Please introduce yourself & give us a glimpse into your world. Where are you located? What are you currently creating?
Hello, my name is Rory Valentine Diller. I currently live in Berkeley, California and have worked in hospitals, community programs, and horse ranches all over the San Francisco Bay Area as a psychotherapist and crisis clinician. I specialize in treating Trauma, PTSD, and Complex PTSD and have a lot of experience working with survivors of violence, youth in psychiatric crisis, suicidality, substance use and addiction, child abuse, and sexual trauma.
My approach and training use alternatives to traditional “talk-therapy”, including; Expressive Arts therapies (EXA), specifically Art Therapy and Dance Movement Therapy (DMT), Somatic (Body-based) therapies that incorporate neuroscience, psychobiology, and an understanding of the mind-body connection, and Equine Assisted Therapy (work with therapy horses).
I currently see individual clients of all ages and run therapeutic groups for male-identified survivors of sexual trauma, NeuroQueer folx (who identify as both Neurodivergent/on the Autism Spectrum and LGBTQ), and LGBTQ youth artists.
I have a 14-year-old, rescued pit-bull named Duke, and I love ghost stories, drag queens, and making art.
Can you tell us about a childhood experience that was profound or life changing? Or a childhood memory that still resonates with you today?
After my mother passed away from cancer when I was 3 years old, I used to always think I could communicate with her spirit in heaven when I was at the beach. With the magical logic of a child’s mind, I saw how the ocean and sky touched each other at the horizon, and so I deduced that if I wrote her messages into the sand near the water, the waves could take my message out to the horizon where she might scoop them up from heaven. To this day, I still feel that beaches and shorelines are magical places where the spirit realm and human world overlap, and where I can still talk to my mom.
What daily rituals or practices if any, connect you with the spiritual realms?
I dance and make art alone in my room. This is an intuitive process where I give my consciousness to my body, unconscious psyche, and beyond… usually with the help of music.
I make art from my dreams and nightmares too.
I use the runes intuitively in sessions with my clients to help uncover healing messages and underlying insights.
I practice Theta meditations where I connect with the energy of Archangel Azreal for comfort and guidance.
What parts of the world do your ancestors come from? What inspires you most about your ancestral cultural background?
My paternal ancestors are from Ireland, and my maternal ancestors were Amish settlers from Germany, Switzerland and Alsace. I think I am most inspired by my Amish ancestors’ radical commitment to the Earth, faith, modesty, and anti-capitalist values, which still stands strong even amidst our modern world today! I am also quite fond of their concept of “painted prayers” or hex signs which are rooted in the belief that symbolic art and designs may radiate energy and blessings into the environment in which they are placed.
How do you stay connected to your Ancestors?
My maternal Grandfather was astutely dedicated to tracing our lineage and compiling information about our Amish bloodlines and ancestors. Among the family heirlooms that he left to me after he passed away are files filled with letters from our European relatives. Through his research, he was able to locate and correspond with them overseas via mail. I often read them as I’m winding down for bed, specifically the pages that include prayers.
I frequently make art using the runes, and continue to learn about and explore their history and energies. I also recently began to learn how to play the lyre.
Where in nature do you seek inspiration / healing / refuge? In other words, do you have a "spot" or an activity? Please describe.
I used to ocean swim almost daily when I lived in Santa Cruz. I believe that the ocean purified my energy and cleansed away my anxieties, depression and heartaches every time I swam. Plus, I had many magical encounters with the seaweed forests, pelicans, otters, seals, sea lions, and even humpback whales!
Sadly, I have not had access to this practice since moving to Berkeley. However, there is a small lake that I often walk to with Duke where there is an abundance of feathers to collect from ducks, geese, herons, cranes, vultures, blue jays, mourning doves, crows, owls, and even hummingbirds!
What is the last good book you read?
Trauma and the Soul; A Psycho-spiritual Approach to Human Development and its Interruption by Donald Kalsched. This book explores the mystical and spiritual aspects of psychotherapy including the “mytho-poetic” themes, symbols, and daimonic energies that populate our inner realms and the collective unconscious. I also really enjoyed Ingrid Kincaid’s Lost Teachings of the Runes; Northern Mysteries and the Wheel of Life.
Where can people find you & your work?