YEAR IN REVIEW 2017



What a day, what a week, what a year! (Wheel of Fortune)
I knew that big things would happen this year because 2017 was not playing games. It took off with necessary epiphanies. My biggest work in progress has been myself, and I am really happy with the end result. Did I have a few pitfalls? Yes. Did I make mistakes? Certainly. But I also learned from them, and I can feel myself becoming more lighthearted and carefree. Its been years since I have been this happy and this excited to live life. Its been years since I have allowed myself to live intensely like this. I’m so glad that dark chapter in my life has been at rest and ease because I can finally breathe again.

Looking back to the last set of twelve months is almost astounding to me. I think that if there’s anything I came out of this with a new understanding of, it is that I am flanked by immense amounts of love even if it is not immediately apparent or physically present in my life. This nurtures my confidence and has helped me open myself up to the possibilities of new friends being a possibility in the future. I've struggled to make friends for years, but have found this year had an abundance of opportunities in that respect.

I’m glad I learned to put myself first before others as well, because when I did I finally came to the peace of not waging war with myself. I stopped punishing myself for the past that did not work out, and in that process I found there were infinite new possibilities and unexplored paths waiting around the corner. I have also become more patient and in control of my emotional impulses this year, which is quite an achievement.

Please accompany me through the reflections of the past year, the old skin being shed to expose the shiny layer that lay beneath. Now I glow and I smile endlessly. I am my own person again!



JANUARY:
+ Court of Angels
+ Cloak & Dagger for the first time
+ Father Sebastiaan's birthday celebration
+ Making new friends
+ Mode:M


FEBRUARY:
+ Became a member at Cloak & Dagger
+ Took on some design work
+ Mari’s birthday party
+ Court of Angels
+ Endless Night Ball
- Wisdom teeth extraction



MARCH:
+ Court of Angels
+ Cloak & Dagger
+ Heard from Niki



APRIL:
+ Made up with Niki
+ Mode:M
+ Cloak & Dagger
+ Sleepovers at the Crow’s Nest
+ Ruin



MAY:
+ Shadows in the Dark podcast feature
+ Begun a 4 month stay in Puerto Rico
- Hospital visits galore
+ Went on my first date since the demise of my past relationship. Eye-opener.
+ Cemetery trekkin’



JUNE:

- Emotional ups and downs, accepting loss
+ Nickelodeon Studio visit
+ Museum of Death (Read here.)
+ Museum of Broken Relationships (Hitting home!)
+ Found Legacy of the Divine self-published version at Memento Mori.
- Leaving behind a large body count. The reaper and I should be best buds by now.
+ Started dating.
+ Ana Torroja (Mecano) in concert



JULY:
+ Celebrated Eduardo Aladino’s birthday
- Had a serious health scare, flew home immediately afterwards
+ Cloak & Dagger
+ Caught up with Father Sebastiaan



AUGUST:
+ Dated. Romanced. Enjoyed it!
+ Old San Juan rolling down grass hills and chasing hermit crabs
+ Found out I don’t have cancer
+ Cloak & Dagger
+ Made friends with Andrew
+ Warlok: Descent basement party



SEPTEMBER:
- Lost my black card while raging at the club
+ The Lost Boys camp trip
+ Cloak & Dagger
+ Trip to Marrakech, Morocco



OCTOBER:
+ Depeche Mode Spirit tour
+ Dusk Till Dawn music festival
+ Birthday brunch with Silvia
+ Cloak & Dagger
+ HIM Bang & Whimper farewell tour
+ Church X-Rated underground fetish party
+ Halloween dressed as The Crow



NOVEMBER:

+ Met Tatum
+ Saw Jigsaw
+ OIL nights
+ Cloak & Dagger
+ Gary Numan in concert
+ Circle V
+ Met Chris



DECEMBER:
+ Das Bunker History of Industrial with the squad
+ Mom comes to visit
+ Took Mom to Cloak & Dagger
+ Started playing video games again
+ Vista holiday party
+ Got my black card back at Cloak
+ Countdown NYE — First Dubstep music festival



(1)DESCRIBE 2017 IN THREE WORDS:

(A) Detachment.
(B) New beginnings.
(C) Romantic.

(2) WHICH CONCERTS DID YOU VISIT IN 2017?
Dimensional Dryft, LTJ Bukem, Ramsey x 2, Ana Torroja (Mecano), Mr. Kitty, Depeche Mode, 3Teeth, HIM Bang & Whimper tour, Tr/st, Gary Numan Savage tour, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Drab Majesty, LovexTerror, Haex x 2, The Soft Moon, Cold Cave, Ohgr, Nostalghia, Tamara Sky, She Wants Revenge, Betamaxx, faceXhugger, Warhorse, Arcade High, Flux Pavilion, Ganja White Night, Diseselboy, Infekt, Monxx, Pogman.



(3) WHAT WERE YOUR THREE FAVORITE MOMENTS IN 2017?
(A) Receiving my Cloak & Dagger membership. I can’t talk about how it happened, but it was amazing.
(B) The Lost Boys camping trip. That was a first. It was perfect!
(C) The trip to Marrakech blew my mind. So much beauty!

(4) WHICH ONE WAS YOUR FAVORITE MONTH IN 2017?
November. What a wild month. The turn up was real. I met somebody that really shook me to my core and I have a lot of eye-opening experiences. It definitely wasn't the easiest month, but it helped me realize my strength. I found my path again and I learned how to influence it and shape it. My life sorted itself out at the tail end of the year, and I credit this month with getting the tone for 2018.

December was a close second, also. Everything came together so well before the year wound down.

(5) WHO WERE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF 2017?



Silvia.
This Italian beauty came into my life last September. We have a great connection going and I enjoy how we confide in one another regularly. She is really caring and she looks out for me all the time. She also raised my standard for what a good friend does. After experiencing her loyalty, everyone else will have to up their game. I admire this tough lioness more than words can say!



Chris. Chris and I met mid to late November and really hit it off with some great chemistry and hearty laughs. Our first date was packed with humoring highlights. We went to an ‘80s club after that and ended up hanging out plenty of times a week. Come to think of it, since we first connected we just kept it going. Wish I could display some of our #sickening text message conversations. The sugar is diabetic level intense.

Opening up to each other was a lot of fun and sometimes took some thinking; I have to say though that the gestures he has with me move me nearly to tears at times. We have started working on building a more serious relationship with excitement and tender respect. I really love that he cares about my boundaries and seeks to nurture my feelings with warmth and love. Our moments together keep me warm as I'm doing process work during the week. I’m really excited for this one, guys. He's going to be a big deal for me.

Chris
has a crafty Sphynx cat called Teemo that acts more like a dog than anything else.



Andrew.
This guy came into my life unexpectedly. Shortly before the summer we had been keeping in touch online. When we finally met in person, we set off on some of the best adventures I’ve had in years. Laughs and photos aplenty. We definitely enjoyed a few months of raging at parties and getting in trouble. Andrew certainly helped me get my spark back and I’m glad we got to be friends. Now we cross paths every Tuesday at Cloak & Dagger and dance the night away with LA's dark elite. Watch out for him, though. This guy is trouble! I mean that in the best of ways.



Sebastiaan. Father is known to be kind of a controversial figure, but he is an excellent friend of mine and he is always there for me if I need him to be. It has been really rewarding to be a part of the Sabertooth Clan and to go on some of the wildest adventures with the people I've met through him. It brings a smile to my face to have good people around. Meeting for lunch or dinner often takes a lot of the stress off from a busy day, to instead talk about more lighthearted things. Despite all the heat and the naysayers, Father has been nothing but a gentleman and an exemplary friend to me. I guard his secrets and value being his loyal friend.



Tatum. Meeting Tatum was like tapping into a source of creativity and adventure without remembering how to find your way back the next day. I got really excited about having him in my life. I relish some of the stories he told me in his treks through abandoned places in Los Angeles, that last night we hung out was actually a lot of fun. He was definitely my gateway into the world of headbanging and Lost Lands. He gave me my first kandi bracelet that says "Corpse Bride." Tatum takes really amazing photos and has a creative history that I found very relatable. When I think back to him now I just wish I had the space to ask all the questions that were left unanswered. Then I'd have closed this chapter much, much sooner.



Veronica. Have I ever told you how much I love this girl? She gets my darker undertones and low tolerance for bullshit. She is extremely beautiful and talented, and she remembers the important things. I have secretly been crushing on her since we met and am proud to have her in my girl gang. Every time we meet up, we have the best time catching up. I love talking to her on the phone, and I a so excited for us to go see Marilyn Manson together this coming January.

Sergei. Dear Serge and I have known one another for years. He has definitely been my rock and dear friend in the past four years of strife. Something that I love about Serge is that he gets it, he gets the world of divination and how the cosmos influence our day-to-day life. Together we explore everything from dream interpretation to talking about current events. I think one of my favorite takeaways from our conversations is to travel light, fast and invisible. I practice that skill on the daily, yielding varying results.

Rose. The most psychic of the Pisces I have ever met! Rose is amazing. We're not as close as we used to be as life gets in the way, but we still manage to make time for one another. It has been really rewarding to support her as she discovers her psychic gifts and how to be in control of them. I love her open, warm spirit and I wish her the best in 2018. Somehow I just know her dreams are being manifested into reality. You don't get to meet people as special as Rose every day, that's for sure.

Special mentions go to Nati and Eduardo, without whose company I might not have survived the first half of 2017. They were both there for me in some of the roughest of the rough times, and for that I am immensely thankful.



(6) HAVE YOU MADE PLANS FOR TRAVELING IN 2018?
I wish I could make it to the Lost Lands 2018 music festival held next September in Ohio. That's the only place I absolutely feel the need to be in next year. Believe it or not, I'm going to be going by myself. But squad building is a skill I have perfected over time, and I don't doubt this one will be legendary.

I'd also like to make it out to New Orleans around Halloween time for the Endless Night Vampire Ball. My next intended travel destination is actually the Amalfi Coast. We could also do Prague. Otherwise, a clan member and I are planning a trip to Thailand. Some thought needs to go into it. I'm not so sure yet.

(7) BEST BOOK YOU READ IN 2017?
Pop Kids by Davey Havok. Someone gave me their annotated book. I had the best time reading it and having highlighted the things that my mate found of interest or funny. It certainly heightened the experience for me.



(8) 5 MUSICIANS YOU LISTENED TO WAY TOO MUCH IN 2017:

SOCIAL REPOSE
TR/ST
MARILYN MANSON
EXCISION
MONXX



(9) WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2018?

I’m looking forward to see Marilyn Manson and Excision playing live in January. The shows are almost back to back, so please wish me luck in surviving the madness. Excision’s Paradox tour will feature 150,00 face-melting watts of bass. His Lost Lands tour will boast 1 million watts of bass and I have every intention of going. I have no idea how I'm supposed to survive Lost Lands 2018 on my own, but at least I have an easy time building new squads at places I go stag to.

As March rolls by I get to see Datsik and Riot Ten play. I’m going to be glowing once the spring arrives. Circumstances allowing, I intend to become a regular in the Los Angeles Dubstep scene.

In 2018 I would like to focus on and keep working on my creative expressions. More writing, drawing, blogging, and digital illustrations. It would be great to build a new body of work for the future.

I’m stoked for next year, honestly!

Bring the new experiences, new adventures and the new inside jokes with my secret society plus one. If this year was crazy, the next one promises to be insane. And I couldn't be more excited for that!



IN RETROSPECT,
This year had a lot of firsts happening. I do have to admit though it was often really challenging. I was frantically trying to leave a relationship that wasn’t doing me well for years. I did my best to work things out and to learn from my past mistakes especially, by not wanting to be friends afterwards. Friendship doesn't always work out, and much less with somebody so controlling. I decided not to keep in touch, and yet that’s when the situation became the hardest for me. That’s when this person tried to place a vice grip on the neck of my soul. Luckily there were about 3K miles in between us that forced the break up to become more permanent over the course of a few months. After the fact I took some time to think about what had just happened. Digesting it was really tough to me because I don’t like to detach from people. This instance was absolutely necessary, though. But if I’ve learned something through hard experience, is that not everyone is meant to stay, and I certainly did my part to cater to them despite how bad they were for me. So they got axed. #boyBYE

I also had a fall out with a friend I loved dearly. I’ve been trying to get that friendship to take off for a very long time, and over the summer it had really started to before it came crashing. I mourned it for about a couple of weeks give or take, and it was perhaps one of the toughest connections to let go of this year. Months later I still felt they had done me a disservice and didn’t look out for me as they had originally claimed to, and that’s when I realized it was okay to have let go. They didn’t care for me as much as I cared about them. Still today I see photos and ache a little, but I’m glad it didn’t end up going worse. I wish them the best with no hard feelings even though I can't say the same for them. I know that wherever their life takes them, they’ll make it an amazing adventure and they’ll be better than well.

This year also had some really great surprises in store for me. I didn’t see a lot of them coming, but I am thrilled to have experienced some of the madness 2017 had to offer. Overall, this year was really great. I really enjoyed it the more it progressed, and now that its almost over I'm worlds apart from the negative mindset I used to be in. Above all else, 2017 was actively a passionate year.

I’m thankful my Saturn Return has wound down, also. The lessons were traumatic. The loneliness and the heartache drowned me a few times. And now everything is where it belongs. I am loved and I am stronger. And lastly, I am happy. Can’t take that away from me, no matter how much anybody tries. Knock me down ten times and I'll get up an eleventh time and live a better life than I was living. I'd like to see anybody try. They'll be boxed in with all the rest that have failed to knock me over. I guarantee it.

♫ ♪ ♩♬ If you turn it up, then you know it's going down.

That's all, folks! See you in 2018.
♡♡

DARKNESS OF LIGHT TAROT




Since we are touching up on the subject of inner darkness lately, I figured it was the best time to unearth the Darkness of Light Tarot by Tony diMauro from my vault. I’ve been meaning to review this deck ever since I first got it, but now is when I finally have the ability to sit down and contemplate it. I guess I wanted to dedicate myself to this deck to really get to know it and have some more educated impressions.

The web site for the Darkness of Light Tarot states the following:
The deck strives to paint an honest portrait of nature: it doesn't shy away from dark themes but instead embraces them, weaving both darkness and light together to tell the story of the Fool's journey. Tony diMauro

The inherent darkness of this deck really appeals to me. This deck is unapologetic for its darkness, which is tastefully depicted. A lot of these illustrations look like they could be transitional scenes in dark dreams or nightmares. The darkest cards are powerful, and even the happiest ones have an aura of darkness that pulses through the reader. The feelings evoked aren't murky; instead they resonate very clearly with the reader. Sometimes I can hear sound in my mind that is evoked from the action in the cards. Delightful whispers from my work tools!

Something that really impressed me about this deck is how well it reads out of the box. Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned expert, there is life in these illustrations. You can read according to tradition, or because the cards take on life of their own. They read very easily no matter how seasoned of a reader you are. These cards would be fun to meditate into for spiritual work or simply for the purpose of bonding with your cards in a creative way. I want to learn to read them using every little detail, and that comes with getting to know them over time.

Will the inner voice I hear when I read with them change? The deck almost has a shape shifting vibe to it. If you have a taste for darkness, then this deck is certainly for you.





I have always wanted a deck like this. There was much need for it! Mostly black, beautifully artful renditions of people, and natural aspects that seem to come alive. I appreciate that there are no bright pops of color, and that what is rightfully light is sources of light. I definitely pay attention to the time of day and the mood of the environment in the cards, and use those indicators to influence my readings.

This deck is doing for me what The Wild Unknown Tarot did for a lot of people in the tarot community. When the Wild Unknown Tarot came out, it spread like wildfire for its connection to nature and the stylized black/white pen & ink illustrations with pops of color. But it didn't have humans in it. I can't use a deck if it doesn't have the human figure in it, and this one does.

The values in these cards all go together really well as an overall system. Even though I think these cards are digital paintings, to me they almost look like stylized oil paintings and I love that. I also enjoyed the use of darkness to create a somewhat ethereal space that makes you feel like anything could happen. Magic!

I look over all the cards and there is not a single one I don’t like. That’s an achievement! You enjoy reading with a deck more when you agree with all the cards and how they depict these archetypes we have grown to know and love.




What is your most important characteristic?
Three of Cups. The completion of this project merits celebration. Not only does it fill a necessary void that existed within the options for decks to read with, but it is also a skillful rendition of something that can be both dark and beautiful. It is also elegant, which is a feat in itself to pull off. We start this card interview off with a celebration of the achievement it is. It’s a strong deck that is dark and still manages to keep a balance. I appreciate that it isn’t at an extreme. It is just right!

When it first came out, this deck was definitely celebrated. I was off on holiday so I was unable to connect with it until I got back. And now that I am, I understand the hype. This deck sings!

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Eight of Cups. Try not to fit this deck in only as a Rider-Waite clone if you can help it. Seek out the elements that set it apart as an artist’s original work. Look into how it is different and admire it for its individuality. It ventures away from tradition ever so slightly.

Know your strengths. If you walk away from something, let it be because you don’t have the energy to invest in it to do it justice.

What are your limits?
The Sun. There are areas of your life that you may be more attached to than you are willing to admit. Even if you are close to something and feel you have a clear point of view, be open to the possibility that there may still be parts of the situation you don’t understand.

If your pride or ego get in the way, it can’t be helped. The Sun in a negative position in a spread is only slightly less bright. It’s really a positive indicative.



What are you here to teach me?
The Star. I am here to teach you how to find the light in the darkest of situations. So long are you are open and vulnerable you will be able to tune into something outside of yourself. You will just come to understand, and by then you will know what you have to do to act.

Standing vulnerable before others is not easy. It takes courage to open up to someone and share your personal truth also. Trusting is a vulnerable act because you are sharing something intimate about yourself with somebody else. We have this same trust in our fate sometimes.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Ten of Coins. Find your comfort zone. Make the space moody and conductive for the experience you will have with your cards. Go there in your mind as well. Make yourself present and aware, then begin. You can find warmth and comfort even in the darkness. It helps if your reading space is conductive to focus and introspection.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Three of Coins. It's going to take some work and experimentation reading for different types of people with it. Concepts will change on the intent for them to be manifesting. Once you understand how to peel back the layers to find deeper meaning you will also find yourself more comfortable trying new things. Be patient! Work through it.



Which card do you want to show off?
Five of Wands. There is beauty even in the darkness and even in the difficult cards to draw. For every difficult set of news to tell there will be something to buffer and hold us over. It is important though that we accept what is outside our control and commit to work through the negativity instead of getting taken under by it.

How do you see me?
King of Cups. Tuned into empathy and compassion, easily influenced. Seeking out something more when there is something good just beside you. The restlessness is to catch something prized when in reality you already have a lot going for you that is worthy of praise and admiration. Try not to focus so much on what is outside your control, it makes you feel heavy. There is no reason to subject your feelings to that.

How do you see yourself?
Queen of Swords. Sharp and tough as nails. No one shakes your perspective or sways you without first facing the sharp end of your blade. At your best you are eloquent and immaculate with your words. At your worst, you decimate people.



This is the kind of world I live and thrive in, a world of darkness. Those of us that dwell in Gothic subculture especially will have a fondness for this deck. It speaks to us in a way we understand, because we live a life of dark glamour and this is the closest to our interests as we will ever get in the tarot. I love this deck! Thank you for reading.
♡♡
♡♡