Burning Sage and Other Life Lessons in L.A.
Living in L.A. earlier this year I was really exposed and amused by a phenomenon called “ The Silver Lake Shaman”. These are Palo Santo burning modern day “ witchy /vegan/yogis — ‘ a woman awash in natural light wearing a cocoon shaped dress in a shade of golden turmeric’ as described in the hilarious article “Hippies are the New Hipster” by @JenniAvins.
I’ll admit, I might be into some “New Agey” approaches to my personal well- being, ( I love matcha tea and can spend hours choosing juices at Erewhon), but L.A. does a pretty good job at exaggerating and commercializing everything and anything including spirituality. Shamans are practitioners that dedicate their whole lives to enter altered states of consciousness in order to interact with the spirit world and then channel these transcendental energies into this world, ( so no, they don’t live in Silver Lake, wear designer robes, or Dj at Burning Man).
In the six months I “ tried out” L.A., I must have met four girls who changed their real names to “ Shakti” or “Shanti”, and although I asked, I honestly can’t remember what they said they did for work, one mentioned something about placenta pills and gluten free donuts. Over there I learned about yoni steam ritual parties, howling to the moon, (naked in Topanga), blaming everything bad on mercury on retrograde, biodynamic wine (never attend a dinner in L.A with a normal bottle of wine, that’s a big no no), Moonjuice adaptogenic sex dust, and even yoga adjusting, (which apparently is a well paid occupation in L.A.).
Obviously I enjoyed many benefits of that sort of healthy beachy nature California lifestyle…I discovered the power of breath work, meditation, the joys of living with a yoddler ( not toddler) who microdoses and hence is “enlightened”. I learned how to compost, bathe in a forest, and learned to live a balanced life by juggling bulletproof coffee to keep my brain functioning in conjunction with all the CBD and fabulous MedMen products you can purchase from a tablet, legally in what looks like an Apple store cannabis dispensary. I watched movies in a Hollywood cemetery, learned how to make Kombucha at home, which basically smells and tastes like humid gym socks, and suddenly in no time, I was the one greeting others on my yoga mat with “hi there so do you journey?” I’d search all over Melrose for Rose Quartz facial toners and drive two very long hours for an aura womb healing workshop. In my search of self, I had turned into one of “them”, although I promise, yoga with goats was never an option.
I also spent a lot of time looking at art, visiting galleries, exhibitions, museums, and I came across the work of British artist @pennyslinger, who is known for her surrealist style of photographic collages, from the 60's and 70's. Back then her work touched on topics like sexuality, celestial creativity and mysticism, which were incredibly taboo or at least novel for the mainstream. The artist has described her work as a " map of the journey of the Self". She is also the mind behind the Tantric Dakini Oracle deck (1978) and ( of course) happens to live in California.
What more can I say but L.A. is very much Good Good Vibrations, but maybe just not for me, right now.