Snowdrops

by Rose Bretécher

The average 20-year-old checks their phone 90 times a day. But Layla was not average. She posted the video as she waited for the toaster to ping and checked the view-count three times in the two minutes it took her to finish breakfast. The internet replied with silence and that stung a little, as it always did.

Plants, Powders and Spirit Voices

“I’m definitely going to shit myself,” I told my friend, as I stuffed a pair of pants into my rucksack. We were in her apartment in Bogotá, readying ourselves for an overnight stay in Colombia’s Cordillera Oriental mountains, where we were to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony.

Dubious Heritage

I am descended from a long line of liars, which is even less noble than it sounds. It’s impossible to trace my dubious heritage, though I suspect it goes as far back as the Roman Empire, or earlier still. It’s impossible to trace because depending on who you ask, my ancestors are: Italian, Indian, Jewish, Scottish, English, German, rich, poor, brilliant and ordinary.

The Shaman from Monaco

At the start of 2015, I met a Canadian ex-banker-turned-shamanic healer from Monaco, who was in China to close a deal on his robotic inventions. He introduced himself by coming over to my table in a hotel café and asking me what I was doing here. A straightforward question, yet it hung in the air, reluctant and vague.

Under the Skin of New Year's New Body

For most of us, this is the start of an antagonizing annual cycle that begins with earnest calorie restriction and a gym membership. Then we give up. I call this the New Year, New Body trope, a mysterious and torturous actualization that demands self-starvation and encourages eating disorders.

Menagerie

Thousands of animal species are threatened by anthropogenic climate change. Here is a small sample. Axolotls are those enchanting salamanders, limb-growers, Bowie-esque in style and, now, frequency. Bicknell’s thrush with confetti of stars on breast, insect quests no longer synchronised. Coral (staghorn), crystalline dendrites of the deep, food for many before warming and mass bleach.

Will Indigenous Voices Be Heard at the Paris Climate Conference?

In the midst of the polemical environmental debate between the reactionaries of the right and the activists of the left, an under-examined knowledge system remains neglected. As the descendants of those who carved nations out of “New Worlds” fight over contamination of the planet, ancient epistemologies are being erased, along with the peoples who existed before systematic colonization.

To Be Good

‘D’you want a hand with that?’ he says, a hand-rolled fag hanging from the corner of his lip, unlit, of course.

She pushes the crate of milk bottles onto the flatbed of the float.

‘Don’t often see a lady doing this job.’

‘No?’

So Long, Sertraline

I gaze long and hard at myself in the mirror, straining to reach the girl behind the face. I’m in there somewhere and it’s both liberating and terrifying to think that the person before my eyes is now the ‘real’, emotional, non-medicated version of my being.

Hungry Ghosts / 餓鬼

On the 15th night of the 7th month in the Chinese lunisolar calendar, the lower realm is opened so that ghosts and spirits can return to roam the living world, seeking food and entertainment. During this month (鬼月), Taoists and Buddhists must perform rituals to absolve the suffering of the deceased.