helps me, like rocking a baby when it cries or something.  Being in beautiful places is helpful as well, as long as there is motion involved in getting there.  Sometimes, in places like that, I wish I could stay forever, but of course, one must come down off the mountain and face whatever is at the bottom.  Lousy, but true.

The vibe in the house was very tense, again, when we got home a little after nine.  Rather than immortalizing it, I'll just say that I REALLY hope things with this whole landlord / AC problem get fixed soon ...


A Few Words From The Icebox ...

I am sealed in the front room of The Womb (the one with the drums) with the door closed and the little window AC unit making a blessed racket.  Though I am about two feet too big for the loveseat I have in here, I will be sleeping on it tonight, sore neck be damned.  I just can't deal with another damn night suffering down in the sauna.

Not a whole lot has happened since that last entry this afternoon.  I had my session with Jason, which was particularly validating.  In the evening, my shift at the desk at the 'Seed continued to be its recent suffocating self.  When I got home, we put in the AC and ate something and I had a shower and this entry is boring and I think I'll stop now.


On The Cusp ...

It is Thursday afternoon and I am at Starbucks and my mind is exploding and I feel on the cusp of a breakthrough of some sort, but I don't know if I have words for it.  I wonder if this is similar to what my dear N has been feeling on her 20th Path ...

Before I go on, a few words on those pics above.

Yesterday was a very difficult Avon day, as the heat and bright sun and proximity to Memorial Day meant that there were HUNDREDS of people milling about my sanctuary, doing the summer things that regular folk enjoy.  I always knew this would happen, but experiencing it was devastating.

Thank the stars for the silly little Swan Lake paddle boat ride!  The darkness was ready to consume me, and I was dragging my Anam Cara with me, when the miracle presented itself.  We started talking again, and laughing again, and the light kept the darkness at bay, at least for a little longer.

Before you knew it we were back along the sea, eating, reading, watching the sky turn the right shade of blue for a while before the pinks and purples began their song.  Most of the interlopers went home by that time, and I could almost pretend that Happy Cove was mine again.

Unfortunately, the air conditioner situation at home meant coming home to a third straight night of suffocating heat and humidity.  (At least for this Fire Spirit, anyway!)  Since I'm barely sleeping, it was easy to get up and bring E to work, paving the way for these last few interesting hours.

I've started reading The Invisibles again, and as with all good works, I'm seeing new things, new resonances, in light of how my life has changed.  This is example #1 of not having the words.  When I read this story, and I see myself in the different characters, I just know what I feel.

I am more than this intense sadness.  I am more than this all encompassing darkness.  I can use these things, but not in the context of how things are.  If I am to have any future at all at Starseed, I need to remove myself for awhile.  Mercifully, June 23rd is coming up, rapidly.

If I am to ever feel comfortable again, I will need to address our living situation when I return.  The status quo with the landlords, with the nosy neighbors, with everything feeling broken and dirty and so terribly small, is simply not sustainable.  New Year's Eve will be seven years.  It's time for a change.

I finally got around to downloading that amazing Tarot HD app for the iPad.  Taking a Chaos approach, I just started throwing cards.  No ceremony.  No fuss.  Just throw and react.  The first spread was a four elements thing.  The second was past present future.  The third, not surprisingly, was a Celtic Cross.

It's strange, but despite the non tactile nature of the whole enterprise, I felt closer to the cards than I have in years.  I'm feeling like I want to dance with them, in ways I've never managed to.  All that being said, I admit to being a little freaked out by the 9 of Swords showing up as the last card ...

So much more I want to say, most pointedly about shapeshifting and my deep gut feeling that I am not done with TL yet, but the words are not quite there, and I have to get to Jason's anyway.  More tonight, then.


Wisconsin & Paris ...

It's late, and it's about 80 degrees up here in The Womb.  I am wide awake and I want to read every book in here all at once.  Some nights are like that.

Today was extraordinarily bipolar.  After easing into the day with E, I had my monthly doctor appointment.  After discovering that both my weight and my blood pressure are through the roof (which should surprise no one) my doctor and I had another in a long line of deeply insightful talks.  I was able to talk freely about my work and my regeneration and everything.  What a marvelous ally she is!

Neither E nor I wanted to go home, so we drove down to Bridgewater Mall, where I hadn't been in years, and walked around a bit before having a bite to eat.  (During the walking, we stopped at Bridget's Irish Cottage, and it hit me like a ton of rocks ... I'M ACTUALLY GOING THERE!)  After we finished our lunch, we got into my second big discussion in as many hours.  Some days are like that.

I'm not really sure how to encapsulate what we talked about.  It was so big and so so personal.  But basically, it came down to reassuring each other that no matter how much things are changing, we will always be home for each other.  (The title of this entry is how she described herself and I, respectively, at one point in the discussion.  It's better than my other title, "A Life In Food Courts"!)

Neither one of us wanted to close the circle, but I had to get to work, and in fact ended up squeaking in the door with only about ten minutes to spare.  Normally Tuesdays are Muse free, but I suppose she is cramming to make her class quota before graduation.  Once again, she would not come down to sign in, and once again it hurt me deeply.  At that point, I couldn't even bring myself to go upstairs and count the class in.  It's time to go.  It's really time to go.

After I got home around 9, and after sharing my despair with the Lovelies (ain't you lucky you get to be around the private Icarus???) Bug went to bed with yet another migraine, and E and I totally phoned it in and had popcorn for dinner while watching National Treasure.  I truly do not feel guilty one damn bit.  Some nights are like that.

A bit of The Invisibles, then bed.  Maybe.


I Wish I Could Tell You ...

I wish I could tell you that the peaceful vibe from the Healing Circle followed me into today.  I wish I could tell you that I was as connected to my dear, dear Lovelies as I was yesterday, when I was able to put my sadness aside and be present for them.  I wish I could tell you about all the great things I accomplished today on my day off.

But then I would be lying.


A Tender Gift ...

The story of how difficult it has been for me to perform my shamanic duties these last few months has been well documented.  If this had been a third straight back breaker, I think I would have refrained from torturing you all with the details.  Mercifully, it was anything but a back breaker.

There was such a gentle, nurturing energy threaded through tonight's Healing Circle.  With eleven participants (plus the four team members) it was a perfect size for an intimate gathering; neither too big nor too small.  Even getting a late start setting up (due to SSYTT running late) didn't derail things.

Jason, Brian, Kelli and myself all seemed to have our "A" games, dishing out the healing modalities while allowing ourselves (mostly) to drink up the reciprocal healing vibe coming off the tribe as a whole.  It goes without saying that it was by far the best of the three ceremonies since my Muse and That Dear Boy left.

It's been so so difficult, doing this work without them.  Never do I miss them more then on Circle days.  As I always do, I brought my love for them into the work, and held the space, in the hopes that we might all work our magick together again one day.  That hope gets dimmer every day, but I always keep it close to my heart, nonetheless.

Now, of course, it is my turn to leave for a little while.  I will miss the rest of the Team, of course, but honestly, I am so worn out from my heartbreak and my changes that three months off will be very good for me.  Especially with the excitement that was generated tonight when we talked about the Institute, I want to be at my best come September.

So this is the memory I will take with me on my pilgrimage : of a peaceful, cozy circle, of the kind souls who chose to spend an evening with us, of a shamanic team finding its groove, despite absences that can never really be filled.  When I tell my story to the new friends I make, I will be able to explain to them, "This is why I do this ... "

Thank you, My Lady, for this tender, much needed gift.


Soul Rejuvenation In The Tomb ...

I'm down in The Tomb, 3/4 of the way through a slower than usual Sunday, reconnecting with an old love : 60's soul music.  It started with Ben E. King, then started moving around through Solomon Burke, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, Aretha, Otis, Sam & Dave, Booker T, etc.  It went backwards and forwards a bit, touching on Doo Wop, Motown, and a few things from the 70's as well.

I think this is related to the singing thing I've been feeling lately.  These are all songs for singing, and the topic is often love, which terrifies me, of course.  I'm finding a strange comfort in them this morning, though.  I feel oddly detached from the fact that she is right upstairs, that she tore my scab off again.  I'm just hearing kindred spirits in these voices.  What else is there to sing about, anyway, really?

Last night's sunset at Sandy Hook Bay was as beautiful as it was tense.  If I had written last night, I would have gotten into specifics.  This morning, with this music playing, with so much still to do tonight, I don't want to revisit those feelings.  I'd rather just bake some bread, play some chess, and sing the future into being.

One month from tomorrow.  I just have to get to one month from tomorrow ...


A Rare Afternoon at the Bookstore ...

I'm actually writing this on my Pad, but I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get it into Blogger, since there doesn't seem to be a dedicated Blogger app.  Oh well, I'll worry about that later.

It's so interesting, the things that get your attention sometimes.  I'm sitting here on the upper floor of the big Barnes & Noble in Paramus reading the new issue of Vanity Fair.  Katy Perry is the cover feature, and there are articles on Prada's new Venice digs, the New York City Ballet, Blenheim Palace, a few political things, a few celebrity things.  It kind of feels like Rolling Stone with a shiny gold finish on it.

Why am I reading this?  Why is this interesting to me today?  Is this just another manifestation of getting comfortable in the Icarus costume?  Probably.  Does Icarus seem to have fancier tastes (despite the still limited food palette)?  It seems so.  So I read these things and think about my James Bond future (minus the killing, of course) and wonder what how these kinds of new preoccupations will manifest.

On a more normal note, whatever that means anymore, I'm also sitting here with the long awaited fifth book in Neil Peart's fascinating series of travel memoirs, Far & Away, and the new Everyman Library selection of Emily Dickinson's letter that I mentioned the other day.  This is the third time in three days I've come across references to baking bread.  (This article in particular has me thinking of it as a spiritual act.  Must explore this further.)

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my dear Lovelies, out having their dance performance at the little Fun Fair.  They both looked great in their outfits this morning, and I wish I could be there to be proud of them.  On a related note, the PBT had a wonderful gathering last night, 'til the wee hours as always.  It was nice to find that I could still be me in that setting, even though "me" is such a slippery proposition these days.

Enough for now.  Back to Vanity Fair.  Sheeeesh!


Random Thoughts From A Busy (Internal) Friday ...

It's Friday afternoon.  The PBT will gather around the table in a few hours (well, most of us, anyway).  It feels like it's been awhile since we've been together.  Time continues to move funny, things blur together.  It'll be three months soon, since everything changed.  Some days it feels like much less, some days much more.  Wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

Yesterday moved slowly.  I spent a decent chunk of it at Starbucks, using their slow internet since mine wasn't working at home.  It was nice, out of the corner of my eye, to see E in her native environment, being the welcoming, light filled kid that she is.  In the evening, I went to work, and yet again, my Muse went out of her way to avoid me.  Breaks my heart every time.  Truly.

My head and heart have been so full of motion since waking up this morning, even though I am still sitting here with bed head and no pants on after 4pm.  (Depression is a bitch.)  Amy called to check on me, and I've shot a few letters back and forth with Brian, and I feel blessed and lonely all at the same time.  Why can't I find peace in my solitude anymore?

There was a bit of something in the air, just a bit, a little before noon.  I heard a new tune from Tim Bowness, whose voice I adore, and watched a video about a cartoonist I'd not heard of who died recently.  (The fact that she was a trans woman pushed all kinds of buttons for me.)  I watched a Daryl Hall webcast and was saddened to hear that T-Bone Wolk died last year.

The last tune Daryl sang was The Weight, and I found myself singing along, thinking again about how much I need to sing.  When I sing, I am not the public Icarus, nor the private Icarus.  I am not the words I am singing.  I am something else, in love with melody.  I'm not explaining it right.  But there is something in there.  Something I need to find.

Alright.  Out for a little fun.  More tonight.


Enough Fucking Rain Already ...

Oh, how it rained today!

Well, it's been raining for days, but I don't start to care until it threatens a Wednesday.  Then I care.  Then I get cranky.  Mercifully, there were two breaks in the constant deluge, around 1pm at Sandy Hook, and from about 4 - 6 at Avon.  This was enough time to walk around, to take some pictures, and to ground some of the ever present angst.

I've been dreading taking "press" photos for Icarus, as you might imagine, but with The Institute launched, and with Coilhouse set to expose Idirlion to the world any day now, obviously some changes needed to be made.  E was kind enough to take close to 40 pictures of this unfortunate, scowling mug, and I think we got two or three I can live with.

We ate Chinese food in the gazebo, sat waaaaay too late at the Perk and after a stop at the Windmill, didn't get home 'til around 1230.  Quite a miracle, considering the rain had me ready to phone the day in at around 3pm.  Thank you to The Lady, of course, for the miracle dry spells, and to the roiling, rambunctious sea for showing me what power and mystery are all about.


A Quiet Day ...

Today was a quiet day.  Mostly very slow.  Cool up in The Womb.  I got into a groove in the afternoon, listening to Tony Bennett & K.D. Lang and Bill Evans and Chet Baker.  I spoke to Amy for a bit, and was finally able to share with her the ending of The Muse story.

I went to the 'Seed for my usual Tuesday night shift, and Brian came to sit with me.  We talked about Institute stuff, Icarus stuff, and he reaffirmed yet again what a tremendous friend he is.  After I closed the office, we went to the diner and kept talking and it was grand.

Some days are simple.  Not many.  But some.  Ahhhhh ...


I Believe A Man Can Fly ...

I try very hard not to go on and on about sci-fi / fantasy / comic book stuff in here too much.  Though these types of stories have long served as some of the most potent metaphors in my life (this goes back to seeing Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back when I was five years old) I wouldn't want to bore everyone to tears with my geek acumen.  So despite the fact that I think about genre stuff pretty much every day, I mostly keep it to myself.

I think the last time I shamelessly went all out was when the Tenth Doctor regenerated on New Year's Day 2010.  Maybe it's something about endings that inspires me to break my silence?  I don't know.  Anyway, as you may have guessed from the picture above, Smallville ended a few days ago, after ten seasons, and E and I watched the two hour finale earlier this evening.  It was everything I could have wanted, from an ending that was also a beginning.

Despite my own darkness, or maybe because of it, Superman has always been my hero.  I got my first Superman comics from my grandfather, who died when I was seven years old.  He taught me all about Krypton and Ma and Pa Kent and the whole thing.  (He planted lots of seeds, that man.  Bless him.)  Growing up, I always wished I had parents like the Kents.  They were so kind.  Maybe I could've been from another world then too, y'know ... ?

I worshipped the Christopher Reeve movies growing up (yes, even the one with Richard Pryor) and though I missed large chunks of Smallville over the years, I've been watching this final season religiously.  Tom Welling grew so wonderfully into the role of Clark, and his relationship with Lois, played by Erica Durance, really struck a nerve, even before March.  It's been an awesome nine months getting reacquainted with old friends.

I'm not ashamed to say I cried a few times during the show.  The suit.  The flying.  The visions of Pa Kent (played by the still cool John Schneider).  For the second time this week, I was so glad to be a comic fan, and was grateful that the great characters always seem to find a way to be there for us somehow, no matter how difficult life may be.  Sure, two kids from Cleveland created him in the 30's, but something bigger than that stepped through.

Other than all of this, today was a ugh sort of day.  Mondays are always my home alone days, which doesn't sit well, of course.  Bug and I did manage to do a flier for the Institute in the evening, which turned out nice, then the three of us all scrambled down into the basement to do some cleaning, in order to avoid any trouble with the landlords.  It was tough work, but the result surprised even us.  Nothing like a fear induced deadline, I suppose.

Alright.  Enough for now.  Bed.


The Work of the East ...

I was just gifted with a beautiful poem, a private poem about the sea, which pushed the ache away for a few minutes, which is all one can really ask for.  Before I was gifted with the poem, I was reading about the letters of Emily Dickinson, and thinking about silence, which I need to learn to embrace again.

In all of my new bios, I say that Icarus is a writer, photographer, musician, shaman and chaos magician.  Though I do write in here every day, it's not the same as WRITING.  For me, writing has always meant silence and solitude, two old friends I am not currently getting on with.  All of my good poems come from that quiet.

I am stating the intention that on my pilgrimage, in addition to the music I will make and the photos I will take, I will create time for that silence, to become a WRITER again.  Maybe I'll bring back the three line poems.  Maybe I'll write a completely different autobiographical book about transformation than the one I think I am writing.  I don't know.

But sitting here on the floor, listening to K.D Lang, looking at the spines of all the books on my shelves, I feel something stirring, something that's telling me to do the work of the East, to make something useful of all this pain.  All the great poets have done so.  If I wish to be great, I suppose I should try.

I saw The Muse at work this morning, for the first time since her final rejection on Monday.  The pain and fear in her eyes hasn't gone anywhere, and it just keeps breaking my heart.  I simply can't take seeing her anymore.  She graduates in three weeks, I leave in six, and that will be that.  Obviously that's not what I want, but it's just so destructive at this point ...

(On a lighter note, speaking of destructive, we went to see Thor this evening, which was great fun, as all Marvel movies are.  Loki, in particular, stood out as being particularly compelling and realistic, from a certain perspective.  Huzzah for Kenneth Branagh, for taking the material seriously.  Makes me glad to be a comic fan.)

Alright.  Enough for one day.  Good night.


Cave of Forgotten Dreams ...

It's Sunday morning, and I am down in the tomb (errrr ... I mean the Starseed office) with a little time to write between classes.  I wish so much that I could have written last night before bed, but I was in such a state (in a good way, for a change) that what came out would have been barely coherent.

After spending the afternoon at Whole Foods with Amy, promoting The Institute, I was feeling very vulnerable about my new name being public.  I don't know why, but for some reason, it feels harder explaining this regeneration to people than the last one.  I really don't know why.

Heading back towards home in the late afternoon, I sank into a morbid depression.  Mercifully, E was into spending some time together, which led to our second consecutive evening of time spending, on the heels of Friday's walk around Packanack Lake after my Flame Shift.

We went up to PPP, which still feels like a novelty after eighteen months of sequestering.  We had a tasty dinner at the food court, then decided to go to the AMC to see a strange and wonderful film called Cave of Forgotten Dreams.  What happened next was amazing ...

We were both tired, and expecting an IMAX type film, full of inspiring vistas and uplifting music.  What we got was a mind blowing European exploration into ... I'm not exactly sure what!  It was beautiful.  It was existential.  It was downright hallucinogenic in places.

The avant garde soundtrack (mostly chamber music) really enhanced the experience, as did the fact that we kept falling asleep.  Normally you would think that would be a bad thing, or indicative of a lousy film, but no ... this was quite the opposite.

I honestly think this would have been awesome in the middle of the day, wide awake to the world.  I really do.  But seeing it (maybe feeling it would be a better description) this way felt like such a treasure, such a fleeting, magickal moment.

We drove home in a daze, wondering if this is kind of what people feel like when they are stoned.  Bug even told me that the message I left on her voice mail before I went to bed (she was out late herself) sounded like I was high, which in a weird way, was a good thing.

Of course, the best part of all this is that I wasn't morbidly depressed anymore.  Thank you Pal-o!  Thank you Werner Herzog!  Thank you long ago people from the past who painted that cave!


Flame Shift #36 ...

Finally, a productive Flame Shift!!!

After several lame Shifts in a row, The Lady finally blasted me with enough Fire to get through my ever present fog, at least for 24 hours.  Last night was huge, obviously, with the whole plane ticket thing.  Today was busy and inspired, a fair amount of it spent getting the brochure for the Shamanic Institute into shape.

She also helped me to make the final decision about my last name, which I've been weighing for weeks now.  (I never intended to be a single named individual!)  Her requirement was that it was Irish.  Mine was that is was super simple, preferably one syllable, to balance out the rather extravagant first name I find myself with these days.

As you can see by the amended profile to the right, Quinn fits all the requirements  It means wisdom, which is always a good thing to have more of, and for someone who likes to sign my name using initials, I.Q. is tough to beat.  And so, the process is complete.  Icarus Quinn will walk those hills, until such time that this form no longer serves.

What a strange, fluid life I lead.


My Wandering Times ...

It's possible, though unlikely, that long time readers of mine might remember a reference I made on March 9th (on my previous blog, actually) to My Wandering Times.  I was on top of a mountain, which is as good a place as any to have a crystal clear vision of your future.  It's taken a little over two months to make the vision a reality, but now that it is utterly and completely real, I am allowed to speak of it, magickally and shamanically.

On Thursday June 23rd, I will be leaving on a pilgrimage / vision quest / mad adventure to England and Ireland.  My passport got here a few days ago.  This evening, I got my one way ticket.  I have absolutely no idea when I will be coming back.  The Shamanic Institute begins on September 25th, so I suppose I will need to be back in time to prepare for that, but I simply will not put limits on this.  It's too important.  Maybe the most important thing I've ever done.

Do I really have to explain why I am doing this, why I need to go alone and walk the moors and shout at the wind and hear the stories of people I've only ever known in books?  Shamanism is about walking headlong into the unknown, into things that frighten you.  I've never been away from North America, never traveled alone, never traveled for even remotely this length of time.  Terrifying?  Damn right.  Exhilarating?  What do you think?

The places I will go are like something from a story : London, Oxford, Glastonbury, The Cotswolds, Devon, Cornwall, The Lake District, The Hill of Tara, Bhride's Well at Kildare, Donegal, Iona, The Outer Hebrides, etc etc etc.  I have no itinerary, no plan.  I will be light on my feet, the better to hear The Lady, the better to let the land tell me where my feet should take me.  Honestly, I can't even imagine what this is going to be like.

Clearly I will not be the same person whenever I do return, and that scares me.  (Nevermind the fact that I know in my heart that I won't really even WANT to return.)  Change does seem to be the prime engine in my life, though, along with shape shifting and the acquisition of power, so this adventure feels exactly like what I need to be doing right now, the culmination of this last eighteen months of insanity.  My god, I cannot wait ...


A Late Starting Wednesday ...

It was a late starting Wednesday.  I carried more than my share of melancholy with me to the sea, which was lovely and blue and full of life.  The horseshoe crabs were back at Sandy Hook Bay, where the seeds for my love of this area were planted one year ago.

The warmer weather means the return of people to the sea, which is difficult after seven months of deep quiet, but at least it means new places to eat are opening up, like TR's in Belmar, which had some rather interesting decorative touches.  Aliens FTW!

There was mystery at sunset. There is always mystery at sunset.  Such a pity I can't carry it with me, that it can't sustain me.  Maybe one day.


Four In The Morning, In The Womb, Alone ...

(This is the last of the three eaten posts.  I lost another comment on this one, about my photographs.  Grrrr Blogger!)

It's almost four in the morning, and I just finished listening to the stream of the new Moby album, Destroyed, two times in a row, uninterrupted.  What a beautiful, synthetic, melancholy masterpiece.  Though I love Mister Hall's dance inclinations, as well as his raiding of the Lomax collection, it's always his darker, softer pieces that lure me back for repeat listenings.  (The bonus ambient disc of Hotel springs to mind.)

While listening, I read a couple of very revealing interviews, on The New York Times and Quietus sites, where he talked about moving to Los Angeles and getting sober, among other things, and I found myself really connecting with what he was saying, though I neither need to get sober nor am planning to move to Los Angeles.  It's probably a good thing I've never been one for debauchery, though.

When I get down like this, when I feel lost and alone to the Nth degree, I think about places like LA, full of people like Gerard sings about in The Black Parade, the "broken, beaten and damned."  I can't pretend to be like those people.  I have far too many blessings despite my deep ache.  Still ... walking through a grocery store parking lot after work tonight, alone under the flourescent lights, I felt my own micro version of that.

It's funny to be thinking about desolation and concrete jungles, considering the lovely green wonderland I got to spend an hour walking through this afternoon.  E and I returned to the Laurelwood Arboretum, for the first time in a year and a half, even though it is ten minutes from the house.  The last time we were there, it was the day before the first frost of '09.  Today, of course, spring was in full bloom.

I can't move one foot in front of the other without seeing something I wish I could show her.  I suppose life is going to be like that for awhile, as I explore how best to go on living the kind of life I wanted so deeply to share with her.  A single flower.  A burbling stream.  "LOOK AT THIS", I want to say to her, "IT 'LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE".  But of course I can't, and it won't, so there you go.

I spent the afternoon at the salon, getting my hair and brows done (some things never change!) and was happy to connect with my pals there.  I had a particularly deep chat with Ali, about the public and private selves, and eventually shamanism came up.  I am always so careful talking about my work to "civilians", but there is more to her than I knew, and she is actually signed up to come to the Healing Circle on the 22nd.  Very cool.

The rest of the day was typical.  Chatted on the phone with Amy a bit, went to work from 6 - 830, took calls from T and Paulstro, who both were checking up on me in light of what's going on.  At home, I had dinner and we watched Game of Thrones and I've been up here since 1230, wide awake, wishing I were anything but.  I think I will go read a few pages of Coldheart Canyon, then try to get some sleep.


Goodbye Sweet Muse ...

(This post was also eaten by the big Blogger crash.  Luckily, I had a backup of this one, though I did lose two lovely comments, which I am still grateful for.)

It's just over an hour since that last entry, but this one deserves it's own space.

On Friday, I wrote what I thought was a very good letter to The Muse, to try to reopen communication between us.  I sat with it for three days, made little changes here and there, showed it to E and J, waged war within myself over whether I would actually send it or not, and decided that I had to.

Knowing that I had a day of distraction planned, I sent it off with a deep prayer just before Paulstro, Laura and I left for The City.  All day, I was aware that there was a good chance I would get a reply of some sort, and that life could change irrevocably as a result.  Well, I got a response, and it did change.

In four or five lines, she made it abundantly clear that she wants nothing to do with me.  Utter teflon, her response was.  A wall that is impossible to climb over or go around.  So that's that.  There is nothing more I can do, if she won't even engage.  I will not become a stalker.  I will also not get angry.

I guess she just becomes a character in a story now.  Those six months are trapped in amber : the Fripp concert and the big Christmas tree and the Solstice Salon and, of course, all the shamanic circles.  I would not be drumming without her.  I would not be Icarus! without her.  So I suppose I should be thankful.

But all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry for awhile, and grieve over things that are lost.


A Band, A City (Redux) ...

The original post that lived here was eaten by Blogger, in the great Blogger crash of May 11th, 2011.  It was all about the rebirth of my band Cyber Garden, about spending the day in The City with Paulstro & Laura and T, about sharing subterranean things.  It was about the joy of playing music again, the joy of singing, the joy of seeing T in love.  It was about meeting his new partner Flip, about walking along the Esplanade and eating at Izzy & Nat's one more time.  It was such an important day, full of meaning and resonance and hope and fear and a bunch of other things, and I am heartbroken that the original post was eaten before I could back it up.  But there's nothing for it, and I at least wanted to acknowledge its passing.


Ungrounded, With A Nice Ending ...

'Twas a moody, ungrounded day today.

I worked a few hours at the 'Seed in the morning, then was relieved by Amy, who came for teacher training.  After stopping at Callandra's for fresh rolls, I went home and had lunch with E, before heading out for a bit of a wander.

We ended up at Greenwood Lake, which as you can see, had a lovely mysterious sky.  We sat in Spider Gazebo for awhile, had a lousy snack at McDonalds, and drove around a little more before deciding we'd had enough, and headed home.

The best part of the day was as we were wrapping up a late dinner with Bug.  The three of us got into a big, meaningful, very open discussion, the kind that only people who have known each other as long and as deeply as we have can understand.

So much is changing in our lives.  Our family is in flux in so many subterranean ways.  Honestly, I don't remember the last time all three of us checked in like this.  It was not easy, the things we talked about, but something essential was conveyed, and it was grand.


Gig Day ...

For the second day in a row, I found myself turning onto Sylvania in the early afternoon, for an afternoon of rest and grounding.  As it was the first Saturday in May, with a bright sun shining, my formerly quiet paradise by the sea was crawling with people.  This was inevitable, I suppose, but I still liked it better when it was deserted.  Mine mine mine.  Down down down.  Go go go.  Miiiiiine.

After my usual walk up to the Pavilion then South along the shoreline, I went and got my chair and my book and my Pad and settled in at Happy Cove.  (The pic above, of course, is the view from my chair.)  It's always a good day when I get to spend several hours in that spot.  Today, however, I allowed myself to be more plugged in than usual.  It didn't ruin the vibe.  Not at all.

I chatted on the phone with Bug for awhile, then Lisa called and we got ourselves all psyched for the gig.  Then in a moment of psychic tomfoolery, I sensed the presence of That Dear Boy and figured he must've either written to me or blogged or something.  Sure enough, not a half hour before, he had written a big post, which screamed for a comment.

A short while after commenting, he texted me and I called him straight away.  We proceeded to have a lovely, long conversation, about his cousin and Bhride and transformation and the Shamanic Institute and probably a few other details that I am forgetting.  Needless to say, it was marvelous.  I miss him every day, and though calls and emails and Reiki shares are not the same as being in a space together, they do help.

Around 5pm, I needed to get moving, so after a stop for a snack at Yummy Yummy, I made my way to Asbury where, sure enough, there was again no parking.  I walked into Yoga Basin a little after six, and hung out with Reggie and Enrique while waiting for Lisa.  When she got there, we set up and before you knew it, it was 7 o'clock.

We didn't actually start the gig until around 715, as we figured people were having a hard time parking.  (Apparently, Lisa has Barbara DeWalt powers, though, which I need to take advantage of at future gigs!)  When we did begin the show, it was as lovely a beginning as I could have hoped for.  She led the group in three oms, and then on we went.

I already knew that she had a great voice, but what impressed me the most was her comfort on stage, and her ease with the audience.  She connected with them and told them stories about the tunes and was just top notch, especially for someone so new to being a featured performer.  My job was easy : just frame the tunes, support that voice, hold the space.  I'm good at those things.

The music only lasted a little over an hour, but our audience of 13 didn't seem to mind.  When it was finished, we were both happy, and in talking to a few people, it seemed we made them happy as well.  After Lisa left, I stayed and talked with Reggie for a bit, about Bhagavan Das and a few other things, before it was time for me to head North as well.

My little reward to myself was dinner at The Windmill, where I am starting to get to know people's faces, since emerging from my 18 month cocoon.  After sitting at the counter and enjoying my meal, I got on Ocean Ave, talked to my new musical partner one more time (who just seemed so happy about the whole thing, bless her) and blearily made my way home.


Dress Rehearsal ...

Well, that's not entirely true.  We didn't really run the show down, as if it were a show.  We stopped and made adjustments and made some last minute changes and tomorrow should have a little extra rocket sauce to it precisely because we are slightly less than prepared.

'Twas lovely to see Lisa again, as always.  Such a great spirit she has, willing to jump into the unknown.  We rehearsed this time at her apartment in Long Branch, as the harmonium is far too ungainly to move around.  She made me a potent cup of yerba mate, we chatted as we always do, and it was grand.

I went down early so I could have a few hours to find my space at Avon.  I also stopped for a short while at Pier Village just before rehearsal, and couldn't help myself as the sun was setting at Monmouth Beach as I was heading home.  Well, my other home, as I always say ...

The best part : I get to do it all again tomorrow.


Yaaaaaaawn ...

After another quiet night at work, Bug and I finally had our meeting with Amy, which seemed to go remarkably well.  (Though it was a pity that Raymond's wouldn't serve me the french toast in the evening!)  As long as she lets us get on with it, Starseed is going to have not only a sparkling new website, but also a totally new branding campaign, come September 1st.  Stay tuned ...

Other than the evening, today was a rare stay-in my-sweatpants rest day for me.  I woke up feeling that cold in the back of my throat / sinuses taking root, so I figured with the upcoming busy-ness, I better stop moving for a few hours.  I read, I listened to some music ... basically I just stayed in The Womb all morning and afternoon.  Yeah.  I know.  Yaaaaaaawn.


Feeling Other ...

Right, then.  There's the light I was looking for in those shots yesterday.  Ahhhh ...

'Twas a kind of intense day today.  Slow moving, lots of inner work, yet breathtaking in places.  Honestly, it took 'til about six o'clock for the wonder and mystery I look for on these wanderings to present itself, but when it did, well ... just look at the colors and textures above.  It was like hitting the side of a barn, getting those shots.

I'm exhausted, and I feel a cold coming on, so this short entry will not really do justice to the labyrinth of emotions I traveled through today.  So much of the time, I feel other, with no words to explain my otherness.  At least I have the sea on those days, and my beloved Avon, where those feelings matter a little less, at least for a little while.


North, With Discouragement ...

After the brief visit on Sunday, I didn't feel quite finished with the Hudson Valley, so Seven Lakes Drive, Bear Mountain and the Walkway Over The Hudson (which joins Highland and Poughkeepsie) were all visited briefly this afternoon.  (The light was lousy, but at least I had my good camera this time.)

Unfortunately, just before getting underway, I got a call from my boss / friend Amy to cancel (for the third time) our scheduled meeting to commence the web redesign project.  This really discouraged me, more than you'd think it should, and without getting mad or making drastic statements, it has me thinking about my future.

Dear god, so much keeps changing ...

Reiki share in a few minutes.  Better get to that.


A Day of Heavy Lifting ...

For once, I actually mean that literally.

I spent today helping my teacher Jason move house.  It was only a couple of blocks, from one side of Bloomfield Ave to the other, but it took all day.  These things always do.

A friend of his helped us for the first couple of hours, and we had some hired help with the furniture and big things this morning, but for about two thirds of the day it was just the two of us.

I've probably said it before in this blog, and I know I've said it to many of my dear ones, but having no birth family anymore, Jason has become like a father to me, which is really kind of amazing.

Doing this task with him all day, making my bones ache as they do, felt not only like the right thing to do, but it felt important, like something I should do.  I wonder if that makes sense ...

We talk so much at our yoga studio about service, and about giving back, but those are just words until you do them and find yourself understanding why you are doing them, and just breathing into them.

All the trips up and down the stairs ... All the sweeping and getting blisters on my hands (during a week when I'll have at least three musical encounters) ... Even up to the end, when I was exhausted, I was able to meet it all joyfully.

I'll never be able to repay him for what he's taught me, and that isn't the point.  But I can do things like this, in boring ol' consensus reality, to let him know I appreciate him.

I'm glad to say that he knows.

(A not unimportant PS to this entry : during the move, I got a voice mail from Paulstro, and HE FOUND T AND WE ARE GOING TO PLAY THIS WEEK!  Actual rock and roll, on the drum kit, on a stage in front of people, if we can swing it!  How desperately I've been wanting this, and after all these years away, it's going to happen this week!  Unreal, all the things are opening up for me since I regenerated again ...


Garrison, Paulstro & Possible Futures ...

After putting in four dreadfully slow hours at the 'Seed (and running into The Muse just as I was getting ready to leave) my day really got underway at 1230, as I turned onto the Palisades Parkway and headed North into the glorious Hudson Valley.

Up up up I went, with Spring springing all around me, up to Bear Mountain and over the bridge, further North still up to Garrison's Landing.  Having forgotten my usual camera, the picture above was actually taken on my iPad, which is a toy in comparison.  Still, I am pleased to have gotten the shot.

It was fun to sit on a bench down by the River, over by the gazebo, across from West Point, and use Face Time to have a video call with Bug.  To be able to be in one of my places, yet still connect so viscerally with home is something that will be quite useful this summer.

The whole reason I went up that far was to meet up with my band mate Paul, who was doing a workshop with Jean Houston up at the Garrison Institute.  He and his partner Laura invited me to lunch before they were set to head back down to Philadelphia.  I, of course, need very little arm twisting for things like this.

We actually ended up meeting at the Mount Ivy Diner, a fair bit back down the Palisades Parkway.  I hadn't seen them since January (the night of the Bhagavan Das gig, actually) and though they knew about me stopping my transition, they hadn't actually seen Icarus.

Their reaction was the same I always get.  (How are you?  I must say, you do look healthier.  What do we call you now? Etc etc etc.)  It's still so amazing to me to be surrounded by so many wonderful, supportive and loving friends, who are all really stepping up and providing continuity as the world moves too fast under my feet.

They wanted to hear the story, so in between bites of my inordinately late breakfast, I told them everything from the last two months.  I've been privately referring to the whole business as The Ballad of Mary & Icarus.  Each time someone asks me to tell the tale, it makes me sad, but it also keeps her close to my heart.

As important and heart opening as it was to share all of this, what meant just as much to me was when Paulstro started talking about playing music together again, and about tracking down our wayward third member and, as they say in The Blues Brothers, putting the baaaaaand back together.

Do I really think there is a snowball's chance in hell that he will find T, much less get him to commit to playing?  Hells no!  But at the very least, it will be wonderful to play with Paul again, after so many years.  Maybe we can improvise some things, maybe record a few things.

Still, I would love to get behind the kit and REALLY have a go.  It's been so long ...

Getting home after 6, Bug and I played with our Pads a bit, spending time getting to know Evernote and Flipboard.  When E pulled in around 10ish, it was so lovely to see her, especially after such a long journey (which I will let her tell you about in her own blog.)

I'm getting very tired, to the point of nodding off between the lines of this entry. To bed, then.