Monday, December 12, 2011

We are so proud to have had this special article written about us in theIthaca Times'

Looking at a Beautiful Year - Ithaca Times : Special Sections: excerpt from article written
by Warren Greenwood photo by Ed Dittenhoefer

My favorite philosopher is the late Alan Watts. And I recall a lecture where he said that art tended to be more integrated into life in the Eastern cultures. In other words, here in the West, art tends to be placed in museums and galleries, and we are supposed to go look at it and appreciate it as “Art.” Whereas, in Eastern cultures, art would be more a part of life, say, painted on clothing or fabrics, or on a money pouch or pottery or dishware, perhaps on a screen or scrim, even in a little shrine in the home. You get the idea.
And, as my arts & entertainment editor asked me to write about two new 2012 calendars by local Ithaca photographers, it occurred to me that calendars were a sort of Western way to integrate art into life … particularly the art of photographers.
Let’s see what we’ve got …
Integration of Opposites –
Astro Yoga Calendar 2012
Photographer: Damarís 
Graphic Artist: 12th Moon
This is, seemingly, the sort of project that could only happen in Ithaca.
The Astro Yoga Calendar is a sort of confluence of yoga and astrology, the photographer Damarís’s practice of Kundalini White Tantric Yoga, and her Significant Other 12th Moon’s study of astrology.
It features fifteen models, performing yoga, nude, in upstate New York landscapes. The models are practitioners and instructors of yoga – a bewildering variety of yoga disinclines including Vinyasa Yoga, Somaveda Thai Yoga, Ashtanga-inspired Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Bikram’s Yoga, Anusara, Pure Yoga and Iyengar styles, and Acrobatic and Partner Yoga. And the models have a full range of life activities, including dance, playwriting, organic vegetable farming, photography, nursing, herbal medicine and massage.
A lot of the imagery in the calendar is quite beautiful.
The nude figures remind me a bit of Renaissance art: Michelangelo, Titian, Tintoretto, Raphael and so on … or perhaps (what inspired all the aforementioned) the classical art of ancient Greece.
My favorites are the photos for Aquarius, which features nudes in the upstate New York winter, and Sagittarius, with fire-burnished nudes, also in the upstate winter. The effect is so strange that it reminds me of fantasy art, like the work of, say, Rowena, or the Bros. Hilderbrandt, or Boris Vallejo.
Gemini, with the figures draped with a gauzy, transparent fabric, looks a bit like a Christo installation.
Scorpio, which was shot with an underwater camera, and Libra, with the theatrical artificiality of the photo’s background, look like scenes from a Fellini movie, perhaps Satyricon or Roma.
Virgo, with feathers and flowers and fruit and a misty bubble star field of underwater nudes, looks a like a Pre-Raphaelite painting (or at least the 20th century comic book illustrators who were inspired by them, like the sublime Barry Windsor-Smith).
The black-&-white-and-limited color of Leo feels like a surrealist painting by Salvador Dali.
Aries looks somewhat like classical Indian Hindu art.
Pisces feels a bit like Max Ernst surrealism.
The opening low angle shot and the closing down-shot of a mandala of multiple nudes in a forest, remind me of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.
And the final, biographical page shot of Damarís and 12th Moon is an especially charming composition of male and female in an ethereally beautiful time-and-water sculpted gorge.
And I can’t help but be impressed with how difficult the shoots must have been. Entailing difficult locations and terrain, multiple models performing difficult poses, nude models in the Upstate, N.Y. winter, severe downshots and underwater photography. The mind boggles.
I met with Damarís and 12th Moon, two extraordinarily appealing people, at the Wegman’s second floor café and we talked about some of those difficulties.
Damarís said, “The hardest part was scheduling … getting childcare for people who had children.”
And she said, “I feel like this has been a really good vehicle for me to learn things in my craft that I’ve always wanted to do … such as shooting underwater … I was really committed to doing as much as I could out in nature.”
She told me of one of the models for Aquarius: “She is literally turning 21 in that shot … she is watching the sun rise …”
And 12th Moon chuckled, “That was the other part – being out in the ice and snow at 4:35 in the morning …”
Damarís said the models were “up for the fun and the challenge … the only problem about being nude in the snow is you’ve got to wear shoes … everything else is doable…”
And she said, “The fire was definitely a big challenge … I had fire workers … I had to have somebody on the fire …”
And of the bio-photo, she said it was shot in “Upper Buttermilk Falls … you have to walk through the water to get to the spot – I call it ‘The Womb of Ithaca.’ We had the camera on a timer. I had like 10 seconds to hurry up over there naked and look peaceful …”
Locally, the Astro Yoga calendar is available at Greenstar, Buffalo Street Books, Mayer’s News, Sustainable Passion, The Yosa Studios, Ahimsa Yoga, Transform Yoga, The Yoga School, and is also available online

Friday, November 4, 2011

"My Mother Was Born on the Day of the Dead"

I've always loved that line, and like to say I'd start a novel with that line. My Mom is a Scorpio...and I've certainly learned a lot about this sun sign from her. I am very committed to embracing the meanings of Scorpio. It's when rituals such as Samhain, Dia De Los Muertos, and Halloween happen. The mirror opposite time from Belthane in Spring when everyone frolics and procreates and flashy buds crop up (End October, Most of November) is a time of beautiful depth, dark earth tones, and potential for release....Yes, I do have a sweet spot for Scorpio (and about 3 planets in the 10th house).

Photo by Damaris: From Astro Yoga Calendar 2012: Integration of Opposites
It's been long stated that there are three types of Scorpios, or a phase someone who is Scorpionic could be in...
The Scorpion: "Oh, I'm sorry, I couldn't help but to hurt you..." Or what I like to call the 'baby viper' the immature but powerful one who uses ALL the power in one bite and wears itself out...
The Snake: The classic symbol of uncomfortable crawling out of old skin...shedding the Mother Nature right now is shedding leaves from trees to make compost for spring...
The Eagle: Highest form of Transformation or Enlightenment
We view this sign we are in right now as a time of Death and Rebirth, it's the "Death Card" Trump in Tarot Major Arcana which heralds not death literally but transformation like diving into uncharted territory coming out the other side a new being.
This is where I like to interject the imagery of the Phoenix...all must come down to ash before the magnificent bird is reborn and again sets flight. To me, this is what this sign is about. This is also why I chose to represent it as a 'yonic' symbol of birth...but made sure the element of water and darkness hinted to a sense of flight. It was such a joy to work with this trio in this picture...two Scorpios and a Taurean...quite a sensual combination of Earth and Water symbolism.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Video I made three years ago for Birth Fair

This has stood the emotional test of time for me, anyhow.  I hope to see you at the Ithaca Birth Fair as put o by the Birth Net of the Fingerlakes this  Saturday 11-4 at Women's Community Building.

I loved putting this slideshow video together last Birth Fair, but projected it live with Joe Smellow accompanying if you were there, you'll remember, way different experience. I so look forward to going to the Birth Fair this year. I hope to see you there. Our Ithaca, NY has the most amazing Birthing community supporting women and midwives, men and children to have the birth they desire. I am so deeply touched by this experience of working so intimately with women when they are pregnant. To be creative with a woman during this window of time in their lives is my deepest honor.

Truly, you are goddess embodied, and shall be treated as such. My hope, in my own way, is to remind you of that!

Thank you to Eric 12th Moon for Mandalas and the beautiful voice of Amanda Rodgers for her music that inspires me to tears every time. If you are not already a fan, check out some of her cds, she's amazing!!!! (Fellow Saggitarian of course)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Fingerlakes Yoga Festival: Our Yogic Community let's it's hair down

The second ever. Last year's was at the posh Greek Peak, and was wonderful, but this year is even bigger, more whole,  with all the space and camping and down home vibrations. I'm a believer in Huck and his friends...all of us...who can come together as a community and share our yogic influences without pretense. I always say he reminds me of the man (seems to be 'channelling him') who put together Woodstock back in 'the day'.  There is something very organic, intuitive yet savvy about Huck, yes, a very Cancerian self proclaimed "alpha male" who has put together Fingerlakes Yoga Festival at a campground out in Trumansburgh, NY.

Click here to check out FLYF going on NOW  I have to get going, and catch the last 24 hours of this festival myself, so I'm going to keep this entry short, just wanted to share and support yet another blossom in the fertile land that is the Ithaca Region in the realms of integration and community.

It was wonderful to see Astrid Jirka (Aries), Ethan Sisser (Taurus), Lennessa (Virgo) and Mikey Shantaya (Capricorn), and Lyca Michael (Leo), from our Astro Yoga Circles (Calendar of 2012)...and to start to think about the next year's calendar being formed...I feel truly a part of this community both reflecting and reflected by one another's beauty.

One Love Devotional Chant and The Pranadhanas, ones whom I've collaborated in the past with when we did Mandala ( a pivotal piece and the 'we are together' love-piece for 12th Moon and I sort of initiating the beginning of our love relationship to the community ), were doing their thing...both these entities have evolved so much as well, and are truly capturing the spirit of Kirtan and Yoga Dance and so wonderfully sharing in a communal way. It's so easy to just jump on stage and do open mic and to flow into acro yoga postures led by the amazing teachers at FLYF.

Here is Huck before the festival communing with the land.

AKA "Mathiew Ingles" Huck is a sweet guy who truly wants to not just throw a big party for the community, and start a movement in the yogic consciousness but is an amazingly inspiring yoga teacher. This is a Yoga Festival for sure...full of joy and sharing.

Here are some more bits from the festival...hope you enjoy... and hope to see you there...

Here is Lyca Mikhael and (please let me know musician's name?) guiding FLYF attendees in an Elemental Chakra yoga/ Contact Yogadance class. Definitely something only this teacher could bring to us in this way. It's so nice even after working with you and Crystal Amethist with Leo/Aquarius alignment, Lyca, to have so many layers being revealed in your role as a teacher, leader, student of the elements... you were such an integral part of the group, and so very beautifully heart centered (Leo).
This was just one of three yoga classes happening at that moment.

"I step into the flow and then I let it my mind, my heart and my soul.....I SURRENDER"
From one of the many involving musical performances of One Love Devotional Chant that just gets you singing and dancing from the soul. My favorite part of this is the absolute surrender to the divine.

These folks are amazing...if you ever have a chance to catch One Love, do yourself a favor and attend. As I told the lead singer, Jody Kessler yesterday my daughter has grown up with these chants as her 'favorite' songs, and sings them to herself as she does artwork, or plays. They are truly a molder of our local culture, connecting us to a variety of disciplines and religions while standing in the yogic

Ok, I have to jump in the shower now,  and not miss the festival for writing about it on my are some more images to whet your appetite....see you there!

 Above is a Blindfold Yoga Class led by Courtney Novak, RYT
 Above are two amazing Thai Yoga folk Ethan Sisser at Right. The lovely lady is one of the most uplifting new friends I've made thru FLYF, Jeannine Gettis

 Lyca Michael's Class.
 Above is Partner Yoga From Astrid Jirka's Class teaching with her husband, Christian.
  Lyca Mikhael's Class.

....and with the music from the following video in my head...I am OFF to FLYF NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(PS Anyone out there with a 'steady cam' please contact me...thanks Ethan for the video cam loan)

Beauty Before Me...Beauty Behind Me...Beauty Beneath Me...Beauty Above...Beauty Surrounds all around enCIRCLES me with LOVE.....(sung by Jody Kessler)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Return From White Tantric Yoga at Kundalini Summer Solstice Event in New Mexico

Well, I'm back from my spiritual trip to Ram Das Puri at Summer Solstice doing Kundalini Yoga!

Kundalini Yoga at Ram Das Puri 2011
Ever have something happen in your life that you just want to share with everyone! White Tantric Yoga is that for me. I know there are many roads to the same place, but this really does it for me. It's a gathering I go to in New Mexico every Summer Solstice, and spend weeks working and doing yoga, and three days around solstice, we do White Tantric Yoga. 

You have a partner, and sit across from them in 'tantric lines'. Once tuned in, you can't cross lines, or get up, you can raise hands and monitors walk up and down lines to replace you. You are often looking into partner's eyes and doing postures. This year, there were 15 62 minute meditations like this. 

Kundalini Yoga Class at Solstice
I've had amazing experiences in the tantric lines especially when I allow for the 'pain' and am curious about it, and what it's attached to so I can let it go. When I go deep, I really feel the collective energy, and how we all really are ONE, how deeply we are really connected. The vulnerability and strength mingle and I'm humbled at how much compassion and infinite love there is available to me always. In that moment, as when in a lucid dream, I promise myself I won't forget this...and the yoga is a way to make sure I don't!

Preparation for White Tantric Yoga
Being an 'Air Tattva' year, it was so amazing how easy it was for me. (Aside from the fact that 50mph winds took down most the tents on tantric hill)  Heading out for this trip, I had been all geared up to release emotional blocks and have a nice catharsis, as it' supposed to be  a place where the collective group of over 2,000 people meditating on sacred Hopi Land, all dressed in white allow a sort of subconscious block release. But no. It was easy? 

I had a real culture shock when I returned and faced a whole wall of rage, and am now quite clear that the 40 days after this event is where the challenge is going to be.  I must FEEL these emotions and allow myself to transform by going thru it. 
White Tantric Yoga and the beauty of working with a partner is exactly the inspiration of why I'm using opposing signs in my calendar project. The gold is in that opponent, reflection of you.

Partner Work in Prep for White Tantric
If anyone during this time is called to work with me, to do Kundalini Yoga. I'm starting a 40 day meditation, and trying to do a Healing Ring of Tantra this New Moon.

Indeed, doing these kinds of meditations and keeping the discipline of consistency sets a new frequency in our lives.  I'm considering a Prosperity Meditation, the Air Tattva, and Kirtan Kriya all three for 40 days starting on this Cancerian New Moon.

We shall see how it goes. Please contact me if you would like to join me? We can do it at a distance or locally.

Stand by for Slideshow I'm doing for the 3HO (Healthy Happy Holy Organization) coming soon. I'm so grateful to have been able to have been on the Multimedia Team as my Seva!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

From the final shoot of the Astro Yoga Calendar of 2012 Project

The reason they are nude is not only for their beauty, but to explore abandoning illusion and allowing authentic self thru in the context of performance and photo art. My intention is to explore the notion that when we integrate the 'opposition' in our lives, it is the first step towards wholeness. If we do it all as a unit, there is a gestalt that speaks of ecstatic freedom. This group shoot, for me, was the height of this series, and here, the beginning of our conversation.