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Photo on right by: Danielle Cohen

I was introduced to Marybeth Bonfiglio by her co-creator of  Amulet Magazine a field guide to living wise Danielle Cohen. At the time I was working for Danielle, she had asked me to be apart of a spring publication. This is when I encountered Marybeth Bonfiglio the Word Alchemist. Now to say encounter is to say that I experienced Marybeth Bonfiglio. I felt her words collide into me. Mingling right in the pit of my belly. Instantly I wanted more. I signed up for her (Seduce: 41 ways to make love to yourself emails) right away. I ate her words. Evocative, primal and absolutely soul stirring they were, and are.

MaryBeth Bonfiglio: I change with every breath, or so it seems. But one thing I can be sure of right now, in this moment, is that I am a Mother. this ‘who’ didn’t just come to me after I birthed three daughters but it seems that since forever I am most at ease when I nourish and nurture. When I care for and create. When I listen and hold. When I keep the wild and the free. All these ways {from my perspective} are the Mother. I was give the name Mary after the Blessed Mother and have always connected with that energy, since I was super little. So who am I? I am a Mother. I am also a writer, or in more stripped down terms: a magician and an artist. I use stories to express experience. I write to communicate with and for what is beyond me. I use stories like the magician card in the tarot, uses it’s tools to carry on the magical path of creation towards consciousness. I am also a taroist, a tradition passed down to me by my elders. I use the cards to tell stories and to ask the deeper questions. As the cards are thrown we are invited to re-tell and re-create the myth of ourselves and our world. I absolutely love this part of who I am. I am also a midwife to mystery. This is how I mentor and hold space for people who seem to find me. I am not someone who has any answers or advice for people that I mentor. I only have trust… in me… in you… and truly in everyone! I am just here to keep reminding us all that we have everything we need, right inside ourselves. I am also a whole heap of bones and blood and facia. I am my body and also something else, beyond body, that I have no words for. I am a yogi and dancer and through this kind of movement I practice embodiment. I am pretty wild when it comes down to it all. A rebel of sorts. I like to start fires and then blow on them. I try and refute everything, including all my own assumptions and ideas. I enjoy seducing the flux, the place in-between is where i feel most sexy and alive. I thoroughly enjoy riding the tsunami of the paradox we call Life. I also love whiskey. and being alone. and being a lover. and anything dipped in gold.

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Lets start with the most fundamental question why do you create?

I create because there isn’t much of a choice, or maybe that is totally wrong and it’s the opposite. I create because it is my choice. I create because it feels like worship, it is worship. I create because its a lot like sex, like opening up and letting something else breathe into me and breath out of me. I create because I am made of the sea. Because I know nothing, so I listen. Creation is how do I say it? Here I am, knowing absolutely nothing, but showing up anyway. So thank you for this life and this is what I have to say: I create out of gratitude for life. Creation is liberation for me. It is both revolution and evolution in my personal world. I create because I believe. I believe and from that place I allow. There is a devotion to creation, to just allow what will happen to happen. I try to loosen my grip. Like right now I can answer this question with “I have no idea why I create” and that would be just as much truthful as all the rest. There is a leaning into the unknown, hanging out at the edge of where spirit meets spirit, diving in somewhere, anywhere, like The Fool into the undoingness. Just seeing what happens. The unknown- this is why I create.

What would you say are the major inspirations for what you create?

Mystery. Nature. My ancestry. My grandmothers. My daughters. Fire. Lust. Blood. Light. Rage. Hope.

This beautiful fucking world. All that is possible.

The stars in the sky. Just their existence, it’s like, how can I not create, how can’t I not respond to the mind blowing brilliance that they are.

Creation is a call and a response, to what is beautiful and what is ugly and everything in between!

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Photo on left by: Danielle Cohen

You and your husband just started a pod cast called it’s a bitch, what was the inspiration for this collaboration? What are you hoping it offers to listeners?

We created itsabitch podcast literally out of the blue. Kinda. We talked about it for about 4 years. Then one day we just sat down and recorded. We are doing it because we are human and we are in love. Also because we don’t really know what we are doing or how to even do it, or what IT even is. After almost 20 years together, we still have no clue. Yet we are doing it and we seem to go deeper and deeper every time we make space to look at it all, ask questions, leave each other alone, ask to be witnessed, take risks, fight, make up. We believe in the conflict. We believe in communion. We believe in walking away. Of saying sorry. Of forgiving. Of saying fuck it and fuck off. When it’s all said in done we seem to get closer to the god of all things, the god of union, the god of coming undone + coming together. What do we hope for? We hope to be true and honest and open. We hope to support others in being true and honest and open. We hope to invite people to see their partners as mirrors. To own their shit. To use their relationships, no matter the outcome, as a space to grow deeper into the Self.

We often get so entangled when we are in long term relations we forget we actually have a choice, that we have made the choice, and that we can un-make it or we can re-write contracts. 

We can say “what the fuck” and also “how did we get here?” and “why are we doing this again?” in a world where marriage seems impossible and commitment seems like way too much work, we hope to remind people that love is freedom, or it should be. We hope to support the practice of freedom. That when we stick together {or even walk apart} we can be allies for each other. We can show up whole. In Love. We also want to make people smile, and laugh, and not take themselves oh-so-seriously. As well as we want to remind you your not alone. And of course we want people to have more sex because really sex is so good so why not?

You and Daniel Cohen co-created Amulet which has just released it’s  first e-course, tell us what it is/What it is offering?

Gold. I am so proud of our creation we call Gold. You know why? Because Danielle and myself are in FULL exploration of ourselves and the concept of worth, of the practice of worth. We are in full question mode and it’s exciting to be there. Gold is the exploration and conversation around worth of the self and the collective, but most of all it’s about practice {which can look a million different ways for everyone}. We live in a world of “not enough” and “scarcity” and “too much,” a culture where fear and shame are ingrained in our cells because of the stories we have been told and can’t seem to shake. We live in a culture that when we own our best shit and claim our worth, we are often accused of not being humble or being too big. Gold is a practice of a hard core reclamation of our birth rite- that we are divine worth- and nobody can take that from us. And we can’t take that away from ourselves. Sometimes things don’t feel so good and that’s normal, but we are WORTH it ALL. So we thought it was a really important conversation to have- because lord knows Danielle and I have had that conversation in so many ways throughout the years! A trillion times over! So we thought, hell… it’s time.

Let’s talk worth.

We think at the root of it all worth is something, when pulsing and healthy and vibrant and gold, we can build and heal and create and share so much from it.

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Photo on left by: Jeanette Leblanc

From reading your blog and Amulet everything seems to have a spiritual and or grounding quality to it. It’s all REAL, nothing that is so spiritualized it is unattainable, yet it is infused with a spiritual aspect for sure.

How has spirituality affected you and your work?

I was raised catholic by a bunch of pagan italian woman where holy water and food reigned most high. That is my foundation. Since then I have loved and explored many spiritual schools of thought from evangelical christian to rasta to sufi to voodoo to vedic. I do not define myself or connect myself with any specific path but every single path has opened my eyes to 2 things: at the root of it all, it’s Love, and it all comes from Creation. Spirituality has affected my work because it is my work. there isn’t a separation from what I create and what I believe. I create to express Spirit and to work through my ever-evolving beliefs. My work is about midwifing mystery- so I am basically inviting the birth/presence of mystery to come through, somehow, in my work. Of course I flail and fall and doubt myself 10,000 times a day. But it’s the practice and the worship. The showing up in faith. Creation is kinda my religion I guess I would say. Even thought I don’t do religion, it’s the best one I think I could have.

Do you have a sacred space? What does sacred mean to you?

My body is my sacred space. Also, the forest, the ocean, down by the river, on a mountain top at sunset, on a dance floor. I can write and create anywhere that feels open. I create the space through energy mostly. I love to build altars in my mind. I love to find corners that have an amazing feel to them and settle in there. I wander around feeling out a places and then rooting into them. This is how I make it sacred for me. So wherever I land becomes sacred space. Because it’s all sacred, really. I do love my bedroom in the morning before anyone has woken up and the sun is just coming through the windows and Mt. Hood is illuminated and it’s just me and the new day. Some of my most favorite things happen in those moments before the rest of the house wakes up.
Sacred for me means life:

 Life is sacred.

Love is sacred.

To be alive, living. Everything is sacred. Truly anything that shows up is a teacher to me and I see it as sacred. I am not one for loads of tools or pomp and circumstance. I am simple in my sacredness. Simple is sacred. It just is. For me it’s just every day magic from making breakfast for my people and sipping in herbs before resting at night.

Rituals can be a multitude of things what are a few of your tried and true rituals?

Rituals. I also call myself a ritualist. I think throughout the day it’s all about ritual for me. They change depending on what I need or where I am. I use fire for conjuring. Water for releasing. Salt and smoke to cleanse. The earth to find grounding and home. I like to bake to help anxiety and erase any feelings of misplacement. I take baths when i can’t seem to find a space to surrender into. I sing when the energy feels stuck. I clean with special oils. I use brooms to swat away shitty energy. I wait for the moon and then I listen to how I feel. The one true ritual in my life is to write every day and to remember my breath. and to love.

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What does your inner rhythm look like? Feel like? Do you have things you do that help support this rhythm?

 It looks like the sea. It pulls in and pushes out. There are moments when it seeks to be exposed and covering miles of ground {usually waxing moon} and times when it pulls all the way in, trying to find stillness far from land in the dark watery places {mostly waning moon}. There is a time when I must exude and reach out and create and share {full moon} and moments when my spiral is inward and my fire is lit for myself only and I receive {new moon}. I support my rhythms by listening and honoring them. I write them down. Like daily. I know how to make life plans because I have been journaling my rhythms for so long. I know what I need and I give it to myself as best as I can. I try and take good care of myself. It’s been a process in the whole creating/offering/business thing, but I am beginning to learn and notice the subtle patterns, the dainty details, the explosive moments, the smooth waters. And I know when to say no. When to say maybe later. When it’s a big yes. When to say let’s wait and see. I also know when to let go. Because I practice listening to my rhythms I know that consistency is an illusion. We are in constant flux. We are never the same. But when we pay attention we can see that our inner being dances with the outer being. The seasons change and so do we. What supports all this is the relationship with nature I am devoted to. What I see happening around me, I often feel happening within. There is a match and what an honor to just know this, that my body and my earth are one in the same. Truly amazing.

How do you  nourish your wellbeing on a typical day?

This also changes so much. But on a ‘typical day’ like as in my foundational bare essentials for well being: Sit and meditate. Write. Drink water. Spirulina in something or other, maybe a smoothie. Oils. I have arthritis so I have to oil myself daily. Coconut oil is the best. On my face- rose oil. Get sunshine or fresh air. Move my body. Breath. Pay attention. Practice love. Open up. Take it all in. Chocolate. Sleep. Books. Playing. Good conversation with kick ass people. Questions. Always questions. Living the questions.

Other days its coffee with butter. Anything I want to eat. Laying on the couch. Doodling. Fucking. Whiskey. Up all night in creation.

Other days I fast. I yell. I don’t talk to anybody. I take long drives. I cry for hours.

What helps with the mending?

Time. Time. Time. And attention and expression and creation. All of this, the entire thing, is about mending. Even though I do not need fixing, we all need a little mend here and there, karmically speaking. So creation helps with mending the collective bullshit, I think. Every time we make something, write something, sing something, move something, we take care of ourselves. We take care of each other.

What does the mystery taste like to you?
Like my own saliva. Like my lover’s sweat. Like sea salt. Like moss. Like the particles that float in the air by the millions. Like sucking on a star. Like drinking in smoke. Like everything I desire. Like the water of the Saronic Gulf. Like somewhere in Egypt that I have always been meant to be. Like the scent of air during birth. Like fog.

How do you most like to celebrate your body? 
Dance. Yoga. Sex. Running wild in nature. Sweats. Sauna. Wearing silky clothes. Touching myself. Soaking in hot water.

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How do spirituality and sexuality relate for you?
Sex is part of my religion. So sex is a form of worship- of the self and of the other and when those two meet up- with whatever god or deity or spirit wants to manifest and come through, I am open. Sex brings me to that deep spot somewhere inside and I don’t know where it is, maybe it’s so deep that it’s actually in some unknown cosmos. But sex touches it, activates it, and releases some kind of crazy god energy in me. Sex is a prayer. It’s holy water. It’s dirty sin. It’s confession. It’s communion. It’s the rising from the dead.

What does pleasure mean to you?
It means a fuck of a lot! I love pleasure. I think we all need to focus on creating things in our life that bring us pleasure. To say the hell with the stuff that just nags and aches and makes us unhappy and say yes to what makes you tingle all over. Let’s just say yes to this, okay?

Lastly, tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

I plan on living it. Paying attention to it. And creating space for good shit to happen.

We all want more of this mystery maven! Here are some things you can delve into with Marybeth Bonfiglio:

 GOLD: You can read some amazing interviews over at Amulet Magazine about worth HERE. As well as find out some more delicous information about GOLD HERE!!

Be sure to pick up your copy of Amulet Magazine a field guide to living wise. 

WILD ALCHEMY: Do you seek clarity? A lamp post to shine light on this part of life’s winding trail? Do you have questions around business? Love? Family? Your spiritual path? Your next move? Or just guidance on what you need to know, as a human, for this exact moment? My tarot readings are straight up, soft love, wild alchemy. All my readings are deeply intuitive, a direct connection between my spirit and yours. You can read more about the how and the what HERE!

Last but not least sign up for her mailing list she sends some fire into your mailbox and it’s the tops for me out of all my letters!