Editorial Sangha

Editorial Sangha

Meet the current members of the Metanoia Press Editorial Sangha:

Shafni Awam

Shafni Awam Dendrophile and artist living in Sri Lanka. Enamored by the phenomenal natural heritage and corresponding psychogeography of the island, currently working on reforestation / rewilding of abandoned agricultural land (in the southern hills), with hopes of conserving it, biiznillah.

Rapper, co-producer and poet active in the experimental / improvised music and dance music scenes, in Colombo and Galle. He has a collection of poetry in the works inshalla and is involved in multiple musical projects: Flowers On Both Ears, the most recent.

Shafni is fascinated by creative practices such as poetry, music, dance; as modes of intimacy and a means to metanoia, especially in the context of Islamic traditions of love poetry.

A student of comparative religion and the Perennial Philosophy, with a vague distaste for academic institutions and a strong inclination towards creation spirituality; as articulated in the Islamic tradition.

He is primarily interested in intimacy (Uns) as an inducer of metanoia. How it relates to the practice of Ta’wil (mystical hermeneutics) and the imaginal:affective ecologies it implicates. Experimenting with / applying such practices to both; experiences with recitations and texts as well as the natural worlds, based on Quranic verses such as:

“Have you not seen how God sets forth a parable: A good word is like a good tree, having its root firm and its branches in the sky.” (14:24)

and “…the stars and the trees – both (alike) prostrate in adoration.” (55:6)

Soundcloud | Facebook

Thomas Breene

Thomas Breene Thomas Breene is a technical editor who works for the government. If he told you anything else, he’d be forced to bore you.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys music and philosophy. He has been playing bass guitar since the age of 13, when his father, a jazz pianist, had the good sense to assign him an instrument different from that of his older brother, already a promising guitarist at age 15.

Many years later, Tom would take this lesson with him to SUNY-Buffalo, where he learned the value of other jobs like “witness” or “receptor” while earning his Ph.D. “Medium” is probably a better word, aspiration-wise. (And, as always, SUNY-Buffalo was full of inspiring Controls back then.)

In any event, Tom was heavily influenced during that time by his exposure to a number of Spirits — Deleuze, Lefebvre, Virilio, Serres, Merleau-Ponty, and others — all of whom made him something of a techno-skeptic and an advocate for everyday phenomenal embodiment. Nothing fancy; just unattached to an electronic prosthetic.

He has since tempered that view by spending a lot of whatever extra time and money he has on technical devices, especially for music, but also to allow him to work from home for the past five years. All of which proves something he’s still trying to figure out.

Joyce Cesario

Joyce Cesario Hesitant human, professional amateur and devout shapeshifter born and based in the Philippines, {Joyce} lives full-time in and as the interstitial fields of deep open-ended listening. Throughout her not-so-wordly existence on this weird planet so far, she has taken the shape of many a roles and forms which include but are not limited to the following: activist, psychonaut, poet, pistil, magician specializing in disappearing acts, cracked soil, V – E + F = 2, standup comedian, carabao tears, visual artist, marshmallow, mango tree, energy healer, trip sitter, magnitude 6 earthquake, fake scholar, hypergiant star, and so on.

In her quest to understand death and to experience being every person and every thing – impossible yearnings that have preoccupied her since birth – she has inevitably lost quite a great deal: home, sanity, memory, language, eyesight, and ultimately, self – all of which have been slowly-abruptly-never-endingly emerging back from within an ever new (non) understanding, thanks to a wild cacophony of technologies and teachers from all sorts of realms and timelines that have been guiding her throughout this perpetual metanoia.

These days, her ecstatic being~becoming finds expression in multiple artistic (and) research experiments excitedly-awkwardly dancing through the spectral spaces between : the textual and the visual : the biomechanical and the metaphysical : the erotic and the pornographic & other illusive binaries constantly taking turns to tease her insatiable-yet-always-already-satiated appetite for the Cosmic Hide-and-Seek.


Trey Conner

Trey Conner Trey Conner flavors fretboards and strings with ridonkulous microtonal intonations often enough that diverse and sundry outlets have declared him a guitar master, even when he is plucking at a banjo. Early work with Meringue established Cherry Smash Records as the Metanoia Press of record labels, if you are into those sort of comparisons, and we at Metanoia very much are.

Trey has professed in spoken word at the University of South Florida as long as most people there can remember. The experience can be, at first, bewildering, usually in a good way. As one student put it, “Conner is the best prof I’ve ever had (I’m about to graduate). Some people freak out at first because he doesn’t have a typical structure with assignments and due dates, but contribute and you’ll be fine. He really wants you to succeed and make the class your own. First prof to ask me what I really think, not regurgitate other sources. Very empowering.”

Conner has authored scholarly articles on Indian Carnatic music, Advaita Vedanta, and digital pedagogy and is currently at work on Everything Worth Doing Now. You can find him on Soundcloud and over with the norms at the USF Website.

Tina Kat Courtney

Tina Kat Courtney Tina “Kat” Courtney, The AfterLife Coach, is a sacred plant guide, messenger, and devotee to organic altered spaces. Kat took on a shamanic apprenticeship that lasted a decade, drinking in hundreds and hundreds of plant ceremonies. She launched a well-known plant medicine blog in 2014, and formally began coaching people in the precarious aftermath and integration stages of plant medicine work, as well as those facing the truth about death. She has transformed into shamanic guide, a trusted mystical therapist, and a messenger for the plants. Kat is also a Master Level Reiki practitioner, has an English Degree from Loyola Marymount in LA, and won the National Council of English Teachers award as Best State Writer in Montana. Read full author bio…

Website | Blog | YouTube Channel

Frederick Dolan

Frederick Dolan Frederick M. Dolan is Professor of Rhetoric, Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He taught at UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and Princeton University (where he was awarded the PhD in 1987) before joining the Berkeley faculty in 1988. His interests include political and moral philosophy, philosophy of art, American political thought and culture, and the nature of modernity.


Richard M. Doyle

Rich Doyle aka Mobius Richard Doyle, PhD, is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State University, where he has taught since 1994. Ever since reading the work of futurist Alvin Toffler at age twelve, Doyle has been on a scholarly and personal quest to understand the effects of information technologies on the evolution of human culture and consciousness. Following this path, Doyle has encountered what many mystical traditions have long known: that feedback loops can be initiated and sustained with modes of awareness not available to egoic consciousness – the domain of consciousness that identifies with an “I me mine” feeling, thought and perception. Through personal practice and sheer luck, Doyle, aka möbius, has been healed of severe asthma, nearly whole body eczema and severe depression through the grace of ayahuasca, LSD, psilocybin, chanting and meditation, all of which taught him, and continue to teach him, techniques for letting go of ego and abiding states which transcend the “I”, such as agape or selfless love. Read full author bio…

Personal Blog | Amazon

Michael Garfield

Michael Garfield My second toe is shorter than my big toe on my left foot, longer than my big toe on my right foot.

When I was an infant I had crooked feet and had to wear corrective booties. No photographs survive of this.
All of this seems like, and may well be, a metaphor. It is, at least, a mythos. I accept its haunting.

By day I am a reluctant remedial educator teaching civility and lucidity in the hell-pits of social media, professional conversationalist on Future Fossils and Complexity podcasts, and the father of a half-girl, half-dinosaur.

By night I am a zen guitarist and as much of an unplugged naked wild animal bathing in moonlight as is possible.

As a householder: toddler encouragement, illumination, and damage mitigation is a kind of archaeology of consciousness and guru yoga. It is immensely humbling and delightful and helps me anchor in what I heard Roman Krznaric call “cathedral thinking”: the devotion of one’s life to planting trees from which I will not live to eat the fruit. It is a constant loving-letting-go and an immersion in an almost eldritch constant mutual metamorphosis that adds a fourth dimension to each person that I meet, making it easier to both relate to people-as-process-patterns-going-on-right-now and people-as-the-residue-of-histories. To see a person start is to shed light on one’s own misty gloaming origins, peer deep into the tangled brambles, catch small pieces, find their threads to now, and take one’s self as hyperobject, radically unknowable and endlessly explorable and worthy of profound compassion…

As a psychonaut: going deep enough to see and know the hyperspatial curvatures that roll the world out into itself and show the past and future spreading out from now like wings, and folding over, interleaving.

As a listener and watcher: endlessly deepening sensitivity to liminality and paradox, incentivized by otherwise-invisible rewards that draw the self out of a goal-directed tuned attentiveness and into joyous finding and incessant blind surprise. This happens walking hills and shores to gather broken glass; it happens playing the guitar; it happens letting one word suddenly assert itself from nowhere, then another, then another…

What gives the most ecstatic hope these days is people organizing on their own to route around the wilted and diseased outsourced hierarchical dependencies that can’t move fast enough, or care enough: the lines seem to converge amidst a new state of constant turbulence in which my daughter and her one-day friends are comfortable in the trip that life’s become, a playful meta-organism that creatively ecstatically rewires as is needed and provides enough to all involved through its devotion to the distributed intelligence of evolution.


Raul Guerra

Raul Guerra - Editorial Sangha I was born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua, and then moved to Pennsylvania for my undergraduate degree. Although I came from a tropical country and frequented farms, State College is where I first discovered Nature and the mindset it entails – perhaps my first major metanoia. Graduation came at the heart of the Great Recession, so I went back home to live on my father’s farm, where I discovered agriculture. I started a master’s degree at a local agrarian university in Agroecology, but I didn’t finish since I was offered a scholarship to study Plant Breeding and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, my introduction into the mindset of science and second major metanoia. Then, I returned to Nicaragua to work as a rice breeder for four years, when I was offered a scholarship for a PhD program at LSU, focusing on Plant Breeding in Rice. Here, I have reinforced my passion for Data Science and the mindset of statistics and algorithms – possibly my third major metanoia.

Chris Kaplan

Chris Kaplan - Editorial Sangha Chris is a weaver of story and image through his fiction and art. His screenplays and short fiction have won awards and his visionary art explores non-ordinary states of consciousness.

His background is in cultural anthropology and screen studies, including comparative mythology, archaeology, film, TV, and radio production. His academic pursuits led him to an intensive practice of shamanism and the occult through the entheogenic plant experience, astrology, tarot and the runes, with which he is a practitioner.


Louis Kaplan

Louis Kaplan - Editorial Sangha I practice and stand up for laughter as often as I can and this strategy (both anecdotal and anti-dotal) helps to counteract what goes under the name of pain and suffering. And a dose of art doesn’t hurt either. However, as Jacques Derrida reminds us in his eulogy to Sarah Kofman, “Art and laughter, when they go together, do not run counter to suffering, they do not ransom or redeem it, but live off it.” I consider myself to be an avid seeker of Witzenschaft (what mashes up wit and wisdom) and this neologism has guided many investigations from the collector of scientific anomalies (aka weirdness) Charles Hoy Fort to photography’s inextricable exposure to humour to my most recent study regarding the discourse on Jewish Witz (wit/joke) in twentieth century Germany. My multi-media experiments and (inter)textual explorations with fellow Sangha member Scott Michaelsen (and the performance collective Test Patterns) have pursued other sites of crazy wisdom ranging from the animated film star and pop cult legend Gumby to the theosophical psychonaut and spoken word artist Xxenogenesis (with this latter subject now fortuitously on the path of Metanoia).

UToronto | UToronto Mississauga

Melissa Klein

Melissa G Klein - Editorial Sangha Melissa Gail Klein is a writer, painter, musician, and social worker from Austin, TX. She graduated from Penn State in 2011 with a BA in Integrative Arts, and recently received her Masters degree in Social Work at the University of Texas. Her upcoming album Crystalline Charm is set to release October 2020. She currently works with survivors of sex trafficking and women involved in the criminal justice system, striving to catalyze healing through the arts and integrative therapeutic modalities. (Bio image by Sally Sherwood.)


Scott Michaelsen

Scott Michaelsen - Editorial Sangha By chance I was gifted a significant portion of famed Northwestern University professor Jack Burnham’s occult library at the age of 19, and soon I was adding to my hoard as a regular browser at Chicago’s Occult Bookstore at its original location at Clark and Belmont streets. In the years that followed, an abiding fascination with noise allowed me to explore the many relationships between occultism and popular musics, often as a DJ and post-industrial performance artist between 1978 and 1986. Working with Louis Kaplan under the name “Test Patterns,” this era culminated in a month-long series of extremely loud events in the Raw Space at ARC Gallery in Chicago, dedicated to the work of psychonaut Xxenogenesis and his record album, SeXxenogenesis #1 (self released, 1973). My book-length investigations of psychonautics include Gumby: The Authorized Biography of the World’s Favorite Clayboy (Harmony/Crown 1986, written with Louis Kaplan and Gumby creator Art Clokey), Portable Darkness: An Aleister Crowley Reader (Harmony/Crown 1989; 2nd ed. Solar, 2006), and The Love of Ruins: Letters on Lovecraft (SUNY Press, 2017, with Scott Cutler Shershow). I am co-editor with David E. Johnson (U Buffalo) for the journal CR: The New Centennial Review (MSU Press) and the book series Literature… in Theory (SUNY Press).

MSU Profile

Vidur Mishra

Vidur Mishra - Editorial SanghaIn this brief life so far, Vidur Mishra has spent a lot of time doing nothing while doing quite a few decent things but none as marvelous as doing nothing. During the pandemic of 2020 that baby-shook the already distressed information-overloaded planet, he graduated with a B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology and a minor in Philosophy from the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University. Well, it seems he is well equipped to jump in this uncertain sea of information. Not primarily because of his education. But because of his practice in meditation that allows him to discern signal from noise patiently—with compassion towards his fellow sentient beings. A graceful practice that allows him to mindfully navigate the “strange loop” of dualistic thought, intellect, language, logic, and tech-driven materialistic culture.

Under the wise and playful guidance of Professor Richard Doyle—who happens to be very isomorphic to Vidur himself—Vidur completed an undergraduate honors thesis. It explores 1) eastern philosophy and practices of mind (esp. Advaita Vedanta and Dzogchen) to dissolve self-referential egoic thought and 2) the western theories of consciousness, such as integrated information theory and strange loop, to understand and model how thought and ego emerge due to the self-referential movement of recursive semantic information. Since the consumption of sensory and symbolic information recursively consumes attention and feeds the ego, it has become ever more important to take some meditative practice in this information-overloaded age. As such, Vidur practices kriya yoga, self-inquiry and sh00nya meditations, mad ecstatic bhakti, and wise surgical jnana. Sometimes, he supplements this practice with silent dancing mime, psychedelic visionary art, and kooky eerie poetry. Read full author bio…



James Vito Palazzolo is cultivating Metanoia through creative fiction. Inspired by the fluid margins of Art and Reality, his literature blends satire with illusions of identity and ebullient world-building to propel characters through changes both transcendent and mundane.  Inspired by Anthony Burgess, John Cleese, Philip K. Dick, Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Ishmael Reed, Thomas Pynchon…he gets confused sometimes.

With several short fiction publications, James is a Pushcart Prize nominee who is now working on publishing longer pieces including novels and screenplays.  He has a MA in Rhetoric & Composition and MA in Social Work.  Presently he operates a private practice as a clinically licensed psychotherapist emphasizing finding purpose and happiness by healing from unresolved grief.  He also teaches Graphic Novels as literature and English Composition.


David B. Saint John

David B. Saint John - Editorial SanghaDavid B. Saint John may have spent too much time in school. He used to think he had something to say, but lately tries to listen more. He suspects that everyone has a few superpowers that they may or may not be aware of, and sometimes tries to tease them out through conversation when it seems appropriate. (read the room) He meets a surprising number of super-humans this way. He tries to be funny, with mixed results. If he goes out of his mind, he tries to return with some kind of artifact, rather than a diagnosis. So far, so good. Read full author bio…