By Tawa Ranes
Solar Moon Press was recently speaking with a writer’s group about what we are trying to do as a publishing company, and ways for writers to get involved. In that particular moment we were talking about the kinds of voices that Solar Moon Press would like to help to ‘be heard.’ The question came up as to whether Solar Moon Press was open to trans voices. It felt like a very interesting question. Interesting because it made it very apparent that forums, outlets for storytelling, and the avenues by which marginalized voices can find their way to the public, have become increasingly ‘specialized.’ You could also read here; separatist and divided. I learned a new word when trying to define (in my own mind) what I mean by this. The word is fissiparous. An adjective, meaning: inclined to cause or undergo division into separate parts or groups. It appear we are becoming even more fissiparous in contemporary publishing. I don’t ignore the fact that historically we have always been so; yet it seems to have a slightly different flavor in its modern cultural iteration.
It could be that the question came up in response to my very own fear, that I had vocalized in the group, of getting pigeonholed as a publishing company, as a “me too” publisher of only female voices. The fear came up in response to having just released our first book as a publishing company. It is a “me too” piece of literature. One that felt very raw and vulnerable to put into the public domain. One that also felt very necessary, and important to honor, as the first voice we offer to the public. Especially as a publishing cooperative claiming to represent those voices that are still being silenced as a regular cultural practice.
As the author of the book, there was a deep urgency inside of me to tell the stories, that the book includes, in a very public way. I believe this is because of the deep healing that I know to be possible when we expose our tender spots and allow them to be ‘aired out’. So to speak. I also believe that, as an author, it was the first story I needed to tell. Because so much of what I do and how I engage with the world has to do with healing, eventually most of what I want to share with you all will also have to do with healing, and be very solution/ evolution oriented.
The problem with jumping right into all that feel good/ move forward stuff, is that it doesn’t honor the very real, lived and survived, shadows of the human experience. This might very well be why so many attempts to heal, as individuals and as a society, fail. In my experience, you can’t gloss over the shit, the muck, the horror of it all, while at the same time fully understanding what happened, how it affected us, and ultimately healing from it. Exposing it to the light, airing it out, and telling the story are critical steps in the healing process. In fact, they are the steps that draw out the poison that we carry within from experienced trauma. This may seem obvious, but we can’t heal if the poison is still inside of us. That is why, when treating poison wounds, you have to first draw the poison out.
As a writer, I know that drawing the poison out and using it as the ink to write my, and other’s stories, have had miraculous healing benefits. As a publisher, I know that I must bravely stand with those who are engaged in (and maybe engulfed by) the healing process. Those evolutionary pioneers who recognize and honor that we must speak the uncomfortable truth (our uncomfortable truth) if we are to ever move beyond it. Solar Moon Press encourages and supports those who choose to make beautiful, sometimes angry, and always impactful literature, from the festering inkwell within.
If you have words that needs to be heard, want to be healed, and are forward moving (toward revolution, resolution, solution, and evolution), then Solar Moon Press is likely an avenue you will want to walk down, a website you will want to peruse, a vocal stream you will want to dip your feet into. It matters not the lens you look through. We all perceive and receive life through our own lens, and that lens reflects our experiences on planet Earth. Our lens will likely reflect the color of our skin, the gender fluidity or rigidity within, our relationship with our kin, our beliefs around sin, and how those experiences have shaped and molded us. It will also likely tell us whether the experience has been painful or peaceful. We want to hear what you have to say. We can’t wait to see it through your unique lens and hear it in your voice.
As we have said before: “Come to us as you are: sweet, powerful, sensitive, grumpy, sensual, creative, and irate.” We will not put up a gate. We think it’s so important for you to create, and in doing so, clean the slate. But not before allowing yourself to feel irate and express the need to get it straight. No glossing over or gas-lighting, just straight up reality biting. So whether the story you have to tell is “me too,” he too or they too, whether it’s in your face ‘I’m tired of being treated this way because of my race (sex or class),’ or if it feels an urgency to no longer be defined by traditional concepts of gender and sexuality; please share with us your reality. And if you are battling the raging waters of the toxic masculinity within, are tired of being lumped in with that din, yet aren’t being offered a place to begin, to unravel the cultural patterns that hail from our kin; yes, that too is a sin.
Tawa Ranes is a Transformative Release Therapist living in Colorado (USA). She is fascinated with healing and the ways in which healing manifest in the human experience. Deeply enriched by her study-abroad experience in Spain as a teenager, Tawa’s life long love affair with culture and literature naturally led to advanced studies in Contemporary Spanish Literature and Literary Theory. She is in awe of the communicative and connective potential inherent in words and language, and loves to use them as an entryway into deeper understanding and communion with other. She writes in a candid voice with deeply philosophical undertones. Tawa is a leap before you look extraordinaire and the creative founding spirit behind Solar Moon Press.
by Angela Meyers
I woke up this morning thinking I would write the Anatomy of Sadness. Then I opened my laptop and read a Mark Twain quote. It altered me…dissolved my self pity and called on my warrior heart. I want to hear that call everyday.
The question haunting me this morning: When will I meet someone who really sees me? I have this feeling, only I can fill these shoes. I am a little confused, but I am not disappointed.
Permission: this poem is a safe place
To explore the Anatomy of Sadness
I try to remember that I am a circus performer
I am about to dive into a tiny pool, in a big tent, surrounded by a great, grand world
My audience is none but myself
After I jump, and I climb out of my tiny pool,
I will take a bow, only to myself
It is an extraordinary thing to do
To fall so far with so little a safety net
Many climb to their own platforms,
and just smoke cigarettes and drink up there, nursing addictions, never braving the lonely fall
For many that jump, the shock of the experience takes their life-breath away
They either never come out of it or they come out smuggling fear in their heart
Many never try again
But if I know myself at all
I will keep climbing and jumping, until the whole circus fades away
And I am standing bowing in honor to the experience of my life
The Anatomy of Sadness, A Single Story
It has dark edges
A brutality that startles me awake in the night
In the morning
It is merciless with its endless interpretations
Imagination can turn it into a sort of high-speed tumbling into oblivion
Like a rocket man at the edge of the atmosphere
Falling off a proverbial cliff into no-gravity
It disorients the navigation system
it is an uprooting
It reminds me of trying to save my mother from herself
It reminds me of the girl I thought I was
It reminds me of the girl I never was
It reminds me of hitting the bottom only to realize I am still floating
No gravity, yet carrying all the heaviness of the world on my shoulders
Learning to love myself, from watching myself love others
I looked at you, and I am sure that I saw you
And saw brilliance where so many, even you, suspected plainness
Your words were alchemy
They felt like a fire in my belly
They felt like an old friend warming up my soul
Your beauty took me by surprise, delighted me
The way you fit so tenderly in my arms
It was as simple as gravity
It was a reverence
It was an honoring
It was like coming home
It did not belong to any interpretation in this world
Yet it was so fragile
So overwhelmed and drowned out by karma
Learning to love myself, from watching myself diminish others
When it happens
There is a judgment that startles me as I watch it leave my body
An idea born in my mind that feels like betrayal
My brain cuts the other down by categorizing the expression of their heart
The way I do to myself all day, yet never shudder
But when I watch it pass to another, I am startled by its ugliness
I have this imagining that they feel it
So each time it happens, I say a prayer that they are immune or that they are protected from it
For I suspect angels may offer that protection, even from ourselves
At the very least, I hopefully imagine that they are unaffected due to lack of interest
Then I try to remember that I have a choice
That maybe my heart knows that love, hate, judgment, beauty, ugliness is only filtered through this human experience
We must choose every day what to let in, knowing karma will require us to transmit it back into the world
Angela Meyers lives in northern Colorado and works as a Physician’s Assistant. She enjoys the creative process of writing, and has a beautiful way of using metaphor and descriptive voice.
by Tiffany Higgins
Make enemy of no woman. This is what I hear. I doubt that it’s a new message, rather one that has been whispering in my ear for …years. I can honestly say that I’ve just turned the corner. In this time where the collective feminine is growing louder I accept that Trump Supporters, Plaid wearers, Coffee drinkers, Child Bearers, Single Screamers, Sign Holders, Hate Mongers, Abortion Lovers cannot be -The Other.
There can be NO Other. The new Club has to include Every Woman. It is a beautiful Club, an easy one to belong to when I’m across the table from a dear friend espousing our wonder at how well tea tree works as an antiseptic.
My left eye starts to twitch when I hear a Her say, “that’s just the way he is.”
Or “it’s just a kiss, Tiffany”… the perfunctory “kiss” on the neck….my private space, as opposed to a handshake when arriving at work. I wonder if tea tree works for this too.
And still I hear, make enemy of no woman.
It’s a zesty club, not unlike a family, where there are a bunch of misfits trying really hard to love each other. That’s what’s most important, that we try really hard to love each other.
We each have our spikes and thorns, sharp tongues, or no tongues. In our own way we are each venturing into the caverns of unexplored places within. Yes, yes, yes, sometimes those places are isle three of the grocery store where nestled there is a new and improved brand of earl grey lavender tea promising to soothe the soul ….only like lavender can. Then there are pockets of women following an impulse to awaken sexually. Explore the greater erotic Intelligence and creative life force energy, our inheritance to birth life into the world, human and so many other forms. This, an arena full of light and so much shadow billowing with shame. Both are zesty and pleasure-full. The soul soothing, nourishing, earl grey tea with lavender and my vulva’s connection to aliveness. Can I grow my capacity to be with all that this means? It’s so messy this “make enemy of no woman”.
Belonging…. to a greater whole both internally and externally.… This is where the dance of Belonging to this Club begins.
Some suggest that we must belong to ourselves first. The path to sovereignty lies in this relationship as primal, vital and critical. I don’t disagree. It is all of these elements and more.
I also believe that each woman has her own access point to excavating, re-mantling her own wholeness, untamed, influenced but not bound by this human experience. It doesn’t always come through our own hearts first or lips, neither the ones below nor above. Sometimes we need a gentle hand, holding our bums in support, as often a toddler needs a little boost.
What we need is acceptance, a real and strong-enough container to work our inner material out loud. All of the material, not just the material that fits into a new construct, even a deeply held, Best version, sacred construct. Ultimately any construct will create The Other. That Woman, She who is too _________________ Conservative, Fat, Flat, Fucked up, Unconscious to be worthy of The Club. Therein lies the sneaky and often seductive stronghold to a paradigm that we all know, hierarchy, power, a binary version that requires ‘less than’, ‘not enough’, ‘whore’, ‘bitch’, "goodie too shoes”.
It’s like any fire…it feels magical while sitting where the heat from the flames can bathe our skin, warm our bones, and the soft breeze at our backs encourages the smoke in the other direction. However, toss some gasoline in it and it is That Woman who wears the white t-shirt that shows the outline of her nipples or That Woman who defers to the man of the house. It’s so messy.
Make enemy of no woman. Can I grow my capacity to be with all that this means?
Otherwise, I’m complicit in sustaining a ‘Less than’ albeit shinier version of wholeness that makes a worthy member of The Club. Tricky.
It is a subtle form of rehabbing the current patriarchal culture by the very means that has nourished it. Power over…One up…Better than. I understand our deep desire to have an impact, change the course of and empower the feminine. Belong. To ourselves. To The Club of the Feminine -the collective conscious. I just don't think it will ever (nor can anything) be sustainable while there is The Other. When it is leveraged against, with or by another people or even concept. You see, for me love doesn't need a stepping stone or any form of power paradigm...no matter how seductive. And righting oppression IS VERY seductive.
It’s so messy.
Make enemy of no woman.
Can I grow my capacity to be with all that this means?
Tiffany Higgins, M.S., has 20 years experience in working with people as a facilitator, life coach, teacher, and experiential educator. She has designed and led experiential team building, leadership and trauma recovery programs for thousands of people.
by Margit Hentschel
As we transition from summer to fall, it’s not lost on me that the eddy line between seasons may be enshrouded with hints of human struggle. It’s the wobbly crossover between letting go of summer, slowing down for winter, and honoring how Fall is greeting us. Oftentimes, we subconsciously resist. It’s the resistance that creates suffering. Instead, if we lean in, get close to the earth, we may notice that during this season of transition to Fall we uproot our root vegetables. It’s Harvest season! Our root vegetables beckon us to uproot anything that no longer serves us; any residue that needs to be jettisoned before we hunker in for winter. The vegetable roots are full of the splendor of long hot days to nourish us during this special time of year -preparing us for Fall, then Winter, defoliating, freezing. The roots are grounding, from the ground, they help ground us. If we pay attention to this natural cycle of time, in synchronicity with the earth – our home, our nest – and her rhythm, it becomes easier to relax and harmonize from outer to inner and smooth our transition from Summer to Fall to Winter. Invite Earth’s roots to support you during this seasonal flux – beets, carrots, onions, garlic, etc.
It’s from this space, of root-ed-ness, inner harmony, cleansed and quiet, that I contribute my first written piece to Tawa Ranes’s new publishing cooperative. Solar Moon Press is a truly “evolutionary” invitation to share in “a voice that aligns with our hopes and dreams for the world.” Designed as a cooperative to include your voice, Solar Moon Press “encourages you all to find your personal truth, regardless of mainstream patriarchal constructs and conventions.” My maiden contribution is an honoring of this space, and I encourage you to join the conversation. The spirit of Solar Moon Press is an invitation for you to share your ideas in this beautiful and welcoming space – a space that our mother earth is calling forth with a deep beckoning. She welcomes us to be released from the shackles of patriarchy, reclaim the feminine, and rebalance in harmony with the masculine.
Generally, my use of the word “patriarchy” is met with blank faces and puzzled looks. I’m certain I still don’t have a full grasp of all it contains and spills upon us, and even more certain that I don’t articulate what I do grasp very well. What I do know, however, is that it’s time to investigate and question. A lot. My invitation for interested and curious beings, who happen upon this shared space, is to activate a keen sense of questioning.
As we’re passing information through social media and other venues, this questioning will offer us pause along the way to ask; Where did this information come from? What am I advancing with this information? What am I reproducing? All of these questions may lead to a deeper understanding of checking inside for our own wisdom guidance. What do I think? What do I know? What has been hidden from my own voice, oppressed by the patriarchy?
It was Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple) who introduced me to the Gnostic Gospels and their powerful portrayal of the Divine Feminine. From these ancient, uncovered texts, there is a conveyed balance within the feminine and the masculine. The words in the original Lord’s Prayer honored the father AND the mother equally, by example. Gnosis signifies inner knowing, our inherent knowledge of the spiritual and mystical. This inner knowing (gut-check, colloquially) is the authentic Truth and was once revered. It’s only the patriarchal constructs (destructs) that keep us from trusting our inner knowing.
One of the saddest moments for me in our time is when someone ridicules or disparages the term woo which was once shared with me as a term to honor our Divine feminine, goddess culture and wisdom. Check on how it feels to discount our wisdom by letting someone dismiss it as woo woo. What if woo was met with reverence instead of eye rolls? How does it feel to be disconnected and distrustful of your inner knowing? How does it feel to be respectful and trust your inner knowing, your gnosis, your self? Your woo? Who coopted woo to create skepticism in the first place?
I’ll close with a reminder from Marion Woodman to connect with your own inner consciousness, rooted in reality;
“As consciousness develops, the body will act as donkey for only so long. Men as much as women need to know that their soul is grounded in their own loving matter. ‘This is who I am. Every cell in my body tells me this is of value to me—not to my persona, to me.’ That is the container whose feeling can be trusted because it is grounded in reality.”
Many Bliss-ings to all of you – women, men, and beyond – on your Feminine Journey,
Cite: Woodman, Marion. (1990). The Ravaged Bridegroom: Masculinity in Women, Inner City Books, Toronto, p. 181.
Margit Hentschel is the Co-Founding Director for the Center for Mindfulness @ Colorado State University and has a PhD in Peace Education; Leadership, Renewal and Change. She is a community sustainability advocate and stewards Divine Feminine spaces through breath meditation, yoga therapy, and plant ally share-ings.