Asali: Collective Care Interview Series

April 19, 2017

Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.

I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.

Today we get to meet Asali!

Asali on tarot, acknowledging our humanity and a world with more love. Read the Collective Care interview! -- www.christytending.com

Asali, take it away…

How are you changing the world?

(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)

I am a queer Black femme community healer and earthworker. I work with the tarot, herbs, and crystals to work accessible care for both myself and others who live within marginalized identities. My healing practice is rooted in using self-care as a means to disrupt systems of oppression by contributing in some way to my community’s beautiful expansion and growth. When those of us at the margins not only survive but thrive, we shake up institutions that rely on our subjugation to profit.

What challenges your heart in that journey?

The daily task of living as a queer Black femme, with all the baggage that trauma (both mine and inter-generational), mental illness, and daily oppression weighs on me. I may be a healer, but I too still move within the many confines of this world and must also make a way – add to that an empathetic spirit that takes on others pain without question.

What inspires you to keep going?

I am thankful for everyday I am able to practice as a healer – the work keeps my heart lifted. As the world grows ever more tumultuous and cold, I’ve seen folks gather together and weave magic out of the worst of times. That keeps me going and moves me to contribute my own small part to that effort.

Moved by the light of ancestor warrior Audre Lorde, who said: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” I affirm that when we take the time to seek for ourselves means of nourishment and elevation, when we take the time to prioritize caring for our mind, body, and spirit, we practice a radical act of resistance.

How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?

What nourishes and replenishes you?

Tarot was the first window into my own magic that allowed me to completely trust my instincts. Seeking the cards is one of those means by which we harness the wisdom and insight of the spirits that guide us, as well as honor our own intuition.

It was a relatively accessible way for me to trust that I had some power to work in my own life when I was at a particularly low point. I have healed (and always healing) and tarot continues to be what I turn to for affirmation, reassurance, or a different perspective. I join it with plant and moon magic to make self-care a daily practice that is non-negotiable.

How do you experience care within community?

How do others support you in your journey and practice?

Ancestors, elders, and community keep me nourished and replenished. I pay special homage to the femmes who have moved in and out of my community (for good or ill) and the lessons we teach other about love and survival and the right to receive as much care as we give.

Elders who not only share their wisdom but practice it, modeling what it means to move with light no matter what darkness tries to grab at us- elders who also know what it means to survive a fight. My ancestors, both by blood and community lineage, who continue to disrupt our narrow notions of time and space.

Sitting with their spirits always keeps me going, knowing they love me and want me to be loved. All of these folks and spirits who have taught me the gift of the earth, and opened me up to pay attention to the magic of the moon, the elements, and plant magic that I can always return to when at a loss.

What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?

First, ensure you have the space and energy for it. I was saved by lessons that taught me to give from the overflow of my magic. Acknowledging our humanity, our hurts, our traumas isn’t weakness but is the path to seeing our own spirits for what they are and accessing our own power to heal – and be healed.

After you learn to take care of yourself and receive it, work within your community to start with. The world might be vast and challenging, but there are always folks to sustain and help within your reach.

Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.

Hmmm, a beautiful question. How about a world where hashtags do not have to remind us that lives matter? A world where trans women of color don’t live in fear of death but have every right to life in all its expanse. A world where people place honey on their tongues before speaking in order to ensure only sweetness spills out with their words.

A world with more love, yeah?

About Asali:

Asali is a Black queer femme community healer and earthworker writing, practicing, and creating at Asali Earthwork. With tarot, ritual, and earthwork she manifests magic for the everyday and the unusual, seeking healing for herself and her clients in order to clarify practical paths to what is sought.

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