Rhythm / Devotion is a series of interviews intended to illuminate the connection to ritual & rhythm in our daily lives. This series explores the intimacy of routine, the magic of the ordinary, & how these small acts of devotion set the stage for larger workings in the world ~
What is your name & where are you in the world?
My name is Marta Núñez Pouzols. I’m from Andalusia, the South of Spain, but have been living in the triangle area of North Carolina for many years. I currently am in Durham, NC.
How do you define yourself & your work?
I am a poet, translator, tarot reader, and student of astrology. I also write film reviews, record descriptions, and brief commentaries on culture. I live in a space carved between two languages.
Will you walk us through what a day in your life looks like? Begin with how you greet the morning & guide us until you close off the day in the eve ~
I wake up and draw two tarot cards, and throw three astrology dice. I write those messages down to have them present throughout the day. While I do that I drink coffee and a glass of water with a few drops of “Root Dreams,” a tincture made by Chanelle. After that, I go to my altar, light a candle, and write an intention for the day. Then I meditate, sometimes very briefly, depending on the time I have. After that, I start work. I work from home mostly, writing and developing reading comprehension tests. As soon as I can I like to go out for a walk, to be in touch with the given season.
In the evenings I relish in books, writing, and films. If there is a DIY poetry or music event I try to be there to support my creative community. I’m so inspired by these local writers and artists and I feel lucky to be in communion with them. Before bed I try to reflect on the ways the two tarot cards I drew in the morning manifested throughout my day.
You are a poet, translator, astrologer, & tarot reader ~ how do you prepare yourself &/or your space to enter into these practices?
Before I get to write I love to read. I feel that reading is the key to something in my brain that needs to get unlocked before I write. Sometimes my writing takes me to a different reading, and that directs me to write again. I like long sessions in which I intertwine reading and writing. I don’t believe in genius or authorial voices based on originality. We are all constantly in psychic conversation, even when we’re alone.
When it comes to tarot and astrology work, I always establish a channel between the querent and I. I like to have an honest conversation about what brought them to their question, and have a short meditation together.
What do you do/not do if you are feeling stuck around your work?
I try to be gentle with myself and not force myself to work if I don’t have to. However, if the break is too long I usually start feeling energetically hijacked and a bit poisoned. I don’t know against what, but writing works as an antidote for me. If I feel like I’ve lost access to certain layers of language and consciousness, which happens often, I try to shift things around, find new orders and reposition. Being in nature really helps to reconnect to those layers sometimes. Other times I journal until I’m able to find some creative distance, I watch films that I suspect may contain something I’m missing, or I talk to loved ones, because that usually sparks an exchange that gets ideas in motion.
Do you have a movement practice?
Unless the weather is lousy, I like to spend time outdoors walking every day. It opens me up in a way that my domestic space is unable to. To open my body up I do yoga as well. Yoga changes perspective, it’s interesting to look at things upside down. If I feel a sweat offering is needed, I go for a run.
What does structure mean to you, or what is your philosophy around ritual/routine?
I understand structure as the rules of the game I’m playing at a given time. Different times and different places require different games. When that playful yet stubborn mindset appears I find myself in a pleasantly generative flow, a graceful but also kind of comical juggling. But I’m inconsistent, so most of the time I drift without drowning, looking for new rules and new games by trial and error.
What are you listening to, reading, or watching these days?
I recently watched this film, Losing Ground (1982) by Kathleen Collins. It’s about a black couple, an intellectual/academic woman, Sara, and her husband, who’s a painter. It’s summer and they’re both in different spiritual and sexual paths, so they clash. I loved that movie because it’s deeply philosophical, yet soapy at the same time. I feel that the soap opera as a genre doesn’t get enough credit and I love when works explore that. There is also The Wandering Soap Opera (2019) by Raúl Ruiz, from Chile. It looks into the temporality and the sentimentality of the soap opera in a very avant-garde and funny way. I’m thinking a lot about soap operas these days, trying to write a circular, never-ending soap out of my memories. I don’t know if it will get anywhere but that’s what I’m into these days.
I’m listening to the absolutely gorgeous Swamp Prayer, Taupe Set’s new album, released by enmossed.
I’m reading Sara Mesa, one of my favorite Spanish novelists (she’s from Sevilla like I am), finishing the only one I had left to read so that’s sad, but she’s young and still writing so there will be many more. I’m also reading and rereading Lyn Hejinian’s My Life and My Life in the Nineties, which came to me at the right time thanks to my friend Aimee. Sorry this answer got so long…
Any last words of wisdom?
“People usually say: What’s your medium? And I usually say: Extra large.” --Basquiat
How can we find your work?
Thank you so much, Marta, for your inspiring work in this world & for sharing your rhythm devotion with us ~
I connect the essence of Birch bark as a companion to Marta Núñez Pouzols, her rhythm/devotion, & her work in the world.
I made my Birch bark (Betula papyrifera) essence at midnight on the 28th of October, 2013 until the next morning in Falmouth, Maine.
Birch bark essence is like a compass, a sextant: it connects us to the stars & enables us to navigate by them.
Birch helps us to create maps home, connecting the dots like constellations, sharpening our senses, & giving strength to our structures. It gives comfort & direction to those who feel lost, uncertain, or stuck.
Birch bark helps us to lay back into the dark, giving into the weight of gravity & the arms of stillness. From this place, we are able to listen to our instincts; to gaze up at the glowing stars, conversing with their quiet light imbuing us with a clarity of vision. For this reason, amongst others, birch bark also helps to prepare us for "lifting the veil" or entering into divinatory states.
Find a bottle of Birch bark essence for yourself or a loved one here ~