HOLY F*CK: HOW HEARTBREAK CAN BE THE MOST POWERFUL MEDICINE

When Love is our teacher heartbreak can be the most powerful medicine, says Alexandra Roxo in her latest Holy F*ck column…

alexandra roxo holy fuck heart break open the numinous ruby warrington

So maybe just maybe some mega shit has been hitting the fan during this Venus Retrograde? Or perhaps it’s minor pieces of shit for you. Little annoying pieces of shit you thought were gone…but are still stinking up the place? Perhaps it’s around romantic love, rejection, partnership. Or perhaps self love, worth, value.

Chances are you’ve been stung. But guess what??! This means your heart is open—that it’s accessible, soft, tender, growing, reshaping, adapting, expanding. THIS IS A GOOD THING. Heartbreak can be the most powerful medicine.

Committing to living with an open heart it is not an easy road. It can mean letting your heart break and break and break, but each time it breaks it swells and becomes bigger and messier and wider and has the capacity to hold more.

This is the way of Love. (Cue Rumi.)

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CRUCIFIED BY LOVE  

Love has always been my personal teacher of choice. When I was 20 and all my friends had gurus, I was secretly writing the words “AHEM PREMA” (I am divine love) on my hand and telling folks, “Love is my guru!” I’ve been obsessed with Love for as long as I can remember. I’ve been in Love MANY times and rejected MANY times more, and still I keep on going for it.

How do I define Love?
Love is that which we were made from and that which we will return to. The primordial ooze in us. The ever present God-Goddess sparkle living in each cell. Which we feel when we”fall” in Love. Really what I believe happens is that this “falling” is us OPENING to the Love that already exists within us. What if you could feel that without an other person? This is what I’m talking about!!

And because I also never quit being curious and doing things that scare me, I signed up for a two-day intensive last week called “The Yoga of Intimacy” with Londin Angel Winters and Justin Patrick Pierce (who also may be the hottest couple on the planet. Major #RelationshipGoals.)

Arriving at a beautiful inn in Topanga I prepared myself to be “crucified by Love.” (My ideal Saturday!) Standing across from a man whose name I didn’t know, who wasn’t “my type,” I let Love show me where I was guarded. And I let it make me feel safe enough to pull down the walls and completely open to said stranger.

I looked into his eyes and cried. I shared my depths. And it felt as powerful as an Ayauasca ceremony. If not more powerful! With eyes open and locked onto someone else’s, instead of eyes closed solo-style like in plant journeys, I couldn’t escape my demons or pain or shut down or dissociate. Justin said it perfectly … “If you think ayahuasca is crazy, try love.”

I could literally NOT form a sentence afterwards. As a writer and wordsmith I was kinda freaked out by the temporary mush in my brain. But I was assured that this meant I had surrendered to the pure-as-hell-delicious Shakti/Divine Feminine energy that resides outside the mind.

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99 HEARTBREAKS & I DON’T WANT TO SOLVE THEM

At the workshop, I also had to go on a practice dinner date with an older doctor from Beverly Hills who talked like I imagine Freud would have sounded. I did NOT wanna get vulnerable with him but I did, and I broke into tears across the dinner table as I revealed to him my deepest desires. He was beyond grateful that I showed him my Heart.

As I cried and told him of all the times I had broken my heart, he said “At the end of your life would you rather have loved and had your heart broken 99 times and on the 100th found someone special, than hidden your heart and not loved at all?” It was true. And all 99 times of heartbreak are heart opening and “special” in my book.

Two days at this intensive rocked me to my core. It was SO terrifying to let go and let Love do its thing. Yet I felt more delicious than I had in ages.

alexandra roxo holy fuck heart break open ruby warrington the numinous

SO HOW CAN YOU WORK WITH LOVE’S MEDICINE? 

When Love becomes a skill and a medicine, you can hang out with a close friend and feel deeply nourished and fed when you leave them, like you just got 10 hugs and a bowl of soup from your Grandma.

Or you and your Lover can be in a constant state of divine communion, and one glance feels like 1,000 gourmet raw chocolates for your soul.

A solo Love practice means at a stop light in the car you can feel the depths of Love swimming through your body and yoni, and you have the power to release a warm honey glow throughout your body that feels like you are cumming. Try walking into a meeting from that place!

Here’s how to start … 

– Love and be loved. Identify the 5 ways you feel most Love(d). I do this with all my clients. Perhaps it’s petting your cat. Or watching your fave film. Meditating. Chanting to Goddess. Get to know the direct path to your Heart, if you don’t already, and start feeling the Love vibes often by using those tools.

– Connect to humans/animals. The internet doesn’t count unless you are one-on-one on Skype with someone. IRL is the best way to go. Make this a priority. It is the remedy against overeating, loneliness, indulging in bad habits, overworking … I’m talking real connection! Even one solid hug and “Good Morning” from a roomie is something.

– Let your heart get naked. This is where you get vulnerable. If you can practice this daily, you’ll either deepen your already existing partnerships or tenderize the nest of your heart to get it ready to let love in. Call a new friend and share something intimate. Write a poem and share it online. Ask someone for help. Practice vulnerability and practice receiving some Love. (Like let the guy at Trader Joe’s help you to your car already!)

– Feel, feel, feel. Sounds obvious, right? But how often do you feel your feelings in the moment? Practice vocalizing your pain. Frustration. Sadness. As you’re experiencing it. Let yourself feel the depths of your yearning/your rage/your sadness/your joy DAILY.

– Daydream. Do a little bit of daydreaming each day. Imagine your lover caressing your neck. Imagine your lover giving you that “I wanna fuck you” look across the room at a crowded party. If this sounds cheesy to you then work on the vulnerability of your heart.

Whether you are in partnership or flying solo, you can play with Love every day. You can become more and more conscious of living in your full beauty and radiance and sexiness the more and more you release the fear of getting hurt. You can just open. The pain becomes part of your practice too and, trust me, you even start to love that! WHAAA?!!! Can it be?!!! Yeeeep.

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Londin & Justin’s next intensive is September 16-17th, and I’ll def be there crying and loving and embodying all the Shakti I can, Goddess willing. You can discover more about them and their work Londinangelwinters.com

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: SOME EARLY VALENTINES SELF-LOVE, AND CHELSEA DOES DRUGS

Haute Chocolate and some new lingerie on the path to self-love, and thank you Chelsea Does Drugs for a grown-up conversation about humans and the quest for altered states of consciousness…

Haute Chocolate Brooklyn on The Numinous
Pandora’s Box, $30, Haute Chocolate Brooklyn

:: MONDAY ::
Early Valentine’s #1. So when the founder of a local fine chocolate company reaches out to ask if you’d like to sample her wares, you do not say no, despite the fact that a couple of weeks back you vowed to get off the sweet stuff “again” having got back on it in a pretty major way over the holidays. But wait! The mouthwatering treats at Haute Chocolate that arrived today are all organic,organic, vegan, and bittersweet, and billed as “virtuous hedonism.” Yay party in my mouth.

:: TUESDAY ::
Early Valentine’s #2. When my friend Sophie alerted me to new lingerie site True&Co I had to check it out, since treating myself to good underwear has become an ongoing self-love practice of mine. Not least since writing my book means I barely wear “outside” clothes these days, and a nice piece of lace is like literally the only thing standing between me and all out pyjama-geddon. The most fun thing? As a new customer you get to do a quiz that helps work out what items on the site will fit you best – kind of like…brastrology! And yay, when my pieces arrived in the mail today they fit like a dream.

Lovestories Nightrider bralette, $64, True&Co
Lovestories Nightrider bralette, $64, True&Co

:: WEDNESDAY ::
MUST MUST MUST watch TV alert!!! Chelsea Does Drugs. A.k.a. Chelsea Handler going to Peru to do ayahuasca as part of her new “Chelsea Does…” series for Netflix. Chelsea has always been a guilty pleasure of mine – I know she rubs some people the wrong way, but I just love her realness. Which comes across in every frame of this segment – in which she also gets high with friends at a pot-themed dinner party, smokes a joint with Willie Nelson, gets monitored by a doctor while on Adderal and then Ambien (+ vodka), and visits a shaman to try and access a non-drug induced trance state. She also interviews recovering drug addicts and experts, and if the aya scenes, which show every step of her ceremony, steal the show, honestly it was just so refreshing to see an honest and non-sensationalist discussion IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA about humans and drug use. How grown up! As for why Chelsea likes to access altered states? Of course I had to Google her birth chart right after – and with a Pisces Sun and Leo Moon…well, say no more.

:: THURSDAY ::
Major kudos to my friend Robyn, who launched her book Go with Your Gut with a party in NYC tonight – and 9 months pregnant too! I didn’t make the event since I’ve been feeling totally wiped out this week (like the majority of people I’ve spoken to actually, what-up cosmos?!), but I’ve got my copy on order – mainly since Robyn’s theory that not only good physical health but our mental and spiritual wellbeing is directly related to our gut health is a pet subject of mine. In fact, here’s a great story we posted on this subject a while back.

Go With Your Gut by Robyn Youkilis on The Numinous
:: FRIDAY ::
Had a “material girl” moment interviewing J Crew president Jenna Lyons today – what a woman! I’ll post a link when my interview comes out – it was for a Red magazine in the UK – but for today, I’m still mainly obsessing over her office, which is about the size of most NYC apartments and stacked to the rafters with 25 years worth of books, pictures, trinkets and momentos (including a MAJOR Citrine crystal cluster she picked up in Marfa, TX). To me, she’s living, divinely feminine proof that you can be a real person and totally rock it in the corporate world, having risen to the top by simply doing 100% Jenna. An inspiration fo sho.

LIGHT WORKER: THE HEALING JOURNEY OF JODY SHIELD

London-based Jody Shield has gained a reputation as the healers’ healer, and signed as a Lululemon meditation ambassador. She shares her journey with Ruby Warrington

Light Grids healer Jody Shield featured on The Numinous

“Quit your job.” It was back in 2013 that Jody Shield heard the voice, subtle and yet insistent. “The sensation that came with it was one of, ‘it’s fine, you’ll be supported, don’t worry, trust’,” she remembers. “But still I was like, ‘no, no…what’s going on?’ And it just kept repeating, ‘quit your job, quit your job, quit your job’…”

Until this moment it had been a regular day in the office at the London ad agency where Jody had worked since 2005, rising through the ranks to become Business Director. Sure, she’d suffered a degree of burn-out in the role, had taken a sabbatical to Peru to “find myself.”

Since her return, she’d been dabbling in alternative therapies, and quietly working to develop what she felt were her natural healing abilities. But she’d found a happy medium, or so she thought. Her newfound skills were simply tools to help her navigate the demands of her own life in the “real world.” But now it seemed as though Spirit had other plans.

“I realized I couldn’t ignore what I was hearing, and almost as if some external force was pushing me to my feet I found myself walking into my boss’s office to tell him I needed to talk. I resigned on the spot,” she remembers.

Within three months, “I had a business as a healer. People had actually already been contacting me about sessions, and I’d been seeing family and friends at weekends. Once I made the decision to focus on it fully, people just kept coming back, and I was like, ‘okay!’”

In the two years since, Jody has become one of the most sought after alternative therapists in London, also gaining a reputation as “the healers’ healer.” This fall, she was signed by Lululemon as their first ever European meditation ambassador, and with a busy public speaking schedule to boot she’s become a leading voice in the Now Age movement. For anybody seeking a similar transition to a career in healing, her journey is a lesson in surrendering to your calling.

Light Grids healer Jody Shield featured on The Numinous

Born in the North of England, “growing up, I always had a sense that there was something bigger out there and that I was going to be a part of it. I used to look at celebrities and think, ‘they’re no different to anybody else, they’ve just got big energy’. And I felt that way about myself, too,” she says.

As far as connecting to Spirit, “I had a sense of the different energies in our house, and would get goose bumps when I walked into certain rooms. I’d drag the dog in with me for ‘protection’,” she laughs. But like so many psychically-developed young women, “I shut it all down when I hit my teens and began to discover boys…”

The first indication that she would one day be asked to use her gifts blew into her life on the winds of tragedy – after an ex-boyfriend was brutally murdered. “I woke up in bed one night not long after it happened, and there was an outline of him next to me on the matress. I realized his soul wasn’t able to pass to the other side, and I so I just told him, ‘it’s okay, be at peace now. You don’t need to worry about anything.’ And he just left.”

Back in real life Jody was focused on climbing the corporate ladder – even if the incident with her ex had left its mark. “I was emotionally burned out, and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to the point I had to take time off work due to ‘stress’,” she says. Eventually, she set off for South America for what she thought was some much needed R & R. Instead, she found herself on an intensive plant medicine retreat.

“Nobody was talking about Ayahuasca back then, so when I heard about it in Peru I really had no idea to expect. Even on the boat to the retreat center, I remember wondering what on Earth I was doing there, and thinking I would probably just be an observer,” she says. In the event, her 12-day shamanic immersion would prove absolutely pivotal in her journey to becoming a full-time healer herself.

Not least because she was immediately confronted with a truth she’d been hiding for years, even from herself – that she was living in the grips of bulimia. “When we arrived we were asked to drink something to make us vomit and purge the toxins from our system. The potion didn’t work on me, and the facilitator told me to stick my fingers down my throat. My immediate reaction was, ‘but you can’t do that in public!’ I’d kept my eating disorder a secret for a decade.”

In ceremony, having drunk the Ayahuasca itself, “it felt like being cradled in the arms of the Mother, looking down on me and loving me, but going; ‘you’ve got something to confess, and you have to bring it up so I can help you with it.’ When I shared about this afterwards, it was the first time I’d spoken about my eating disorder to anyone.”

Light Grids healer Jody Shield featured on The Numinous

Jody took part in seven ceremonies over 12 days, sharing her little jungle hut with giant cockroaches and spiders, and emerging with an unshakable sense that her bulimia was behind her. “It was as if my brain had been re-wired and I couldn’t even remember the physical process of the illness. I had also made a contract with the plant to never eat meat or take drugs again.”

Further, “I had been recognized by the indigenous tribe as one of them. After one ceremony, they all made a bee-line for me, calling me “doctor, doctor, doctor.”

It’s testament to the grounded nature that makes Jody so approachable as a healer that she was able to pack this experience away with her guide books and resume her “normal” life back in London. Albeit with a desire to discover more about the healing arts, and her own abilities in this area.

It began with the study of EFT, or tapping, but it was discovering the work of Damien Wynne that tapped Jody fully into her gifts. Having developed a system for karmic, emotional and energetic “clearing” called Light Grids Therapy, “for me Damien was the whole package – a very expansive spiritual channel, yet very, very grounded in his human experience,” says Jody. She decided to travel to Germany to train with him; “My mum insisted on coming with me though, to check I wasn’t being indoctrinated into some cult,” she laughs.

“I connected to the work instantly, which centers on the mantra ‘I am that I am,’ and is essentially about allowing you to fully claim your ancestral seat in this lifetime. After five days of working intensively on healing and opening up my own emotional body, noticed quantum shifts in my perspective on my own life and purpose,” she claims.

“But I was afraid. I was like, ‘if this IS my path, how do I bring this to London, and how on Earth do I explain this to people?!” she says, echoing what must have been the thought process of so many great healers before her. But it was shortly after this that she heard The Voice, while experiencing the sensation of being fully supported by the Universe on her journey.

The rest, as they say, is history. And with with London’s creative and business leaders lining up to work with Jody, there’s a sense of her childhood awareness that “something bigger” was out there waiting for her having been fulfilled.

To find out more about Jody Shield and her work and to book a session visit Jodyshield.co.uk

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: THE MAGIC OF PLANTS PARTS 1 & 2

The week that showed me there’s no denying the magic of plants…

Deborah Hanekamp of Unity Essenses medicine readings featured on The Numinous
Medicine woman: Deborah Hanekamp

Magic of plants part 1. I’m completely fascinated by the whole plant medicine revolution that’s happening right now. The concept that thousands of people, often the opinion-formers and change-makers of the world, are being sought out by the consciousness of Mother Earth via these medicines, and experiencing vast awakenings.

In fact, I was joking with my friend the other day that the current financial system won’t collapse because of dodgy bonds and unchecked “quantitative easing” – but because all the bankers will end up doing Ayahuasca, and quitting their jobs to make a positive difference in the world instead!

To date, I have not been called to sit in a ceremony myself. The stories of emotional and often physical intensity frighten me, and I know from past practice that I am capable of having similarly (third) eye-opening experiences using alternative, gentler methods.

But still, the fascination remains, and so when I learned about Deborah Hanekamp’s Medicine Readings, which she described as being as close as you could get to a ceremony without actually drinking Ayahuasca, I was obviously super intrigued.

Cut to Tuesday afternoon, when I met Deborah for a reading at my fave spot, Maha Rose. She began by asking what I was working on (as in emotionally), and from her questions about this I could tell immediately that she is a gifted intuitive, with an open and true connection the subtle realms.

I was then asked to lie on her treatment table, and begin a steady tri par viloma (three-part) breath. For the following hour Deborah would invoke the spirit of the plants using scent, in the form of sweet floral tinctures, healing stones and different sound instruments, including her own voice as she sang the haunting “Icaros,” traditional Peruvian medicine songs.

All the time I felt very much in my body – while I was shown, with incredible clarity and in the form of deeply held memories rising effortlessly to the surface of my consciousness, the very root of the issues I’d been grappling with during the recent eclipse period. Tears flowed freely as I was able to make sense of situations that my psyche had chosen to keep hidden from me until now, but in understanding and putting these pieces of my past together, I also felt a sense of forgiveness.

Coming out of the session, I was aware that I’d actually been in a trance-state – my body felt slow, my blood thick, as if I’d be dosed with a heavy anesthetic. One designed to null any pain, allowing me to face the truths that arose without flinching, or looking away. Writing this now, I realize this is probably very similar to what happens in a plant medicine ceremony.

Deborah then told me what spirit, the Grandmother consciousness of the plant, had shared with her during my reading, all of it deeply relevant. We finished the session with her giving me a prescription for a special bath I was to prepare for myself in the coming week, along with a crystal, a meditation, and a mantra to work with.

They say that when you are ready, the spirit of Ayahuasca will find you. And in a week of much confusion, actually, following the two eclipses, last weekend’s Blood Moon, and in the final throws of this Mercury Retro period, she offered herself to me in exactly the form I needed.

Check out more about Deborah and her work at Unityessences.com

Magic of plants part 2. I also watched the brilliant documentary Cowspiracy this week – which has totally cemented my commitment to being vegan. This is something that goes beyond health, beyond all the completely unnecessary bloodshed, and even beyond environmental issues for me now (although, if you need any more convincing, check out this ridiculous fact sheet). For me, this taps into the evolution of consciousness.

Because okay, how’s this for theory. Animal agriculture is by FAR the biggest contributor to the destruction of the rainforests – responsible for 91% OF AMAZON DESTRUCTION. How freaking cool, then, that the Amazonian plants themselves are fighting back – the Ayahuasca revolution opening so many influential minds to the wider implications of this issue.

The broader message of this film + my interaction with plant consciousness with Deborah this week have made me more aware than ever of the connection we as humans share with every other living being (animal + vegetable) on Earth, and the responsibility of love and care to our extended “family” that comes with this.

Also, you can think about it from a karmic perspective – with so much environmental destruction in the name of using flesh for food…doesn’t it make a sick kind of sense that our addiction to animal protein (because that’s what it is, since all tastes besides breast milk are acquired) could be what brings about the extinction of our species?

Wow – big stuff. But it’s not too late! As one commentator in the documentary puts it: “No other lifestyle choice has a father reaching and more profoundly positive impact on the planet than choosing a plant-based lifestyle.” Amen to that.

Veganism is magic cowspiracy review on The Numinous
From the streets of LA…where they’re all about the magic of plants!

 

MAGIC MUSHROOMS AS COUPLES THERAPY. SERIOUSLY.

In the latest instalment of Now Age relationship column Yogi Vegan Lez, Alexandra Roxo and her GF experiment with magic mushrooms as a form of couples therapy…

Alexandra and Orion get intimate with the contents of each other's head...
Alexandra and Orion get intimate with the contents of each other’s head…

What do people usually do when they leave yoga class. Drink some water? Go for an egg white omelette? Take a shower? Well, on that Sunday morning my iCal sent me a post-Vinyasa reminder: “Spiritual Awakening. a.k.a. Magic Mushroom Journey!” complete with a mushroom emoji and a smiley face. And so walking home through Williamsburg’s leafy McCarren Park, my girlfriend Orian and I whipped out our ‘shrooms and ate them right there and then. At 10am.

We had both wanted to do something special for our anniversary, and after a friend mentioned a beautiful afternoon she and her hubby had with some mushies, I was inspired! JUST WHAT I NEEDED. If women are scheduling their births these days, why can’t I schedule my DIY spiritual awakening? Plus, magic mushrooms are cheaper than a yoga retreat upstate and can be delivered directly to your house, so there’s really no excuse to not take them, right?

After sharing a vegan club sandwich on GF Rye, we sat and watched the dogs in the park for a moment. Then I was like “Umm, we should walk towards our house. Like Now.” Orian had never been on this kind of ‘journey’ so I also wanted to make sure she didn’t start tripping out while staring in the face of a Frenchie or…um, just crossing the street. Cos that could be dangerous.

I felt sort of like the person guiding the ship, the unofficial road woman or gatekeeper. When she kept saying things like: “When I do drugs I usually need a lot of water…” and “drugs make me feel…” I kept trying to tell her, “THIS IS NOT DRUGS. YOU ARE ON A PLANT MEDICINE ODYSSEY.” She finally succumbed to my benevolent dictatorship, and seemed to accept that a mushroom journey isn’t like a molly trip or a cocaine high.

As for me, this was the first time I’d done mushrooms completely sober of any alcohol and cigarettes. Not the first time I’d attempted an afternoon of mushroom-induced couples therapy though. The last time I tried bonding with my lover this way, we were holed-up in a dreamy Silver Lake cottage where got into a fight, I had a vision of an energetic cut between us where I saw our stars zooming off in opposite directions, realized quite viscerally we were poison for each other, starting having a panic attack, and didn’t sleep for two days.

So gee whiz, why wouldn’t I want to open this door with my new girlfriend of one year, on our anniversary, after an emotional month of me cleansing, quitting smoking, and doing all sorts of energy work?

But we had actually both been sober and clean and totally vegan for over two weeks, and I knew this quiet energetic state was essential to our ‘shrooming success. We continued wandering back towards our house as was the original plan: take a little bit, take a walk, just be together. I soon had to pee though, and we stopped in a cafe to use the loo. The bathroom walls were covered in a magazine collage. Who does that? And then the bathroom started to cave in on me.

I shut my eyes, ran out past the innocent bystanders (i.e. brunch crowd of people not on mushrooms) and what ensued was the most glorious and intense bonding session known to woman.

Magical Mushroom by Kaitlyn Fister via Behance.net
Magical Mushroom by Kaitlyn Fister via Behance.net

We held crystals (and FYI, holding crystals while on mushrooms is like holding an elephant or the sun or rain). We opened a book and could only look at one painting and then close the book. Then we had this realization that if we each balanced our Yin and Yang energies, we wouldn’t be searching for balance outside of ourselves. For someone who is bisexual and constantly trying to balance out masculine and feminine vibes I realized that seeking Yang outside of myself wasn’t necessary. I can align with someone else who has balanced energies and then we are each neutral!

This was our tripped out realization. Maybe we would all become androgynous beings again one day! Beyond gender! (I think I actually read that in some article about the next evolution of humans from a channeled entity…) Over the course of six hours, we laughed, we cried, we had profound healing conversations about life and death, and took quiet time alone.

The different phases of the trip were not too unlike my journeys with ayuhasca and peyote. There was a time of feeling physically unstable or unwell. Then there was some euphoria, the feeling of oneness. Then some darker challenges that came our way. That’s the ‘work’ part. The medicine comes in and gets shit done.

The result was what felt like a month of traditional couples therapy in one afternoon. There were no distractions. Except I kept wanting to eat dates and nuts because I felt I needed to ground myself, but was also afraid I might choke. But besides that it was cell phones off and in a drawer. Computers closed. It was magical.

Like everything in life, relationships take maintenance. As we change as individuals, we are altered as a couple. And sometimes these changes can cause a rift, a damn, a chasm, an avalanche, tidal wave. So if you’re tired of the traditional approach to processing your differences, here are our tips for a successful, and magical, couples bonding day on mushrooms:

PLAN AHEAD. The last thing you want is for your landlord to show up to fix your toilet or to have to take your dog out. If you’re opting to do the work at home, make sure your roomie isn’t planning to bake cookies to house music. If you can get away, get away. But why not try and tune into your own world instead of fleeing it?

UNPLUG. Turn off TV, computers, and cell phones. It’s unlikely you’ll even remember what Instagram is during your therapy session, but if you do find yourself tempted to check it – don’t. Just don’t. In your vulnerable state, do you really want to see a photo of Angelina Jolie’s chicken pox? You do not.

BE PRESENT. When you feel overwhelmed, listen to yourself. And if something comes up, share it with your partner. This is the whole deal with the ‘couples therapy’ thing. I asked Orian a few times: “What’s wrong?” She replied: “Oh, I don’t want to get sad or cry.” And I was like, “You can’t fight it! The whole point is to feel what you feel!” And so we were honest when things came up like, “Oh I was just thinking about when you die.” Instead of running from these things, remember you’re here to learn from them.

THE AFTERMATH. Plan to do something gentle afterwards. Light some candles. Have some soup. A bath perhaps. And WRITE IT DOWN. These lessons are invaluable, and it’s likely you will have been flooded with knowledge and wisdom so make sure you keep track.

And most of all, have fun and enjoy being together! And make your next Couple’s Bonding Day one that includes pizza in bed and SNL re-runs, cuz it’s all about the balance.

xx @Yogi_Vegan_Lez

Have you had a healing experience on ‘shrooms? Connect with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and share your story…

FOR THE LOVE OF CHOCOLATE: WHAT IS A CACAO CEREMONY?

Love chocolate? Well chocolate loves YOU! We discover how in ceremonial doses, raw cacao is a powerful heart opener that paves the way to transformation through self-love…

Heart Beats Raw Cacao and Dance Ceremonies founder Guinevere Short with shamanic drum featured on Thenuminous.net
Heart Beats Raw Cacao and Dance Ceremonies founder Guinevere Short

A while back, we had an intern working at The Numinous who celebrated turning 21 at a raw cacao ceremony. “Most of my friends would have been downing shots of tequila…but I was getting high on chocolate!” she joked. But it turns out raw, ceremonial grade cacao has been used for centuries to unlock euphoric states, release negative emotions, and connect to pure heart energy.

Chocolate + ecstatic healing and transformation. Seriously, is anybody NOT down for some of that?

Guinevere Short has been working with cacao in ceremony since she founded Heart Beats Raw Cacao and Dance Ceremonies in 2013. We got her to give us the lowdown on why chocolate is essentially a catalyst to radical self-love…

WHERE AND WHEN DID CACAO CEREMONIES ORIGINATE?
It’s thought cacao was first used as a health elixir and ceremonial medicine as far back as 1900 BC by the ancestors of Central America, the Olmec people, before becoming a ritualistic medicine used by the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Signifying both life and fertility, it was ingested by Royalty in ceremonial God worship and in sacrificial ritual.

CACAO IS ASSOCIATED WITH UNIVERSAL LOVE – WHY IS THIS? IS THIS WHY WE GIFT CHOCOLATE TO OUR LOVERS?
Due to certain active ingredients that help release ‘feel good’ emotions, cacao is considered a heart opener. Creating feelings of emotional intimacy and pleasure, it has long been considered a luxurious delicacy, especially with the addition of sugar and spices to suit modern palates. Without realizing, we still get to enjoy a small fraction of it’s potential when we eat cacao in a regular chocolate bar. And yes, this is why it has become associated with romantic gestures and pleasurable indulgence!

Guinevere Short with her shamanic drum photographed in Thailand, 2014 featured on Thenuminous.net
Guinevere with her shamanic drum photographed in Thailand, 2014

WHAT IS A CACAO CEREMONY, AND WHEN DO PEOPLE SEEK THIS MEDICINE OUT? 
A cacao ceremony is an opportunity to connect to yourself and open your heart. Because of cacao’s ability to increase your connection to your inner self and your heart chakra, it aids in any transformational shift you are working towards, whether you are looking to deepen your understanding of who you are, release old patterns and traumas, or move into a more self-confident space. Whatever your path, the intention is yours to set, and the cacao allows you to the insight and awareness to move towards that goal.

HOW DOES A CEREMONY GO – WHAT’S THE RUN OF PLAY?
I have attended many different ceremonies, and they vary in their approach. I was introduced to cacao initially by my mentor, Daisy Kaye, who brings in a powerful five elements dance journey, and I have also worked with a shaman in Guatemala who honors the cacao with meditation and inner reflection. In the ceremonies that I hold space for, we begin by sitting in sacred circle, honoring the cacao spirit with shamanic prayer, and humbly asking for our intentions to be heard. We serve the cacao in liquid form, and drink together.

Depending on what’s being called for, I intuitively offer sound healing or meditation. We then enter into a sharing with each other, of what we want to let go of and what we are calling in, which creates an intention for our journey. This is a very safe and intimate space, and the people that attend always surprise themselves at how they are able to open up to strangers, especially when they start to realize they we are all a mirror for each other, all just human beings with the same fears and sufferings, the same hopes and dreams. We end with dance, during which the cacao activates within the body and the heart, allowing a truly transformative and ecstatic process to unfold.

Ceremonial cacao taken in liquid form featured on Thenuminous.net
Ceremonial cacao is taken in liquid form. Image: Julie Gibbons

HOW IS THE CACAO SOURCED AND PREPARED? WHAT IS A CEREMONIAL DOSE?
I have used cacao from Bali, Equador and Mexico, but I discovered a ceremonial grade cacao sourced in Guatemala by a man now internationally known as the Cacao Shaman, who has been working with the medicine and connecting it to the Western world for many years. Keith and his Guatemalan compadre Tat Isaias (Tat meaning Shaman) work alongside the local indigenous community to provide the highest grade cacao possible, grown in the purest conditions and harvested and prepared with love. A ceremonial dose is around 1 – 2 oz of cacao, mixed with water into a drink. Traditionally cacao was served with chilli and honey, but I have sometimes combined it with other herbs or super foods to assist a particular journey.

WHAT IS THE IMMEDIATE PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT?
One of the main active ingredients that we experience in our physiology during ceremony is Theobromine. Theo-broma literally translates as God-Food, and potentiates the release of dopamine, the ‘pleasure’ hormone. This, alongside phenethylamine, which is known to help relieve stress and depression and which is released in the body during emotional euphoria, create heightened sensation and empathy. Alongside these, the high amount of nutrients in the cacao support and nourish the body, whilst also inducing a detoxifying effect on the liver and kidneys.

AND THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT?
Due to the euphoria inducing ingredients, the emotional impact can be profound. Everything feels heightened within the physical and emotional body, including your awareness to your deepest sense of self and to your heart. The experience of love and empathy, particularly for yourself, can literally feel as if your heart is opening like a flower. With this, the body can become flooded with the many emotions stored in the heart, some of which can be painful. It is not always an easy experience, and I have seen many tears shed as people peel away old layers of hurt. But as the cacao facilitates a deep sense of self-love, tears are always followed by smiles of deep gratitude. In other moments, the sheer ecstasy felt from the cacao can be described as nothing other than a divine experience.

Sophie Teakle of The Numinous following a cacao ceremony in Guatemala with Guinevere Short featured on Thenuminous.net
Shiny, happy people: Sophie Teakle of The Numinous following a cacao ceremony with Guinevere in Guatemala

WHY IS THIS SUCH A PERSONAL PASSION OF YOURS?
Because I believe in love! In the heart. In opening wide to our potential to follow that heart and be guided into the most alive and joyous expression of our selves possible. Acting on the momentum this creates, people can transform their lives to be living in their highest potential, creating positive experiences for themselves and everyone around them. This for me is a story of evolution; the more that people connect to self-love and awareness of themselves and their behaviors, the more that they can make loving and conscious choices for the greater good of all.

My personal story is that cacao has been part of a journey to heal myself from a chronic illness that left me bed ridden for most of a year. I had lost any sense of who I was or why I was here. Cacao came into my life at a time of transformation, and revealed insights to me that I had waited years for. It was a big part of restoring me to feeling fully alive in myself, totally connected, and fully empowered. Now I am truly blessed to be able to share that medicine with others.

HOW HAVE YOU SEEN PEOPLE’S LIVES CHANGE AS A RESULT OF WORKING WITH CACAO?
I am continually amazed by the transformational aspect of working with cacao, and there have been many emails and phone calls to tell me that since the cacao ceremony, ‘everything has changed’. I think cacao gives you the space to enter into a place of deep reflection and self communion. It allows you access to the subconscious to reveal and heal the deepest aspects of yourself. Especially when used in a ceremonial and intentional way, cacao gives you an opportunity to move towards the fullest expression of who you truly are…and this can be catalytic in removing barriers in all areas of your life; relationships, career, personal growth, creativity, or wherever your focus is. Ultimately, cacao can help deepen your connection to your heart, and expand your capacity to love and be loved. In a world where we’re realizing that everything is love, that’s a pretty potent medicine. And everyone deserves a taste.

Find out more about Guinevere Short and what is a cacao ceremony at Heartbeatscacao.com, and connect with her on Facebook.

Heart Beats Raw Cacao and Dance Ceremonies logo featured on Thenuminous.net

A LESSON IN LOVE: THE PEYOTE DIARIES

“If Ayahuasca is the head medicine, Peyote is to heal the heart.” One woman shares her Peyote journey, and tells how the mystical cactus helped her find her family. Images: Daniel R. Moore (homepage) and Abbey Watkins (post), both via Behance.net  

Peyote inspired "Confuse The Spirit" series by Abbey Watkins featured on TheNuminous.net

“I first heard about Peyote about four years ago when a friend told me about his experience in Arizona at the Church of Peyote, where he went to one ceremony after another for three months straight. I was captivated, and let him talk for three hours. His story was magical and he told it with so much love I could feel it. Also having known him for a while, I could see how his experiences had changed him as a person.

He continued to tell me whenever his “Roadman” (what the Church of Peyote call their Shaman) was doing a ceremony, and I always thought about doing it but the time was never right. Until my ex-boyfriend, also a mutual friend, texted me out of the blue three days after his first ceremony saying; “hey, I think I found OUR medicine.”

He and I share a very intimate knowledge of each other’s problems, and having taken Peyote he said he thought it could help me in the same way it helped him.
And so six months later, when I found out that he was organizing a meeting in Europe in two weeks time, it felt like a no-brainer. I had $200 in my pocket, but I was like, ‘fuck it, I have to make it work.’

He’s a pretty social guy and word had got around, so there were about 40 people in attendance. It was taking place in quite a remote place, and I travelled 24 hours to get there and missed the first round of medicine, so I was asking everybody how it was. They told me; “if it’s for you, life will just make sense.”

Peyote inspired "Confuse The Spirit" series by Abbey Watkins featured on TheNuminous.net

But I already knew it was for me.

Each tribe has their own way of running their ceremony, but I’ve done four ceremonies with the same guys now and it starts with burning tobacco, which opens up a channel to the spiritual world. The Roadman runs the ceremony, and then there’s a Fire Chief, whose job it is to make sure the fire, the “Grandfather,” stays bright and beautiful all night.

The person arranging the ceremony is in the “sponsored seat,” and they set the intention for the night. The Doorman’s job is to make sure people are sitting in the right spot and to keep things clean when people “get well” (throw up). The Drummer drums for everybody individually, and we all sing. And if the men run the ceremony, one female is also chosen to bring food – corn, meat and fruit – and water in the morning.

After the tobacco the Sponsor sets the intention for the night, then the medicine starts rolling, which comes in completely different forms depending on the Roadman. My first time, it came in four forms – a paste, a fresh form, a tea and a cold juice, and we were invited to take a portion of each. It’s a very acquired taste and all you can smell for two days afterwards is Peyote…I can’t describe it, because there’s nothing else like it and you know it right away; the mescaline.

As for how it makes me feel? The first time it made me really, really tired. So tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open. So the challenge was to sit and pay attention for nine hours straight.

It also really amplifies feelings. If Ayahuasca is the head medicine, then Peyote is the heart medicine. With Aya you take it and you go somewhere else, but with Peyote you’re completely grounded. I could talk to you like I am now, no problem, it’s just everything is amplified. In your head you’re able to connect the dots, like when you’re smoking weed, but in your heart it’s like taking MDMA – when you feel connected to everything, and you’re able to understand what everybody else is feeling.

Peyote inspired "Confuse The Spirit" series by Abbey Watkins featured on TheNuminous.net

Some people get trippy visuals but I never have. That first time I did feel raindrops on my shoulder which obviously weren’t there, and which turned into a feeling of joy that spread over my whole body. For me it feels like love is in that tepee, I don’t know how else to explain it. And afterwards, I always feel supercharged.

After my first time, I did two more ceremonies in the space of two weeks. I only took a small amount the first time and didn’t get well, but the second time I decided I wanted to dedicate my experience to different people in my life and wrote down ten names – so I took a spoonful of medicine for each of them…and got super well!

I saw it like there was obviously something that needed healing in each of those relationships, because when I took a spoonful for each of the same ten people the next time, I was flying high – a high that lasted six months. You go to places in your head where you get so emotional, and I often cry all the way through which is an amazing release in itself.

Now I feel like I’d do it once a month to keep me on track, like you might see a therapist. It can become a way of life, but for some people once a year is enough. Personally, I’d like to learn more, to understand the culture more and all the details about how to run a ceremony. They’d never let a woman put the tepee up, but I’m fascinated by the way they tie the knots in a certain way to honour the elements and stuff…and to learn about it, I just need to spend more time with them.

Peyote inspired "Confuse The Spirit" series by Abbey Watkins featured on TheNuminous.net

Also, the Roadman I follow is hilarious – he’s covered in tats, like a Mexican gangster, and he’s a funny motherfucker! For me he bridges the gap between my world and the ancient spiritual world, which makes it all so much more relatable to me. I told my friend I think I’m in love with him; he was like, ‘get in line!’

More recently, visiting Phoenix Arizona for a ceremony to celebrate the 13th wedding anniversary of my Roadman and his wife was one of the most beautiful things I’ve every experienced. I felt so blessed to go to the place where they’ve been doing these ceremonies for thousands of years. It was like visiting the holy land. But I’ve also done one with a different tribe in the Bronx in New York City, which was run by my Roadman’s ‘brother.’

People in the Peyote families know each other as relatives, and they believe that if you bring a partner into the circle and sit next to each other, that means you’re partners for life. It comes down to the fact that if you know this medicine works for you, then you feel a connection to other people in the same circles. It’s like there’s something in your makeup that’s the same, or you understand that maybe you experience the same kind of problems in life.

For me, the most beautiful part of my whole experience has been learning what real family connection feels like. Seeing how much the families respect each other, it’s ridiculous – and it’s why I keep going back.

Peyote inspired "Confuse The Spirit" series by Abbey Watkins featured on TheNuminous.net

Growing up, I never understood what family values were – my parents were there, but not emotionally. We’re very distant as a family. My friends are the people I would take a bullet for – but through the ceremonies, I’m learning how to forge a connection with my blood relatives too. The most important lesson has been to understand their value in my life, and to respect that. I appreciate them more for who they are now – and understand why maybe I should text my mom just to tell her I love her from time to time.

Elsewhere, it’s brought me so much clarity. Meeting new people, I can tell what kind of relationship we’re going to have, and if I used to have a tendency to give too much, now I’m aware of when that’s happening so I can stop. It’s like I’ve been granted an outside perspective. I’ve also learned to listen more and absorb stuff without feeling like I need to react right away. To just sit, and pay attention. I feel like I approach everything in a more peaceful, patient and positive way. And my close friends have all been able to see it.”

Peyote dear illustration by Daniel R Moore featured on TheNuminous.net
Image: Daniel R Moore via Behance.net

ESCAPE TO EDEN: IS BURNING MAN A SPRITUAL GAME CHANGER?

Is making the pilgrimage to Burning Man a spiritual game-changer, or can that change only occur within? The conscious party scene can be a portal for sure, but there’s no fast track to enlightenment, says David H. Wagner. Homepage image: Elena Kulikova via Behance.net 

Recently, I shared an email exchange with a young seeker in our community. She was considering making it to Burning Man this summer. I have to preface this whole thing by saying I have nothing against BM. I have dear friends and colleagues that go every year, I think it’s actually pretty cool. Overall, I’m glad it exists.

This could just as easily be written about a South American Shamanic Retreat, or a hot new weekend workshop, or someone signing up for a Yoga Teacher Training. It just so happens it’s about BM. That aside, I think there are valuable points in here about the cross pollination between yoga, spiritual disciplines, partying, and consciousness expanding drug use. Here’s a snippet from the email:

“As an elder in this spiritual scene I’ve seen so much of this over the years. I’m not against partying – and the kind of partying at Burning Man is probably a lot more positive than other party scenes you’ll find. But if you choose to go – just be clear what you’re getting into. Many people will talk about it like it’s a spiritually ‘game changing’ experience – but in many ways it’s just a slightly spiritualized party.

You might experience a little anarchy, or get naked in public, or take some E or some acid, or smoke some weed, or dance all night, or have ‘deep conversations’ with people while doing any of the above. And if you were TOTALLY closed before that, or TOTALLY uptight or TOTALLY un-awakened then it’s true that any of these experiences could be profound…”

True. If I could send my conservative Kentuckian cousins to Burning Man, they might come back transformed. But the young seeker I was writing to was already very open-minded and in the process of awakening, and looking for training and a deepening of her experience. Here’s some more:

“Anyone can FEEL free taking E and dancing naked at Burning Man. But feeling free and learning to BE free are two different things.

And…too much of the former actually can hinder the experience of awakening. In all my years working on a spiritual level with people, there have been only a handful of people I really couldn’t help. Among them the ones who’ve burned their neurotransmitters out on E, or built up a whole quasi-spiritual identity based on these external experiences. In my experience, getting high prevents people from learning to be high.

These sorts of experiences are good doorways – if the doors are stuck. But the idea is to then walk through them. You don’t hang around the doorway, or deify the door, or the openers. You move forward, you find your vision for life. You live your vision.

Ram Dass has awesome teachings about all this. Once he asked his guru Neem Karoli Baba about using drugs as a spiritual means. The Maharaji said; ‘You can use it to see Christ. But you can’t use it to become Christ’.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all into experiencing new things. The thing is, when people rave about the experience (pun intended), I think that’s more about the raver than the rave. People can have deep experiences even at super hokey things. It’s the same when people have been in the presence of great masters and have been exposed to great practices and teachings, but only a handful get the deep benefits. It’s what’s going on inside that counts.

More from the email:

“A sincere seeker will get benefit from even the stupidest bullshit. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. If you haven’t already, you’ll hear about ayahuasca, and Ecstasy, and all sorts of substances that people have found to be the key to their awakening. Or you’ll have people try to enroll you into some new coaching method, or a radical health approach they found to be the ‘answer.’ And often times you’ll hear about these things from really goodhearted people. And for them, in this snippet of time, it may have been the answer.

But over the years I’ve seen that things come and go. Even if, in the moment, they are THE THING for a group of people, like all things, they then move on. What remains, hopefully, are the seekers and their sincere intention to live in wisdom and freedom. All the long-term yogis and path-walkers I know have cycled through dozens of different ‘game-changers of the moment.’ And as we have, we’ve seen countless good people get swept up and lost in these things when they lost their sense of self and perspective.”

On the spiritual path, we need to know what we’re after. And know ourselves well enough to know whether or not we’re on the right track. It also helps to have some elders around. People who have some seasoning and can offer some perspective. Even after 26 years on the path, I feel like I barely qualify – but none the less, when someone like this person has a question, I feel it’s our duty to answer, even if I sound old and lame.

As a young seeker, your beauty, your sincerity and your light are all qualities that people are going to lust after. And not just in a sexual way, I mean organizations lusting after your enthusiasm and your brightness. I mean “scenes” lusting after your awesome energy and vitality. If you’re getting into all of this at a young age, you will likely have a lot of different ponds to swim in.

It’s all good. Swim in them.

But listen to your gut before you dive in, heart first. Just know there are a lot of blind people out there leading other blind people, and some straight up jackals too. So stay alert. Stay in touch with your heart. And you’ll be good.

Read more from David and learn about his work at Davidhwagner.com

NEED TO KNOW: A CUSTOM FLOWER REMEDY

Of all the plant medicines available to us, flower remedies offer the most subtle – and perhaps the most profound – path to inner healing. Are you willing to believe, asks Ruby Warrington? Images: Addie Juell. Prop styling: Cindy DiPrima

Over breakfast green juice with my girls, I’m trying to explain how I feel since I started taking the flowers. “It’s subtle. You know those days when it just feels like things are going your way? Then imagine feeling like that all the time…” And they’re intrigued, want the number of the fairy who gave them to me. But still the general consensus, as Kerrilyn puts it, is that: “of all the mystical healing arts, don’t flower remedies require the biggest leap of faith?”

At the tail end of summer 2013, burnt out from too much travel and an avalanche of deadlines all at once, I was ready to take that leap. Introduced to Kerri Aab, a.k.a. Seed To Blossom, by a mutual friend, what did I have to lose? And, when I dissolved into tears during our initial hour-long Skype consultation, what had presented as minor stressors revealed much deeper issues that had been long been festering.

Like a lot of people, I’d had positive experiences using Bach’s Rescue Remedy – but my experience with Kerri took things to the next level, and then some. After that first call (read: therapy session), she mixed a custom blend of seven flowers to address the core issues that had come up. To give you some clues, this included Rock Water, to help balance out perfectionist tendencies, Pine, to help with feelings of guilt, and Elm, to put my large workload into perspective.

The prescription? Four drops, four times a day, while the bottle of drops (the essences are held in an alcohol solution and administered with a pipette) would hold it’s potency for three weeks, so we scheduled a catch up for a few days before that.

Over the following 18 or 19-day period, it’s true that things quieted down on the deadline front. But the change in outlook – and “in-look” – I was able to report back to Kerri in our second session went beyond this external change in circumstances. The best word to describe how I felt I was coming to see things is “acceptance” – of myself, of my surroundings and of the challenges I still faced.

Kerri, who was introduced to the flowers during a 50-hour labor with her daughter, describes her personal experience as that flowers; “making space for my natural light to shine.”

Was it really the flowers? As Alexis Smart, widely recognized as one of the leading figures in flowers, puts it; “why is it so hard to believe that plants and flowers have healing properties or effects? Many of our drugs come from plants.” And it’s not as if the notion of “plant medicine” is exactly alien to us in the now age.

In my second session with Kerri (by the way, one of the least “witchy” purveyors of potions and tinctures I’ve ever met), we switched out the Elm for the aptly named Impatiens flower, to help ease feelings that I’m always running out of time. And slowly, bottle two is doing its work too.

If you think a custom flower remedy might be for you, here’s what you Need to Know:

Know that there are 38 flowers in the Bach medicine cabinet, and that your custom blend can include up to seven.

Know that an initial consultation with Kerri lasts up to 90 minutes, and that the more you’re prepared to bare your soul the more you’ll get out of it.

Know that you can use the flowers alongside any other natural or man-made medicines and that they will still have the same effect, while not interfering with any other remedy you are taking.

Know that unlike other plant medicines (ayahuasca, marijuana) Bach flowers work on a solely energetic level and affect no purely physical changes whatsoever.

Know that this makes them safe for children, pets and even…other plants! Further, infants and animals are impervious to suggestion and the success of flowers in treating them disproves any placebo effect. 

Know that Crab Apple comes up most frequently among Kerri Aabs female clients. A cleansing remedy for both mind and body, it works particularly well for people who struggle with negative self-image and issues with obsessive neatness or physical perfection.

Know that in each subsequent session your blend will likely change, as the issues which feel the most urgently in need of a remedy will shift with the ebbs and flows of your life.

Know that you won’t feel the flowers working, but you will know that they are.

Visit Kerri’s website to learn more about her work or book a consultation.

Additional research Andrea Kasprzak.

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MY MYSTICAL LIFE: LYNNE FRANKS

1980s fashion publicist Lynne Franks, was famously the inspiration for the character of Edina Monsoon in the hit TV show Absolutely Fabulous. Now a self-styled ‘Women’s Empowerment Guru,’ she’s, like, the godmother of Material Girl, Mystical World. Based between Deia, Majorca, where her company Bloom regularly hosts retreats, and London, she talks altered states of consciousness and doing business with a cause to Ruby Warrington.

IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL BELIEFS MOST INFORMED YOUR WORK?
My spiritual journey has influenced my work immensely, particularly when it comes to understanding the basic karmic law of cause and effect. Plus my close relationship with the Brahma Kumaris has kept me very values-focused.

WHAT ARE THE FIRST QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN CONSIDERING YOUR ‘HIGHEST POTENTIAL’ IN BUSINESS?
The first questions I always ask are; “is this of service?” and “Am I being true to my values?”

WHAT DOES AN ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS LIFE LOOK LIKE TO YOU NOW?
A happy life looks to me like one based on healthy, loving relationships; a close community of friends; health and wellbeing in all areas of my life; a beautiful view when I open my door in the morning; lots of walks with my dog in nature; the happiness of my children and grandchildren; living my life purpose of working with women and girls on creating a better world; lots of laughter and lots of fun; lots of dancing and great music; good food. I could go on…!

WHAT TECHNIQUES CAN YOU SHARE FOR ATTRACTING SUCCESS TO ANY VENTURE?
I don’t believe in techniques but I do believe in tools. A CIRCLE OF WOMEN for support and to share with. Staying true to your vision. Vision boards and books bring your project alive. Technological know-how. Reading everything relevant and keeping an open, enquiring mind. I also write poems, meditate, paint, dance, and love.

WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY SPIRITUAL SELF-CARE ROUTINE LOOK LIKE?
Daily self-care starts with meditation and chanting first thing, the earlier the better. A minimum of one 5Rhythms class a week. Working out and boxing in the park. Long walks with my dog in nature. Making green juices. Laughing. Sitting in my hot-tub first thing in the morning when in Deia. Sitting in my infra red-sauna when in London. They really clean me out.

WHO’S THE HEALER YOU HAVE ON SPEED-DIAL?
My Bloom colleague in Deia Monika Evans for Reiki; Amanda at Spa at Home in Deia for craniaosacral work and Robin Johnson, also in Deia, for a brilliantly healing, Californian-style massage, as taught by the Esalen institute in Big Sur. These three all put me back together when I return to Majorca from the intensity of London life.

WHAT’S THE CRAZIEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE IN THE NAME OF PERSONAL GROWTH?
Probably drinking my own urine – although not so uncommon these days, and there’s a lot to be said for the results which makes it not crazy at all in my eyes.

AND WHAT HAD THE MOST PROFOUND EFFECT ON YOU – WHY?
Endless experiences have had profound effects on me – taking Ayahuasca in the Amazonian jungle; dancing with Gabrielle Roth at Esalen; experiencing altered states with Denise Linn’s meditation and seeing visions of the Great Mother; doing 4am meditation with the Brahma Kumaris at the top of a mountain in India. All these experiences have led to altered states of consciousness, which, at different times of my life, have had a huge influence on me. I consider myself very lucky. Also just being in my beautiful home in Deia – my personal piece of paradise – where I connect with nature and welcome other women to join me on retreats where we support and learn from each other.

YOU’RE AN ARIES, IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU MOST EMBODY THE TRAITS OF YOUR SIGN?
I’m a very typical Aries – full of creative ideas, passionate,  and a self-starter who makes things happen. But can equally be very naïve at times in a child-like way, and definitely over-sensitive.

DEIA IS THE NEW IBIZA. DISCUSS…
Deia is not the new Ibiza! It’s far more interesting, with a long-time heritage of writers and artists from Robert Graves onwards who have made this beautiful village one of the most interesting local and global communities in the world.  It’s much more private and community based. It certainly gets very fashionable in August, but it’s always been somewhere where celebrities, artists and hippies can enjoy each other’s company with no cameras in sight.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR LEADERS IN THE WORLD TODAY?
Only when there is equality and co-operation between men and women, boys and girls, human beings and the environment across the world will we see a balanced, loving and safe society for all. There is enough abundance available for everyone – food, shelter, education and happiness – and we need to ensure that all human beings on the planet have access.  Please, please let us change the desperately sad course we are currently on and create a sustainable future for the seven generations to come.

The Bloom 2014 retreat programme begins in Deia in March. For more information go to www.bloomretreats.com
@Lynne_Franks

PROWL MAGAZINE: TALKING DIY CULTURE AND DMT WITH LISA LUXX

Lisa Luxx is the self-declared “preditor-in-chief” of new London counter culture ‘zine, Prowl. In this interview she talks to Ruby Warrington about; why you need your ego to succeed, why anonymity will be the greatest luxury for generation Z, how to prep your face for an ayahuasca trip and how switching off from technology felt like an “everlasting climax.” Among other, equally fascinating subjects…

Lisa Luxx by Olivia Sykes

SO HOW DOES A GIRL MANIFEST A WHOLE MAGAZINE THESE DAYS?
Visualization. I very much believe that I can get what I want by thinking about it enough…and I couldn’t take my mind’s eye of this project for a long time, like a song on repeat. I believe it manifested itself through that energy.

DECLARING YOURSELF “PREDITOR-IN-CHIEF” SURE TAKES SOME BALLS, TOO…
Luckily I have pretty big ego and, as an Aries, heaps of pride, and I really believed that what we were doing with PROWL was going to have some worth among the underground creative scene. I also talked about it a lot in the beginning, and as soon as I announce that I’m going to do something I absolutely will!

Jacob Escott

THE MAGAZINE OPENS WITH A MISSION STATEMENT: “LOVE EVERYONE, PLEASE NO-ONE.” WHERE DID YOU GET THIS AND WHY IS IT SUCH AN IMPORTANT AN IDEA?
Jacob Escott (the illustrator behind this and Art Director of PROWL) and I came up with this together, which seems to be the ethos of a whole generation of creatives making up this independent renaissance. The current DIY scene is very cooperative and collaborative, where love is the driving force behind success – perhaps because so many people understand the power of positive vibes nowadays. However, there is also a sense of revolt – we are writing, drawing and performing whatever we like because we have nothing to lose and no one to answer to.

Chenoa Gao

IS THIS WHY “COUNTER CULTURE ISN’T DEAD”?
As long as there are still people going against The Man, there will be a counter culture – and there has never been more to counter! Right now, humans still don’t know how to live alongside the mechanisms we’re putting into place in our everyday life. There’s also is a vast awareness of our environmental issues, the backend of a grim recession plus an increasingly more right-wing government to contend with.

SO WHAT WILL COUNTER CULTURE LOOK LIKE FOR GENERATION Z?
Anonymity. I mean, do you ever get that feeling you’re not being watched? People have started to react against our overexposure by hiding away. In fashion I expect to see a lot more facemasks, headpieces and full body outfits with less skin on show. Imagine space age Victorians. “Unseen” is already the trendiest thing to be now, think about all these hidden bars or the online Darknet, for example. As a result, the counterculture of Generation Z will be almost undetectable.

Marco Zaffino

ONE OF MY FAVORITE STORIES IN THE MAG IS ON “BEAUTY TIPS FOR ACID HEADS” – HOW SHOULD ONE PREP ONE’S TOILETTE FOR AN AYAHUASCA CEREMONY?
Well, you’re gonna be puking a lot on ayahuasca so the most important thing to do is tie your hair back in a loose bun. Give your face a good cleanse before you start and apply a tiny amount of non-oily moisturizer – like Neal’s Yard Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturizer. It will see you through the long trip but won’t get clammy. The white robes at an ayahuasca ceremony are also prone to washing out your complexion, so don’t wear any black around your eyes that might look spooky when smudged. When you come out of this you’ll want to look as good as you feel, so have a hit of blusher with you to bring yourself back to the land of the living zen.

AND WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST REVELATION YOU GAINED FROM RESEARCHING “THE ANTI-NET KID” (WHERE YOU WENT TWO MONTHS ON THE ROAD WITH NO PHONE OR EMAIL)?
When I reached Yosemite National Park, I found this open meadow and I let the wind lay me down in the long grass while the sun graciously bore itself upon me. As the gentle breeze passed through me I felt myself shift into a nook of harmony with my surroundings. My edges blew away and I existed as one with the universe – I could feel our energy coming together in the throes of one great everlasting climax. It was a real moment of enlightenment for me and the moment I wrote the poem that would become my first published piece.

Marco Zaffino

WOW. COULD WE ALL ACHIEVE THIS IF WE JUST SWITCHED OFF OUR iPHONES FOR A MINUTE?
This was the result of being without modern technology for two months and submerging myself in natural beauty. As a twenty-three year old I’ve never been in the moment. I grew up with mobile phones and the web always connecting me to times and places that didn’t exist in my immediate surroundings, so I’ve spent a lifetime being tremendously longsighted – thinking it made me stronger to exist further afield, when really I wasn’t existing anywhere wholly.

Jacob Escott

HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOU IN THE LONG RUN?
Following that time in Yosemite, it became clear that if I continued to use technology the way I had become accustomed I would not be a fully fuctioning human being – unable to concentrate, meditate, explore or really touch things and mean it. I have since translated this lesson into conversations, work and sex – suddenly I was better at everything and enjoying it all at a much deeper level.

WHAT DOES THE NUMINOUS LOOK, SOUND AND FEEL LIKE TO YOU?
As an abstract and rather psychedelic reply to that, here are some notes I once wrote while lost in the beatific vibrations of a DMT trip…“The red and purple Amorphous Androgynous rain falls down on me but instead of wetting me it tickles. This is the summertime of consciousness. The cosmic vibrations of the universe and constantly in orgasm. It’s glorious; let yourself go to the spectacle of lights and colors. I’m in meadows of joy and light, listening to trumpets of energy and serenity. There’s a real language of cosmic love but words don’t exist here. I’ve been to the edges of existence and it’s glorious. I’ve been to the riverbanks of gentle being. I’ve watched the sun come up on the hazy valleys of our essential being. I’ve witnessed the willows weep as the seasons of peace pass on our insignificant magnificence.”

“Sweet Thoughts” by Jacob Escott

AND NOW I’VE READ PROWL, WHO SHOULD I GIVE MY COPY TO?
Pass your copy on to a real underground artist who could become one of the Predators or someone else who wants to join the party. PROWLHOUSE is about building a network of creatives and celebrating our worth, while marking the next big movements. Or give the copy to someone who might want to invest some cash into our next issue! Remember to write your name inside so as the copy gets passed on you will always exist with it and the next reader can look you up and make friends.

Issue one of Prowl magazine is available now. The editors encourage sharing. For information about events go to www.prowlhouse.info

 @ProwlHouse

NEED-TO-KNOW: A VISION QUEST IN THE PYRENEES

Mara Hoffman S/S 13

I’ve done a lot of change-your-life-type workshops from bootcamps to spas and goddess weekends, but  something called a ‘Vision Quest’ has had the most massive and long-term effect on me. A Vision Quest is like camping-meets-Carlos Castaneda, and is the only thing that’s ever really ‘re-booted’ my life.
Continue reading “NEED-TO-KNOW: A VISION QUEST IN THE PYRENEES”