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Christiana Gaudet

The first time I met Tarot Grandmaster Christiana Gaudet, I believe it may have had something to do with an impromptu seasonal celebration ritual held in a hot tub.  Over the years, I’ve grown to love and trust Christiana very much, and we share quite a few things like dedication to spirituality, a penchant for discussions on grammar and usage, naturism, and a serious enthusiasm for music (Robin is to Devo as Christiana is to The Grateful Dead.).

A little over a year ago, Christiana began hosting an online show called Christiana’s Psychic Café, and decided to use my songs “Funky Bhagavate” and “Blessed Be, Namaste” as her intro and outro music.  She’s also invited me on the show to chat on quite a few occasions, so turnabout is fair play, as they say.  I am so glad Christiana has taken part in The Dream Between‘s 11 Questions interview series.  Here are some of her thoughts on science and mysticism, the rewards and business of writing and music, entrepreneurial spirit, and more.

1. Do you think of Tarot as an art? A system? A spiritual tool? I am interested in how you describe it to someone who hasn’t encountered Tarot at all.

Yes, to all of the above. One of things that fascinates me about Tarot is how unique it is in all the world, but how it is a part of so many worlds – art, culture, spirituality, and history.

Tarot is a book of spiritual wisdom in picture form that tells the story of human experience. Tarot is a collection of archetypes and symbols that can help us communicate with each other and with the divine. Tarot is a source of creative inspiration and a tool for magick.

2. How do you balance science and rationality with mysticism and spirituality in your life?

My belief system is grounded in the reality that I observe in my daily life, so there really is no disconnect between what I believe and what is obviously scientifically true.  I believe the sun will rise in the morning, and I understand the movements of the planets that make that happen. But I also honor the rising sun as a spiritual force in my life.

Nature is my Higher Power. I am face-to-face with God every day. I don’t need complicated dogma and doctrine to know, feel, and experience spiritual truth. When I observe nature I learn all I need to know about Higher Power.  I find spiritual power in the tides and the stars. I see the face of the Goddess in fire as it dances. I see the Four Elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, as spiritual forces operating in my life. The magnificence and improbability of the world around us lead me to conclude that a divine hand is at work. To me, science proves the existence of Spirit. There is so much order to the Universe, it seems a divine order. The more I learn about science the more I see the sacred nature of life.

I have an argument with many religions. If your doctrine doesn’t hold true to the obvious facts around you, it is time to change your doctrine. That’s an interesting concept given I believe that cards drawn at random can have specific bearing in a person’s life. But, truly, divination is as old as recorded history. Divination is something we do quite naturally.  The same is true with earth magick. What child has not collected rocks and shells from the beach, or sticks from the woods, knowing, deeply and inherently, that these items hold power?

3. You’ve written and published two books on the Tarot – Fortune Stellar and Tarot Tour Guide. Through those experiences, what are the most important things you’ve learned about the process of writing and publishing?

I learned that writing is an arduous task. If we only write when we feel inspired, we’ll rarely finish anything. If you force yourself to write whether or not you feel like it, the inspiration will come most of the time.

I also learned that writing is sometimes more about style than structure, and that typos are a fact of life.

I learned that publishing is rapidly changing. Whatever you knew about publishing in the past may not be true now. What we used to call “vanity press” is now “self-published” and is a viable avenue. The big publishing houses are crumbling, and self-published authors are actually making money.

I learned that unless you write a New York Times bestseller, the way to make money in writing and publishing is to be prolific. Yes, I am working on books three, four, and five right now.

Finally, I learned that books aren’t like fashion – they don’t have a shelf life. If you write a good book, that book will continue to sell year after year.

4. You and I connect a great deal around music and you’ve often incorporated music segments into your show, Christiana’s Psychic Café. What are you listening to lately?

The recent death of Pete Seeger has me revisiting my favorite folk singers. This week I’ve been listening to The Weavers, Pete Seeger, Holly Near, and Arlo Guthrie.

I listen to a lot of different genres. In terms of newer acts I like OneRepublic. Isn’t that cheesy? And I love Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I think Grace has huge potential.

I’m a Deadhead.  I catch as many DSO, 7 Walkers, Phil Lesh and Friends, Ratdog and Furthur shows as I can. We always wondered what would happen when Jerry died. Well, what happened was a lot of smaller bands mushroomed from the one. Fan musicians made it their mission to carry on the music, so there are still plenty of opportunities for us to experience those songs played live.

5. Does music help inspire your writing, preparation for readings, or other aspects of your work?

I can’t have music in the background when I write – I am easily distracted by shiny objects. I love meditative music, and I love chanting. I use music in magick and ritual quite a bit. Dance is an important part of my spiritual practice.

6. As the music business we once knew has changed so much since the Internet Age, many artists are struggling to understand how it will manifest in the future. Any predictions?

The changes in music are similar to the changes in publishing. On one hand, everyone has access. On the other hand, there are so many voices it is hard to be heard.  I think one thing that is changing is there are more ways to be heard, and more ways to develop an audience. Often success will go to the diligent.

Where do I see things going in the future? I think there will be even more access to high-speed internet, recording technology, and marketing opportunities. I think the big labels, like the big publishing houses, will start to crumble. There will still be pop stars, but radio – the star maker of yesteryear – really is dying.

Right now, everyone who listens to adult contemporary knows the same songs. When Lorde won a Grammy, everyone knew the song. I see a time in the distant future where that might no longer be true. There might be so much variety available we will all listen to exactly what we like and we won’t all know the same forty songs.

In the meantime, my advice to artists would be three words: diligence, networking, and innovation.

7. Your show seems to have developed very organically and features many artists and practitioners who you know personally. How has this network of people come about for you?

When I agreed to do Christiana’s Psychic Café I knew I didn’t really have the time to take on such a project. I also knew I had a huge network of interesting people who would help me. Networks always grow. You were my very first guest. You, and many others, have introduced me to other people who have been great guests, and are now my friends. You are right about “organic growth.”

I have always been really good at bringing people together. I have organized festivals, huge parties, psychic fairs, and creative communities. It is something I do naturally. I am not as good at constantly nurturing a community. I am better at short-term projects and getting things started rather than tending them over long periods of time.  Social media has allowed me to stay in touch with people that I have known over the past forty years. That is a lot of people, and a lot of energy, on which to draw.

8. In your work, you not only maintain a private reading practice, but you create a weekly newsletter, host the online show, and hold periodic worldwide Skype teaching sessions. What are your practical methods of generating many varied ideas and holding it all together?

I am grateful each day that my work allows me variety, creativity, positive human contact, and spiritual fulfillment. I work very long days, but I take frequent breaks. When I feel overwhelmed or under-inspired I picture myself working a regular job. That’s usually enough to get me back on track.

I have a lot of interesting ideas. They often come to me in the shower. My biggest problem is remembering them, since I can’t write them down while I’m washing my hair! So, the practical methods I employ boil down to gratitude for what I can do, fear of not doing it, and being open to inspiration!

9. What is the most gratifying aspect of your work?

Unfair question. That’s like asking a mother which of her kids is her favorite.

When I was really young I knew I didn’t have the ability to tolerate routines, power structures, boredom, and creative limitations. I needed to create a life where I had real passion for my tasks, and control over what those tasks would be. So I did. That my work is my work is my greatest gratification.

10. Do you have any advice or wisdom for anyone in any field who is striking out with your kind of entrepreneurial spirit?

Plenty. You have to want it so badly you can taste it. You have to believe in it when no one else does. You have to be willing to suffer for it. You have to be willing to do what it takes to make it happen, even when your friends are mad that you can’t play with them.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.

When I was a theatre major at Baldwin-Wallace College for a semester I had a great teacher who said that success is the product of talent and tenacity. I think that is true for just about any kind of success.

11. What is the best course of action for creative artists in this Imbolc season?

Transform your fears, hurts, and disappointments into art. Let creativity be a source of healing for you, and let the depth of your pain energize your process. Let nothing be “good” or “bad” in terms of what you feel or what you produce. Experience everything as power, wisdom and beauty. Be free to heal, and free to create.

Visit:

Tarot by Christiana Gaudet

RobinRenee.com

This is apparently a good week for the number eleven! See yesterday’s post.

Often while working on the daily pieces for NaPoWriMo, I am reminded of my experience of writing poetry in the Stone Age before the internet explosion. I would write a piece and many times it would feel like the page would burn my hands if I didn’t do something with it. Off to Kinko’s I’d go so I could make copies for poet friends or to send it off to the most suitable Call for Submissions. I would feel a kind of relief then, as if this urgent burst of energy now had some focus or reason to be.

The immediacy of my daily posts on the Facebook Fan Page and 365/365  more than fulfills that old urge, and is fairly confronting. I am taken aback at just how truly immediately other eyes are on these words. The commitment to write daily leaves no real time for revision, rethinking, retraction. I get to see my jagged edges, neuroses, loves, and incomplete thoughts. And so does everyone else. Really quickly. The swiftness of sharing this ongoing series of poems and the comments and conversations that come up around them is as soul-shaping as the writing.

I do feel shaped by what I write, as the inner and outer experiences shape me and prompt me to write. I have felt shaped quite literally lately, posing for a clay sculpture class. It is odd to feel sometimes like there are 10 voodoo dolls of me being molded before my eyes. I sometimes imagine that I’ll leave class subtly or profoundly different from the way I came in, and wonder about this as a metaphor for every interaction.

Here are the most recent poems:

April 6, 2011

Names

I think I’ve found the perfect candidate
for The Fool
in my personal deck of Tarot.
The role of The Devil has been taken.
I wonder what The Goddess calls me
when I can’t hear Her over the music.

April 7, 2011

Where no orgasm is unmemorable
Where the walls embrace wide auras
Where books and beings point out the Heart of Hearts
Where God sings the wailing blues
Where there are clean dishes and enough blankets
Where there are spent toys of pleasure
Where I sleep late
I begin to notice things
Where the forest holds love without need.

April 8, 2011

Uninvited

He left her a message today
Said he wanted to make amends
A sound beating never forgotten
gets icy silence in any decade
I remember being made to hear
the uninvited
My face in a journal thinking
I’ll just write
No, I’ll just sleep
How do I get out Try to
sleep
Her story my story
Any woman’s story told
is a cutting of the cord
Bloodletting
Our Burning Times
to purify
if there must be fire.

April 9, 2011

On the Lindenwold Train

On the Lindenwold train to Philly
you keep approaching to interrupt
an otherwise perfect spring fever.
Warm enough tonight
to feel cute on South St.
in jeans and short black jacket,
and at ease back home
where forsythia announce
the inevitable end to cold.
On my way to meet the poly people
same place we met once
at the inevitable start.

This train best get going.
Take me to my punk rock roots
and motley crew of a mockup family
so I forget how once last fall
I would have liked to catch you sleepy,
mojito in hand,
and me with knives in mine.
Luck held out for both of us.

Trees still bare.
I long to lie naked in the neighborhood
under natural cover,
but I will not rush this season.
It pushes me slowly along from last September,
when I lay trapped in a learning curve
of drinking and dreaming
your house demolition.

Woodcrest Station.
A musty man stinking
of B.O. and basement
chatters questions.
I am annoyed by my impulse to answer,
glad to break the tumbling thoughts
of broken intentions,
secret darknesses
that I find have left
strange nutrients.
I lap up new knowledge,
drops of blood to a ravenous bat.
I turn my head to breathe.

The box is open now.
There will be more weapons
forged with sparks of light.
I rest relieved
it is someplace else
your poisonous script will run.
My feet hit 8th & Market,
smooth in the rhythm of my streets.

April 10, 2011

Spokeswoman

Whatever ruptured yesterday
heals today
I remember or decide
there is no healing
without the wound
The wig display head
At the foot of my bed
May tell the stories better than I.
I may let her.

April 11, 2011

My bath, her shower.
Dreaming a bathroom conflict,
I caved. She’s first again.

April 12, 2011

ROYGBIV

and so I looked relieved at the black and white 32 oz. shampoo bottles lined up
perfectly on the ledge by the tub facing one direction with no more price labels
bathroom is not bad today save for some sweeping that gets left for Saturdays
Order is like meditation, keep coming back to same things same places, a mantra of stuff
at least that’s what I tell myself sometimes and I mostly really mean it
Then I wonder if it is the loving order or the allowing disarray that is the real problem if there is one, but I do know
that the closet goes by item type and order of color the way nature paints rainbows and sometimes bills get so-called filed, forgotten in front of what used to be the Zen space with the new guitar strings candles and exercise bra
It is lonely when brain is frayed, never any-questions-fried but as if a little mouse were working away nest-building
from the outside in
Putting it back together I look for the real Zen space, the one that is always there in my head find it for real without pretense no pretending something about putting in order is holy aligning with the knowing of mystics flawless grace notes and good sex. I remember overhearing Rose and Lissa laugh about my alphabetical albums, I look
for something to wear and am pleased by the disproportionate sight of purple


www.robinrenee.com

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