Ray’s Rays, Number 30: We Are the Fire, We Are the Ashes, by Radiance Angelina Petro

At the beginning of the Ray’s Rays series I said there would be 30 of them. This post marks that number.



Ray’s Rays, Number 30

We Are the Fire, We Are the Ashes


Radiance Angelina Petro






The overall message of Ray’s Rays is to love yourself

and the communities and world around you.

To that end (beginning)

we’ve talked about taking everyday acts of kindness anarchy,

we’ve talked about mutual aid, fierce compassion, smashing the patriarchy,

dismantling capitalism, and the realization there are no gatekeepers

in the sacred arts and acts of social activism.

One of the threads running through the Rays is the celebration of,

and fighting for the rights of, LGBTQIA+ people.

Another thread is the importance and legitimacy of honoring

our freedom, agency, pleasure, and rights.

We also discussed deconstructing modern meditation

by taking away the competition to reach “higher levels.”

We’ve talked about the benefits of mindfulness, rest

and of the spiritual significance of darkness and of emptiness.

We’ve talked about the importance of movement, music,

and art in general. We’ve affirmed that some people (like myself)

need medication and therapy. We affirmed our bodies and rallied

behind the truth that all bodies are beautiful, perfect bodies.

That’s the overall summary of the Rays.

And to that, let’s add one final thing (for now):

Help one another keep the fires of hope alive in your efforts

to change the world and yourself. Some say “hope,” is foolish

or doesn’t exist. I think hope exists and I also think it is, in fact,

foolish. But all forms of love are foolish in the sense

that they needn’t (and often don’t) make intellectual sense.

The logic of the heart, however, acknowledges the fires of passion,

the imagination, and a wild, unstoppable love, and can appear

foolish.” With that love comes hope. “Keep the hope alive,”

is almost cliché, and it is also possible. Each and every

big or small acts of kindness, compassion, mutual aid, activism,

radical justice, anarchy, and love, stokes the flames of hope.

It is possible to change, even if that means burning the whole

thing to the ground first. After all, the myth of the phoenix

is steeped in the spiritual reality that radical love survives.

And you and I are embodiments of that radical love and hope.

You and I are the answers. We are also the questions,

and that isn’t a bad thing. There is a quest

in every question. And you and I are living, breathing quests.

We are also the destination, even though there is no

ultimate goal to this work/play. Why? Because we are love,

and we are hope, and there are no final goals in love or hope.

We are the fire and we are the ashes.

We are the builders and the destroyers. May we use our powers

wisely, with compassion and justice, so that everyone

shares the fruits that each of us harvests

from the gardens of our hearts, and our fields of hope.




Ray’s Rays, Number 29: Support Queer Artists, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Rays, Number 29:

Support Queer Artists


Radiance Angelina Petro





As Pride Month 2022 approaches, and corporations

begin to roll out their Pride gear, remember to support

queer artists (and by “artists,” I refer to craftspeople, writers, songwriters,

illustrators, comic and zine makers, dancers, sculptures,

and any and all form of people who create). While some may argue

that corporate Pride exposure is better than no corporate Pride exposure,

and maybe it is, but the fact remains

that it is commercialized and will end on June 30,

and we all know queer artists need money

and corporations don’t.

One thing I’ve learned being in the queer community

is that it is filled with the most amazingly talented, creative,

and most innovative artists anywhere. Go ahead–

go to Target and buy a Pride shirt, but please remember

to support queer artists. While capitalism is barbaric,

until it’s finally dismantled, we need money.

So, if a queer artist doesn’t have an Etsy shop or

some other selling platform, commission

something, ask them to paint/make/compose you something,

and PAY them. Buy something from them.

Go to the many Pride festivals and buy crafts

and artwork from queer artists. Share their

work on your social media and with family and friends.

Promote them, give them gift cards to art supplies stores,

help get their work hung/displayed in cafes and coffee shops,

maybe even use the money you were going to go

and buy some commercialized Pride item, and pay

the fee for a queer artist to have a table at a flea market

or Pride festival. There are a million and one ways

to support queer artists, and not just during Pride Month.

Let’s let that be a part of our activism. Not only does it mean

more positive representation, it saves lives.











Ray’s Ray, Number 28: Sometimes I Am Tired of Fighting, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Ray, Number 28:

Sometimes I Am Tired of Fighting


Radiance Angelina Petro






There are days the fire of activism goes out,

or, at least, seems to die down to a couple

of red, sparking embers. There are times

when the fight just to exist as I am feels too much;

when the weight of what some people want to do to me

feels too much to bear. And by do to me, I mean,

wipe people like me off the face of the earth.

There are times when the injustices and the hate

and the violence, discrimination, fear-mongering,

the far-right-extremism make it seem like

there is no hope, and I just want to curl up and hide.

And that is totally fucking legit. Queer people,

marginalized people of all kinds, targets of hate crimes

and terrorism for simply living what they know

to be true or the faith tradition they believe,

or the color of their skin—sometimes it’s overwhelming

just to walk the planet. And that is totally a legit way to feel.

Some think you can’t take your foot off the gas

when it comes to activism. Lives are at stake. Basic,

human rights, dignity, and freedom are at stake.

We mustn’t stop. We cannot stop. If we stop

who will fight? And I know this feeling, and right now

I am tired and need to rest. And I will not be ashamed

of that today. I will not be bullied or marginalized

in an already marginalized community to keep on going

when I am collapsing, when I am lost in mental and physical exhaustion.

I will not let the gatekeepers of activism tell me

I am letting everyone down if I need to rest, to take a break

from marching, rallying, writing, shouting, educating,

living day-to-day as a non-passing trans person–

I sometimes just need to cocoon for awhile.

Some may call this “self-care,” some may say I’m

recharging my batteries.” I don’t what it is except a legitimate,

human need to stop fighting for a day, a week, a month.

I am not a machine. I don’t have batteries. I am a person

who is sensitive, fiercely compassionate, and who carries

with them everyday the burden of being who I am

in a world that wants me dead. I am person with diagnosed

mental illnesses, who just happens to be queer.

Today, or tomorrow, or whenever, if you need a break

take it. Honor your body, honor your heart

and mind. Honor your need for solitude,

and nourishing darkness, stillness, quiet. Or maybe

it’s the need for wild dancing, lots of TV—whatever

it is (I could sure use some rich, moist chocolate cake

right about now). If you feel hopeless, like I do,

here, in this moment, give someone the gift

of carrying you for a spell. Give them the gift of your leaning

on their belief, their hope, their strength, and then,

when you can, let them lean on you, carry them

as best you can. This is not a fight that has an end.

But there can be ends—pauses–to retreat into silence

or whatever it is that feeds you. Please,

please try not to feel ashamed, like I

so often do, when I need a break. This kind

of self-realization, this kind of setting boundaries

and taking time to pause, is radical activism in and of itself.






Ray’s Rays, Number 27: Living with Compassion, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Rays, Number 27

Living with Compassion


Radiance Angelina Petro






There are those who only read the title.

There are those who only read the headlines.

There are those who see what they want to see.

There are those who project their shadows onto others.

There are those who judge quickly without really

looking into things. And I’ve done all of the above.

Trying not to anymore though.

Perception is a funny, fickle thing. We

look at the world, and see what we want to see

using the lenses of our past and present selves,

and with the lenses of our fears, our expectations,

our limited information, and our misinformation,

as well as our preconceived notions, especially about things

we don’t understand or “approve,” of.

Sometimes the lenses are clouded—clouded with trauma–

whether conscious or unconscious, or with the afore mentioned

misinformation. Sometimes we look through the lenses of

whatever I see is right. I am a savior, and what I see matters more

than what other people see.” I get all of that too.

I am growing though. I am more and more able

to look past my own prejudiced perceptions and fears,

and also to acknowledge, and be accountable for,

when those perceptions are wrong or inaccurate, or worse, harmful.

I am more able to look for the good, and to know

I am not here to save the world with how I look at things

and the conclusions I come to—usually without the whole

picture in view. I am more and more able to engage

and have conversations—even difficult ones—with people

who perceive me as a threat because I’m trans.

Sometimes I can’t have such conversations, but when I do,

it often yields surprising results. I see that most people’s hatred

towards people like me is rooted in fear and their own shadows,

and for me that calls up compassion. I’m still not sure how.

I have been treated so terribly these last seven years

since coming out—I can’t even begin to describe how cruel

and violent some people can be towards trans people–

and most often while using their faith traditions as shields

of hate. Surprisingly though, I have been able

to cross over bridges of mutual kindness,

and make friends with “haters.” But today I’m feeling tired.

There is more anti-trans legislation on the books than ever before in history.

It would seem the far-right will stop at nothing

short of genocide of people like me. Well, today,

as tired as I am, I am still feeling—through all the rage,

fear, and grieving—some level of compassion

for those people. Sometimes I wish I didn’t. Sometimes

I wish I could return hate for hate. But that’s just not me.

I suffer inside. I turn the rage inwards, or sometimes

express it in my writing. Mostly it’s turned inwards

and the depression deepens into dangerous depth.

If you’re like this—please be gentle with yourself

and seek support. If you’re one of the people

who look through the lenses of hate, fear, and don’t

pause to get to know me, then I wish you compassion.

I wish your god to be merciful unto you, for god knows

whatever god is out there, is one of love and kindness,

and with a heart as wide as the world.




Ray’s Rays, Number 26: Touch Yourself, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Rays, Number 26

Touch Yourself


Radiance Angelina Petro






Touch yourself. When people hear those two words together

a lot of their imaginations go directly to their genitals,

which is, of course, fine. Go ahead and touch your genitals

if you want/need. They’re yours. Learn about them. Explore

them. What makes them feel good? What doesn’t?

There are people like me that don’t particularly like

touching my own genitals. Sometimes this is all about gender dysphoria,

other times it’s just a lack of interest and/or libido, other times

it’s about me working through another layer of sexual trauma,

and it would actually make things worse. Other times it can be

empowering, but for me, I tend to not. Another thing

that may contribute to a lack of interest in my genitals

is my being asexual. I’m simply not interested in sexual pleasure.

I’m willing to help give that to a partner (which is totally

valid for my particular kind of being ace), but for me, I could care less

about my own sexual pleasure. It’s perfectly valid to be ace

and masturbate too, but for me, that is rarely the case.

So, the little, two-word phrase: “Touch yourself,”

is often associated with touching your genitals. However, there are

other body parts to touch, and when this phrase is taken

to mean touching other parts of your body, and should you practice

this, it can be a powerful expression of self-care and self-love, and

self-affirmation. It can be soothing too. For example, perhaps

explore stroking your arm with soft touches. Perhaps

massage your feet, your hands, your face, your legs. Touching

yourself all over your body can be like exploring a holy thing–

because it is. It can be a meditation, an expression of mindfulness and embodiment.

Honor your body with loving touches—brush

your hair, brush feathers over your arms, use various self-acupressure

techniques, like EFT; dance, touch your chest, belly, shoulders

with love. Of course, for some people the chest can be a source

of gender dysphoria, so explore what, if anything feels right.

To sum it all up, “touching yourself,” can mean many things.

Main thing is honor your body, let it sing with pleasure

and affirmation and self-affection. It is a holy act of worship

in my mind—the holy act of worshiping your own body–

and you are allowed to feel good. Perhaps give it a try.





Ray’s Rays-Number 25: The Finger Matters by Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Rays: Number 25

The Finger Matters


Radiance Angelina Petro





In certain circles, the phrase: “Don’t focus

on the finger. The moon is the goal.”

In other words, “enlightenment,” is a “goal,”

and only the goal matters. Don’t focus on the way,

and, in this case, on the pointers along the way,

and, to bring it closer to this phrase—don’t focus

on the finger. Why always this instance that the body

isn’t a way to its own kind of enlightenment? Why

this idea that the body is something to be shed

if one wants to reach some faraway, spiritual goal?

Go ahead—focus on the goddamn finger. Fingers are amazing!

Focus on the hand—how it can do a myriad of creative

(and destructive) things. By extension—focus

on the body. Focus on the pointers—the little (and big)

signs along the way. Moreover—fuck the idea that there is

a goal. In my own practice of spiritual anarchy,

I resist the idea that meditation, spiritual practice, or anything

of that nature and notion has to have a goal–

that it has to be a competition. Because, of course,

once someone says they’ve reached “enlightenment,”

they suddenly claim (conscious or unconsciously)

some sort of power—some one-up-man-ship over others,

and suddenly there’s a twisted colonization of spiritual ideas

and the “teacher,” takes over a little group of forced,

perhaps coerced territory of people, where there are consequences

for not doing things, “the right way,” or for questioning,

or for leaving for a different group or teaching. This may all

sound extreme. I’ve seen it happen over and over though. If you

haven’t—good. For this Ray—perhaps practice focusing

on the body and the pointers. Perhaps forgo the notion

that the goal is high-away-somewhere that you can’t reach

unless you give up the body. Instead, practice loving the body

as its own form of holiness and embodied-body of light.

And please, to the best of your ability, try not to let anyone

tell you your body isn’t beautiful, that it isn’t a radical

manifestation of pleasure, joy, and the ability to move

between ideas, weather, prayers, devotions, and dimensions.





Ray’s Rays, Number 24: Midnight Sun, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Rays, Number 24

Midnight Sun


Radiance Angelina Petro




There is something in the dark.

It’s you.

And you’re worth seeking.

And you’re worth allowing it to come forward.  It’s a kind of holy darkness

that might be filled with menace, it might be filled with tears.

It’s likely a mix of both.  First, the rage; then, the tears; or maybe

the other way around.  What is certain is that healing is there,

and a kind of unreasonable, and thrilling hope.

Whatever’s there—it is worthy of your love,

and you are worthy of the love it brings to you.

Some might say it isn’t smart to go digging in the dark.  It might

lead somewhere dangerous.  And they’re right.  It might.  And

It isn’t smart—intellectually smart, that is.  It’s genius as fuck though

where the heart is concerned—where the soul is concerned, where the imagination,

and the right to be fully alive, is concerned.  So, go.  And why not

bring someone with you.  Chances are both journeys into the darkness

cross paths or tunnels or passageways. Lift the light.

Be a lighthouse for your own shadow.  Be a light for each other. The dark light—

the midnight sun—that’s often where the magic and power is.

Go and find out.  There is no time to lose.






Ray’s Rays, Number 23: Resonances, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Rays, Number 23



Radiance Angelina Petro







When my voice settles into/with a chord on the guitar

as I’m playing by myself or for a crowd, it’s magic.

Resonance—merging with—a kind of vibrational oneness–

it rests there—thrums in that moment—radiating

into/through my heart, my whole body, and then, out into the world.

It’s moments like these that my soul longs for.

Not necessarily from/with another person—like,

in a relationship, or a friendship, but that would be

OK if it ever happened. It’s more like longing for the healing

to settle into my whole body. When past traumas ring

in unison with my present shimmers of wholeness–

when the work I’ve done and the work I do

to make something of my life after sexual assault, rape,

molestation, physical and mental abuse—blends

with my body as it is and can rejoice a little–

safe in this moment—in this song I am singing–

in these strings I am strumming—heart strings,

and songs of hope, and realizations of being alive

and worthy to be alive. When the vibrations of the truth–

lived truth, lived experience, lived hurt, lived moments

of redeeming my own life—sound and spread through

branches of bones and body. It is possible. Healing.

I know it. I’ve experienced it. Whether you play a guitar

or any other musical instrument, whether or not you sing,

settle into/with those moments when you have even one

resonance of hope. Healing can be really fucking hard.

And it is also possible. You are not too broken. You are not

too far gone. You are worthy. You are a divine being

full of all the spiraling galaxies, who deserves all good things.

Whirl in those little moments of hope—

let them spread out/through your mind, heart, spirit,

and body—and then, out/into the world. For they will never

stop ringing, and they will shine forever through/with

the future of all.





Ray’s Rays Number 22: It All Comes From the Earth, By Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Rays

Number 22: It All Comes From the Earth


Radiance Angelina Petro






Everything ultimately comes from the earth.

All paper, fabrics, food—even metals and plastics.

They all have there basic foundations in materials from the earth.

For this reason, I believe everything is, in its own way—alive,

and I live my life knowing this. I express this

in different ways. One way is that I thank everything–

my car, the washing machine, the stairs, the chairs, the tables,

and appliances. Call me crazy, I don’t give a fuck.

I thank the earth for everything I eat, wear, and that sustains me

physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I also thank the people who built the stairs and the car

and the clothes they make, and the food they farm that I eat.

At some point someone cut the wood, pounded the nails,

and measured everything to make the stairs I climb everyday.

Someone’s planted the seeds and harvested the crops.

Someone who has feelings, concerns, secrets, and joys.

Some of these people might even be dead. I thank them anyway.

So, yeah. I think/know/experience everything is alive.

Not in a pantheistic way (which would be fine if I did, of course),

and not in an anthropomorphized way, but in a real, living

way. Everything comes from the living, breathing earth,

and for that I am beyond grateful.





Ray’s Rays, Number 21: Lost Daze, by Radiance Angelina Petro

Ray’s Rays, Number 21

Lost Daze


Radiance Angelina Petro






For me, they happen most in summertime.

Maybe it’s lying on the bed in my room

and hearing children playing somewhere in the distance,

or a lawn mower, or a breeze that rustles the drapes, and misses me entirely.

Lost days have been happening to me since the day

the traumas began. Not everyday, of course, but some days–

some days are like one long, lost, timeless drifting–a sort of

drowsiness, a kind of loneliness that is crushing.

Sometimes it helps—the old adage: Move a muscle, change a thought.

Sometimes it helps to go for a walk. And sometimes,

this deep sense of being inside a lost day is a horrible

manifestation of my clinical depression, and no adage

or activity will help. Somehow, I have to ride the wave,

or drift with the wave, or somehow not drown in the wave.

And there are days when the wave takes me under

and I am barely alive when it spits me up on the shore

whenever it’s through with me.

Being bi-polar, there is another kind of lost day.

It’s the one when the mania grabs me in its jaws

and thrashes me around. It’s when I go shopping

in wild, dangerous spending sprees—spending time

and money indoors—going from place to place–

being outside only long enough to go from car to store

and store to car. I sense the day is happening—the sun,

the blue sky, the lazy bobbing dragonflies landing on the car,

and I can’t stop. The wave is pushing me—forcing me

to move and, without thinking, I lose myself, and my money,

in an empty, wasted day. When I get home I look at what I bought

and am most often like–”Why did I buy that?” Mania

does that to me, and no amount of deep breathing

or mindfulness can slow me down. It’s terrifying.

I have lost many days to depression and/or mania,

and it sucks. It is a deep hopelessness and loneliness

that hollows the bones and causes me to lose myself–

a tasteless, formless dissociation that drifts in and out of the window.

So, what do I do when depression steals my day (or days)?, or when

mania hijacks my day (days)? I do my best, as I said above–

to try and ride it out. In the case of mania—I hold on for dear life.

In depression, I sleep—let the day lift itself away.

With both mania and depression, I keep taking my meds.

I stay as close to trusted people as possible. And, it’s

not easy—and often seems impossible. Somehow,

I am still here. I hope you are too. Ride out the wave.

No matter the existential feelings, you’ll be glad you did.

You are strong, even in weakness. You have rode many waves

and made it to the shore. This one will be no different.

You will survive, and perhaps, riding the waves will become

closer to surfing.