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The Man on the Train

 

What I am about to talk about maybe a trigger for people who have been the victim of assault, so here is my heads up to walk away freely if you need to. For those of you that chose to remain reading till the end, I have one more thing to say.  Some of you will not believe what I have written, they will think it blustery or self-aggrandizement and you too may walk away. It is not your time yet and I sincerely mean it when I say, I hope you never know what I am talking about. For those of you left, some of you will recognize what I am about to say and we will probably know each other, because on some fundamental level these experiences change us and mark us for life with an invisible mark recognized only by those that have been there.8150080687_faa25346ab_b

About 15 years ago I was living in New York. I worked at a nightclub in the City on weekends and caught the last train leaving Manhattan for Queens around 4:00 am after finishing my night. Before I left work I always changed into army boots, tied my hair back and put on a hat; which was standard routine when trying to stay safe. I also studied Tae Kwon Do, another way to stay safe.  There was a serial rapist in Queens that they had not caught and that was that; you do what you have to do and what you can do.IMG_1162.jpg

So this particular night, I got on an empty train car and sit down in an aisle seat. About 2 stops in, a heavy set white man in his 40’s steps into the empty car and looks right at me.  (Now here’s that bit about if you have been there, you will know what I mean.) That man looked at me and in that look, beyond that look, in the air and energy that surrounded him and surrounded me; I knew he was thinking about hurting me or killing me. He was analyzing the situation and his subject if you will.  There is no exaggeration to this I promise you, it simply was.Subway (1).jpg

The man walks through the empty train car and over to me, his footsteps echoing.  We studied each other as he walked to towards me, our eyes never left each other the whole time.  He then sits on the inside window seat right next to me, and we both turned in a very deliberate manner, looking directly into each other’s eyes.  What he was doing was reading me and he was exceptionally good at it, I knew this for a fact. This man was reading me for fear; he was hunting for it like an animal in the wild studies which of the herd he will target.

I had both my hands in my pockets; in my right a knife, in my left mace and I had my body which studied martial arts every night of the week. I knew where my strengths and weaknesses lay and held myself ready. I had also been studying energy and you better believe I had called upon the most powerful sign of protection placing it right there in front of me glowing. The man looked and I looked, and I could feel him reading my mind.

I said in a voice that only he and my gods could here, “I am not of afraid of you, I have been fighting my whole damn life and I will fight you. I will fight you with everything I have and you don’t know what I have and we don’t know who will win, but I guarantee you it will be bloody.” I said it over and over and over again like a mantra as he continued to study my face. I even allowed the slightest, tiniest hint of a sneer to form itself at the corner of my mouth.Liliane Hunt Peter Czernich Neck Corset

It may seem impossible to believe this was my reaction, but I understood darkness. I was raised in a house where the very walls were soaked and dripping with it and I learned to survive. I learned very early on to study, learn and fight, and not with a half-assed sort of approach, but as if my life depended on it, because it did. I had learned more often than not that meeting this kind of evil with full on rage could and would save my life.

We continued to stare, our eyes locked; this man and I with a lion that is in me growling ready to spring. I am not a runner I have never been able to run in my life, I have always had to fight and right there and then I stared at a man who was thinking of killing me. At some point he got up and he walked off the train, possibly in search of someone else. I wasn’t shaken; I was incredibly calm as I watched him disappear away from the platform. That night I went home, I slept, I did not worry, nor did I think about it. I just got on with trying to stay alive for another night and then another and anothera0ebb46b26fb44704463919df8c38dbe

This is a small piece of my private life. You may wonder why after all these years I have chosen to out myself, I have chosen to lift the curtain just a peak on who I really am. I am full of stories and that is only one. But this story, this one has been circling round and round in my head the last few days.

It keeps playing itself on repeat and I have to question “Why? What is its purpose after all these years?”

The truth is, outside of all the public hoo-ha, I am actually a very private person. For the most part, I keep my stories to myself and I am an introvert in the rather ironic position of having a career which requires me to be an extrovert. Many over the years have failed to notice me beyond the fancy hats and frocks. They have failed to see or grasp what lay underneath. That’s OK, I know what’s there, and I also recognize the ones that have it; that have that steel underneath their skin. They don’t wear it on the outside because they have nothing to prove, only to themselves. They are the old warriors the fighters who have hung up their swords because they got tired of fighting and they wanted peace. But the truth is many of the most peaceful of, the most Zen, were warriors once.Liliane Hunt C Morey Back Shot

Right now, I feel as though I am on that train, only this time I am not alone; my friends, family and my community are on that train.  The conductor driving that train is friends with the man and the man is not alone, he has friends. So call me a coward and I will look in your eyes and say, “test me”.

Don’t tell me to fight as if you were talking to a child who wasn’t born understanding there was no other option and don’t tell me to get over it, because it is my life and is the life of everyone in this country I care about. It took my 10 long years to become a citizen, to wave my small U.S. flag and feel like I finally belonged and that I finally had rights.

Here is my story, for my sisters and brothers out there who feel like they are waking up in hell right now and it has barely begun. I hear you, I see you, and I recognize you. You, yes you, who has been fighting your whole damn life to stay alive. I guess that’s it, that’s the message. I am not going to tell you to fight, or run, or judge you, hell no. I am going to tell you to do what you need to do to stay alive and I am going to respect the hell out of you for doing it.

Winter Has Come…

Liliane Hunt and The House of Hunt Samhain Halloween Dia de los MuertosWinter has come, there are still some leaves left on the trees, but night arrives more quickly each day and there is an unmistakable coldness in the air I cannot shake. Samhain arrived, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, the time the veil thins and our ancestors are closest to us. At The House of Hunt, (we are an eclectic mix of travelers, rogues, gentry, soldiers and vagabonds), but somehow in the melting pot of our belief systems we are one and the same. We cannot ignore the voices of our ancestors, we may not always agree with them, not all of them were wise, but some, some indeed stand the test of time and it is those that we look to when the nights are at their coldest and darkest. Liliane Hunt and The House of Hunt Samhain Halloween Dia de los MuertosSo here at The House of Hunt we made our altar for the witching hour. The funny, curious thing about an altar is, if it is alive, it will take its own form and if you are listening it will tell you what you need, rather than what you think you need. So we began full of intention of what form this altar would take and like the live thing it is and was, it shaped itself.  As we sat back, we looked and there it was; an offering  to the ancestors. I, like most travelers through this life, am a funny eclectic sort of mix, brought up in England, traveling to the United States at 22 years of age (to the South no less), back to England and back again to the East Coast and then the West. It was on the East Coast that I was blessed to live with a family from Mexico and fell in love with the culture, which was so very different from the one I grew up in.Liliane Hunt and The House of Hunt Samhain Halloween Dia de los Muertos If truth be told, it began with the food. The beauty, the richness, the warmth of the food, the family that ate together, loved together, laughed together and dreamed. We all dreamed of a better and brighter tomorrow. So 13 or more years later I find myself building an altar with my HoH family and as I stepped back to see what we had created,  I can only smile and laugh. Here in front of us lay a Dia de los Mortes altar. Here were the voices of Tyke’s ancestors and those of our family that share that heritage. Their voices came through the darkness and said, “Children, listen to us”. I am remembering the family from New York and the values they taught me; light years from the pale, damp, cold world I grew up in.Liliane Hunt and The House of Hunt Samhain Halloween Dia de los Muertos

So my friends, light your fires both figuratively and literally. It is a time to be surrounded by family, whichever family you have chosen be it blood or bond. Darkness is indeed here, but as the wheel reminds us, everything has its season and eventually the darkness will give way to light.

 

Diving into Divination

Dear Readers, I wanted to take a moment to catch you up on life in the Pacific Northwest at The House of Hunt residence. For those readers who follow the turning of the Wheel; Mabon occurred the weekend of Folsom and in every sense it was a time of gathering, gratitude and abundance. We came together to celebrate and share the fruit of our creative labors. Night and day were in equal balance, and The House members were all together in our former home of San Francisco.san-francisco-real-estate-market-trends-3.jpg

The Wheel now prepares to turn again. The nights have grown colder; the fiery colored leaves that were shaken from the trees during the tornado now lay under foot, sodden with recent rainfall. The winds of change have arrived, riding on the back of a tornado no less, a powerful metaphor indeed.d04aae2a759e509e86aa6fa9cc335343Summers End is almost upon us; Samhain, Halloween, All Saints Day and Dia de Mortes, lay just around the corner.  For some it is a time of dress up and candy, for others a more solemn occasion of remembering those that have passed to the other side, where the veil that separates this life from the next is at its thinnest. For a few of my readers it is also a time known as the Spiritual New Year.385ffac8482f3e104c3571966c620ef2

It is in this time of change, where the witching hour draws close that I sought out a decidedly magical friend of mine, Nick, from Page of Wands Tarot. Nick did a reading for me last week, a tarot reading that is. I had a question and I needed some advice on the outcome of two different choices. I know you have been in this situation, dear reader, where it just seemed impossible to untangle the plusses and minuses from one choice to another, no matter how hard you looked. I could feel the wind on my back urging me to make a choice and yet which choice to make. So it is with this metaphoric fog in my brain, I knocked on the door of Page of Wands Tarot. The outcome of our encounter was insight, clarity and thankfully no more fog.

Over the next few months I will be introducing you to some of the performers in The House of Hunt and some of the fabulous people we spend time with. October, felt like the perfect time to introduce you to Nick, our divination expert.

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Nick how did this begin for you?

I have had a fascination with tarot since my early teen years. However, it was not until 2013 that I actually began to study and read tarot for myself. During one of the darkest times of my life, it served as a tremendous source of centering, direction, and reassurance.

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How did you start doing tarot for others?

As I began to dig deeper into this craft, others began to come to me seeking the same guidance that I had found for myself. This is what inspired me to start Page of Wands Tarot. I created a platform that allows me to help others with the skill that I have developed. Just like the page of wands “himself”, my hope is to boldly explore new territories seeking truth and enlightenment.

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What is the most memorable experience with Tarot that you have encountered?

My most memorable tarot experience was the day that I decided to go buy my first deck (which is still the one I use to this day). I remember getting back to my car and opening it for the very first time. I was so excited!!!! My intuition was telling me that that step was the beginning of something which would change my life in a very positive way.

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What does this weekend mean to you and how will you be celebrating?

For me, Samhain is a time for being open to learning from the past. Many different traditions recognize the thinning of the veil between physical and spiritual during this time. It is often filled with many different ancestral traditions, which for me can include learning from one’s past self.nick2If any of my readers wish for your services how do they get in contact with you and how do you do your readings?

I can be contacted directly through my Facebook Page. I do intuitive tarot reading, readings can be conveyed face to face or via email, text, Skype, Facetime, etc.

How much are your readings?

This is a donation based service (recommended donation $10-$20). It is my goal to make this accessible to as many people as possible.

Well dear readers whatever you believe in, may your forthcoming weekend be all that you need and desire it to be. Until next time, hold onto your hats and may your cauldrons be ever full.

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The House of Hunt traveled across five states to celebrate family, create art and have a grand adventure at Folsom Street Fair. It was my eight year anniversary of attendance at the internationally renowned event. While each year carries its own treasured memories and its own unique magic, this year I had the honor of being asked to be on the Folsom poster. The posters are almost as famous as the event itself and the opportunity to be cast as a fetishistic version of Sarah Palin was thoroughly irresistible.

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Top left to right: Lieutenant of QHG, Mr.Wizard ( Kalib DuArte), Liliane Hunt, Captain of       QHG, Tyke Puppy, Mr.Song, Second Lieutenant of QHG. Kneeling left to right: Faery 2 (Princess Cream Pie), Faery 1 (Jessi K). Image by John Goyer.

 

 

As some you may already be aware I am now residing in Portland, Oregon; Folsom is in San Francisco and the Twisted Carriage does not fly unless it’s on her own private plane. So Friday morning at 5:00 am we began a thirteen hour drive with Tyke, the Twisted Carriage, my three bio dogs otherwise known as The House of Chi and The Junkyard Pack on the back seat. Sandwiched in between them was a crate of champagne, props, costumes and my favorite wine from Willamette Valley Vineyards. My gown and fascinator sat on top of the Twisted Carriage. You may of course wonder what mischief The House of Hunt and The Junkyard Pack discussed in a car for thirteen hours. Well, aside from practicing the top secret handshake, buffing up on our lines for our even more top secret ritual and street performance, not much aside from various renditions of the HoH theme songs of which there is Tyke’s version and mine. I will let you guess who has the thoroughly irreverent version. I am not at liberty to discuss anymore other than it involves a pterodactyl.

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Far left to right: Faery 2 (Princess Cream Pie), Mr.Wizard (Kalib DuArte), Lieutenant QHG. Center: Liliane Hunt, Captain QHG, Color Guard (Paulo Batista). Image by John Goyer.

 

We arrived at our home away from home at about 8:00 pm, a charming house in San Francisco with a delightful view overlooking the City. Moments later Matt Gray friend and owner of  (Get it up Drone Video) based in Seattle and Paulo Batista Color Guard for The Queen’s Horse Guard arrived on our doorstep from San Diego.  The House of Chi announced their arrival with a chorus of barks that they reserve especially for significant occasions. Later that night Jessi K, (one of our two Faerys) arrived with a gift basket for The House of Chi.

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Left to right: Matt Gray and Tyke Puppy. Image by Pup Gadget.

After a limited amount of sleep we awoke to sunshine, coffee and more visitors. Princess Cream Pie  Faery 2, brought over a tiny new recruit to the faery division of HoH.  Needless to say he passed the audition and we look forward to his upcoming contributions. At some juncture Mr.Wizard (Kalib DuArte) appeared, he has a way of doing that without even The House of Chi noticing, he also disappears just as quickly. In all the years I have known him and in a room full of people no one has ever figured out how he does it. Just recently Captain of The Horse Guards asked me where Mr. Wizard was from.  I pondered it for a moment and answered, the universe, although that was a guess and I couldn’t be completely certain.

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Far back, left to right: Mr.Song, Mr. Wizard (Kalib DuArte), Lieutenenant QHG, Faery 2 (Princess Cream Pie), Liliane Hunt, Second Lieutenant QHG, Captain QHG. Image by MisterKen Photography.

Almost as mysterious as Mr. Wizard is the famous Mr.Song of Mr.Song Millinery.  Years ago the Post Office lost my hat for four days, it happened to be one of Mr. Song’s exquisite hats and by a twist of fate and my complete misunderstanding of time zones he answered a phone that he never typically answers.  We then became acquainted. Occasionally if the fates align and he happens to be in town, Mr. Song will hat me for the event. Thankfully, the fates did align and he arrived with earrings to match my Christian Dior choker and advice on a bent feather acquired in transit, emergency averted.

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Far left to right: Lieutenant QHG, Second Lieutenant QHG, Faery 1 (Jessi K.) Center: Liliane Hunt. Image by John Goyer.

No HoH event is complete without the arrival of The Queen’s Guard, Head of Security for the entire House. Whenever we do any public event security is essential, I have absolute confidence in his ability to handle any situation owing to the fact that since he joined the team we have not had a single situation. His arrival is announced by the deep growl of his Harley which he rides from Utah to wherever we need him. He reminds me of a cowboy from an old West movie, and he can also make very good coffee.

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Far left to right: House of Hunt Security and QG, Captain QHG . Center to right : Liliane Hunt, Color Guard Paulo Batista. Image by Roger Landon Hall.

Finally with the family together and the Junkyard Pack joining us, the festivities began. In fact the festivities continued for such a long time, that I actually had to sound the royal gong and make them go to bed. What felt like five minutes later the alarm sounded and cowboy coffee was thrust into my hand, Lord Black announced the arrival of Andrea Costigan Ortega of Salt Spell Beauty my makeup artist for the day. I will let the photographs speak for themselves, we have worked together  three times now, two Folsoms and the Folsom Poster. She has become a beautiful and enormously talented part of the family. With make-up and hair done, I was now ready for my dress.  I absolutely must take a moment to sing the praises of Valentina European Alterations. Since I moved to Portland I had obviously bid farewell to my San Francisco tailor and  with no small about of trepidation I set Tyke on the task of finding somebody capable of understanding how to tailor a formal gown. The funny thing is when I met Valentina I knew, she exuded that quiet confidence of someone who knows precisely what they are doing. When I put my gown on the morning of Folsom it slid and contoured against my skin like a custom made glove.

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Liliane Hunt, image by John Goyer.

Dress, jewelry, and boots on with fascinator in hand, we headed to the vehicle. Meeting us at our rendezvous point was our documentary filmmaker extraordinaire Roger Landon Hall of Infinite Mind Media and our entire fantastic family. Captain of The Queen’s Horse Guards at the front of my carriage dressed in a custom suit of armor made by an elite British armorer, rear guard Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant. Typically the Royal House does not responded to rumors and there has indeed been one circling that the Lieutenant of the Horse Guards is none other than the Dogtator himself.  I will neither confirm nor deny this rumor. I can confirm however that excellent caviar was served at the after party.

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Left to Right: Tyke Puppy, Lieutenant QHG, Captain QHG, Second Lieutenant QHG. Far right: The Twisted Carriage. Image by Pup Gadget.

Second Lieutenant pounded the drum and off we went to Folsom as one big happy family.  Old friends and new greeted our arrival. Depending on whether I liked them or not depended on whether they received a royally wicked apple. The sun beat down on us without mercy; she was cruel, beautiful and unforgiving as we worked our way through the crowds. One of the radiant qualities of Folsom is the diversity of the individuals one encounters, all manner of creatures in all manner of dress, “Bow for the Queen!” and “The Queen of Folsom!” were shouted as we marched onward. The faeries darted hither and thither returning each time the carriage moved away and disappearing as we stopped.

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Image by Ajax

At some juncture Mr. Wizard deemed that the ground felt right for our ritual. The carriage was brought to a halt, the ground prepared and a circle formed to summon the Lord of Beasts at Folsom. Mr. Wizard called the quarters, we did our chant and called Cernunnos to us and the hairs prickled on our skin as we heard him answer. Yes we did that, right at the front gates of Folsom, just a magical ritual from the dark forest of the Pacific Northwest. After that we left; we made our way back home with the drum sounding the heartbeat of our procession.

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Left to right: Mr. Wizard (Kalib DuArte), Lieutenant QHG, Second Lieutenant QHG,                    Faery 1 (Jessi K). Center: Liliane Hunt. Image by MisterKen Photography.

This is not where the story ends, I am not at liberty to reveal the details of the after party but only to say the case of champagne was indeed drunk in its entirety and that somebody brought vodka and caviar.

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Color Guard (Paulo Batista)

The following day we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to the home of Nancy Peach who had generously gifted me the 15 by 10 foot painting “Liliane Hunt”.  She was constructed in six panels totaling 150 feet. Wrapped tightly and securely she was carried aloft our vehicle where she sat for the next thirteen hours. That my friends is the story of how Hunt and Junk did Folsom 2016.

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Nancy Peach standing in front of the Liliane Hunt Painting

My undying loyalty and thanks to The Junkyard Pack for taking this journey with me across two state lines and for so gallantly taking up the reigns of the Queen’s Horse Guard. Thank you to the rest of our family who worked so hard to make this such a grand affair and to the photographers that braved the fierce heat and sent me pictures! Finally last but not least thank you to Tyke, Logistics Puppy and Producer of The House of Hunt events.

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Tyke Puppy, image by John Goyer

 

 

If I asked you to describe to me what the archetypal hero looks like; I wonder what you would say? Depending on who you are, and what your reference points are, you might describe a character in a movie.  Someone you read about online or in a book, or you may have been fortunate enough to know one or meet one.  If I asked you to describe the attributes that a hero has you might say brave, strong, fearless, and triumphant.  There is something so powerfully connective about the story of “The Hero’s Journey” that the same formula has repeated itself throughout the mythology of nearly every culture in the world. If you are not yet familiar with the writer and philosopher Joseph Campbell, and what you are reading right now interests you; take a deep breath and google him because he is going to blow your mind apart and give you some fundamental truths to rebuild it.

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If you consider for a moment the movies that seem to stand the test of time, that have amassed the greatest following, they all seem to share the formula of The Heroes Journey; Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, the Matrix, and Lord of the Rings. The premise is timeless. Our young hero is awakened to a journey to answer a calling. Along the way the hero encounters a guide, a teacher.  They study or apprentice, face his or her fears, then slays or transcends them returning wiser, and sharing what they have discovered.

It is, as I mentioned, the universal story that unites us in our individual and our collective consciousness, the soul’s journey if you will. Yet it seems the world we live in has begun to erode the ancient story of the hero and has replaced it with an artificial hero, essentially an inauthentic hero. The self-proclaimed hero or heroine, who we are consistently presented with, appears to be he or she who shouts loudest, the one who is swift and agile with the put down (this is truly evident on Twitter and social media generally). These so called heroes have already accomplished their mission.  There is no journey of the soul, they are already there and they know best. They are the champion and they will tell you so with every opportunity they get (insert name of musician or reality TV star of your choosing). There is no search for the Holy Grail for them; they have a house full of grails. Several grails in fact, each one better than the last and as for pulling swords out of stones; well they can do that too. In fact they do it every morning before breakfast and so on and so forth (insert name of politician).

You may have also noticed the media seems to present a very narrow bandwidth of what a hero looks like. More often than not they all look the same, give or take a nuance here or there. They are most often white, male, cisgendered, young (no older than 40 if a woman, older if a man), handsome in a main stream media approved way.  Rarely, if ever, is a hero presented as a person of color, disabled, gay, or transgendered.

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Why is this?

Authentic heroes are as varied as every single person on this planet, and yet you wouldn’t know it if you believed everything the media told you and showed you.

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I could, I suppose, end my rant there. I could put down the metaphoric pen and walk away, waiting for the end of the world. However, the bearers of hope, the teachers, the ones who shine the light, often come in the forms you least expect. Look at Yoda or Gandalf for example. The first part of the lesson begins when the hero recognizes the teacher and is willing to learn. They disregard their ego that tells them this is not what my teacher, my mentor should look like, be like.

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Continuing with the theme of storytelling, are you sitting comfortably? No? Yes, well do the best you can and I shall begin by telling you a true story of a real life hero and teacher. He is brave, strong, fearless, determined, resolute, and compassionate but it doesn’t stop there.  He is kind, generous, likeable, non-judgmental, and insightful. It seems to me impossible to spend time in his company and not be aware of how magical he truly is.

Ian is my cousin. He has deep blue eyes, golden red hair and a smile that seems to reach passed his eyes encompassing his whole being. Ian was born with a physical and a learning disability but in no way is he defined by this. He has, at every step of the way, refused to limit himself; he has defied every voice that said he couldn’t. The metaphor of the hero slaying the dragon, couldn’t be better represented than by the stone dragon that lives tamed in Ian’s front garden. In fact you have to walk past it to get to the front door, a powerful metaphor indeed.

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So the hero of this story, who rides his wheeled chariot, or walks aided but with a strength vigor and determination that is very much his own, discovered laughter at the age of ten. Ian then embarked upon his quest (his grail quest), to pursue the nature of laughter. His quest has taken him all over the world to meet the funniest people and the people that he most admired clowns. Much like the young Luke Skywalker, Ian has his own special gifts, (he is contagiously funny, passionately loves animals and music) however he has also apprenticed and learned and studied his craft.

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He is every hero that faced seemingly impossible odds and didn’t give up. He is Jack that slayed the Giant, the young Frodo on his quest with the ring, he is Harry Potter.

Pablo Picasso said “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

I know of no one in my life who better exemplifies the true meaning of the hero on The Hero’s Journey than Ian.

He heard the call, he answered the call, he subdued the dragon (remember our hero has a way with animals, so he probably whispered to it) and for 30 years he has traveled throughout the world on his metallic steed. His trusty wheeled chariot playing the fool and teaching the world how to laugh, how to love and how to truly listen.
Ian is my hero, who is yours?

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Dearest friends and followers,

I wanted to take a moment of your precious time, to address some questions and comments that have come up repeatedly over the years, in particular, following a photoshoot.

“You always look so in your photos<insert compliment>, I wish I could do that, but I am not <insert adjective>”

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Liliane Hunt Image by John Goyer

 

You can do it. Not wishing to thoroughly ruin my twistedly evil reputation, but yes anyone (even you, yes YOU) can stand in front of a camera and look beautiful. First of all, try to extract from your consciousness all those things you heard about what beauty is supposed to look like. (This also works for handsome, or any other word that speaks to your soul.) Everything you learned from television, magazines and the media in general.  Now take it all, scoop it up into a ball, open your door or window and breathe in deep. Curse, shout if it feels right, exhale and throw that rubbish as far away as possible. Wash your hands, take a shower, sage, go for a run, dance, whatever allows you to feel cleansed from the lies you have been told your entire life, because that is exactly what they are.

You are beautiful, handsome, cheeky, cute, dashing, sexy, pretty in every size, in every gender on the spectrum, in every race, every color and physicality imaginable and every damn age. It’s true, it really is. I know I have a reputation for being wicked, but you’re just going to have to trust me on this.

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Sheba Ameera aka Weebit

Now we have sorted out why you think you can’t, let’s move on to step two!

“I would really love to take pictures like you but I don’t know how to get started.”

Find a photographer you want to work with and that you feel comfortable around. Maybe you have seen their work and think it’s awesome, or maybe you and a friend want to start shooting together.

Discuss the kind of pictures you want to take, what you feel comfortable with or not comfortable with, be upfront and candid. If you don’t know this person, try to find some background on them, people they have worked with before. Vet them.

Decide on a theme, a look, an overall idea, or just go with how the wind blows.  There are no rules.

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Liliane Hunt Image by John Goyer

I have a bit of a reputation for my outfits, but the reality is you do not need a fancy whatever to look good, you really don’t. The first dress I wore in my very first shoot came from a thrift store and, if memory serves me correctly, I think it was under $10 . If you are one of those people who struggle to find things that fit your body. I get it, I really do (I’m one of those people too). So if you are shooting from the front, pin or clamp the back, or get someone to sew you into it. No one will ever be the wiser; you wouldn’t believe how many shoots I have done with cheats like these.IMAG3876

Have fun, experiment, if clothes aren’t for you, but shooting in the buff isn’t something you feel super comfortable with either, you do have options. Body paint, fabric, draped strategically, if you are trying to do this as economically as possible, look around your home, your apartment, see what you can adapt and be creative. Take risks, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, it is all part of the fun.

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Liliane Hunt and Jessi K Image by John Goyer

If you are working with an experienced photographer he will likely have lighting, or have a sense of how to work with what you have at home. If this is just you and a friend starting at the beginning, teach yourself some basics, “how?” you ask, Google is your friend.  The lighting can make or break a shot so it’s always something to keep in mind.

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Image of Ed Mestre by John Goyer

Those are the basics, the rest is simply the icing. Well one more piece of advice, if you are not shooting in a studio, rather on location, or at home; take a few moments to check your space for something that you don’t want in the shot. This can be as simple as moving the sofa and discovering a dust bunny. It really is worth the time to double check.

“How did you get started in all this?”

Twenty plus years of theater both in England and the U.S. preceded my very first outing to Folsom Street Fair nine years ago, that particular adventure began with a tremendously rocky beginning.

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Liliane Hunt 2007, the beginning.

I had been grieving the death of my father, the threat of having to leave the US due to my Visa running out, and the dissolution of a four year relationship all at the same time. You might say I was miserable and quite soggy in my misery. Finally, Mr. Wizard (yes the infamous House of Hunt Wizard), suggested, in his Wizardly way, that I had been miserable long enough and now I needed to live life and go to Folsom Street Fair.  So I got up, got out of bed, put on an outfit that I felt good in, and that I had actually helped design a few months back, and off we went to Folsom. I literally had no idea what I was walking into, however I trusted Mr. Wizard. A very important quality to remember when choosing your wizard, or did he choose me? I guess we will never know. If I asked him I guarantee he would chuckle and answer the question with a question. IMG_4774

The sun was shining, I laughed for the first time in a very long time, and there were photographers. I had fun, and at some point over that evening or the next day (I forget), I ended up on the front page of The Chronicle and somewhere near Paris Hilton in the society pages of SF Luxe with the statement,  “Mistress Liliane best dressed at Folsom, some might say the only dressed.”FolsomStreetFair2007_LilianeHuntTheHouseofHunt

Now this in a nutshell started the whole ball rolling, because people started asking what I was going to do the following year. Then people started asking me to come to events in my outfits, then with my entourage, then could I do something on stage, and then what would I like to do on stage and how long for and so on… and that my friends is how it all began.

“If you could give any advice what would it be?”

When you find yourself immersed in a vat of lemon juice, I am not talking simple lemon throwing; I am talking full immersion. Keep swimming, keep moving, doggy paddle, do whatever it takes to keep moving, because sooner or later this too will pass. Sometimes the passing is that you find resolution in yourself and strength you never knew you had. Situations don’t necessarily change, but your ability to process them does. Be kind to yourself, love yourself, and nurture yourself. Find what gives you joy and do it. Be mindful of what you put in, on and around your body. Surround yourself with good people and people that call you on your stuff and nonsense when it needs to be called out. Perform an act of kindness for no other reason than to be compassionate and make this a habit. Draw your boundaries firmly and respect your boundaries. Allow love in your life in whatever form feels right, plants, animals, people it doesn’t matter allow love, give it and be open to receiving it.IMAG0130_1

Create something awesome! It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be food, music, art; it doesn’t even have to sound arty just create. Push yourself and give yourself permission to rest. Listen to your body and do not toss away the seeds of your dreams, plant them, water them and let them grow.

With many thanks and gratitude to all the amazing people in my life who have made this extraordinary journey possible. Lifetimes of gratitude to Mr. Wizard for being the very first person to believe in what I was creating and insisting I go to Folsom. So much love for the beautiful women, men (and those in-between) in my life that inspire me on a daily basis. You know who you are, cheeky, handsome, cute, pretty, sexy… YOU.

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In Memorium

Dearest readers,

 
I cannot begin to express how excited I am to share these images with you from my latest photoshoot. The plans began to germinate when I received a message from one of my favorite photographers, John Goyer. He wanted to let me know that he and a friend of his, Ed Mestre, would be traveling to Portland. If you have been following my work and adventures for any length of time you will be quite familiar with John’s work. Ed however, I had never worked with. He was someone I had been stalking for probably a couple of years and I am quite an admirer of his beautiful images.edmestre2
Sounds great so far right?

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Image by John Goyer

 
For those of you who know me on a personal level, you will know I am a creature of habit. When I find good people, I hold onto them. So in many ways our very first Portland shoot was beginning at the beginning with a brand new team of hair and makeup folks. After a bit of hunting and searching we found a team and a fantastic venue (or so we thought). We booked everything weeks in advance and breathed a sigh of relief. A week later hair bailed and the night before the shoot so did make-up (I kid you not). The unraveling of all our carefully laid plans began like an avalanche; our team flaked in its entirety.

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Image by John Goyer

 
Tyke handles logistics; he is in fact, head of logistics for The House of Hunt. One of the key qualities in being head of logistics for HoH is the ability to perform miracles both big and small, including but not limited to the night before a morning photoshoot. Tyke didn’t just remedy the situation, he excelled. He replaced the hair and makeup team with an even better one (who we will use moving forward) and he didn’t even tell me everyone flaked until after he fixed it and had secured a new team. That little miracle, along with securing a beautiful church built in 1882 to shoot in, earned him his five year top performer award two months early. He was gifted a Full Hunter pocket watch.

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Image by John Goyer

 

Anyway, I digress back to the shoot. My inspiration from the shoot had come from Alfred Lord Tennyson. I have always had a soft spot for Tennyson. I studied his work in college, could recite the Lady of Shallott by heart, and I grew up in the same place Tennyson did. I even looked rather a lot like Waterhouse’s painting, which I had above my fireplace gifted by the Grand Empress for my 19th birthday.

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Recently I have been journeying back to my artistic roots so to speak and rediscovering the beauty of Tennyson. I am however no longer the 19 year old girl that identified with the Lady of Shallott. She has died, long since buried and another older stronger version has been reborn again and again. Now, at just over twice her age, I cannot recount how many versions of my old self and lives there were. This shoot is symbolic of the Death card. The heroine does not mourn an unrequited love, but rather her old self which must die in order to be reborn, stronger, more resolute more fearless. It is the Death card, but also a beginning.

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Image by Ed Mestre

 
This shoot could not have been possible without the amazing team of wonderful individuals who I had the pleasure to work with. Thank you, Kelli Gasaway and Chelsea Taggart from Kelz Beauty for pulling together last minute on hair and make-up. Mascherina thank you so much, for the exquisite Victorian inspired mourning cape. To my dearest friends and photographers John and Ed, with love and my eternal thanks until next time.

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Image by Ed Mestre