Exclusive Interview with Author and Yogini JIVANA

When you awaken the journey does not stop, there is no going back. JIVANA is the living embodiment of that. A spiritual artivist (Art Activist) with the idea that “I Am Art” and using art as a means for spiritual enlightenment. A woman living in spirit, teaching through the art of yoga and being an example through her artivism movement and self-awareness. Raver J is a multimedia project from Jivana, a novel, RAVE: MYTHOPHRENIA, and a full-color comic book. As a rave superhero, music is her passion savior is her purpose. She brings awareness to immensely important topics from an experience that is unique, genuine, and vibrant. Depth in character is a must and JIVANA has presented us with such a character as Raver J. We are made to believe we are small and that we have to look outside ourselves for power. Raver J is here to put that all to bed. To be a direct example of the light and power we all have inside of us. It is important to encourage people to believe in something, to have faith in the goodness and love they really long for. Raver J will lead us into a place where we won’t have to hope that love is coming to us, we will be experiencing it. One EDM had the pleasure to speak with JIVANA on her spiritual journey, her hopes for an improved planet and her dreams of healthier happier people.

One EDM: What was it about the rave experience that opened the door to enlightenment? Would you encourage everyone to look to dance music to find enlightenment? 

JIVANA: I’ve been on a very long journey, and I can only speak from my own personal experiences and observations.  I believe certain substances can greatly aid in opening the door to enlightenment.  When I entered the scene, and with the people that brought me into it, ecstasy was integral to our experience.  It opens up the energies of the heart. I definitely think MDMA helps everyone whether they are in a dance setting or a therapy setting.  Although I would like to remind everyone that it does throw off our thermoregulation and so it can be critically important that we monitor ourselves and others especially if at a hot event.  People often go down and some die from the combination with heat.  Getting back to the question of enlightenment and our particular scene.  I’m not sure I would encourage “everyone” do anything.  And regardless of how much I love this scene, some people don’t like it.  So I would never push someone that wants to find enlightenment to venture down a path that they don’t care for.  If they are a true seeker, the path most suited to them will present itself.  I do think for those who are captivated by or involved with the scene already that it can be a great means of exploring spirituality.  Some of the music was designed to get us into a trance-like state, which helps us experience a sense of Oneness.

The creation of Raver J is genius, she is so honorable. You created a character that stands for living free and true. That message can speak to all people no matter their background. What does it take in you or anyone else to produce the reality they wish to see?

What does it take to produce a reality we wish to see? Moving towards it.  You know, there have been many quotes that have helped me throughout my journey. The one that helped start me on my path was from Henry David Thoreau “Go boldly in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.”  Later on, Gandhi’s quote helped refine that further when I started to see that I wanted to help the world and not just myself.  His famous quote of “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” kept reminding me that I needed to be an example of the future I saw and wanted to help co-create.

Was Jivana meant to follow the rave scene and lifestyle? Or was this, just what happened? Could it have been anything else?

Absolutely she was.  I have called the novel, RAVE: Mythophrenia a fictional autobiography.  It could not have been anything else for her because she is my inner-muse and was birthed in some way after an intense spiritual experience on a dancefloor. The entire Raver J project, spanning over a decade now, is an intentional homage to our beautiful rave scene.

Who are some historical and modern day heroines that you admire?

Great question and I’ll go all modern here because there are so many ladies I do admire. AOC is one.  She’s a heroine because she’s young and gutsy and I believe she’ll figure things out as she continues on in her career.  Although the Green New Deal may be far from flawless (and that could be a whole discussion) but she has us talking and what’s important is that we continue to bring light to important topics. There were actually a lot of women that got into office in the midterms and I have to say that was really exciting.  So many to mention that I won’t.  I’ve posted articles on my Raver J Facebook page.  But one more, I would say, is Tulsi Gabbard.  She is talking about things no other presidential candidate is talking about including the illegal wars we are and have been in.  Besides politics, I’m a big fan of Winona La Duke from Honor the Earth, Leila Salazar from Amazon Watch, and Lauren Segal of Give A Beat.  And then there are some women on social media I feel have important perspectives like @1stClassFrance @LouisetteSt.Fort and Layla F. Saad.  Then there are my fellow EMA board members and ambassadors…. Jen, Deepti, the Kims, Phu, Mary, Catherine, and DJ Shar4 and Kimberly St. John.  Oh!  And one more.  A water protector, Red Fawn Fallis.  Look her up.

If you could put together your own spiritual superhero rave music team, who would be its members? What would each hero bring to the team? What would be the name of this team?

There is an important musician component role in the story but part of what I like is that Raver J and some of her friends are “just ravers”.  That’s important because I want each of us in the scene to feel important and powerful.  We all play our part.  If I did make a musical superhero team I’d default to the characters in the book that make up the Technorati and the New Moon Collective. In real life, I might advocate that the members of EMA join A Tribe Called Red’s Halluci Nation.

What is the meaning of a natural raver to you?

Haha.  Someone that immediately takes a liking to the scene.  As a newbie, you can see it on their face, and of course in their bodies, as they allow themselves to be absorbed by the music right away.

The world is actively going through a shift in consciousness, an ascension. All though so many people are following a more spiritual path we still see much ego-driven behavior. How is Raver J planning on integrating the people and energies that are still vibrating on lower frequencies?  

Magick!  (She laughs but doesn’t say she’s kidding).  Although I think the story is good for many people, there is a concept in the spiritual community that you cannot see or hear a message unless you’re ready for it.  But this is part of the reason I teach yoga and tantra and try to set certain examples in all I do including living.  We can’t change people.  They will have to want to change.  We can plant seeds or make the change look attractive so it creates a desire for them to want to change.  Ultimately it’s still on them.  All we can do is do our best, know our efforts do uplift even if slowly and practice endless patience and possibly deep breathing (winks).  However, I did want to offer this.  Recently I had a good friend come to visit me in my jungle domain.  We had ceremoniously taken some mushrooms and I explained to her that I felt Nature represented Love.  Nature shows that to us in the way the plants grow.  They are constantly seeking to reach out to each other.  Obviously not in the city manicured landscapes but when you allow them to grow in close proximity to one another, all the different types reach out for each other like Michaelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”.  Now, in saying this, I have planted a seed.  Perhaps someone who has not necessarily been “tripping as I do” may find themselves one day at a festival, like Electric Forest, see this for themselves and they might say “wow, that’s what she was talking about”.

What is your opinion on the use of psychedelics like ayahuasca as a means to enlightenment?

As beneficial as I have seen it be for people’s lives, especially for helping people feel connected to Mama Earth or Lover Earth, however you want to view Her… I also know of other stories.  Like a lot of things, it can become an escape for some people.  I think you are meant to go in on occasion, maybe even once, and then work on integrating the messages you receive not keep going back for further clarification.  Like with the dance music scene itself, there is an opportunity for spiritual growth and then there is also the possibility for overindulgence and abuse. Really, and this has been coming up for me a lot lately, it is about all of us stepping into or reclaiming our personal power.  It’s about sovereignty.  We have come to rely on so many systems.  The plants can help us see this but their mission is not to be a new system.  They are guides.  The power lies within us and we need to recognize we have an impact, in all we do – so we need to figure out what is.  We are that powerful.

Illegal rave music was mentioned in the comic book, how can anyone ban something that brings so much joy, why would something as good as music be illegal?

Haha.  There was a time when I truly thought there was a conspiracy to stop our music scene.  When I first started this project, it was a general sense I got from the bad mainstream publicity.  The blog scene as we have it today did not exist at that time to report on all the good aspects, including the good we do as a community.  So in the comic and the novel I take that idea I had back in the day and run with it a little.  And to be honest, although I think we are at quite a different point than we were before, we as a global community do continue to have problems sometimes with the larger communities around us.  In the early 2000’s there was the Rave Act but even as late as 2016, L.A. electronic music community had to fight to keep raves within the county.  Electronic Music Alliance and some of their community partners such as Association for Electronic Music, Dancesafe, and Drug Policy Alliance had to step in to represent the scene.  We won, by the way.  But you had asked how could this be something that happened?  It’s simple really.  Although we can enjoy the scene sober, many people are using substances.  Not all of them are legal, yet.  So it’s not that far fetched and it was inspired by the reality that the Rave Act still exists and has been problematic for us since its inception.  There is a group, and I have shared their posts over the years that is working to amend the Rave Act.  Until we do that in the U.S., we will always be at some risk for being shut down.  If you want to learn more, visit their website.

What is your opinion on the modern day justice system? Do you find it to be more of an aid or hindrance to male and female prisoners on rehabilitating them into healthier minded individuals?

Hindrance.  I post a lot of political content on my social media and believe I still have a post on my Instagram with statistics on male demographics of the prison population within the U.S.  Some people believe it’s the new Jim Crow.  There is an organization that works specifically to activate the dance music community around this issue called Give A Beat.  I’m not an expert but I have some badass friends that work with Give A Beat and in criminal justice reform.  Let’s put it this way.  There are for-profit corporations that are in the business of building and managing prisons.  That’s someone’s business to keep people incarcerated.  That’s a problem.  That’s not healthy.  Give A Beat is a great model for what can be done to provide opportunities for individuals and their families who have been affected by mass incarceration. I encourage checking out what they do.

Tell me why or why not voting is important?

It’s important because no matter what you want to believe, laws do affect us in our daily lives and we can have a say about that if we show up to the polls.  I think people are fed up with the Presidential election for many reasons but my point is this – if we choose not to vote that day we are not making a statement about the dominance of the 2 party system or the President.  We are being ignorant of all the other people and laws that will be voted in.  We are not stopping anything.  We are allowing ourselves to be victimized or possibly to allow others to remain victims of our current systems.  For instance, if we don’t like the current prison system and something is on the ballot about it, we waive our say by not showing up that day to vote on it.  Look how far we have come with drugs!  That took political organizing and people showing up to vote.  It didn’t just happen only because we wished it to be. Wisdom is action.  Taking the time to be more politically savvy for a general election helps us feel more powerful to act and be involved on a local level, which is where we are most affected.  This will be important for the 5G issue.  There are people in this world that do not have the same sweet intentions we do and they know the power of politics.  They count on the apathy of the general public.  If we do not show up to defend things that are meaningful to us, we let the people with other intentions automatically win. With our joyful hearts, we need more ravers in politics – especially local politics.  I say, let’s Turn up the Vote!

You have said and I quote,I create with the intention to inspire, incite, or administer action“. Where is a good place to start for people to take action in bettering their lives and the lives of the people around them? 

Start with self, I say to my yoga students.  I teach a workshop called Self-love to Superheroism.  We cannot serve the world unless we can serve ourselves first.  That means following our hearts, living with integrity, healing ourselves first.  When I say healing I’m not talking about something heady but really just becoming more aware of what we are putting in and on our bodies.  We are microcosms within the macrocosm.  What is healthy for us is typically healthier for the planet and vice versa.  More than hypocrisy, if we are not setting an example by moving towards a healthy lifestyle, which dims our power depending on the range of hypocrisy, is that we burn out completely because we don’t know how to take care of ourselves.  It’s time to tap into our hearts because I truly believe we are all here for specific purposes.  There are so many different ways we could help out that it will be important to figure out what really pulls our individual heartstrings the most.  It’s important to be aware of many things but we cannot serve effectively if we are too spread thin.  On the PLURR propaganda page on the Raver J website is a resources post to help inspire people.  Depending on what is needed, I am sometimes available for additional guidance to those that reach out directly to me.

Mother Gaia is hurting, she’s hurting because of the pain we do to her. How can people learn that we aren’t on earth but a part of it? Do you hope to inspire people to follow your lead in using artivism to help our world?

Let’s start with that first question of how can people learn that we aren’t on Earth but part of it.  We have to realize that we are all at different evolutionary levels here.  The best we can do is our part in planting seeds that may have an effect on someone at a later time.  I’ve attempted to show this for years with my PLURR propaganda social media posts but also I attempt this through the magick of storytelling in the novel.  But this is karma yoga.  It is doing our part and trusting the Universe and will work it out from there.  So let’s be clear on this.  It’s still doing something, but we release expectations surrounding it.  If it is any consolation, I have seen over the last decade great changes being made.  People are waking up.  Is it enough? Is it fast enough?  Well, I’m doing my part, which for my particular mission and leads into the next question incorporates trying to inspire others.  I do, and I let go.  And then I try not to hold my breath but breathe because it’s still good to be alive.  Plant medicines can really help us feel more connected to Earth, part of the reason I think they have been illegal.  Harder to pillage something you have a great attachment to.  But I caution us advocating for certain medicines too much.  Mushrooms could have a minimal impact on the environment but it’s different from the others.  There is a conflict- ingredient used in MDMA that comes from the jungle.  So important trees get cut down sometimes by basically tree poachers so we can have our drug.  This is even happening with white sage due to the spike in spirituality.  Not everyone knows how to harvest responsibly and there is concern about over-harvesting and for white sage, extinction in the wild.  There are also appropriation issues Indigenous cultures would also remind us of. Same with cultivating the vines, an increase in demand means a greater impact on the jungles from the wild harvest.   We need to be mindful.  These drugs should be honored as teachers and not considered a path in and of themselves or a recreational drug.  Increased tourism for say, Ayahuasca, can put seekers at risk from charlatan shamans. Anyway, let’s get to the other part of the question.  Yes, I hope to inspire people to use artivism to help our world.  I often see quite the missed opportunity on social media.  So many influencers who could have such an impact by bringing awareness to issues.  They wouldn’t even have to do it all the time.  Just sometimes.  Maybe once every 9 or 12 posts (depending on the phone size).  There are lots of artivists.  I just want to see and inspire more.

How much was writing the book a therapeutic experience for you? Did you learn new things about yourself? Did any suppressed emotions come to the surface?

I think of the word therapeutic and think relaxing massage and it certainly was not that.  The novel is part of the overall project.  I keep saying that and to make more sense of what I mean by project think “brand” – although I am kind of anti-consumeristic so I like to think of it as an anti-brand brand.  Anyway, let’s stay with “project” because, to me, the project led to a novel and will not end there.  This has been a self-initiation I’ve realized.  Paths of initiation often mean we will be tested.  There will be trials.  And there certainly were.  However, I have not wavered because the spiritual experiences that led me to work on it were so embodied I knew I was on the right path.  The writing itself is very intentional so it didn’t really uncover emotions for me when I sat down to write, it was the process behind it.  The meditation sessions, staying aware and grateful of synchronicities, it and I absolutely learned new things about myself.  I learned how much I liked creative writing and magick, but I also learned self-compassion.  

We all go through challenging times in our lives when we may feel emotionally weak or hurt. Who do you go to for support? Who is your rock in your life, who do you confide in and trust?

I’ve always been blessed with great friends.  I had my rocks in high school, I had some people during my college years, I had others when I lived in L.A. and before I met my husband. Not that I don’t want to mention them by name but I know some of them are private individuals and I am sensitive to…  I don’t want to implicate them as agreeing with all my opinions as some of them don’t.  So who do I turn to now, I got some current go to friends for certain things but my 100% rock is my husband.  I am eternally grateful for his Love.

Emotional health is a big topic lately within media. What are some fundamental pieces of advice you can give to someone who is struggling with depression? 

Remembering that I am not licensed to give medical advice, my non-medical but town witch-doctor opinion would be a more real connection with Earth which includes people, animals, insects, plants.  Disconnect more often from the artificial light of office buildings, computers, phones, whatever – go outside and make a habit out of it.  In terms of real connections with people, well, this is where tantra really comes in for me.  It’s about slowing down, appreciating Life and the moment at hand.  Its gratitude and the shameless but sacred pursuit of pleasure.  This can often be misconstrued and I don’t mean it in a hedonistic or overly indulgent way.  For Tantra, read the Radiance Sutras as translated by Lorin Roche.  Anyhow, I’ve not been a fan of allopathic medicine and especially pharmaceuticals but there should also be no shame for people to explore this route as well because I have met people that really are benefitted by it, even if temporarily, as they explore more holistic modalities.  That being said, I lost in the last few years someone I quite adored, an old teacher.  Kicking meds is a serious thing.  Withdrawals can include suicidal thoughts. So let’s go there for a moment.  There are people that have suicidal thoughts and those that have never had a suicidal thought.  I had suicidal thoughts that started fairly young.  I thought it was normal and I thought everyone experienced this.  I have only very recently found out I was wrong and I thought, “wow, crazy!”.  (Laughs but explains).  I know I shouldn’t laugh but that’s how I get through a lot of tough subjects.  Anyway, future reader of this article, if you are someone that has experienced suicidal thoughts, you are not alone and if you feel alone just start talking about it.  Many people have and they could be a good resource for you so long as they are not currently in a bad place.  For those of you that have not experienced this, just know people with suicidal tendencies exist.  When someone commits suicide it’s probably not that they “all of a sudden” decided.  It was probably something they saw dance across their mind for a long time before they ever made that move.  Again, talk to people.  Share that you care and that you have never had this desire.  That will help those that do realize there is another way to view life.

You a firm believer in following your heart. What are some ways someone can open up, listen to, and live from their heart if they have had walls around it for so long?

In yoga, we teach a body, mind, soul connection.  If you want to follow your heart, you must open it first – not the physical heart but the heart center.  You can open up your heart energy center (heart chakra or Anahata chakra) with what we call heart opener postures.  Heart openers will slowly crack and eventually break down the walls.  Simply standing or sitting better, or doing some spinal flexes, are heart openers.  However, my favorite heart opener is called supported fish.  I have a video up on my website demonstrating this.  Highly recommend.  Anyway, it will be easier to listen and then follow the heart if we first have better access to its energy and messages.  One thing I want to add is that even though I’ve had some profound experiences and have been on this path for a decent amount of time now, spirituality or soul work, is a path, a practice, a discipline.  It can be wavy.  Have compassion, which heart openers help with, but continue to practice especially grounding exercises.  This is why I like tantra and Kundalini yoga (white tantra).  These two address the whole being, which means energy centers that are below the navel.  If we work only the upper centers we may not put up healthy boundaries on the expenditure of our own energy or we fly away in the clouds forgetting the relevancy of the experience we are having right now.  I don’t want to keep going on and on, as I could.  I plan on making videos about this.

Do you hope that your work gets the general public to pay more attention to the positivity that the EDM community brings? And maybe even attract more love seekers? 

Of course I do!

Do you think anyone can create art? Is talent something that can be or should be measured? 

Yes, I do think anyone can create art and I think that more of us should engage in some form of it.  To solve the problems we have created, I am confident it will be through creativity that we will find the solutions because they often cannot be solved through the same thought paradigm that they emerged from.  As far as talent or being measured.  I’m not sure I agree it should be measured but I think some people are more talented than others and this can take many forms and is still highly subjective. I don’t think we all need to agree on art but it would be helpful if we could all agree that we should allow ourselves the freedom to tap into our individual creativities.

Speechless is the best way to describe how a reader would feel after reading and seeing the birth of Raver J. She looked free and infinitely beautiful. Do you believe we all have a Raver J in us? 

Ah, that is so sweet.  Thank you.  And absolutely I think we all have a Raver J, or super-raver, in us.  Thank you for asking that because I do want people to know that anyone can be a Raver J.  She’s an idea, a feeling, an archetype, not merely a look.

For more information on Jivana and Raver J click here.

To download Raver J issue #1 “Save the Rave” click here.

To order RAVE: MYTHOPHERNIA click here.

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