Art credit: For the Love of Life by CHOR BOOGIE
We have all been there, at one point or another, facing the dark night of the soul. It hurts beyond words. We want to escape, medicate, fight. We just want it to stop—asap.
Sometimes we are so busy trying to conquer difficult states like anxiety or depression or addiction, we never stop to ask why it came in the first place.
We can become curious...
These states are trying to tell us something about ourselves & the world... And their true message may be found under all the resentments, fears, attachments, conditioning & well-worn stories.
When we listen, we may find the true need that exists under the "want."
These states may offer a heart-centered call to action. We may be asked by Spirit to create, connect, express, heal, transform, or serve.
Perhaps there is a call to create a work of art, a poem, or a community service program. Perhaps there is a call to work with a healer, go on a retreat, change habits, or experience plant medicine. Or perhaps the call is for silence, rest, and self care. Only you know.
“Listening” to these difficult states does not mean indulging or prolonging them, it just means paying attention & responding with compassionate skill. Indeed, truly listening to them may be just what is needed to midwife them through transformation.
Here are a few favorite ways to inquire into difficult states and "mine the shadows."
Cheers to the eternal unfolding, dear ones.
10 WAYS TO TURN PAIN INTO PEARLS
1. WRITE. Journal. Free flow a stream of raw words at hyperspeed. No editing. No censorship. Express recklessly. Write clear or cryptic, literal or poetic, linear or time traveling. Your choice. Super charge this one by timing yourself: 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes. GO.
2. GIVE IT A VOICE. Literally. What does the difficult state have to say? Talk. Sing. Grumble. Growl. Scream. Speak in tongues. It can be words—or primal sounds. Get weird. Do this alone—or ask a friend to witness. Hot tip: Smash your face in a pillow if you don't want neighbors to call the police. ;)
3. MOVE. Walk. Run. Dance. Shake like a wolf in a rain storm. Flee from dangerous spaces into safe ones. Or turn up the music and let your body create an untamed poem.
4. MEDITATE. Go inward. Just sit, pay attention, and breath. You can't do meditation "wrong" or "bad." It's not about accomplishment, though the contemporary Western mind loves to approach everything that way. Meditation is simply a way to explore, enjoy, & listen to your Self... and UNIVERSE/SPIRIT/CREATOR... and savor all flavors of existence along the way.
5. NATURE. Take a hike. Hug a tree. Talk to stars. Whisper to the moon. Touch a river. Dig your hands into the earth. Pull weeds. Plant a seed. Rake leaves. Stop and smell the roses. Listen to birds; they have a lot to say.
6. TAKE A BATH. Let that hot water slow you down and bring you into the present via your senses. Make it a ritual. Light a candle. Bless the space with a sacred aromatic like sage or cedar. Power up the water with a few drops of pure essential oils. Epsom salt and sea salt help to deepen the experience, draw out toxins, and saturate you with magnesium, a fantastic mineral that calms the nervous system and supports many healthy functions. Get ready for inspired downloads and epiphanies.
7. GIVE IT A NAME. Ever heard that old adage? When you know a demon's name, you have power over it. So get to know that anxiety, depression, addiction, or any other difficult state, and give it a catchy name. Naming it helps you to detach, observe, study it, and recognize it as a temporary pattern you've picked up—and not necessarily a fundamental part of yourself. In other words, these difficult states are just like fleas on your skin; they are not your bones or blood.
8. SWEAT. Any sweat will do. Japanese bathhouse, sweat lodge, or laying in warm sun on a beach. Move that fluid.
9. LEARN. Books. Courses. Retreats. Podcasts. Mentors. Workshops. Counselors. Hone in on those resources that speak to your need.
10. CONNECT. Community. Fellowship. Touch. Hugs. Trusted confidents. Support groups. Burningman camps. Spiritual organizations. Educational societies. You know, connect with real friends, the kind who will help you move and bring you soup when you're sick. If you don't have those kinds of friends, then BE one of those.
Experiment. Notice if your difficult state softens or changes after a few of these.
+ BONUS TIP!
11. SERVE. Help others get through the same challenge. ...But only when you can speak from some experience. In essence, don't try to feed others when you're still starving. The possibilities are endless.
Though everything in life may not always feel like "a blessing," we can make blessings out of whatever life throws our way.
All these tips aside, some difficult states may be too difficult for DIY answers, especially when trauma is a part of the story. If you ever feel that you might need additional support, reach out to a qualified mental health professional.
NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS HOTLINE
Text: 741741 in the US
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE
This page is for informational and harm reduction purposes only. This page is NOT intended as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendation. Please always seek appropriate medical and psychiatric care for your conditions—from qualified providers that respect your personal choices for healthcare.
She opened her lips... and children suddenly became quiet, guests took a deep breath and forgot their names (and everything else outside of the present moment), heartbreak revealed its sweet side, fairies smiled somewhere, and portals opened to celestial realms. I will never forget that first time I heard the music of Marya Stark. She is a divine siren and wise woman, who's songs spark awakening, love, prayer, peace, magic, myth, dreams, and everything beautiful about human life. That was over a decade ago, and since then, I have watched in awe as she evolves, deepens, and expands in the realms of music, performance, sound healing, addiction recovery support, and teaching...
How did you come to understand that music could be a healing modality?
I think a part of me always knew intuitively. When i was young I would sing to my pains, I would sing to ease the children I worked with. I would have moments of ecstatic singing where I would feel to myself "wow, there is a multi-dimensional gate opening to the mystery," and I could feel myself remembering codes of sound. I could feel the power of music in the choirs I sang in to move us all to tears when it hit just right. Even as I began writing songs as a part of my own developmental journey, I could feel like something mysterious was going on that was profound, but it wasn’t defined for me until I took my first class in music therapy. That was a game changer.
What was your inspiration for pursuing a degree in music therapy?
You know, I think it was more kismet than anything particularly inspired. The only thing I had really been into was music. I knew Chapman University had a music therapy program, and I think on some level my soul knew before I did that I was going to do it. I chose to take the class once I was there cause I was curious about the relationship between music and spirituality—and that seemed like the gateway. Once I landed in that field, everything shifted in my worldview, and it felt more like I was coming back to something I had always known
How would you say that music can be a vehicle for self-realization?
I can speak to my own process. Once I got into writing songs for my healing, I kept a close chronological track record of them. I now have access to hundreds of songs from the last 20 years of life, and I have realized much about myself through both the process of writing these songs, how they come in, and looking back and seeing bigger cycles of emotions and themes that run through. I think of songs as time-capsules, as tools for my own souls embodiment. Having powerful experiences with music, getting to reflect and be able to tap into different states of being and stages of development has been incredibly insightful as I’ve come to know my psyche a bit more. Sometimes I have written songs, and it takes me years for my nervous system to integrate the energies carried through those muses. Those songs feel like gifts to my future self, that carry codes that help me open to deeper states of presence. Also, just from an emotional integration perspective, I can’t tell you where I’d be without the formative songs of my youth. Hearing songs from older songwriters who could articulate my felt experience helped me to go to deeper layers of understanding and feeling, mourning, and expansion. Its like we pull through clues for each others process, and can then journey together back home to where ever it is this awakening train is guiding us.
Did you have any reference for a "coming of age" stories, songs, or ceremonies before writing your own?
Not at that time. Receiving those songs on the Fork In The Road felt like a special initiation into learning about the hero’s journey. I only had a reference for that in hindsight, and then began seeking out other "coming of age" stories, learning about the architecture of mythology. It emerged spontaneously.
Did you ever come up against the limitations of classical music as you were discovering yourself as a musician?
The main limitation I found in studying classical music was the relationship I had to "performing," and, as a child, it wasn’t an issue. I found classical training to be amazing and helped me to learn music faster, but in a music conservatory environment, I could intuit the inherited structures of our value being our ability. By that time I was having a complete existential breakdown, and had no capacity to find myself within the hierarchy of the opera reality—so the muse grabbed me by the hair and life became my master teacher. I find myself now coming back to classical training, but from an intuitive embodied perspective. Classical structures are like good yoga teaching: once the body is flexible, movement is easy.
What are “song lines”?
What I call song lines are energetic threads I envision run through our souls. People talk about the earth having lay lines, an energetic grid; it is the same with humans, we have channels where energy moves through. There are times when I vision songs coming through us, traveling on similar lines of energy—from other dimensions, star systems, universes, timelines, multi-dimensional star light passage ways where universal poetry and magic comes in like some potent alchemical force. I like to picture myself as a vessel, standing at the center point of a constellation of these lines catching songs through my being.
Could you tell us more about "Scarlet Moon" and the archetype of the shadow feminine?
When I was in college, and receiving many of the visions I still hold today as part of my life's work, Scarlet Moon was an archetype that kept coming in. I knew that I would be going within to learn about the feminine mythos. I think our culture really elevates a few versions of the feminine: the beautiful one and the kind, gentle, loving one. The raw, angry, wrathful rage filled one, not so much. She is demonized, and so there is a whole spectrum of emotional range and nuance that goes under ground. This is one small piece of the pie on this conversation—and Scarlet Moon is where she comes alive in me to dance and find her voice.
Who is Magdalene, to you?
I have come to embrace Magdalene just recently in my life. There is a potent narrative I've come across where "Mary Magdalene" is spoken of as a female counter part to Jeshua, one who holds the keys of the lineage of sexuality that she and Christ held together. I appreciate the ways that the remembrance of this aspect of her archetypal fits into the grid of what is emergent right now within the collective reweaving around sacred sexuality and feminine empowerment. So, I've been aware of these perspectives, and considering where that energy lives within me. Many folks come up to me with dreams that I am of the "Magdalene lineage." And I love the energy that I experience when feeling into those dimensions.
In recent years I have gone deeper into healing my womb stories, activating the energetic creative blueprints of the womb, and opening the possibilities of a greater collective story at work within my psyche. I wrote the song Child of Magdalene after watching the film Magdalene Sisters about the Magdalene Laundries, which is a totally wonky piece of recent European history. Seeing how the name of the feminine was dragged through the mud in the religious structure I grew up in burned something raw in me. I could feel the historical oppression of female sexuality carved in my bones, and this song came as an apology and honoring of that aspect of the Mother, the one who went underground, into the shadow with her magic. I keep finding this story over and over. Claiming Magdalene now, poetically speaking, is reclaiming my own sexuality as sacred, rather than the prostitution-sin situation that we need as women to spend the rest of our lives apologizing for.
What is your relationship to the witch burning times?
My interest in the burning times is a spectrum, from having personal recollections, visions, dreams, and soul connections with others where I have experiences of us all having been from that time. I’ve written songs inspired by that period of history, and it feels like an aspect of the collective epigenetic unwinding that comes through inside of the cauldron of exploring music and storytelling as an opportunity for healing on a DNA level. Currently I have a special interest in grief work, and the power mourning as a vehicle for emotional freedom. The burning times to me occurs as a huge piece of our history that has gone largely unmourned in a way where the quality of life and breakthrough can be felt at a cultural level. Our Western culture, I think, is resonating in a state of collective amnesia and PTSD around not only the burning times, but slavery, genocide and many other historical archs where numerous people suffered unimaginable horror, and then certain infrastructures that are a part of our system of operation came into play to organize the peoples. There is one in me who tracks this in my own nervous system, and the nervous system of the collective woundology and heart. When I chose to create art about it, my prayer is that these stories can be told in a way where repair can happen and we can begin to rework the narrative of oppression and violence from our bloodline, and make space for a more coherent way of relating to come online, one where we are not afraid of differences, and where we are honoring again of the mystery and our relationship with all of life.
Do you ever feel that the music industry pressures artists to fit neatly into a specific niche or genre, for commercial success? If so, how do you navigate, as an artist that cannot be contained by a niche or genre?
Ha! totally. I have navigated it by both trying to fit inside a box, completely ignoring the box, pretending I’m not part of the music industry, and then deciding firmly to dissolve within me the places where I’m playing into hierarchical art making. I’m choosing to live more intentionally as a multidimensional being who makes art and expresses my profound love for life. Wholehearted expression. What does this look like? This is the question of every day. I will continue to receive visions of music and do my best to make them happen. I feel myself more and more in devotion to the muse with less attachment to how its received. Before, when more "industry" based in my strategies, I was much more concerned about being "successful" as an artist. This internalized way of seeking feedback externally is something I'm tracking in my ego process. As an artist, of course we want to reach as many people as possible. I also don’t want to change my tune to do so.
Fork in the Road is a therapeutic concept album as well as a curriculum for people working with addiction recovery. Can you tell us a little about your own journey with addiction?
When I was in college studying music therapy, I was in a deep process of substance use as a way to numb out and manage the complexities of interfacing with the impact of traumatic experiences. After recognizing the impact of my behavior from years of use, I started therapy, and began working to heal these edgier places in my psyche. I was looking for the first time at family of origin fractures, sexual experiences in my coming of age that were imprinted with fear and intensity, and sorting out the cultural trances of being an empath, shutting down the deep feels, silencing my own voice in order to survive and stay in good social standing. The songs and vision of Fork In The Road came through during this period of detox. My experience with addiction didn’t stop there, but this body of work helped to orient me towards a path of resolving and healing.
There is a big stigma around addiction. I didn’t formally come forward with my story even though my first album was about addiction because I didn’t want to talk about it with my family, didn’t want it to have a negative impact on my "brand," and I really hid from it. It's coming forward more and more now, because I think its really important for us to have community dialogues about how we are managing our pain. I was in a lot of pain as a youth, and I felt alone in it. I long for greater conversations around the impact of rites of passage, and how badly we are missing that in our culture. Once I began having rites of passage, finding my tribe, and being held spiritually by the elders in my community, and once I had that level of being seen, celebrated, and tracked, my need for substance use shifted.
Have entheogenic (visionary/psychedelic) medicine been a part of your journey? If so, how?
My experience with entheogenic medicine has played a critical role in my healing and creative journey. When i was in high school, I had my first experiences with mushrooms, and MDMA. These experiences opened me up to multi-dimensional reality, as well as had an impact on my capacity for empathy, shadow work, emotional intelligence, and intimacy.
In college, I formed some daily use habits with more addictive substances. When I went to my first Burning Man at age 20, I sat in my first ayahuasca ceremony (at Burning Man.... seriously) and that experience changed my life. It played a major role in my awakening, I had a full cosmic soul rebirth experience, which purge my system of the toxicity of my addictive patterns, and of the substances i had formed dependency on. This was a cornerstone of my journey with writing The Fork In The Road, as the songs and vision of this album came directly from that first sit with Aya.
My last semester of college, and the time shortly following graduation, I sat with Aya several times. I traveled to Hawaii for a 3 week Aya cook. I experienced things there that seeded my life's work currently with women and womb healing. In fact the story I told at the Yoniverse Monologues last year was about my journey to Hawaii, and sitting with Aya, and the clusterfuck of drama that occurred on a hilariously mythic archetypal level in my relationship to my blood and the moon time mysteries. I also received visions of creating children's meditation based albums at this time.
I have not sat with entheogens since that time, over 10 years ago, as my guides in the esoteric trainings I continued with after graduation requested me to abstain from uses of any substances, including entheogens, so I chose to walk the way of cultivating visionary states through meditation and qi gong practice.
The truth is that entheogens helped me heal from addiction and cracked me to be open enough to receive visions of my life's work, the destiny threads I continue to walk to this day. I feel grateful for those times and experiences, and how they have informed my hero's journey.
VOICE OF MY WOMB
Online course starting Nov 7, 2017
ANCIENT VOICES RETREAT
Feb 15-20, 2018
I had the pleasure of meeting Rachael Madori at a talk that Chor Boogie and I offered about the iboga medicine with the Aware Project in Los Angeles. At the time, this polymath was exploring her expression as an adult film star, in addition to other gifts such as writing, activism, culinary arts, and fitness education. I would come to know Rachael as a multifaceted and compassionate being; she shared her inner world and raw struggles on her blog and social media platforms as much as she did her physical form and fire. It's a paradox: in the world of mainstream professional erotica, it is supposed to be about "revealing," but it generally only goes skin deep. Personally, I find the holistic, honest view of an artist far more compelling than any marketing mirage. (And yes, erotica can be art.) Through Rachael's journey and authentic unveiling, she has helped educate and inspire many people about mental health, mental illness, suicide awareness, psychedelic medicine, creative freedom, and what it means to be a real, whole person...
Rachael Madori resides in Hollywood, California. She is pursuing opening a restaurant on the east coast. Both her and her fiancé, a chef in Beverly Hills, plan on combining their love of food and service to own their own establishment. Currently she’s learning skills at a fine dining restaurant on Sunset Boulevard and taking classes with Ashworth College.
Rachael is a mental health advocate and social activist. She is a suicide survivor and has been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder; she helps to educate people about these issues. She volunteers with and fundraises for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Rachael advocates for alternative psychedelic medicine. She supports the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. She also attends events put on by the Aware Project in Los Angeles. Their mission is to “balance the public conversation about psychedelics, spread accurate information and give a new face to psychedelia”. A self proclaimed psychonaut, Rachael tries to teach the world through her understanding and years of experience using psychedelics as healing medicines, not only for her mental health but her overall well being.
A passionate writer, Rachael has published articles at sites such as SimplySxy and AVN. She is also a contributing author at Consumer Health Digest. She has accomplished her first written piece of fiction which will be published by Cleis Press in a book curated and edited by Asa Akira. Rachael continues to blog as an outlet for her advocacy and creativity.
A former adult film performer, Rachael holds multiple awards including 2015 Inked Awards Starlet of the Year and 2016 Inked Awards Best Scene of the Year. Her proud and unadulterated voice as a pervious sex worker sheds light and dismantles the stigma associated with the sex industry.
Her blogs pertain to many different subjects but the main objective here is voice. The point of a voice is to be heard, she writes not only to be heard but for anyone out there to find comfort knowing that someone is listening.
Do you feel that living with transparency helps us, as a collective, to heal?
Absolutely. I look at humans as this one large organism and we all, whether we recognize it or not, affect and feed off each other. Not always in a bad way. Truth, transparency and honesty will feed truth, transparency and honesty. Facades will feed facades. Negative will feed negative. It’s all about whether we choose to heal or poison. I want to be on the end of the spectrum that is helping society find what it means to be real again.
What do you feel are some of the gifts of being bi-polar?
Being bi-polar creates this completely altered reality that I live in and because of this I’m creative, different and expressive beyond words. I feel hard, I feel deeply. Sure it’s all over the place but there’s some kind of beauty in the constant chaos inside my mind. Honestly all I’m trying to do is focus on manifesting that chaos into beauty. I feel like we’re all trying to do that in one way or another.
How can people be sensitive and supportive for loved ones who are dealing with mental illness?
It's not easy loving someone who has a mental illness but patience is key. I think the best way to be supportive is to be open and frank about it. It's not something anyone should be embarrassed or ashamed to struggle with so their loved ones shouldn't feel that way either. I can't tell you what a difference it made to finally have an open dialogue between my family and friends about my diagnoses. Sometimes when I was having an episode they could tell when I couldn't. I need that. I don't want to be treated any differently, I just want to know someone will be there when my mind fails me.
What drew you to the adult film world, initially?
I was always fascinated with pornography. I used to envy the women I would watch in videos because I found it so amazing that they had the confidence to show to the world an intimate action that most people shy away from even talking frankly about. I wanted to know what that position of empowerment was truly about.
What did you like about it?
I loved that I had a safe environment to practice and learn about myself and other people sexually. I enjoyed how much emphasis is put on safety and consent. It honestly helped me appreciate how we are all sexual creatures with our own likes, dislikes and boundaries. It let me develop a confidence and sense of self worth I didn’t know before.
What didn’t you like about it?
I didn’t like how political it can all be. Whether it be award shows or the aspect of “Who you kiss up to”. I think all the arbitrary ideas and cliques take away from the industry what it should be about which is creating amazing content.
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
I would like to see performers act more like a family of coworkers and less like competitors. Pursue being the best, win awards, become a top tier performer but leave your ego at the door. We all face enough stigma from the outside world, to create drama within your own industry due to ego is unjustified.
Why did you limit it to three years?
I always heard this saying that three years is the best time frame for a female performer. I didn’t go into sex work for the money, I did it because I felt drawn to it and ended up falling in love with performing. I knew it was a side step off my path so I figured giving myself a time frame would keep me headed towards all my other life goals.
What did the adult film world teach you about human beings?
The good things it taught me about humans was both physical and mental. I learned ways to please and be pleased that I think would take a lifetime of experimenting with different partners and I’m proud of that. I learned about having pride in yourself as a sexual creature and holding steadfast to that. We’re all organic, developing beings and the adult film world taught me never to be ashamed of that.
I also learned that ego can destroy people without them even knowing it. I found out very quickly that to some people - how popular they are, how many followers they have on social media, how many trophies they hold and what they see in the mirror is all that defines them. And it’s sad.
Have you ever encountered judgment and/or discrimination from people in reaction to your work in adult film? How so?
I’ve experienced people who were caught off guard by how frankly I talk about adult films and sex in general. I’ve gotten hate mail from religious people, I’ve gotten called countless slurs because I did publicly what people do behind closed doors. It even took a long time for my family to see me as credible because they feared this industry, clouded in mistruths and taboo, had destroyed a part of me. My love and life partner has been harassed online by people who cannot see sex work as work. I’ve been misjudged as unintelligent and have been discriminated against far enough that I’ve been told my choice to be a performer was due to my mental illness. At first I ignored it but to be honest it started to hurt me. Not my confidence or sense of self worth, but I hurt for all of the people who have developed such a distorted view because that kind of tunnel vision leaves zero room for growth of your inner self.
Most porn stars I’ve seen tend to create a very slick, one dimensional, “adult fairy-tale” image for marketing purposes that appears to have few real world human challenges. Yet, while in the adult film industry and beyond, you have been so open about your full-spectrum human self, sharing about your experiences navigating mental illness, psychedelic medicine, personal relationship, dreams, and multi-faceted creativity. You started this intimate expression on social media, then it expanded onto your blog. What made you want to break that mold?
For a while I marketed myself the way everyone else did. I only posted what I was told to, I never kept my presence online too serious and conveying a brand like that and separating it from your true self is successful for some people. I just don’t happen to be one of those people. People have been trying to fit me into boxes my whole life and I wasn’t aware that there were boxes for pornstars too. I have this innate and deep conviction to bare my true self to the point were upholding a manufactured image of myself online wasn’t even possible. I am sexual and filthy and heated, all the things a sex performer should be, but that’s not even half of me. So I decided I wasn’t okay with only being seen as that. It’s just not in my personality and I had this deep feeling to throw my entire self out to the world. Whether I lost or gained fans because of that didn’t concern me. This became a movement to show the world something much more intimate that me having sex.
What kinds of feedback (positive & negative) have you received from your adult film fans after revealing more about yourself?
I received some negativity. I was told to stick to the basic frame work of a pornstars internet presence because I had no business being anything else. I was told that people weren’t there for me they were there for my body. Which I’m all well and good with. My career was of the human body. However, that doesn’t negate my right to express every other aspect of myself.
I got a lot of positive feedback too. There were people struggling inside and outside of the industry who reached out to me because they knew I wouldn’t judge them or they knew that what they saw is what they got. I have lifelong fans that started watching me because they loved my videos but now they follow me on my life journey because at some point sharing my humanity became just as entertaining.
When did you start your public blog?
I started it two years ago. My website has always had my blog section because I love to write. I’ve been writing ever since I could spell. I used to have links and such to my adult films but once my fan base started growing from outside of porn I made the decision to make my site completely PG about a year ago. Not because I wanted to hide my career, I embrace it fully. I did that so now my words could reach a wider range of people who may need to hear something that touches them.
What kinds of people follow your blog?
All ages, genders, interests. A lot of young women and men. Fitness and wellness is one focus on my website so a lot of people looking for tips or motivation tend to follow along. I also converse with a lot of people who struggle with mental health or live with someone who is struggling and I’ve been told I help them by putting into words that they otherwise cannot to describe what’s happening to them or their loved one. There are still fans of my adult films that continue to follow my life and my blog which I think is great. I broke this barrier where you can enjoy my sex work but also the rest of me as well.
What kinds of feedback have you received about your blog from your readers that are not necessarily your adult film fans?
Some people call me brave. I’m not sure how I feel about that word because I just feel like I’m doing what I have to do to help. There’s a few particular fans of mine who live with wives struggling with Bipolar Disorder and they’ve let me know how much my blog has helped their understanding and their marriage. I feel like some people are taken aback that I went from a one layer pornstar to such an open advocate for many things personal to me but the feedback has been mostly positive. If I can make one person feel even a little better, I think I’m doing my job as a human.
Now that you’ve retired from adult film, you are onto other projects and visions. What is next for you? What are you excited about?
I’m focusing on my position in the restaurant industry and opening one of my own. I’m working in a great company at a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles until I move back home to New York City to pursue a second degree in Culinary Management. Another creative endeavor I’m working on is a streetwear line called Feel Hard where I’ll be donating a percentage of the proceeds to non-profit mental health organizations. I’m also trying to dedicate whatever free time I can find to compiling my first book.
*Check out the DONATE section on the website with links to the organizations that Rachael fundraises for including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies.
Support Rachael's Fundraiser:
Streetwear Line for Mental Health Awareness
We don't make art for the applause. We make art because we MUST—or our soul will starve to death. You know.
And on a deeper level, my ego can't take personal credit for the art that I make. My job is to get out of the way, more than it is to "accomplish" anything.
The act of writing my book about our healing journey with the sacred iboga medicine was a practice of surrender, letting spirit weave the story that wanted to birth itself through the etched vessel that is me.
I had no idea if anyone would even "like" the book that came through me because it was so... radical. With ruthless honesty, I revealed our most intimate struggles. It wasn't a flattering work, but I knew I had to do it, even to help one person by sharing our story.
But when applause happens, it's nice. It is. This means that someone found the creation to be useful, and it is good to feel useful within the human hive. It's just a human thing.
So thank you! I am honored and grateful that Heart Medicine recently won the National Indie Excellence Award for the Spiritual category, and it was the top finalist for the Addiction Recovery category. It was also a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for the New Age category, and received an honorable mention in the San Francisco Book Festival. Yay!
And I gotta add, it was truly a tribal process to birth the book. I couldn't have done it without the blessing of Moughenda Mikala, the generous and skilled shaman we worked with, and my beloved husband, Chor Boogie aka Joaquin Lamar Hailey, for his courage to be so transparent, steady support for this project, and beautiful ART, the multifaceted maestra Anandha Ray for the book cover design, author photo, and love, Mark Weiman of Regent Press for his wonderful production skill, and all the magical ones who contributed quotes!
Mr. Boogie created a mind-boggling, capricious, utterly delightful new mural in Brooklyn thanks to the Bushwick Collective, and he put on the final touches during their Annual Block Party. The mural looked to me like someone ate a large amount of friendly psychedelics, then raided a candy store, and we are left with with the experience of psychic candy. I love it! Sometimes you just gotta have fun and stick our your tongue and get weird.
The gorgeous NY crowd flooded through the streets, celebrating life in their full-throttle way. Plenty of families and kids rolled by, taking fun pics in front of the mural and carefully studying Chor's techniques. A few kids even got their hands on some paint and tested out the medium. We had a visit from the young spray paint artist, Lola the Illustrator, and Chor happily shared some tips. The music rocked. It was a beautiful day of community and creativity. Much love & thanks to the awesome Bushwick Collective for making it happen!
Photo by Roman Akkerman
Dancing for people is all well & good, but don't forget to dance for the many other honored guests... the sun, moon, the sacred plants, the spirit of water, fire, earth, air... the ancestors... the many nature spirits... nagas, yakshinis...
Temple dancers, offer the these secret performances, and venture ever deeper into what it means to be a sacred vessel.
Photo by the maestra & women's empowerment coach Robin Clark.
My beautiful husband, artist Chor Boogie, continues to amaze and delight me with his prolific creativity and professional dedication. Check out the solo show, "VISUAL JAZZ," featuring over 20 original works on canvas, on exhibition through June 3rd at Monarch | Arredon Contemporary art gallery in La Jolla, CA.
There is a deeper story here...
The critically acclaimed spray paint maestro returned to his roots in the San Diego area after circling the globe to share his latest body of work—and to offer a percentage of the sales to benefit Writerz Blok, a youth arts program, where Chor Boogie found community, support, and inspiration as a young, emerging artist.
VISUAL JAZZ celebrates the creative power of the human spirit—and art as the intersection between the physical and the metaphysical. Vivid colors and multidimensional designs reverently embrace classic figures of jazz maestros. The composition and forms are unpredictable and yet harmonious, like jazz itself. The audience is invited to feel the music through the soulful works.
MONARCH | ARREDON CONTEMPORARY is La Jolla's exclusive gallery of emerging art founded on respect, passion and trust. The Gallery offers high-quality crafted artworks along with the category expertise and individual-focused approach to collectors, art professionals, and art enthusiasts. Monarch | Arredon Contemporary is located at 862 Prospect St, Suite A, La Jolla, CA 92037. Hours: Thursday through Sunday 11 am to 5 pm, and by appointment Monday through Wednesday. For more information, please contact the gallery at email@example.com or 858-454-1231.
Read the exhibition review on ARTSY.
Mi amor, Chor Boogie, and I were super honored to bring our art and words to Psychedelic Science 2017, produced by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. It was the largest conference for psychedelics in the world to date. Of course, it was a fun crowd! There was a thrilling balance of science, art, music, dancing, humor, culture, community, tea service, and delightfully odd inflatable creatures.
We offered a talk on the Psymposia Stage about our healing journey with the iboga medicine and also the additional factors that supported our positive experience with the medicine. The "medicine" is never just the the physical material alone; it is a holistic experience involving intention, preparation, participation, integration, community, tradition, spiritual technologies, and so much more...
To watch our full 20 minute talk, click HERE and forward into minute 59. Enjoy all the other great presentations included in the footage as well!
Heart Medicine, my intimate memoir about the iboga medicine, was present in the MAPS bookstore, and Chor exhibited two iboga inspired original paintings for the very first time...
48" X 60"
SPRAY PAINT ON CANVAS
48" X 60"
SPRAY PAINT ON CANVAS
This was one of those moments that it would have been handy to have ten heads like some Hindu dieties and the ability to bilocate, as there were so many exciting and revolutionary presentations offered, but it was impossible to take it all in due to events overlapping. That said, here are some of the presentations that were highlights for me...
*Links to videos or other media are provided when available.
Film Screening: Curandera
Presented by Ethan Goldwater of Hover Pictures
Cognitive Liberty, Neurodiversity, & Non-Pathologizing Approaches to Mental Health
Presented by Adam Andros Aronovich
Evaluating the Efficacy of Ayahuasca-Assisted Treatment for Substance Dependency
Presented by Anya Loizaga-Velder, Ph.D.
Rapid Antidepressant Effects of the Psychedelic Ayahuasca in Treatment-Resistant Depression:
A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
Presented by Draulio Barros de Araujo, Ph.D.
From Taboo to Treatment: The Evolutions of Psychedelic Medicine
Presented by Amanda Fielding
Psychedelic Use Predicts Reduced Suicidality:
Findings From a Longitudinal Study of Women Sex Workers in Vancouver, Cananda
Presented by Elena Argento, Ph.D. Candidate
Neural Changes and the Relationship Between the Acute Peak Experience and Clinical Outcomes
Presented by Leor Roseman, M.Sc.
Ayahuasca Legal Prosecution Worldwide: Connecting the Dots
Presented by Benjamin De Loenen, M.A.
Duncan Trussell Family Hour Presents the Microdose VR Experience with Android Jones & Bruce Damer
PANEL: Psychedelics, Injustice, & the Intersectionality of Trauma
Film Screening: Sacred Plants
Presented by Javier Prato
Honoring Huston Smith
Presented by Austin Hill Shaw
Subjective Effectiveness of Ibogaine Treatment for Problematic Opiod Consumption:
Short & Long-Term Outcomes and Current Psychological Functioning
Presented by Alan K. Davis, Ph.D.
Debunking Common Ibogaine Safety Myths
Presented by Jamie McAlpin, R.N., B.S.N., & Christine Fitzsimmons, R.N.
Characterization of Mystical Experiences Occasioned by 5-MeO-DMT-Containing Toad Venom & Comparison with Prior Psilocybin Studies
Presented by Joseph Peter Barsuglia, Ph.D.
My Life Reset: A Journey with Ibogaine
Presented by Kevin Franciotti
New Findings from the University of Zurich Studies into the Mechanism of Action of Psilocybin & LSD: Relevance for Treatment of Major Depression & for Enhancement of Psychotherapy
Presented by Dr. Rainer Krahenmann, M.D.
Ibogaine & Opiod Withdrawal: Does it Work & Is it Safe
Presented by Paul Glue, M.D. , FRC Psych
Esalen's Legacy & the History of Psychedelics
Presented by Dr. Jim Fadiman & John Harrison, M.A., Psy. D
Psychedelic, Morality, & Virtue
Presented by Claudio Naranjo, M.D.
Film Screening: Shamans of the Global Village
Presented by Rak Razam
Ibogaine in Brazil: Finally Stepping Out from the Underground?
Presented by Bruno Rasmussen Chaves, M.D.
Cannabis & Spirituality: An Explorer's Guide to an Ancient Plant Spirit Ally
Presented by Stephen Gray, author
PANEL: Insights from Contemporary Ibogaine Research for Addiction
Ibogaine and Neurotrophic Factors: GDNF, BDNF, and NGF Releasing Properties of Ibogaine & Activity of Novel Ibogaine Analogues
Presented by Ignacio Carrera, Ph.D.
The Role of Experimental Language in Psychedelic Research
Presented by Nese Devenot, Ph.D.
The Past & Future of Psychedelics
Presented by Mike Crowley & Ben Sessa
Psychedelics as Behavior Change Agents: Addictions Recovery & Beyond
Presented by Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D.
Psilocybin Mushrooms & the Mycology of Consciousness
Presented by Paul Stamets, D.Sc.
Cosmic Sister's Psychedelic Feminism Grant Recipients
Presented by Nese Devenot, Ph.D., Selma Holden, M.D., Katie Bain, Faye Sakellaridis, & moderated by Leia Friedman
The current of spirit brought Chor Boogie and me to Miami to share art...
The following images may shock you.
It's ok. The truth is always beautiful. The artists of American Banned invite us to look through their eyes and hearts in this powerful exhibition.
“We don’t have to debate whether art should be political— it always is.” –Dickon Stone
On October 27th at Macaya Gallery in Miami, three renowned contemporary artists, Chor Boogie, Stuart Sheldon, and Ashley Reid, presented uncompromising visual political and social commentary in American Banned. Essentially nonpartisan, the collective body of work provokes political discourse, spurs citizens to participate in the political process, and examines systemic violence, racism, and oppression.
Select works from American Banned will be exhibited November 29th – December 4th at Scope Miami Beach 2016, in conjuction with Art Basel Maimi, North America’s foremost international modern and contemporary art fair, bringing a rare and vital political element to the annual festivities.
Chor Boogie, one of the world’s foremost masters of the spray paint medium, premiered a fresh political series of original paintings, hand embellished prints, and mixed media works: In God We Trust.
Stuart Sheldon showcased a new series of artwork I’m with the Banned, an ensemble of intricate works of mixed media on canvas and paper, featuring strong shapes, cuttings of banned book covers, and piercing political statements. Mediums include acrylic, vinyl, oil crayon, gunpowder, glass bottles, spray paint, found objects, shredded pay stubs, and the artist’s own blood. Sheldon will also feature an installation and limited edition video addressing violence in society with first grade chairs, bullets, and chain.
Ashley Reid presented White Power, a passionately, anarchistic photographic and performance representation of social and authoritative culture; what the artist has perceived as the zeitgeist of this generation. With a perspective that is both critical, loving and transgressive in its kitschy approach, subjects of instant gratification, protest, police brutality, appropriation, empathy, and accountability are questioned visually through self-portraiture and her community. Performance self-portrait Privileged, Please Help presents a white man who is sitting and acting as a homeless man, but is asking for help in being privileged as opposed to being disenfranchised.
How do these images make you feel?
What thoughts do they spark?
What discussion do they invite?
If they have provoked any feeling, thought, or discussion at all,
they have fulfilled their purpose.
On February 11th, in celebration of Black History month,
San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery hosted an art opening reception for
Chor Boogie featuring pieces from the Divided States of America series.
It was also the premier exhibition for his powerful multi-media skull sculpture,
"In God We Trust." The exhibition will run through March 2nd.
Learn more about this series and join the conversation at:
Road trippin' is becoming the norm as Chor & I travel together to exhibit art and share our love story, Heart Medicine. The best part of our current path is meeting awesome people who love creativity, community, activism, and natural healing.