(an excerpt from The Myth of Tori - Chapter 4: Boys for Pele)
Some of my girlfriends – liberal London girls – had a problem with the idea that I was writing a song called “Father Lucifer.” One of them heard it and cried and said, “You made him so beautiful,” and I said, “What if he is beautiful?” Shadow defines light. The shadow is where I hang out a lot because I like chasing and diving with those forces.
When I came home, I guess it was at Thanksgiving because I remember a bird and forks going down at the table, my father said to me, “Tori Ellen, I can’t believe you wrote this song about me.” And I said, “I write everything about you, what are you surprised about?” And he said, “No, but I’m really hurt about this one.” And I said, “Well, which one is it?” And he said, “Well, you called me Satan.” And I said, “No! I was taking drugs with a South American shaman and I really did visit the Devil and I had a journey.” And he went, “Oh, Praise Jesus!”
I have used hallucinogens to journey to another space. I don’t use them to escape, but as a tool. And they have been helpful, but only because I have been working with people who have been in the Amazon and learned how to have vision-quest. It’s the idea of going into your psyche and knowing it more deeply. It’s a complete wealth of information in there. I’m definitely a hallucinogenic girl.
I had to go in this record when I was trying to find parts of myself that I had not let scream and dance and have a tear. I went to go visit Lucifer to get my talisman, which means my little magic key that took me to the places that I hadn’t let myself go. That’s really about having a little tango, a little dance, with Lucifer. The idea that Dark is not a scary thing if you go in there understanding there is a purity in Darkness. There’s also a lot of distortion in Darkness. It’s a choice where you want to go, and I wanted to get to the truth, not to the drama and to keeping me from the truth.
When I went to Lucifer I learned many things. But that whole thing of, “He didn’t see me watching from the aeroplane, he wiped a tear and threw away our apple seed,” there’s so much religious reference and metaphor coming back full circle from the myths. A part of her loved Lucifer, a part of her tried to find him in so many men that couldn’t carry his energy. These little prince of darkness wannabes. Some of them are cute, but to visit the real energy force that has held the darkness, you go there with honor. And that takes a very big heart to hold the place of shadow. To visit “Father Lucifer,” to have a moment to dance, to go down in the dark, to visit with the dude.
“Father Lucifer” is really about going to have a cup of tea with Lucifer, which I had to do, to go to the space of shadow, to go where we hide. I mean I’ve truly spent time with Lucifer, the energy of Lucifer. So when I sing, “Father Lucifer, you never looked so sane,” I truly went to those places. Now, when I say “Lucifer,” I’m talking about the feelings that we hide from ourselves. Not the devil, not Satanism. A whole different plane. I am not talking about Satanism. That’s the distortion of those who can’t really claim the dark, so they become evil because they are not really claiming their shadow. I’m talking about the shadow side, the secrets of the unconscious. It’s about claiming in ourselves what we hate in other people. “Just go burn that girl, just go fucking burn her, she’s a fucking cunt!” Until I started bringing in my sin, my judgment of other people was so harsh.
I wanted to marry Lucifer. Even though I had a crush on Jesus. I flirt with the sun god, too. I enjoy that immensely. In fact, I enjoy both of them quite immensely. Lucifer was the brother holding the space for mankind/womankind to act out their fears and hidden secrets, things they won’t acknowledge. That’s what the shadow is, the side that’s been denied, and once you don’t deny your shadow anymore then it’s not a perversion of that energy source. I don’t consider Lucifer an evil force. We can all tap into that free-running current of distorted energy.
I’ve always said that Lucifer understands love better than anybody. You know he’s done a mean tango with Greta Garbo a few times. Really understanding love is the only way you get to that side of things. I just always wanted to learn flamenco so I could dance with him. I wanted a great tango in the June summer with somebody really hot. There are a lot of cute boys around. It’s that quirk in their personality that makes my toes curl, and Lucifer’s got a very quirky personality. Although I think my mom would like to tag along and have a dance with him because she’s been a minister’s wife for so long! But this is not Hollywood’s view of Lucifer.
On some of my darkest days, he’s the one that comes and gives me an ice cream. I feel such a sadness from him. I cry and feel his presence with his music. I feel like he comes and sits on my piano. Yet this is a pretty serious being. I’m a little squirt when you think what a very serious force this is.
[pre-order The Myth of Tori; only a limited number will be printed]
(an excerpt from The Myth of Tori - Chapter 4: Boys for Pele)
Deepak Chopra at TED 2002
“Responding to Richard Dawkins’ earlier presentation on ‘Militant Atheism,’ Deepak discusses the relationship between science and religious experience in understanding reality, as well as our evolving understanding of God and the divine.”
Bridging the Gap - An interactive Session With Dr. Deepak Chopra.
“Deepak Chopra interacts with the young minds of India.”
(an excerpt from The Myth of Tori - Chapter 13: Abnormally Attracted to Sin)
“Ophelia” is a group of young women that are tangible, that actually exist, who choose self-destruction over creation, whether it’s scarring or being in abusive relationships. There are so many young women who come to shows with scarring. To have young college girls cutting themselves, that’s tragic. A lot of those women have been coming to the shows on and off for years. This trend has seemed to gain momentum over the last few years. I think it’s so complicated because they are trying to find some control, and if they can control their own pain, then sometimes that is the only control they feel they have in their lives. I wanted to crawl inside self-destruction and rewire it in songs like “Ophelia.” I think the song is really looking into the fact that there have to be other ways instead of harming yourself to find that control.
As a woman it’s hugely important to know what you’re attracted to and just to be honest with yourself about it. The song “Ophelia” is about a woman who is drawn to situations – not just men but situations – where somebody needs to have control over her in some way, and she hasn’t been able to break the chain of these people. She keeps choosing the same sorts of abusive relationships. They seem to come in different forms in her life.
“Ophelia” is about choosing to be with someone who doesn’t respect you and doesn’t value you. That leads us right back to what sin really is. What is sinful? It’s not what the church says to me is sinful. It’s me degrading myself, or somebody else wanting to degrade me and me allowing it to happen. In the song, it talks about breaking a chain, a pattern, where for people to feel powerful, they have to have power over somebody else.
Sometimes it isn’t a lover, sometimes it’s a boss, or you may have a parent or some other family member like that. You just have to find ways, once you’re not under their roof anymore, to decide, “Am I drawn to this for some reason?” Is there a pattern in your life where you’re drawn to people which you had never realized? It’s this chain or pattern that you have to break.
So until you yourself begin to know, “Why am I attracted to people who are like this?” then you can’t break free. Sometimes you’re not willing to look at this characteristic in them; you’re not willing to see it for some reason. And that’s the story of “Ophelia.” The question it asks is whether she will reach forty-five and still be choosing the same kinds of people to enable her to live the eternal victim’s life until she dies.
I do think that there are moments when you think that you’re out of that stage. But you can fall back into that self-destructive place. It’s almost a chain of being drawn to rejection. Have you ever wondered why some women, some people, are drawn to that regressive, invalidating sort of a relationship?
And sometimes you don’t even know it. I think in “Ophelia,” she’s not even aware of it because the traits are never exactly the same. Sometimes it’s pretty well disguised at first, because it’s not necessarily overt. It’s more covert, that idea of power. Something really simple, like the withholding of compliments, that her work doesn’t get encouraged, nothing she does gets supported. There’s that little seed of doubt that gets put in the “coffee” everyday. Just a little, a little bit so that you don’t even notice.
Sometimes I think that we take examples, as songwriters, we always take the most obvious examples instead of the examples that a lot of people experience. It’s never these harrowing stories and tales. It’s the details in life that as an observer, as a songwriter, you watch. You watch people in a coffee shop or at dinner you watch how they relate to each other. Usually it’s the subtlest thing. It’s never like “Bang!” “Punch!” It’s complicated.
We, as women, could choose to walk away from so much of what’s going on, but it seems as if we’re not making that choice, and I’m asking myself all the time, “Why? What have we, the older generation of women, not done?” Who would have thought that we could regress to this point?
“Ophelia” is not the only song to portray women who have run out of options. This album is trying to pass on how to survive in very dark times. But you survive by looking at the options, looking at not fitting into his world in “Welcome to England.” And it could be Virginia to Boston. In this song, England is not a place. She’s stepping into his world, but she left who she was behind
[ pre-order The Myth of Tori, due September 1, 2013 ]
Max Brooks discusses his book World War Z, and the real idea it represents, at the U.S. Naval War College’s 2009 Lecture of Opportunity.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow. Your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Create a mission statement. Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Prioritize, plan, and execute tasks based on importance rather than urgency.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
Habit 6: Synergize
Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. Exercise for physical renewal; prayer/meditation and good reading for mental renewal; service to society for spiritual renewal.
[from Stephen R. Covey’s 1989 book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People]
Loreena McKennitt, Nights from the Alhambra, filmed in Spain in 2006. This is one of the best concerts ever.
setlist: The Mystic’s Dream / She Moved Through the Fair / Stolen Child / The Mummer’s Dance / Penelope’s Song / Marco Polo / The Bonny Swans / Dante’s Prayer / Caravanserai / Bonny Portmore / Santiago / Raglan Road / All Souls Night / The Lady of Shalott / The Old Ways / Never-Ending Road / Huron “Beltane” Fire Dance / Cymbeline
Piano notes made visible using the CymaScope instrument.
“I have always been fascinated with the translation of that which is invisible, into something visible that individuals can relate to, in particular, the representation of sound through color and geometric form. I saw the use of cymatic technology as one method of such representation and a unique and compelling way of educating individuals about the link between sound, colour, and geometric form.” - Shannon Novak
“Vibration underpins all matter in the universe. No matter can exist without sound and vibration.”
[Learn more at cymascope.com]
An excellent talk by Marianne Williamson, “Politics from the Inside Out: Women, Nonviolence & Birthing a New American Politics”
Dead Can Dance at Coachella on April 14, 2013.
setlist: 1. Children of the Sun / 2. Agape / 3. Amnesia / 4. Black Sun / 5. Nierika / 6. Kiko / 7. Sanvean / 8. The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove
The Pleiades (Seven Sisters); Maia, Electra, Taygete, Alcyone, Celaeno, Sterope (aka Asterope) and Merope.
Nymphs of the classical Greek religion; daughters of the titan Atlas and the sea-nymph Pleione; companions of Artemis; nursemaids and teachers to the infant Bacchus (aka Dionysus); pursued in the night sky by the constellation of Orion.
* Painting by Elihu Vedder, 1885.