We had the good fortune of connecting with Raquel Bell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raquel, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.” – Booker T Washington
I love this quote. When we hate we are locking ourselves in a cage. Hatred is a frequency that traps us in darkness. Our souls know the deeper truth: We Are All One. We can choose whether to ignore this or not. I strive to live like Booker T Washington and when I feel like hating someone or something, I try and shift into a place of love. After all Love is much stronger than hate. Life is short. We won’t remember all of the things we hated when we are on our deathbeds. We will remember what and who we loved. We will all be tested to move into hatred. It is up to us whether we PERMIT ourselves to be lured there. As a hyper-sensitive artist type, an empath, I know this truth to be true because I can see it. I can actually see how a smile makes light travel across a room, a beautiful song makes a plant perk up, a nasty word makes the leaves wilt. A vile argument in the other room gives the sleeping baby nightmares. Our souls are connected in the simplest ways. Quantum mechanics explains it. We know the difference between a warm hug and a vicious insult from the person we love most. We feel the truth and we can either choose to live truthfully or not. I have traveled down enough psychedelic roadways and meditated into alternate brain states to see my thoughts in action. My thoughts! I have seen what an open and innocent thought looks like versus a judgemental or fear based thought. The first thought looks like rainbow colors suspended in a wispy cloud. A nasty thought looks like murky pollution seeping out from a pipe. Thoughts have the power to color our world. I have seen what judging others looks like, and it looks like shit. Judgement acts like a punishment and it does damage to our energy fields. George Floyd was murdered by a police man in 2020 in the United States of America. This tragedy should mark the end of a period of human existence ruled by fear and hatred. A murderer is not courageous. A murderer is acting out the cruelest possibility of our collective culture. I see a future in which babies are born into the society, not just the family. A new baby has all of the chances to reach its full potential. It has all of the love and resources it needs to turn into a divine human animal. In this way we can prepare for it to have an incredible life. There are two Great Mother energies that rule us human beings according to shamanic teachings. The two types of energies are the Great Nurturer Mother and the Rainbow Mother (This goes for He or She etc). The Great Nurturing Mother is the foundation for a healthy society. She/He/+ takes care of the people by providing wonderful food and shelter. She keeps us alive and nurtured! The Rainbow Mother on the other hand has only one purpose and that is to INSPIRE. George Floyd is an example of a Rainbow Mother who lived a life of inspiration. He wrote and recorded music, he struggled to uplift society with Inspiration. The Rainbow is so misunderstood in the modern world; the role of the spiritual leader, the artist, the musician, the inventors and beyond. My wish is for the coming generations to understand the true magic that happens to a society when Great Nurturing Mothers and Rainbow Mothers come together and we begin to appreciate our differences. If you are a Great Nurturing Mother and you are not living out your potential and nurturing someone or something, very likely you will move out of that energy and into the opposing energy which is Death Mother. An example of this is a couple who raises their children and the last one moves away and goes to college. With nobody left to nurture the parents often get very depressed. Some examples for the remedy would be to start volunteering, find a cause to work on, start babysitting! In contrast the Rainbow Mother, if not doing his or her work to inspire people, will move into the opposing energy which is CRAZY WOMAN !!!! Crazy Woman can appear as drug addiction or irrational behavior. An example would be an actor who can’t get a job and turns to the bottle or starts a cocaine habit. If a Rainbow Mother finds themselves acting like a lunatic or an addict the fastest way to fix that is to return to her creative work and make a strong commitment to inspire others. If Booker T Washington could rise above his own intolerable situation as a slave and inspire the world to mature and improve then we too can move beyond our own fear and hatreds. Choose love every time and you can’t lose.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My artistic journey has been full of potholes and cliffhangers. I can finally look back to my psychotic-depressive beginnings and put a sturdy hand on my own shoulder. You didn’t jump in front of the train! Brushes with death were my paint brushes of a mis-spent youth. When I should have been going to therapy I was going to museums and wandering around. I was a Jung Thug. When I look back on my time growing into an artist in NYC I am most proud of the work I did as a singer and dancer with the music of Harry Partch. I was a young artist haunted by an Old Dead Artist. Partch is the kind of artist that inspires me most: He invented his own instruments, his own musical notation, and his own statements through composition. I performed in two of his incredible operas with his original instruments. I was stretched and expanded intellectually and physically. I was visited by Partch’s spirit on several occasions. He haunted me and rattled my cage with his intense energy. While still in NYC I joined avant-punk-metal pioneers, Normal Love. Once on tour in Cleveland I had a visitation by the ghost of Harry Partch. I wrote a song about it. Normal Love toured in the USA and Canada and I was the singer and electronic-percussionist. Many happy memories were made playing with all of those incredibly talented musicians. Those years in NYC were outrageous. Deep down I am a country girl. I grew up on a dirt road in the redwoods in Northern California. It was a time before cell phones and computers took over our minds and our lives. I rode horses. When I wasn’t playing the piano I wandered in the woods and I went surfing. I didn’t have exposure to much culture or many musical traditions. I liked to play classical music on the piano and sometimes jazz. Mostly I liked going to reggae shows live at our old movie theatre or to the big reggae festivals in the woods. The best reggae players in the world would play year-round because the best marijuana grew in our area. I didn’t quite understand how important this was at the time but this exposure to the reggae super-stars turned me into a Rastafarian. It wasn’t until later in life when I started playing drums that I understood how important the reggae music was to who I became. I used to get backstage passes and sit just off stage so I could be close to all of the drummers. I am a skinny blonde but somehow the music chose me just like it did those giant black men from Jamaica with huge dreadlocks and big scary muscles! As my teacher from West Africa says, “The music loves you”.
Currently I play solo (Leafblower/Raquel Bell) and record with such greats as Lisa Cameron (Ganjisland). Most of my passion is shared with Primary Mystical Experience and our band, Galecstasy. We are enthusiastic about ecstatic music in the tradition of Sun Ra. We have a goal of ushering in a peaceful age with machines through our outer space inspired free-style playing. My love of drumming, singing and synthesizers has full range to manifest as Galecstasy. I am very proud of our record called “Surprise” that was released in 2020 on Austin, TX music label, Aural Canyon, and I am proud of our covid-era Youtube show called Heaven Channel.
A major difference between the young unfocused artist that I was and the artist I am now is that I started meditating every day. I would say this is the single most important change that I made in order to be successful. Soon after I began meditating the world started to look a little brighter. I had the idea to practice meditation while painting and drawing. I remember sitting down at the table to begin and what happened I could never have predicted. I became a channel! A composition emerged that was surprising because it was really good! It looked alive. I tried again and got the same results. I had stumbled on a new practice that would guide me forevermore. Since then I have been painting as much as I have been playing music. The paintings are musical compositions to me but they are visual music versus traditional. I have had the great fortune of showing my work at the La Matadora Gallery in Joshua Tree, California. It is thrilling finally showing my paintings to the world. I am most proud of my painting honoring George Floyd that was on display at La Matadora this past Summer. I love his music and I needed to make the painting in order to help my own process of grief after his untimely death.
I would also like to mention that I have extensively studied and practiced shamanism. I consider myself a Modern-Day-Shaman, one who must navigate very different obstacles than a traditional shaman. I channeled a mystical card deck called The Deck of Embodiment on the Earthly Plane. The deck was designed to be very easy to use so that any person with or without mystical experience can benefit. And since the beginning of quarantine in California I began making my first films. I have made many music videos but now I am making mystical dance films, surf/skate films and animal films as well. My first animal/dance film premiered in July 2020 at the Taipei International Convention Center for a live performance with Chinese dancer, Marwa Golden. My first surf movie, Endless Bummer, will be premiering soon. I encourage readers to join my mailing list so that you can be a part of the exciting projects happening in 2021 including classes, meditations, and far out experiences.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A dreamy day in L.A. would begin with good coffee and a stroll around the Huntington Gardens. We would go eat dim sum at one of the incredible Chinese restaurants in Alhambra or closer to downtown. A walk through Chinatown is always fun. The architecture by the Quon brothers is fantastic and there is a great history of Chinese women pioneers. We then head to any one of the fabulous museums, probably the LACMA. Afterwards we would definitely head to eat some great Ethiopian food in Little Ethiopia. After dinner we catch a movie at one of the historic theatres, probably the Cinerama Dome which shows movies in 35mm and 70mm. We are in Hollywood after all! Maybe by this time we have tickets to see the Lakers play the Clippers, if not we catch the game at a local bar. The night ends with a stroll somewhere where we can smell the night-jasmine blooming.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout starts with the stars in the sky. All I have to do is look at the stars and I feel good. After that my shoutout is to the firefighters who have protected us so bravely in California during this horrifying year of forest fires. After that my shoutout goes to all of the black, brown, and singled-out peoples of this country as well as the immigrants who have faced horror at our border. I wish these ugly days end now. My Primary Shoutout goes to Primary Mystical Experience. Our musical-spiritual journey as Galecstasy is the Inspiration of my inner Sun. ALOHA! All other shoutouts go to the people who are without food or warmth during this chilling Winter of 2020-2021 facing global pandemic and catastrophes beyond comprehension. I shoutout to DMT LSD ETC for finally making their way into the modern era of medicine. While children should be supervised before taking any substance everyone else should have these substances available for addressing trauma. A super-sonic shoutout to the drummer Lisa Cameron in Austin Texas for making me laugh even when we aren’t together and for releasing our record on her label: Sister-skull Rekkids. HUGE shoutout to La Matadora Gallery in Joshua Tree, California for putting up a clear shower curtain to keep the Covid at bay and for including a germ-free kissing booth (installed pre-covid for those psychics out there). And to Colleena, the owner of the La Matadora Gallery, for supporting my work.
Other: Galecstasy Live from Furstwurld https://youtu.be/5LSfy9fnhGo Heaven Channel LP 3 https://youtu.be/w-fPC9ZEwVo Virtual Reality Concert https://www.ceek.com/video/131/ Galecstasy Records https://galecstasy.bandcamp.com/ Ferns https://youtu.be/o8kcPk8WSHo Swan https://youtu.be/LoUwQYbLChk The Deck of Embodiment on the Earthly Plane https://storbm.squarespace.com/deck-order-form