Interview with writer Rohini Walker: Meaning, myth and magic in the Mojave high desert

Writer and poet Rohini Walker moved to a secluded, rural corner of the Californian high desert almost eight years ago. She and her husband relocated here straight from London, England in search of a completely new way of life far away from everything that was familiar.

In that time, Rohini has co-created the independent print periodical, Luna Arcana, which has been gaining a growing following across the States, and internationally.

What was your inspiration behind Luna Arcana?
This desert, as well as the deserts of the American south- west, were the guiding muses behind Luna Arcana. Specifically, Luna Arcana is an exploration of the unseen, occult forces that govern all life, and that the landscape of the desert draws out of those who gravitate here.

How has the environment of the desert affected your work and creativity as a writer?
It’s really blossomed here – ironically! Everything about this environment was so vividly inspiring to me when I first moved here, and now, as my relationship to the landscape shifts and deepens, my work and creativity are also evolving and growing. 

I’m in the process of writing a book – and really whenever I feel creatively stuck or blocked, giving myself the time and space to connect with the land and my environment allows me to dissolve and move through the blocks.

Luna Arcana recently published the first volume of an art book with the arts publisher, The Artlands. Tell us a bit about that.
Yes- it was very exciting to be approached by The Artlands for this collaboration – they’re wonderfully supportive and brilliant to the work with. The art book is called The Alchemy of Earth & Sky. It’s an anthology of prose, poetry and art from Luna Arcana’s previous issues, and it also features new work from me. 

You’re also a teacher and coach to other creatives – what do you do in that domain?
My work teaching and coaching others is based fundamentally on the principles and practices that inform my own work – which are the art of meaning-making, and learning how to dive into this practice through mythology. 

I use mythology and story to help the person I’m working with to weave and create their own personal mythology – which in turn supports them in their own creative process, whether it’s writing or visual art. 

And of course, I learn a lot from working in this way with others, so it helps my own writing process and creative flow, so it’s a mutually symbiotic situation.

You’ve written a lot for the popular broadcast platform, What topics do you write about for them?
I love writing for KCET. I usually cover environmental and conservation topics for them – both of which I’m extremely passionate about. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with some truly inspiring people and organizations doing amazing work in these areas. I also cover California based arts & cultural topics from time to time, which are always very interesting to dive into – especially because KCET are not prescriptive in what they ask for, and really encourage me to dive into my own interpretation of things. 

What’s next for you and Luna Arcana?
I’m currently looking for a literary agent for my book, so that’s an interesting process!

As for Luna Arcana, we’re changing things up a bit, and looking at evolving the print periodical, a version 2.0 if you like – so I’m currently working on these new developments with my creative partner, Martin Mancha. 

And hopefully future volumes of the art book with our publisher will materialize over the next couple of years.

I also write the essay-style newsletters for Luna Arcana’s growing online subscribers – “Letters from Luna” – which always keeps the inspiration flowing!