Interview with: Amanda Yates Garcia
Amanda Yates Garcia is an artist and practicing witch, the self-titled "Oracle of LA." She will be speaking in a panel discussion hosted by the Hammer Student Association on Friday November 18th, considering the intersections of art and the oracular along with Eliza Swan and Edgar Fabian Frias. (Click here for more information on this event.)
On your website you mention that you teach a spirituality class called “Magical Praxis”. What is significant about the word “praxis” to you in relation to you art and your spirituality?
During Magical Praxis, my monthly mystery school, we debate, wrestle with, experiment and revise our magical workings in order to find ways to apply them to our individual lives and experiences.
At these monthly workshops, I emphasize the application of spiritual practices rather than purely theoretical concerns. Witchcraft is a practice of the body, of the material world. It is based more on action than contemplation.
When we practice magic, we feel how it moves through our bodies, we feel the effect it has on the world around us. We engage with that world. It’s easy to conceive of a spiritual life, the real challenge is in living it.
As you navigate life as an artist and spiritualist, how do you notice the two practices influencing and feeding into one another? Do you consider them to be two separate qualities of yourself or are they relatively fused?
My life as an oracle, a witch, an artist, a writer, lover and friend are all completely intertwined. In fact, finding the means to integrate my own life has been the fundamental agenda of my creative project.
My work as the Oracle arose out of a violent dissatisfaction with living my life in the capitalist system; that is, spending “weekends and holidays” on myself (as an artist, or in my personal relationships), but most of my daily hours working for someone else’s benefit, feeling exploited and frustrated.
A major project of witchcraft is the practice of alchemical coniunctio: a divine marriage, bringing together disparate parts, creating unity. Through my life as the Oracle of Los Angeles, I found a way to re-unite all the fragments of myself that had shattered from living under capitalist patriarchy.
Now my agenda is to maintain and nurture that totality, until I feel that every moment of my life is lived according to my true will. But not only that, I want to help everyone I encounter to find a way to create that union in their own lives as well, so that every moment of every life can be experienced as a gift.
In your “about you” section on your blog, you describe verbalizing your needs and getting pretty immediate responses from the universe. Do you think it is hard for people to ask the universe for things they need? Was it ever hard for you to verbalize your desires or bring them to the forefront of your consciousness? How would you encourage people to realize what they want in life and feel comfortable with making those desires public?
Most of the people I work with are uncomfortable with power. I work with a lot of artists, creative people, intellectuals. Many of them see the way power and authority operate in the world and they reject it, for good reason.
One of the most insidious aspects of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy is the way it makes us turn on ourselves. Secretly, many of us feel unworthy or deeply flawed. We feel like if we have power that means other people will have less. We feel like we don’t have a right to live the lives we want. As if that would be asking for too much.
But if we don’t claim power for ourselves, we’ve essentially capitulated to the status quo. We’ve said, “This power isn’t for me,” and so someone else takes it. Usually the wrong people, as we’ve seen from the recent election.
We can’t afford to live like that anymore. It’s painful to see my beautiful, creative clients who have so much to offer the world, sit on the sidelines struggling with their lives, feeling unworthy, while fascist forces gallivant around, destroying everything we hold dear.
Our first step in making change is acknowledging that we’re worthy of happiness, and that having that happiness is even possible. Then, we state our intention. We need to describe the world we want to create, rather than just pointing what we don’t like about the world as it is.
Finally, we take that vision and make it a reality. Magic is the act of transforming reality according to our will, in the name of Love. I believe creating that reality is possible. I’ve devoted my life to it.