#10: Terroir, Terpenes + A Little Yellow Citron in Languedoc-Roussillon
Plus: Leo Season, Astro-motional Weather Reports + Radical Astronomer Potheads
Astromotional World Update
Congratulations, You Have Been Influenced
Carl Sagan Was An Astronomical Pothead (and Nixon Was A Dick)
Pipe Dreams: Terpenes, Terroir + A Little Yellow Citron in Languedoc-Roussillon
What’s up? Stargazers may have noticed that I missed the Cancer eclipse on the 21st, as well as the grand roaring announcement welcoming our proud lions into Leo season. Or not. Whatever. Onward!
Astrologers are typically supposed to work ahead of the curve in order to provide useful divinations and astral-based guidance, like an emotional weather report to the stars. After all, how else are you going to know when there’s a new moon to set those intentions? Your Google cal? How boring!
This new Cancer moon was a little symbolic in that it was also an eclipse, marking a time of radical transformation—a massive shift in energy signifying the end an era and beginning of another, personally and collectively.
As a result, I decided to take some time to re-shift my own intense psychic Pisces energy and tap into the convenient astrological alignment of hyper-organized OCD Virgo moon in sync with chatty Mercury in order to wipe my slate clean, articulate my thoughts, and remember exactly why I started this experimental journal: to strike the balance of realism and magic realism. To encourage free-thinking ideas, dreaming, and inspire magical living for unconventional people trying to move forward during uncertain times.
Which is to say: I have no idea when COVID is ending, world peace will happen or if I’m ever going to get my stimulus check because my accountant is overloaded, too. The world has been going through incredibly tense times! Still, we all need to function and find normalcy during abnormal times. Radical acts of compassion are not a one-time deal, and it’s typically a good idea to work on not becoming like the people you hate.
This is also why I advocate cannabis for mental health, as it has proven efficacy for helping folks suffering with depression and PTSD.
Talk therapy is great! If you’re feeling low, lethargic, worried, or anxious, it’s completely normal and you are not alone. Lean into your empath nature, feel some feels, give back into the universe the kind of joy you would like to receive.
I struggled with whether or not I wanted to scrap old entries, but decided to maintain it. In general, I think the documentation of history is good, even the painful or embarrassing parts. It demonstrates growth, vulnerability, honesty and human nature. We delete things/people far too easily when it makes us uncomfortable.
I make mistakes constantly, and love to learn from them, which is important for growth. So, don't beat yourself up about what you can't change. Accept those beautifully flawed parts of yourself as part of the human condition.
Congratulations, You Have Been Influenced
After months of wasting my own time missing my ex and thinking about pointless what ifs, being sad about human existence, cooped up in my Brooklyn apartment as a manic pixie with clipped wings, just feelin’ my feels as a classic sappy Pisces, I was definitely super thirsty for human contact. So, it was a breath of fresh air to connect with my good friend, Meme Rose, the other day—whom you may remember from her dope sativa simple syrup recipe in Vol. 6.
She made the most beautiful cocktail using that syrup. We smoked Venom OG, talking at-length about our dreams, our future selves, our love of plants and cannabis, and how we wish we could swim in the rivers of Hudson Valley and the Catskills. (Have you picked up my book, by the way?).
We came to the unfortunate realization that while we were absolutely aware of deeper levels of the universe and unknown truths that have broken the spirits of the strongest men, we were also incredibly fucking high and therefore those ideas would always be reduced into being “potheads.” Suit yourself! Even without weed, I still stand by that. In the words of Kesha: “We R Who We R.”
We ended up playing around with this camera Nikon recently sent me to test drive, in the event I ever have a band or just want to remember myself looking hot one day when I eventually turn into Patti Smith. Their Z50 mirrorless camera is designed to make you a social media influencer superstar. Wait, is Patti is a social media influencer, too? The real question is: which kind of an “influencer” am I? I am still Team #payme, Broad in a Bath, Pillow-Cuddle Whore, and Bubble Queen Seltzergrammer. But I guess I am still a Weed Casserole Kween.
I hate to admit it, but life really does look a little more exciting in high-def, doesn’t it? What am I going to do when I have to go back to the lo-fi life?! Anyway, hit me up at email@example.com to let me know how I have influenced you, for better or worse.
Weed History: Carl Sagan Was An Astronomical Pothead (and Nixon Was A Dick)
(Are you really shocked this guy was high AF all the time? Look at those tweaker eyes.)
Thanks to a personal existential identity crisis, I decided to do some explorin’ on the web for cool Jews in cannabis where I stumbled onto the obituary for noted Jewish pothead genius Dr. Lester Grinspoon whose "Marijuana Reconsidered (1971) “is considered a foundational work on both the safety and efficacy of the drug.” In it, there was tidbit about his best friend, fellow internationally renowned Jewish astronomer, Carl Sagan, bestselling author and host of the popular television series Cosmos—and how he was smoking so much weed in the 1960s that he got concerned about it.
“My wife Betsy and I went to a party with Carl not long after we met, and it quickly became clear that marijuana was a regular feature of social life within his little circle in Cambridge,” Grinspoon recalled to VICE in 2013. “As a physician, I saw all that smoking going on, and I was really concerned about it. Doctors are supposed to automatically be experts on drugs, and so I found myself spieling off the stuff that the government was saying, but Carl, would just wave a joint in front of me, and reply, “Oh Lester, have a puff, it’s not going to hurt you a bit and you’ll love it.”
There’s also a really interesting portion about how Sagan had to publish anonymously as Mr. X because his ideas were so unconventional they were considered dangerous, and how Nixon went on a giant anti-semitic rant about the both of them, cannabis legalization, and the psychiatry industry.
My theory is that Sagan probably smoked way too much weed, discovered the depths of the human psyche, the meaning of life, and then realized he had to continue working his day job while harboring the burden of knowing far too much. Great moments in astronomical pothead history!
Terroir, Terpenes + A Little Yellow Citron in Languedoc-Roussillon
Recently, I have started a little Pipe Dreams series on IG, which I mainly just wanted to plug different folks work and create interesting conversations. I’m giving myself about a week’s worth of dedication on this before I flake. Or maybe it will take off—you decide! I’ve got an interesting line-up of what I consider to be my own personal TedxTalks for weed witches. Thanks to Jackie Bryant, a.k.a. the Cannabitch for being my first test subject, and apologies to Dr. Elizabeth Yuko, who I had to raincheck because we both needed to nurse our respective brains.
When I think of own Pipe Dreams, I always had this idea for a podcast called “Scammers” where I would just dream up the most fantastical little visions of a life that would make me truly happy. Among those: revisiting and documenting the memories that were such coveted little secrets that can’t be replicated, like riding in Marie's little Citron through the winding mountain roads of Languedoc-Roussillon, blissed out on sparkling wine and hashish.
It was 2018 and I was on an industry press trip to learn about wines of the region. Unsurprisingly, France is blessed with a tremendous amount of wines. We had been tasting hundreds of them by the glass to the point that I had trouble drinking any beverage without instinctively searching for a spittoon.
The thing about professional tasting is that becomes an objective and subjective experience. Eventually, you stop looking at wines as “good" or “bad,” and rather perceiving through the lens of flavor, smell, texture. A love language deeply attached to the earth in all of its beauty: terroir.
“The complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate; the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.”
In cannabis, you often hear about the phrase “terpenes,” which are inherent aromatics and flavors in flower. Though, these are not exclusive to the cannabis plant, but also a shared component found in wine (Jamie Evans of The Herb Somm has an excellent guide to this for those of you who are interested in learning more about the intersection of viticulture and cannabis).
(Terpene Food & Wine Pairing Chart Print via Goldleaf, $32.99)
Admittedly, the hashish was unknown and Marie was not an expert on terpenes or terroir, but she was our adventurous pilot and storyteller for a few hours. During that week, our travels took us through the Medieval town of Carcassone, home of cassoulet and Carignan. In Limoux, we devoured beautiful mignardises and Blanquette de Limoux, the ancestral sparkling method compromised of Mauzac, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc originally produced by Benedictine monks predating the Champagne method.
Just a few hours apart, these regions are so highly unique in the histories of their food, wine, and geography. You can just smell it, breathe it, taste it—life is more intoxicating than the alcohol, though these taste memories are conveniently preserved in bottles as liquid memories of the earth.
Flavor hunting requires going out of your way for it, but it’s worth it. You simply can't replicate the way the air kisses your skin, the altitude catches your breath, the tactile sensation of stone between your fingers or warmth of sunlight on your back. I just wanted to live there forever, even if I didn't know a soul and could barely speak the language. How does David Sedaris do it?
Marie was among 20+ specialty cars waiting to take us on a scenic drive. Vintage Bentlys, Austin Healys, Porsches, Jaguars and Mercedes. This is actually something you can do stateside, too. In the Catskills, Churchill Classic Cars is a tucked away gem in Eldred, NY with a ridiculous collection of European cars best suited for mid-life crises.
Marie, on the other hand, has an understated little Citron. Bright yellow, convertible, with her golden retriever riding shotgun. We careened around the mountains as she regaled with stories of her cooking throughout South France and Spain, handing us little tokes of hashish like secretive teens trying not to get caught by our parents. “I solemnly do swear that I did not inhale and I am not stoned.”
We held onto the bar on the roof, wind whipping through our hair, laughing because we never felt so free. When you think of chance encounters with strangers, it's the kind of memory you can only immortalize in a photo or a story. I lost her business card ages ago, and sincerely doubt she'd even remember me. I wish I could send everyone to her.
(Grilled escargot cooked over live fire with Caramin in Espira-De-L’Agly, Languedoc-Roussillon, France)
Perpignan is considered sort of a trashy little beach town to the French, just an hour outside of Girona, Spain. Certainly not the Riviera and much smaller than Montpellier, but it’s my slice of heaven. Here, the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean in a gorgeous cultural microcosm of French butter and Catalonian oil laced with experimental winemaking and Vins Doux Naturels (fortified sweet wines). Even their Syrah, Carignan and Grenache blends are among the underrated affordable wines, and incredibly food friendly for steak, cheeses, and coastal sea critters.
We only got a few hours with Marie in Limoux, but it cemented the whole experience. My colleague tried to tip her, which offended her greatly. She had been paid for her time; it wasn't about that for her. She wanted the experience the moment with us because it was special for her, too.
Time felt so different there and I loved the fact no one was on their phones. You just dream of the taste memories and try to remember the sensation, vividly describing it to dare others to dream of a future without travel restrictions and limitations. At least it exists in a bottle, in a plant. Beuh — short for herbe.
When I think about that moment, it wasn’t the hashish or the wine that made that experience worth remembering—though it made it a bit more special. It’s coveted. To share a joint or a glass of wine is like breaking bread, particularly when it involves an understood notion of mutual trust.
Looking forward to sharing more of my pipe dreams with you, and hope to hear your stories as well.
ASK A WEED WITCH
Have a question about cannabis, witch life, existentialism or nihilism, bathtubs, or whether reality is a construct? Have a cool story to share? Want to tell me about your favorite products, real life adventure, conspiracy theory, or psychic connection with ghosts manifested from your third eye? Send all your need-to-know questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.