The Alien, The Cowboy and The Witch (PART FOUR) by grace mcgrade

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Parts 1, 2 and 3 in previous posts

They hit the whisky highway with more questions than they had started with, the yellow mercedes leaving sand tempests at it's heels, projecting them towards Las Vegas. In potent silences, they eyed each other like movies, or deja vu, Adam in his hospital gown and Elle in leather and periwinkle blue. There was a silent unease growing in the spaces between them. Elle assigned this to the fact that they hadn’t made love in two days, which always made her cerebral and hostile. He was so difficult for her to read, this strange boy, insomniac scorpio thing. If he didn’t give her enough compliments or attention, she would curse him with oppressive silence. She was growing increasingly unsettled by his inability to hold a philosophical or intelligent conversation. She felt like this gave her license for withdrawal, to reduce him in her mind.


Simultaneously, they could feel each other growing more and more fond of the other. Elle was afraid her power would be weakened by the emotional energy that seeped out, spent on someone who wasn’t sober enough to appreciate her rarity. Sometimes she felt like he couldn’t fully see her, like her soul had gotten lost or mistranslated in his eyes , like she was an inhuman frequency, or a color few could perceive. But still, deep within her was a need to know him, in every hue and every scent, to experience all of his emotions and know his aversions and appetites. She wanted to wake up to him every morning, all swollen and new, even when he maniacally checked his phone for the first waking hour. She didn’t feel safe enough to divulge these emotions, so instead, she remained distant. Her thoughts bloomed like flowers in her lungs, and she prayed that they didn’t fly out, like whispered fireflies.


Vegas was Elles nightmare; a Disneyland for sad, drunk adults. She noticed all the occult symbols used to advertise hedonism and excessive spending, and she felt like she was in a twisted simulation. A video game set in hell.  If she ever needed any more reason to hate america, she would always think of Vegas.

Adam had a different experience of the place, as it had been a playground for him in the past five years that his dad had lived there. He wanted to lighten the mood that hung heavily from Maureen’s impending death, and suggested that he and Elle spend a night on the town.

They jolted from casino to casino, each in a varying shade of neon and excess, her palm clinging on to his cast. It was like traveling from reality to reality, a perverse version of Greece to Venice in miniture.

They couldn’t gamble or go to nightclubs, as they were both under 21, so they loitered around a bar at the Venetian.  Elle had been too flirtatious with a man who claimed to have worked for the FBI, and she half wanted to know all his secrets and half wanted to provoke Adam’s jealousy, so suggested they both go upstairs to his room. Adam sat in silence while they talked for what seemed like hours, in some kind of conspiratal code, about elections and shadow governments. He felt neglected, the only reason they were in Vegas in the first place was so they could support his Dad, and here she was, blatantly ignoring him. It was a night he wanted to be special and she had ruined it, in her never ending quest for answers and attention. They abused their luck by drinking too much, and ended the evening in an explosive argument.  


Elle couldn’t remember all the details, but she knew something was wrong when they woke up, barely speaking a word. Rather than take accountability for her actions, she silently blamed the sequence of the night before as “Vegas Energy” and attempted to pretend like nothing happened. Adam was withdrawn and distant.


The solemn and melancholic atmosphere in Adam’s Dads house was a jarring reality check.

Elle was to return to Los Angeles while Adam consoled his father. Before she left, they both went to say goodbye to Maureen. Even in her last moments, she was beautiful. She looked at both of them, her eyes almost beckoning from a place beyond the veil. “ I like you two together.” She whispered, in the last sentence she would ever say to the both of them.


They both couldn’t contain their emotions, and sat together, arm in arm, crying. Their sweat mingled with tears in the humidity. Elle felt stupid, having fought over things that seemed so meaningless, and there was a guilt in her belly that made her feel sick. For the first time in what seemed like eons, she returned to Los Angeles, her heart more heavy and simultaneously more full, twisted into strange contortions, like a clenched first.

It took him a week to come back and meet her. He returned to her apartment, bearing a gift of two tiny voodoo dolls. One for each of them. She misplaced his in her room, an omen she recognized before the night it all unravelled. They went out, and Adam got drunker than Elle had ever seen him. He sat on other girls laps, haphazardly falling over people with his casts. She waited til they were in the car to shame and scold him, now almost as inebriated as he was. He could barely drive, and she repeatedly asked him to pull over so she could call a car. He didn’t.

By some miracle, they managed to park a few blocks away from her apartment. He said he would sleep in the car. He wanted her gone, out of his space.  She demanded that she be at least dropped off where she lived, so she didn’t have to walk home alone in the dark at four a.m. She resolved that she would pull up to her own house.

“If you put the keys in the ignition, I’ll kick you.” He said, his words slurred. Elle was never one to turn down a challenge, and looked him up and down, with his feeble boyish legs and arm casts, and turned the keys into the car. Just to see what would happen.

It was a sharp moment of exhaustion, appeasement and annihilation. He thumped her in the back with his foot, slammed his casts against her arms and legs, pulled her out of the car- and her heart shattered into a million fragments against the concrete, where her body lay, shocked, motionless.

She did what she learned time and time again: Get up. They cannot have what you have.

She began storming to her apartment and he swiftly followed, begging for forgiveness.
It wasn’t until they returned to her bedroom, adorned with magical items, that the gravity of what he had done hit her. She lay in bed with him and started to violently jab him in the chest with her elbow. She cried. “I trusted you, I looked after you.” He shot up out of the door to leave, screaming and clamoring. It was half an hour before they had both calmed down, and to equate for the amount of violence, they had sex. The deranged, carnal intensity was their aphrodisiac.


There is no normal way to respond to violence, and both of them came from a lineage of it, where rage was misplaced often. The grief, the potency of everything they had experienced, combined with Adam’s painkillers and alcohol- was a fatal concoction. When Elle woke up, he left. It was the day of Steve’s memorial. She put a sweater over her bruises. Her flesh ached, but she knew she would heal. It was tolerable agony compared the the layer of ashes and embers that left imprints on her heart. She felt a part of herself decay before her very eyes. She felt as though her cells were being torn in half.


She called her friend, Laz, who was the only person with whom she didn’t feel unprotected and unheard. He listened, with kindness and love in his clear blue eyes. They resolved the only way to treat such horrible heart ache was to go and reconvene with the earth. He accompanied her to the memorial and they embarked on a trip to Joshua Tree. They camped on what looked like the surface of the moon, and he consoled her with music and a rare kind of compassion, the kind she hadn’t seen in months.

On the drive back, she poked, jokingly at her bruises, thinking they looked like Jupiter.

It was a few weeks before her sadness alchemized to fury, upon hearing of Adam’s behavior with other girls. Memories circulated around her head like a library she couldn't escape from. The flashes of possibilities of where their love could go expiried around her, like the debris of crumbling walls. He had ruined all of the miracles, tainted them with his indulgent rage. She didn’t love him anymore but she wanted to take him into hell. She wanted to keenly memorise the architecture of his fears and watch him crumble. She decided dating him was like dating a human escape room, or like quickly, drunkenly, gorging on a giant burrito and feeling it inside her for days...Or playing an indie playlist on Spotify, and deciding actually, no, she wanted  to skip through most of these songs and why the fuck did she ever assume there were any good ones?

She realized she had invited hell into her own bed, and had mingled and meshed with a mirage of a person. She had internalized and vitalized this demon, slept with it, nurtured it, fed it and wept with it, worst of all- shared the luminous material inside of her. In a moment of hysteria, the betrayal pulsed through her blood and the currents in her body, like cancerous lightning. She grabbed her darkest candle and headed straight outside for the moon.

Usually in moments like this, on the lip of oblivion or unwise action, Elle’s ethics would pull her back from mixing magic with madness. But in the pit of desperation, her rage infused with her priestess spirit, like poison.  She very deliberately cursed Adam for the pain he had caused her. She wanted to hurt him just to make sure he had insides.



The Alien, The Cowboy and The Witch (PART THREE) by grace mcgrade

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(Chapters 1 & 2 in previous posts)

Chapter 3

Sedona was said to have vortex’s, portals of energy that could heal the sick and cure the sad. It hung above them, like the silhouette of an alien castle visible through prisms of light. It was the time when daylight mingled intimately with dusk, and the copper terrain lit up like a gateway. They approached it excitedly, Elle thinking that they might be on Mars, because everything felt slower, scarcely defined.

They went on a hike to explore the skirts and sheets of crimson rock, and when they got to the top, Adam sat sprawn legged and started stacking pebbles, his clunky boots on either side. Adam had never looked as beautiful to her as he did meditatively stacking rocks on top of each other with precision and care, with the ruby mountains as their backdrop. In moments he was so apparently a child, the same way Elle, with her ancient heart, was so apparently the opposite. She walked through the curved crimson rocks toward solitude. When she looked for long enough, the  jagged corners of the mountain appeared to contort into  wise mens faces. Sometimes she wanted to climb into the skin of the mountains, or trees, and live as a fractal of the earth. She skipped threw the mountain side, ascending up, up up, the dimming light reverberating on her gilded footsteps. She reached the pinnacle, and lit a candle she had in her pocket for Steve, her dead ex boyfriend. She thought about how he had always said that he was like a cat, with nine lives. She hadn’t been able to forsee, even with her tarot cards and knowledge of planetary movements, which one would be his last. Time stood still on the mountain.


They had both taken a flight from reality, and seemed to enter an altered state.In the delirium of what had been a very emotional, mystical day, they had forgotten to eat, so they went to a nearby supermarket. Everyone there appeared to be operating at a slower pace. When they returned to the car park, they stopped, heads cocked, mouths open. The stars glittered above them like jewelled insects, opening and closing. Neither one of them had seen so many stars in their lives, and Elle, who was convinced that she was from the stars, gazed up, longingly.  They were taken out of their trance by the appearance of a figure who seemed to come from nowhere.

An elderly woman with a big, leather brown bag had hobbled over towards them. “Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you, but I need a ride to the Denny’s, thirty minutes away and I was wondering if you could help me.” she said, in a calm, collected tone. She had a surprisingly soft, young face for someone of her age and stature.

Elle had learned from fairy tales to never turn away a mysterious stranger, because if you were kind, some of them grant wishes. Adam was a little more apprehensive, but after a few meaningful looks, they both agreed, and they let her into the back seat. In the privacy of Adam’s car, she revealed that she was a psychic, a healer, and a vortex guide in the area. Elle, nearly jumped out of her seat. She agreed to stop off at a vortex and star lookout spot on the way to Denny’s.  They asked her countless questions, the main one being if aliens had ever visited the area. She replied in an almost robotic, dazed voice. “Space brothers and sisters. Yes we have been visited by Space Brothers and Sisters. I belong to the Great White Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Ascended Masters. Jesus Christ is the Highest Ascended Master. Some space brothers and sisters are good, and others are bad.” Her fingers were firmly clasped on the handles of her leather bag, the contents of which grew more and more mysterious.

When Elle prompted her with more questions, she responded with the same monologue, word for word. Adam disguised a laugh as a cough. For an instant, Elle felt a surge of anxiety, wondering if they had let a robot into the car, or if they were going to be taken to some secret CIA database, and she would be tied up and drained of her magic. She held her imagination back, knowing it often  got the best of her.

Elle shared that she had started doing healing work too, that her ex boyfriend had recently died, and what held importance in her life was changing. Before she could utter another word, the healer put both of her hands on Elle’s shoulders. “I initiate you into the Great White Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Ascended Masters. You should come to our mystery school. We meet three times a year in an undisclosed location to teach.”

Elle took a deep breath inwards, not really knowing how to respond, but whispered, “Thank you.”

They arrived at the Denny’s after what felt like a lifetime, and before the healer got out of the car, Adam turned to her and asked if she could help fix Maureen. She claimed to be able to active DNA, and cure cancer. She said she could, for $400. Then she led them both in meditation, and asked them to imagine gold pouring into their crown chakra, going through their head and filling up their bodies. When she got out and opened the door of the Denny’s to enter, a black cat walked out. Elle thought of Steve.

They headed, filled to the brim with molten gold, to go seek out the place to watch the stars. In the stagnant peace of the night sky, the mountains around them had turned to deep purple. They took out a blanket, and laid back, still excitedly chattering about the strange hitchhiker. There was a moment of dispute over whether she was legitimate, and Elle, who felt an unease growing in her body, didn’t believe she could cure Maureen’s cancer. This agitated Adam, who argued that Elle thought she knew everything, and she didn’t. Their bickering softened under the flowered nebulas above. The stars shone in foreign colors, hovering in space like butterflies, pirouetting and spinning around their heads, which were conjoined in the desert carpet. They saw shooting stars, mystical ecstasies vibrantly outlined in the atmosphere, caught in midnight silk. Elle longed to return to the stars, but was also relieved that they were out of reach. She thought, if humans could kill stars, they certainly would.



The Alien, The Cowboy and The Witch (PART TWO) by grace mcgrade

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Chapter 2 (Continued from below)





In the desert, the world felt wobbly, and unfixed. Almost like the grid was fluctuating, and the air was aware they were breathing it.

Adam’s adamancy on driving with two broken arms and on painkillers made the feat exhilaratingly nerve racking. His pupils had turned to the size of needlepoints from the oxycodone, which he knocked back a little too often. He fixed them sternly on the white mounds of desert ahead. He refused to take off his hospital gown and had been wearing it over jeans as some sort of badge of injury and fashion accessory. Elle liked this.

He draped one broken wrist over the steering wheel and one over her, blazing brilliantly through the Arizonian desert in his yellow Mercedes. Adam was very attached to his car, and treated it as an extension of himself. In a sense it was, it was sort of cool and almost falling apart -like him.  On several occasions, the car would spew out smoke and jig from side to side, teetering on breaking down in the middle of the freeway. Adam would get out and try to fix it and Elle would visualize it working til they got it on the road again. They were on a seven hour drive to visit the cancer hospital where Maureen, Adam’s step mother, awaited in hospice. Seven hours of golden desert, paused intermittently to make pit stops in dingy gas stations, to buy redbull and cigarettes.

When they pulled over to get gas, both bickering over whom should pay, a bucket of exotic flowers from no one in a bucket appeared on the trunk. It was a beautiful, blossoming manifestation, and Adam had to touch every last flower to make sure they were real.

They both acknowledged the miracle with glee, and then went back to arguing about who they were for. Elle, who was familiar with apparitions and miracles, believed they were sent from her dead ex boyfriend, and Adam demanded that they were for Maureen.
Adam made Elle take a photo of him holding them so he could keep up his instagram appearances, which made her feel sick. He was privy to bursts of opinion, where he would hurdle into a one man show of childlike entertainment, and then suddenly veer back and halt looking to her for approval. Almost like a puppy that had been raised on methamphetamine.  She would try to monopolize the music and when she was angry she would play songs that let him know.  


On the drive, Elle thought about her ex boyfriend, and wondered if their love making had entangled her to him from a plane surpassing death. She wondered if he would appear to her the way some ancestors appeared to her, in midnight whispers and darting light. She alternated between quietly crying and holding Adam’s hands, endorned with thick skin and silver rings. He played all the songs she had heard her mother played when she was growing up, and Elle silently questioned how he knew what they were or how to do this. Sometimes it felt like they had their own thought language, and they could always feel each other’s secrets.

Elle liked that Adam was straight forward, he seemed to soften her, and the conversations they had didn’t always have to be as existential as the ones Elle had inside her head. She felt tamer and gentler. She liked the way he seemed to roll through life, like water or music, fitting into unexpected things. They made each other laugh, and shared the same absurd, alien humor. They both felt a sense of homesickness for other realms. She wondered if she only liked him in his vulnerability, and how differently their experience would be had he not gotten injured. Whether he liked her, or just needed her, and if she was going to be thrown away when she exceeded her use. Part of Elle could never really belong to any man, for she was a Witch, made for wandering.

They arrived in Flagstaff late at night, the drive leaving their limbs numb and throats hoarse, from dust and cigarettes. They checked into a best western hotel, which felt oddly brown and empty. They were relieved to lie down. Elle had a ravenous sexual appetite, which she reserved for those she was comfortable with- as she believed sex was a sacred and the best way to transcend a reality that she felt so heavily weighed her down. She wanted to feel and not just touch, to merge and unmerge, alchemized and renewed. Adam had a much more mechanical approach. Elle liked that he was injured as it gave her an upper hand. They would enter an altered state and she would bend into impossible contortions, beds came unhinged and usually the room was turned upside down by a series of primal acrobatics.

When Elle didn’t feel like she was getting enough intimacy, she would replace it with intensity. Aggression and conflict as a way to connect. Like some kind of distorted love making. A tempestuous, volcanic orgasm. She was great at it. Fury is sacred, she thought. There was something inherintly sexy to her about conflict, the unbuttoned reveal of dark, innermost feelings.. The below the belt jabs, and sharp, lightning fast magnitude of tempered words. It was her shadow side, the polarity to her kindness, whose appearance she preferred to integrate rather than dismiss, because even in darkness she felt celestial.


The following morning, they got dressed and headed to the cancer hospital.

It was a vast, orange, solemn artifice. Almost empty, with an air of unreality that seemed to ghost the hollow hallways. It contained a cafeteria equipt with coca cola machines and fast food served under lit tables, and a gift shop that sold last minute religious paraphernalia.  


Adam took the emptiness as an excuse to steal an iced tea from the cafeteria. The cafeteria was completely empty, apart from two giant teddy bears seated at a table. Adam and Elle went and sat on either side of them, giggling quietly, almost sadly.

They looked like a still from an art house movie, Adam still wearing his hospital top, and Elle in her leather pants, lodged between two teddy bears at a plastic table. Adam commented that it was weird that there was no one there, that the food they served was trash and most likely caused cancer. Elle, who ordinarily would have thought deeply about the paradox,  kept thinking about meeting Adam’s Dad and Stepmom under these circumstances, and she almost wanted to return to the hotel and hide, but she knew better than to run from things that scared her or made her uncomfortable.

Adam’s dad had the appearance of someone who thought methodically, and had a brooding, intimidating stare, which was comically complimented by the fact that he was holding a very small Chihuahua. He was cordial to Elle, who offered her sympathies, and lead them upstairs into Maureen’s room.


It was jarring to see such a beautiful woman connected to wires and tubes, but despite the sterility and harsh fluorescence of the hospital room, Maureen had a calm, ethereal glow about her. She had the air of someone who had spent their life in kindness and love.  She couldn’t speak much, so the conversation turned back to Elle, Adam and Adam’s Dad, and became a speedy “get to know each other” sort of thing, equal parts abnormal and uncomfortable. Adam shared strange anecdotes from his childhood, glancing back at Elle to see how she would react.  It was surreal to Elle, how intimate Adam had to become so quickly. It was almost as if their trajectory together had been sped up by the circumstances life threw at them. Suddenly, she was overcome by a feeling of tenderness, joy and compassion for Adam and his optimism. He was still, even in the bleakness of a hospital, trying to make Elle smile.

They resolved that Adam’s Dad would take Maureen back to Vegas to pass away  at home, where they both shared a house, and Adam and Elle would meet them there. Adam wanted to spend another night in Arizona, and head to Sedona.


Elle repeatedly asked him why he wanted to go there, and he repeatedly replied that he thought it would be ‘cool’, which usually (at least in los angeles), meant dangerous or vapid, but she decided to trust him. In the future he would return to Sedona in other circumstances, with other girls, attempting to relive the surreality and miracles that happened there, but he was always left disappointed. It was not until later, that he realized that there would always be girls who were smaller, softer and easier to maintain than Elle, but there would never be anyone with more magic.


The hiccuping mercedes made it another few hours, til they were in sight of the mountainous layers of red rock in Sedona. The jutted towers of earth appeared alien and ominous on the horizon, which was slowly reaching sunset.



The Alien, The Cowboy and The Witch by grace mcgrade

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Chapter 1


Adam possessed all the qualities Elle detested, and everytime they reconvened, she felt like he would ruin her life. Perhaps that's why she loved him. It had been a while since anything had the power to throw her off course, and after coming back from a year long stay in a Spiritual retreat center, she felt like it might be worth the danger. She had always had a secret affinity for chaos.

He was both arrogant and insecure, with an insatiable appetite for cocaine and fame. He ferociously climbed the hollywood social ladder despite frequently being shut out for his bursts of aggression and reckless disregard for others. He dressed in brown and yellow vintage, bleached blonde hair and smelled like patchouli and chemicals. His lifestyle never seemed to compromise his aesthetic, he was tastefully chaotic. He lived nocturnally, and resided in the basement of a house in beachwood. The basement resembled a cave and had only two windows at either side of a long hallway, dusted with take out boxes, photographs he had taken, piles of clothes, empty cigarette boxes, cowboy hats, vegas paraphernalia, and lost items from the multitude of women he slept with.
It was like a deranged museum of hedonism.

He was austere and cold at his worst, and at his best, highly intuitive and insightful with an inability to sit still. He was ferociously talented, in every avenue he put his energy into. It gave him an inner indecisiveness. He had a softness about him that was seldom visible, due to his consistent running toward or away from things. Elle never knew if this was because of the cocaine or a deep rooted inner restlessness. He resembled a character from one of her stories, and because she saw everything as a story, she would frequently reconvene their connection at the expense of both parties.

Whenever they got together, Elle swore she felt her body shake and vibrate with electricity, intensity, and a desire to almost fade into the shadowy folds he wore with him. She was never entirely sure if he felt the same, as he was aloof and secretive, and  their conversations were either something close to nonsense poems or arguments.

Elle was a model turned professional witch, who didn’t live in reality. She operated at a slightly inhuman frequency, refused to work a regular job, drive a car or read the news or weather, as she felt it threatened her belief that life was inherently paranormal and ebbed and flowed out of her emotions.  She believed in fairies and magic and aliens, and wouldn't hesitate to let you know within the first ten minutes of meeting her. She carried an intense personal charm and magnetism that provoked strong reactions from everyone she met, either resulting in hatred or love. She was only satisfied by experiences that seemed to swallow and alchemize her, and was singularly bold and honest with an active mind. She liked to collect admirers and also secrets, and did so with such a baffling agility, that it must have been magic. Every day flowers would arrive on her doorstep, and she was always yearning to fall into other worlds. She lived in a bubble of splendor and miracles, maintained by rituals and petitions to the gods and nature spirits. She had a free, mad and wild heart. However, she possessed the capacity for apocalyptic vengeance and in her dualistic nature, she was a furious forest fire, and a spectacle few could manage. Adam was the only person whom had ever bore witness to the spectrum of rage and destruction that lived inside of her.

She felt the most erotic and provocative in solitude, when she was able to roll around and behave animalistically. She preferred to be accompanied by her pretendings than people. Dressing up in gowns and down in bustiers, in clouds of her favorite scents, singing her favorite songs, with the gods as her sole audience. She liked to sip Moscow mules at the chateau marmont and pretend they were good for her, because they had ginger in them and came in copper cups. She was in constant inner turmoil around her desire to be delightfully inebriated, stylish, and deeply spiritual. On New Moons she held sacraments and ceremonies and on full moons she would go out dancing.

Their affair had begun in the desert, when Adam had just been an unreliable, irritating floating friend at the time. Elle was there during Coachella weekend to give psychic readings, and staying with some friends in a nearby house. Adam broke both of his arms trying to impress a photographer while riding a moped. He called her from the hospital and asked if he could stay.

Elle was recovering from a heartbreak, after projecting paramount depth and meaning onto a meaningless fling, which is what she did very often and very poetically. She experiencing her first MDMA high at the time, and would later decide that this was why she always associated him with the feeling of euphoria and tenderness that came from the drug. She invited him in, in his boots and comically large arm casts, and laid him gently on the bed before stroking his hair and deciding that it was up to her to nurse him back to health. In the daze of the midnight heat and drug delirium, they shared kisses under the stars and feel asleep enveloped in each other, bandages and all.

For the next two weeks Elle nurtured and nursed him in her best friends artist apartment while he was away.There, they lived with a dove and giant galactic paintings, making the whole scenario comedically surreal. Elle ignored all responsibilities and began accompanying him to doctors appointments, washing his hair, laughing and lying by his side as they watched ungodly amounts of Netflix. She was growing frighteningly comfortable only existing for someone else. They both refused to allow the injury to prevent them from doing cocaine and frequenting nightclubs, theme parks and even caves. She blamed her excess on his influence, but refused to slow down in case she couldn’t match his haphazardous speed. They slept through half of each day in betrayal of the Sun, each party quietly aware of the unsustainability of their present lifestyle.


Together, they would go out til dawn, frequenting old hotels and clubs in Silverlake.  Where Elle was impervious to the opinions of others, Adam had been raised on transactional relationships, only able to gauge his worth based on how entertaining and valuable he felt in the eyes of people he saw as more important.
They followed a malicious routine at parties, both disappearing and reappearing after making out with other people, perhaps to collect bits of each other that they felt were missing. Elle privately thought she might not be made for monogomy, requiring more admiration and attention than any one person held within them- but if anyone suggested to behave the same way with her, she would unleash a wrath more calculated and furious than a wildfire.
Adam attracted women with paranormal ease, and had a gross kind of chameleon charm, that he used to capture the attention of anyone in the vicinity. When they were apart they would criticize each other, hoping that through their respective, grueling character defamation, no one else would want the other.
They were as possessive as they were skilled at nonchalantly dancing away from the truth, the truth that spoke so clearly to them in each others bodies. They had been tied together by quantum string, in away Elle, in hindsight would define as deeply karmic.


The first notable red flag, (although there were many, that Elle delicately collected and fashioned into etheric scarves) arrived one morning when Adam received a phone call from his Dad. His Dad was informing him that his step mother, a long term cancer patient, had a week to live. Elle sat and cried with him, tracing the tattoos on his chest, until he sprung up and headed into the shower, where she heard him smashing the walls and screaming, each blow sounding out into the chambers of her heart.  The same day Elle received news that an old ex boyfriend had passed away from a drug overdose.

They were both impulsive creatures, with a tendency towards darkness. They were equally under equipped to deal with the trials and tribulations of death in away that served them, so they huddled and hurdled into a havoc more beautiful and terrible than anything they had ever seen.

Lessons From Venus Retrograde by grace mcgrade


Every living thing that has ever been born, was born in a distinct location in time/space. No one will ever occupy that time or space again. It is a cosmic signature.

We are all walking around with a distinct and unique make up, that was translated and mapped out by our astrological influences the moment we were born. The stars we were born under do not define us, but the mirror us with erie precision. The stars tell our story. They are the lens through which we perceive reality. Every perception is unique.

We carry these stories internally, everywhere we go, and we trigger and fire one another up with our astrological DNA. I like to think of them as computer settings, with our minds as the projecting screen. You can never change the settings, but you can alter the brightness. Expunge the drama and live in awareness and self ownership.
Venus retrograde has been a whirlwind of synchronicitous love patterning and I adore it. When a planet goes retrograde, it hits our internal systems and pulls us in, asking us to go deeper. Venus, born from the oceans of allure, is the opulent planet of love and relationships. Venus rules materials and attracting what it is you want. Venus tells us how we attract and what we attract. When she is retrograde, she holds back on giving and allows us to examine what has already been given and the pattern .

Venus asks us: What have we already attracted and for what purpose? What is your pattern in relationships? Where does your shadow like to play? What is it you really want? Are your relationships transactional or fulfilling?

The adverse to the loving archetype of Venus, is the addict- the lover who wants to disappear into someone. The lover who wants to merge and dissolve into another, rather than staying sovereign and whole.

Do you love or do you just want to merge?

I perceive astrological transits by observing the nature of the people in my circle. There has been an increase in discussions about soulmates and twinflames (so exhausting to even begin to go into) and hot, heavy affairs with unsavory individuals. Myriads of past lovers and friends crawling up from the darkest holes in the earth. Waves of hypersexual energy and questions in regard to how we earn and spend.  All of my friends have been questioning relationships, looking at how we are unfulfilled sexually or emotionally.

In my life, Venus retrograde helped me recall an internal story.

I am awful at skin deep flings because not one part of me is skin deep. I make a terrible “other woman” because I require far more attention than any one person can offer and I have a habit of telling people the truth. This doesn’t mean people haven’t tried to wearily  condense me into these crimson archetypes, perhaps because I am tempestuous, dark and wild.

I have always found that the most beautiful things are elusive and fluctuating, water, leaves, music, fire, hair and  eyes. Things that can’t be held but just observed.Quivering and shimmering, incapable of being caught. Perhaps that’s why I allowed myself to fall for someone once,! who behaved with untimely, almost comedic evanescence.

He was a nefarious nebula of a boy.

He was hyperactive, with nervous, intense, beckoning eyes that spoke of a restlessness ill suited for this world. He’s eyes seemed to steal the light and hold it with them. He had a gaunt appearance  and a jittery presence, scattered throughout all the clouds. Something about his chaotic nature provoked a tenderness in me I hadn’t anticipated. When ever he left I was tormented by an otherworldly resonance.

A Wolf child. Almost rabid.

I didn’t understand how it was possible to feel so much for one person, a psychic kinship extending beyond my lifetime- and a passion almost unbearable to contain within my own body. There were unfamiliar currents of bliss and euphoria that were ignited by his touch. When I kissed him I saw kaleidoscopes of light fractals and colors no one else knew.

I felt so intensely  that I couldn’t only be feeling my own emotions, and I had to be feeling some of his too. And then he would disappear, and I had to learn from the pain. I learnt to contribute the feeling to a faction of myself I hadn’t explored, rather than something he took away.

Some people are so sacred they feel heavy to be around. It’s always an issue when they are blind to their own divinity, because that means they are blind to yours too. The shape of him and his words and laugh left marks all over me. I learned a holy lesson in not seeking boys and also not waiting for the wind to carry them to me. I am intrinsically connected and I carry the essence of the universe in my hands and sometimes people don’t want to look at that or feel it.

Venus retrograde told me to stop lowering and compromising my vibration and magic for people who cannot meet me at mine.

Everyone in our lives is an extension of ourselves, and we operate in a frequencial nature. Relationships are frequencial agreements. When we engage with another, we co-create reality. If someone isn’t of the mindset that life is inherently miraculous, ebbing and flowing in the direction of their attention, when you are with them- don’t expect miracles.

My favourite people in the world are the ones who see life as their dream: an outward projection of the luminous soul material that resides inside them. They approach reality with a playful sense of wonder and splendor.

If people are draining you, it's your problem and your responsibility to clear it. Go where the love is and do not settle until you get there. Some boys are playgrounds and some are homes.

Los Angeles is a Teenage Girl by grace mcgrade

Los Angeles is a teenage girl.  I am bewildered and intoxicated by her.

Where else in the world do mystics, psychiatrists, psychics, musicians, yogis, actresses and club promoters all come to convene? In a  foreboding desert city with many cities inside of it, with the quietude and vastness of the valley, the magic of the canyons, the quirk of the eastside,  the boxed and refined corners of beverly hills. An endless neon expanse of deciet, fame, love, beauty and chaos. People travel between these lands in bumper to bumper traffic on a spectrum of psychiatric drugs and speeds, driving in metal boxes. It was once  said to be inhabited by angels, where Mayans and natives  convened with spirits of the earth. Now it is a stage set for manifestations where people make dreams appear on giant screens.

It's like if all the most popular girls, in every high school in America decided to move to one place, and compete for attention, acting jobs, juices and parking spaces.

Like a teenage girl, I have mixed feelings about it here. There are so many lost souls, ungrounded and unintegrated. There is a feeling that most people emanate, of always impatiently wanting to be in the best possible place, with the best people, and never actually arriving. An invisible ladder heading to nowhere.

Fame provokes a rare kind of toxicity in people, and I learned that early on. I grew up in an inherited culture of celebrity nepotism. Spending my formative years in a cesspool of ego and attention, unaware that it didn’t belong to us, but was holographically inserted by the hollywood machine. Everyone has to be on guard because there is a transactional nature to most relationships here, and some people will view others as stepping stones on the invisible ladder.

In hindsight, I see that artists and empaths have been infected by a need to be heard and  recognized, because they feel like their personal relationships don’t mirror back to them the intimacy we deserve. That is why they seek fame.

The earth is on fire, and people still feel a compulsion to create an endless stream of entertainment away from reality. It is a beautiful, terrible, coping mechanism. We are being overloaded with stimuli and media, and it is tearing us away from our bodies. It feels surreal to be in the epicenter of it all. Madness. Utter madness.

However, there is an air of unreality here that seems to serve me. I feel like there is a powerful energetic signature over Los Angeles, a dreamy, neptunian frequency that speeds up manifestations and magic with agile accuracy. It feels like layers of dimensions and currents, waiting to be switched on.

I love the dreamers, I love the artists, I love the special, slightly crazy people. I love them and they are all famous in my heart.

I see the innocence in the teenage girl that is Los Angeles, I see that she is a child at heart and just needs to be noticed.  She can wear as much make up as she wants, and dance until her legs give out, but she is still a child. She can be a crazy, emotional, irrational mindfuck. She needs to get off her phone. She is bold and expressive, lit by the fire of spontaneity. I see that she will adorn and glamorize herself to shield her growing pains in a world of an unnerving state of flux that clamors into the deepest chambers of her being. I hope she grows into herself beautifully.



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Spiritual F**k Boys by grace mcgrade

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I have an irrepressible urge to make everything I live intoxicatingly cinematic, deeply sensory and ferociously comedic.

Sometimes this is at my own expense, and I compromise for characters, all wild and no sense, whom will make for an epic story rather than provide safety or consistency.


This is due to my sneaking suspicion that life is a grand illusion, a massive manifestation of something more, something infinite, hugely illusory and funnelled through my own limited experience and personal individuation. I crave experience and am hungry for the ungodly voyeurism of story, of beasts and burlesque and beauty. I believe we are each players, a  compilation of planetary archetypes- and our cosmic makeup will trigger and fire each other up because of what we each represent. The task is to figure out what you symbolise .

In my almost clumsy nonchalance, I seem to casually collect admirers and bore of their flesh and blood..instead seek the creatures from my imagination, which have always had more lasting and defined contours.  I do not underestimate the greatness of a single love, as the people I know are as changing as the tides, ever evolving, always capable of immense depth. If I wish to know you, I want to know every part of you, even the mangled, dusty parts, that don’t get taken out for anyone. Most people are not always brave enough for such feats.


On my quest for depth, I moved to a New Age Mecca, the disneyland of ecovillages, and a virtual magnet for spiritualists, environmentalists and eccentrics alike.  I resolved to leave the long chapter of juvenile debauchery behind, an era of boys who fell from the clouds and switched companions as fast as their fingers could swipe. I was ready for something lasting and whole. Little did I know, around the corner awaited the most dangerous of all the fuckboys, the shiny archetype of the New Age: Spiritual Fuck Boy.

The player with a messiah complex.

He may be of a “higher vibration” than mere mortal women, but he seems to only frequent locations where he is vastly outnumbered by them, particularly retreats, where he can prey on their inner-seeking.

You’ll be able to identify him by his sacred geometry tattoos, jarring and discombobulating color scheme, glassy stare, and the stench of pot that enters the room before he does (he claims these are pheromones). He seems to know a little about everything, and is probably beautiful.

There will usually be some sort of polarity between blatant drug use (“only medicine, man, only what comes from mother gaia”) and shaming anyone in the general vicinity who drinks coffee or takes an advil. He knows a surprising amount of useless information about the benefits of Millet and Kale. He claims fearlessness in the face of adversity but quakes in his recycled footwear when witchcraft or feminine mystique is mentioned.

He says money is evil (so wastes all of yours), monogomy is unevolved (so recklessly engages in a multitude of skin deep flings) and treats you as if you are a mere pit stop on his extensive spiritual journey. An iridescent accessory- makes a statement, but shouldn’t be worn more than once.

He tells you you don’t need to wear make-up, that it’s a turn off, unnatural and deceptive, even after you explain you don’t wear it for him.

These types will paraphrase scriptures and Osho quotes, and use them as pick up lines, will claim to have a wide knowledge of tantra, lacking any sort of physical embodiment, but following where they feel energetically called (which is undoubtedly, everywhere.) He is, of course, hypervigilant when it comes to his own fragile ego, which requires more delicate care and tip-toeing than tending to a garden made out of glass.

You will hear him reference his individual, elevated journey or path- which usually is a straight road to his penis.- until you have exceeded your use. He has absolutely NO understanding of boundaries. He claims to be using his intuitive capacities, but unless they are located in the sacral region, he doesn’t seem to be very perceptive to any sort of feeling.  
His brand of spirituality is “Competitive Spirituality”, and he holds the idea of a higher power/god that is privatized and only available through him. If you try to discuss your own cosmology, it is questioned, criticised or simply shut down.

His guaranteed exit will be announced in the following format:

“I’ve been called to.. (run away from this place,  follow my shamanic calling in Los Angeles, start a permaculture community comprised of ex victoria secret models, begin a quest to grow copious, ungodly amounts of bad marijuana, astral project out of my physical form) and I don’t think this connection serves us anymore. Namaste.”

I want to tether the rope tying me to this story, and leave the days of dancing with the solemn artifice of ‘flings’ in my rear view. It’s getting boring.



Trees are Angels by grace mcgrade

I am canopied and enveloped by trees, in a canyon that wraps and holds you. A fractal of nature in an otherwise barren cityscape. The stolen desert. The sky swims through shadings of indigo, pink and blue around me. I wait for the stars that wink at me and tell me secrets. I am neighbored by brilliantly magenta poinsettia flowers, bamboo and palm trees,  and I am crying. I am crying because when I have a feeling, when I am hurting, or heartbroken, or brimming with fury, I am transmuted and soothed by nature. I can come outside and hand my feelings to the trees, with their outstretched leafy fingers, and soften. And they are unconditionally giving.The trees don’t care if you texted your ex you weren’t supposed to, or how much money you make, they just give and give and give and in private moments they seem to vibrate and sing at such an angelic pitch and pace, you swear you are with god.



Sometimes I will be resting on a tree and I start wishing I could merge with it, wishing I could entwine my body with roots and skin with bark and hair with leaves, wishing I could just be an observer instead of playing part in the dramas and chaos of humans. Wanting to climb into the skin of the sea, to descend past and through all the creatures, right into the heart of the earth. There, I want to expunge the toxins of the population that lives above.

Put down your phone. Reconvene with your own flesh, revisit the trauma that has made a home in your body and expunge it. Expunge it with the earth and with the fire of all the women who love too much.