Interview by Keyframe-Entertainment
JIVANA considers herself to be a spiritual artivist (art activist). With the idea that "I Am Art" and using art as a means for spiritual enlightenment, she is an avant-garde yogini who has applied her philosophy of karmic yoga to “artivism.” Raver J is a multimedia project from JIVANA, which she calls her living cosplay, pop-art experiment, and contribution to artistic disclosure. JIVANA has cosplayed Raver J onstage in her hoop dance performances at festivals worldwide, integrating both her spiritual and non-profit work into her art. She uses Raver J social media platforms to intentionally spread what she calls PLURR Propaganda: topics and issues to usher in a more peaceful, loving, united, respectful, and responsible world. JIVANA currently lives on Latitude 10 where she is a founding member of an eco-village. Aside from creative writing, she practices and teaches tantric-yoga and actively serves several nonprofit projects in her local area. She believes that we are sacred and integral beings within Gaia with unlimited creativity and that it is our given birthright to experience a state of ecstatic bliss.
The novel, Rave: Mythophrenia narrates JIVANA’s experience as a young junior marketing executive (Jivana Thoreau)who has always been driven by success. Her life vision of making it to the top of the transnational Koch Enterprises and enjoying the endless material luxuries and happiness afforded by the Consumerican Dream is just within reach until she loses her due promotion to Victor, her ex-boyfriend and nephew of the CEO. In need of a distraction, she synchronisticallystumbles upon the underground Democracity rave scene. Her first rave inflames a desire to swap her business jacket for a coat of psychedelic fur which leads her on a journey where she uncovers an ancient prophecy and a climate destabilizing political plan. Her enlightening experiences quickly escalate to an existential rebirth and she must make a choice: remain in complicity bycontinuing to work a safe corporate job or open her heart and help the raveolution?
JIVANA on the release of Rave: Mythophrenia: "This project is about using the magic of storytelling to inspire our community to channel our love from the dance floor into actionable change for the world - be it on a personal, community, or global level. I’m hoping it at the very least encourages those on the fence to get out and vote for Earth in 2020."
As co-Founder of the Electronic Music Alliance, you've been involved for years the Electronic Music community and providing a platform for the community to connect and give back.
When did the idea for Raver J first come about?
Raver J came before EMA. It could be said that by following my heart to bring Raver J to life, I found yoga and then the combination between the two empowered me to eventually co-found EMA.
Please tell us about your novel's creation process. What was it like, breakthroughs, challenges, etc.
Wow, this might be a long answer because it was a long process.I didn’t exactly say how long I’ve been at it a moment ago but let’s put it this way, it’s been over a decade. It’s been so long, I could probably write a book about the process. In fact, it deserves one because this project has been my own spiritual journey, my heroine’s quest, my tantric weaving of polarities.Early 2000’s the idea came. After a poignant spiritual experience that the idea was birthed from, I would walk away from one world to venture, with only hope, into another. I went through a dark night of the soul that lasted a couple of years. My first breakthrough was probably making it out of that destruction stage of my life alive, committed to bringing forth this work which I knew was to help me serve the world. Humbled, I continued to shed old waysand practice new ones. Tantra has deeply guided my creative process through practices such as gratitude, setting intentions, meditations, rituals - magick. As a good friend and spiritual teacher often says, “All in Divine Time.” So as I continued on my path where I did face major challenges, such as losing an entire draft manuscript due to a computer failure - being only one such challenge - I knew it was okay and to keep going. Losing a manuscript was a major setback, but the story is inside of me and mine to tell. That’s part of the reason I have called it my fictional autobiography. Not so much that the protagonist and I are the same or that the events of the story happened, but that I was developing spiritually in tandem with my character. I will be trying to continue to reflect her transformation in the sequel of this novel through the language used. Another reason I’ve called it a fictional autobiography is that the novel began to flow when I started to write it as her. This may not have happened had I not had the computer failure. When we put our intentions out, we must trust that all that happens is for a reason and it is being worked out in the most perfect way.
Breakthroughs though... What I truly consider a breakthrough was realizing what it was that I was doing. At some point, I understood that Raver J was not just a character but my inner-muse or inner-superheroine. I began to recognize I could honor her, and thus potentially manifest her, by embodying some of her qualities. For a play on the old Gandhi quote, we could spin it and say, “You must be the superhero you imagine yourself to be”. It was through that recognition that I would continue to study yoga, tantra, meditation, esoteric material, and start my nonprofit projects. More than anything, I give myself a pat on the back for not giving up. I knew it was part of my path, but I have to say, watching my girl Mindy Kelly continue to preach “never give up” to keep herself motivated, certainly helped. She’s actually having a spotlight moment right now too as she was the stunt coordinator for The Art of Self Defense.
What was the most surprising aspect of writing the novel?
The real-life component where ideas might come through me and then actually manifest in the world. Or sometimes they were more synchronistic whereby it was not something I saw in my mind first and then it manifested but that I have recognized the same desire and inspiration that brought about someone else’s creation. Some have been happenings, others have been people that remind me of my characters, and still, others are projects, brands, or trends. Occupy was one. Meeting Mindy Kelly, my "real life" Zoe, the emergence of Lady Casa, the LA County Rave Taskforce, Standing Rock and Red Fawn, Herø, Hard Decora and Jackelopeland, AOC, the rise of the Divine Feminine over the last many years evidenced by the project Amplify Her, KaytiBunny’s Superhero Self series, and the very recent debut of Madame X, might be others.
We'd love to hear about Raver J's music tastes, playlist, etc.
I plan on making more of an official playlist but I actually want fan collaboration on it because well, for one it would be fun, and two because I don’t want to determine the soundtrack as music is personal. One of the few reading suggestions I give before RAVE: Mythophrenia, my novel, begins is “Play your favorite electronic music." Anyway, I do have a page on my website with music from the time I entered the scene and on my journey. This is my fictional autobiography, after all (laughs). A great way to summarize the intention I had with this novel is the lyrical line from a Crystal Method song, “I want you to trip like I do.” Of course, if anyone knows my personal life, they may feel I’m biased. Surely I am but I was a fan before any personal relations with the band. For me, their music has always been quite an inspiration and there are several tracks I’ve picked from them I feel capture a mood in the novel. Similarly, I have a great affinity to all the artists that are part of EMA. Their affiliation with the organization makes them all artivists in my eyes even if they are not super active. Because we are part of the same network, I tend to pay attention to what they are doing because I like advocating for artists that create intentionally messaged music or use their platform to create the positive change they would like to see in the world. I would like to give a special shoutout to Table Syndicate who created a track called JIVANA that has a few remixes, one called the “Raver J mix.” Table Syndicate created another artivist track I am quite fond of called Bombs Fly. And although DJ Shar4 did not create her track "Shine Our Light" for the novel, I have shared her track as well because it's very Raver J meta-theme. Earlier this year I found Madame Gandhi because she helped Give A Beat, a community nonprofit partner of EMA. Bad habits is a great track. Recently stumbled upon two gals from Italy. Loving their vibe. Hoping they are of good character like DJ Rap … their names are Gioli (pauses as she’s unsure if she is pronouncing the name right) and Assia.
There's also a comic component to the project. How did that come about?
The comic component came first. Back in 2003 when the idea came, I saw it as multi-media but I had to start somewhere. My decision was to attempt making a comic book as I thought it might be the best initial medium for an independent visionary. At that time, and still to this day, I am not sure there were any other rave culture comic books out at that time. I thought our community deserved one. Ultimately I saw it as a superhero movie so I thought a good first step would be creating a comic book series that could be used as a storyboard. I debuted the original comic, Issue Zero, with a soundtrack by DJK at the San Diego Comic Con in 2004. The new comic is both a remake and an extension of Issue Zero. There was a lot of time between the two. That was part of my long journey. The timing that it would be done nearly at the same time as the novel when it had been restarted well before, I consider some of that “Divine Timing." It’s beautiful but also handy. It works as a visual prequel to the novel and a character guide.
Tell us more about your upcoming 'Save the Rave' mini-series.
Music and comics made sense to me. Thus the reason why I had distributed a mix made for and with the comic at the 2004 Comic Con. So I was beyond excited to see a company dedicated to the infusion of music with comics as I had thought there should be so long ago. Herø is that company. They are a comics and music label. They will be taking the new Raver J comic, Issue 001 entitled “Save the Rave," and breaking it into a mini-series combined with music. I feel honored they signed on the Raver J project.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Disconnect from the tech and start establishing a relationship with Nature. Breathe Her in. Now is the time of the heart. Work on opening it, so you can listen to and follow it. Share your stories, they matter. Like DJ Shar4’s track let’s "Shine Our Light." If anyone is powerful enough to change the world, it is each and every member of this global dance music community. We fill ourselves with Love on the dance floor, let’s be brave enough to share it boldly. Years ago I went through a Dark Night of the Soul. I hear many people these days having a difficult time processing. The world around us seems like it, and in some regards, is falling apart. The old systems but fall before we can usher in the new. It’s a new paradigm time. We are transforming. Destruction can hurt but… I invite you onto a mini-journey by listening to a gorgeous song called Turbulence from The Crystal Method. It reminds me of the time in my life when I shifted. I surrendered and committed to a new path. It was still hard but I saw light coming through. The message is at the end of the song and the first time I heard it, I cried. If you are feeling a bit crazy or going through a hard time, THIS SONG IS (placing my hands on my heart).