Born in Sydney and currently residing in Melbourne, Ly de Angeles has spent her life exploring beyond the boundaries of our manufactured myths and culture to unearth our truths. A ‘seeker’ in the classic sense of the word, Ly’s fearless life journey has seen her travel the world to learn and share knowledge with great skill, heart and passion.
The author of the best-selling The Quickening, plus Tarot: Theory and Practice, Witchcraft: Theory and Practice, The Shining Isle and Genesis, locals will also recall her extraordinary updated production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Bangalow in 2000.
How would you best describe the work you do and the values and beliefs that you bring with you?
I do lots of different things. I write books and I read Tarot. I’ve worked a great deal in the past within the arts, particularly performing arts. This current work is the outcome of more than thirty years’ research into Celtic Britain while it was still an indigenous land. It’s based on my latest publication, Priteni, and introduces the participants to an ancestry they probably know little about. A conquered people, the knowledge of whom has all but been destroyed. I have no beliefs. I’m an existentialist, mystic and scholar. I spend a great deal of time attempting to eradicate belief, most of which is derived from one cultural or religious meme or another. Having a language of Earth has been my latest quest. Oh, and I have a food blog because I’ve been almost paleo for exactly two years and I’m pretty fucking fit.
Why do people seek you out?
Because they want to know what I can tell them. Mainly for tarot or teaching. Everyone wants something from someone. I have no problem with that. The choice is always mutual. An agreement. If there’s no agreement there’s no relationship.
Do you ever find yourself having to tell someone something they don’t want to hear? I don’t mean ‘you are going to die’ but when you reveal a pattern of behaviour that perhaps they are in denial about; how do you communicate that?
Always. And even the first bit. Remember Damini, singer with the band Tane? I got the tape back after her death. It’s on there. I read for her the November before. When Linda was being murdered it was in the readings of two people in a row. ‘Oh look! Murder. Violent death.’ Of course they freaked. Then they didn’t because they knew what it was. Nine-eleven was in the cards three years before. GFC. I had Lyn Franks for a reading after I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here Australia. Tarot warned her to diversify her stocks. She did. The guy I read for in September 1987 didn’t. Poor bastard. Twenty-eleven was there for three years. I could go on. I don’t get denial, by the way…
What do you think people would gain from a reading that they may not get from a trip to a life coach or a psychologist?
Everyone is different. When I teach, I teach a no-bullshit, bedrock approach to life. I’m an elder. I’ve been doing this for a very long time. With Tarot I tell the future, plain and simple. I recognise what people are going through when it’s tough. I tell them. I’m a mirror. We often talk about how they can get out of the brutal relationship, the debt, the boredom. When events happen that people did not see coming it gives them a sense of destiny. That life is important for the experience. Even the most desolate of times, in retrospect, as long as there is a retrospect, can be contextual gold to creative people. It’s also important to say it like it is. I’d be lying if I pretended life was all sweetness. Some people live lonely. With addiction and suicide. Come on! Byron Shire? I take them to the crossroads. I’m dangerous. That’s why I never advertise. Life coach? No comparison. Same with psychologist.
Where have you been and what has been happening since you left Byron Shire? How have you found leaving the ‘bubble’ for the ‘outside’? Has this been integral to expanding your work?
Absolutely integral. My writing was becoming predictable. I’m psychic enough to know a crossroads when I come to one. I would have just gotten old and dreary if I’d stayed, slowly rotting into an old tryhard, not an elder. For a writer that’s the death of creativity. I came to Melbourne to do postgraduate studies. To challenge myself. Done now. Fresh writing. I’m still travelling between Melbourne, Sydney and Byron for Tarot. I have family there. I’m first generation in this country. I love my family or I would have moved to the lands of my ancestors. Here, at least, I can live in a hundred-year-old house. The architecture here, the winter, the seasons, the culture, the freaks and poets and strippers. It’s beautiful. My work is intense and constant. I’ll be in British territory later this year. Meeting up with master storyteller, author and mythographer Dr Martin Shaw. I want to coerce him into bringing his passage rites here for those suffering hiraeth also. Then I’ll probably do a Masters.
What are you most looking forward to returning home? (Always hard not to call here home!)
Yes, I do still consider the Shire home. As much as Melbourne. As I’ve said, I’m back every few months. The people. There are many people I love so deeply and dearly and they are all there. The land. Always the land. We know each other.
What will you be sharing at Spirit Festival?
Blue People is about Celtic mysticism and spirituality – the indigenous bloodline of ancient Britain. About the fact we’re still here. Britons are Priteni, ‘painted people’ according to Tacitus and Caesar, tattooed with the totems of clan and kinship. England is a long list of invasions later. Angles and Saxons. We live in an era of wanting to know ourselves and many have sought the spirituality of other cultures, ashamed that we, as a pale people (I do not use the word white, it is loaded and racist), do not have a heritage of rich mysticism within which to recognise ourselves, unable to share our stories in mutual respect. Ashamed for what our forebears have inflicted on every indigenous nation they have invaded. Unable to claim family except in thin parental groups with Abrahmanic histories.
There’s a thing called Shifting Baseline Syndrome. That’s forgetting. How far back do you remember? Your grandparents maybe? Their parents? I was adopted. I had no parents. It took a lifetime to uncover information about the woman who bore me. From that information Bernard Casimir (www.thesignsofthetimes.com.au) was able to trace a taproot of ancestry back over two thousand years (I kid you not) to a man named Caradoc ap Silures. The Silures were a tribe in what is now known as Wales. I knew the name like the back of my hand. The names of all the ancient tribes. Their families. Who Boudica was. What the people fought to retain through all the invasions and killings. Caradoc was not a Silurian but he fought with them alongside many other tribes. He was the son of Cunobelin of the Catuvellauni, now around Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. That means I’m Catuvellauni because of him. It’s a direct line. Do you get it? So many people do not know they have this depth within their bones. So many first-nation people don’t know this story and that is unfair. To share our histories is a gift of mutual acknowledgement.
We did that way back at the Wearing of the Green Pageant. Remember that? Go to www.lydeangeles.com/bio.htm and scroll down. The old Byron! The mob walked at the front of our parade in solidarity. To listen to an ancestor, Calgacus, speak of the Romans, saying, ‘You leave a wasteland and call it peace,’ gives us a sense of ourselves. He was a chieftain of one of the tribes in what is now Scotland. I’m there to take people on a very deep journey. A very emotional experience. An initiatory and shamanic experience. To give the gift of a history – a seriously honest history – the ground-water beneath the roots of the oldest oak. And yes, I have read Tacitus. I thank life for him every day. I’ll be joined by two local friends, musicians Matt Conolly and Fingal Capaldi, and spirit-walker and my student of decades past, coming all the way from Cairns, Nila Chandler, for the tattooing on Sunday for those who want it and as my right arm.
Ly will be presenting Blue People at Byron Spirit Festival this Saturday an Sunday. She has also been invited to sit with indigenous elders at a Q&A session. All details are on the festival website: www.spiritfestival.com.au.