BYE BYE NEGATIVE ENERGY: SMUDGING 101

Chances are you’ve heard about smudging, the act of burning sacred herbs to transmute negative energy. Here, modern shamanic practitioner Marika Messager explains the process in detail and provides a step-by-step basic smudging ritual.

sage smudge stick

WHAT EXACTLY IS SMUDGING?
Smudging is the common name given to the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing, a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition – but essentially it refers to the art of cleansing your self and your environment using simple ritual and ceremony. Our homes, objects and bodies do not consist of purely physical matter; they also vibrate with subtle, invisible energy. Cleansing a space or our bodies with techniques such as smudging clears away all the emotional and psychic “garbage” that may have gathered, perhaps over hundreds of years. It’s like spiritual spring-cleaning.

SO HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?
Smudging calls on the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and put you back into a state of balance, peace and harmony. It is the psychic equivalent of washing your hands before eating – and used as an essential preliminary to almost all Native American ceremonies. And the apparent benefits are steeped in science – when burned, sage and other herbs release negative ions, which research has linked to a more positive mood.

OH! HOW SO?
The aroma of sage, for example, increases the oxygen supply to the brain, producing a relaxation of muscle tension. In addition, the smoke from some herbs actually changes the molecular structure of air and energy, producing a cleansing effect. As the sense of smell is connected very powerfully to instinct and memory, the burning of smudge sticks has been found to be a very effective aromatherapy agent, especially when combating feelings of depression, anger, fear, frustration, resentment, and grief.

YOU MENTIONED NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITION – WHERE DID THE TRADITION ORIGINATE?
Smudging is a North American ritual, but is not exclusive to this area and has been practiced all over the world. In some cases, smudging is linked to the use of incense – as incense, like a smudge stick, is a natural object that is burned for a specific purpose. The history of incense itself goes back thousands of years to Egypt.

Most traditional cultures, from the Zulus to the Maoris, from the Chinese to the Balinese, have age-old forms of cleansing and blessing ritual. Even the West retains relics of it – the incense wafting through a church is cleansing the atmosphere just as surely as the medicine man’s bowl of sacred smoke, or smudge. The church bells that ring out on Sunday morning were also originally intended to purify the whole parish through sound and lead the community from everyday space into worship – just as the Shaman’s drum can lead us on sacred journeys into the world of the spirits.

IN WHAT SITUATIONS SHOULD YOU CONSIDER SMUDGING YOURSELF OR YOUR SPACE?
Smudging is both a ceremonial and an every day practice, so some smudging rituals are performed on a daily basis. Others are reserved for special or ceremonial occasions. As well as a way to clear one’s energetic field, smudging is often used to cleanse apartments and houses before they’re sold, before you move in, or whenever you feel the need to clean your environment. It’s also good to clean any objects you interact with regularly, like your computer or phone, while smudging can also be used to cleanse or protect crystals.

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SO WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT THINGS YOU CAN USE TO SMUDGE WITH?
A smudge kit usually consists of four of five pieces, each representing one of the four or five elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and sometimes Spirit or life energy):
A shell (abalone shell is most often used) to represent Water
Unlit herbs to represent Earth
Lit herbs to represent Fire
Smoke to represent Air

Sage is one of the most popular plants used for smudging, as the smoke carries an amazing fragrance that lifts the spirits. Even though sage grows abundantly in many locations, the most commonly used sage for burning and ceremonies is desert sage, or white sage.

The smudge sticks you find in witchy stores are most commonly made of sage and sweet grass, both of which play an important role in the smudging process. Sage is used to evacuate the negative energies, spirits and influences, while the sweet grass will gather new and positive energies. Other herbs used for smudging are cedar, juniper and lavender, and plain tobacco is also sometimes used by Plain Indian tribes.

Palo Santo wood from the rainforests in Ecuador was also considered by many to be a Holy Wood, and burning Palo Santo has been used by the Incas since ancient times as a spiritual remedy, for purifying, and cleansing.

AND WHAT ARE THEIR DIFFERENT PROPERTIES?
Sagebrush (confusingly, the “sage” used in most smudge sticks, is not culinary sage but sagebrush): transforms energy and brings change.
Sage (the culinary herb): brings wisdom and is calming and healing.
Sweetgrass: attracts positive energy.
Lavender: restores balance and creates a peaceful atmosphere. Lavender also attracts loving energy and spirits.
Cedar: deeply purifying, especially for clearing negative emotions and for healing and as a way to attract positive energy. Also used to bless a home before taking residence there, a tradition dating back to the Northwest and Western Canadian Native Americans, and believed to aid clairvoyance, revive the tired mind, body, and spirit, and stimulate contact with other worlds.
Mugwort: stimulates psychic awareness and prophetic dreams. It also banishes evil spirits.
Juniper: used to purify and create a safe and sacred space.
Yerba Santa: used to purify and to set and protect boundaries.
Rosemary: a powerful healer that brings clarity to problems.

WHAT CAN YOU USE IN EMERGENCIES (WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO THE ABOVE FOR EXAMPLE)?
Visualisation is a very efficient technique that can be used anytime. For example, simply visualise that you are filling the room with clear white light that is removing all negative energies as the light is flushed out of the room. You can also use essential oil of sage or Paolo Santo on yourself or to spray in the room.

AND WHAT ABOUT SMUDGING A SPACE WHERE YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO BURN THINGS?
You can steep appropriate herbs or essential oils in water, creating a tincture to sprinkle or spray the area with. Placing Himalayan salt near a windows and then throwing the salt away will also disperse negative energies (ideally put the salt into the earth). Sound cleansing, using a gong or crystal sound bowl, is also very effective.

Dream catcher with sage smoke to illustrate article on smudging. Read more at TheNuminous.net!

:: SMUDGING RITUAL: THE BASICS ::

  • Before you begin your smudging ritual, center yourself, holding the intention to drive away all negativity from your energy and purify your soul.
  • Put the herbs in a receptacle (ideally an abalone shell), light them and gently blow out the flame so that the herbs continue to smoulder.
  • You can also hold the herbs in one hand. Bear in mind that you will only need a few leaves to create enough smoke.
  • If you are smudging with Paolo Santo, all you need to do is light one side of the wood and hold the other side.
  • Now, take some smoke in your hand and bring it over your heart, keeping the intention to clear your energy. Then bring some smoke over your eyes, your third eye and your head.
  • You may wish to repeat the same process with your throat, solar plexus, sacral and root chakras, and finally your legs and feet (including the soles of your feet).
  • As you smudge, visualise yourself being surrounded by gentle, loving energy. Breathe in positivity, courage and love. Connecting with each smudged area and the feelings you wish to release or attract will empower your ritual (i.e: letting go of self abuse and bringing empowerment while smudging your solar plexus, or releasing grief and calling for unconditional love while smudging your heart).
  • If smudging a space, use a fan (ideally made of bird’s feathers) to drive the smoke into all corners of the room, again, holding the intention to purge the place of negative energy and invite in purity and light.

Find out more about Marika Messager and her work at Marikamessager.com

@MarikaMessager

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: MINDY YANG

This week’s Material Girl is MiN New York co-founder Mindy Yang – purveyor of fine fragrance, and pursuer of life’s pleasures…

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Mindy Yang is co-founder fine fragrance apothecary MiN New York

Greetings from London! Because I’ve decided I need some sunshine this actual Christmas, I’ve gone all American and travelled “home” (as in, the place of my birth as opposed to where I call home now) for the Thanksgiving holiday instead. The timing of my trip also coincided neatly with an invitation to speak about all things Numinous at an event by global trend forecasting agency The Future Laboratory. Which means we basically ARE the future, Numis.

How interesting that the day of my talk, two friends emailed me the link to this brilliant Huffington Post article by Dianne Collins, author of a book called Do You QuantumThink? New Thinking That Will Rock Your World. In it, she basically says a slice of society she calls The Consciousness Crowd are “the new mainstream”. So take that as your cue to come out of the spiritual closet and fly your Numi colors proud!

As I’ve mainly been travelling and finishing up deadlines (like working on our 2014 Instagram Awards – check it out if you haven’t already), my Mystical Life has fallen by the wayside a little this week (insert sad face). But I did use Gabby Bernstein’s “backpack meditation” (see below) to calm my pre-talk jitters. Public speaking is my big dry-mouth-heart-palpitations fear, but seeing as it seems to be happening more often, I’m actually planning some sessions with mystic Stewart Pearce – a.k.a. The Alchemy of Voice (and none other than Lady Di’s speaking coach – um, sign me up).

So I met this week’s Matreial Girl when I first moved to New York, and immediately fell in love with her otherworldly fragrance boutique. I think I walked away with about a million samples, because don’t you just love perfume? The nose is perhaps the most Numinous of our sensory organs – I’m constantly amazed how a particular smell or scent can become my own personal time travel device, transporting me down memory lane, or to an alternate reality altogether.

Then when I started following her brilliant Instagram feed, I realized Mindy was also a total Numi, and when I had the idea for this column she was right near the top of my list. A fellow Fire Dragon, the world through her eyes is a truly mystical place…and also happens to feature the best #foodporn on the planet.

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“Your fragrance is an invisible armor and also what makes you unforgettable”

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
I don’t have one favorite brand, but my love and appreciation for Yohji Yamamoto has grown to epic proportions over the years. Comfortable, timeless and chic, I enjoy wearing artisan garments that are also works of art.

Yohji Yamamoto AW14
Yohji Yamamoto AW14

My shoes
I run around in heels and I have a soft spot for vintage shoes. I have an extensive collection of those. Some of my favorites are vintage YSLs.

My fragrance
Your fragrance is an invisible armor and also what makes you unforgettable. As Vice President and Curator of MiN New York and an expert in this category, I am spoiled with rare, niche perfumes from around the world. But my signature scent has been SHAMAN, an olfactory art potion that we made for MiN New York’s Scent Stories, Volume 1. Old fashioned notes like violets, roses, incense, and patchouli swirl with modern aroma molecules (like aldehydes) to inspire a time-traveling mystic.The hologramic effect is magical. Each moment is immersive, yet surreal like a waking-dream… All of it is so very me.

SHAMAN by MiN New York, $240
SHAMAN by MiN New York, $240

My jewels
I’m not a collector of jewelry, but I have a few rings that I wear daily (for sentimental reasons) along with a bracelet of meditation beads.

My pampering
Sipping a well-aged scotch listening to something ambient or blue. Flipping through large coffee table books in the glow of my (MEMBERS ONLY) Union Club candle (bone China, gilded in gold; Scent of leather, balsam, smoke, and fire). And yes, I’m known to indulge in (perhaps too many) massages.

(MEMBERS ONLY) Union Club Candle, $195
(MEMBERS ONLY) Union Club Candle, $195

My home
When my intense days in the city are through, I retreat to a quaint neighborhood called Turtle Bay (by the UN). It’s my sanctuary on the isle of Manhattan.

My food
I’m powered by coconut water, fruits, lots of tea, ginger, and mostly food from the sea.

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“#Montauk #scallops #foodporn #diary #newyorkminute” @godolcevita

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening
A glass of fresh lemon juice and water with 8 drops of Cellfood, mediation and a short yoga session, followed by #PhotosForBreakfast. I browze the web for inspiratios each morning, and I share my favorite photographs via Instagram/Twitter/Facebook under @GoDolceVita.

My sign
Fire Dragon Virgo

Virgo ring, Solange Azagury Partridge
Virgo ring, Solange Azagury Partridge

My mantra
Om Namah Shivaya

My healer
The Healer is in each of us, and I learned to activate my inner power when I became a Reiki Master over 15 years ago. Through reiki, aromatherapy, massage, meditating, working with crystals, mudras, etc, I believe healing is all simply energy. Taking time to recharge in solitude is important to me. To embrace it all and let go, to transform, to inspire, to create. With awareness, you can amplify the good. Perception is reality and a positive attitude is everything!

My reading
Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose is one of my all-time favorite books. Pema Chödrön is a wonderful teacher – I’m currently reading The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, Awakening Love: Teachings and Practices to Cultivate a Limitless Heart, and Noble Heart: A Self-Guided Retreat on Befriending Your Obstacles.” I love listening to her on audio too, and a session with Osho is great from time to time to make me think.

My transformation
If you live each moment with awareness and take the time to reflect, it’s easy to see (and deeply appreciate) the journey. Reiki opened my eyes to a different way of understanding how things works over 15 years ago. Since then, my yoga and meditation practice have intensified my energetic world. I’m fortunate to be able to express myself creatively in my professional life through art and design, in colors, scents, experiences, even music. Now a curious light warrior, I think and live in a empowered metaphysical Universe where the law of attraction rules and dreams come true if you are willing to manifest them.

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“My yoga and meditation practice have intensified my energetic world”

My mission
Exploring the beauty of moments with gratitude.

Discover Mindy’s scentsual world at Minnewyork.com and follow her @godolcevita.

ANIMA RISING: MAKING CONTENT TO RAISE CONSCIOUSNESS

Harper Cowan and Jessica Eve Wakins are Anima Rising, and together they’re committed to making content to raise consciousness – starting with their documentary, Ways of Living. In this rad interview, they share an uplifting call to action and an inspiring vision for humanity.

YOU MET WORKING AS INTERNS AT NYLON. DO YOU STILL READ MAINSTREAM FASHION MAGAZINES OR DO THINK THE CONVERSATION HAS MOVED ON WITHOUT THEM?
Harper: I don’t read mainstream fashion magazines any more, they don’t feel relevant to me and the world that I am trying to create. It feels like two different paradigms, I think there’s the potential for them to be a great thing if they’re inspiring and empowering people, but for the most part the messages they seem to be trying to send are not ones I am interested in receiving anymore.

Jess: I haven’t bought a fashion magazine in a couple of years. When I read them I end up wishing I was more sexy and less human than I am in reality. I love style and contemporary culture, I adore clothes and getting dressed, but I don’t appreciate the message that fashion and make-up are the be-all-end-all of Goddesshood. It makes me uneasy and angry, because I bought into it myself for a decade. It’s a tiny percentage of the bigger picture of what it means to be a woman, and unfortunately it’s the portion that gets 95% of the shelf space. If there isn’t enough heart involved it makes me bored.

HOW DO YOU THINK MAGAZINES AND THE MEDIA IN GENERAL COULD BE DOING MORE TO RAISE CONSCIOUSNESS?
Harper: Jess happened to watch some TV at a friend’s house the other day, and when she came back we were talking about how very strange it is to see TV now. Media and magazines could be helping to wake people up, to empower them, enlighten them, connect them to each other, teach them better ways to live and communicate, and giving us more powerful tools to interpret our lives. A lot of mainstream media feels to me like it’s trying to keep us either scared or placated, and it’s just not the way I see the world.

Harper and Jess of Anima Rising Productions. Read more at TheNuminous.net
Harper and Jesse are Anima Rising Productions

Jess: TV today completely depletes me of creativity and connection energy. It’s dangerous – it’s sucking the raw life force out of us all, and should be mostly avoided in my eyes! I remember reading this Eckhart Tolle quote about the powerhouse that television is, and how it’s such a shame we don’t put it to better use, because we could be blasting every household with messages of pure love, every evening. But the media seems so dumbed down, so patronizing to the complexity of the human spirit. It’s 2014: we can handle a bit more soul than a close up of sizzling meat, a fast car, and a sexed up woman, can’t we?!

I don’t want to buy in to an industry that promotes perfectionism. For me this year has been about trying to tear my own perfectionism down, and embrace the human. I think humaneness inspires us because it’s real, and it’s time to start promoting our vulnerabilities, our flaws, and weaknesses in the media. Promoting our inter-connectedness with one another and the universe. Reassuring each other that we are powerful creators, we have so much potential and mightiness in our bodies and bones and blood. I wish the whole industry would try a hell of a lot harder, right now it’s irresponsible.

HOW DID YOU BOTH GET SO INTERESTED IN ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF LIVING, AND WHAT’S YOUR CURRENT LIVING SITUATION?
Harper: Right now we’re doing an artist residency at an amazing communal farm in North Carolina. We live in a beautiful, small, cold barn on 60 acres with lots of amazing artists and kind people and animals. I feel so grateful to be here, surrounded by such beautiful nature and open hearts. I think part of my interest in alternative ways of living came from realizing I wasn’t going to just grow up and pick a job and do it.

Harper:
Harper: “There is more potential for magic than we are being led to believe”

I haven’t taken a linear path to where I am, my parents haven’t taken a linear path, nor have my role models… I’ve always had a sense that there was more potential for magic out there than we were being led to believe. I know there are other ways of living, and it’s been incredible to get to unfold a few of them.

Also, when I became vegetarian in 2008, I realized I had been doing a lot of things unconsciously for a lot of my life, and I suddenly wanted to wake up and investigate them, to make sure I was making intentional choices – my love of animals extended to the environment, and to people, the way I hope to treat others and myself, and all living things.

Jess: My parents are artists, and always taught me to think outside the box. There was no pressure to be conventional. I grew up scrutinizing books about bohemian culture – The Razor’s Edge, Trout Fishing in America, On the Road, The Diaries of Anais Nin, The Teachings of Don Juan, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. Such rocket fuel to a dreamy teenager’s mind!

What we’re doing feels contemporary and responsible (there’s that unsexy word again) to me, more than alternative. I hope one day it’ll be the mainstream, to be submersed in nature, playing tunes by a wood-burner, meditating on hills, sharing meals, opening hearts to strangers, creating art, singing, crying with the plants, heeding the moon cycle.
It gets difficult when I start to realize I’m not rooting anywhere, and suddenly friends are buying houses or earning a bunch of money. I get jealous sometimes.

Jess:
Jess: “I grew up scrutinizing books about bohemian culture”

IF 2014 HAS BEEN A LOT ABOUT “SURRENDER” FOR THE PEOPLE I KNOW, “VULNERABILITY” FEELS LIKE A FITTING THEME FOR 2015. IN WHAT WAYS ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR DOCUMENTARY MAKING THEMSELVES VULNERABLE?
Jess: It’s vulnerable to follow your heart. It’s vulnerable to say ‘no’ to leading the life you’re ‘supposed’ to. It’s vulnerable to stand in front of the world and tell them you believe in something different than they do. It’s vulnerable to tell someone you love them to their face, or that they are hurting you. It’s vulnerable to let yourself wake up spiritually. It’s vulnerable to trust in goodness – everyone we film does all these things, just by believing this world is worth fighting for.

They speak loudly by living from their hearts. When I stop feeling vulnerable I stop believing in my art, and stop making it, too. It’s like a disconnect, where I’ll suddenly feel all what’s the point? We have to stay present with ourselves to let the fragility in, because it’s the essence of humanity, and it’s what connects us all to a higher source.

WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU MADE IN YOUR LIVES THAT HAVE BEEN HELPING YOU “WAKE UP”?
Harper : We’re so thoughtful, it’s almost silly. Mindfulness is a big, big part of waking up. It’s just about paying attention, trying to be and stay present. I think everything is a choice, we are always making choices – from how we let someone make us feel, to what food we choose to eat, where we spend our money, etc. I think being honest and communicating honestly is a radical change. Recognizing the power of manifesting, and the power that we have over what happens to us – if you expect something to go badly, or go swimmingly, you’re making it much more likely that it will.

It kind of means taking a step back from being so easily swayed by emotion or first instinct, and when you do step back, like you do when you’re meditating and watching your thoughts float through your head, you can be more objective and realize, okay, this is energy that’s coming up in my body right now, and it will come and go and it only has as much control over me as I let it. Trying to love yourself more, and give and make and offer and expect more love – that can’t hurt!

Jess: The first step that I significantly noticed happened when I read ‘A New Earth‘, after a very unconscious period in my life. I had fallen out irreconcilably with a best friend, and I was like a lost scrap of fabric blowing around without purpose. That book opened a gateway somewhere in me. The second lesson came when I completed Reiki level 1, and some parts of my life that weren’t healthy started to drop away.

Then the steps started coming thicker and faster, because I recognized what they looked like. I’m starting to see I have the power to wake myself up now, and Anima Rising has been rooted in that thought. Meditation is key, that’s for certain. Time alone. Woman power! Speaking your truth, even when your voice is shaking. There is nothing more important than your own spiritual path, even though it fucking hurts sometimes.

YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELVES AS SOUL MATES – WHAT DID YOU FIRST CONNECT OVER?
Harper : A cucaracha! The first time we ever spoke it was because Jess had seen a cockroach for the first time in her life! I’m SO grateful to that cockroach!!

Jess: I freaked out at the size of it, and ran right into Harper in the Nylon offices. After bonding for a few weeks over The Kings of Leon and photo-booths, I flew back to the UK. She followed soon after, and stayed with me and my then-boyfriend, Jake. She lived on our sofa. She helped us put on an experimental play written by my brother. She made us mix CDs. I made her cheese on toast when we were ‘drungry’. We went out every night and had so much silly fun. There was a weird unspoken knowing that we had found a kindred spirit, a soul mate.

Harper: I knew very quickly that I wanted Jess in my life, I was immediately inspired by her in many ways, and she has only continued to impress me in the eight years since. Now she’s a spirit-sister that I just wouldn’t want to imagine my life without! The first things we connected over were music – Bob Dylan – an interest in travel, in creativity and joy. It was definitely written in our stars to meet each other, and because it changed our lives so much I owe so much of my growth and gratitude to our friendship.

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“Let’s all just be really sweet and kind and listen to our hearts and to nature and do good things!”

WHAT’S THE ONE MESSAGE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPREAD AMONG YOUR PEERS ABOUT CREATING A HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, MORE CONSCIOUS FUTURE FOR HUMAN BEINGS AND THE PLANET WE INHABIT?
Harper: Choose role models that inspire you to be good. I’m excited to be good! So let’s all be good together – good to each other, good to ourselves. Enough with hatred, insecurity, shyness, let’s all just be really sweet and kind and listen to our hearts and to nature and do good things!

My high school boyfriend’s mom told him before he left the house every day – ‘Make good choices!’ So let’s also make good choices, let’s help each other make good choices and work together to take care of us and our world. We’re in a really exciting place right now. I feel the world’s at a tipping point and we have the opportunity to influence which way it goes, there’s all this potential, and I trust that humans are good and we can and will do good things, the best things, together!

Jess: Love is always the appropriate reaction. Loving fully extends to yourself, your friends, family, lovers. It extends to ambivalent relationships and difficult relationships. Love the environment and spaces around you. Love animals. Love trees and the moon and the Cosmos. Love it all, because you’re a part of it and it’s unspeakably magical. When you’re damaging any part of it you’re hurting yourself because we’re all connected. And then don’t beat yourself up when you’re not perfectly loving. That’s okay too, we’re all learning!

Check out the Indigogo campaign to support their documentary, Ways of Living, here. You can follow Harper and Jesse @animarisingproductions and Facebook.com/animarisingproductions

www.animarising.com

BEYOND BFFS: HOW TO CREATE A COVEN

Something very special happens when women come together in ceremony. Erin Telford explains how to create a Coven – and bonds that run deep as blood.

Cara and her coven, photographed by Richard Bush for i-D magazine. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Cara and her coven, photographed by Richard Bush for i-D magazine

There is something really interesting happening in the world of women. The Divine Feminine is re-emerging and wiping her sleepy eyes. Female power is being celebrated rather than scoffed at. We are starting to actually know what that means and how to elegantly wield it. The Wild Woman part of us is daring to get real.

The return of the modern Sorceress is everywhere. She’s earth-tuned, sensual, smart, and flooding our Instagram feeds with potent imagery. It’s been more than 300 years since the Salem witch trials, and finally it feels like it might be safe for her to come out and play again.

The Witchy Woman of 2014 is turned on and she wants us to be too. She is deeply vibrating with the natural rhythms of the Earth. She’s a magnetic force for all of us little girls who were drawn to casting spells and spending lots of time in the woods.

Those baby dreamers are all grown up now and we are looking for each other. Searching for soul recognition in each other’s eyes, looking to be understood, to be honored, to be seen. We’re not just looking for a crew; we’re looking for our family.

Lucky for us, Covens are back and they are right on time.

A Coven is defined as: “a group of at least three witches who come together in ceremony and to practice magick.” I’d like to alter that just a bit. While not all women are witches, all women are potentially witchy. “Ceremony” can be your weekly brunch date, and “magic” always happens when you leave your ladies feeling loved and inspired.

Parade of models in white shirts with black witches hats. Read more at TheNuminous.net!

So how do you begin to cultivate your own modern day Coven? If you already have one, consider yourself truly blessed. If you’ve had to cull some characters over the years, you may need to add to your pack. If you’re feeling bereft of nurturing female bonds, this will be a good place to start.

The wise woman begins any endeavor by first grounding herself, strengthening her spirit and tapping into her intuition. You have everything you need inside to find your new tried and trues, or deepen existing relationships. These won’t be ordinary friendships. We’re talking inner circle – the faces you’ll want to see at births, deaths, weddings and funerals, breakups and breakdowns.

Start with the women in your life. Who do you hang out with that leaves you feeling more alive and inspired? Who do you hang out with that leaves you tired and happy to be going home? Notice your energy around your friends and let it guide you. A one note emotional state isn’t ideal if you want to be truly intimate and connect with someone. However, for the most part the vibe should be good and you should be able to be completely yourself.

See who you resonate most with, and give a little extra sugar to these ladies. Engage with them, care for them, check in with them. With all of our electronic ways of communication, we are sorely lacking in intimacy. So call your sweethearts. They might be startled at first, but they will be delighted.

See past the bravado. I also do not buy into the “women are catty” myth. Women want to be loved, supported and accepted, and if they are being competitive, it’s usually because they are insecure, anxious, or afraid. You don’t have to be a therapist to see that some women have been knocked around more than others and are wary. If you can feel their kind heart, stick with them and see how good it gets when the ice melts a bit.

Witches coven still from American Horror Story. Read more at TheNuminous.net!

Look for women that can hold space for each other’s personal development. The unevolved woman is going to be fearful and say you’ve changed. The evolved woman is going to know you have just released another block to reveal more of your authentic self. She will always be curious about your process and the depths of your emotional life. She will ask you about your deepest desires and sit thoughtfully with your answers. Your combined fertile energy will be powerful fuel for both of your lives.

Create and practice ritual together. Cast spells of support, love, and understanding through spending time next to each other on your yoga mats. Sing your truths out and shine those heart chakras far and wide with kirtan. Meditate together. Honor the phases of the Moon with a circle. Cook together and feed each other. If you do energy work, heal each other. Spend time in nature appreciating Mother Earth, swimming in oceans, climbing mountains, and watching sunrises together. Sit in silence and allow the other to exist in complete acceptance with you.

Don’t keep your best girls a secret. If you have many special one on one friendships and are craving a Coven, get these ladies together! Introduce your golden girls to each other in a supportive, bonding environment. Cherry pick the group. Have a house party, get some snacks, make a signature cocktail and watch everyone fall in love.

As hostess (aka acting High Priestess of the Coven), devise a ritual to unite the group. At my last birthday party, I invited 16 women to come and celebrate in my home. A couple of them knew each other, but they were all coming together for the first time. As we sipped Organic Pear & Vanilla Bean vodka cocktails, I asked everyone to write down their most outlandish wish for the new year. I had some special “flash paper” that poofs and instantly disappears when you touch a match to it.

We mixed all the anonymous wishes in a vase and gathered in a circle. Each woman would draw a wish, read it out loud to applause and support, and then light it on fire to release to the Universe. Everyone received the experience of having her wildest dream celebrated and given a special spotlight of attention.

It was a New Moon that night, and it felt just like love. Not to mention a whole lot like magick.

Find out more about Erin Telford and her work at Radiantheartacupuncture.com and @radianthearthealing

POP CULTURE TAROT: WHAT DO THE QUEEN CARDS MEAN?

With her #PopCultureTarot, Vix (a.k.a. the New Age Hipster) is on a mission to help us wrap our pretty human heads around the wisdom of the Tarot. First up, what do the Queen cards mean?

Madonna reading her tarot in an evening gown and heels. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
What does it all mean?

Any self respecting Numi or New Age Hipster probably has a deck of Tarot cards lying around somewhere, or maybe a bag of runes, or at least a Magic 8 ball. If you’ve ever dabbled with divination, you’ll be familiar with the magical feeling of getting your hands on a promising new tool to find out your fate and fortune.

But it can easily all come crashing down around you when you start trying to memorize the meanings of the different cards in your brand new Tarot deck. Maybe the secrets of the Universe aren’t so easy to discover after all.

But before you throw a tanty and chuck your deck in your bedside drawer where it will stay for the next nine years, take heart! Because right now we’re going to use #PopCultureTarot to unveil the mysteries of Tarot – starting with the court card Queens.

:: QUEEN OF WANDS ::
First up, the Queen of Wands. If we go back to Tarot 101 we’ll remember that Wands are the action cards, and sometimes the Queen of Wands is holding a flower, or has a cat, so we can assume from that that she may be some kind of ‘Elemental’ Queen.

Elementals are like the fairies and nature spirits, and even though they are sweet, helpful and loving, they have a seriously fiery side to them. And Wands is the fire suit after all. Okay, so what the hell does it mean when you see this Queen in a spread?

Molly Weasley as the Queen of Wands in Tarot. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Don’t mess with Molly!

It’s Molly Freaking Weasley from Harry Potter guys! She’s the coolest mom ever! She’s sweet and loving and good at baking, but if you piss her off WOAH watch out for some epic fireballs heading your way. So if the Molly Weasley card comes up as a person, the reading is simple – the person in question has some similarities to Mrs Weasley.

She might have red hair, be super passionate and sparky, take in kids who have nowhere else to go or have some anger management issues (especially if reversed). But she cares deeply about those she loves, and those who need her help. She’ll always be there for you in a jam, or to make you some tea and toast with jam.

But court cards don’t always come up as people. If you see Molly Weasley when you’re thinking about taking a trip – buy the ticket! If you’re asking about a relationship, maybe it’s time to chill out a little. Career? Follow your passion, which might just involve nature and the animals, or fostering!

:: QUEEN OF CUPS ::
So how about the Queen of Cups? Cups is all about emotions and water – so relationships, crying, drinking, obsessing, searching the very depths of your soul. Hello, it’s Bridget Bloody Jones!

Bridget Jones as at Tarot Queen of Cups. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Bridget Jones on her throne, with wine

Bridget isn’t always the most upright Queen. She spends a lot of time in the negative aspects of this card – crying, drinking, obsessing… but the positive aspects are that she’s honest, loveable, kind, sweet, and loyal. She loves love, would do anything for love, and not just for a romantic partner, but for her friends and family too. In fact she’s often found giving way too much of herself to people who don’t appreciate her at all.

So when the Bridget Jones card comes up as a person in a reading, we can assume that she has the potential to make terrible love life decisions but is also the sweetest gal in the deck. As a situation Bridget reminds us to be open to love, to be kind, to see the best in others, and to see the best in any given situation. Reversed it’s a warning not to open that second bottle of wine!

:: QUEEN OF PENTACLES ::
The Queen of Pentacles is one seriously awesome chick. With the energies of Earth, daily life stuff and money around her, she has a super rich husband but she doesn’t even need him. Powerful, strong, determined, and super hot, she can basically get paid for just breathing. On top of that she’s actually just really cool. Everyone wants to be her friend, not just because of her money but because she totally works it.

Beyonce as the Tarot Queen of Pentacles. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Queen B, holding court, working it

Uh, sounds basically like Beyonce to me! Damn girl, you got it all! She’s practically a super hero. She’s built an entire empire and she did it all on her own. She’s like one of the most powerful women in the world but you’d still feel totally (a bit?!) comfortable going out for cocktails with her, because she’d make you feel like a million bucks too. When this card comes up it’s a call to embrace your inner Beyonce girls (and boys!) Stand a little straighter, walk a little taller, speak up and don’t be afraid of your power.

Situationally, this card can represent good things coming financially or career wise. When you see Queen B in a relationship reading, it’s a signal to keep your own bank account, and stay away from drama girlfriend! No Queen needs a King (okay, except maybe Queen Bridget), but this Queen is so busy being golden that she forgets to even think about her man most of the time.

:: QUEEN OF SWORDS ::
Lastly we meet the Queen of Swords, the suit of intellect and the Air signs. This Queen considers logic to be her best ally. Intelligence outweighs beauty, passion and following her heart, and although she’s a brilliant leader she’s definitely the least approachable lady in the deck.

Queen Elizabeth II as the Tarot Queen of Swords. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
The Queen by Jason Reed for Dailydot.com

Okay, so the Queen of Swords is the actual Queen – Queen Elizabeth II! I love the Queen. She’s this cool old lady who’s like the boss of the country. She’s ruled for about a gazillion years and even people who are anti-monarchy don’t have much bad stuff to say about her. She’s so uber-professional that you can’t really fault her, but do you ever see her giving Prince Harry a cuddle? Hardly! What about a PDA for her hubby? Uh, I think they held hands once in 1952.

Liz is a steely woman who believes in honour, tradition and keeping up appearances. She knows a lot, and if you had the courage to ask her she’d give you some brilliant advice. When she comes up in a reading you know this is a powerful woman who knows a hell of a lot, and can totally help you out. But don’t expect any sugar coating, or for her to “get it” if you start crying or something.

If you’re reading about a situation, Queenie can remind you to find balance and think with your head as well as your heart. Not every decision in life should be made with the fiery passion of the Wands or the emotionally intuitive Cups. And Pentacles X Factor is all well and good, but if you don’t use common sense once in a while you’ll end up in all sorts of reversed scenarios.

The battle we all face is in balancing these aspects of ourselves so that we don’t end up too emo, too money focused, too fiery or too aloof. Remember Bridget when you’re feeling a little too logical about love. When you’re seriously overwhelmed with a crush, embrace your inner Beyonce. When you find yourself becoming too obsessed with online shopping for clothes that you think will make you look like Beyonce ask yourself – what would Molly Weasley do? And when you find yourself sending a few too many screamers, try channelling some right royal grace like Liz.

Read more #PopCultureTarot at Newagehipster.co and connect with the New Age Hipster on Facebook 

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: ROCHELLE SCHIECK

Total lifestyle envy alert! Just wait until you read about Rochelle Schieck’s Mystical World…PLUS shamans and Liquid Sunshine in the round-up of Ruby’s Mystical Week.

Qoya founder Rochelle Schieck. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Qoya founder Rochelle Schieck

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to this week has been experiencing the change of seasons like a wall of water to be waded through, or a heavy cloak of fog obscuring all hope and light – myself included. Hibernation season incoming! As a spring baby, I always find this downshift into darkness pretty hard to handle, which can only mean one thing – time to ramp up the self care and dive into my spiritual practise…

It’s also the week I’ve been sunshine dreaming about a January trip to Costa Rica :: drinking Liquid Sunshine from the Montauk Juice Factory :: talking chakras and conspiracy theories with my shaman, Manex Ibar (yes I have a shaman now, full report coming soon) :: mixing Meditation & Margarita’s at Danielle Mercurio’s mystical monthly NYC meet-up :: interviewing the gorgeous Felicity Jones, star of Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything :: and thanking the all-seeing creator for my new Isabel Marant Etoile flight jacket (seriously, TF for Isabel Marant)

Isabel Marant Etoile Benny jacket, available at Matchesfashion.com. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Isabel Marant Etoile Benny jacket, available at Matchesfashion.com

So I first met this week’s Material Girl on the Astro Twins’ Become Your Own Astrologer retreat in Tulum last year. As creator of sensual movement class Qoya, it was Rochelle’s job to get us out of out astro-addicted minds and back into our bodies – which loosely translates as: “host an awesome dance party every night.”

I’ve since come to realize (main via her brilliant Facebook posts) that this is pretty much what Rochelle’s life looks like. Based mainly in Venice, CA, she seems to spend most of her time tripping from retreat to delicious retreat, all in the name of spreading the girl-empowering message that: “our essence is wise, wild and free.”

Rochelle Schieck, we want your life! Here’s what makes her Mystical World go ’round…

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My Look I led a Qoya workshop in Woodstock, NY last weekend, and as I was walking through the forest, smelling the fresh air and seeing all the leaves changing colors and gracefully falling to the ground, I felt a thrill noticing the temperature had dropped low enough to pull out my favorite piece of clothing – my Pendelton poncho! I wear it religiously as if my soul is expressed through its fabric and design, which honors all of our indigenous roots. I wear the poncho with black leggings and heels to dress it up, or, to keep the shaman chic vibe going, with my Minnetonka Moccasin booties.

Rochelle Schieck in her Pendelton poncho. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Rochelle in her Pendelton poncho, $399

My Fragrance I live in Venice, CA, most of the time, but after my time in Woodstock last week I went to stay with a friend in NYC. She laughed, commenting that whenever I come to visit, my scent of rose and sandalwood fills up the whole apartment. It’s Amma Rose Oil and it is intoxicating. I like to put it on my wrists and neck, but since I’m 5’2, I also put a small amount on the top of my head as a gift to all those I hug that day.

Rochelle Schieck's favorite Amma Rose Oil. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Amma Rose Oil, $35

My Pampering I couldn’t go to NYC without making a pilgrimage to Spa Castle in Queens. Four floors. There’s a gold sauna, a salt sauna, a jade sauna, an infrared sauna…even an igloo!! The quintessential Korean spa treatment is to get a scrub and massage that feels on the verge of too aggressive, but leave you feeling like polished gold for the next 72 hours. Rumors are there is a new location opening in Midtown Manhattan in the fall!

My Jewels My best friend since college, Becca Kannapell, started Pound Jewelry with her mom and sister, and they make my favorite pieces on the planet. Right now I’m really into their pendulum pendants – which are completely gorgeous, and double as a divination tool. I even wrote a piece on how to swing a pendulum inspired by my love their jewelry!

Pendulum pendants, $85 each, Pound Jewelry. Read more at TheNuminous.net!
Pendulum pendants, $85 each, Pound Jewelry

My Food Whenever I’m in NYC I end up traveling around the city seeking different variations of a macrobiotic bowl that has rice, steamed kale and vegetables, seaweed and a large amount of Tahini sauce. My go-to’s this mission are Souen (for their Macro Bowl), Jivamuktea Cafe (Yogi’s choice) and Anjelica Kitchen (Dragon Bowl).

My Gift to Me I recently booked a Boudoir photo session with Lori Berkowitz, who specializes in capturing the beauty of a woman in her sensual essence. Sensual energy is life force energy. The stronger one is, the stronger the other. But this doesn’t have to be translated into the framework of sexual relationships with others – it can also mean reclaiming the physical sensation of the divine in your body, and honoring that sensation and the body itself as sacred, whole and holy.

 

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My Morning Ritual On wakening, I immediately roll over into child’s pose to count on my fingers ten things I am grateful for. Then I slide into half pigeon and feel something I want to celebrate about my life on each leg before laying back into Vajrasana (hero’s pose) and imagining what I’d like to co-create with the divine today. Here’s a free video on YouTube I made for anyone to follow along Bed Yoga

My Sign I AM a Gemini. Gemini Sun. Gemini Moon. Gemini Venus. Gemini! Also Taurus rising, which explains my passion for the body and the sacred work I do in the world focusing on embodying the soul through a movement system I created called Qoya.

My Mantra In a sentence (and a hashtag): “#dancemakeseverythingbetter”

My Healer My favorite healing has always been collapsing or resting into the embrace of Mother Earth. Every jump in the ocean restores me. Every moment of relaxation while sitting next to a tree, softens my body into trusting the cycle of things. Every breath of fresh air in the mountains calms my thoughts and invites me to remember all I have to do is be here now. Every dance around a fire helps me feel the pulse of my own heartbeat and recognize it as the same heartbeat that dances through us all.

Rochelle Schieck connecting with natures in a tropical setting. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

However, if my access to nature is limited, my team of healers includes several astrologers, body workers, shamans, intuitives and the occasional impulse call to Californiapsychics.com. I recently had my world rocked (again) by checking in on my favorite Shamanic Astrologer Sao. He is a passionate man put on this earth to assist with the awakening of the divine feminine and the way he gives a reading, it goes into the center of your soul. For daily inspiration, weekly and monthly horoscopes and yearly readings, I love to check in with the AstroTwins who help make everything make sense in the most intuitive and simultaneously scientific interpretation of my chart. And for chart readings assisted by akashic guides, I am grateful for Virginia Rosenberg and Heavenly Bodies.

My Reading With all the Gemini in me I read a lot, and many books at the same time. The novel that soul stirred me recently is Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak, about the true story of Rumi and his soulmate happening concurrently to a modern day 40-year-old woman on her journey to learn the forty rules of love.

I also just finished an advance copy of my friend Betsy Blankenbaker’s first novel, Autobiography of an Orgasm. A nod to Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, it’s the most honest account I’ve ever read of a woman’s sexual journey, dealing with childhood abuse, confusion as a young woman, marriage, giving birth to four children, and then the unexpected turn of events that led to her turning fifty and exploring the connection between the sensual and sacred by researching her relationship to orgasm. It’s part erotica, part informational “how to” and completely compelling.

Autobiography of an Orgasm by Betsy Blankenbaker. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

My Mission The intention behind Qoya, the movement system I created (or rather, is creating me), is to share the idea that through movement, we remember that our essence is wise, wild and free, and to follow the feeling of truth when we experience it in our body. Through my Qoya classes, workshops, retreats and teacher training, we remember that the body is a portal to those sacred moments that can rarely be explained, but must be felt and experienced. To the Numinous!

To find out more about Rochelle’s work and experience some Qoya for yourself, sign up for her free 10 Days to Love Qoya and receive a short video embodiment exercise.

You can also connect with Rochelle on Facebook.

Qoya by Rochelle Schieck logo. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

DIAL 111: HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR SPIRIT GUIDES

Do you know how to work with your spirit guides? Ruby Warrington gets a lesson in life’s celestial helpers from spirit-guide-whisperer Rebecca Campbell

There follows a lesson in how to work with your spirit guides by Rebecca Campbell. Read more at Thenuminous.net
Inviting them into your dreams is one way to work with your spirit guides…

It happens fairly often among my Numinous circles that somebody will casually drop into the conversation that they’ve been working with their “spirit guides.” At which point I’ll nod and be like, “that’s rad, dude” – because, conceptually, I’m totally down with the idea that there are benevolent Universal forces working on our behalf all the time, and that we get to choose how and when we interact with them. That’s called “creating your own reality,” right?

But then I meet Rebecca Campbell, an Aussie author, mystic, coach, and co-founder of The Spirited Project, who insists that our guides are actually more like real entities – angels, I guess – who are just kind of hanging out, polishing their wings, until we call them into action. Learn to work with them, and they can offer assistance in every area of life – in fact; “no request is too big or too small, too specific or too broad,” she says.

It’s a pretty out there idea, even for me. And I (obviously) embrace a LOT of out there ideas. But I LOVE the concept (I’m already picturing my guides like a kind of spiritual Spice Girls, with the dance routines and everything), and so I asked Rebecca for the full low down. Here’s what she had to say…

Your guides - kind of like a spiritual Spice Girls? Read more about how to work with your spirit guides at Thenuminous.net!
Your guides – kind of like a spiritual Spice Girls?

So does every individual on the planet have their own spirit guides?
Yep, everyone has their very own team of spirit guides who are completely devoted to their growth. I like to think of them as a group of amazing cosmic beings who have our back no matter what. But because of free will, in order to receive their support, first we need to ask. Asking is super simple (like, you can do it right now).

For general guidance:
“Hey spirit guides…I am open to receiving your loving guidance in all areas of my life. Thank you, and so it is.”

For more specific guidance:
“Hey spirit guides…I am open to receiving your guidance surrounding (insert specific request here). Thank you for guiding and supporting me.”

The thing about spirit guides is that they’re always there – we just don’t notice them. When you’re devastated by a terrible break up, they’re there. When you’re looking for a spot to park your car, they’re there. If you’re trying to make a difficult decision, they’re there. They’re by your side right now. What do you want their help with right now? Go on, ask them right now!

Okay, but first I need to know how they actually do their work?
Our spirit guides work with us through signs, people, nature, synchronistic events and our intuitive senses (inner seeing, inner knowing, inner hearing and inner feeling).

So the best way to start working with your spirit guides is to ask them for a sign. When I first started working with my guides I asked them to send me a light peach feather to prove to me that they were really there. Within half an hour I had received two peach feathers, which was pretty amazing – and what I needed to open my mind and heart up to noticing the support they could offer me. (nb: I tried this last night by asking for a blue crystal – nothing yet. I’ll keep you posted. Update: two hours later I was working out and found a mini crustal on the studio floor – but it was mauve. Close!)

The more you work with your spirit guides, the stronger the connection gets. It’s just like working out – you can’t expect to have a six-pack like J-Lo if you only do one sit up.

Okay, so is there one team of spirit guides working for us all, or are they individual for each person?
Everyone has their own team of spirit guides, which are assigned just to them. We are born with spirit guides and also recruit them as we go about our life.

I find that most people have around six spirit guides in their “inner circle.” These are the guides who are completely unique to us. Some spirit guides have had lifetimes here on earth (often appearing as “people” e.g. an American Indian teacher, a Tibetan monk, an inspirational business leader etc.) – while others may just appear as beings of light.

I believe that our purpose on Earth is twofold:
1. Evolve as a soul (learning, growing and raising our vibration)
2. Be the light (light up the world by following what lights us up)

Our spirit guides are assigned to us to help us do both these things. The more we allow and receive their guidance and support, the easier our path becomes.

A lesson in how to work with your spirit guides from Rebecca Campbell. Read more at Thenuminous.net!
Accept their support, and move forward more smoothly on your journey

I like the idea of us being “assigned” out guides at birth – how does this happen?
Your soul recruits your spirit guides based on your unique soul calling and the path you are here to walk. Your guides are perfectly suited to your highest calling, and waiting to guide you as much or as little as you wish. No matter what you’re facing, their presence means you always have the support around you to make it through.

I believe that we are born with one main guide (also known as a Guardian Angel) who stays with us throughout our lives – and by the age of 18-25 most people have recruited their spirit guide “posse.”

We can recruit more guides as needed though. For example, while writing my book Light Is The New Black I recruited two light beings and a new teacher guide to help me – in exactly the same way as I used to call on famous ad men to help me present my creative ideas in a way that would most resonate with the client when I worked in advertising.

What if I’m still having a hard time getting my head around the concept…
What holds most people back from developing a relationship with their spirit guides is their need for hard core visual “proof” that they exist. For a long time, I was waiting for my spirit guides to ring my doorbell and chat to me over a bottle of vino (clearly that never happened).

I wanted to know their hair color, their favorite movies and where they grew up. But the moment I Iet go of any need for them to appear in a certain way and just opened myself up to the possibility and trusted, the more my relationship with my guides grew and the more evidence of their presence I received in other ways.

Everyone’s experience with their spirit guides is personal, and because they work in the subtle realms, it takes practice to sense them. We are all six sensory beings, but we need to work our intuitive muscles each day to strengthen our intuitive connection with them.

Most people experience their guides through their predominate intuitive sense: Clairvoyant (clear seeing), Clairaudient (clear hearing), Clairsentient (clear feeling) and Claircognizant (clear knowing).

Can you give us some tips to start working with them on a regular basis then?

1. Start asking them for guidance…right now
2. Thank them for guiding you – they love a bit of positive reinforcement!
3. Ask them to send you a sign (e.g. a feather, a butterfly, elephants…whatever you fancy)
4. Keep a little notebook by your bed, and jot down any experience you might have had with them and any signs you spotted throughout the day. The more your book fills up, the more you will notice their support
5. Before you go to sleep ask your spirit guides to come to you in your dreams. The moment you wake up, note down any experiences you may have had with them

A lesson in how to work with your spirit guides from Rebecca Campbell. Read more at Thenuminous.net!
“She’s behind you…” Your spirit guides have always got your back

I’m almost convinced – can you share any amazing experiences you’ve had working with your guides?
These days I speak to my spirit guides every day – but my favorite story of working with my guides happened earlier this year, when I’d handed in my book proposal to Hay House (twice) but hadn’t heard anything.

One of my spirit guides is a woman (spirit) named Charlotte. Charlotte appears as a terribly English high society lady from the 1920’s who wears big dresses, hats and gloves. A gifted gossip, with her fingers in all the most influential pies, Charlotte is here to help me get my message out there and name spoken about in the right circles. Knowing that getting some publicity might increase my chances of being published, I called on Charlotte her for help and then surrendered it.

That same day I was connected with a journalist – and one week later she was commissioned to write a story, “Like a Prayer”, for the UK’s Sunday Times Style Mag (which also happened to feature the who’s who of Hay House authors, as well as The Numinous).Two weeks later, I got the phone call from Hay House offering me a deal!

When I went into Hay House to meet the team for the first time, the Publicity Officer mentioned that she’d seen the Sunday Times article and asked who my publicist was. Without thinking I responded “my spirit guide Charlotte!” Now, I’ve sat around a lot of boardroom tables in my life, but that was the first one that I was able to casually drop the name of one of my spirit guides and credit them for their work. I love it!

For one-on-one guidance on connecting with your guide, Rebecca Campbell offers spiritual mentorships and readings. Alternatively, you can attend one of her regular group workshops in London.

@rebeccathoughts

TURNED ON: INSTAMACY VS. INTIMACY

In the latest instalment of her column on sex and spirituality, Ellie Burrows is Tuned On by slow burn of genuine intimacy. Portrait: Mikal Marie Photography

Ellie Burrows shot by Mikal Evans for her column on sex and spirtuality. Read more at Thenuminous.net!
Ellie Burrows shot by Mikal Evans

I have a Masters in Instamacy.

Instamacy: A feeling that’s created when two strangers come together and all walls effortlessly tumble down while you tumble into each other.

Sound romantic? Yes.

Is that the same thing as intimacy? No. And I have recently been schooled in the difference.

I can’t tell you how many first dates I’ve been on where the dude sitting across from me tells me his deepest darkest secret only a couple hours in. Yes, this has happened more than once and it’s typically followed by something like “I have never told anyone that.” Believe it or not, I’ve had more than one supposed guy’s guy cry on a first or second date: “This is embarrassing. I can’t remember the last time I cried” or “I don’t usually do this. Who are you?”

Each time I would be totally turned on. Each reveal felt like a little victory of sorts, an advantage right out of the gate. It made me feel special like I had some magical ability create an environment in which the person sitting across from me felt unusually comfortable. It was like I was a mutant, my name was “Heart” and I had the power to crack open someone’s center in an instant, leaving them emotionally exposed and totally exhilarated.

Well, long before X-Men there was Greek mythology. And the story Psyche and Eros, beautifully illustrated in the Suit of Cups in the Mythic Tarot, has been a barometer for relationships for centuries. It’s Greek lore, so their story is peppered with misogyny, but we would be remiss not to acknowledge how mind-blowingly contemporary this story is, particularly as an allegory for intimacy. See, it’s ultimately a story about boundaries, an if you’re reading this and living in the year 2014 then you know how complicated that whole conversation has become. Insert Google-stalking, Instagram-following and Facebook-liking here.

Now, please indulge me in a brief retelling of Psyche and Eros – updated and annotated for your modern enjoyment:

Psyche was one seriously hot chick. Aphrodite wasn’t having it. She sent her son Eros, the cupid, to destroy her, but instead he fell in love with her. To save her, he called on his boy Apollo to give an oracle that Psyche must marry a monster. But instead, Eros clandestinely carried her away to a dope palace, married her, slept with her, and before morning made her promise never to look at his face.

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss by Antonio Canova. Read more at Thenuminous.net!
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Antonio Canova

Psyche had never felt love like this before, so she agreed. But it was only a matter of time before her fear and insecurity got the best of her. Worried that her new husband must be a beast; she grabbed a lamp, lifted up the covers and took a peek. And holy shit, he was an angel! But she fucked up, dripped some oil from her lamp on that impeccable face and he awoke, enraged. In an instant, her nice digs and perfect husband disappeared and she was left out in the cold.

Heartbroken, she begged Aphrodite for help. Mothers-in-law are tough (I can’t speak on this firsthand, but so my friends tell me), so she put Psyche through a series of humbling and humiliating tasks. Ultimately she had to prove her love to Eros by going to hell and back. But it all worked out – he returned to her and put a ring on it, but this time it was in front of all gods and mortals.

Like Psyche, I used to love to lift the covers and peek behind the curtain. My past relationships were less about two separate subjects slowly coming together and more about a quick merger, a melding into one. I used to want to know everything about my lover as soon as possible – behavior that only betrayed how much anxiety I had around the unknown. I wanted to collapse all boundaries ASAP, because waiting for something to unfold was unnerving.

I thought if I could really see my partner then I would really know my partner. If I was “friends with the monster that was under my bed” (amen Eminem) then I could protect myself. I thought that’s what intimacy was all about. But I was wrong.

In spiritual circles, people love to throw around the phrase “into-me-see” and I think it’s misleading. Intimacy is not about seeing and knowing; it’s about feeling and experiencing.

For the first time in my life, I have recently experienced a natural progression towards true intimacy. It has felt like a slow build, not a swift shakedown. I am psyched that I respected his privacy. I do not need to peek behind the curtain; there is nothing to hide. Instead I am Psyche in her true splendor, patient and vulnerable to the unknown. For me, that feels like going to hell and back. If I thought I was turned on by instamacy, I had no idea the kind of pleasure that was waiting for me in the dance of getting to know one another…slowly.

And as much as I would like to tell you everything about him, I can’t. I’m focused on getting my Doctorate and I need to respect certain boundaries.

Read more from Ellie at Ellieburrows.com