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 it seemed it was going to explode. 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.
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 Bere are wearing our 4 elements (+ eather) costumes. I’m, of course dressed up as 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.
I was laying down on the floor, feeling the sun on my face when I hear “Here your nurse!”. Angela, 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.
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?”. It was on the night of New Years eve, that 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 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 and 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 anger 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.
Someone come close to me “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.
(sketches from my diaries)