Sound as Color Muse: Dr. Chandler Puritty
tarot sound healing ecologist intuitive reader climate change

Sound as Color Muse: Dr. Chandler Puritty

As an intuitive artist, tarot reader and ecologist, Chandler proves that breaking traditional norms and combining talents create breakthroughs. I first met Chandler after she did a collective reading at a wellness event that we were both part of. She was dressed head to toe in colorful patterns, adorned in the most unique accessories, and I knew instantly that we would be friends. Getting to know here was peeling back layers of the most interesting and compassionate yet PASSIONATE onion I had ever come across! Read on to learn more about her perspectives on spirituality, science and how to change the narrative around climate change.


Chandler and I will be collaborating on a very special workshop to celebrate the New Year. Transitioning from one year to the next is a great time to pause, reflect and re-align ourselves with the collective energy to best direct us towards the future we desire. Chandler will be doing a reading for the collective holding space for any messages for the intimate group. Followed by a sound meditation so that we can allow space to process and integrate this wisdom. Space is limited- grab your ticket here!


You have so many talents across many disciplines, how does your work as an ecologist intersect with your spiritual and creative work?

Science is a creative art. Nature and oneness, spirituality, connection.

A warning here, my 3rd house is in Sagittarius so I tend to be verbose af.

It certainly took me a long time to realize that my passions could be connected. Actually, ecology and environmentalism wasn’t a passion of mine until I started teaching at UCSD and had time to connect climate change issues to social justice issues. But ecology, or grad school rather, did drive me to spirituality and back to creativity and art- as coping mechanisms for the stresses of academia. I’ve always identified as an artist but even as a child, I understood (falsely) that I would never be able to support myself following that path alone. Although when I graduated from my doctorate I wanted to go full time with spirituality/tarot and art. After struggling with which path to take-science or art- I’ve come to the understanding that they are one in the same. Science is art. Science is the exploration of the unknown, creating knowledge from nothing. Many of the “great” scientists of old times were also amazing talented artists. It’s modern science that seems to want to distance itself from art and connection. Ancient indigenous science (of many cultures around the world) had always included spirituality as well. To me science and spirituality are both tools towards understanding and are best utilized together. Unfortunately, I feel that the separation of science and spirit continues to allow western scientists to discredit indigenous traditional ecological knowledge. I hope that my visibility as a “witch-doctor, PhD” can help to break down these barriers between western and indigenous science because to tackle climate change we’ll need to use ALL tools at our disposal.


Through your work you channel messages from Ancestors. For a lot of people this is a foreign concept, how would you describe that and how can people utilize these messages in their lives?
Oooh great question. Ancestor work was my gateway drug to spirituality. The Western concepts of race separate us from our ancestry. I wanted to know what kinds of traditions and beliefs my ancestors practiced and “black/white” wasn’t giving me those. I did the genetic tests to get more clarity but once I knew where they were from I still wanted to know who they were. I had some vivid ancestor experiences when traveling and during past life hypnotism. Altogether it was really moving, affirming, and even healing for me. I believe that ancestors can belong to your current body and every other body you might have been reincarnated in. I believe that certain ancestors step forward with wisdom to help with the flow of life. They’re our family and if they’ve been through something similar they want to offer us clarity. I think most of the messages I receive come through ancestors and other soul guides. When I do ancestral readings, I often come across lineage themes that the client has the opportunity to transmute. I’ve found it helpful in naming generational trauma and encouraging people to break patterns and write new narratives for their families. And sometimes I get tea, family secrets etc, it’s always entertaining.


silk pillowcase


What was the catalyst for your interest in sustainability and ecology?
Certainly in hindsight, I had no choice in the matter. I was raised in Oklahoma on 5 acres of land and spent weekends with my grandparents at their horse farm. My childhood experience was always about being outside and being in connection with the natural world. As I grew older and spent more time inside, I forgot this connection. Academically however, I was drawn to sustainability and ecology in college because I was (and still am) very attracted to money. There was a lot of funding available for recruited black people into environmental sciences because currently the field is only 1-2% black. This was a slippery slope (chasing money) that lead me to completing a PhD in ecology. I still wasn’t interested in it though. For me, as a black woman, I was much more concerned with the pressing and deadly consequences of systemic racism to be “passionate about grass”. However when I graduated and began teaching Environmental Justice themed courses at UCSD, I came to realize that systemic racism and climate change share a single root case- lack of respect of living things (specifically anything that wasn’t white, wealthy, male, and human). This is really where my passion for sustainability and ecology started (nearly a decade into my career lol). The way I see it, we cannot fix one issue without addressing the other.


Your approach to the conversation around climate change is so refreshing, looking at issues as a whole through intersectional environmentalism and de-colonial science. Can you share with us more about what this means to you.
Yes! What an amazing question. So as a black woman scientist artist spiritualist, I am deeply entrenched in intersectionality. I have an understanding of what it means to be black in America, what is means to be a woman in a patriarchal society, what it means to be someone who’s work isn’t valued in a capitalist western system. I am always living at this intersection, especially in my work as a scientist. My doctoral work was about grasses. But to me, it was also a story of the connections of colonialism and climate change. See, the grasses that I study were brought here on the blankets of missionaries from Spain. The increase in fire frequency we are experiencing in California is, in part, a direct consequence of colonialism. As I mentioned before, the bulk of environmental professionals are white. This means that their relationship to the problem is more one-dimensional than mine. In my field, we are essentially trying to address climate change without thinking about sociology of climate change or the role of people at all. People caused this problem so how the heck are we going to fix it without engaging with the species that caused it?!? I am advocating for scientists to work with social scientists to come up with actionable climate change solutions. In terms of de-colonial science, I think about breaking down the barriers between academics in the ivory tower and those on the frontlines of climate change consequences (low-income, marginalized communities, those in the global south and on island communities). Did you know that the Paris Climate COP conferences are funded by the companies that are responsible for 71% of all emissions on the planet. And do you know who isn’t allowed to attend? Young people (who we’ve saddled with fixing a problem older generations created), those who live on the front lines of climate change consequences, indigenous people, and farmers. How you gone solve a problem that you don’t have any personal experience with?!?!?! It makes me angry. But yeah with this climate change issue, we don’t have the privilege to be exclusive- we need EVERY voice and EVERY perspective to come up with solutions. We’ll have to use a new kind of science, one that breaks the rules we know, a de-colonial science to fix this.


meditation cushion


If there was one thing you could change about our collective perception of sustainability, what would it be?
Balance and respect. For thousands of years, people all over the world have lived with a deep respect of nature. But they mostly also lived with a fear of the consequences that would come from disrespecting nature. Even back to Greek mythology you can find tales of people being punished for taking too much from the natural world. Essentially, ancient decolonial scientists/spiritualists KNEW that climate change would happen if we kept taking with no returns. I think of our relationship with mother nature currently (in the developed world) as one of an empath and a narcissist. The empath is always giving (mother) and the narcissist is always taking (us). Eventually the empath is going to get fed up and leave and or retaliate (It’s giving Snapped!). Currently, mother nature is doing her best to protect and heal herself by setting strong boundaries with us. It’s up to us to listen and to return to a healthy relationship with our only home.


You are incredibly intuitive, every reading I have had with you has tapped into something deep within my soul. How and when did you discover these gifts?
Girl these questions are fire! I should have known better than to agree to a Capricorn soul scan. I don’t know when I discovered them, probably born with it but it wasn’t until 5 years ago when I named and reclaimed it. I’ve always been someone people would come to for advice and I’ve always had access to knowing/feeling what they needed to hear. My parents, strange adults sitting next to me on a plane, my teachers, and always my peers. I was raised catholic and we don’t f*ck with witchcraft so it wasn’t until I left the church that I started to explore the source of that inner feeling and knowing. When my best friend was murdered, I began to think more deeply about universal connection and started feel him around me. The more I paid attention to “weird sh*t” that was happening to me, the more I saw around me. I first used tarot as a tool for myself but it was when I started using it to help give my students guidance that I realized my mind works differently than others and I can help people with it. Until then, I thought everyone could look at a stranger and know the state of their marriage, the kind of day they were having, and their astrological signs etc.


floor cushion


There must be moments of doubt and frustration studying intersectional environmentalism, what practices renew you and fuel your inspiration and creativity?
Not really in this work. I firmly believe that my perspective and approach to climate change is the only way and that most people working on this issue (white/privileged) , without my context, are doing it wrong. So I guess I picked a fight on purpose? As an Aries, I don’t feel alive unless I’m fighting someone. It fills me up brings me joy. So I never doubt myself and if someone doubts me, I see it as a challenge to use science and history and storytelling to change a mind.


Many people would think science and mysticism don’t co-exist. How do these two ideologies act in harmony?
As an ecologist, I understand ecology to be the study of the connections of living and non-living things on earth. As an intuitive, I understand mysticism to be the study and experience of the connection of living and non-living things through space and time. So to me they’re two sides of the same coin. Both useful tools to work towards further understanding. As an environmental scientist/mystic I truly believe that we can ask mother nature what she needs to heal and that she will tell us if we learn how to listen- making the “science” bit more streamlined.


We love to empower people to create sacred spaces. How do you create space for spiritual practice in your home or wherever you may find yourself?
Another amazing question. When I first started it was a fancy altar, with all the bells and whistles. Cards readings, incense, music every time. I do still have alters at both of my homes. But now I think of my practice as constant ingrained in everyday life. I try to make my room and my garden- my whole home as an alter to my ancestors and mother earth. Daily, more of a mindset and a commitment to trust in connection with my ancestors and faith in the unknown. I have stones scattered somewhere at the bottom of every bag I own but I don’t even pull cards for myself anymore. I do however have a magical Sound as Color CUSTOM meditation cushion. As someone with un-medicated ADHD, it’s impossible for me to meditate but the posture my body takes when I sit on that pillow is magical and transformative. Having the medication cushion or just any small place, is a connection to and reminder or the peace and stillness that I so desperately need in my chaotic life.


Word on the street is that you are writing a book. Can we get some insider details here?
Oooh the insider scoop! Don’t mind if I do. I’ll tell you my goal of the book? So I feel an urgent need to address the narrative around climate change action. I feel like it was mindset of fear and lack and scarcity that got us into this mess. Not enough land, not enough food, not enough oil, not enough money. And now that we’ve painted ourselves into this corner, the dominant narrative from the leaders in environmentalism and climate change is one of fear and lack and scarcity again. We’re running out of time! We have too many people! Not enough food! We must act now or else!!! I don’t think we’ll be able to use the tools that got us into this mess to get us out. I believe that the opposite of fear is love and community and hope. I hope to communicate this in my book ☺


sound meditation