I’ve been looking for evidence that Olympia’s heart is opening as a result of, or at least coincidental with, my work in Accidental Initiations. A couple of days after posting The Tipareth Gazebo is Open!,  I was invited by my friend and sometime collaborator, Scott Taylor, to come out to Hannah’s and see his open mike set. Just getting this invite, and feeling inspired to accept it, was a sign of something shifting. I’ve been a hermit at The Martin for several years now and almost no one ever calls and asks me to come out on the town anymore. I know it’s mostly because they think I’ve moved. That’s what KAOS told people about why Radio8Ball isn’t on the air. Since I don’t play or put on shows like I used to, and most of my Facebook posts are about bartending gigs I’ve picked up in Seattle, people just assume that I’m gone. In a way, I have been. I am. Real gone, man. So, when I walked into Hannah’s (late for Scott’s set – Damn!) several people came up to ask when I got back to town. One of these was an old friend: Lee Brooks.

I know Lee from back in the days when my band, The Previous, lived in a house near Lincoln Elementary with me and my wife. I first remember Lee from the Washington Hemp Education Network.  He was a high-energy, high integrity, pothead, activist, musician from way up yonder in the land of the Yukon Thunderfuck, and we all became friends in the easy way that young people do. He’s always been cool with me. Not in a furtive, cooler-than-thou manner, but in a welcoming loving way I was glad to see hadn’t diminished over the years, as if Olympia’s hipster kryptonite simply doesn’t have any effect on him.

When Lee recognized me at the bar he came up and, with great authenticity and emotional intensity, shared some remembrances of the Spearhead Sound Hours benefit he helped me and Heidi organize at The Capitol Theater in August of 1998. It was a moving challenge; allowing his honorable words to penetrate my jaded heart, but as I recount in AI, I have some training in heart opening so I used my practices and received Lee’s glowing reflections the best I could. I was warmed by his manly tears and, as I surrendered to the moment, the experience activated the time portal of memory.
The Spearhead Sound Hours benefit at the Capitol Theater was probably my purest offering to Olympia. Inspired by Ithaca, New York’s success with local currency, I was working with the Oly’s alternative currency activists to get a program started here. When I heard that Spearhead was going to be in the area for WOMAD (Peter Gabriel’s world music festival,) I reached out to see if they would be interested in performing at a benefit. I knew the band because we had shared the same music management a few years earlier. Michael Franti was a supporter of local currency and they said, if we could cover the gear, the transportation from Seattle, and hotel rooms in Oly, they would play the show FOR FREE. This was a major coup, which led to Spearhead coming back to Olympia several times over the next few years.

In the late 90’s Spearhead was one of the coolest bands on the west coast, even more so in our queer/punk/hippie/activist, and mostly white, community. This show drew participation across the board. The whole design of the event, where people had to buy their ticket with local currency, gave the weeks before the show a scavenger hunt feel with people trying to earn or purchase their Sound Hours.

I tabbed Lee, with his good time attitude, to be the artist liaison. This meant driving the band from Seattle and making sure they were taken care of while they were in Olympia. Being the highly social animal that he is, Lee had a blast in this role and, at Hannah’s this week, he told me that his Spearhead experience was the beginning of becoming a music producer and promoter which, it turns out, has become his main gig. This made me feel really good to hear.
As I go back over the show’s artwork I am struck by how much I kept myself out of the promotion. It was clearly my gig and I could, maybe should, have been the opening act, or presented the show as being produced by me or my company. Instead I took it on, as I would later learn to think of it, like a Landmark Education project with the goal being: to touch, move and inspire the most people and enroll them in the possibility of sustainability, music, community, and my ability to mix them all in a magickal container of invisible ritual at The Capitol Theater. I was fully engaged in my role as servant to this enterprise and, if I remember correctly, there was nothing particularly humble about the way I took it on. I simply knew that, in order for this magick to work, it needed full participation from the community. It was a gift. A mitzvah! And I did, indeed, get more out of it than almost any other event I’ve produced, though not exactly as I might have imagined.
I just ran into Lee again. He shared one other interesting anecdote about The Spearhead Sound Hours benefit which relates directly to Accidental Initiations. It turns out that, because of Lee’s role as a producer on our event, he was able to attend the WOMAD festival as a guest of Spearhead. At one point in the festivities Lee found himself in the possession of two backstage passes. He gave one to Ruth Brownstein aka Ruby Brown. With this access, Ruth was able to get backstage and interview Michael Franti. According to Lee, this interview got Ruth’s foot in the door at The Mountain, a big commercial station in Seattle, and eventually, to her current job as the training and operations manager at KAOS. Funny how things work out. As related in Accidental Initiations, in her official capacity, Ruth wound up playing a major role in killing Radio8Ball on KAOS.

One must be a true connoisseur of synchronicity to savor the delicious irony of syncs such as this. The only way I know how to do it is to breathe it into my heart, run it up and down my Tree, laugh about it, and share my story with you.

Get it?

Posted in Alternate Currency, Kabbalah, KAOS, Olympia, Synchronicity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honor Among Mustaches

I was hanging with a friend last week. I love her. She knows who she is, and so does her boyfriend, but I’m not going to tell you who they are, and you shouldn’t try and figure it out. That’s not the point. The point is; I was telling my friend that I was thinking of shaving my face clean at the solstice. She got a mischievous glint in her eye and suggested I try and get more guys, including her boyfriend, to do likewise. In her words, “You could make it a men’s solidarity thing.”

I told her I would do no such thing. When we met up with her man later I told him what she’d tried to get me to do, and he and I had a good laugh of mustache solidarity. My friend was faux-palled, and took me to task for “selling her out” to him.

She isn’t used to men having honor with each other so let me make it clear to her, and to the rest of my female friends, sisters and potential lovers: When a woman is trying to conspire with me to manipulate a fellow man into betraying himself to suit her convenient aesthetic projections, so long as he isn’t hurting anyone, I am definitely going to “sell her out.” Just as I imagine she would if I were trying to get her to convince some woman under my spell to lose weight or start giving sloppier blowjobs, “as a women’s empowerment thing.”

One exception to this rule: If I agree with the woman’s point, in which case, I’ll just tell the man to his face, or withdraw with as much honor as possible. But when it comes to mustaches, as far as I’m concerned, the man is always right. In this, the mustache is kind of like a woman’s uterus.

Posted in Honor Among Men, Kabbalah, Olympia, Synchronicity | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Squirrels in The Tree

I woke up with a Chuck Shaw hangover. Still in my clothes, bearded with lungs full of coughs. The apartment was stifling so I opened the window at the head of my bed to let the crisp December air in and cool my face. After about a minute, a squirrel climbed the tree outside with a large brown seed-pod in its mouth, and began eating. Putting my attention on the little fella eased my aching belly and I felt a smile on my face. He could see me watching him and for a few minutes we connected.

Today is Tom Waits’ birthday so I shuffled through his discography. My body didn’t feel like being awake and active but I knew that once I got to The Tree I’d be my better self again. It never fails. Waits’ music doesn’t generally inspire exercise and meditation, but today his tunes felt like the voice of my hangover: clarifying my wooziness externally. As I allowed him to growl me through my yoga and other rituals I felt, if not better, then less alone with my nausea.

When I got to the base of The Tree, where I begin my run, I found a dead squirrel in the road. I didn’t even think about the squirrel I had connected with earlier in the day. I was struck by this sad and morbid omen on its own merits. At first I thought I could just leave the corpse where it lay, with traffic rushing by and over it, but I couldn’t. I took a stick with a forked end, which I had fortuitously left at this spot after a previous run featuring several forked sticks, and used it to lift the dead squirrel out of the road and lay it at the base of the tree.

As I completed my run I had squirrels on my mind. I thought about my friend from earlier in the morning and wondered if it was possible that this was the same squirrel I had just gathered out of the road. No way to know but all the way up and back down The Tree I carried Squirrel in my heart. At the bottom I paid my respects one more time and took a picture of the squirrel lying in state.

Then the weirdest thing happened, as I walked back up and around the old state capitol building and turned onto Washington Street, I came upon yet another squirrel, this time in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking my path. The little grey beast stared me down. It kept getting closer to me. Sniffing the air and looking me square in the eye as it closed the distance between us. I wondered if this was a friend of the dead squirrel, or maybe the squirrel from the tree outside my window, and then I thought about those internet videos of people getting attacked by squirrels and got scared. I backed away and into the street, giving the squirrel the sidewalk. After I’d passed it I watched the curious creature sniffing tires and looking for something. Eventually it went on its squirrel-y way and I went on mine, thinking of the squirrel thinking of me thinking of it, and wondering if we all look the same to them.

Posted in Kabbalah, Olympia, Synchronicity | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Tiphareth Gazebo is Open!

I allowed a book to use me to write itself this summer. Now it’s done and The Sync Press is going to publish it. Funny thing, it’s a magickal book and it’s already bearing fruit.

The book is called Accidental Initiation: In the Kabbalistic Tree of Olympia. You are reading the sequel now even though you won’t be able to read the book for a little while. Appropriate since AI is, in part, about my own experiments with time travel.

In the Tiphareth chapter I declare my intention to un-cage the gazebo at the heart of Sylvester Park in Olympia via the magick in Accidental Initiations. It looks like it has worked.

The gazebo has been mostly locked since 2001. When I finished writing AI in November the Occupy Wall Streeters moved in for two days and then re-located to the banks of the Capitol Lake. The gazebo has remained mostly open and unlocked ever since. I am loving this.

In Accidental Initiations, I associate un-caging the gazebo with opening Olympia’s heart. Is it happening? It’s hard to tell from my place of solitude in the warmth of my cave at The Martin but I am feeling fuller of my own heart than usual for this time of year. It’s a start. I’ll take it!

Is your heart occupied? What occupies it? Is it caged or open? Less or more caged since 11-11-11?

Posted in Kabbalah, Olympia, Synchronicity | 5 Comments