Jukebox Mind got a chance to interview the brilliant Editor & Co-Creative Director of Luna Arcana, Rohini Walker in regard to the upcoming edition of her print periodical. Luna Arcana is an Arts & Literary print journal from Joshua Tree, California and it’s sold in the Mojave high desert, as well as Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Oregon, Tucson, and shipped internationally to their growing audience.
Q. It is wonderful to have you on Jukebox Mind. Could you please tell us about Luna Arcana and how did you come across the idea for this amazing journal?
Rohini: Thank you for having me on Jukebox Mind! It’s a pleasure to talk to you. Luna Arcana is a print Arts & Literary journal based in the small desert town of Joshua Tree, California. It’s intended as a homage to the deserts of the American south-west, and to the hidden power and thriving life present in these arid terrains. I moved to the Mojave Desert from the UK almost seven years ago, and this publication arose out of the deep impact that this landscape and its mysteries inspired in me. Luna Arcana documents stories of the desert in the form of words, illustrations, and photographs, as well as features on members of the vibrant creative community who naturally gravitate to this landscape. It’s an exploration of the unseen, forces that govern all life, and that the landscape of the desert draws out of those who gravitate here. Another key focus of Luna Arcana is the deep sense of humility that the desert instills in the people who have chosen to call it home, a humility made tangible by the conservation and permaculture work being done here, in particular within the community of Joshua Tree and its environs. It is our mission to disseminate information about living in harmony with nature’s cycles, of learning to work with these awesome forces that we are an intrinsic part of.
Q. When does the new issue come out and what can readers expect in this issue?
Rohini: The new issue, issue 5, is due to be out by the end of November 2020- it’s been quite a challenge getting a new issue of an independent print publication launched during such an intense time, what with the global pandemic. The new issue will have curated poetry and art, with articles and stories by local desert writers, as well as by myself. The topic of the pandemic will weave through some of the content, not in an overt way, but more in a way that this strange year has influenced artistic and creative output. Narratives around nature and indigeneity will also be woven through this next issue.
Q. The cover art in the journals are intriguing! Who does them and what’s the process behind the selection of specific cover art?
Rohini: Myth and inner alchemy are two big influences on me and my work, and the covers speak to these mysteries. The process in deciding what each issue’s cover art is never prescriptive, and always arises from a focal point of inspiration around myth and alchemy, framed around a desert setting. My Luna Arcana co-creator, Martin Mancha, and I start brainstorming things that we have been researching and learning about around these topics of myth and alchemy, and we usually arrive at an “aha!” moment as we allow the energy of our explorations to guide us intuitively. Martin is a visual artist, so we alternate the covers between him doing one, and then commissioning a desert artist to do the subsequent cover.
Q. What kind of challenges are you facing in order to run this print publication during COVID?
Rohini: All of the advertising revenue that we raise goes directly towards the printing and production of each issue – and we focus solely on advertising independent, local businesses. This year, with COVID, and all the business closures, raising ad revenue has been a big challenge. We’ve managed to raise most of the money but will have to cover what remains through Luna Arcana. Also, with the business closures, we had a dwindling of wholesale orders from retailers, which is what we rely on to keep going as a business.
Q. Could you tell our readers about how you raise funds to print this journal? And where can people donate for this wonderful journal?
Rohini: We raise the funds to print solely through advertising, and as such aim to raise just enough to print, which allows us to keep ads curated and to a minimum. Readers can purchase the publication directly from our website, lunaarcana.com. We also have an essay-style e-newsletter called “Letters from Luna” that I write, as well as a recorded audio version – subscription is free, via our website, and there’s also an option to show some love and make a donation towards the time spent in putting this together.
Q. We talked about Luna Arcana but we would like to know about the creator of Luna Arcana! Tell us about your journey and what do you think about the current reality spectrum that exists in front of us?
Rohini: As I mentioned, I moved here to the Mojave high desert straight from London, England almost seven years ago. The huge internal shifts brought about by such a big move are still being processed, and my writing and work with Luna Arcana are an ongoing documentary of that- it continues to be quite the Odyssey! After having lived a whole life within the more mainstream currents of urban society and culture, to move so drastically out of that, as well as to a completely different country in an extreme terrain such as remote and wild desert is a continuing process of unlearning things that hinder my creative growth and opening up to a direct and reciprocal relationship with nature as muse and inspiration. In particular, this has been a gradual leaning into a direct knowing of the interrelationship of all things, which constantly reveals itself in nature, and how that evokes and informs my creative process. It’s through my observation and growing relationship with the natural world that I have been led into my extensive research and exploration of myth and alchemy, and I’m currently working on a book around these themes, against the backdrop of the deeply mythic landscape of the desert.
I think the massive shifts brought about by this year are asking us to, first of all, slow down, and secondly, to co-create a deeper connection with the Earth. This year has been a big Stop sign to humanity, and we do need to stop and pay attention. We’re being asked to create a reciprocal, dynamic relationship with our planet, and to become more self-sustaining within our local communities. I think this process of slowing down, listening, and paying attention is what’s going to ensure our survival as a species. Unchecked consumerism and globalized hyper-industrialization need to be put aside as the bedrocks of modern civilization.
Q. Personally, according to you what message a desert carries with it?
Rohini: The desert encourages us to look beyond what is apparent to the naked eye. There is so much life teeming underneath the surface, and so many processes, including death and decay, that support ongoing life and creation, that can be observed in the desert. The extreme environment and weather of high elevation desert, where I live, also teaches resilience and humility. Its vast horizons and shifting shades of light also brings one to the silence of inner contemplation in a really spontaneous and organic way. And of course, the mysteries and energies of the phases of the moon, which Luna Arcana is named after, make themselves very palpably felt in the big skies of the desert.
Q. Lastly, do you have any closing thoughts that you would like to share with the world and our readers?
Rohini: Yes…I know there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty present in the world right now. And it’s necessary to lean into feeling everything that arises around this with compassion and curiosity. Let’s also give ourselves the space to realize that this time is a much-needed pattern interrupt in humanity’s trajectory and that we’re also being given the opportunity to vision a new and more sustainable future for ourselves and the Earth. I think leaning into that, if nothing else, keeps inspiration and creativity flowing, and that invariably leads to awesomeness.
Luna Arcana is an Arts & Literary print journal from Joshua Tree, California: a homage to the deserts of the south-west, and to the hidden power and thriving life present in these arid terrains.
Editor: Rohini Walker
Creative Directors: Martín Mancha & Rohini Walker
For all inquiries, please contact Luna Arcana at: email@example.com
Official Instagram: Luna Arcana