National borders are make believe; they are fragile fantasies defended by powerful armies. In fact, it’s because these borders are imaginary that they require so much energy to maintain. As the US government whips up fear about immigrants and immigration, and US troops at the Mexico border maintain a culture of death, we offer this spell as a way to bring the living world back into focus.
Maps can be helpful when you’re trying to orient yourself in an unfamiliar place. Whether we consider it or not, using a map involves trust—we trust in the accuracy of the map and the intention of the map-maker. How might we begin to notice if the map we’re using is not to be trusted?
About the spell
This month we offer you a map without clear borders, edges, or lines. Each quadrant of this mandala features plants that are endemic to a bioregion of the United States: Douglas fir, bracken fern, and columbine adorn the Northwest; in the Northeast, sugar maple, pussywillow and cranberry spill into the Southeast’s mimosa, live oak, and Spanish moss; in the Southwest, prickly pear, datura, and ocotillo blossom.
The relationship between these plants and their native lands is ancient—wildly older than the invisible lines we’ve drawn across the world, our own minds, and our hearts. With this spell, we invite you into a much older understanding of place, of difference, of belonging, and of welcome. Working with this spell, we ask you to lend your energy, efforts, and vision towards understanding the bond between people and places and the sovereignty inherent in that relationship.
All profits from the sale of this image will be donated to CIMA (Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción) an Asheville-based organization that supports immigrants in Western North Carolina.
Meditation on No Borders
You can do this meditation anytime, anywhere... Wherever you are, take a moment to pause and breathe and pay attention to the fact that you are alive. What are you most aware of? How does the light in your environment catch your eye? Do you notice any feelings? Eventually, let your eyes rest somewhere. As you rest your eyes on this spot, soften your gaze to include your entire periphery—looking at the whole world in your vision all at once. Take some time to get used to this experience—perhaps you notice when your gaze becomes narrow and you widen it again—maybe you try the same kind of muscular release with your eyes closed. Once you have the sense of how you like to get in and out of this kind of gaze, turn your attention to your inner body. As your gaze settles into softness, can your body do the same? Breathing into this softening, let seeing and feeling become one. Whatever is happening in your experience with this practice, let it guide you. Perhaps you practice this so frequently that no border remains between your meditation and the rest of your day.
About the painting:
Corina: In another life, I would have been a botanical illustrator. It was incredibly satisfying finding the plants that would work best thematically and visually for this mandala, and I got to pick the brains of my plant nerd friends across the country for suggestions. Special thanks to Iris and Greg! I also think almost every plant in this mandala has medicinal uses.
Jocelyn: I am still so surprised by the colors in this one… Its composition is such a tribute to my sister’s genius and I was so excited by the drawing that I launched into the painting of it without a sense of what it would become in color. I would simply paint their portraits. I wasn’t expecting so much red and green!! And pink right next to them? Somewhere inside this experience of surprise I felt the spell of this image begin to ripen in me. Life is chaotic. Sometimes things clash. Interconnectedness reigns.
This month's offerings:
Please consider buying a print of this image as 100% of profits will go directly to Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA) —an Asheville-based organization that supports immigrants in Western North Carolina.
Jocelyn is offering another Yoga for the Obliteration of Tyranny class on March 9th at West Asheville Yoga. The class is currently sold out, but you can be in touch if you want to be added to the waitlist or if you’d like to be notified about future classes.