More About

More About LoVe

The image I chose for my bio when I updated my website is from a series of photos shot in Midtown Sacramento, CA in the Spring of 2018 around the time of my birthday. Aries fire, with double watery Cancer, I am both warrior and nurturer, chingona pero chillona (badass but a crybaby). Just two months after those photos, I made the decision to cut my long, dark hair very, very short. I was ready to let go of all the memories my hair held from over the past several years.

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And I was ready to stop dyeing my hair and let my silvers begin to shine! It’s been a strange transition. I last had very short hair as a punk rock teenager but I’ve forgotten how unruly my shorter hair is, trying to tame my wavy curls is laughable. Luckily I’ve always been a wearer of hats, bandanas, and scarves, so I’m equipped for the long wait when easier to manage buns and trenzas are once again my norm.

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So even though that photo doesn’t reflect my current look, I kept going back to it. That day, with photographer Renèe Lopez, I showed up just as myself. Plaid shirt, Dickies pants, California t-shirt, Chuck Taylors, turquoise jewelry, hoop earrings, black eyeliner, and red lips. We walked the streets and alleys of a river city that has become my home. I’m originally from the Bay Area (Ohlone and Tamyen territory), and have moved many times, but since moving to Sacramento several years ago I have “become” more of myself. This is where I fully came out of the broom closet, so to speak.

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I realized that image says so much about me, even without showing my face. It speaks to my love of California, my Chicana roots, my urban upbringing, yet my deep connection to the plants and magik, as evidenced from my botanical and tarot tattoos, and my reverence to a “weed” found pushing through the concrete, beloved plant ally Cleavers (galium aparine), a harbinger of Spring which I associate with Deer Medicine.

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I have always been connected to plants and magik since birth (fun fact: we all have), my mother was a bruja, although that was never said and my abuela would be horrified hearing that. But it’s a deep truth, one that I intimately knew growing up with her, and more was revealed to me only after she passed away young many years ago. Honestly, she’s not the only one, there’s many folks, on both sides of my family who carry/carried the curse and blessing of being seers, knowers, feelers, and healers.

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But due to the wounding from colonization, assimilation, patriarchy and all its iterations, so much of our natural-born gifts and indigenous intelligence has been demonized, culled, dulled, silenced, disregarded, and forgotten. But our blood and bones never forget. I’ve been waking up from a societal induced fugue, slowly coming to, shaking off the lies that bind, realizing my own power, recognizing it more easily in others (I see you), midwifing magik.

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There’s a reason I close my prayers with sí se puede; the path I’m on, my work, my medicine, it isn’t just for my own re-membering, healing, and growth. It’s for the love I hold for my son, my family, my ancestors, my descendants, and my community. Even if they may not understand it, even if they may not support it. Healing is not linear, it leads—pushes—you along a weird and winding road of revelations, questions, joys, and sorrows. And it all matters.

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I say I have “river blood” because I come from a line of people, both maternal and paternal, who hail from lands of rivers. And every city I’ve set up homes in have had rivers running through them. I have to think there’s something to that, perhaps that ever moving energy is what gives me a vacilando spirit, always feeling called to migrate, never fully settling into one place. Maybe, possibly, some day, somewhere. But what is “settling” really? I don’t know. I don’t have that language on my tongue. For now, I leave you with this...

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Lovely and strange,

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Lola Venado, The Botanical Bruja

Sacramento, CA

January 2019

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“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land. Even the greatest rivers...must have been no more than trickles and flickering streams before they grew into mighty rivers.

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Are people like that? I wondered. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different, like the water flowing in the river... Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain?

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Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for their own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?" —Aidan Chambers, ‘This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn’

Even More?

I share much more on my Instagram, which has become a sort of collection of abridged blog posts. But I’ve been transitioning into sharing more off of social media, through my newsletter, and website. If you’re interested, here’s a collection of some photos of me over the years since living in Sacramento.

Always Changing