On this Taurus new moon we are transformed by the beauty of death and rebirth with Seven! I met Seven last summer when I was making herbal mutual aid kits for Black organizers and he dropped off bundles of mugwort for the kits that he’d gathered. There aren’t too many people I meet who also love foraging so it was a treat. Since then, I’ve listened to his new album Extrinsic on repeat, and I just know you’re gonna really dig exploring Seven’s world of discarded landscapes.
✦ Botánica Cimarrón ✦
Hiii! It's been so rad following your work since we met last last summer. From tattoos, sculpture, textiles, and music your work explores decay in different experimental forms with textures of dark wave and the ethereal. What feels endlessly inspiring about the alchemy of transformation?
✦ Seven ✦
"The alchemy of transformation" is really the perfect way of putting it. I feel I have a kind of debilitating obsession with evolution/transformation on a personal level (Saturn in the 8th house, go figure lol) which translates really beautifully to exploring the expressions of growth and decay which are so readily present in the biological and chemical workings of the natural world. I see systems of death and rebirth in nature as these incredible mirrors through which we as human beings can learn about the beauty of the tensions and challenges that bring about the deaths of different parts of ourselves- I feel that observing the effect that stark change or decay has on a biological organism and becoming comfortable with seeing something divine in that process can inform the way our internal networks process allegorical or literal changes both in our individual day to day lives and on a collective political scale. I feel deeply connected to natural decomposers and scavengers for this reason- there is so much I personally have to learn from organisms that sustain themselves on decay, and I really can't think of anything I find more beautiful than that process. It's a gift that it's evident all around us all the time.
✦ BC ✦
How does your embodiement of queer and trans identity shape your spiritual life? (you can also replace spiritual for another word that feels more aligned)
✦ 7 ✦
I feel that entering different or more elevated states of consciousness has allowed me to be able to reach a place that really feels like pure energy- totally removed from any material understanding of gender or sexuality. And I come out of those spaces feeling like my personal expression of gender is one that is deeply rooted in a material evocation: the way I present in the physical world and who I feel I am when I am in those states of consciousness is extremely different, and the latter feels near impossible to describe. It's ecstatic to even know that version of being exists outside of the sometimes crushing confines of the physical. However, I have had some extremely life altering experiences in spiritual spaces exploring and communicating with the parts of myself I've left behind in my transition, and I'm really hoping to reach a place in my own development where I can work with other trans people to guide them through similar experiences. Being trans and having spirituality be the only constant which has connected my many iterations of "self" has taught me a lot about how death exists in so many more ways than just the physical. Trans people tend to experience this almost everlasting energetic death that is constantly unfolding, and moving towards an understanding of how that might manifest/how one might heal that through spiritual work has been deeply illuminating to my own practice. As we know, trans people are not strangers to grief in any way, and I really think we each deserve to be offered the chance to reconcile with the parts of ourselves we have trouble facing because those parts of us are often just as ready to come forward as any other departed energy may be. I think this carries over wonderfully to plant medicine as well; I know that exploring my relationship with medicinal plants which have a more Venusian energy has been extremely healing to my own complex relationship with femininity. I feel that plants can do a lot to help recontextualize what that energy can entail or feel like outside of very limiting (and for a lot of people, deeply traumatizing) material constructs.
✦ BC ✦
Can you share a little bit about your journey of working with scrap metal artifacts? How does your relationship to the land that you're living on shape your processes?
✦ 7 ✦
My collecting of scrap artifacts started as kind of a tactile coping mechanism to help me ground myself physically. Initially it was just me trying to find something exquisite at a time when everything around me felt unbearably uniform. I became obsessed with how wonderful it felt to have this numinous experience just looking at things that were discarded by industrialization to rot, and how pure negligence and the effects of the natural elements came together to tell these insane textural stories through these artifacts that were originally crafted to withstand everything. I have a lot of dichotomous feelings about industrialization, and whereas I have a 10 year old boy's passion for trains and cars and a real respect for industrial labor, that also exists alongside a disgust of industrialization being used as a tool to further the violence of imperialism. Finding the rust goldmines where I source these objects (frequently railroad networks) always inadvertently becomes an exercise in understanding the history of the land I'm on and how industrialization has come to affect it. Seeing that these discarded remnants of systems which have become agents of destruction to the natural world are not immune to natural processes and are themselves connected inextricably to the earth is humbling- it's powerful watching the earth usurp its own desecration. I'm also really taken with the philosophical pillar of quantum mechanics that all matter, be it organic or inorganic, is alive. The metal I collect feels like proof of this. I've found that you have to be mindful sourcing these artifacts in an almost similar way that one would when foraging for plants or other organic matter- some remnants are happier being left where they are because change isn't done with them yet.
✦ BC ✦
I know you're answering the call of the land because you feel it in your heart. If you could mail a love letter to the heart of the earth, what would it say?
✦ 7 ✦
Some once sweet souring scent
Drifts from deep within the well of dreams
Each pearl inside a rotting oyster,
trapped in its home without a funeral
Parts of self slip through open windows at night-
Thoughts like mosquitos fattened from feeding on the
tart berries of youth
Juices acidulated on the furred tongues of manmade entities
Hiding inside the drifting light struck from flint disintegrated
Come forward in feverish bursts of bliss
Bleed through chartreuse faces of newborn leaves
and burn my tongue as I bite into some new revelation:
That what I am is what I always was and will never be again
That I am free of stale glimpses into gaping portals
That every vision of heaven is born from a vision of earth
As I embody the mirror
And ride upon the world