Spiritual Naturalist Society has recently has included reaching out to artists, musicians, poets, and other creative people to help build up this new community. Apollo’s infusion of spirituality into his work is one reason I became interested in him.
Apollo was the first spoken word artist to perform at the Billboard
Awards (2007). His appearances include MTV, Showtime at Apollo, and
several other shows, magazines, and venues. He spends a good deal of
time traveling, and has performed and presented in over 40 states at
high schools, colleges, retirement homes, homeless shelters, and other
community based projects.
In his performances, he aims to take the crowd “on a deeper journey”
by bringing an intensity to his work. Recently I interviewed Apollo to
learn a little more about his views and how that affects his art.
DT: Thanks for your time Apollo. Your work seems to touch on
spirituality a lot. Can you share with us your views and how your
spirituality intersects with your poetry and music?
Apollo: My art is an extension of my spirituality.
It always has been. I just had to awaken to that knowledge to recognize
that. The world is a stage. Life is a poem. And the music is the
soundtrack of our lives. What a beautiful gift to be able to take
something invisible out of the ethereal and create it into existence.
That’s what poetry, art,and music is! The very nature of its creation
contains the magic of its essence.
DT: Your website says that you have the goal to “uplift
humanity through words”. How did you come to have this as a goal, and
how do you envision that process?
Apollo: Words are extremely powerful. We see that
with advertising and marketing. Or even when somebody blushes. How is it
that a sound out of somebody’s mouth can be a symbol in somebody’s
mind, and that invisible thought can make blood rush to their cheeks
because of the emotion? Words are symbols and very powerful ones. Like
all tools, we can use them for good or for bad. I use them to help
people reflect and hopefully get inspired by them. The power that words
have is to create emotion, and the power that emotions have is to create
DT: In your song “Spiritual Bullshit” (see video below) you
seem to be saying that many people get obsessed with the trappings of
spirituality and their image as a spiritual person, but then
hypocritically treat others badly or fail to focus on what matters when
it comes to how they live their lives. Would this be a fair
understanding of that message, and what else does the song communicate?
Apollo: Yes. Any interpretation of it would actually
be a fair understanding because it’s meant to reflect the viewer’s
perspective on life. We are all hypocrites and judgmental in something,
but we point out those two traits in everyone else except ourselves. I
feel that if people come to peace with what they actually are and
understand the root of their emotions, they will more easily be able to
be accepting and compassionate to others who are displaying the traits
that don’t sit right with us. Often times, when we see somebody doing
something that gives us a strong emotional reaction, it’s because it
triggers a subconscious aspect of ourselves which we are not at peace
Another part of the song is the false ‘image’ of spirituality which
is marketed to us. Westerners loves to glorify Eastern religion, but it
might be different if they actually visited some of these countries to
see how people live. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE all world religions. But
too many of us fall into the brain-washing dogma. Even people who think
they’ve escaped it. What a clever trick by the ego eh?
DT: And yet, the different religions seem to have
contradictory beliefs about the nature of reality and our place in it –
gods, the afterlife, salvation, and so on. What does it mean to love all
world religions without the dogma? Can you go into that a little more
and give us your take?
Apollo: Sure. I don’t mean to love every aspect of
every belief system, but to love that there are so many different ones
and see what we can learn from each one. The fact that there are so many
could mean many things. Perhaps the presence of a higher power is so
strong, that regardless of what culture or time period a person is
born, most people end up seeking a connection with the universe. And
people can choose to celebrate that similarity if they want. It could
also mean that religion is just part of our human evolution. It will
either help us transcend our primal thoughts by witnessing the
atrocities that have been committed in the name of the unknown. Or it
will completely wipe us off the planet, which ironically, would be the
best thing for almost every other species on this planet. I don’t mean
to sound so sinister, but if you compare what humans do to the earth in
the name of invisible belief systems (such as religion, money, economy),
you can compare us to a cancer. Or perhaps there will be a third
outcome not known to us yet. Either or, it serves a divine purpose.
DT: Were there some events in your life personally that inspired “Spiritual Bullshit”?
Apollo: I’ve seen conscious individuals talk about
how they left mainstream religion because they don’t believe the
Christian stories of humans walking on water and talking snakes, yet
they now they believe in reptilian shape-shifters battling space
travelers for the souls of humanity. I’ve seen people say Judaism is
crazy because of the concept that they are the ‘chosen ones’ by God, yet
I’ve seen people boasting how they are part of a special star-seed soul
family who is here to enlighten earth. I know they might seem different
on the surface, but they activate and massage the same part of human
psychology. The concept that we have found something special or have a
‘higher’ knowledge and we are part of something greater. So when we
judge people, it’s hilarious, because at the ROOT, we are sooo much like
them, but we are blind to seeing that because we put on different
costumes. I created the song to take off the veil and face the mirror
without a mask. I’m calling me out!
DT: So, in calling yourself out, how do you plan to get out
of that situation, where you’re not just accepting one set of unfounded
beliefs in exchange for another?
Apollo: It first begins by admitting what we are.
Tiny specks of dust floating on tiny specks of dust. If you take all the
animals on land, sea, and air, and all the tiny micro-organisms, human
beings are an extreme minority. And our planet is even more of an
extreme minority compared to all the flying rocks and stars out there.
Not only that, but there are also 1000′s of religions and 1000′s of
translations within many of these religions. Don’t we see that we are
mostly by-products of our environment? Do you think it’s a coincidence
that most people have the same religion as their family upbringing? It’s
not a BELIEF system that most people have. It’s an installed piece of
software. How could you believe in one religion over another if you
never studied them both?
It’s okay to have a belief system if it’s attached with a little bit
of flexibility and open-mindedness on a very simple notion. I might be
completely wrong! If we approach it with that humbleness, perhaps we
won’t have the need to kill people over it. Perhaps we will focus more
on the philosophies that create happiness.
DT: It seems people can identify with your work from a
variety of different beliefs. Is that intentional? What kinds of topics
would you think all people could find useful regardless of their beliefs
about the supernatural (or lack thereof)?
Apollo: There are many paths to get to the top of
the mountain, but once we are there, the view is the same. Why would I
get mad at you for taking the Eastern route, just because I’m taking the
Western path? Why would I want to bomb you and destroy you because
you’re talking the Southern trail? Why would I hate you because you’re
not on the same journey as me? If the mountain didn’t have many angles,
it wouldn’t be a mountain. There would be no journey. It is the many
paths that makes it beautiful just like the different colors of the
rainbow. If I feel happy doing what i do, as long as it’s not stopping
you from doing what you do and vica verca, why can’t we co-exist? I
believe that once we know how to take care of everybody and be honest,
starting with ourselves, and show mutual love and respect, we can create
peace. As long as we keep attacking and trying to prove what’s right
and wrong, there will be war. All religions have something to teach to
humanity. At the core, most humans just want peace, love, safety,
sustainability, and companionship. I focus more on the philosophies of
the religions, more than the separatist dogma, which was likely created
by corrupt power-hungry political and economic systems.
DT: Is there anything else about your work that you’d like to mention?
Apollo: I have so much going on that it’d be hard to
focus on one thing. I’m making films, acting, doing photography, trying
to launch some inventions and business ideas, traveling, making a music
album, a poetry album, writing a book, and a whole lot more. My time
here is limited, so I’m just trying to make the absolute best out of it.
People can stay in touch at my site, ApolloPoetry.com
Thank you for everything.
DT: Thanks for the great discussion!
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Special thanks to Karma Camilleon for making me aware of Apollo Poetry!