“I hope that my art can inspire everyone to feel empowered to create the beauty they wish to see in the world. My life was confusing and felt quite harsh and ugly, until I began making it beautiful myself through artistic expression. Every person can do this… Trust yourself and allow the spirit of creativity to flow through you, and you will most likely end up amazed at what you can do.” ~ Ka Kathryn Amorastreya
You have called the energy you embody with the dance and regalia, the “angel-dragon-bird-spirit”. Can you tell us more about your experience of this spirit? Is this more of an archetypal force you feel you are tapping into or a unique celestial presence you are embodying as an avatar?
“Angeldragonbirdspirit” was a modest attempt to describe what I feel when I am dancing in my white feathered embodiment. It seems impossible to explain it with words or in a rational way. I am comfortable with this, knowing that so much what is Divine and of Spirit are irrational and mysterious. I just listen, in feelings and colors and try not to pick it apart with my mind.
There are many energies and archetypal beings that I feel flow through this work such as: the angels, birds, rainbow serpent, white cobra, feathered serpents, Uadjet, White rainbow dragon mother, Star nation, Isis, the miracle workers, Naga Kanya, the compassionate ones, and many more. So to answer your question, honestly, it feels like it’s all the above.
I know it may not make sense, but there are times it feels like she is outside, guiding me. Sometimes she’s a part of my higher self, and an essence I remember fully embodying before coming into this lifetime. I feel like I am driving the ship but completely connected to another realm and essence much larger than my human self, like going into an avatar state. I see it also as a holographic projection of the collective consciousness, knowing that so many people share a facet that resonates on a similar frequency as the opalescent, angelic, feathered serpent, dragon realms. I just brought it into 3D, or it brought itself through me, for all of us to experience in the physical realm. I am she, and at the same time she is far beyond me, like the drop of water in the ocean.
Which came first, the wings or the dance? Have you had any formal training in a particular style? How has your formal dance experience fed into the unique expressive movement of your feathered dance?
I began taking ballet classes when I was little. In high school I studied modern, jazz and performed in the school’s dance troupe. After I relocated to Austin, TX I trained in and performed middle eastern and fire dancing. Meanwhile, I immersed myself in Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi. It was in Austin where the wings took form. I was dancing with Govinda at the time, and since I had to keep it interesting, I explored different props, feathers being one of them. I had also been fantasizing of making dancing wings to be a part of our fire show, so I just went for it, and started making them. I was amazed and immensely excited at how they came out! It was as if they literally created themselves through me.
During that time, I felt I was at the peak of my physical ability before I moved to the Bay area, CA, where I went through a deep transformational experience lasting many years. I didn’t take dance classes for quite a while, however, I spent that time exploring and developing the spiritual side of movement. Regrettably, I did lose a great deal of my technical skill and body mastery during this time, but it was important for me to go on an inward journey so that I could heal some deep wounds, and align my spirit. Because of this process, I could bring more love and presence into my dance. I am now back in dance classes and beginning to feel stronger. I hope that my body will soon be able to effectively express my heart.
I imagine it takes a lot of power, focus, and energy to embody your dance, especially upon the stage. How do you keep it flowing? How do you remain so graceful?
I let go. If my mind, my ego, or the projections of other egos begin to get involved, I must center immediately and go deeper into prayer and meditation. Sometimes, depending on the audience or the collective energy at an event, it can feel very supportive, effortless and powerful, or it can feel like I am trying to dance through peanut butter, in which case, I most certainly do not feel graceful. I just keep praying, and doing my best to move whatever is obviously stuck in the field. Feathers move air and energy beautifully, so they are the perfect tools for such situations.
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While you are engaged in your dance it appears you enter a deep trance-like space. Do you receive special downloads of information, visions or directives when you dance?
Often, yes, but again, it is usually beyond words. I feel a lot. Being an empath, most of the psychic information that I receive is through my sense of feeling, which can be very intense and also amazing. I do also see visions that are like translucent layers of colors, geometries or life forms. The information blends together in synesthesia where I am smelling colors, feeling words and hearing patterns. I try not to watch it too hard or label the experience. I feel that whatever is happening will be more powerful and useful if I keep my mind out of the process. I find that the moment I try to get involved mentally, a self reflective feedback loop of the insecure ego begins to form, and I have to quickly empty my mind and tap back in to the dancing spirit in order to break the cycle.
Along your journey of sacred dance, what kinds of challenges have you faced? And how do you move through these challenges remaining centered on the greater medicine and purpose behind the movement?
The biggest challenge I encountered was my own ego and ignorance when I began this work. I didn’t understand these wings, or how I was to use them when they were first created. Of course I knew it was a beautiful thing, and people were inspired and awed by it, but I often misunderstood the difference between beauty and vanity. The spirits of the birds and whatever was coming through schooled me quite hard into a deep level of respect and honor for the profound medicine that they carry.
Another major challenge I faced was a period of getting severe nausea on stage. For about a year, every time I performed, halfway through the dance I felt as though I was going to throw up right there on stage! It kept getting worse and worse. I knew I was taking a lot of energy in through my own being and letting it transform before releasing it out, but my body couldn’t keep up. A very dear sister of mine helped me by showing me how to create a circle of protection around myself every time I dance. Ever since then I have remained free from the uncomfortable sensations, and I experience a deeper communion and relationship with the beings who work with me.
I imagine you to be a very profound dreamer. What is your understanding and experience of the sleeping dream like? How do you carry your dream wisdom and utilize it in your waking dream world?
Often my sleeping dreams are bizarre and full of information, and sometimes they are definitely profound and other worldly. On rare occasion they are lucid, and that is always fun.
My excitement with the dream world began when I was little and I had progressive flying dreams. The first ones where I would only hover about six inches from the ground. Then it developed into extended leaps and bounds, then full on flight with a running start. Years later, I was able to take flight by simply crossing my arms in front of my chest and pulling/pushing energy through my body. I always believed we could actually fly if we were not weighed down by the collective believe that we could not.
My most favored dreams are those where I experience shape-shifting into massive creatures such as dragons or phoenixes, or fly lucidly in my feathered wings.
I remember as a teenager having my first prophetic dreams. This has happened in other times of confusion in my life. When I have been seeking answers or a deeper understanding, they will usually show up in a dream. Of course, they are symbolic so a little bit of decoding is necessary. Dreams are like signposts. They tend to point to what to look out for, both warnings and opportunities.
The connections we have with others in the dream state is the most fascinating. I have recently been blown away by those who have shared their dreams with me, where I had visited them in my wings. It seems to happen a lot. I have received handfuls of messages, in waves, where I have been flying into people’s dreamscapes. One woman told me that during a visitation I was telling her information about a certain metaphysical practice. It amazed me, because what she was talking about was something I was taught when I was nineteen, and have not heard anything about it since.
I often carry my dreams with me throughout the day like a subconscious meditation. They definitely set the tone for the day. The people and places I had visited during my sleep remain in my consciousness, and feel close in spirit until I dream again.
Your paintings and dance possess a deep shamanistic undercurrent of energy within them. Has sacred plant medicine and ceremony inspired you in your creative expression?
Sacred medicine ceremonies have certainly inspired my life. They have brought profound healing and have taught me many things, so the medicine has inevitably made its way into my work. The most powerful of these teachings have been accepting inner Divinity, humility and forgiveness.
I have not directly painted the visions I received during those times, but since those experiences have helped me to lift veils and open doors, I can now more easily see and commune with the realm they illuminate. Though it may not be as blatantly obvious, all of those patterns and codes are still present on subtle levels of existence.
As for Serpentfeathers, the serpent began showing up numerous times asking to be invoked through my winged dance.
The first time was during a group meditation at Abhu Gurab, Egypt in 2006. While projecting my consciousness down a shaft below the altar, I met a massive winged serpent spirit just before I was shot back out of the portal. I re-entered and this time began to dance with the spirit I had just met. Shortly after I was expelled again. After the third entry, my being intertwined with the feathered serpent, my form dissolved, and we became one and the same. I saw many things in that space and felt as though I had recovered a long lost part of myself.
About nine months later I sat in my first two ayahuasca ceremonies. During the second night, I broke open in the most intense and beautiful way. After hours of purging humanity’s collective pain and grief, I sat upright and began to breathe deeply in prayer. I received a vision of myself floating in the middle of space weaving stars, planets and galaxies from my fingertips. My lower body formed into a massive serpent and feathers began to sprout from my arms, back and face. I finally accepted my own divinity and recognized myself and every one else as creators. I understood so much that had been obscured throughout my life, and began to take responsibility for the outcome of my existence.
You have often joked that you are one of the most meticulously patient visionary painters out there, sometimes taking two to three years to complete a piece. Can you tell us about your process? Why do you feel it is important to immerse such painstaking energy in the manifestation of a clear vision?
Painting has taught me a great deal of patience. When I was younger, I used to fear any project that would take more than a few hours to complete. God forbid it would take more than a day and I would have to go to sleep with it unfinished!! I slowly came to realize that paintings take on a life of their own. They create themselves through the artist, so if they are to come into the world fully developed, then the artist must listen and yield to the process of creation. Sometimes this means years. The painting “Eye Wish” was my longest process yet. It took three years and seven months to complete, and honestly if I had known it was going to take me that long to paint it, I may have been too intimidated to begin. These paintings are great teachers and they often require that I grow and evolve in unison with their progress. Sometimes I have to learn a lesson or go through some sort of initiation until I can see the next layer or part of a painting.
I work on several pieces at a time, so when I feel stuck on one, or a layer needs to dry, I can continue working on another piece. Since my work expands beyond painting into dance, adornment and ceremonial tools, I do not paint one hundred percent of my creative time. This also slows my process down, but I feel it is perfect. It’s like a good sauce, simmering on low heat for a long time, bringing out the complex and subtle flavors that would not be able to emerge if it was quickly boiled.
We are delighted to hear of your plans to open an online academy for art, spirit, and transformational culture with your husband Adam Apollo! Can you tell us more about the intentions behind the Visionary Arts Foundation?
The Visionary Arts Foundation was created in response to the visionary art community’s stated desire to have a “home”. We feel this art, which is at the front lines of bringing new awareness of human consciousness needs to be available to all people. This visionary culture has been developing in the incubator of festivals and underground gatherings for years. While these events are profound and important, it is time to expand our horizons and make visionary art easily accessible to the masses. We hope to provide visionary culture with a permanent space so that our work can continue to grow sustainably, rather than being assembled and taken down weekend after weekend.
The first step is to begin with the online education system, for which Adam has been diligently doing research and development. He’s been working on learning management systems, accreditation formats, creating curriculum maps, and also testing platforms that can handle tons of students and teachers from around the world.
The long term vision is to build the Visionary Arts Institute and Museum, where people can experience original visionary artwork, classes and performances in a beautiful and professional environment, and learn how to cultivate their own creative gifts.
Empowering others to explore and use their imagination and creative potential is crucial for human evolution. Think of how many young people just want to be heard or acknowledged. This need to make a mark in the world is too often done in a destructive or violent manner, because it is usually the only way that seems available. We wish to provide an alternative route for self expression by means of art, whether it be painting, sculpture, film, music, healing arts, dance, permaculture and so on. A new form of education is necessary to allow the expansion of the creative spirit in a way that is not limiting. There are numerous visionary artists that each have their own unique techniques and gifts that they wish to share and teach. The institute is to be a place for all forms of visionary art to collaborate in a container that provides optimal space and conditions for a flourishing art community.
The VAF is also committed to assisting artists by offering grants and scholarships. Often artist’s have a difficult time covering the overhead costs of art supplies, shipping artworks, or travel expenses to exhibitions. Our goal is to offer grants to qualifying artists so that they feel supported in sharing their art with the world, free of the heavy financial burden. We also wish to support other visionary art projects worldwide with the non-profit foundation. The possibilities are truly infinite.
There appears to be great synergy between many of your sacred images and your serpent feather dance. How has your medium of painting blossomed in tandem with your dance?
Well, I would say it has all blossomed in tandem with my life. As I go deeper into myself, know myself and heal myself, my creative abilities evolve with my personal growth. I guess a big part my personal journey with it all has to do with my relationship with beauty.
I was a very cute and pretty child, but when I was about eight years old, I needed glasses. Then, a few years later I got braces, then horrible acne. We didn’t have much money, so I wore clothes from Walmart and Target. Obviously, any kid with these conditions will most likely end up a social outcast and develop a certain amount of low self- esteem. Then into my mid teens, the braces came off, I got contact lenses, but my face took a lot longer to clear up. I wore a ton of makeup to cover it, which exacerbated the problem. I started to look prettier and began to get attention from boys, but still felt unworthy of acceptance due to my previous conditioning. I lacked the self respect and love to truly honor myself in decisions I made for many years.
I felt locked into a life that didn’t make sense to me. It all seemed pointless. From the religious constructs to the notion of finding a job or career that I would be stuck in for the rest of my life, and would most likely be discontent with… It all seemed crazy. I would see adults unhappy with their lives, and they were telling me I should do the same thing that they did. “There has to be another way..” I would say to myself, “…and if not, then what’s the point of living if you can only spend a tiny portion of it doing what you love, and the rest being miserable or unfulfilled?”
I went to massage school, started eating healthy, left my home town and traveled a lot, unwilling to hold down a solid job or residence for more than a couple years. I just couldn’t stand it. I thought there was something wrong with me, but I have come to find that a free spirit just needs to be free, and that is a beautiful thing. My massage teacher, David Goyette, who later became my godfather, helped me to truly see and love myself and witness the depth of my spirit. During this time, my skin completely cleared up and a new kind of beauty began to shine forth. This was the emergence of my true inner beauty.
As I let my soul awaken, and gave myself permission to be as much beauty and love as I wanted to be.. it kept coming through. Eventually I got over my crippling shyness and allowed my spirit to be expressed through art and dance.
It has been a long journey of finding myself, and finding beauty in the transformation process and in all of the imperfections, which are in fact perfect. At every turn, it was genuinely listening to my truth, what I needed and wished for my life, free of everyone else’s opinions and desires that brought me to where I am today.
This is a lifelong process, because we are always met with the perceptions and projections of others on what we do and who we are. Spending time with oneself allows for a deeper understanding, clarity and trust of the inner compass. I am so grateful I listened to my inner guidance rather than try and mold my existence around what others thought I should do with my life. Instead I dared to try something I had never done before by painting and gluing feathers to myself. I had no idea the gifts that would come of these impulses, yet by trusting them and allowing myself to try, the result was remarkably beautiful.
This emergence of true self is reflected in all I create, and I am excited to see the future evolution of my art as I continue to grow, know and further accept more of myself.
The Hopi speak of the Return of the Bird clan “…A time where the many tribes of Earth will remember their divine kinship with the otherworlds of being.” What does this prophecy mean to you?
I have not heard much of this specific prophecy, but in the past few years I have had experiences and memories of existing in other worlds. While these experiences took place in a sober state, they were some of the most powerful visions I have ever witnessed.
I have a specific memory while in a healing session with one of Malidoma Some’s apprentices, of a realm at the far edges of the universe. In this world, each being could shape-shift their bodies or forms at will. The landscape was made of the most beautiful flora I have ever ventured to imagine. Every color contained an iridescent rainbow within it; they were colors I had never seen, colors that do not exist here. I realized that I could easily transform the shape of anything in this world at the point of intention, the moment before the thought forms.
Perhaps this explained my frustration with the time it takes to create things here on Earth. I wondered why it was so easy there, and I saw that it is because all beings in that world only wish to create beauty. The collective intention is unified, therefore further empowering each individual to create, literally at will. On Earth, not only do we experience limitation by our own beliefs, but we are also influenced by the collective beliefs of the entire human population.
The only other material I have encountered regarding the bird clan is the book “The Return of the Bird Tribes” by Ken Carey. For years my friends told me that I should read this book, and I put it off for a very long time, probably a decade. I finally read it two years ago, and it blew me away. I found so many of my own heart songs written upon the pages. I always believed that our transformation doesn’t have to be gruesome and horrible. It can be as beautiful and graceful as the opening of a flower, if we want it to be, and are willing to learn and evolve without being forced to. We humans love self-fulfilling prophecy, and hopefully we will realize how powerful we are so that we can eliminate a lot of unnecessary suffering.
There is much focus on the “return of the goddess” at this time. What does true feminine power mean to you? What would you most like to say to the women of our culture now?
This could be a multi-page answer, but to keep it brief, I feel that the “return of the goddess” is a balance and harmonization of the Divine Feminine with the Divine Masculine. It is recognition and acceptance of the feminine from the masculine aspect.
I think the key to this is held within the acceptance of the dark mystery. Darkness is void; it is the empty space which must exist for all life to be created and take form, which is the feminine aspect. The light and the creative spark is associated with the masculine force. All creatures need dark places to be brought to life: a womb, an egg or under the top layer of soil. We are all birthed from darkness, and yet so many of us are afraid of the darkness and the unknown. We are often even afraid of our own potential, fertility or the unknown mystery of ourselves. Our masculine side wants to understand everything, to dissect and illuminate reality until it makes sense logically, and anything that remains outside of logic is cast out as fantasy or falsity. We can never make sense of the Great Mystery, which is the feminine in her rawest form. She is the ultimate potential, the universal womb that carries all of creation. If we accept the irrational, the vastness and the mystery of the Divine Feminine, then maybe we can stop banging our heads against each others’ and finally know the peace that passes all understanding.
At the same time, the feminine must accept and have compassion and understanding for the Divine Masculine. There are many wounds and traumas that yearn for love, acknowledgement and healing. True feminine power is to be able to approach even the most seemingly horrific of events or souls with a compassionate and loving heart, and at the same time, be able to hold strong, healthy boundaries and not take it on or accept abuse.
The words I would like to offer to women is a quote from a dearly departed sister who said, “Never settle for anything less than your dreams.” This mantra kept me going through my most challenging days, and I am so happy I heeded her advice.
What, if any, visions do you have of the “future” of humankind? At present, what is your deepest message for humanity? What do you hope your dance, your art, and your greater spirit journey will convey?
I see many possibilities for the future of humankind. The outcome is ultimately up to us. I feel the most important thing we can do is realize that it really is up to us, that we have made the messes that plague us, and that we have the power and ability to clean them up. It is our responsibility to do so. I would like to see every person reclaim their own true power, their Divinity, and their birthright of sovereignty. We are far more powerful that we admit to ourselves. Every thought, word and action sends massive ripples out into space time, and this is how we create our individual and collective realities and our own self-fulfilling prophecies. It is time to awaken from our notions that we are awaiting for someone or something to come and fix it all for us. We will continue down the road of self sabotage until we take full responsibility for our own power, actions, mistakes and potential.
Much of human suffering, I feel is connected to scarcity mentality. I can see the perception of scarcity at the root of every act of violence in our world. The beliefs that there are not enough power, land, water, food, resources, love or God fuel every expression of abuse that I can think of, from small insults and petty theft to large scale wars.
A big one we are breaking though is the belief that there is not enough energy. Everything is energy. Energy is infinite and everywhere and doesn’t have to cost us anything. Countless new energy systems have been discovered and developed but unfortunately, almost every scientific breakthrough on energy has been blocked by people who believe they won’t have enough (money) if they set the truth free. This is such an amazing example of microcosm to macrocosm. Humans keep energy bound and refuse to admit that it is infinitely abundant, just as we have refused to acknowledge ourselves as infinite beings. We have limited ourselves for far too long, and have been destroying our world because of it. We must let go and free ourselves and each other from this psychosis of scarcity. For it is this mentality that breeds greed, which festers into what we call evil.
I hope that my art can inspire everyone to feel empowered to create the beauty they wish to see in the world. My life was confusing and felt quite harsh and ugly, until I began making it beautiful myself, through artistic expression. Every person can do this. If you’re afraid of it, then even better. It probably means you will be amazing at it. I was terrified of oil painting, and had no idea I would be any good at it. I had to get over my fear of failure, and then I realized I had an incredible gift. I encourage you to try what you have always wanted to try. Even if you think you will be horrible at it, give it a good effort. Trust yourself and allow the spirit of creativity to flow through you! You will most likely end up amazed at what you can do.
And finally, remember that YOU are a powerful creator. Take care and be aware when you are creating. What are you trying to say or make with your songs or paintings? What are you thinking about when you plant those seeds into the Earth? Intention is the seed from which everything grows. Make sure that when you are in a creative space that you are bringing through only what you want to manifest in your life. If you are releasing challenging or painful emotions through your art, this is okay; just make sure to bring it around by weaving positive transformation into your expression. This way, you are literally breaking through and healing your personal challenges and wounds; transforming what is no longer need into beautiful gifts.