Diaries of a 28 years old artist and her journey in India to celebrate and rediscover creativity, ecology and divinity.
Lucrezia as Iside
for 70 days of deep exploration of India, the Great Mother, and the Seed.
Making art with Undergrowth Collective for Utsava Maa an ecofeminists art festival in the desert of Rajasthan, India.
To celebrate creativity, ecology and divinity.
How can I speak about the size of sun from here Or the day I cooked pasta in a small village of Rajasthan “They are not going to try it” I’ve been told, with a little bit of hope, they eat it all. The sensation of not belonging anywhere and at the same time to be everything.
The incredible work of the soul and the secret teachings of all things,
the tricks of the ego,
the thousand mirrors on the clothes,
the fabric and the thread works that speak about the history of the humans before.
(Trust your heart)
There is a way to dance on fire
(and another way to eat it too)
There is not gate or portal that is closed anymore
if you cast the key yourself – is made of gold .
On the tangible side instead- sometimes we fall,
here you wear a mask only if it serves you,
only if it serves us all.
The past two weeks have been so intense. The festival at the ashram ended, I left the desert, everyone took different paths. I’m on a train to the south of India with Otta, having a break in Goa while I’m trying to put some words together. I look outside the window and I think how to describe what I’ve seen, what I’ve done and what I felt and all the words disappear like sparkles in the darkness of my mind. If I close my eyes I see: all the woman of the ashram cooking chapatis, fire dancers, fire eaters, the orange Guru Ji when, the last day of the festival, told me “This would have not been the same without your group here, we will miss you” It was a surprise, I actually thought he was a bit upset because for New Years eve our performance was vaguely too “irreverent” for such an environment. I close my eyes and I see the dorm where I spent the past month, the 9 beds where us, all the girls of Undergrowth Collective were sleeping, the boiler always on and the Ashwagandha that we drunk every night, the blue doors of Jodhpur and the tailors and the street full of cows of Pacchla Sidda.
I can’t believe I’ve been living in an ashram for 35 days, now that I can see the skin of my legs is kind of refreshing. It is weird to go around completely hidden from pieces of fabric, and barely remember the shape of your body. The north of Rajasthan is very conservative place. An holy palace that decided to open its door to a festival to celebrate women and empower them is such a innovative act. I feel blessed for every second I spent there.
I’m looking outside the window and I think about when I was preparing the elemental treasure hunt around the 4 towers of the ashram with Em, and I studied the germination of the seed. Every seed is unique. And so is every soul. The journey to blossom has its own time and requires specific conditions. How bizarre is that certain seeds would germinate only after a bird eat them and then poop them somewhere else far in the land, away from their parent plant. Some seeds needs complete darkness and others requires light. There are also those times where the seed would lie dormant for years, until, let’s say, a tree falls, opening up a gap in the forest canopy and exposing the seed to the light that was needed to grow.
A little drop of magic, storage of an incredible power. The power of life.
Where am I now? I was questioning myself while in a tent of an a eco camp in Goa I can’t sleep, my head is brining me everywhere and I feel all my thoughts are all wrong or negative. Why am I doing this to myself? I arrived ‘till here, I did all the work, and now I feel suffocating again. I feel in the middle of a journey where I’m not what I was before anymore but I’m not what I will be next, yet. I’ve been asking it to the desert, I’ve been wondering looking in the fire, I’ve been swimming in the sea and asked to the sun to give me a sign. I also looked for answers in the wrong places, as when I’ve been drinking too much rum under the night of the lunar eclipse, and I understood that I can’t trick my brain anymore …Clarity.
Air. It’s while I’m saying out loud what I think the knot become smaller in my heart. It’s while I’m training my mind to take all in and move on, that I feel I can remember how to breath properly again. While I was preparing the treasure hunt, every tower of the ashram, as in Aleister Crowley tarot card “Power”, has been transformed into an element’s altar. The tower of the far right of the palace garden, was the home of Air. It was the most hidden one. In tarot symbology, swords are air and represent the intellect and the ability of expressing yourself, selecting and cutting through your thoughts (sharp as a knife). But swords can also be weapons against our self, torturing our brain if not well used. I prepared very slowly the hunt, setting it up 3 days before the festival, bringing up and down the towers all the signs made from Em and the other props.
At the bottom of the stairs of the air tower, every day for all the 3 days of preparation, I found a dog poo. Always in the same spot. For those three days I silently removed the poo, sometimes it required hard scratching and cleaning. From the moment I found the first poo I knew there was a reason why I had to remove it from my way to the tower of the air. Air has been in this journey since the first day I arrived here, when Shreejan said that was my Ayurveda element, my dosha. Everyone around me, since then, kept saying: yes you are so air. And yet the poo was on the way of ‘my element’ tower and my thoughts were not as sharp and clear as I wanted. I’m rubbing harder the floor while I’m thinking, you need to do this, and you will be fine.
The first day of the year was the day of the treasure hunt, I could not sleep properly, my right index finger was infected. It was the double of its normal size and I could feel my heart beat in the purulent tip. I woke up at night going to Giu’s bed because I was feeling so much pain, and looking at it it seemed it was going to explode. She sounded like she was speaking in her sleep when she suggested me to pierce the skin. And I took the advice seriously and in the middle of the night I tried to make a hole in my finger with a safety pin I boiled in the cattle with salt. It was too painful and I gave up, but I had a little lament and Gg. and Al. woke up and gave me pain killers, water and affections. I could never believe a finger infection could cause so much pain and disturbance.
I was having my breakfast on the first day of 2020 when I almost decided to give up with the treasure hunt, I could not invite the people of the festival around the path designed for them because the pain of my finger was going into my head. I took another painkiller and said to myself, the show must go on. Me, Liz, Giu, and B. Are wearing our 4 elements (+ eather) costumes. I’m, of course, air. I’m all white, my face is a mess, I can see the pain and the sleepless night and the crazy days of preparations for the festival into my eyes and I almost don’t look like myself. I put some makeup and a white turbant on. After a couple of hours in costume, we closed the treasure hunt. The cure was looking at the people wandering around looking for clues, and going up and then down the towers with a smile, I was moving my body as the air and keeping myself in character. Some people stared at me and said, thank you.
I was laying down on the floor, feeling the sun on my face when I hear “Here your nurse!”. Rose, one of the guests from USA, arrived as an angel to save me. Short, brunette, deep voice, vivid eyes. The sweet lady took me in her room and prepared a little surgery. Here she pierce the skin with a needle. Two big drops of infection, following a little scream: it was gone. I leave the room and I’m in the corridor where Al and Em have their womb immersive room, in the guest house. “Wow, your face is different” they told me. And I felt different. I wasn’t holding anything in my system that wasn’t suppose to be there anymore.
I’m folding my clothes when I smile to myself and I say “Where do you think you are going, with those non-sense outfits?”
On the night of New Years eve, I’ve been performing a stage for the first time after my primary school Christmas show, probably. But it was long time that I was thinking about the power of the performance. What are all those lights, colours, sounds, gestures and projections that I have in my mind that are serving me to speak about something. I’ve been communicating through the visual arts for everything in my life and here it is the time to communicate with a very different public to the one I’m used to. Speaking about something I feel profoundly and I want to share. The public was made of half Indian ladies and half mid 30s to mid 50s American ladies, basically. Me and Liz, under the name of Eclipse, prepared a bizarre music journey through very dark to very luminous feelings. The other girls of our Undergrowth Collective did not wanted to perform, but Giu is a good “pusher” (that pushes you to do beautiful things) and magic happens always when is needed.
It was the night between 2019 and 2020. The big red tent, and its main stage was waiting for us. When it was our turn to perform, the Bollywood dance was just finishing, everyone looked pretty chilled, seating under warm blankets and so I asked myself, how are we going to do this? We wanted everyone to stand, celebrate, dance. The current atmosphere it seemed too far from it. I’m nervous in my room while I’m making my makeup on and I’m wearing a full on golden outfit. Be the sun, be the sun.
It’s the time. Our entrance to the red tent was …incredible. Imagine our audience: a big group of western and local ladies, seating holding cups of chai tea after days of conferences and yoga. Imagine us: a bunch of weirdos looking like aliens from mars that encountered Hindu deities, covered in veils, shiny and colourful clothes. We walk from the back into the public space, holding the most random music instruments, including drinking glasses and bells. Thinking about the acid green of A.’s outfit and her creepy moves around the space, and in front of Guru Ji seat, will always cheers me up. We keep playing our instruments and then the music starts with a deep, dark, Ohm. There is silence all around us, but the 5 Ohms. After that, I still don’t know what happened exactly on that stage, but it’s when we played an electronic/ dancing version of David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel that I realised something special was happening: even ShreeJan left her seat and came on the stage throwing flowers to the public that was jumping around as never before, Indian ladies moving their arms up in the air and shaking their colourful dresses, westerns and locals dancing together in a wave of love and power.
I was looking through my golden veil to our dj set-up, the fairy lights, the bells, Liz next to me looked like the moon for real, with her head covered in the blue starry fabric. My golden kazoo was on the table too. Ott reminded me of a court jester in her amazing self made dress, B. Looked like Peter Pan from a kaleidoscopic dream. Giu was probably the one that officially open the dance and I could see her feathers from far away, she was all around the place. We had also a special guest in the group: Deb. She came at Utsava Maa after she found out about it from my instagram. I had no idea. You can imagine my surprise when I was working at the welcoming desk and she arrived, she stared at me and directly said “Lucrezia, you don’t know me, but I’m here because of you.” And there she was, all in red, on a stage with us, kicking the 2019 in the ass.
The dog days are over. It was the last track of our set. I think GG was crying when I hugged her, on the line that says “Leave all your love and your longing behind you, you can’t carry it with you if you want to survive” The dog days are over, The dog days are gone.
Ten days ago I was seating on a car, all packed, ready to leave the ashram. I wanted to hug Guru Ji when he looked at me a bit sad saying “Oh Lu, are you leaving, too?” I did not hug him because, of course, I was not allowed. But I did it in my head. I went back to the car. Hoping I did not forget anything behind. My heart was full of all the kind words we received on our staying and work for the festival: “ Thanks for be the light of the festival, thanks for your devotion towards art, thanks”. In the most spontaneous way, through colours, light, music, workshops, big smiles and the power of our true intentions, our seed was planted into their hearts.
I’m in Goa. It is warm abd kind of tropical. I’m wearing a small dungaree and my body is fully exposed. I’m finally doing some exercise again. During the morning yoga class, on a roof of a primitive wood construction, with my body shaped as a bridge I looked at the palms tree upside down. I think about Kristen, a badass strong lady, social anthropologist, and her words during our last lunch at the ashram “I can see it, you will make it. Keep doing what you are doing in this way” ”…Also, the finger infection you had, sounds like ange in your body that wants to leave. You don’t need it”.
The yoga teacher asks us to pretend we have a sword in our hands and to visualise something we want to cut, and then do it. After that exercise I’m upside down on my arms, and I wish they were holding me better, when I felt it: It is really happening.
“What will you do next? Where can we find you again? This world needs more of what you are doing, bringing your art, your visions and energies in an accessible, in a serious but also very fun way”
So many things happening so quickly in the Undergrowth of my emotions.
Sometimes I’m scared, or still very confused.
I’m in Goa. Now. A complete other world compared to the Ashram situation. Most of the people here are jugglers or musicians. Long hair and walking barefoot. I don’t even know how to socialise anymore and I feel I’m driving myself crazy because of all the things I didn’t have time to process yet in my head. Writing this is a blessing, indeed.
I’m behind the corner of the dorms. There are many hoola hoops. I take one. I know some tricks. “Would you like to learn how to spin fire?”
I know this is the beginning of the biggest journey: The dog days are over. The horses are running. The seed is awake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
Power in physics is the ability of doing work. To produce an effect.
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.
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