Eclipse

Around one year ago I was with Liz at the Woodland Studio when she said, you know Lu, I would love to DJ but not on my own, I said: same. I need some support and motivation, I think. Then she looked at me and she said:  I think me and you working on music together we would have fun, and it would actually work .


I ve been thinking to put my hands back on music since years now and I still believe that me Marta, Letizia, Marcella and Amelie would have a girl band one day, but well life in London is quite hectic, and being surrounded by talented djs can make you feel a bit unsecure.


One month ago when I arrived in this small village called Panchla Sidda,  Thar Desert, Rajastan, India, I’ve been asked to put a playlist together for Utsava Maa , the festival I’m working for.”Some songs for the Indian women that are going to attend, to have a virtual tour around the world.You can put Italian songs as well and  it would be nice if you could put also some of this music like they do in Berlin ? How you call it  one with… synthtetizers ? ” Shreejen said that to me and I could not contein a cheeky smile.
I’ve been thinking on it for days and I could hear in my head a whole crazy musical journey.

So I texted Elisabeth which was going to join me here soon and I told her “Would you like to DJ with me here ?”The aswer was as I expected. Now while we are here with Undergrowth Collective is pretty wild and we have to work on thousands things at the same time but the past two weeks have been partly dedicated to research, fun, and slow downloads with a very weak internet box that looks like a weird device from the 90s. 
We found our performing name during a fundraisising meeting, in between reale notes we were writing sneaky messages on a notebook and passing it to each other.

Eclipse 🌖 in India was born.

Power

Power.

Its 23 days that I’m in India. It’s the 23d of December 2019 , two days after winter solstice and two days before Christmas.

Even if I’m living in the Thar desert I’m in my my bed under 2 duvets because it is still winter and nights are cold. There are no festive decorations, no Christmas cards or songs around.

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It ‘s December 12th 2019, 5.45 am my alarm rings to remind me to go to yoga but I feel lazy and I don’t know if I want to go.
I check the news: Labour lost the elections in the UK.

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It’s a week after my arrival. I’m in the car with Guru Ji and Shreejan and the Austrian guests of the ashram, Shreejan says:
“No, don’t buy the piercing for the nose with the chain, is not a traditional beauty jewellery, the husband give that to his wife to say: you are my propriety.”
“There was a flood in the 2014. People died. Most of the men survived. And most of the women did not. You know why?”
… “Because they could not swim properly with all the layers of clothes, veils, and jewels.”
“When they go to work in the fields, they wear the veils and the ankle bracelets. The bracelets leave them horrible marks and burns and the veils as they synthetic give them scalps problems and cancer. It is the way it is.”
The other side of the coin is less shiny than it appeared to me at first. I’m not able to pronounce a concrete comment on the situation, so I write down informations and I look outside the window. The sun is a huge orange circle and everything is pink around me.

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I’m in the kitchen of the ashram. There are workers all around me as they are repainting all the walls for the festival. They look at me and they say “Hello, Hellooooo” I smile back, but for some reasons I feel weird.

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I’m with Liz. She just arrived and the Undergrowth crew is almost complete. Liz has a shaved head and big blue eyes. We are eating and everyone look at us while we are chewing, we feel like observed animal at the zoo.
Pukrash which is actually a nice person and one of the few that can speak in English, asks us if he can practice a little bit with us. He asks about our studies and work and then he says: “You know my wife is lucky, she doesn’t have to work. A lot of women when they have husbands, not super rich, even only “middle class” are lucky because they don’t have to worry, just relax and do house work.”
I say: “Maybe they would enjoy to try to do a work they like.”
He looks at me and I feel an animal at the zoo again and he asks me a complete irrelevant other question. And I can feel that it is not really his fault, is the way it has been for so long, that is now impossible to see other ways.

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For a whole month before leaving Europe, when I pick “one card” from my Aleister Crowley tarot deck, there is a particular card that is following me: 4 of disks, that Crowley renamed “Power”.

This card never really came up for me before and I was trying to understand it.
Power. A big castle on golden background, the symbol of the sun on the top.

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It is around the second week of November. I’m in Rome and all of a sudden I’m screaming in C.’s kitchen: ‘O MY GOD THIS IS THE ASHRAM. CLEARLY.”
The towers, the wall, the colour, the desert. It was all there.

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It s December 19th. I read on a paper that the word Ashram comes from the Sanskrit root giving the meaning of ‘labour’ / ‘making an effort’.

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It is November, 3 am. I’m in my garden in London.
I. says to me : “Do you understand your powers, right? All the things that are happening here, around us, it is all you. You move it all.”
I was actually feeling like a cripple for all the emotional hits that I had to hold at that times. I could not see anything. I thought I was not even able to put a feet after the other to walk myself in to places, and yet I was just reminded of my powers.

P o w e r :
I never think about this word, I never really use this word.
But it is coming back to me as something I can’t avoid looking at and it is asking me to understand it.

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It is at lunch time of few days ago when Em says that Guru Ji told her that it’s only recent that the law regarding the “Triple Talaq” changed. Apparently until very recent times, a men could divorce from his wife only saying “Talaq, Talaq, Talaq” or tree times the word via different mediums, even text or email.
And at that point the woman would have to leave the house, with no money, no power, back in the street. No chance to change her situation. Out. As a dog.

Men here can also have a wife and a girlfriend (ore more) and women of course can’t. Women are not only not allowed to travel on their own. They should not smile back at men, they don’t really drive and female infanticide is common, second/ widow remarriage is a taboo.

Power.

Where does it lies, where does it come from, what’s is purest form and what’s the big shadow casted around it in our society.
We are in a age of enormous digital interaction, knowledge and connections, we know we need to change things but it seems we are doing the same mistakes all over again.
Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Korea, Erdogan, Putin, Bolsonaro and all the other members of the horror theatre that is the government of this world that is bagging to be helped. You can call it power but I don’t see any power there, only weakness. Indeed.

What are my powers. It is hard to see the things in yourself. When I broke myself I arrived to a point that I felt so powerless, so miserable and there, just right there, something pushed me from the inside as never before.
There when the veil was down, the patterns of everything were vibrant and very clear. My power is there, looking at me, and telling me: there is more. Do not stop. It’s not over, it’s only starting.

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Power in physics is the ability of doing work. To produce an effect.

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I’m sun burned and I’m writing down notes:
do not eat milk is not good for you, exercise more, sun is life but too much sun can burn, paint the banner for the festival, prepare the music for the set, be more aware of the physical space, do not get distracted, heal, pray, help others, be humble, remember:
As it’s true that tomorrow the sun will rise, I promise, everything has a soul. Take care of your soul. Do not feed rocks to it. Balance. Trust. Read the signs.

And here, power arises.

*

The days of milk, resin and sand colored sugar,
melancholia is swept away by the beauty of this time that flows in a different way.
All is pale and orange,
but the shade is cold even when the sun at noon burns.
The steps of the stair to save the soul have to be climbed silently

or by singing,

only

The force of the air

clairvoyanceok

 

Finally our ideas are coming together and we are moving to the actual practical work for the festival.

We need to prepare different art installations, immersive rooms, music, a treasure hunt, a shadow puppet show, live painting, murals, screenings and talks. For the sets we are using mainly material from the land or from the Indian traditions. A lot of fabric, of course.
This jump to the practical work is exciting. I spent 10 days, reading, writing, thinking and singing…basically I spent the past 10 days inside my head. But it was needed.

The day after I came here I had an appointment in the palace, up to the stairs to ShreeJan office. I was getting ready to go and GG told me, tell her all the things you can do, so she knows what you can do for the festival. Ok.
While I was going up the stairs to the office and I felt like Chihiro, the protagonist of Spirited Away, when she arrives in the enchanted city and she needs to prove she can work in order to stay, to do not disappear.

I’m inside the office when I say what I can do:  filming,  pictures, decoration, sound, a shadow puppet show, paint live, facepaint, read tarot, run an art workshop, lighting and set. I can also perform. While I’m saying the list I look at myself from the outside for a second and I’m like:
What the hell girl you are a self sustainable business yourself why do you still have to get shift at the bar and you are not making proper money out of all of this ?

Yesterday I went to my ayurveda consultation. I’m back in the office and Shreejan asked me different questions to start. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India.  It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. I look at ShreeJan skin, body and health and she does look immaculate. Not bad at all considering she is in the middle of her 50s.
We start the consultation.
Whats your age?  28.  Any chronic diseases? No.  Are your parents both alive …Yes. What’s their job?…Any allergy? And among the several ones she asks me about my dreams. 
I told her sometimes I sleep as I’m dead an I can’t remember anything at all, other times I think I can really perceive things through my dreams.  From the present, and from the future. She write down things and she doesn’t seem to think I’m crazy at all. I knew it that’s why I told her.
Have you ever been depressed? Well I’ve been horribly sad and probably a psychologist or psychotherapist would have suggested I was depress, but I never went to one so, not officially, no. I said.
But, I tell her, I had basically no real friends until I was 14, I was raised in a strict catholic school, my classmates thought I was a weirdo and all the parents were convinced by the principal nun that I was a satanist, no one would hang out with me. I was only a curious kid with some peculiar details in my look, I think.
She smiles at me and while I’m tracking back my story I don’t feel any sort of sadness anymore. And those were dark times, yes. Time is a miraculous healer, indeed. 

We go back to my present life and she explains me about the 4 different kind of people: Vata, Pitta and Kapha (Air / Fire / Earth). 
If you are Vata, which in Sanskrit means wind, you have the quality of the air. To move constantly and move things around, like the wind.  Vata people are  active, creative, and gifted with a natural ability to express and communicate.
Pitta people are fiery, with great willpower, they  provide  the radiant light of the intellect but they need to control their anger. When a person has a tendency to “overheat,” excess Pitta is usually the culprit. Just as a campfire may turn into a forest fire without proper care, the internal fire of the mind and body must be kept in check.
Kapha people are like secure mountains  that govern love, patience, forgiveness, but they can also become too still on the other hand. With its earthly makeup, Kapha grounds Vata and Pitta and helps offset imbalances related to these types (doshas).
You are, like me, Vata, she says.  Vata is motion and data people are the ones that give motion to Pitta and Kapha.  You have this power within the people around you, and you adapt wherever you are in no time. But also you have so much movement  inside you, and in your head. Yes I know. You are the one that has thousands of ideas and make thousands of amazing projects real but then when you need to check your finances or stability you have no clue. Yes. I really know what she is talking about. 
Hang out with Kafka people. Organise your thoughts. Please, yes, how?
She suggest me to meditate through the repetition of a mantra, using a rosary, as moving through the beads of a necklace can help in focusing without getting lost with other thoughts.  She says she will ask to Guru Ji to give me a mantra. I need ritualistic habits.

I feel like I spent the last 28 years of my life in a washing machine and now I need to learn how to live for real. Is an interesting challenge. If I don’t fix myself how do I think to be able to accomplish any of my work and help anyone else?

The mind is an incredible place. Every day here I’m discovering a new corner of my own, and then I realise there is so much dust all around. I feel part of my work now is to clean those places. There is a powerful source of light hiding somewhere there. I can feel it.  The work to let that light to shine through completely is an hard one. There are moment where I feel, here we are yes yes yes, but then I lose it again. The social structures, the way I’ve been raised, the things that happened to me before are interfering with the discovering of the full me without any opaque layer.  Trusting my intuition and my gut and perceiving things for what they actually are and not for what I’ve been told they should be. It’s my mission.

It’s 6.30 pm. Is Puja time. Puja in Sanskrit  means reverence, honour, homage, adoration, and worship. It is my favourite moment of the day (even though certain lunch and dinners here are quite fantastic too…)

I walk to the temple, with my head covered as the rule wants. Fire. Sounds. Hymns and mantras. There is something about it that it’s impossible to explain because you must experience it to grasp it. 

Here a little taste.

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Il sole quando sorge, sorge piano.

There is this very famous song that everyone learn as the first one when it comes to play the guitar in Italy, the song is called “The song of the Sun” and there is this line that for some reasons I keep singing since few days “The sun when it rises, rises slowly ” (Il sole quando sorge, sorge piano).

Its been days that I look at the sun earring that C. crafted for me, I almost lost it the other day when we left the ashram to sleep in the tree farm, but of course it came back to me.

A wound is a wound is a wound, I said to myself this morning. I thought I was doing more than fine until my dreams became very messy. I did not cry but the sensation was ugly. Healing is not linear, after all.

I went to the Yoga class with my brain upside down, the Yoga helped a bit, even though I would like to do more exercise. I go for breakfast and the sun is rising and is orange and in the middle of 2 stripes of clouds. It looks like an eye. I stare at it to open my pineal gland, and I see the spectrum of colours dancing around the orange circle.

I realised I lost the keys of my room. I try to look for them around where I walked, but I’m not sure where I could have lost them, I go back to the Yoga room and I found ShreeJan walking the dog. I ask her to let me in, to see if the keys are inside the space, maybe on the floor. I tell her I’m sorry my brain is a mess today, I did weird dreams and my ex was in there.

I tell her we had a very symbiotic relationship. She says I may have been in his dreams too, normally this happens with people that were so bounded. I tell her I don’t think so,  things went on a different direction very quickly. She says there is a way of breaking this connection, if I’m interested they can help at the ashram. It’s quantum physics.

My keys are not there and I’m thinking about this break-the-connection thing. I thought I broke the connection when I made S. A symbolic funeral. It was necessary. We are not in touch whatsoever, blocked from any social media and said bye in the most ugly possible way and still disturbing my dreams in the other side of the world. While I have things to do, a festival to run, a soul to feed, a brain to train, and all the rest.

What happened doesn’t make any sense for my brain. None of my thoughts seem to speak clearly to me and I have so many different feelings I’m trying to analyse, understand, recognise. I think I’m driving myself a bit nut. Shh. Feel the sun. It’s getting warmer.

I need to do some work and I go in the space that I need to transform in our Undergrowth base camp. It is locked. The key that I have for that (which I didn’t lose)  doesn’t fit in. I look for someone that can help me out. Also the lock of the bathroom is changed. I still can’t find the key of my bedroom. W h a t s g o i n g o n ? I think am I getting crazy or this is actually happening. ShreeJan is walking the dog back and she confirm there is something going on with the locks and its not only in my head. Ok.

I go on the roof to meditate and I read myself tarots.  I write down things. The last thing I write is “Il sole quando sorge, sorge piano” . One hour later the key of my bedroom is found, the lock situation is explained (they are doing some changes to prepare the space for the guests and festival volunteers) and everything seems to unravel slowly. I prepare the Undergrowth base camp cleaning and tiding and hanging red Indian fabric all around. How can I get rid of a disturbing thought?  Focus on what you are doing now, focus. And I do. It looks nice.

In the meantime, Al and Em arrived. It was a couple of days ago actually, we went to pick them up in Jodhpur and it was the night we slept at the tree farm in a hut. I need to move in the dorm now that they are here, I’m not having a room on my own anymore. Changes.

The dorm is closer to the main palace, in a big room with royal columns and 9 beds. Its a bit cold but it will be soon warm and filled with people. I can’t believe at one point all the collective will be a proper collective and our friends are going to be here to make this festival real. Its slowing building up.

I’m inside the dorm when I confess to Al my dreams and I tell her I want to get ride of those thoughts. I tell her I may do this procedure to break the connection whatever it is. She tells me instead to surrender to my thoughts, that I’m the right place to learn how to do it with meditation. I should stop trying to understand what happened with why and how and what does it means, it has been the way that has been. I don’t need to reject it or to delete it but I need to be able to look at it from distance  then let it go, so it can’t affect me or come back in my brain and in my dreams. I understand the theory very well. Practice needs…practice. Patience.

I message L, which is in London, To tell her how I feel. She tells me, you will see all of this work you are doing will bear its fruits, and then teach me what you learn. I will learn from distance from you.

I go to the roof again. The sun is at the zenith the highest point in the sky. I write down “Do not try to eliminate the thought, do not try to understand it – because you can’t. Do not desire anybody else defeat. Observe from the outside, accept and let go. There lies your healing, your victory.”

I go down the roof and I do some more work for the festival. I feel better. I’m singing again.

The sun when it rises, rises slowly.

 

Utsava Maa

“I’m in an unbelievable place. Is where I always wanted to be. It’s an ashram in the desert of Rajasthan. It’s so beautiful and peaceful and they do so many relevant things for the environment. The Guru of this place wears leopard prints shoes and there is this American lady, that goes under the name of ShreeJan here, that wants me to help organising this festival, about the Great Mother,ecology, ecofeminism, the seed and divinity. Well… I said we are doing this, Lu, we are going to organise and make our art this festival in India next year!”

It was about this time last year when GG wrote to me to inform me about her discovery, and our future. I was travelling South America at the time.

It is hard to imagine something until you don’t see it yourself. That’s why I was so curious about this Guru Ji, ShreeJan, the ashram (which is like a monastery in Indian religions) and all.

They came to pick me up in Jodhpur.

ShreeJan is an American blond lady with an angelic face, she is on a spiritual path alongside Guru Ji. She teaches yoga, practice Ayurvedic medicine and run the festival. GG told me that when ShreeJan was a kid she used to have regularly something similar to epilepsy and passing out for hours and feeling she was literally on Pluto, where she would hear the sound of the universe like a OHM.

Guru Ji reminds me of my flatmate A., and this make me laugh a bit. He only wears orange and he has a very sweet face.

After 2 hours in the jeep to get the destination, few stops for samosas and chai tea, we leave the busy roads with car and cows behind and we arrive to the ashram.

It is hard to describe the sensation of being in the right place, at the right moment for the right reason. My heart, that I thought shrunk two sizes in the past months, become as big as the moon and beats with a new sound. I have an immense sense of gratitude, for everything.

It has been 5 days now that I’m here. I live in a room inside the palace, facing a garden next to a beautiful temple, in the middle of the desert.

There is still no one else from the festival, either guests or organisers. Sometimes men and women from the village come to pray. They are curious about us, they stare and giggles and I admire the women beautiful traditional clothes. Because the influence with Pakistan here some of them cover even their faces with the colourful veil, and I found it intriguing. You can still see their faces through.

It’s very quiet life here. I wake up every morning at 5.45 am and have an hour of yoga. 8 pm is breakfast time and then we work for the festival. Currently I work on the laptop, I sketch plans for the set design and draw and read. In the late evening you can go to pray, outdoor in the temple, with beautiful singing, mantras and bells. You can see the stars and the moon very clearly, and the marble of the temple shines against the dark blue sky.

The food in incredible and they grow it here, in a little piece of land next to the temple. The Indian man that take care of the land is so sweet, GG told me that he is a Pakistan war survivor and apparently he screams as crazy at night. I would have never guessed. When he showed me the garden he saw me taking a rotten tomato from the floor and he went like “no no no” then he picked and offered me the best coloured and shaped ones. Right after that he gave me mint, oregano, and lettuce to try. I was so happy holding a little salad in my hands.

Dinner is at 6.30 pm after the prayers. Here I learned how to eat, with no forks, using only with one hand and some pitta bread to help. Using both of the hands in not polite apparently. At 9 pm I’m already in bed, I’m reading and writing a lot.

The research and work I’m doing those days is reflecting everything I ever been interested and researched in my life time. The depth of this feeling touches my soul and heal so many wounds.

I feel that, if we don’t devote our powers to nourish something bigger than us in this world we are not taking part of the evolution of the humankind. You don’t “save the world” with big actions, as you probably never “save the world”, but you can figure out what’s your role and do your part, trusting your gut and remembering your values and the reasons you are here. We can do it in every day life, in our family, in our friendship group and in our community. We are here to constantly grow. To help others in growing with us. I’ve an infinite love for this planet and the beauty of creation, for the masculine, and the feminine energy, which is the one we are celebrating here. This Earth. Mother of all, seeds keeper, intuitive emotional and brave creator.

Utsava Maa is the festival I’m working for here, which means The Great Mother. It’s a festival in a country where most of the women can’t walk on their own in the street, they can’t travel, they can’t smile at men , have a job they like, or have any power whatsoever. They work in their house until they die, biting their tongue and covering their bodies. Isn’t it paradoxical in a country where its history is dense of references regarding infinite power of the female energies, reflected in the Indian goddesses and spirituality?

My role here and our role with Undergrowth Collective is to enchant that power through the medium of art but also just standing for ourselves as privileged white women, born in a fortunate country.

It’s with gratitude and devotion that I proceed.

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