Room to bloom: Rethinking Beltane and Fertility Festivals

After I separated from a partner of 15 years and was headed for divorce, I found the return to pagan traditions to be a great comfort. I connected to the cycles of the moon, the agricultural calendar, and my ancestors. I joined a community of women. I rediscovered my sense of magic. But as Beltane neared, I felt outside again. Middle aged, single, full of questions about sexuality and my relationship to relationships (ha!), I couldn’t envision a place for myself in Beltane’s celebration of fertility, conception, passion, marriage, and sex-positive heteronormality.

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Xochiquetzal, left, by Thalia Took, and Artemis by PinkParasol

But, as my connection to the divine feminine and earth magic deepened, my perspective began to shift. Traditions are important, but spirituality is a living thing and, as such, breathes and morphs and expands to serve the needs of its practitioners. Our connection to spirit shapes us, but we’re active participants. We shape spirit, too. We evolve with it and in it and of it. Continue reading

Can a poem be a form of resistance?

Inanna-Sumerian-God-AnnunakiI don’t know the answer to the title of this post. Writing a poem in the face of injustice feels both pointless and like the strongest thing I can do. The story of Chikesia Clemons, who was assaulted at a Waffle House, by police, after requesting plasticware with a takeout order and having the audacity to protest an upcharge, enraged me. I know I’ve gone all kinds of sassy, snarky, uppity and uncalled for in the bank when things didn’t go my way. I’ve vented my ire at more than one undeserving customer services representative. But I’m white. I can behave badly and suffer the hangover of shame and move on. What of the black women who are my neighbors and coworkers and community? Where is the justice? How do we stand with them and for them?

This poem ripped through my guts, born of fire and fury.

THE DESCENT
For Chikesia Clemons

What goes unsaid
is that you were given a double-serving
of injustice. Twin lashes
for your duplicitous sins of being born
female and black. You,

the Queen of Heaven, sent into a life
of fun house mirrors that distorted
your every truth, reflected your image
back wrenched and marred
and nightmarish. Sorry Continue reading

‘Sleeping on Rooftops’ performance, May 9

If you live in Asheville and missed the debut of Sleeping on Rooftops at The ReHappening in March, here’s one more chance to see the show! We’ll be at REVOLVE on Wednesday, May 9, 7 p.m. The show also includes a solo set by musician Sally Ann Morgan.

 

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Sleeping on Rooftops + Sally Ann Morgan (solo set)
Wednesday, May 9, doors at 6:30 p.m. / show at 7 p.m.
Tickets $10.00

Sleeping on Rooftops, a collaborative work of spoken word, dance and experimental cello music, follows the model of the hero’s journey, as explained by mythologist Joseph Campbell. The story is of a young woman who ventures into the world for the first time. The piece was inspired by the collaborations of Black Mountain College artists M.C. Richards, Merce Cunningham and John Cage, and their collective foray into the source of creativity, and it debuted at the 2018 ReHappening.

Performed by: Alli Marshall (spoken word), Sharon Cooper and Coco Palmer Dolce (dance), and Melissa Hyman (cello).

Tickets are available here.

LETTERS TO ATHENA: A workshop on healing, writing, and accessing the goddess within

UPDATE: THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN CANCELED FOR THE TIME BEING. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES AND RESCHEDULING!

I’m so excited to announce my upcoming workshop. I hope you’ll join me — and Athena — on an adventure of words, stories, healing, and connection.

Letters to Athena uses mythology and the archetype of the Greek goddess to reframe our own stories. There will be writing prompts, response writings and free writes all aimed at connecting with Athena energy and our inner warrior goddess — but this is not a writing workshop as much as an afternoon of personal empowerment and communing with the creative power of the goddess. Join me Sunday, May 20, 3-5 p.m. at Asheville Raven & Crone, 55 Merrimon Ave.

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 3.21.27 PMWhy Athena? The goddess of wisdom, courage and the arts is exactly the spirit we need to call in right now, in this time of #METOO, political and environmental anxiety, and the kind of reshaping and intense transformation many of us are experiencing. Athena is also known as the goddess of war, but I prefer to focus on her qualities of justice, strategy and strength. Continue reading

Community Author FTW!

I’m so thrilled to share that I’ve been chosen to receive the 2018 UNC Asheville Ramsey Library Community Author Award. “The award provides a writer in Western North Carolina with a yearlong residency in UNC Asheville’s Ramsey Library, with a courtesy faculty appointment that provides a library study carrel and other campus resources,” says a press release. “The residency will run through December 2018, and will culminate in an opportunity for Marshall to showcase her work at a campus reading.”

Read more about the initiative and my wildly imaginative plans for what I’d like to accomplish (dream big, right?) here.

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Me, living in the library, with all my best book friends.