One of my closest friends, Dan Gordon Levitt, died a few days before my birthday in 2010. I was about to leave town to act in a film and the last thing I did before I left was go to his funeral.  We were the same age, in a band together, performed and traveled together, and we had many plans for the future, Avatarism and teaching workshops being one of the things that we were most excited about. I didn’t really have time to grieve, or be with my friends, because I had to leave town. 

I arrived in Oregon, at the house of the director, a raw nerve, emotionally spent, and missing my friend. Add to that my girlfriend in LA was having a meltdown and needed my attention and wham! Production starts and I get hit with 12 pages of dialogue to have memorized by morning. Overload. I am a professional so I did my due diligence and memorized my pages in a few hours, contained the girlfriend situation, and tried to relax and sleep. Not much luck. The director’s style of working was highly improvisational so this added to the stress of the coming days. Things were worsened when the art director failed to meet expectations and I was party to a lot of yelling and growling about “sabotage,” and “Mutiny,” it was intense.

It was recommended that I go have a soak in the thermal pools of the Ashland Wellsprings to unwind. Later I had a tarot reading from a friend whom I had allowed to look deep within me. She is a light worker, and healer of the deep and dark places.  She advised me to seek the space within myself, my yin to my outer yang. She recommended that I go talk to the spirit of Nature and go deep.  

The Goddess Temple of Ashland was built on the bank of a hot stream, off the main road to Ashland Oregon. Down a dirt road, past a garden in the shape of the tree of life, A perfect white dome with an inviting fire, beautiful crystals, and a Priestess holding the space for sacred use. This shrine sits on ancient tribal land that for twenty thousand years was a birthing site and neutral ground in times of war. Women could come here from all tribes and have their baby in the warm stream, and be safe from attack and meetings could take place among tribes in conflict.

I visited this ancient sacred site daily for a month, maybe a bit longer actually. I would walk the dirt path, take off my shoes, enter the dome and sit on beautiful carpets,  before an altar of bones, crystals, sage, an eagle’s wing and other ritual objects. From there you can see thru a huge window that looks straight up a slope, drenched in greenery at the foot of which runs the hot river.

I brought my stress of city life and my disconnection from nature, my longing to be with nature. I cried for my friend Dan, my loss of direction, and dissatisfaction with city life. I gave myself over to the experience of being spiritually naked, holding back no emotion. I played a didgeridoo (an ancient Australian wind instrument).

I offered myself to the spirit of nature, so she  would make me a tool for good use. I asked her to show me the inside of myself, illuminate the drives behind the desires, and when I asked this, a wave of emotional energy came over me. My body began to feel an immense and rocking sadness, but I noticed my observing mind was high up in the background watching and feeling very relaxed and happy.

It was like I was being destroyed, my personality pulverized by the embodiment of raw, natural, truth. I felt great relief like an ending had come. The death of my friend, the shattering of personal illusions about mortality,  about the state of this earth and its inhabitants, and about my work in the world.

I wept at the feet of the spirit for 30 days

Many arms held me and many hearts gave me counsel

Many cups of tea warmed me, and many leaves of sage burned for my words to be taken on the wind 

Journey to the holy site every day

Offering music 

speaking to spirit, 

asking of spirit

listening to the subtle answer

accepting the gift


resting and drinking tea

dramatic ritual

gaze inward and see what you find.

Be livin’ it,

Alexander Polinsky

Avatarism is an inquiry into the nature of character itself. An open source game/philosophy for conscious character creation

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