Update

I know have been absent for a while now — initially because I was busy with my copyediting coursework, but for the last month, it has been because I have been locked inside myself trying to figure some things out. There have been catalysts for this disruption, but there isn’t anyone to blame. No one but me, here in my confused head. Nevertheless, it’s been a lengthy hiatus, and I am sorry to any frequent readers who have wondered where the fuck I have been. I also knew there was a potential that I would burn out on posting weekly, and I have. I may get back to that, though I would like to explore it in different ways… maybe videos… maybe art posts… maybe magic things! This is partly because I like doing different things, but also because I have some writing projects in the works and I want to devote more time to those. I want to push myself, of course, but I don’t want to force anything. I don’t want this platform to feel like a chore, so I am allowing myself a lot of grace around my absence. I will not be pushing for weekly communication any longer. I will be pushing for regular creation though… I have been working in Yellow Door (my workspace) a lot lately, trying to make it exactly what I want it to be. I will have a few products available on my Ko-fi store very soon.

My friend, Matt, and I walked a mountain mile to see this waterfall when he visited in December. It was worth every sore muscle I got.

On the subject of writing, I hadn’t intended to keep myself locked (predominantly) into a singular subject, but animism is a really important part of my life. For the last year, I have been studying animism with Cyrene Harding in her Animist Study Circle, which just concluded in December. Through the weekly prompts and exercises, as well as our live video calls, I feel my connection to nature has increased 100 fold. Animism informs all that I do, all that I see, and how I see it. While I have always been an animal and nature lover, this course of study has enriched my life and my perspective in far greater ways than I can currently articulate, and I will be forever grateful for the connections this work has inspired. I have joined for a second year, and expect that I will go even deeper this time.

As seen on the mountain. Aren’t they beautiful?

Also, I did finish my copyediting course! I am still in the process of figuring out my freelance career, but that’s on its way as well. I am rather stuck on pricing after having my confidence shaken a bit this fall. I honestly don’t know what I should be charging. I don’t want to low-ball myself, but I don’t want to overcharge either. The other matter is trying to decide on what services I want to offer. How niche do I want to go?

And, as is my way, I am probably overthinking it. Ugh.

Anyway, I suppose that’s all. 2021 was its own mood. It was often delightful but often strange, too; and now I am here in 2022 experiencing the first real wintery part of winter. I haven’t left the house in I don’t know how long. I mean, I know it was kind of recent, but I honestly couldn’t tell you why or what date. I haven’t got a major schedule right now so it’s easy to get lost in time.

Brent of Mad Cow…and Elvira!

One of the best parts about 2021 was getting to be friends with the owner of my favorite store in town, Mad Cow Curiosity Shop. I had wanted to be friends with him since the first time I ever went to his store years ago. I never thought I would have the opportunity to do so, but then I never thought I would live in Ohio again! Brent is super cool–way cooler, in fact, than I ever knew. He is genuine, personable, kind, loves animals, has great taste in stuff, and he has an eye for the awesome. He hand draws his own tags and signage, and has a really cool art style. If you follow him on Facebook or Instagram, you will see some of his work. (He would also really hate it if he knew I had said nice things about him, so don’t tell. Fortunately, I don’t think he reads my blog, so I may be safe from his scorn!) Sadly, he is facing some major challenges right now and could really use support. Here is a link to his fundraiser. Every little bit helps, and I assure you he’s worth every penny. If you don’t do it for him, do it for me so I can continue to go there and loiter.

As for me, stay tuned! I have a lot of irons in the fire and I can’t wait to share them with you!

My Animist Values

I try to bring a little bit of the sacred into my everyday existence, even if it’s just taking a 5 minute walk through Tappan Square and visiting with the glorious Beech tree, the ever-so-magical Dawn Redwood trio, or any of the other lovely beings residing there. It doesn’t have to be long or complex to be meaningful, and there are no special tools required — just me, and a willingness to connect with the lives around me, human and otherwise.

Connection is a word I use tirelessly because, for me, it is absolute necessity. Connection is everything, and behind nearly everything I do. If I do not feel connected to what I am doing, the home I live in, the land I occupy, the people I am spending time with, or the things I surround myself with, then what’s the point? Where’s the actual magic, if not living within the connections we foster?

Connection by Kali Adriantje

Over the last several months, I have been working to define my values as an animist by way of a course of study with the oh-so-wonderful, magical Cyrene Krey of Shadow Animism. I have talked a bit about some of my foundational beliefs in past posts, but I want to take a little time to highlight what I have come up with thus far, as this exercise in definition has really helped me to deepen my experiences and increase the depth of connection I feel to the world. These may shift a little as I continue to cultivate my path, but the bones are here and ready for the flesh.

  • Allowance – I honor other beings without the expectation that they conform to my ways of expression and behavior. I allow them to exist as they are, rather than as I am. I lower my demands on their existence, as they are not mine to rule or preside over.
  • Connection & Communication – I understand that communication and expression are not limited to my human ways. I allow myself to connect from a deeper source of understanding beyond my oral language; and to be moved and changed by releasing, at times, my modern human logic and desire to explain away my experiences.
  • Creativity & Deference – As I belong to the Earth, I offer my deference to Nature as greater than myself. I use creativity to move through challenges presented to my person. I pay tribute to my experience of other beings through creative means.
  • Equality – I hold all beings as equal to myself with the recognition that they each have spirit, consciousness, intellect, wisdom, and emotion — even when their expression differs from my own. All beings are valuable by merely existing. All beings deserve respect. I actively work to shift my language to foster inclusivity among human and nonhuman beings alike.
  • Gratitude – I hold high the intricacy and beauty of life, even when it proposes an inconvenience to me. I express my gratitude to the land I occupy, and the beings I share it with.
Love Knot by Kali Adriantje

Of course, this is my pathway and my set of values. Defining them, for me, has brought a greater sense of peace and meaning to my life and all the encounters in the natural world that I have been blessed with (I have several stories that I’ll share down the road), deepening my sense of connection to my world. Your values may look a little or maybe a lot different, but I would encourage you to take a look at them and try to define them clearly for yourself. The truth is we are all here on the Earth doing the best we can to live our lives. We all arrive at our understanding of life and the divine at different times and experience it in different ways. Regardless of these differences, I think we can agree that a life without connection is no better than an empty, obligatory handshake.

I Suppose I Should Introduce Myself

This is me — Self-Portrait Me, Hangry Me, and Regular Me. I am about to present you with some facts about myself: a random earthling with a face, opinions, and internet access.

My name is Kali Adriantje. I grew up in Southwest Michigan, and lived there for the majority of my life until recently. I was raised by really interesting, complex, creative, and wonderful people who instilled in me a deep sense of compassion, a love of animals and nature, a love of music and the arts, a connection to the divine, a genuine interest in other people, a strong belief in equality and justice, and a fierce loyalty to those I love. I also cuss a lot. (thanks, Dad!)

I am one of two siblings from my parents marriage together, and the middle of seven siblings in total. I have the great fortune of having some of the coolest family members on the planet. Nearly all of us have some kind of musical or artistic ability, and those who don’t, express their brilliance in other equally magical ways. We don’t always agree, but we do really love each other, and I think we (usually) really like each other too. I know not everyone has that, so I am extremely grateful for each of them being the badass people they all are.

I have a love of animals on the whole, but a particular affinity for black cats. I have rescued/raised 6 total, but two are currently in my care, whom you shall now meet, as they are the source of some of my greatest joy in life…

Henry, aka Henny Penny

Age: 12 1/2

Smells Like: Sunshine & Morning Dew

Profession: Handsome Little Wittle Man, Conspiracy String Theorist

Loves: Blueberries, bananas, burrowing, unleashing entire balls of yarn upon the house at night

Dislikes: Having paws and tummy touched unless he is in the mood.

Warnings: Will steal a straw, even if it means taking the whole drink along with it.

Fun Fact: Has a beautiful singing voice

Lumienne, aka Lumi

Age: 1

Smells Like: Moonbeams & Fresh Spring Rain

Profession: Baby Fluffins

Loves: Asking questions, turkey, creating toy stashes under furniture

Dislikes: Loud things, an empty bowl

Warnings: Will steal food from your fork if she thinks it’s yummy enough, steals candy and hides it with her toys, will jump into the refrigerator

Fun Fact: Told me her name in a dream

I am an animist, an eclectic pagan, and a healer. I started reading tarot cards when I was 14, but for more than a decade now, I have also practiced foot reflexology. I have added many other tools along the way — foot reading, energy work, past life regression, herbalism, and aromatherapy, to name a few. From 2016 through 2020, I co-owned a holistic healing center where I assisted my clients in their health and healing work. I taught classes on intuitive tarot and meditation, and I created a monthly group, called Flourish, intended to help people (myself included) connect with their creativity and move through blockages.

I love making things — drawing, painting, making candles, bookbinding, and tons more… Where I currently live, I have a wonderful workshop, which I sometimes like to call my Hag Room, in the basement that I don’t use nearly enough. I wanted to meet my 9-1 deadline for launching Muse & Metaphor, and every waking moment lately has gone into writing and editing, scheduling posts, then deciding I don’t like them enough to share them yet, unscheduling, editing some more, etc. Eventually, I will be selling some of my wares on my Ko-Fi page, and whenever possible, I will be using my own art and photos in my posts regardless of my skill level.

One of my oldest and greatest loves is writing. Though this is by no means my first run around the block as a blogger, I am a bit rusty, so please bear with me as I retune my instruments! I created Muse & Metaphor as a way to rekindle my old flame and keep the hearth fires hot.

I am quite nervous to be doing this, but after many years of sealing myself off and all the resulting damage, I feel called to really put myself forward. So, I thank you for being here with me today. I hope to see you again soon!

In Gratitude and Love,

Kali

The Velveteen Rabbit Hole

In 1932, Douglas Herrick went hunting with his brother, hoping to snare a jackrabbit. When they returned, the jackrabbit carcass was laid next to some antlers, and thus the jackalope was born. And Douglas, Wyoming was forever changed.

This story, although just a snapshot, inspired the creation of Anthony, pictured here.

So why am I talking about and painting jackalopes?

Recently, during a visioning/energy healing session, a jackalope showed up. I laughed at first, a little thrown off by the appearance of an American made myth, but I now think he came in to talk about how stories shape us and how we see the world. 

Stories are important. They are carriers of culture, identity, and metaphorical truths. Every country, community, family, and individual has their own that convey to those looking in exactly who they are. Stories can do great things — offering beautiful perspectives and guidelines for living, and they can also do greatly damaging things — like when we spread untruths about others, or when we hang on to tales about ourselves that aren’t true.

Stories can empower, and they can disempower. 

We can get stuck inside old family tales (as in “that’s the way I was raised”), and we can get stuck inside our own heads (as in “everyone is judging me,” “no one likes me,” “this always happens to me,” etc.). It is vital that we be willing to look deeply at those we tell ourselves and shift them where necessary. We absolutely can control the narratives we ingest and those we project to the world. 

Look at little Douglas, Wyoming, population 6,120. What started as a gag has become a huge tourist attraction for the little town, now known as “Home of the Jackalope,” where they hold an annual jackalope festival and issue thousands of jackalope hunting licenses every year during jackalope hunting season. The season lasts only one day — June 31. (Yes, you read that correctly!)

Great for Douglas, not so great for jackrabbits and deer, but the point is, they literally changed their story, and created a claim to fame in the process, not to mention an entire mythology. This is actually really powerful! 

*Note: It is preferable you create a story that doesn’t needlessly harm other beings in the process. 

By creating the jackalope (which arguably already existed in some form beforehand), they gave life and personification to a concept. Children are great at this. Watch the way they personify the world around them. They give a soul to just about everything they touch! The way they interact with their environments is pure poetry.

This got me thinking about The Velveteen Rabbit. Actually, I thought about that story a while ago during a discussion with one of my teachers, Cyrene. I had been trying to figure out a way to tie it in with another blog I was working on, and it didn’t work. Tonight, as I showed Anthony to a friend, she said he reminded her of The Velveteen Rabbit, and lo, there was the connector!!

Earlier in the year, I was reading a text about animism which drew a correlation between animist thought and the thought patterns of young children. I had a bit of a “chicken vs. egg” question: is it that animism is merely “primitive thought,” or; is it that our natural proclivity is toward animism, and children are just absolute naturals? I remembered myself as a child, assigning spirit to everything around me — including my stuffed animals. This made them very difficult to part with when the time came, even into adulthood. I really feel it’s just inherently within us to desire connection with our surrounding world, even the objects we use. Animism is a natural answer.

The Velveteen Rabbit was a toy so beloved, he was made real. Of course, since the book is kind of from the rabbit’s perspective, he had already achieved personhood by simply having been created. But he didn’t know this. How could he? His purpose had already been assigned to him — he was a toy, nothing more. That was the story he told himself, and that was the story he was told.

I want to be clear — I am not saying that if he had only believed in himself he would have been hopping around with other bunnies sooner… (wait, am I?) I am saying that, simply by the act of having consciousness (I think therefore I am-ish), he was already real.

I think this is where we come back to just how important stories are. The Velveteen Rabbit didn’t think himself enough until he was out chewing real clover, but the truth is that he provided great joy and comfort to the boy long before he had hoppity legs. His purpose was far greater than “just a toy.”

And the jackalope — a story created in silliness brought to life by all who participate in the gag, and a very present visitor in a healing session.

You may very well have isms assigned to you by birth, but only you get to decide who you are. If your internal stories are harmful to you or to others, you get to change them, and I highly recommend it.