Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

23 October 2019

On the Spin #3

Current mood: Witchy. Also: Gangster of the Oregon Trail.

  • Dolly Parton's America, a 9-part podcast series about our very own pop goddess of the (political) crossroads. If you thought of her as a punchline, there's a reason for it. Did you know she wrote "I Will Always Love You"? Some of her oldest "sad-ass songs" have a mythic backstory: They hail from grisly murder ballads she heard as a little girl in the country, themselves evolutions of murder ballads that traversed centuries and the ocean. Even if you love Dolly, you have nothing close to a full picture of what we inherit from her culturally.

  • The Missing Cryptoqueen. An 8-part podcast series about Ruja Ignatova, who masterminded OneCoin, the biggest ongoing crypto-scam in cryptocurrency's short life. On this quest to learn what became of her (she vanished into thin air!), we learn how she leveraged cult tactics and MLM motivation—not to mention piles of princess dresses—to mount a scam so epic it makes me feel... well, unambitious, frankly. This bitch is Frank Ocean.
  • Clipping's music is a modern example of storytelling as medicine, a shamanic tradition as old as community.

There's this song Clipping did called The Deep that recounts the history of an undersea people who hail from the pregnant women on slave ships who were flung overboard.

It won a Hugo Award and has been transformed into a novel by Rivers Solomon. Read all about it.

  • Pharmako/Gnosis by Dale Pendell, the last of a trilogy on poisons/plant allies, and not just the usual suspects; nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate count among them. (Surprised? Learn how they came to dominate our cultures, and in some cases not be seen as drugs at all, or at least be seen as the least of the evils, which isn't remotely true.) It is poetry, chemistry, botany, politics, folklore. It is our story through eyes shared with silent manipulators. Here's a passage from the second book, Pharmako/Dynamis, about our culture's addiction to fossil fuels: "Every speed junkie uses until it is gone. That’s what we’ll do, I’m afraid.”
  • L'homme qui savait la langue des serpents (The Man Who Spoke Snakish) by Andrus Kivirahk is a translation of an Estonian bestseller, where it draws from cultural lore. On its face it's about how a country becomes industrialised—what is gained and lost. Mostly, it's about what is lost: A sacred connectedness to people, land and animals in exchange for overwork, nifty gadgets and prestige. Also, if you were born able to speak Snakish and fear you're evil because of Harry Potter, this book will tell you you're not a creeper; you've just inherited a mythic talent that'll ensure you never go hungry, unlike the dummies around you. Well, provided you live in the forest.
  • Honoring Your Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration, by Mallorie Vaudoise. I developed an ancestor veneration practice this summer and am stunned by how it's changed my mind, daily movements, and relationship to family or local history. There's a school of thought that posits our lack of cultural space for ancestor veneration, which is anomalous in the story of civilization, is central to why we are neurotic about death and have, to boot, yielded toxic-AF systems. I don't know if I believe that wholesale, but I believe it's at least a contributor.
Something I'd read if someone wrote it: 
  • A comparative essay on the work of Billie Eilish and JPEGMafia. They are both of our time, approaching its Ionescan absurdity in ways more similar than different. Don't @ me.
  • Modern Hekatean Witchcraft. It's fucking hard, but not how you'd expect. I feel like Hermione without a Time-Turner, and boy am I going through a lot of candles and sea salt!
  • Babaylan. The modern approach to reclaiming the pre-colonial Filipinx community "witch" is intellectually satisfying and meaningful: kapwa (a word for "me," but also "us") is used as a compass to approach decolonization, and also animism. Babaylan is also broken down into the dynamic embodiment of five community roles: Visionary. Teacher. Healer. Warrior. Priestess. I love all of this, every last drop. Some Babaylan reclaimers are intellectuals; others are healers with gorgeous planty Instagrams; others, tribal tattooers; others, practitioners of Arnis Kali Eskrima (which I still practice... sometimes). Babaylan moves through us and blooms kaleidoscopically. Everyone is cross-pollinating to strengthen themselves and the whole.

Something I wish:
  • I become a Twitch streamer who plays old-ass vintage games, mumbles my strategies, curses my stupid youngest son Harold for getting lost again, and ruminates over the future of the planet. People love it, and I make all the monies. You know that shit ain't happening, though.
Looking forward to: 
  •  Justice for His Dark Materials. 

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