Draw three cards, and I will tell your future .
Draw three cards, and lay them down, Rest your palms upon them, stare at the crystal, And think of time.

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My father was a clown, My mother was a gypsy out of Egypt; And she was gotten with child in a strange way; And I was born in a cold eclipse of the moon, With the future in my eyes as clear as day.

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I sit before the gold-embroidered curtain And think her face is like a wrinkled desert.
The crystal burns in lamplight beneath my eyes.
A dragon slowly coils on the scaly curtain.
Upon a scarlet cloth a white skull lies.

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‘Your hand is on the hand that holds three lilies.
You will live long, love many times.
I see a dark girl here who once betrayed you.
I see a shadow of secret crimes.

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‘There was a man who came intent to kill you, And hid behind a door and waited for you; There was a woman who smiled at you and lied.
There was a golden girl who loved you, begged you, Crawled after you, and died.
‘There is a ghost of murder in your blood— Coming or past, I know not which.
And here is danger—a woman with sea-green eyes, And white-skinned as a witch .

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The words hiss into me, like raindrops falling On sleepy fire .
.
.
She smiles a meaning smile.

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Suspicion eats my brain; I ask a question; Something is creeping at me, something vile;

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And suddenly on the wall behind her head I see a monstrous shadow strike and spread, The lamp puffs out, a great blow crashes down.
I plunge through the curtain, run through dark to the street, And hear swift steps retreat .

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The shades are drawn, the door is locked behind me.
Behind the door I hear a hammer sounding.
I walk in a cloud of wonder; I am glad.
I mingle among the crowds; my heart is pounding; You do not guess the adventure I have had!

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Yet you, too, all have had your dark adventures, Your sudden adventures, or strange, or sweet .

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My peril goes out from me, is blown among you.
We loiter, dreaming together, along the street.

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Photos: @seisimicimagesphotography

Model: Miss S

Poem: The House of Dust: Nightmare by Conrad Aiken.

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Vulnerability is what I want this story to be about. It’s not a story that will flow from introduction to conclusion in any sort of order, but more like a series of thoughts and moments that have left their imprint on my body in their own subtle way. I mean this in the sense that we live inside our flesh and although we are more than that, everything we do in every moment leaves it’s imprint on our body. They are the physical evidence of everything we experience, and so through my body I hope to share my vulnerability and truth with you.

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I was on a journey on my own driving up to Brisbane from Sydney in my tiny car with a couple of visits to friends and family on the way there and back. I spent a day walking in a forest with two light filled humans of kindness and love, and their little dog named Crumbs, eating mandarins in the winter sunshine and sending love to an ancient fig tree that stretched up into the canopy above us.

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I drove up to my Dad’s farm where I was met with both love and toxicity and somewhere in between that awful middle space I dwelt for 5 days. I wrote in my journal, page after page of thoughts and words to help with my anxiety. The farm is a peaceful, silent, beautiful spot of earth that I feel so connected to, but it ended up feeling like a cage and I was so happy to keep moving.

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I drove via the coast road from Ballina to Byron Bay and waved at the kombi’s full of happy wanderers like me. I smiled at how beautiful they were and wondered where they were going. I drove from there up to Brisbane to visit a friend of nearly 8 years for his birthday. He got sick right as I arrived so I spent half my time there on my own. I decided I would go back to a mountain I had climbed 2 years ago and sit on the top and reach down through the giant piece of earth to it’s core.

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I climbed the mountain and sat on the top with the cool wind blowing on me and listened to the birds in the trees below. I wrote in my journal about how I was feeling lonely and wanting someone to experience this with, but how I was also so happy to be there on my own. I told myself to stop writing, to get out of my head and just look and listen and be there.

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I walked back down the mountain as the afternoon light was turning golden and was making the earth glow. Everything felt so surreal, like looking at life from a camera; right there and urgent but disconnected somehow. When I got down the bottom I walked down the road to my familiar beautiful little car and sat with my legs out the door staring up at the trees softly blanketed in light, feeling so happy to be alive.

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I fell asleep next to my friend and held his hand on his birthday while he was trying to sleep off his sickness. It was the only gift I could give him; my unconditional love and my cold hands. Driving back down from Brisbane I felt so lost in my thoughts.. Indecisive and directionless and just wanting someone with me to help me sort out the tornado of thoughts in my mind. I drove to Dorrigo to kill time before heading back to the chaos of my Dad’s farm. The road wove in and out and ever upwards, and all of a sudden the view wasn’t blocked by trees and was just there in all of its magnitude. I laughed out loud at the sheer beauty of it. I reached the top of the mountain and ate left over noodles in the car park with a corn chip because I didn’t have a fork. I felt lost and overwhelmed and directionless; hazy like a dream that you can’t remember. I drove in the last light of the day and blasted Lana Del Rey on my stereo feeling like I was in some nostalgic dream.

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The next day I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to drive back home. It was raining and the paddocks and hills were covered in fog as I drove with beautiful music to keep me company. I felt so down and lost, thinking how glad I was that the weather was as moody and hazy as myself. I had my photo shoot that afternoon and was feeling anxious about all the little details, especially as I had to drive 5 hours to the shoot. Wanting to cry but not really knowing how to release all the pent up emotion and anxiety. As I drove south the weather cleared up and soon it was sunny and warm. I did my makeup in my car in a McDonalds parking lot and waited.

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With any journey we go on, regardless of how big or small, I think there is so much to learn by removing yourself from that comfort zone of your home. Unfamiliar roads and new experiences are what help us grow. I spent my whole journey feeling vulnerable and slightly anxious, but by overcoming those emotions I got so much more from every moment. I wanted someone with me to get me out of my head and help me make decisions when I erred on the side of caution, but I am a glutton for punishment and pushing my personal boundaries so I enjoyed that feeling of discomfort. I enjoyed and had so much gratitude that I belong to no one, that no one makes my decisions or stops my body going where it needs to go.

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My goal for this year has been to embrace my truth in all it’s messy glory, to trust and be open, to share my vulnerability with other people so that as humans we begin to break down the illusion of separation that we feel with each other. I have waited to be at this point for so long and spent so many years squandering my passions and essence. I needed those lessons to really appreciate and accept myself and be ready to share this with you.

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So what better way to embrace my vulnerability than by literally baring my body, and through shapes and light and movement begin to weave my story. It was such a blessing to me that the moment I met Duncan I felt completely at ease and all my anxiety fell away.

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What I love so much about this shoot is that I know in myself how comfortable I felt, and coming from someone with bad anxiety that goes to show what a down to earth and true-hearted person he is. To give me the gift of being completely my self with my cheeky sense of humour, awkwardness and vulnerability was really appreciated and special to me.

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I drove the rest of the way home in a blissful daze and sang and laughed at the beauty of this existence. Thank you for being on the journey with me.

 

To see more of Zoe;

http://www.zoerayne.com