A while back, I was sitting outside at night listening to the frogs singing to one another across the reservoir. The wind was picking up pace, and creating a song of its own through the branches of the giant oak trees in our yard. I had been feeling on edge all day as it was, but sitting there by myself with only night sounds and my own undercurrent of thought to keep me company, I started feeling really angry. I couldn’t seem to name the source of it although I knew there had to be one — emotions don’t happen for no reason. I didn’t want to spend too much time trying to analyze it though, I just wanted to move through it which, for me, meant finding a way to express it without causing damage to myself or anyone else.

There was a time when I’d have just let it fly. I’d storm around, yell over seemingly nothing. If there was no direction to point in specifically, it got pointed in all directions — including at the people I love. It wasn’t simply that things annoyed me — those were merely the surface I was able to see. And yet, I would lose my shit on the regular over these little things, unwilling or unable at the time to look at what was happening underneath. Anger wants a reason — a harbor for blame — and if we can’t find one that fits, it will happily take up residence in places it doesn’t belong, causing us to misfire and do harm. Don’t get me wrong, anger has purpose and can be wonderful and powerful fuel for change. I don’t think negative emotions have to be “bad” unless they’re left to fester. It’s what we do with them that matters.

This tendency to pop my cork really bothered me. I didn’t want to be known as someone with a short fuse anymore, or someone who just seemed to always be angry. Through a lot of reflection, I began to notice a pattern in myself. When I am hurting, I am not always able to express it in the beginning. Actually, sometimes there’s quite a lengthy delay. I spent a long time dumbing down my feelings for palatability, because I tend to scale toward people pleaser. The trouble is, without expression, our pain can turn malignant. Suppressed, misdirected anger is one of those malignancies, and I think for me, a lot of that came with the lowering of my boundaries or the failure to assert them at all. On some level, knowing my own wounding, I think I thought it would lead to more love, more acceptance if I allowed more bullshit. It didn’t.

That night, sitting with my anger, I thought about how it might feel to just scream it out and have a full on tantrum, but since I live in a neighborhood with neighbors and stuff, I figured it probably wouldn’t be a great idea to try. As my thoughts carried on, I accidentally pictured myself on top of a mountain, completely isolated. This could work, I thought. I started remembering the smell of cold, and how it feels entering my nose and lungs. I remembered the way snow sounds as it crunches beneath my boots. I remembered the feeling of fine powder turning to mist as it touches the warmth of my face. I remembered how it feels when cold settles into my skin, making it difficult to flex my fingers. And I started thinking about avalanches.

Avalanches aren’t caused by screaming (not in real life anyway), although I suppose they could be caused by a toddler-style, throw-yourself-on-the-floor tantrum. 90% of them are triggered by human activity, but they do occur naturally too. The conditions have to be just right — the right angle of slope, the right snow pack, the right temperature, and a sudden change in the environment. The mountain, bearing all that weight, would have to be ready to let go… so to speak… unless, for safety reasons, a “controlled” avalanche were triggered. I actually started to really worry about this, because some of these avalanches can wipe out forests… or villages. I ran with the thought before I reminded myself that this landscape, while based in reality, is of my own creation and I can do whatever I want. There doesn’t have to be a village or a forest at the bottom if I don’t want there to be, and I can cause an avalanche with my screaming however impossible it is in the physical world — it’s my fucking landscape.

Maybe it sounds silly, but it didn’t feel silly. The idea of expressing myself loudly, and drawing attention to my person is very uncomfortable for me, even when no one is around — even in this format. It felt like something truly powerful to visit this place. I have never physically been to mountain peaks like Mt. Everest, but there I was staring at ancient earth formations, high above the altitude I am accustomed to. I did wonder how effective this visualization could be if no one were there to witness me. I think having our emotions witnessed is really important. Being seen is important. I wondered, could an experience be a true catharsis without someone there to see it? In other words — If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one around, does it make a sound?? After considering this for some time, I think the answer is yes. This mountain range is a place inside myself, and I exist. Whether I choose to exist loudly or softly, every cell in my body bears witness and reacts accordingly.

I imagined the weight of the snow on the peaks as my own unexpressed emotions waiting to be released. I recognized myself as of the Earth. I let out my scream, I stomped my feet, I jumped up and down, running the gamut of tantrum having. The mountains seemed to rumble as the snow galloped wildly down the slope in a holy celebration of release, knowing the exact path to take from start to finish. The rocks, the trees, the very air itself — bore witness. The Earth, in all her ancient wisdom, took the anger — knowing exactly what it was even though I did not. She took it, diffused it, and turned it into something useful, as is her nature.

I took in a final deep breath of frigid air, and opened my eyes. I was back beneath the trees, the frogs still singing, the wind still dancing through the branches. I felt better — lighter, like a great weight had been taken from me. The sounds around me felt different, too. Whereas before they had been filtered through my own angst, I could now hear their joy.

I still get angry sometimes without fully understanding the source. It doesn’t happen terribly often anymore, but when it does, I know I can visit this place within me and tend to my need. It is not a place of blame, but of reclamation. Here, I stand fully within my own power. I can create and destroy at will. I can take back the power I have given away, I can take back all the places where stakes were driven in, and the gifts of my being exploited. Each time I do, I feel closer to the truth of me, and the truth is — I can move mountains.

I Suppose I Should Introduce Myself

This is me — Self-Portrait Me, Hangry Me, and Regular Me. I am about to present you with some facts about myself: a random earthling with a face, opinions, and internet access.

My name is Kali Adriantje. I grew up in Southwest Michigan, and lived there for the majority of my life until recently. I was raised by really interesting, complex, creative, and wonderful people who instilled in me a deep sense of compassion, a love of animals and nature, a love of music and the arts, a connection to the divine, a genuine interest in other people, a strong belief in equality and justice, and a fierce loyalty to those I love. I also cuss a lot. (thanks, Dad!)

I am one of two siblings from my parents marriage together, and the middle of seven siblings in total. I have the great fortune of having some of the coolest family members on the planet. Nearly all of us have some kind of musical or artistic ability, and those who don’t, express their brilliance in other equally magical ways. We don’t always agree, but we do really love each other, and I think we (usually) really like each other too. I know not everyone has that, so I am extremely grateful for each of them being the badass people they all are.

I have a love of animals on the whole, but a particular affinity for black cats. I have rescued/raised 6 total, but two are currently in my care, whom you shall now meet, as they are the source of some of my greatest joy in life…

Henry, aka Henny Penny

Age: 12 1/2

Smells Like: Sunshine & Morning Dew

Profession: Handsome Little Wittle Man, Conspiracy String Theorist

Loves: Blueberries, bananas, burrowing, unleashing entire balls of yarn upon the house at night

Dislikes: Having paws and tummy touched unless he is in the mood.

Warnings: Will steal a straw, even if it means taking the whole drink along with it.

Fun Fact: Has a beautiful singing voice

Lumienne, aka Lumi

Age: 1

Smells Like: Moonbeams & Fresh Spring Rain

Profession: Baby Fluffins

Loves: Asking questions, turkey, creating toy stashes under furniture

Dislikes: Loud things, an empty bowl

Warnings: Will steal food from your fork if she thinks it’s yummy enough, steals candy and hides it with her toys, will jump into the refrigerator

Fun Fact: Told me her name in a dream

I am an animist, an eclectic pagan, and a healer. I started reading tarot cards when I was 14, but for more than a decade now, I have also practiced foot reflexology. I have added many other tools along the way — foot reading, energy work, past life regression, herbalism, and aromatherapy, to name a few. From 2016 through 2020, I co-owned a holistic healing center where I assisted my clients in their health and healing work. I taught classes on intuitive tarot and meditation, and I created a monthly group, called Flourish, intended to help people (myself included) connect with their creativity and move through blockages.

I love making things — drawing, painting, making candles, bookbinding, and tons more… Where I currently live, I have a wonderful workshop, which I sometimes like to call my Hag Room, in the basement that I don’t use nearly enough. I wanted to meet my 9-1 deadline for launching Muse & Metaphor, and every waking moment lately has gone into writing and editing, scheduling posts, then deciding I don’t like them enough to share them yet, unscheduling, editing some more, etc. Eventually, I will be selling some of my wares on my Ko-Fi page, and whenever possible, I will be using my own art and photos in my posts regardless of my skill level.

One of my oldest and greatest loves is writing. Though this is by no means my first run around the block as a blogger, I am a bit rusty, so please bear with me as I retune my instruments! I created Muse & Metaphor as a way to rekindle my old flame and keep the hearth fires hot.

I am quite nervous to be doing this, but after many years of sealing myself off and all the resulting damage, I feel called to really put myself forward. So, I thank you for being here with me today. I hope to see you again soon!

In Gratitude and Love,



I have been in a constant cycle of huge life changes for nearly two years now, not the least of which has involved moving multiple times. Because of the utter pain in the nethers that is the precursor to the actual moving, I have been doing my best to consistently pare down my belongings.

It isn’t that I have a problem with having stuff — humans are stuff havers. We love to create beautiful spaces, surrounding ourselves with things that hold meaning in our respective lives. My problem is having stuff for the sake of having it, and letting it just sit in a box or collect dust, no longer being used or enjoyed. It gets forgotten, sometimes broken, sometimes chewed on by mice, and it takes up precious space. I have had to get ruthless in my giving away, selling off, and just straight pitching of things that no longer have a meaningful place in my life, or that, even though I enjoy them, could be better enjoyed by someone I love. It isn’t always an easy process, but once I get past the initial hemming and hawing, I find myself joyful on the whole in moving forward, and I find that I am not missing those things at all.

Since I made the decision to jump states last winter, I have been at it again. Aside from the fact that I have pared down a great deal already, what has made this round of moving so much easier for me than previous times is a lesson I took from a robin this past spring. I was sitting outside taking a break from packing, watching this cute little bird hunting for food with a downy feather poking out from her breast. Watching her started me thinking about the necessity of preening, molting, and shedding in wild animals; and what might happen to a bird if, for whatever reason, it refused to preen itself. 

Preening is a daily, sometimes even hourly practice in the bird world, and is primarily a matter of survival. As amazing as feathers are — enabling flight, providing insulation, and waterproofing — they break down over time, and must be repaired or completely culled. If a bird were to refuse this process, clinging to its favorite feathers as we do our stuff, the feathers would get filthy and matted — stuck together by the detritus of their daily meals, not to mention the meals of yesterday. They would struggle to fly, and would become more susceptible to predators. Given that nests are lined and insulated with precious downy feathers, the bird might find it challenging to properly care for their young, that is, if they could attract a mate at all. New, fully formed feathers would push into the matted mess, causing more discomfort and dysfunction in the life of the bird.

Preening has become a potent metaphor for me in respect to letting things go. It is both an internal, emotional process and a physical catharsis that leads me to a greater sense of self and a knowledge of what I am capable of. If I wish to fly, I must be willing to care for myself in this way. The active removal of things that don’t work for me anymore creates space for more — more beauty, more love, more life, more connection.

Thank you for spending time with me today!

In Gratitude and Love,


Angry Sun

Scroll to the bottom if you want to skip the reading and listen instead.

Disclaimer time…I am about to talk about some mental health stuff and meds and things like that from the perspective of my own personal life story and experience. But before I begin, I need you to know that this is not an anti-antidepressant blog. There are very real people out there for whom anti-depressants and other medications are an absolute necessity — maybe you are one of those people, and I commend you for taking care of yourself. While I don’t think medications are always prescribed properly and, far too often, they are offered up in place of rather than in addition to good old talk therapy and innumerable other tools, I can absolutely understand their need, and I can absolutely understand that not everyone shares the same privilege of access to other options. Please do what works for you.

When I was 14, I was going through some rough things, and I had this doctor who, after invading my actual physical personal space and talking at me through a bevy of unkempt nose, ear, and eyebrow hair for five whole minutes, diagnosed me as “manic depressive” and prescribed me pills. He didn’t actually ask me any questions, he just sat way too close to me with a smug, all-knowing grin and focused in on a sun I had drawn on my jeans. He said it was an “angry sun.” He seemed really pleased with himself for discovering the “angry sun,” but didn’t actually seem to care about what was in my head that might have made it an “angry sun.” Apparently, my “angry sun” determined a need for antidepressants, which ultimately I refused to take.

I think a greater help to me at that time would have been if that doctor (or any doctor for that matter) had bothered listening to me. Much of my identity seemed decided upon for me based on snap assessments. To know a person, you typically need to actually have a conversation. A lot can be garnered in five minutes if there is an actual dialogue, but I am pretty sure making a teenage girl uncomfortable with your proximity to her body says more about you than it does about her.

It also would have helped if I’d had the language or means to express what I was feeling, but the words weren’t there yet. How could they be? I had no context for what was happening to me (something I may discuss down the road), nor did any of the adults in my life, though they did the best they could. Sometimes the words still aren’t there, but I keep pushing. I am in a place in my life now where usually, even when things are challenging, I am able to move through with relative ease. Some of this resiliency came from the recognition that my triggers are my responsibility — both their management and their healing; some of it came from the knowledge that all states are temporary, even if they don’t feel that way while we’re in them; and some of it came from the simple act of accepting my emotions as valid and in need of healthy expression in whatever form I could muster. (Trust me, I found plenty of unhealthy expressions in the process as well…)

Healing is not a perfect, painless, or linear process. What is easier than doing this work, is succumbing to depression, listening to the illogical voice of anxiety, isolating myself and locking my heart away, but I don’t believe the path of least resistance leads to less pain. In fact, I believe it usually leads to more. So I keep pushing back to remind myself that I have a right to be here, to feel my feels, to move forward without anchors dragging bits of my heavier past along with me.

It looked more like this…

And let me tell you something — it is worth every last second of my effort to keep going. I find my strength every single time, even when it feels like there’s no fucking way I can. I continue to adopt new tools and methods, and I continue to invest the time to make them valuable to me. This is a big key… time. Most people want that instant gratification, and obviously no one wants to feel like shit. I am no different in that respect. I just know that, generally speaking, healing doesn’t work like that. I also know you can’t diagnose a child with bipolar disorder by sitting too close to her and “studying” a singular piece of art drawn on her jeans which was based on the suns from CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt!

What works for me is what works for me. Healing looks different for everyone, and while all tools are valuable, they are not all valuable for all people. It’s that whole frog kissing/prince scenario, but with therapists and coping tools!! Sometimes the coping tool is a bath, sometimes it’s medication. Sometimes it’s both. Sometimes it’s neither. Sometimes it’s some anomalous nameless thing that you haven’t found the magic to obtain just yet. Are these things by themselves going to solve the problems? Not likely, but they can help clear the windows enough for you to see inside yourself. And maybe one day, you’ll be able to do more than cope with what you see through the windows — eventually, you might be able to walk through the door and clean the fucking house.

Just keep trying, and try everything — even if some of the things you try make you seem totally nuts, and even if it feels like you are clawing your way out of a pre-dug grave just your size in the middle of nowhere. Keep trying. You deserve to be seen, you deserve to be heard, you deserve to be expressed.

Some Thoughts on Nature and Culture… (and the nature of culture)

Just going to toss this out there and get right into it…

Animals and plants have culture. 

This statement is one of my core beliefs and has guided me to include animism as part of my spiritual path. By the current scientific understanding of what culture is, you could easily tell me I’m wrong. (I mean, I’m not wrong, but you could say I was if you really wanted to.)  By definition, culture is a human-centric concept held together by “the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group…” Animism asks us to broaden our concept of what culture is to include everything in our natural world — to perhaps expand our understanding of what life, sentience, consciousness, and soul really are. One of the ways we can do this is through immersion. 

Consider how we learn other languages. It is one thing to take a class and study them from a book or an app, but the deepest understanding of a language is acquired through exposure to people who live the language, and experiencing the culture from which it sprang. Otherwise, one word can run into another, and much is lost in translation. For instance, in Sanskrit there are 96 different words for love, and they all have their own variation in meaning. Use the wrong one and you’re conveying the wrong thing.

The same goes for nature. We can memorize facts until our faces turn blue, and those facts will be true. They will also be cold — lacking in nuance and dimension kind of like office metrics. We can still love nature from that distance, but there is no replacement for the magic that occurs when we stand in a space of allowance for the idea that the millions of other beings we share the earth with, just like you and me, are individuals with their own needs, desires, opinions, and preferences.

Photo by Peter Lloyd on Unsplash

For a spectacular example of what immersion can do, check out the 2011 episode of Natural World from PBS, My Life as a Turkey. This is a reenactment of the experiences of naturalist, Joe Hutto, as detailed in his book Illumination in the Flatwoods. I have watched it numerous times now, and I’ve found it deeply moving. I hope you will as well! Once you’ve checked that out, I recommend you read the Q&A that took place afterward here, as Hutto provides some wonderful insights about the program and his experiences with the turkeys. 

Without immersion, Hutto might not have been able to witness variants in their personalities, or the subtleties in their appearances that made them unique from one another. While wild turkeys are thought to have 29 calls, it was due to immersion that Hutto identified more than 100, acknowledging there were even more he couldn’t catalog. These are just a few examples, but he experienced these things when he chose to become a turkey instead of asking the turkeys to become human.

Of course, we can’t all imprint on a clutch of turkey eggs (nor should we), but we don’t have to. We simply need to see that, just like people, not everyone in a species is the same. We all communicate differently, learn differently, and emote differently — we are all here together, individual and valuable beyond the meat on our bones.

The Velveteen Rabbit Hole

In 1932, Douglas Herrick went hunting with his brother, hoping to snare a jackrabbit. When they returned, the jackrabbit carcass was laid next to some antlers, and thus the jackalope was born. And Douglas, Wyoming was forever changed.

This story, although just a snapshot, inspired the creation of Anthony, pictured here.

So why am I talking about and painting jackalopes?

Recently, during a visioning/energy healing session, a jackalope showed up. I laughed at first, a little thrown off by the appearance of an American made myth, but I now think he came in to talk about how stories shape us and how we see the world. 

Stories are important. They are carriers of culture, identity, and metaphorical truths. Every country, community, family, and individual has their own that convey to those looking in exactly who they are. Stories can do great things — offering beautiful perspectives and guidelines for living, and they can also do greatly damaging things — like when we spread untruths about others, or when we hang on to tales about ourselves that aren’t true.

Stories can empower, and they can disempower. 

We can get stuck inside old family tales (as in “that’s the way I was raised”), and we can get stuck inside our own heads (as in “everyone is judging me,” “no one likes me,” “this always happens to me,” etc.). It is vital that we be willing to look deeply at those we tell ourselves and shift them where necessary. We absolutely can control the narratives we ingest and those we project to the world. 

Look at little Douglas, Wyoming, population 6,120. What started as a gag has become a huge tourist attraction for the little town, now known as “Home of the Jackalope,” where they hold an annual jackalope festival and issue thousands of jackalope hunting licenses every year during jackalope hunting season. The season lasts only one day — June 31. (Yes, you read that correctly!)

Great for Douglas, not so great for jackrabbits and deer, but the point is, they literally changed their story, and created a claim to fame in the process, not to mention an entire mythology. This is actually really powerful! 

*Note: It is preferable you create a story that doesn’t needlessly harm other beings in the process. 

By creating the jackalope (which arguably already existed in some form beforehand), they gave life and personification to a concept. Children are great at this. Watch the way they personify the world around them. They give a soul to just about everything they touch! The way they interact with their environments is pure poetry.

This got me thinking about The Velveteen Rabbit. Actually, I thought about that story a while ago during a discussion with one of my teachers, Cyrene. I had been trying to figure out a way to tie it in with another blog I was working on, and it didn’t work. Tonight, as I showed Anthony to a friend, she said he reminded her of The Velveteen Rabbit, and lo, there was the connector!!

Earlier in the year, I was reading a text about animism which drew a correlation between animist thought and the thought patterns of young children. I had a bit of a “chicken vs. egg” question: is it that animism is merely “primitive thought,” or; is it that our natural proclivity is toward animism, and children are just absolute naturals? I remembered myself as a child, assigning spirit to everything around me — including my stuffed animals. This made them very difficult to part with when the time came, even into adulthood. I really feel it’s just inherently within us to desire connection with our surrounding world, even the objects we use. Animism is a natural answer.

The Velveteen Rabbit was a toy so beloved, he was made real. Of course, since the book is kind of from the rabbit’s perspective, he had already achieved personhood by simply having been created. But he didn’t know this. How could he? His purpose had already been assigned to him — he was a toy, nothing more. That was the story he told himself, and that was the story he was told.

I want to be clear — I am not saying that if he had only believed in himself he would have been hopping around with other bunnies sooner… (wait, am I?) I am saying that, simply by the act of having consciousness (I think therefore I am-ish), he was already real.

I think this is where we come back to just how important stories are. The Velveteen Rabbit didn’t think himself enough until he was out chewing real clover, but the truth is that he provided great joy and comfort to the boy long before he had hoppity legs. His purpose was far greater than “just a toy.”

And the jackalope — a story created in silliness brought to life by all who participate in the gag, and a very present visitor in a healing session.

You may very well have isms assigned to you by birth, but only you get to decide who you are. If your internal stories are harmful to you or to others, you get to change them, and I highly recommend it.