…the day I decided to marry my Spirituality. What a charm!

Original artwork, Owl and Monarch, Moon and Sun

Dedication: I dedicate this TuesDay NewsDay to Athene, Goddess of Justice. I intend to honor her in shining my light. There is no reason for me to hide it. I have been too concerned with worrying about others’ thoughts and less about how I show up in this world. No longer!! Athene carries upon her shoulder a white owl reflecting her clarity of vision – it can see and hunt in the dark. She was born from Zeus’ head after he tried to prevent her birth by eating her mother, Metis, Goddess of Wisdom. Can’t keep THIS one from shining her light. Nope. Her convictions are birthed from pursuit of truth and the recognition that there must be a battle to uphold truth with logic, diplomacy and creativity. Her weapons as gifts to the likes of Odysseus and Perseus always had to be used with intelligence, foresight and planning. She was chaste. She valued service over personal desire and put principles over passions – the mind has the ability to make choices upon reflection, mastering instincts. Athene blessed and “rendered valuable service to mankind. She taught the art of taming horses, and fostered skills and crafts such as weaving and embroidery. Her activities were concerned not only with useful work, but with artistic creation as well.” She nurtured warriors who protected peace. (Quoted and paraphrased from the Tarot card Justice of the Mythic Tarot, by Juliet Sharman-Burke and Liz Green) I pulled this card today in a “present-time” spread which threw my jaw to the ground and kept it there the whole time.


Song: Cakewalk – by Taj Mahal – (One of my favorite songs of all time and reflects how good I feel today. ❤ “Throw your big leg over me mama, I might not feel this good again…” (But I will. Promise)

Dear Humans: Wow. What an insane time to be alive! What a blessing to see all the ruckus going on in this world – the bravery and passion of people standing up in the streets against police brutality and racism. Bigotry of all kinds! Your time is up! Your number has been disconnected! Your mother has just arrived at the party and you’re being pulled out by your ears while drunk on the power you thought you had, but you don’t. Not anymore! It was an illusion! Of course, I know it won’t go down without a fight. The fight is coming. I feel privileged to be part of it.

I feel grateful to be a teacher in these times. I feel honored and blessed to have a voice, a platform, and musical and artful proclivities. Thank you to all of you out there who have gifted me with your love and support (financial and the gifts of your time) through all this. Musicians the world over are having to get creative, even more-so than before, to make ends meet. I’m so glad to have my teaching job (though teachers make pennies compared to the work they do).

This week, as mentioned before, is the beginning of my 30-day yoga challenge. Today is day 5. After I finish writing this, I will be doing my next video. (Yoga By Adriene – look her up on youtube. You’re welcome) I’m so proud of myself. That is not something I have said very much… reflecting on my life. I am exercising healthy boundaries, discerning what feels good and doesn’t, and exploring how to ease into things that feel difficult at first.

Have you ever challenged yourself to do something you’ve felt guilty for NOT doing for years? This time, I wrote down my dedication (see two blog posts back if you want to read it). I deduced WHY this objective and goal is important. In order to show up as the passionate and compassionate singing teacher warrior I know I can be, I have to make sure the vessel in which I occupy is healthy. I have to make sure my Spirit is healthy. I have to re-parent the little kid inside me who is afraid of failing, who is angry at injustice cause she knows how that feels, and who wants to play and make art all the time (she never got to really play and was always older than she should’ve been growing up). Right now, for the first time, there is beginning to be integration between my body, mind, and Spirit. Holy cow. The Tarot spread I had today basically described my current situation to a T. Here’s the story I read from those cards:

I am the young adventurer on a mission with a vision (2 of Wands). The vision is the King of Wands who has mastered the power to manifest vision with creative imagination. I am supported by Athene (Justice card) and need to devote to her my honor – she is the Spirit embodying my self-knowledge. Her chastity gives birth to artistic creativity in service to the greater good and fostering peace with ethical implementation. I know who I am and have the potential to be through her wisdom and devotion to truth and justice. This vision is possibly blocked by choices of the flesh and perceived worldly power over my Spirit. (Lovers card – reversed). I am making choices in real life – at this moment I am choosing Lady Justice – my values are being tested. I have a choice between love or a sacred, creative activity at this time. I believe Love IS my sacred, creative activity now. Every time I make art, seek out truth and teach my students how, and when I work for justice, I am praying a literal prayer of activism and devotion. At this time, I must look carefully at the implications of my choices in the past. Heartache, physical pain and ill heath are old love. Creative Spirit is new love.

I must wait in my romantic relationship realm (The Hanged Man) and make the voluntary sacrifice for my own best interest (to see through to the achievement of this vision). After the Wheel of Fortune’s challenge of fate, I must use the lesson of the Hanged Man, understanding and willingness to put trust in the Unseen – knowing there will be anxieties yet, also knowing it will all be okay. I must marry my Spirit (10 of Cups). This decision augers ongoing emotional contentment and permanence in the realm of the heart. Psyche marries Eros; gives this creature wings to fly. I will withstand any challenge offered by Life. I no longer need to hide my Love. I can let my love light shine. Take heed, (7 of Pentacles reversed) I am making a choice. I can either reject something Divinely inspired or choose security and safety and risk mundane perpetuity. This decision comes to every person who attempts to manifest creative energy. Also take heed, (9 of Cups – reversed) REMEMBER that everything has been done up to now in loyalty to your inner feeling values. This moment is fulfillment of your wish – self-validation, from your commitment to your inner-development. Do not forget how far you have come. This is a reward for your efforts. You may find yourself underwater, but remember and be grateful, you can still breathe, magically, and despite the odds.

At the heart of my journey lies my biggest inner strengths, resilience and positivity through chosen, constructive nostalgia. (6 of Cups) Through turmoil, I have the capability to be at peace with myself. I am cultivating that power at this very moment. From hardship, there are positive, good memories for which to be grateful and from them I gain knowledge of myself. There is stillness and serenity in the lessons of the past and I choose that serenity and stillness, that solemn honoring which sprouts from life’s disappointments and pain. From those experiences, I have the capabilities to move on with resolve and reflection.

Believe in your vision enough to try, these messages say clearly. Firmly grip the fire of imagination and go forth with the hands of Spirit and Love at your back and the temple of Justice upholding you from below.

Present time spread, The Mythic Tarot

This week in pictures:

Focus…. 11:11

Message found on another protest poster. On point.

Protesting safely…
Are you the only one who can resist fascist liars? NOPE! Be a leader!

Pepita’s preferred yoga position… cat

After dancing in circles outside in a downpour and eating blueberries…
Morning joyful walk
Mmmmmm crunchy sunflower butter and bloobz on toast…
Shift in perspective…

Upcoming gigs: Next Tuesday! 8:30 Livestream on Insta and Facebook (my FB anitalorrainemusic page)

Written in 2018, this author’s posit reminded me of a book I have been reading by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi’s explains that racism, at it’s heart, is a form of self-interest. (Get a copy How To Be An Anti-Racist: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780525509288 )

Elad Nehorai, the author of The Philosophy of Selfishness is Destroying America, discusses selfishness in a (mostly) objective tone. “…in order to get what we want, someone else must pay a cost. And vice versa: if anyone else gets what they want, it comes at a cost to us. …This is the philosophy of selfishness. A person gaining in society must inevitably mean the fall of another. The gain of women will, must, come at the cost of men. There is no other outcome, for this is the way the world works: there are winners and there are losers, and if you are not the one winning, then you’re a loser.”

In his book, How To Be An Anti-Racist, Dr. Kendi explains that it is not ignorance and hate that give rise to racism, it is rather, the opposite. Self-interest fuels racism which gives rise to ignorance and hate.
Racism was constructed and is maintained to perform a purpose, that purpose: a tool to maintain power. Therefore, self-interest, at the heart of racism “sparks ignorance and hate” and we must combat it with hope and to treat it like the cancer it is.
Nehorai goes on to explain, “Obama’s election, and the subsequent cultural and economic rise of blacks in America (think: Black Lives Matter, and the backlash), sent a message: minorities are rising, and so white people will soon suffer. Whatever negative economic effects were happening in the white, rural and suburban worlds had to be because of the rise of another group. It could not be structural issues like education, it could not be issues of their own, it could not be their lack of diversity. It had to be the rise of others.

This is the philosophy of selfishness. And it’s one that has been bred in Americans since its creation. To build the country, it had to be on the back of slaves. A philosophy so deeply ingrained that it took the deadliest war in American history to simply begin to break the idea that whites could only prosper when they treated others like animals. Worse than animals.
And so those committed to the opposite.. of enhancement of what makes humans great: our interconnected nature, our ability to do great things when we work together… either don’t realize or don’t care that they’re actually hurting themselves. To them, it’s impossible to imagine a world where others’ success also means their success.”

This article was written in 2018. The next excerpt, I am wondering, if we have seen the beginning… what do you think?

“…And so, at some point, be it now or later, there will be a reckoning. One where the sufferers rise up and take back their dignity, or one where today’s “winners” become tomorrow’s losers.
But ultimately, like Pharaoh, it is up to them to decide how it goes. Because no matter how many times we repeat this story, the ending is always the same. And always will be until the final ending: the day all men and women are free.” by Elad Nehorai

** FILE ** In a Feb. 28, 2007, file photo comedian George Carlin opens the 13th annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colo. A publicist for George Carlin says the legendary comedian has died of heart failure at a hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., Sunday June 22, 2008. (AP Photo/E. Pablo Kosmicki/file)

The world is in upheaval (COVID, police brutality, White silence, literal lynchings in the streets…) more than I have ever seen in my lifetime and I’m a bit overwhelmed by it. Some days it’s all I can do to make coffee, feed the cat and scoop the litter box. The rest of the time, my eyes are tired from staring into a screen abyss of politics, activism, hatred, inspirational, revolutionary moments in time for us social justice warriors. My teaching job is exclusively online now also. The screen is the new daily norm. I’m also heartbreakingly bearing witness to those who are clinging to the banks of the river of change and they seem like dogs who have also been chained, but by their own illusions of superiority. I believe deep down they know the difference between right and wrong – humanity from hatred – but they’ve never been able to access it for a vast many number of oppressive reasons.

White supremacy and power is an imposed bigotry system. It gives poor White people the notion and perpetuates the belief that they are in some way superior to people of color, regardless of how poor they may be. People of color were perceived to have been (or deserve to be) dominated and defeated, enslaved and incarcerated. White people in poverty do not have the slightest clue that they too are incarcerated in an insidious way, by their own ignorance and subsequent hatred, by a system which benefits by feeding them White supremacist lies.

Poor White people are fragile because deep down, they know the experiences of all Black, Brown and Indigenous people of color are indications of grave sins committed by White power. Even if they haven’t consciously tapped into that notion, they are fighting to save what little they have in an effort to maintain a sense of their own right to exist. They have been convinced, over time, that their lives mean something more than Black and Brown people, because they aren’t “getting into trouble”. They are kept from the truth of the thin line which keeps them safe, but only in the moment – until they can’t pay for their cancer treatments, they lack the money to buy their children what they need, their car breaks down and can’t be fixed, addiction kills a family member, they lack true protection from police even if there is sexual abuse or other atrocities in the home, they lack the ability to save their children from dying of diseases which could be treated with access to money. They have no idea that the color of their skin makes all of this heartbreaking reality just a little bit (if not a lot) better for them. President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Poor White people are, in all senses of the term, appeased. They are complacent and comfortable enough to swallow the messages of their racist and bigoted churches, their right-wing news commentators, they’re whispering racist coworkers or military regiment brothers and sisters, their parents’ or grandparents’ “generational” ideas about race and gender inequality…

“By most accounts, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 couldn’t have become law when it did had not LBJ personally wheedled, cajoled, and shamed his former colleagues in the House and Senate into voting for it. One of the secrets of his success was the ability to speak the racially insensitive language of his fellow Southerners. (For two decades in Congress he was a reliable member of the Southern bloc, helping to stonewall civil rights legislation. As [biographer Robert] Caro recalls, Johnson spent the late 1940s railing against the “hordes of barbaric yellow dwarves” in East Asia. Buying into the stereotype that blacks were afraid of snakes (who isn’t afraid of snakes?) he’d drive to gas stations with one in his trunk and try to trick black attendants into opening it. Once, Caro writes, the stunt nearly ended with him being beaten with a tire iron.) He (Johnson) understood them (Southerners). He understood their reluctance and in some cases downright refusal to tear down the walls of racial segregation. He knew racism from the inside, and he knew well the role the rich and powerful played in promulgating it.” (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/lbj-convince-the-lowest-white-man/)

My point in all of this is in attempt to say this: those poor White people who believe themselves to be superior to Black and Brown people of color are imprisoned by their ignorance and inherent privilege. This is poor White people everywhere – Southerners are not alone in this. They are blinded by the imposed class structure so much so that their struggles, financial and otherwise, are not seen. Therefore, their reality is not shared with minorities who have similar experiences, but theirs are even worse comparatively and statistically. Poor White people can’t imagine giving up anything in order to allow for Black and Brown people to come forward because they don’t have anything to give – that they can see. This is why the argument of privilege is so unpalatable. They do not see their own struggle in those to whom they subjugate. They are systematically prevented from feeling empathy or understanding. It is impossible for a White person to understand what it is like to be a person of color. I struggled with this specific concept in my own experience in developing an anti-racist praxis coming from a working-class, poor White family. At one time, when I was around 2-3, my mother, father and I lived in the back of a beat up Grand Torino. I was sexually abused and physically abused as a kid and young adult. I knew hunger, neglect and I hated/feared police because they never saved me; they didn’t put my abusers in jail… if all this is part of my identity, then what do I have to give? I had (and continue to have) a lot to learn is all I can say.

The insidious nature of racism cannot be understood by someone in terms of privilege if one does not see their own yet, it can only be taught relationally, the process and idea of imagining oneself in someone else’s shoes. The sacred concept of critical thinking isn’t bestowed upon people who go to public schools. “You may have experienced all those things, but you’ve never been Black.” says a White, anti-racist advocate Alice Sarti. What an amazing way to put it, how simple, how understandable! Knowing deep down that Black and Brown people have had no stick at all, instead of the short end, that’s the part Poor white people got. This concept is simply and finally understandable. Poor White people can only understand the privilege of their existence through the example of relationships. Somehow, honoring Life (not just White lives) has escaped the awareness of hateful, White supremacists. That a Black person’s life has value, or a Lakota has the right to this land or the Guatemalan or Mexican person is a human being has been intentionally manufactured as unrecognizable realities.

I see a way to begin this conversation with someone. It starts by making a relational statement, as I did with my grandmother on Sunday. “Put yourself in the shoes of George Floyd’s mother, his grandmother. How would you feel to watch that happen to him? What if he was your grandson? Imagine little Kevi (my nephew, her oldest grandson) under the knee of that police officer and even worse, remembering intrinsically that your entire family knows it could’ve been one of them on the ground that day. That’s how prevalent this kind of violence and police brutality is for the Black and Brown community. Imagine seeing little Joey’s face (our youngest nephew/grandson) sticking out from under the police officers knee and recognize that it happens all the time. If this had not been filmed – there would not yet be people of all colors outraged in the streets.”

White people had to see it to believe it. Even though we’ve seen it before, somehow, thank God, there has been a breaking point, emblazoned by technology and the Black and Brown community saying “We will take no more. Our lives matter too”. Imagine that Maw Maw… Then I read to her statistics about disproportionate numbers of Black and Brown people in prison and she asks “So they’re not just getting into more trouble, they’re being met by racist system?” “The system which teaches cops”, I added, “by design or inadvertently, explicitly and implicitly, that Black and Brown people are more dangerous and therefore deserve to be targeted.”

Yes. I had this conversation with my grandmother after she said this: “Please don’t misunderstand me and think that I am intentionally being prejudiced (or something like that), but shouldn’t all colors be included? They (Black Lives Matter) should change their slogan to ‘all lives matter.'” Our conversation was civil and respectful. My grandfather, sitting to my right, seemed a bit less enthused about my perspective and was quiet for much of the conversation. However, when I told them about the White professor asking her mostly White class to raise their hands if they would want to be treated like Black people in the United States. I explained that no one in the class raised their hand. Then I shared that the professor then asked, “What are you all doing about that?” My grandfather retorted, “Sounds like she’s just an agitator.” Sorry Paw Paw, looks like you’ve got an agitator for your granddaughter… I love you.

In the end, I think my grandmother began to see what I was explaining. I asked her several times, like the teacher I am (she was also, for 32 years), “Does that make sense about George Floyd’s grandmother and the prevalence of police targeting, brutality and institutionalized racism?” “Yes, it does.” she said.

Photo taken by author 2015, Selma, AL

Article from 2012: https://www.thetimesnews.com/20120928/the-ongoing-fight-against-racism/309289731