TURNED ON: FALLING FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF DESIRE

Ellie Burrows has a confession. The mood of the Autumnal Equinox has got her turned on to the idea of…commitment? Portrait: Mikal Marie Photography

I’m hanging in the balance.

It’s the Autumnal Equinox and we’re halfway between rosé in the sand with a tan and cashmere socks and Schnaps.

For the Earth, the Equinox represents a point of balance. This year, for my heart, it’s the tipping point.

June, July and August are releasing their hypnotic hold on me. My rear view mirror is filled with the boys of summer and their hard bodies at pool parties. No more fist pumps to summer jams or kisses that taste like Pina Coladas. Goodbye to short shorts and tiny dresses. Gone are the days of sweaty hands up my skirt and sticky rolls in the sheets while blasting AC to bring down all the heat.

Fall means I’m 90 miles from mistletoe with just one stop for turkey. It’s about back to school, back to work, a return to obligations. It’s time for knitwear and leggings and with them along comes all sorts of longings. We’re plunging into colder climates, descending into darkness, and harvesting in order to hibernate. And all that impending cold just makes me want to snuggle up and pair down. Fall always sings songs of commitment and for the first time in a long time, I want to sing along and settle in with a romantic partner.

When I initially sat down to write this article, I wanted to explore the transition from a Summer Fling to a Fall of Love. The original pitch was something about “turning your Montauk share into a home ownership.” In New York City, the hot months have an echo and it sounds like “dating in the summer is hard.” Trying to get a relationship off the ground in high season is like trying to swim against an undertow. Everything is in motion and everyone is gone on the weekends. But when autumn arrives and beach rentals end, the restaurants in the city are filled with hopeful singles once again trying to figure out how to keep their beds perpetually warm for winter.

Telling my readers how to turn a steamy summer hookup into something more substantial felt like teaching them how to take a cold shower. When you let the hot air out of the balloon, it floats to Earth. It felt strange to try to decode the alchemy of love, because it’s a magical process of transformation and the infinite combinations make it impossible to boil it down to a single formula. The heart is just not a transactional place.

But something is shifting in me and it’s right on schedule with the Earth’s rhythms. In my own personal Equinox it feels like I’m on a seesaw suspended in air at zero degrees. From this place of balance, I can see exactly what’s changing in me.

I never really dated with the purpose of finding a boyfriend, a husband, or “the one”. Like masturbation, I date because it feels really good. I learn by experience and it’s always been up to the experience to determine its own purpose, a purpose that only comes into focus in hindsight. I always felt that being attached to outcome when it came to dating was a hindrance, a one-way ticket on the disappointment express. However if I’m being really honest with myself, my lack of vision was buying that same ticket at a cheaper price.

It seems rather silly to think about it now, but the idea of what I actually wanted out of dating never factored in. I think I may have flat out ignored it. I always thought I would figure it out along the way and that my wants, whatever they were, would reveal themselves to me in the process. Yet the only things that were continuously revealed were my “don’t wants.”

I want a man that’s mine. I want to wake up in the morning next to someone and I want that person to bring me black tea. I want to have a raging argument, walk out of the house and know that he will be there when I return. I want it all. I want to be alone and I want to be together. I want to be alone together.

This year, I’m not sad to see the dog days go. I’m leaving my summer playground in search of something more. I’m going to harvest my experiences and move into the winter of my being where it’s the quietest. Deep inside of me there is a burning desire to be in a devotional partnership. Somehow admitting that on the Internet is scarier than talking about my aroused vagina. It feels outrageously vulnerable, like standing on the street, in the middle of an epic blizzard, totally naked waiting for him to bring me a jacket. But, saying it out loud feels a million times hotter than playing it cool.

Ellieburrows.com

@_ellieBurrows_

SPIRITUAL AWAKENING: THE REBIRTHING OF BROOKE CANDY

Lessons in Kabbalah with Madonna and a “little spiritual trip to Hawaii.” Brooke Candy tells Ruby Warrington how following a more “soulful” path has been a lesson in self-love…All images (including home page): Brooke Candy’s Instagram account

“I’m watching you…”

So I’m in LA to interview Brooke Candy for the UK Sunday Times Style magazine. The controversial stripper-turned-rapper who’s been hailed Queen of Tumblr (her tag is Bloody Guts) and who gives Gaga a run for her money in the crazy outfit stakes is currently everywhere, thanks to a high profile collaboration as the face of Italian denim brand Diesel. “OMG, are you scared?” asks my friend Emma. “She scares me.”

And as I wait for the Uber that will take me to the studio where Brooke is currently holed up recording her first studio album, I guess yes, I am experiencing what could be called pre-interview jitters (although I get these a lot, actually, ‘cos interviewing a celebrity is kind of like going on an Okay Cupid date with…a celebrity).

Everything I’ve seen and heard about Brooke suggests darkness, aggression, and confrontation. I will realize later it’s because that’s what’s she’s encountered too – life is a mirror, right? But from her lyrics (“pussy is a weapon, I’ll be shooting dudes at random”), to the porno-thug image she portrays, the girl is HARDCORE. Which, I’m thinking to myself, means she’ll probably want pick a fight, even if it’s just for show.

Clue number 1 this might not be the case is the gigantic bunch of sage sitting on the reception desk when I rock up to the studio. There’s even a sign next to it reading; “None but the positive and the good shall enter here.” Gotta love La La land! And okay, so the sage might not be Brooke’s work, but I take it as a good omen anyway.

And then there she is, a teeny-tiny, tattooed tomboy in a Joan Jett wig, who talks a mile a minute (she’s hopelessly addicted to espresso, she says) and pretty much immediately wants to tell me all about her…spiritual awakening?

Barefoot and dressed in a white vest and drop-crotch Diesel jeans; “It’s like something snapped in me and I was figuratively awake, and all of a sudden I felt directed,” she says, grappling with a giant chair like it’s a climbing frame before settling in it cross-legged.

“Imagine walking into a bookstore and not even understanding why but you’re directed towards this shelf of books…I was like, “This, this,” and I knew exactly what I needed to be reading. I’m obsessed with witchcraft and books about alchemy, astrology, neurology, philosophy, sociology, psychology, all of it…” She gives a crooked smile. “I’m reading books there is no reason I should understand, and I do. It’s really odd.”

And I know this is basically going to be one of my favorite interviews ever. (What follows is the out-takes, you can read the Sunday Times version here)

“New birthday tattoo 🙂 @seanfromtexas” (Isis is an Egyptian goddess, worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patroness of nature and magic)

IT SOUNDS LIKE SIGNING WITH A MAJOR LABEL AND GETTING MORE RECOGNITION HAS COINCIDED WITH A CROSSROADS IN YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. SO, WHICH CAME FIRST?
“There’s a false perception of this job. I think at times I’m the luckiest human being in the world, but at times it’s really, really draining and it’s really difficult. And me being a sensitive person (she’s a Cancer), it’s hard. So I’m trying to be more in touch with my spirit.”

WAS THERE SOME KIND OF EPIPHANY LEADING UP TO THIS?
“Well nothing has ever come easily, or felt like it hasn’t been an intense fight and struggle for me. I had a rough childhood, because where I grew up I was different. Then when I was comfortable claiming that I was queer, I was met with opposition by my family. And then when I wanted to express myself with my music, I was met with opposition there.

But I’ve gotten to the point where I just think if that’s how everything is going to be, I’m not going to put up a second fight, that war in my head. If I have to struggle constantly just to express myself, I’m not going, on top of that, to be down about it and be hard on myself.”

SO WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE IN YOUR LIFE?
“It sounds cheesy, but I feel like I’m learning how to stay centered and I’m learning how to just be…soulful. It’s really crazy. There are people that I’ve known forever, and I’m like really there’s a big difference between us now because of what I’m channeling and what I’m understanding and what I am able to comprehend now, in terms of what’s greater than us and what’s bigger than us. I don’t find that in many people.”

DO YOU FIND THAT SAD?
“I think there are so many human beings that just have no concept of their spirit, of being spiritual, and how important it is to be in touch with that. How important it is to nurture that just as much as you nurture your fucking bank account. They go hand in hand. It’s like I’m learning how to properly take care of my mind and my body and my soul. That’s what’s helping to me to keep going.”

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ‘KEEP GOING’?
“I have had such a fight with depression and have actually suffered severe psychosis. I have been mentally unstable at times, and while I think oftentimes those types of people create the best art, before I was in touch with, or even had the desire to be spiritual, I was thriving off of that which is really dark. I was convinced the best artists are the miserable ones.

But I’ve come to believe we all have the choice within us to be happy, sometimes it just takes work. I think some people they don’t want to dive in, they don’t want to be introspective and they don’t want to look at themselves for who they are and what’s wrong and take care of it. They’re not willing to.”

“Greetings from Hawaii. Aloha bitches!”

THAT’S AN AMAZING AND VERY IMPORTANT REALIZATION! HOW DID YOU GET TO THIS PLACE OF UNDERSTANDING?
“I feel like something snapped in me, and I realized the sadness that I feel and the morbid thoughts that I have and the intense melancholy that I feel has nothing to do with my art. In fact with me it was holding me back because nothing was good news, nothing was enough, nothing made me happy…and I had to change that. So I took a little spiritual trip down to Hawaii, where I saw things that I had never seen because I’d never been anywhere tropical before.”

“Take me back to the islands…”

LIKE WHAT? AND HOW DID BEING IN THAT ENVIRONMENT SPARK THIS CHANGE YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT?
“I saw the ocean, and the ocean was clean and warm. I just put my feet on this fucking beautiful sand and there was every kind of plant and flower, and you could smell them as you’re walking down the street. And something clicked in my head, and I was like; ‘I don’t need to be sad to make good art. I don’t need to be sad to be a revolutionary mind. I don’t need to be sad to inspire people.’ In fact, what kind of example am I putting out there if that’s all I think is working for me?”

SO WHAT REALLY INSPIRED YOUR TRIP TO HAWAII?
“I had a friend who was like; ‘Why are you so dark? I don’t understand,’ and I was like, I don’t fucking know, I’ve been this way since I can remember.’ She actually said, ‘Have you heard of ayahuasca?’ And I didn’t take ayahuasca, but the same friend started to get me to do positive things and spiritual things like yoga, chanting.

Then I met Steven Klein (the photographer who shot Brooke’s Opulence video), and I expressed to him how sad I was and how I felt something was wrong. I was like; ‘Something is not right in my head, and if I don’t do something I’m going to fucking lose it and might kill myself, whatever.’ So he brought me to Kabbalah with Madonna.”

WOW! WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?
“I grew up with an Orthodox Jewish family, so I was very opposed to any sort of structured religion. At first I was against it wholeheartedly, but he was like; ‘Just trust me, it’s fine, it’s spiritual. Every ethnicity is in the building. It’s just a belief system that teaches you to be in touch with your fucking spirit, just come with me.’ I was like; ‘This is weird, it’s very cliché but whatever. I’ll go.’ And I sat with Steven and I listened and I grasped what they were saying so strongly. And it was really the start of the change that occurred.”

“Ring game ain’t nothing to fuck with @goodgirljewelry @castofvices

HAVE YOU CONTINUED TO STUDY THE KABBALAH?
“Now I’m seeing this teacher at the center, who is helping me understand how you elevate your consciousness by changing your way of thinking. Changing a negative thought immediately to a positive thought, things like that. And if you feel like you’re around someone who might be filled with negative energy or might be trying to take your energy – I believe in energy transfers and migrational frequency transfers and all of that – she’s teaching me how to block that out. And it’s really helping.”

HAS SHE GIVEN YOU ANY SPECIFIC PRACTISES?
“I described to her how in Hawaii, when I was just lying in the water, I was just smiling. And I never smile. I don’t smile. And she was like; ‘You know what you need to do? Every morning you need to submerge yourself in water ten times.’ She said, ‘Submerge yourself in water. If you can be naked, that would be amazing. And don’t touch anything. Just curl up like into a fetal position, and then when you emerge and come up think of something positive that you want to reflect that day. Say you want to be kind, you want to be giving, or you want to be this or that. Do it ten times. Think of ten things that you want to do that are positive that are going to change that day.’ It’s been so enlightening.”

SO CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE A WHOLE DIFFERENT BODY OF WORK FROM YOU NOW THAT REFLECTS THIS POSITIVE NEW OUTLOOK ON LIFE?
“My spirit has changed, but my art and the visuals I create aren’t going to change. I was a sad human who wanted to die and who was making art to express myself, hoping that the art I was making would stop that feeling. It released some of it, but the feeling never seemed to go away. Now I’m learning how to lose the feeling through other means, while still expressing the demon.

I’m doing more internal work and it’s awesome, but what I’m projecting is still the same. I’m still the same artist, and I now actually feel like I’m making better art, that better things are coming my way and I’m able to visualize and manifest things even stronger because I feel more centered. Going to a tropical place and seeing a shaman and doing these things, they’re not going to change the art, they’re just going to change me. Change the way I feel about myself, and help me to love myself a little bit more.”

Brookecandyofficial.com

Diesel.com

@BrookeCandy

“New 🙂 @seanfromtexas :)”

THERE MUST BE AN ANGEL: A SKEPTIC MEETS KYLE GRAY

Hipster angel whisperer Kyle Gray is on a mission to shift the perception around our celestial messengers. Will skeptic Lisa Luxx be convinced?

Angels. The first time I heard them spoken about in a serious yet non-religious context was two years ago. A friend carried a white feather around on the handlebars of her bike. She said if you found a white feather on your path it meant an angel was present. And I thought, what good is that?

Then I went to meet Kyle Gray, angel whisperer, and while my heart was open a strong gust of skepticism kept trying to slam it shut. We were at the Hay House conference where it seemed like everyone else definitely knew what angels were. But see the problem is, as much as I dig the vibrations of all these now-age ideologies, angels were always just a bit too wishy-washy and indefinable for my liking. So I was quite surprised by Kyle, once the youngest clairvoyant in the UK and now the hippest angel reader ever.

It’s easy to imagine an angel reader turning up barefoot, beaded from head to toe and floating in an effluvium of loose material and harem pants. But Kyle is mostly made up of tattoos, Vivienne Westwood and a good-natured pout. His soft Scottish accent carries an air of naivety, which acts as a sweet welcome mat into the temple of his experience.

His first successful angel reading was at a family party when he was fifteen years old. He has since become the fourth generation of psychic in his family, not exactly unexpected since his mother was summoned to a psychic night one evening when Kyle was six. “The psychic refused to see anyone until my mum arrived. When she went in, this lady sat her down and told her, ‘By the time your son is seventeen years old he’ll be known nationally for being the same as me.’”

But back to that first reading; “I closed my eyes and heard Destiny’s Child’s Survivor in my head.” Enter another almighty gust of skepticism. But I sit tight…and he continues; “I said, ‘if there is an angel present, thank you for revealing a message to Joe’ and suddenly I heard a voice saying ‘tell this man he is a survivor’. When I opened my eyes there was this great gold light, with black eyes, standing behind Joe…I almost shit myself!”

Kyle recalls how cool it was to discover that following their meeting, Joe went on to overcome a depression that had hitherto led him to five suicide attempts, each of which had failed drastically with an uncanny, almost divine, intervention. It turned Kyle on to the power of angel work; surrendering himself to becoming a messenger between the divine and the human. Although it meant he spent most of his teenage years listening to middle-aged women talking about their affairs, which he reflects was “way too heavy.”

But “Angels are always present,” Kyle explains to me. “Every space you look, there is an angel waiting.” And…jackpot! Without warning, I’m ten-years-old again, the moment I realize talk of angels and the like stopped making sense for me. I’d forgotten it had actually been a choice to stop believing in the “make believe.”

At age ten I was exploring things I wasn’t supposed to, like masturbating and smoking my friend Kayan Chan’s mum’s cigarettes. My grandma, who had raised me, had just passed away and I didn’t understand the distinction between angels and spirits. So ten-year-old me was so nervous that I was being watched by Grandma, I was busy talking myself out of that frequency despite having had what I now recognize as vivid experiences with the spirit world up until then. But now here’s Kyle Gray telling me that when it comes to angels; “its your job to turn up, not theirs.”

Ironically, Kyle explains, “when you work with angels they help you understand who you are, help you return to love and help you get away from the fearful stuff in your life. Angels are like guardians, these beings that forever love you, no matter who you are or what you do.” If I’d know that when I was ten, maybe angels could have helped me explore my grandma’s death in a healthy way, rather than running from it and pretending it didn’t exist (much like the angels themselves).

Kyle has been distracted a few times since we began talking by things happenings around me that I can’t see, but he insists that spirits are more distracting than angels – although angels do like to remind you of their presence. And for the record, if a spirit is a loved one in heaven who’s passed away, an angel, he says, is like a divine entity. “If God was to exist and God was to think, that thought would become an angel.”

So perhaps our angels are more like the thoughts we have. Thoughts that grows wings; our intentions. When Kyle first discovered angel power, he says had a lot of fun writing prayers to them. And though he speaks to angels and often hears a response, his practice still is the sacred act of writing prayers. At first this meant prayers to manifest new cars and free holidays, before he realized he could use angel power for internal growth. “Instead of asking for money to pay my bills, I started to ask how I could share more, how I could be more present. The rest of the stuff started to take care of itself.”

Kyle spent much of his adolescence wondering why he was special enough to see angels; “but when I look back now, it was just about the willingness to see.” We agree that it’s a frequency the majority of us are conditioned out of. I’m starting to get that the important thing about angels is having “the open heartedness to experience without judgment,” as Kyle Gray puts it with a nod.

With that, it’s clear that it was only me doing the judging when I was a kid, not the angels after all.

Angel Prayers Oracle Cards by Kyle Gray with be published by Hay House on October 6. His book,  Angel Prayers: Harnessing the Help of Heaven to Create Miraclesalso on Hay House, is out now.

Lisa Luxx is the editor-in-chief of Prowl Magazine.

@MGCK

@ProwlHouse

NEED-TO-KNOW: BREATHWORK

Wanna get high? Breathwork is creating a buzz on the holistic wellness scene as a way of rapidly releasing stagnant “shadow material” from the Second Chakra. Practitioner Erin Telford reports…Images: Via Disco Rat on Behance.com

The first time I ever experienced Breathwork was on a yoga retreat in Nicaragua. The plan was to do some Prana Yama before dinner. No big deal, I thought. We’ll do some Nadi Shodana, some meditation, nice and mellow. I had no idea what I was in for and that this practice would change my life.

We started out lying on our backs on our mats. Luke Simon, our teacher, instructed us to take a deep open mouth breath into the belly, the second into the heart space and exhale out of the mouth. No big deal. I actually thought for a minute that I might get bored! Little did I know…

After about ten minutes, the vibration in the space started to crackle and the jungle backdrop only magnified the energy that was starting to flow. You could hear the ocean waves thundering onto the beach, the wind whipping in the trees, the buzzing of the jungle and all of its creatures, and the gentle accompaniment of some beautifully channeled chants and drumming. Things were about to get wild.

Luke asked us to yell as loud as we could on the count of 3…2…1. We let it rip. Normally I would be really self-conscious being asked to scream but it was easy in a group and everyone went for it. It felt AMAZING to yell. I couldn’t remember the last time I had done that in such a neutral, safe and supported way.

Then things got really interesting – because once I opened up that channel, the tears started to flow. One of my very favorite acupuncture professors used to say, “Anger is the oil slick on an ocean of grief.” Once I roared out my heartache, a huge surge of sadness started to well up in my body. I really resisted that pain at first. I wanted to close my mouth and swallow it all back down where it came from.

But finally, I completely let myself go and gave myself the experience I truly needed. It was one of the most profound healings I’ve ever had in my life.

Luke moved fluidly around each one of us, holding a hand, stroking a head, applying an essential oil, placing the perfect vibrational crystal on each of us. When it was all over, I felt the most open and soft that I think I’ve ever felt. The breath acted like a spiritual Brillo pad and stripped away the bristly stickiness of resentments and pain. The afterglow was one of the highest natural highs I’ve ever experienced. It felt warm, intimate, loving, a little drunk feeling, and like a soul cleanse. I wanted to hug everybody!

After we shared our experiences and closed the circle, I grabbed Luke and was like, “What did we just DO and where did you learn that??” He told me he had learned this Breathwork from a man named David Elliot in L.A. I was hooked and ran to my room to see how I could get to study with David as soon as possible!

I’ve since been studying with David since May, and his classes are really like Life Training. His message is Self Love, and he teaches healthy ways to balance the exchange between giving and receiving. When we’re filling our selves up with love, the Universe can feed us and we can experience grace and miracles. When we’re seeking love from outside ourselves, it can lead to pain, suffering, aggression addiction and ultimately spiritual illness.

Here’s what you need-to-know about Breathwork before you dive in:

Know that David Elliott learned Breathwork from a healer named Tim Heath that he apprenticed with. It is a rebirthing breath technique that was popular in the 1970’s.

Know that sessions can be done privately, in a group setting, or even by phone or Skype.

Know that in a private session, you have the opportunity to go deeply into what is keeping you stuck or limited in your life. In a group session, there is usually a universal human theme that is chosen to focus on.

Know that active breathing happens for about 30-35 minutes although you will completely lose track of time and be in your own world.

Know that during this time, you may feel extreme tingling or vibrating sensations throughout your body, and that this is the sensation of spirit moving freely through your body.

Know that every experience is different for every person depending on what they are working with, where they want to go with the work and what their body and soul feels ready to release on any given day.

Know that our emotional experiences of our family, our creativity, our sexuality, all of our relationships, and any trauma live in our low belly in our Second Chakra. This is where a lot of our murkier, shadow material can hang out – shame, guilt, humiliation, things we don’t want to admit to ourselves or to others, and experiences we had before we had any coping mechanisms to process them.

Know that when we direct consistent attention to this area by infusing it again and again with our life force, things begin to shake loose. We are effectively “stirring our own pot” of a lifetime of emotional experience. We then draw this breath up to the Heart to be purified and transformed, and then exhale to let it all go.

Know that the euphoric after-glow from a Beathwork session can last for hours, or even days.

 

To find out more about Breathwork or book a session contact [email protected] or visit RadiantHeartAcupuncture.com

Erin will also be hosting group sessions on:

  • September 21st at Kids at Work in Manhattan (3-5pm) email [email protected] to RSVP
  • October 17th at the House of Intuition in Los Angeles (7-9pm) Click HERE to sign up
  • October 24th at Maha Rose in Greenpoint (7:30-9:30pm) Click HERE to sign up

NOTES FROM THE NUMIVERSE: 26 LIFE LESSONS MY BURNING MAN EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME

Confession: My Burning Man Experience was too full-on to be called fun, says Ruby Warrington. But when it comes to life lessons, a week on the Playa delivered pure gold.

So I wasn’t planning to write about my Burning Man Experience (BME). And not because ‘what-happens-on-the-Playa-stays-on-the-Playa,’ but because I have been embarrassed to admit that I didn’t have THE MOST AWESOME TIME OF MY LIFE. I feel like this is the response my friends all were all expecting when they asked, with the utmost and cutest enthusiasm, to hear my tales; ‘OMG how was it?!?!?!?!’ Because ‘I had the time of my life,’ is pretty much the standard response when you ask people about their BME.

But Burning Man is HARD. It forces to you face yourself in ways we have devised so very many modern distractions (television, the internet, flushing toilets, retail therapy) to avoid. It is also a hot, horny, fear-and-loathing-inducing humdinger of a festival, and considering the only way I could ever do Glastonbury was by staying in a local B & B where the owners gave us a glass of chilled Chablis before we headed into the fray each day, I should perhaps have guessed that my BME would kind of be a challenge.

But if I’ve learned ANYTHING this year (thanks to this lady in particular), it’s that challenges are what we human beings are here for! And that a fully textured life is always about the road less travelled. So friends, followers, here are the vital and sometimes evolutionary lessons my BME taught me:

We are hopelessly addicted to stuff: Witness hundreds of Burners buying up literally the entire contents of Walmart in Reno in preparation for a week of ‘radical self-reliance’ in the desert. Next year (oh yes, there will be a ‘next year’) I pledge to make ‘minimalism’ my motto.

Enforced fun can still be fun: We’d been on the road for pretty much 40 hours straight (give or take a whiskey-infused power nap) by the time my friend Sophie and I made it through the gates to hunt down our fellow campers – leaving my husband Simon in what was shaping up to be an 8-hour wait in ‘will call’ for his ticket. As a BM ‘virgin’ it was the greeters’ job to make me lie down on the Playa and make a ‘dust-angel’ to mark my entry. I was not in the mood, but getting to lie down for a minute did put a smile on my face.

Anticipation is the mother of the anti-climax: Even if you haven’t been to BM, you know what BM looks like, right? This is because we live in the information age, goddamnit, and sites (like this one) won’t stop publishing pictures of Black Rock City and its freaky-deeky population. I actually kind of hated myself for not being ‘in awe’ of what I saw out on the Playa my first day. Was I that jaded? But I basically saw exactly what I saw in the images and YouTube clips I’d GORGED on before the event. In fact, if you haven’t been to BM and you think you might go at some point in the future, maybe stop reading now. The joy of discovery is a beautiful thing.

Just follow the signs…

But nothing can prepare you for the TRIP that is your first night on the Playa: Thankfully you can’t photograph a feeling, and here’s a sensation you’ve never got to experience before and will never experience anywhere else. It’s just you, your bike and a sea of LEDs. No roads, no rules, no edge separating Earth from the rest of the Universe.

Being an Aries with Sag rising and Cancer Moon makes for a very conflicted camper (see above re. Glastonbury): The Aries and the Sag want PARTIES, PEOPLE, ADVENTURE! The Cancer needs ALL MY CREATURE COMFORTS, INCLUDING LOTS OF PRIVACY, ALL THE TIME. Yikes.

And…if you have a Water Moon, try to camp with at least one other Water Moon: My gift to my beautiful fellow campers was a personal astro reading, so I had all their chart information ahead of time. And wouldn’t you know, I was headed into a desert storm of pure Fire and Earth. Which of course made for the most incredible camp set-up (fully functioning kitchen, hand-washing station, outdoor shower – with curtain, evaporation pool for our grey water) and a consistent party vibe (mushrooms for breakfast, a carefully calculated six cans of beer per person, per day, plus a seemingly limitless supply of spirits). But my goodness, the outpouring of emotions when I finally managed to track down my friend Tali, and her blessed Scorpio Moon.

I am a total music snob: Tali says it’s because I’m an Aries, who she always admires for our “discernment” (erm, I believe “arrogance” is another adjective associated with my sign). But I also blame (again) my Cancer Moon. To make me move, music has to have soul. Worse, anything that can be loosely categorised as dubstep, breakbeat, trap, minimal techno, EDM or drum ‘n’ bass actually causes a physical reaction in my body that feels a lot like anger. WFT? Even if I’ve taken really amazing drugs (not that I necessarily think drugs are amazing, see below). Unfortunately, these seem to be the preferred genres of most DJs manning the art cars and sound systems at BM, providing a 24-7 soundtrack to life on the Playa straight out of my worst musical nightmare. But thank f*** for a camp called Basshenge!!! Pumping out a soulful, heartbeat bassline that kept me dancing in the dust ‘til dawn, I <3 Basshenge.

Sound clash is sleep deprivation for the soul: The only thing worse than waking up to a full on trap set happening right next to your RV at 9am, is a full on drum ‘n’ bass set happening 10 feet away at the same time. Note to organisers: my friend Gina had a lovely idea – “an hour of silence” every day. (Note to self: add a set of noise cancelling headphones to the minimal ‘must-haves’ list for next year)

“Love is Love”, especially in the desert

“No critters live in the desert”: How cool is this – apparently there’s a special camp in BRC for people to drop off random animals and bugs they find in their camp. This is because, seeing as the desert conditions are too harsh for any living thing to survive (erm, no shit), any “critters” have to have travelled in with you. Even better, there’s some kind of Dr Doolittle animal sanctuary outside the Playa where they all get deposited after the event. What a fun time we had imagining how that little man-made ecosystem is progressing year-on-year!

But BRC is actually a very safe place for humans to live: Discussing the medical room stats listed in the Black Rock Gazette one morning, our camp-mate Bryan (a professional anaesthetist – which, yes, makes for some very interesting conversations about recreational use of ketamine) was able to confirm that the incidence of accident and injury is way lower than the average American metropolis. Despite the lack of rules and policing, and the disproportionately high incidence of all-day intoxication in BRC.

A mini torch makes the best MOOP: Okay, I might have fallen off my bike riding over it out in the deep Playa, but having a mini torch to strap to my Vega Jewelry crystal necklace was a revelation – literally! Mainly down to no more hold-your-breath-and-guess moments in the porta-potties in the dead of night. Yay PERSONAL ILLUMINATION!

The Playa is not a beach: It is a beautiful, uncompromising, arid, dust-bowl. Not to be confused with somewhere to kick back, relax and sink a few cold ones before cooling off in the surf.

Hedonism is one of the deepest expressions of human spirituality: Since when did hedonism get such a bad name anyway?? In the dictionary, it’s defined as – the belief that pleasure or happiness is the most important goal in life. The fact that people will go to so much effort in the pursuit of this ideal, suggests to me a serious pleasure/happiness-unbalance in our daily lives. And being happy means being better equipped to want to contribute to other people’s happiness. This is one of the best BM lessons of all.

Men, even gay men, think very long, wavy hair is sexy. Even if it’s green: I have never received more compliments from the opposite sex than the night I donned this wig. This must be why women get addicted to hair extensions. And doesn’t it say something interesting about gender representation? No matter how progressive the humans, the Disney Princess vision of female beauty still holds sway.

“Radical self-expression” = a lot of costume clichés: See top hats, striped meggings, faux-fur moon boots, leather bras…and green wigs. Turns out most of us humans actually prefer to conform, and a couple of days into the 80kg dressing up box of sequins, wigs and fake tattoos I’d lugged from Brooklyn, I too became acutely aware that I was actually putting together a series of ‘Burning Man outfits’ that were less about an expression of my own personal style than a desire to fit in. I worked in fashion for a long time, I know what that is. Next year I’m just gonna pack a bikini, some Teeki yoga pants, and my boiler suit (below), which is what I ended up feeling most ‘me’ in.

Basically, the best boiler suit ever

I might have had my Burning Man moment a decade (and a half) ago in Ibiza: Between the ages of 24 and 32, I made a twice-yearly pilgrimage to the ‘spiritual’ party island of Ibiza. And daytime dancing at Distrikt, downing shots of Whisky with old gay dudes in leather skirts, riding out at night into a sea of LEDs, allowing myself to merge with the Cosmos out on the edge of the Playa…was basically flashback central to then. What I got from ‘the Ibiza years’ was a sense of connection to a tribe of likeminded hedonists, a deep respect for the numinous beauty of nature and a lot of dancing in the sand beneath the stars. Sound familiar? So now I know I’ve ‘been there, done that’, time to set some new intentions for my BM experience next year.

The best Bloody Mary’s are frozen Bloody Mary’s: But what you don’t get in Ibiza, is some dude named Dave serving up the most incredible frozen Bloody Mary’s (just freeze the mix and stir in lashings of vodka as it melts) in exchange for a sweaty hug. In Ibiza the Bloody Marys will set you back $25.

In no way, shape or form do drug highs measure up to spiritual highs: I first took E when I was 14, and it helped me understand a whole other plane of human existence (not to mention get out of facing my feelings about my parent’s divorce). It took about 20 years for me to realize that seeing as that veil had already been lifted, I would never experience the same sense of ‘enlightenment’ from drugs again – and that in fact, taking drugs is kind of like opening the door to your soul to an unknown entity and handing over the controls (which is why a lot of drug highs feel so scary). There are lots of drugs at BM, and part of my brain (the drunk part) still believes in those kind of highs. But experience – mainly experiences of the numinous variety – has shown me that when your soul is allowed to navigate its own route to bliss, there is no fear, there is no comedown and there is UNLIMITED POTENTIAL FOR PERSONAL GROWTH.

But take enough and you might experience time travel: So my friend-who-shall-remain-nameless met a ‘medicine woman’ dancing at Robot Heart, and asked; ‘what can I learn from you?’ They spent the next 24 hours together out in the deep Playa, during which time the medicine woman gave my friend ‘more drugs than I’ve taken in my life – cocaine, LSD, mushrooms, molly’, and my friend claims she experienced time travel and understood that immortality is entirely possible. Those are the kind of drug experiences I guess I would like to have, but am basically scared s***less of.

Even in the deepest of Playa, where you literally feel like you are on the edge of the Cosmos, a tweaking raver from Liverpool will hunt you down and try to fill your head with her relationship problems: Know that you do not have to let this totally kill your mushroom buzz, and that it is always within your power to simply stand up, kiss her goodnight and ride away.

Sunset: navigating the duality of night and day

Life is an exercise in duality: Clean, dirty; give, receive; high, low; hot, cold. All of which it feels like BM is set up to make ABUNDANTLY CLEAR.

Whiskey Flats RV park (Hawthorn, NV) is the Park Hyatt of RV parks: Okay maybe our perspective was somewhat skewed…but man, I could have kissed the pristine, floral-scented toilet when we stopped off here on our way back to Vegas to clean our RV and empty the putrid ‘black water’ tank. Oh and they also have free coffee and a Laundromat!! I’ve always loved doing laundry. Doing it here was like doing laundry on ecstasy. This is the website in case you need it for next year.

Digital cold turkey isn’t difficult: I’m addicted as the best of us, but I can honestly say I didn’t miss social media or email ONCE during my BME. I even found it hard to let it back into my life, like I’d got a newfound respect for exactly how DICTATOR-LIKE it is. The sense of serenity that comes from being offline is blissful, and observing my online life from the other side I was able to witness the physical, emotional and intellectual hold technology has on us. But, you know, now I’m fully back on the juice and loving it.

I am actually obsessed with the Body’s Ability To Bounce Back (BABB): Okay it’s taken a week to muster the brain cells and the discipline to get this post together, but that’s a lot to do with the fact I’ve also spent a lot of time marvelling at how GOOD IT FEELS to inch my way back into the healthful, spiritually aligned, fully embodied state I usually seek to maintain (a.k.a. get over the comedown). Bryan (the anaesthetist) said he still marvels daily at the BABB, how our organism is consistently seeking to bring itself into balance. Seriously, gotta love the BABB.

Even in the most Mystical of Worlds, I am very much a Material Girl: But I’ve always been pretty upfront about that one, hey.

My life is really freaking awesome: Since my return to the ‘default’ world, I’ve been feeling THE IMMENSEST AMMOUNT OF GRATITUDE FOR – in no particular order of wonderfulness – being clean, fresh water and the sewage system, work that brings me so much satisfaction and helps me define my ‘edges’, electricity, the bond I share with my beautiful husband, groceries, my cat purring, blowdries, the Internet. And an event like Burning Man, for helping me TRULY appreciate the fact.

Burningman.com

INDIA TRIPPIN: DRESSING THE INTERNATIONAL GYPSET

Naz Onderoglu of Williamsburg’s new global style hub Soot & Tusk gets the spiritual scoop on Ilgin Utin’s India Trippin’ collection. Because it’s always about the journey…

If an open door beckons to you, please stumble in. On a recent stroll through Williamsburg, BK, we did exactly that, and soon found ourselves in fashion heaven – aka Soot & Tusk, a new boutique bursting with cool creations from independent designers across the globe. Founders Naz, Noyan and Veranika are as international a line-up as the clothes that lines the racks, and leads come from everywhere; “we travel, ask our friends or search all over the internet to find like-minded labels. So spread word, we’re looking for new designers all the time!” says Naz.

Designers like Ilgin Utin, whose incredible India Trippin’ collection is featured in this post. Erm, obsessed much? We asked Naz to reach out to Ilgin (modelling her own designs here) to get the inside scoop…

When were you last ‘India Trippin’?
“I spent four months in India this winter, searching for what money can’t buy and finding my lost spirit, which it’s easy to forget about in my Western life. I had come to a point where I’d lost all interest in material life and my career goals had become meaningless. I realised I had been living in future, not in the moment, and my India trip helped me reconnect with the ‘now’, as well as my creativity.”

How does the country inspire you as an artist?
“Initially it helped me remember the artsy mood of my childhood, but I also found a spiritual connection there which made everything meaningful again and I came to a conclusion that I had to integrate my spirit with my material work. In India, the colourful, fancy and extravagant material expressions are reflections of inner beauty, infused with this ancient, immortal culture of imagination. Seeing real people applying this creativity in their lives, I also figured out that you don’t need to do any research on the internet to be able to understand everything.”

What’s the most mystical experience you had there?
“I had this foresight that I’d find a guru who will lead me on a mystical tour to unknown places and states of minds. But it wasn’t about this. There was no big mystery, I simply felt more grounded and connected to nature, as well as the consciousness that we are all a part of.

Really, no stories?
“Well okay. I was traveling alone in Coorg following my passion for spices and herbs, and I ended up staying on a mountain homestay with a local family. When I met the guy he told me I was the only Muslim traveller that had ever come there, so he was so excited to introduce me his family. I went their 100-year-old house on the mountains, where there were no neighbours, only nature. On meeting his amazing family, I ended up stayed there for a whole week as they insisted.

“I quickly fell into remote village life, speaking Hindu with the mother, being a sister to his son. At nights we had deep conversations about life, and he would tell stories which were basic and pure, but also so illuminating. Of course, he didn’t know I was in a search of guru, but he told me ‘you can stay here as long as you want, we don’t expect anything in return you, but take me as your guru!’ This made me understand that everybody is a guru, from whom I could learn self-realization.”

Describe the woman you are designing for – who is your muse?
“A woman with lots of confidence, with no hesitations and who doesn’t want to hide in the crowd. She likes to be noticed, but she shows up as her inner self, her child spirit. She is very much optimistic, colorful and enjoying life. I don’t have muses, but imaginary characters that I design for. She’s the woman that I want to be.”

What’s your astrological sign, and how does it help define your aesthetic?
“I’m an Aquarius, and I think defines my personality, my lifestyle and my mentality. I believe I am really creative, free spirited, independent, reliable, outgoing, sophisticated and individual because of my sign. I know I born this way. My aesthetic is something I’ve developed by visiting and experiencing so many different cultures, and I’m always in progress and expanding my vision.”

Getting dressed in the morning, what’s your ‘fashion mantra’?
“I never prepare my clothes the day before. So my mantra is; ‘put on your mood!’”

For more information about when Ilgin Utin’s India Trippin’ collection will be available contact [email protected]

@ilginutin

TAROTSCOPES: SEPTEMBER 2014

Cast by Louise Androlia using the Rider Waite Deck.

I love to chat with you about your ‘scopes and how your month is going, so find me onTwitter and Instagram @louniverse and at Facebook/louiseandrolia

Virgo / Virgo Rising – The Eight of Pentacles

Happy Birthday! This is such a dream card for you as you’re probably in ‘back to school’ mode already, right? I also love the flow from last month’s Two of Wands, as I feel it’s a call for you to take action based on the dreams and ideas you’ve been cultivating.

I expect many of you are itching to get a personal project off the ground, get started with a new job – or perhaps leave an old one! It’s a great time to get into action mode, but don’t panic if things play out differently from your original plan. The way that things transpire will be exactly as they should. I know that’s not alway an easy concept for a perfectionist like you, but it really works quite beautifully. All it requires is a little releasing of pressure from yourself to allow things to flow more easily. It is an exercise in freedom.

The start of your solar year is like our own personal new year, so why not take time over the first few days of the month to check in with your own internal radar. What is coming and what is cycling out of your life as you transition into this new life phase?

If your friendships and romantic relationships need a little work then now is a great time to be willing to see them in a different way. Getting along with another person can be like learning a new language; instead of shouting over and over hoping they’ll understand, how about putting some compassion into really listening to them? Their viewpoint is also valuable, and sometimes it’s an amazing discovery to find that you disagree and that it is totally okay too. Allow your relationships to evolve, and surrender to what feels good for you – meaning what feels good for your soul, not your ego.

Be open to welcoming in and respecting the unknown this month. A good way to do this is to look back and practice gratitude for the past year and especially for your childhood. And if, like so many of us, are feeling the bumps of change right now, then please be easy on yourself. A time of change is not supposed to feel relaxed – in fact, it feels the total opposite! It is imperative that whatever you’re doing and wherever you’re at right now you make the intention to be kind to yourself. Judging yourself or your journey is what builds blocks in front of you. Allow your moods to guide you, one feeling to the next. Remember every feeling is of value and you are unique but not alone.

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Libra / Libra Rising – The Five of Swords

This is a perfect card to guide you on from the last few weeks into a new and more empowered space. As things shift and change in your own environment you now have a chance to reconnect your mind, body and spirit. It is possible that you are feeling a little off balance, perhaps even physically unwell. It can be scary to feel so ungrounded, but know that this is normal when your life is moving into a new cycle.

I feel this month is all about you, you and more YOU! So if you’re used to hiding in the sidelines or just being everything for everyone else, then it’s time to come back home. You’re not here to just give out, you need to be able to receive too, and it starts with you realigning yourself with your feelings and intentions.

This is especially significant if you are emerging from a relationship and have that ‘just stepped off a battleground’ energy around you. Try not to split yourself into pieces by seeing different versions of yourself scattered in the past. You are all you and everything is of significance to take you forward. Instead think of this as a great time for detoxing the mind and body, and ,alongside that, simply having some fun.

So how can you care for yourself more effectively? To start with try and avoid fitting yourself into a box or following someone else’s life plan, especially where health and diet are concerned. Think about your body and what it needs, consider what feels right for you. This can be a trial and error process and that’s okay, just work with yourself and experiment with everything that resonates with you.

If you’re feeling anxious about the past and worrying about hard times repeating themselves, again, this is very normal, but know that you are always evolving and that it’s within your powers of perception that you can really trust in that. Allow time to just be you, be in you, be with you. It’s the safest place you can be. When you have reclaimed your personal power you may find that blocks dissolve and you feel a little more like putting an action plan in place.

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Scorpio / Scorpio – The Four of Cups

I hope you’ve been working with the word ‘expansion’ this year, because it’s such a helpful tool for you. In any given experience or moment we can look at things through a small, restricted tube, or from a 360-degree viewpoint. So what’s your vision like today?

If you feel in ‘stuck’ mode, then begin to think of everything as being stretchy – life as lycra – remembering there is always a possibility that you perhaps haven’t seen yet. Not only is this a more positive place to start from, but it’s actually something we can work with. I often look at the closed sentences we create for ourselves and think to myself; ‘I don’t want to live in that kind of space, I want something to explore.’ So make this your mantra for the next month – ‘I am willing to explore.’

I want you to adventure within your own time frame, moving around your own puzzle pieces and creating and recreating all the time. Any moment you feel bored, it’s only a call for expansion. Any time you feel afraid, it’s just a call for freedom. You are in a time of wild and exciting opportunity, especially on a personal note, and there are many people who need you and appreciate you. There are also new romantic prospects perhaps closer than you realize – I’ll leave that one to you to investigate. So over the next month, allow yourself to open up to new contacts and to being a light for those who are in murky waters.

However, it’s also imperative that you up your energy protection skills. I just read that snails have a special type of slime that’s reserved for protection, how cool is that? Snails are totally my new spirit creatures! So how about visualizing your own version of this. Close your eyes and see a bight light within your heart centre, representing your highest and brightest inner light. Now see it expanding from your body, covering your whole being with an iridescent, protective second skin. This is your new power source, both for protection and to enhance your ability to feel comfortable in your own light. Let me know how it goes!

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Sagittarius / Sagittarius Rising – Death

I feel that it’s these later months of the year where you’ll be navigating and noticing the most shifts in your life. It seems like you’ve been building up to something, and the next few weeks are where you can finally start taking action. If you are poised ready to or launch a new something or other (wait! have you been keeping something on the secretive down low?!), then this is the perfect time to embrace it fully and without obsession over perfection. Trust that if you are moving forward from an honest and passionate place, then everything is as it should be. Keep walking forwards instead of trying to rewrite the past, and avoid delaying yourself because of a fear of failure, which of course is just a fear of that unknown space ahead of us.

Remember that none of us are exempt from fears, so try and avoid judging your feelings as you’ll be the most supported when you stay present with any worries that come up and wrap your arms fully around your challenges. Know that during a time of change you’re not supposed to feel grounded or relaxed, so be easy on yourself and up your self care practice.

For some of you there may be some moments of clarity or personal epiphanies over the next few weeks as you fully connect with how your own personal stories have been weaving together. There may be moments where you need to stop and forgive yourself and other people – maybe linked to a few situations from the recent past. Remember that forgiveness is nothing to do with letting someone ‘off the hook,’ but rather it’s the act of freeing oneself from restrictions. As you practice this idea of freeing yourself you will find that it opens up a new space for opportunity and personal growth.

Finally, keep yourself aware of how you channel your fire energy. If you feel bored, frustrated or self-sabotaging, this is misplaced fire and a call for you to expand. It might be that you need to shift your outlook by being willing to see more options, or it might represent a need to pay attention to a passion that you’ve hidden away. Think of this month as an option to explore and take an adventure through your own psyche. Who knows what you may find!

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Capricorn / Capricorn Rising – The Two of Wands

This month you’re invited to step back into a more creative and adventurous place. It’s a month to retire to your manifestation station and get quite serious about redesigning your life. You’ve been quite hard on yourself recently, as well as managing a lot of external stress, so it’s time to reshuffle and realize that you do have some power in this process.

It’s so easy for us to feel like a victim, and imagine that things are happening to us. It’s equally easy to start restricting ourselves without even realizing it. How often recently have you been using closed statements like; ‘I can’t’? And external statements that start with the dreaded; ‘I should’? It is within your own ability to expand yourself so that more options are available. There will always appear to be a block in front of you if you are wearing blinkers. But what about the expanse around you? This is the space I want you to be willing to explore.

It just doesn’t cut it anymore to be unkind to yourself or pile the pressure up and up, so it’s time to get creative. Start from the bottom. How do you feel today, and how do you want to feel? Where is the block that is separating the two? Is it a fear centered around a ‘what if’, an ‘I should’ or an ‘I can’t?’ I believe that we must rewrite our own inner dictionaries so that we are no longer using words that aren’t stretchy or empowered. Replace all the above with an ‘I feel’ in order to see how you really resonate with what is going on around you. It is time to fall in love with yourself again.

You will benefit from working with your own inner spark this month and honouring your back burner ideas. What projects or plans have you sidelined and replaced with things you thought you ‘should’ do instead? It’s time to bring them to the forefront, with no pressure. Remember how as children we always just had hobbies? Where as when we are adults we often feel that everything has to have a point or an action plan attached, so that we forget about just being expressive or having fun. It’s time to go back to doing what simply makes you feel good. Okay?

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Aquarius / Aquarius Rising – The Emperor

The month ahead calls for some good old-fashioned order and planning, and this is probably just what you need if you’ve been feeling quite out of control recently. This isn’t however a call for control freak mode, instead showing you that well placed balance and order have the ability to set you free. This card brings in Mars energy, all about your drives and passions, posing the question of how you want to move forward and helping you be aware of what might be holding you back.

The themes of protection and preservation are present for you too, and I’d like you to reframe these phrases so that they sit in a positive light for you. Protect yourself not by cutting yourself off from the world or other people but by choosing company that uplifts your spirits rather than pulls on your fears. Preserve your energy by not placing it in any space that feels restricted. This might mean that you remember to pick and choose career choices to suit you rather than to please others, and that you work on getting more comfortable with the presence of your own fears.

With such a strong archetype in place I can’t avoid the possibility that there is a strong masculine energy in your life right now. This doesn’t have be a male, but the energy has a very powerful presence over you. I want you to address whether you feel consumed by someone, or even overpowered by a situation? If so, then here is your chance to take this energy for yourself and channel it back into your own life force – as opposed to feeling like you’ve been depleted.

This is where a sense of structure will help. Think about where you feel weakened and what you could do to support yourself more in this situation. It might be that you return to a wellness practice that has helped you before, take yourself on a holiday or put yourself fully into a work project or idea that has been on the sidelines. Either way this is a reminder that whilst the feelings of external pressure can be huge, there is always a part that you can play to shift your perspective and be kinder to yourself. Make falling in love with yourself a non-negotiable, and practice forgiveness for every block that you become aware of.

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Pisces / Pisces Rising – The Three of Swords

An interesting reflection of last months card, here is another three which calls you to expand in a slightly different way. The last few weeks you may have been planning new career adventures or just checking in with that inner call to share or teach. I feel that this month is about releasing old pain and disappointments in order to be really present with what your soul desires.

Disappointment is one of the strangest human emotions and links very closely to a victim mentality. For someone as intuitive as you, it is easy for you to feel overwhelmed because you can often soak up everyone else’s emotions without even realizing it! This might recently have come in the forms of a fear that others behavior is to do with you, that you have done something wrong, and also feelings of self blame. It’s important to note these types of feelings quickly and shift them within the moment. Remember that you have personal power and your journey is yours to explore and co-create. Acknowledge where you feel let down but don’t judge yourself.

I feel that some of you might be stuck in repetitive romantic patterns, and again the key to unlock these is in reclaiming a sense of empowerment. Check in with how often you are externalizing your life to be about someone else and know that this is your experience, and that is actually quite exciting. By freeing yourself up from any expectations you have placed upon yourself, then liberation will appear in the form of a wide-open space to really get to know parts of yourself that you perhaps didn’t even know existed.

Try and work constantly with the term ‘I feel,’ so that you are always connecting mind and body and reforming a stronger internal confidence structure. This month is all about transcending pain in a new way, and I do believe that we can feel empowered within a challenge by claiming it for our own. Somewhere in your life right now there is a situation that is acting as a catalyst, ready to rocket you off to a fresh and more evolved space. Remember growing pains are normal, and you are writing your own life story; now imagine yourself as the hero, and ask how might you save yourself today.

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Aries / Aries Rising – The Six of Cups

A nostalgic card for you this month Aries, and a call to check in with how you are currently viewing the past. The past is there to be appreciated but not re-written. You are someone that likes a task and likes to be productive, and I feel that these next few weeks aren’t about combing through the history books, but instead just being present with where the past might be having a negative effect on your plans.

What mean is, I feel you might be trying to delve through your archives to find out why something turned out as it did or perhaps even just trying to predict a possible outcome for the future. Slow down. I repeat, slow down and let the past be your mentor, a gentle energy that comes with solid advice and assurance. The best way for you to be nostalgic right now is to forgive and be compassionate to anything that has been difficult for you recently. I definitely feel that there is some emotional energy with you right now that is very strong, and may have caused you to feel much more out of balance than usual – even with your health. Keep being patient and kind to yourself. Your mind has to be a judgement free zone because then you can move forwards, knowing that your story is perfectly crafted just as it is.

Meanwhile, the benefits to the next few weeks are that you may have a push forward with a career project, something that needed space and is now ready to align with your time zone! There is also the possibility of using this energy to connect with old friends – and no, this does not mean texting ex lovers, rather reconnecting with those who you miss in your circle. I feel there could be a friend who needs some comforting words from you right now, so remember the art of helping if you feel a little helpless yourself.

I also love the idea that you can use this time to reconnect yourself to old hobbies and passions, perhaps picking up that paint brush or doing something that your inner child would approve of. Let the light and positive energy of your past guide you forward and be ready to hear the answers that old times bring forth in the present moment.

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Taurus / Taurus Rising – The Three of Cups

This is such a shift from the energy of last month, where I was encouraging you to get really present with all of your fears. We now have a space for celebration and lighter joy. I feel it’s a pull to get you out of your comfort zone – have you been a bit of a home hermit recently? I think that there are people that would appreciate your company, and not to chat about work, just to relax and try and see the lighter side of life. If you’ve been in a very challenging space recently then this is a reminder that it’s okay to still laugh and smile, even if you feel dragged down by difficulties and sadness. Don’t however put any pressure on yourself to ‘have fun.’ It’s more about allowing yourself to tip-toe on over to something that feels good and might just plant a smile on your face.

Meanwhile, this is a card of congratulations so it could be that you finally release a project you have been working so hard on, and get to experience the elation that comes with giving birth to a new idea. It’s a good few weeks to take a mini break or holiday, and if you haven’t been out of town for a while relaxation is fully encouraged. I also feel that this marks a shift in perspective for you, as if perhaps last month helped you face up to some things that seemed so scary and you saw a way to cope with them or to change your thoughts to support you rather than attack you.

It is certainly the month to make the most of life – the phrase ‘life is short’ is important to contemplate because it can release us from silly judgments and worries and free us up to appreciate everything that is present, especially the people we love. Get in touch with some of your most supportive friends, feel free to share if you need to but make sure to honour the art of giving and receiving and check in that they are okay too. I feel that everyone needs a bit of a boost right now, and we can all play our part.

On a final note, take some time to sit and soak up how amazing you are. Sometimes you forget to do this, and now is a great time for personal gratitude. You are AWESOME, so deal with it!

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Gemini / Gemini Rising – The Chariot

Yep, you are still in a time of change! So release any pressure from yourself to be feeling super grounded and relaxed. It’s okay! Life is going ahead, it’s likely that this month brings together the results of things that you have been building up to or working on this year so far – and this is good news. It is only difficult if you lay back and forget to participate, so hold on and remember to fully engage. The lessons are all in the balance. If you can work out how to care for yourself and be respectful of your adventure then you will be just fine.

Last month things may have felt a little more out of control, so you’ll be pleased to know that this month some of the movement is based on your own will and power! At the forefront is a call for you to slow yourself down to a step-by-step process, so that the mists clear and things make more sense. I feel that there have been a lot of external opinions recently, advice from here, there and everywhere, and with that it’s easy to feel lost.

In order to emerge from this wind tunnel you have to be working with your ‘will’ and not your ‘won’t.’ This means it’s time to let go of the stubborn part of yourself that says you ‘can’t’ change or ‘things will always be like this.’ It is a call to be more expansive and allow yourself to evolve into a better stage of your life. Don’t be afraid because life is supposed to move forward, you are supposed to constantly shift, and now it’s time to go for it!

Think of all the ways you can be proactive this month. How can you take charge of your health and well being in new way? What bigger part can you play in wanting to feel good? What can you change about your inner dialogue to make your mind more manageable? What would you like to leave behind as you move onwards? It’s important to post yourself these kinds of questions often, but also to give them to yourself pressure free. This isn’t about restrictive disciplines, but about wanting to honour the life you have been given.

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Cancer / Cancer Rising – The Page of Swords

You are navigating through the same waters as last month, which is all about your own personal power and inner truths. I feel some of you have probably seen things change already and are enjoying how much more empowered it feels to be making choices from a place that feels good. As you move through September, there is a call to really stay aligned to your own clarity and wisdom, especially with a lot of opinions from others forming around you. Stay true to yourself and try to not detour into fear or be swayed by trying to do things from an external ‘I should’ kind of space.

There may be lots of gossip in your midst, and so follow this simple rule: Drama doesn’t exist unless you participate in it. This is simple but it can be easy to be swayed, and again it is a call to stand in your own shoes. The reason it is so important to be embodied is that when you are fully connected to yourself you have the opportunity to see the lessons that the past is shouting out to you. I feel that you might have a few ‘ah-ha’ moments come riding in over the next few weeks, as you see how things link to each other and how you ended up standing right here.

I want you to also be proud of yourself this month as you move forwards, it feels like you are really stepping into a new cycle after a lot of ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ over the year so far. You are aware that you had lessons that needed to be learned and now you are ready to really play your own cards and continue to discover what is hidden within you. It can be difficult to stand fully in our own power – in fact it’s one of life’s lessons to really go for it and not be afraid of what others might say or what might happen if you really shine.

If you stay connected to your mind, body and spirit then you can always bring forth the highest part of yourself, and with that are then able to see the lightest and brightest path ahead. You are still evolving, so don’t expect yourself to ‘know everything’ – we are always supposed to be learning, teaching and sharing. So pat yourself on the back and keep on walking.

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse

Leo / Leo Rising – The Ace of Pentacles

What a perfectly smooth transition from last month – that question of how you were going to further your own experience is perfectly complemented by this month’s card, which signals new beginnings and bright opportunities.

So I’d like to talk to you about how you decide which options to pick and how to make the decision that’s best for you. This is all about respecting a desire to feel good and experience joy – it’s not about beating others or being directed by your ego’s fears. Lucky you if you have a huge selection of options or ideas in front of you, but it can still be overwhelming. So scale yourself back to a pressure free zone and begin from considering what you desire right now. We are dealing with what you want to experience on this earthly plane, so yes we can cover career, but really this is more about your experience on earth itself and what you would like to learn and discover.

I feel over the next few weeks you are going to have the opportunity for many fresh starts, some of which may already have been creeping in like new relationships and friendships. This is an empowering energy and so I want you to be very active in directing yourself and exploring your own internal and external landscape. Think of every day as a clear canvas to start creating from. This is not a time to ignore your own ideas or sideline passion projects, in fact it’s actually a great time to bring back to the table an old idea that got left behind. Expect the unexpected and be open to taking what feel like unusual opportunities. Just know that if something feels right, then it could be just the opportunity you needed.

Finally, there is no need to be afraid of a fresh start. The unknown is merely something that you aren’t familiar with…yet. It is not a place to fear, and your perspective can be shifted by thinking of everything as potentially exciting, rather than fearful. Consider how the sun sets and rises every day but the light and patterns from the clouds in the sky are always slightly different: the scene is always the same, but different.

Questions? Come and chat with me about how your month is going @louniverse