The thing is: I had such a good day. I saw a friend. I ate tres leches. I got complimented on my outfit (twice). I petted a dog. I fist-bumped a kid. I bought a record. I bought a book. I ate cold pizza. I drank a diet soda. (Pepsi, but you can’t win ’em all.) Anyway the point is this: I had such a good day. But when I came home, you weren’t here. That would have made it perfect.
Humans have come up with many ways to make beautiful sounds over the past several thousand years, but we’ve never outdone the first one: the voice. Tonight, at the Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville, three sisters showed once again how the power of the human voice is enough to strip away your preconceptions and build a beautiful alternate world in their place. Joseph traded leads throughout the show and harmonized in that way that only family can. Accompanied by just a guitar and a digital bass drum, the trio surveyed their entire musical output and treated us all to what at times felt more like a secular revival meeting than a concert. Joseph is unafraid to celebrate, to mourn, to indict, to examine, to uplift. They are transcendent and we were all lucky to be there. We can’t know where humanity will end up, but if it’s somewhere bright, voices like this will be there.
I worked as a reporter and editor and broadcaster for NPR and Bloomberg and Nikkei and Kyodo News World Service and a number of other outlets in both the US and Japan. I loved that work because it felt important. Even sacred. I know there are tons of problems with the way news is owned and reported, but back then I knew less about that, and in any case from the inside it felt different.
Nothing I was ever involved with can compare in any way with what we see journalists going through on the ground in Gaza. Elsewhere, too, of course, but my attention is focused on Gaza right now. I think about how much I felt connected to the mission of reporting, and I imagine how much more connected they must feel to be reporting about the attempted destruction of their own land and people.
I listen to Al Jazeera every day. Part of many of their broadcasts involves their journalists reporting on the deaths of their colleagues and their colleagues’ families, and even on the deaths of their own families. It’s more than anyone should have to endure. The fact that they keep doing it speaks to a strength I can barely comprehend.
1. Embrace your Shadow: What aspect of yourself needs acknowledgement and acceptance during this winter solstice? The terms “rebirth” and “inner calling” are associated with this card. I feel both so strongly right now. I am returning to myself and also figuring out the next iteration of myself. With a lot of help from my friends, both old and new.
2. Cultivate Resilience: What obstacle are you being called to face with grace and courage? This card is associated with regret, which has been a major descriptor (self-imposed) of my life since at least the end of 2020 and probably earlier. I am slowly finding ways to move past it.
3. Nurture your Inner Light: What practice or action can you engage in to nourish your inner light and ignite a sense of purpose and inspiration as you move towards Imbolc? One of the ideas of this card is integration. I’m working on bringing together the various parts of me: poet, organizer, musician, broadcaster, friend, lover, and so on. I’m (re)learning how to be my total self. That means writing more, organizing more, playing more, feeling more.
4. Navigate Transformation: What old pattern, belief, or identity are you being called to shed to facilitate your inner rebirth? This is a card about rootedness. I’ve been struggling with the ideas of place and staying. In the past couple months, I have started to think differently about the place where I am right now, and about staying here and trying to build something.
5. Tap into Feminine Energy: How can you nurture and reconnect with your psyche (intuition, emotions and feminine wisdom) during this winter solstice? One idea that springs from this card is to focus on balanced relationships — ones where both people are giving and receiving. This doesn’t mean not being a support for those in need, but it does mean being aware of both my emotional resources and the emotional impacts of those relationships.
6. Presence: Which area of my life do I need to be more fully present in? Oliver Pickle writes that this card wants you to open yourself up to possibility in a spirit of joy. I have a friend who suggested that for months before I allowed circumstances to prove her right.