Notes and Thoughts
Reflections and blog posts below extend back to the launch of our original retreat in Hawaii, Pele’s Fire, in 2015, so if any of the content sparks nostalgia for pre-pandemic travel and community you will likely find a note that it comes from the archives.
Fairy Tale Survival Kit
Maybe a red velvet cloak cannot shelter your world. Perhaps we cannot stop the wolves every time. But we can let the precious things in our life know they are valued. We can try to carry as much of them as we can if we must flee.
Some thoughts on freeing your writing voice by writing over the old, worn out story.
Rubble and Remembrance
At Trinity College, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto discusses trauma narratives and healing narratives in connection with the 80th Day of Remembrance for the Japanese American incarceration.
The Star: Tarot for the Day
The Star has always been one of my favorite cards, and in the Shining Tribe, Rachel evokes a peaceful Persephone in her image, suggesting spring, nourishment, new life and escape from the underworld. In the Vertigo Tarot, the image (associated with Venus) confronts us with more than battle scars: her head and arms have literally been blown off.
Tarot for the Day: Ten of Stones
My preoccupation, lately, has been about my path. What is it, really? The question comes out of rupture: just the latest in a list of personal and societal ruptures that we have all been dealing with, for much longer than just the no-good-horrible-very-bad year of 2020. For me, this rupture came out of nowhere; it will move me in space and strip me of most of the basics that I have come to associate with my life for more than a decade and a half. But it also revealed to me, immediately, how much strength, support, kindness and love I still have around me and within me to forge a new path. ...
“I dreamed last night I came to a clearing in a forest… Have you ever taken a dream, or an image or a question, for a walk? I think the dream is about the coming weekend, about the part of my brain, my own survival system, that is trying to work out what “sacred” means in the context of our disciplinary field, “creative writing.” It is a place where we can bring what we cannot carry in our own bodies anymore. As I write these words, something that did not happen in the dream, but which is happening now, I can see the radical others — human, animal, and from the other world — who are stepping now, out of the trees. It’s by writing that I discover something that the dream did not show: a community of witnesses, of all of the others carrying their own vials, their own inherited forms of time, walking, right now, or by other means, towards this place.”
Rituals of Release
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of shouldering all the burdens, fighting all the battles, and feeling so stuck in the process. Thankfully, the Nine of Birds calls for rituals of mourning and release. This card, of course, is the Star’s shadow self, and a great plug for our intensive, creative, restorative gathering coming up on October 24-25th: The Grove. Four teachers and ten hours of rituals and techniques to clear away, reach for, and gather what you need.
What is the Two Trees Writers Collective? We are established writers and teachers, united by our intuitive approaches and inspired by unconventional ways of nurturing writers and creatives in their own development and growth. We are a community that has every individual’s needs and processes at its root. Collectively, we have decades of experience working with master’s degree candidates, which means we can go anywhere with you: deep into the craft and language of your manuscript or deep into your process and your writer’s soul.
Awakening! Tarot for Writers
If you are interested in using the Tarot to communicate with your muse, here is an example of how you can use it to offer a message for your writing life, process, and work. This post comes from a limited-series Tarot feature I published on She Writes a while ago. Here, I’m working with the Shining Tribe deck, created by renowned Tarot scholar Rachel Pollack* who taught me that the Tarot “is a vehicle to remind yourself of what you already know." It's perfect for writers, and it's the deck I use for the Tarot for Writers readings I offer with Two Trees. One of the simplest ways to work with...
Art As Activism
This interview with Reiko was originally published on the Women Authoring Change blog for Hedgebrook, an amazing retreat for women writers. In their own words, "Our mission is to support visionary women writers whose stories shape our culture now and for generations to come. Our core purpose is equality for women’s voices to help achieve a just and peaceful world." Hedgebrook: Tell us about your work as a writer—do you write in multiple genres/forms? Reiko: Sadly, yes. I’m a self-taught writer, so every time I write a book, I have to teach myself to write all over again, and it’s not a...
On the Art of Waiting for Writing
Recently, Beth Kephart asked me to talk about my writing process and rituals, and writer's block. She shared my answers in her Junctures newsletter. Reading over them now, I find myself wishing to be in that other country: writing. To capture what is coming through in the dark. And you? It's been a hard post-election year for the country, and a hard 2016 for many of us. What does your 2017 look like? How will you find a way to declare yourself ready for writing? From the interview: I don’t write every day. I don’t write every week even. I wish I did. I write long books with worlds to...
Dear Writers, I’m guessing that, for the majority of you, your first desire to write was a way to express an emotion that you were having difficulty feeling or understanding. Or it might have been an early attempt to document, to explore the world in which you lived. But then you grow up and reality kicks in big time, and reality can be an obstacle to working with your imagination. It can mess with your mind. If you’re not careful it can catch you with your guard down and say things like: Oh please, you think your little poem is going to change the plight of people living as refugees? You...
Elena, Bhanu and Reiko: A Conversation
This conversation was made possibleby one of our founding Pele's Fire participants, Heather Leah Huddleston “…for me, the word ‘core’ feels like I am in partnership with my work…” ~ Elena Georgiou Pele’s Fire was birthed from the very core—hearts, minds, passions, and desires—of three women: Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, Elena Georgiou and Bhanu Kapil. Joined by Black Belt Nia instructor Susan Tate, who will incorporate daily creative movement classes, including Nia, these mentors make Pele’s Fire the retreat to access, to transmute, to move and write from the core of the body, from the very core of...
The Three (21st Century) Rs
Every year, I take a week off. Ostensibly, it’s a vacation in Cape Cod, but it always turns into a mini writing retreat. I unplug; and once I’ve done so, what happens? I Read. I wRite. I Relax. Why is it that relaxation in the 21st century feels like a luxury? In my childhood, adults didn’t have to decide to relax. They just did it; exhaustion forced relaxation on them. My family didn’t need to go to Fine Dining Establishments (FDE) to prove they were doing The Third R. In fact, we only did the FDEs on special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. The rest of the time we made Sunday...
I’ve been thinking a lot about being a writer in this world. Not about the need to raise our diverse voices, or to break down the barriers that keep too many of us silent; not about the role of writers to expand our collective understanding of what it means to be human. I’ve been thinking about the opposite: about how our current culture is strangling art, and how we are letting it. You’ve been reading, surely, about authors’ declining income, about our paltry sales figures (even for prize winners). You’ve quite likely read suggestions on the Internet for “making a living” as a writer. But...