philosophy and readings

here is some theory and books that are in the tender space thought library:

check out the in progress queer ecologies and radical ontologies card deck here!

Queer ecologies and creating containers where we can be the lichens we are.

Or what is a somatics practice of queer ecologies?

we love lichens, in all of their frilly, crusty, stringy glorious diversity. they cover a good amount of the planet, were quite key in creating the soil on the earth, and can stand extreme conditions. (our spacesuit is made of lichens because many of them can survive the harsh conditions of outer space.) lichens are beautiful, complex and simple multispecies assemblages which consistently defy attempts at traditional taxonomic categorization. these organisms, or collectivities comprised of various fungal, bacterial, algael, and even yeasty partnerships in symbiosis can represent the queerness of “nature” itself which undo the “natureculture” of the socially situated project of (hetero)normativizing biology with its overemphasis on (hetero)sexual reproduction over the vast array of production and reproduction happening at various scales in the world at every moment.

taking after the lichen, a possible gender identification people could inhabit is “multispecies collectivity” or  “assemblage” or simply “multiplicity”, which de-emphasize the centrality of the human parts which comprise the superorganism or holobiont (holobiont is an assemblage of complex entangled lifeforms, which together form a discrete ecological unit) which we call a body and take to be a self. It is in the spirit of the lichen that tender space creates containers for queer ecologies, as a space for decentering normativities and opening to polymodal ways of being. acknowledging that each of us contain multitudes and are ourselves queer multispecies assemblages, this space does not locate queerness in gender or sexuality specifically. 

what i’m reading that is influencing this thought ecosystem: 

Donna Haraway Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene

The Companion Species Manifesto:Dogs, People, and Siginificant Otherness

David Griffiths Queer Theory for Lichens

Myra J. Hird

Gender’s Nature’s_nature

Naturally Queer

Queering the Non/Human

Scott F Gilbert , Jan Sapp, Alfred I Tauber A Symboitic View of Life: We Have Never Been Individuals.

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia

and a whole host of others who are in the mix but this list is getting long for two paragraphs. the writing above is part of an essay (or maybe manifesto) i am working on about queer ecologies.

getting packed for my month of solitary retreat and this is whats on my reading pile: inflamed by rupa marya and raj patel; polyesecure by jessica fern; entangled life by merlin sheldrake ; flight of the garuda translated by keith dowman; truth or dare by starhawk ; hospicing modernity by vanessa machado de olivera; the spiral dance by starhawk; patriarchy of the wage by silivia federici; holding change by addrienne maree brown; what white people can do next by emma dabiri; a field guide to getting lost; rebecca solnit; weapon of light by dr nida chenagtsang. not pictured (because i got them from the library) are: recollections on my non-existence by rebecca solnit and trans medicine by stef m. shuster.
(some of these books i know that i love and some i haven’t read yet but they come highly recommended)

this space is constantly evolving for me, as i have time i will add some more. this is a peek into what i’m thinking and practicing with….

some really important books for me in the last two years:

in an unspoken voice by peter levine

this book got me through the trauma vortex i was living in and it made me want to pursue a training as a trauma healer with somatic experiencing. this book is written with the practitioner in mind, but is accessible. it encapsulates the work of dr levine’s lifetime. if you want something less dense go for “waking the tiger”

the politics of trauma by staci K. haines

this book is so important for the current and future of somatics. i cannot say enough good things about it. this book is amazing at explaining a politicized somatics framework that arises out of the work the author has done with generative somatics and other groups.

books have always been an important resource for me. what bliss to enter into the realms populated with the deep thoughts of others which expand what feels possible in the material realms!

at the fateful tender age of 20, i was lent a copy of gender trouble by judith butler. as a budding philosophy major, i did not know what butler was saying exactly but i desperately needed to understand, for in these words were the key to my liberation from the cage of a rigidly gendered existence. i went on to write my undergraduate thesis on butler and i never gave back the book i was loaned (sorry former williamsburg roommate a).

in the intervening years, i have delved into various disciplines but my home is still philosophy of many kinds, and gender theory. i have more recently gotten into phenomenology and critical phenomenology. ecology! as a forest spirit i like reading about ecology and queer ecologies. there is a vast world of theory/science and research relating to being smart humans i go for, and i will read nearly anything with the word trauma in the title. i also am a big fan of listening to popular science or history books while driving or doing carpentry (recently i contain multitudes, the nature fix and entangled life.)

i delight in reading spiritual texts and have read a good deal of buddhist books and philosophy. i was an avid reader of chögyam trungpa while i studied in shambhala, and his book, “myth of freedom”, really informed my early meditation practice. more recently i have been reading dzogchen texts from various sources. i am currently studying atiyoga in the Yuthok Nyingthig tradition. for the past several years i also have been working with the four fields, developed by dr. adam lobel, which influences the way that i lead meditation and how i practice.

i have been getting into western esoteric sources over the last two years. i have been appreciating starhawk for her simultaneous work in the spiritual and political realms. i work with tarot, and have been finding books by rachel pollack helpful. there is a lot to learn here for me and so much of it is complicated! trying to find some thread of coherence in a violent disrupted history that is all reconstruction and the anthropological gaze is frustrating after the formal clarity of training in wisdom traditions with hundreds (if not thousands) of years of continuity. i am committed to staying in the complexity of this inquiry of spiritual growth as a person of european ancestry.

some of my favorite authors and things that i keep returning to are:

  • angela davis. period.
  • silvia federici, what a powerhouse. caliban and the witch and beyond the periphery of the skin. using marxist feminist analysis as a sword federici cuts through western history, the historical and material conditions of gender and the witch trial to reveal the creation of the category “woman” and the impact we are living inside of to this day.
  • rebecca solnit, possibly my favorite author of all time. what a gift all of her work is from the rambling lyrical nonfiction books that trace history across landscape to her feminist essays on rape and misonogy. not a single paragraph of this authors vast oeuvre is to be missed.
  • adrienne maree brown, so helpful for bringing collective change, transformative justice and somatics to the practical things like facilitation and pleasure.
  • george yancy. philosopher on race, his ideas about whiteness and confiscated bodies are ones that i find myself using often.
  • sara ahmed, a phenomenology of whiteness=mind blown.
  • the somatic experiencing and generative somatics worlds and people who are influenced by that
  • attachment theory. and expanding it beyond a cis-hetero monogamy frame. Polysecure By Jessica Fern is the best thing i have read on this yet.
  • there is a whole world of queer and gender theory thinking out there that is constantly emerging and deserves its own due when i have the time!
  • nervous system, ecosystems and other systems nerd power. i love reading about our individual, relational and collective systems.
  • conversations with friends! thank you for sharing what you are reading and thinking with me.
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