Saturday, 14 January 2017

Full Wolf Moon January 2017

Having lived by a tidal river for nearly half of my life (the River Tiddy/St. Germans Estuary and then in the Tamar Valley), like most people in those areas, I have a healthy respect for and connection to the moon.

A full moon high tide is very often something to behold, if not something to be warned about. Emotionally, a full moon can lead to all kinds of mischief within a tribe. Just as the Farmers Almanac thinks the moon is relevant for the best times to grow things, we need to pay more attention to it in our own lives. The moon features in every religion, and it moves our water in huge ways, every day, every month, every year. And remember, we are 78% water. So whatever your religious persuasion, the effect of the moon will be felt, so I think we should talk about it.

I pride myself in being a fairly logical person, but I'm also very intuitive, so I am moved to write about this full moon based on my own experiences/observations of nature and based on research, reading and listening to other moon-watchers, nature lovers and empaths talk about it. There is just not enough information around on this. I wish we had more writing about the full moons and less about the zodiac.

Wolf Moon

The Full Wolf Moon in January was traditionally called this by Native tribes based (as all their traditions are) entirely upon the observation of nature. The weather is bitter and the wolves are howling outside of the village for food. It was also called the old moon, the cooking moon, the quiet moon or the ice moon, depending on which tribe you were (on both sides of the Atlantic).

It's a time for reflection, protection, intuition and recuperation. You may naturally feel the need to sleep more during these short days and build up your health and energy post Yule, pre-Spring. It's often a time that the most physically hard-working among us rest a little and as a result, their body relaxes and they get sick - picking up whatever is going around their tribe. If that is you, REST MORE. Even if it is not you, take this time to be still and restful.

Recuperation - The Old Moon

Anything you may be feeling - low moods, existential tension or anxiety - can be explained by the time of year. It is not a good time of year for control freaks. If you try to fight the Wolf Moon and power on through without slowing down and practicing some self care, it will set the tone for you for the next 2-3 more moons ahead, and you'll be on the backfoot trying to catch your breath and refill your energy reserves. Prioritise rest and steady progress now.

Reflection - The Ice Moon

I say steady progress because the Native theme of the Full Wolf Moon is traditionally "Man vs Himself". Because there will be no harvest or plants for a long while, people and animals are naturally anxious, tired and the weather is cold. The lack of vegetation affects the whole food chain. This time takes an awful lot of mental resilience to keep going. You'll be tested by everyone else's low energy, low ebb and low moods. Hope may be low in those closest to you. But do keep steady. Keep plodding on with the wind in your face and the snow at your paws like the wolf. A hard new year exercise regime or extreme work on new ventures is not for now. Any attempt to light a fire under yourself just now is likely to end in you burning out quickly and spectacularly like a firework. Light a steady burning candle or a fire and pray.

Protection - The Cooking Moon

As the tribe hunkers down to rest and get through the month, we feel a sense of protectiveness, like a wolf mother and her pups. Use this time to connect and be gentle with your loved ones - eat nice, comforting food. Do not be neurotic about your health, and certainly not about your weight at this time of year. Forgive your loved ones everything. Now isn't the time for conflict or self service. Huddle for warmth. It will aid your recuperation.

Also, part of this protection is the need to let go of whatever or whomever did not serve you last year. Avoid those people (don't confront them - that comes later in the year). Take time for yourself, and huddle with those who make you feel peaceful, or with whom you can easily reach a state of peace with some forgiveness or humility on your part.

The practical part of protection is to prepare your home and your tribe for the year ahead. Organise your finances, check your smoke alarms, plan your holidays and festivals, buy furniture or lovely home luxuries in the sales. Because this isn't the time for production or plenty, purchase any essentials to help you to earn your money and enjoy yourself this year (workwear, swimwear etc.) and get the car serviced. Be grateful for it all and keep shopping trips short, and screen time low. This is recuperation time.

Intuition - The Quiet Moon

You will naturally feel your wildness is very close to the surface this month. You may have more dreams and you may find yourself thinking about your favourite natural place. The wolf is primal and hungry at this time of year. Don't let this become anger - don't snarl. Make love not war, as your sex drive may increase. Indulge it. Make as much love as you possibly can. It'll aid your connection with others, open your soul, help you recuperate and be strong, and it will aid circulation and keep you warm! As I said - huddle for warmth! This is a particularly sexy moon, so if single, you'll find that flirtation and promiscuity may surround you. It's ok, don't overthink it - people just want someone to huddle with! It's no coincidence that September is the most common month for birthdays - November, December and January are peak baby making months!

Also, whatever your spiritual persuasion, pray. Because your wildness is prevalent, your intuition is piqued and your connection to the spirit world is strong. Sit by the fire, pray and listen to what you are being told.

Finally, it may sound counter-intuitive for the recuperation month, but a few solitary leisurely walks (wrap up!) on high ground will actually aid your healing towards the end of the month. You are transforming as you recuperate, so let your old skin be blown away up on high ground. You'll also find that, like a lone wolf, the solitude on these walks helps you recharge, so you can go back to camp and get back to connecting, cuddling, cooking and lovemaking!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

In strong support of Kanye West

So Kanye. Glastonbury. Sure. I admit it. I got annoyed at points of his show (Bohemian Rhapsody? No Kanye. Just no) - or worse, sometimes, I was bored. But in those boring moments I just muted him for a bit and before I knew it, he was back to "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" or of course, his big meal ticket, "Gold Digger". His carefully crafted light cube would pulse and the crowd would jump, and all would be forgiven. As an unashamed Kanye lover, I have to stress that I believe Kanye's music cannot be enjoyed for extended periods of time without a mute button for breaks, in any context. It is...intense. But. To enjoy Kanye is to bask in his world of wordplay, aphorisms and ego. Just for a bit. Oscar Wilde eat your heart out.

Here is a modern day musical Napoleon. Master of his craft, clever in his execution, paranoid, proud, sensitive and yet all conquering. Commanding a huge, somewhat evangelical following. Writing songs like "New Slaves" and "Blood on the Leaves". Taking on the modern American class war (the French Revolution this ain't) and writing a new story for black men through his monologues. Talking, (from his substantial platform) about society, his feelings (!) and God. And not giving a flying fig what you think about it. Sorry British public. Kanye didn't grow up in a world where fair play and politeness gets you ahead. So shoot him...

Thing is, he's not even a loveable rogue. He's power itself - a dictator who dresses his wife and probably designed his own lighting rig at 4am in the morning in Barbados and woke the whole household. And he took over Babington during the festival's duration. Here is control freakery for the masses. I really should hate him. But I don't.

Despite all of the petition controversy, when the time came, he went right up there and was his authentic, narcissistic, no-fucks-given self. That's pretty damn rock-n-roll. He's no people pleasing guitar monkey who gives the fans what they want on stage and then smashes up his hotel room later. Neither will he overdose in a bathroom, trying to medicate against his artistic angst. He's too extroverted for all of that. He's a businessman balancing genuine, wildly energetic self expression with shrewd commercial success. I admire Tracey Emin for the same (difference is I hate her work). 

I find watching his total self indulgence as he lets it all hang out on stage a relief both from the stuffy and politically correct shackles of our society, and from the rest of the music industry and its carefully contrived hair gel models. 

"Yeezy" makes great music, he just does. And if you listen to his lyrics, he's painfully honest and self aware about his super low self esteem and general douchebaggery ("Blame Game", "Runaway"). And no, he can't sing. Does he want to share the glory, royalties or the stage? Absolutely not. So along comes soul-bearing electro-pop concept album "808s and heartbreak" in 2008, and suddenly, auto-tune is a conceptual tool. A Kanye trademark. He OWNS the vocoder. He shows that he doesn't care that he's a rubbish singer, and suddenly, neither do we. For now he is positioned as an intellectual, emotionally literate VISIONARY, and regular singing is for plebs. He produces his own image just as he cuts a record. With a terrifying perfectionism and an instinctive sense of timing.

It is strategy like that which keeps Kanye on top. Would he sell more if people liked him more? Probably. But he's a superstar entirely on his own terms, and whilst I suspect him of being a bit of a massive knob in real life, I admire his raw talent and consider his self aggrandisement both a tool for his rise, and then a treat for himself after working hard all these years. And he has been. "Jesus Walks" (his fourth single) came out ELEVEN years ago. Feel old yet? Kanye is 38 now. The boy is, by most measures, a grown up. He is who he's going to be. 

Why, therefore, shouldn't he marry a glamour model who'll adore him? Why should he not scream "I'm king of the world!" or its equivalent?! He's an intellectual sociopath - he'll never be happy, so he may as well be a hedonist. When he swings above the crowd belting out "All of the lights" in a cherry picker, forcing you to squint up at him, his searchlight all but blinding you as it reflects off the glitter in your eyelashes, he's just getting his kicks and fucking with you at the same time. I get my kicks listening to his music. I don't mind him getting his. Humility is good, but there's also a place for energy, for passion, for yang, for fire and for chaos - it keeps us all on our toes and feeling alive. Without all that, we'd be dead. But we'd be humble, I guess.

Where there is chaos and conflict in music, that's where you'll find Kanye. He'll be the one carefully arranging it into witty poetry, with an African beat and some hi-tech samples. At worst, he artfully skirts between courting controversy and honing his commercial appeal - at best, he fuses the two in a maelstrom of media. He causes a ruckus, sets our news agenda for us, pumps out an anthem and continues to be the world's greatest living rock star. Even if he does say so himself.

"What more can you ask for?

The international asshole

Who complains about what he is owed?

And throws a tantrum like he is 3 years old

You gotta love it though somebody still speaks from his soul"

- Kanye West, Diamonds from Sierra Leone

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

"Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real."

"Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real."
Iris Murdoch. Clever lady.

So I'm working on a relationship. As in, confronting and addressing my bratty, control freak, vain, gameplaying, selfish and just horrendously insecure behaviors, whilst also communicating my own emotional needs in some kind of coherent way. 

So I'm putting in the work. It was either that or throw away yet another great man to avoid the possibility that I may not be right all the time, and marry a corporate director and become a PA/Wife with no requirement for actual emotional intimacy. Which was actually a real consideration for a little while there, ridiculous as it sounds, when I type it out loud. I mean, the galas I would've thrown for charity would've been epic, but my kids may have grown up kind of mal-adjusted, due to the emotional example I failed to set them. In hypothetical world. Anyhoo, the path I've chosen is uncomfortable at times, it's vulnerable, it's raw and it's hard. And it's rewarding, it's magic, it's beautiful, it's GROWTH. 

He's a pretty special guy, the guy who is challenging me. He's constant, patient and soooo deeply loving, all while doing all of his own vulnerable, growing, rawness, letting go of control freakery and learning to communicate things. Turns out he's actually pretty great at creating a safe space for me - which inevitably means I have to lift my game and do the same by working on my empathy, gratitude and compassion stuff. Aloof isn't really an option. And not just because I want to keep him - I actually know I'll be fine without him, after a few months apart. 

We got back together about 2 months ago and I'm putting in the work because he's provided a mirror that shows me a WHOLE bunch of potential beauty and untapped emotional strength in me that I didn't even know existed, (or more honestly I did, but I was being lazy) and I'm not willing to walk away from the woman I could be if I just get on and LOVE. Like, really love. Like, really realise (and admit) that something (or someone) other than myself is real.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Part II: Candid advice for those migrating to London

So to anyone considering a move to London? Come. Stay. Find your corner(s). Read the Standard and your local magazine. Don’t read the Metro. Download the tube app. Make an effort to make and retain friends. Enjoy alone time. Walk around. Explore. Invite your non-London friends to stay and show them your favourite areas. Join a gym. Play team sports. BUDGET. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. Everyone else is haemorrhaging money too – just plug the gaps where you can, don’t keep a car, say no to things sometimes and ask for a raise as soon as possible. Then ask for another one a year later. 

Part I: An unashamedly smug love letter to London

When I moved to London 20 months ago I hated it. I always said I’d never move here, which of course meant just nothing at all. I could see that some bits of London were good, but generally it was dirty, crowded and people were rude, unhealthy and unhappy.

But now. But now. Something clicked about six weeks ago. I no longer walk around feeling self-conscious and trying to keep up with London. I amble down the street and I know how to get around. Where I used to hate that people bumped into each other on the tube and didn’t apologise, now I understand that we’re all just trying to get where we’re going with minimum fuss and we’re all part of the same tribe. It is, in fact, a mark of being on the same side, that we don’t feel we have to apologise to one another. And that’s when you know you’ve been had. You’ve been Londonised. And it’s kind of a warm fuzzy feeling. Tourists are perpetually in my way, but I stop and give them directions. Last week, I witnessed three spontaneous acts of joy or kindness within two minutes on my commute home (Piccadilly Circus to Ealing Common, most days, if any Londoners are wondering). You see what you look for. I work my 45 hour week, I party with my friends, I go on dates, I pay my taxes and I own this city! At least that’s how it feels lately. I am triumphant! I am…happy. I know, it’s weird.

So here’s why.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sexiest song of the year, every year, since 2001

A recent nostalgic playlist heard at a pool hall in Clerkenwell on Friday inspired this post. I have, since 2001, had a sexy song of the year. Invariably, they have been favourite songs because they have conjured a fantasy about whichever boyman I happen to be digging on at the time. And self indulgently, I find it fascinating to track how my sexuality evolved as I grew up. Some are triumphant love songs, some were teenage emo angst, some are simply lust songs, some are pure sleaze, some are high-speed passion, and some are intellectual connection. Here is my 2014 song - just the audio, because the video ruins it - effing hipster boys...

 2014 Wraith - Peace 

And here are my sexy songs of the year (also with links), for every year since 2001. Feel free to lampoon, comment, or suggest your own...

2001 Simple - India Arie
2002 Calico - Alien Ant Farm
2003 Justboy - Biffy Clyro
2004 Speedballin' - Outkast
2005 Teardrop - Massive Attack
2006 Addiction - Kanye West
2007 Shameless - Ani Difranco
2008 Even After All - Finley Quaye
2009 I Want You - Erykah Badu
2010 Trick Pony - Charlotte Gainsbourg
2011 Sail - Awolnation
2012 Stripper - Soho Dolls (thank you Gossip Girl)
2013 What's my name? - Rihanna

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ne'er say Never

He held her in his Celtic gaze
And there, he made his choice
Ne’er to shackle her bold, wild ways
And ne’er to quiet her voice

Four days and nights she did not speak
Her tongue was curs’d, she thought
Nor tears, nor smiles, nor food, nor sleep
Could cease her breath ne’er caught

The moon quite full, their nights, but two
His arms about her wrapp’d
And now moon new, two nights, too few
Yet purpos’d cupid’s trap.