our beautiful, courageous history of resisting institutionalized oppression

I’m thinking about the femmes of color and trans women who started the tradition of resistance, and pride. I’m thinking about butches like Stormé DeLarverie who is credited with starting the riot that became Stonewall. I’m thinking about the politics of pride: who belongs there? Who looks ‘queer enough’? What if someone is in a sexual minority like asexual, polyamorous, trans, which doesn’t necessarily “look queer” from the outside? Who profits from queer pain? Are corporate sponsors a good idea? What is it like to have a police presence at pride, when police are responsible for the ongoing deaths of young black men in particular?
I’m thinking about my own experiences with pride parades, mostly being too hot too loud too claustrophobic with too many bodies pressed against me and unable to move. I’m thinking about the times I threw “introvert’s pride” with like five people at my house and we made white wine sangria and ordered take-out (that was great).
I saw this video youtube video recently and it blew my mind. Molly Crabapple is a phenomenal illustrator and I was just riveted. I’m grateful that these stories keep being unearthed, that we’re giving some credit, even if for the most part that history is full of cis white gay men taking visible credit. I invite you to watch it, and think about pride.
PS: The Stonewall riots were June 28th, 1969; on Thursday, I invite you to light a candle, direct some orgasmic energy, or do whatever you want to do to honor our queer lineage of kisses.


a tarot spread for beltaine

The trees and flowers where I am are blooming blooming blooming abundantly.
May first is the cross-quarter of Beltaine, the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Traditionally, a maypole celebration marks Beltaine. It is a symbol of fertility, a coming together for power and creation, a weaving of binaries and polarities. <— That’s me trying to take the gender out of it, but traditional paganism is abundant with binary gender. For example, the hole for the pole was dug by the women, a symbol of receptivity. And the pole was erected within the hole, and … well, you get what that’s about. It’s a challenge to approach paganism with more non-binary awareness. Still, the symbols of the hole and the pole are potent and earthly and human. The ribbons criss-crossed around the pole in some traditions were black and white, symbolizing even more coming together and weaving of the polarities.
Beltaine is also the cross-quarter that mirrors the October 31st celebration of Samhain, and in both celebrations we are in more etherial times, closer to other planes — the “veil of the worlds is thin,” as they commonly say.
So, this is a time of tapping in to intuition, inner knowing, the thread of connection between us and the divine, god, the collective unconscious — whatever we want to name it.
I’ve been throwing a lot of Tarot cards lately, not so much as a ‘divination’ tool as a tool for personal insight. I ask, “What do I most need to know about today?” and feel into the deck in the mornings, choosing one that has just a little zap of energetic heat, and I read descriptions of the card throughout the day. First, usually, in one (or seven, depending on how much time I have) of the dozen books of Tarot that I have at home; later, usually I look around on different Tarot websites whose interpretations I trust, or I search Instagram for the card’s hashtag — #kingofcups — and look at the various imagery from various decks, and read their interpretations too.
Mostly I’ve been pulling one at a time, but sometimes I throw a larger spread. I did one for my birthday, and one for spring equinox. I’ve been looking around for a Beltaine spread and found this one:

  1. The positions of the cards symbolize different things. In this spread:
  2. The hole. What is your level of readiness and receptivity for something new?
  3. The pole. What energies are around you and ready to help you create something wonderful?
  4. The black ribbon. What must you relinquish in order to achieve your goals this spring?
  5. The white ribbon. What active energies must you utilize — the things you must actually do — to achieve your goals this spring.

I threw this spread on Tuesday and received some very supportive and loud truths. I took a photo of the spread with my phone and made it my phone background so I could keep it in mind in the next week or two … or however long until I’m ready for a new note-to-self.
Of course, if you aren’t feeling drawn to the Tarot version, you could always use these as writing prompts or meditations or places to contemplate. I’m working on a write-up of my own thoughts on my instagram, and maybe that’ll make it over to my online writing project too, find me there if you want more on this.
I’d love to hear if juicy things come out of this for you, too.
Blossom away,
Thanks to Christiana Gaudet for this spread.


Dancing Your Arousal: Joseph Kramer on Porn Yoga, Masturbation, and Feeling Your Body — Season 2 Episode 12

Thanks to Joseph Kramer for spending time talking about his work! Here are a lot of places you can find more:
Free Orgasmic Yoga Standing class
New School of Erotic Touch
Orgasmic Yoga Institute
Joseph on Twitter
Joseph recommends:
The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being by Daniel Siegel
King Kong Theory by by Virginie Despentes, translated by Stéphanie Benson
Thanks to the folks on Patreon who are supporting this podcast and all of Body Trust’s other work! Go visit and become a patreon yourself to support the free podcasts, newsletters, and resources that we create for you.
Music: Grateful to Little Dog Big Ears for their Creative Commons licensed music She Sees Mice (intro and outro). Make sure to subscribe in iTunes or Sticher. And give us a 5-star review in iTunes, it helps us reach more beloved explorers.


There is no failure.

I did this interesting thing and followed my impulse and booked a flight on Southwest points to LA to see the fourth of a four-show series by Taylor Mac. He’s performing a 24-Decade History of Popular Music, and each decade is an hour. AN HOUR. So the original show was 24 hours long. In a row. Twenty-four hours in a row of singing, dancing, performance art, entertainment, elaborate costumes.
The show I saw was only 6 hours.
And, as everybody warned, it flew by. I never once said to myself, “How much longer is this show?” (Which I frequently do in other contexts.) People I know seem to have either heard about this show and rave about it, or have never heard of it. Doesn’t seem like there’s an in-between.
Aside from the performance and music, the politics were one of the most incredible pieces of it. I did see the most recent 6 decades, from the civil rights era to now, so that was all very relevant, but my understanding is that it was woven throughout. He was so damn smart about so much.
Honestly, I have no idea how to explain it. I’m not going to try. I didn’t know what to expect when I went. I decided to go for it because a friend who had seen it was raving about it, and rather than actually understand the descriptions that were coming out of her mouth, I understood the energetic transformation she was describing, and I was intrigued by the way she lit up and was in awe, just recounting her experience.
It felt like the first time someone tried to explain their experience in a Body Electric workshop. I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I recognized and wanted the feeling of it.
Here’s the little trailer for the show he does. He’s still touring with it, for a little longer, going to visit Tempe and Tallahassee and Philadelphia and London and a few other places. If you happen to have some airline points hanging around and want to have an artist’s date with yourself, I highly recommend it.
— Zed


The sociolinguistics of “dark” and “light”

The spring equinox is today. It is a time of balance, a time when the length of time between sunset and sunrise is equal to the time between sunrise and sunset.
Most of the writings and thoughts about this time talk about the “dark” and the “light”, using it as a metaphor for bad and good, bliss and struggle, unconscious and conscious. I think this metaphor of dark-as-bad and light-as-good has been so embedded into culture that in subtle ways, it reinforces racism and white supremacy. Language is socially constructed — concepts are socially constructed.
The metaphor also discounts the value of the “dark” times, which have just as much richness, expertise, teachings, and comfort as the “light” times.
What kinds of metaphors we could come up with around dark-as-good and light-as-bad? Light can be blinding and white-hot. Dark can be the richest, most nutrient-dense soil. Light can burn, can expose, can shock. Dark can be comforting, cozy, private, safe.
So while we’re here in the balance of the daytime and the nighttime, I’m thinking about darkness and daytime, and how deep our cultural values are embedded in our language. I’m remembering, too, that language is malleable — it changes when culture changes, but sometimes changing the language first can support the change of culture.
It’s been such a pleasure for me to follow and celebrate the year wheel more closely these past through years, through Body Trust and through my own personal practices.
Are you doing anything specific to celebrate the equinox?
PS: Consider this photo above, for example — the person could be coming out of a difficult situation, looking out into the world anew and letting the sunshine in after a long period of isolation. Or, they could be comfortable in their own house (or tent?), and nervous about the outside; it could hurt their eyes to adjust to the brightness; there could be someone frightening and dangerous outside, where they could be safe inside. There are so many ways to interpret.


rise – emerge – appear – materialize

To be honest, dear beloveds, time is moving too fast for me. I have more energy, but that means I make more plans and show up more places and meet with more people, and part of me wants to crawl back into the cave of winter where I can read all the books and curl up with Darby (my 12 year old cat).
The emergence is also calling me, so here I am, putting things on my calendar, writing words in linear sentences that sometimes make sense.
But I think I will sit and breathe and pause right now, instead of writing more of this.
<3 Zed PS: Sharon Salzberg has her Real Happiness Meditation Challenge going on right now, and I love getting 5-10 minute audio meditations in my inbox in the morning, and I haven’t done today’s yet. So here I go.

A little bit of Body Trust housekeeping:

Would you like to write a guest newsletter/blog post for us? We have certain themes every month, following the wheel of the year, and we would welcome your additional thoughts on them. March is sprouting and detoxing; April is emerging conscious contact. Send ideas to me (Zed) if you’ve got something to share.
Morning meditations on Mondays & Thursdays are still happening — 7am PT/10am ET. The Facebook event goes through February 22nd, but I plan to keep attending, as long as there are other beloveds to be there too. Come join.
Speaking of generously supporting us, we have a Patreon page! Please consider becoming a patreon at any amount — it helps us to “keep the lights on,” as they say. Though we don’t have any physical space, we do still have digital expenses, not to mention all of the time that we put into these newsletters, the meditations, the coloring book, the blog, and more. Our goal is for the majority of what we do to remain free as our gift to our beloveds, and we really appreciate anything you have to give. <3


“Put your arms around me now.”

Winter is upon us now
No turning back this time
The great north star has made her vow
No matter what occurs on this earth
She will shine
Put your arms around me now
For this is the darkest time
Put your arms around me now
And in the morning, I will shine

— Libby Roderick, Winter
When I think of winter, I often get this song stuck in my head. You’re probably asking yourself, “Wait a minute Zed, doesn’t Tori Amos also have a song called Winter? You don’t get THAT one in your head?” But no, in fact, this is the one that comes to me. Even though they were published at almost the same time (Tori’s in 1992 and Libby’s in 1993), somehow the guitar and sweetness of Libby’s version is what comes into my ears.
Growing up in Alaska, it felt like winter began in October. We’d almost always have snow on the ground by then (and it would stay until my birthday in April). Trick-or-treating was done in the dark, with glowsticks, and with snowpants or big boots to go with my halloween costume. So I don’t think of winter solstice as being the beginning of winter — but officially, it is.
Since we are past the solstice now, and the days are growing longer in the northern hemisphere, I also think about the passing of the dark and how valuable those long winter nights are for reflection, pause, cozy blankets, good books, mugs of hot drinks, outside snowy adventures, layers of soft and scratchy and other multiple other sensate fabrics. There is great value and insight in there, not just in the bright of the summer. It behooves us to remember and celebrate all the pieces, not just the sunshine.
Spoken like a northerner, perhaps. 🙂 Well, hopefully you’ll enjoy this throwback to early-90s feminist-folk anyway.
— Zed



Alex, Amy, Lizz, and I were retreating this past weekend, reflecting on 2017 and planning 2018, and also looking at our larger strategy and trajectory of where we’re going. (That last part is mostly guided by Amy.)
Here’s some of what’s coming up:

Portals of Pleasure

You’ve already heard that Portals of Pleasure will happen July 18-22 at the Bodhi in Albuquerque — it’s our TENTH YEAR of meeting together (including the Pulse history). Who knows what we’ll do in celebration! Registration will open in early 2018 — meanwhile, save the date.

Meditations in January

We are starting up morning meditations in January — twice a week, Monday and Thursday, at 7am PT / 10am ET on Zoom. Here’s the Facebook event with more information — come join the Facebook group to keep track of it.

Call for Collaborators

In 2018, we will be producing Portals of Pleasure, but we don’t have any other workshops on the books yet … But not because we don’t want to! We just need some folks who will help us with finding a space and gathering attendants and being in juicy conversations with us about how to gather the circle. Is this you? Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll talk more about the details.

Bye! We’re taking a December break

It’s been a pleasure to work and play with you all, and to circle up so many of you beloveds in many different ways this past year. We’re officially taking a break from all Body Trusting in December. The winter solstice is time to pause, time to take stock, time to bring it all into our beings and let it settle before the emergence begins again in the new year.
Talk to you in January!
Zed, Lizz, Alex, and Amy

Newsletter Poetry

celebrate with me

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — AA Milne

won’t you celebrate with me
By Lucille Clifton
won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

I love this poem … thought I might share it with you as part of our month exploring the theme of resilience.
Don’t we all have that thing that we were born which makes us different? I didn’t have models for queerness, for butchness, for non-binary expressions, for sacred intimacy, for kinky topping and play. I too had no model. And I love this question: “What did I see to be except myself?” Would that I could have that kind of resilience.
I love the idea of celebrating this survival. Celebrating our resilience. Things do come after us, daily — the microagressions, the racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, prejudice — and we don’t have to survive it. Not all of us do. But hey, I’m writing to you here today, and we have. You and I have both survived it. Not only that, but here we are, ourselves.
Celebrations all around!


actively embracing loss

“Samhain heralds in a terrifying season when we are asked to embrace loss.”

I’m really into dharma talks and recordings of meditations lately. I have a commute now; plus, I’m spend so much time at a computer for the 9-5 job, I do less of the computer stuff I used to do for fun — like read a million articles and scroll through Facebook groups. I’m spending more time resting my eyes.
But often, I still want to engage my brain and relax and learn.
So I’ve been listening to more podcasts, and looking up more youtube recordings, too. This one I’m sharing with you is “Through the Veil,” a samhain meditation.
Samhain (pronounced saah-win) is the witch’s new year, a celebration of the end of the harvest and the calling in of the coldest part of the year. It’s a festival of the dead, and a celebration of all those things we don’t necessarily see or look at directly — the unconscious.
I used to have a shirt that said “this body will be a corpse” in really big letters … I wore it a few times, but I got too many stares. I already feel as though I stand out, I didn’t like the attention it drew.
This culture I’m in doesn’t embrace thoughts like that. I wasn’t taught to honor death, to invite loss, to embrace it, to hold it like a lover. But what if I had been?
The buddhist dharma talks I’ve been listening to lately have a similar tone: an ask to embrace the inevitability of loss. It can be a way to be more conscious both of our grasping for something that does not exist (like stability, and guarantees) and of being grateful for the things we do have, that we have not lost.
There are fires near my home in Oakland. A hundred thousand acres, last I heard, with hundreds of homes burned down, dozens of deaths. I woke up on Sunday night at 2am and asked Hunter, “Do you smell smoke?” I thought our house was on fire, or our neighbor’s house — but it was huge forest fires on dry land 60+ miles away. The smell was so strong — strong enough to wake many folks in the Bay Area. I’m shocked by the loss, devastated by the photos. Some moments in the last few days, that’s all I feel — completely full of loss.
So I try to be grateful for what I have, reaching out with compassion (and money) to support. I practice letting go — of this moment, of this feeling, of this argument. Because everything is temporary. Even this body I’m in right now, it’s temporary. It, too, will be a corpse.
Samhain is an invitation to consider the dead, the loss, and non-attachment. A time when the veil between worlds is thin, thinner, thinnest. We can feel the death part of the life and death cycle the closest.
But also consider this: in this loss comes unexpected beauty, gratitude, compassion, and blooming. Something continues beyond that loss — seasonally, it is winter. And she, too, has blessings to offer.