YOUR TOTAL GUIDE TO URANUS IN TAURUS

With electric shocker planet Uranus now rolling through Taurus until 2026, we’re ripe for revolutionizing our resources, and radically grounding into our beautiful bodies. Numi astro crew Lord Chiron, Danielle Paige, Kiranjot, Bess Matassa, Kimberly Peta Dewhirst, and Rebecca Farrar have the full report on this historic meeting of heaven and Earth …

URANUS IN TAURUS :: 5.6.19 – 2026

From LORD CHIRON  
3-D chocolate printing and breaking free of the B.S.

In Greek, the language of the New Testament, Ouranos /Uranus, means “heaven.” Uranus symbolizes the realm of archetypes, effortless creativity, and synchronicity. Where we are out of line with “life” is where Uranus comes in and shocks the bullshit out of us, and with Uranus in Taurus, we can expect many shifts as to what we value here on Earth.

The Mayans equated Earth with the underworld.  They knew what the Buddhists know: that Earthly existence is a never ending loop, and that, until we evolve our consciousness, we’ll be reincarnated into the same mess over and over again. To get into Uranus / heaven, we are going to have let go of something we are holding onto that has outlived its purpose on Earth.

On a lighter note, there is also this totally Uranus in Taurus development: the 3D printing of chocolate.

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From DANELLE PAIGE 
Lean into the cosmic rhythm

The combination of revolutionary awakener Uranus with slow and steady Taurus is interesting for a couple of reasons. Taurus is a fixed sign and doesn’t like change before it’s really, really ready for it, and Uranus hasn’t been in Taurus since the early 1930s (the era of the Great Depression).

While this transit doesn’t have to herald another major financial crisis, it does highlight how we handle our resources, and care for Mother Earth. On a personal level, we’ll be moving more into our bodies, and awakening even more to what we put inside of them and how it was produced.

If you’re a fixed sign (Taurus, Scorpio, Aquarius, or Leo), or have any planets in those signs, then this Uranus transit will be making contact with your birth chart specifically. When that happens (meaning when Uranus in Taurus makes an exact angle to any of the planets in these signs) it will mean a personal awakening for you in the area of life that’s being highlighted (as denoted by the House containing the planet in question).

A final note: there is nothing to fear with this transit. This energy is happening because, as a collective, we’re really, really ready. Uranus’ transit through Taurus is set to break us out of old patterns, so that we can liberate who we actually want to be.

To find out more about Danielle’s work and how she can help you embody you soul’s cosmic rhythm follow her on Instagram 

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From KIRANJOT 
Summoning Kundalini courage in the face of change

Crowned “God of the Sky,” Uranus’ energy is electric. He is the revolutionary. He demands innovation and progression at lightening speeds. His symbol even looks like a radio receiver.

We began to slide into the “Age of Aquarius” (the sign co-ruled by Uranus) in 1991, at the same time as the birth of the world wide web, and these Aquarian times have been highlighting the way we as a collective need to evolve if we are going to survive. If channeled well, the energy of Uranus will liberate us, as we’ve seen from the #metoo and #whatif campaigns.

With Uranus in passionate warrior Aries for the past seven years, we’ve been called to step up, claim our individual authority, and be unashamedly real. Social media platforms and the rise of the personal brand have been the frontier of this brave new world. And while we all know social media can be a phenomenal force for good, we’ve also been dealt a heavy side of anxiety as we expose ourselves for public consumption. And if, in Aries, we go out prospecting, in Taurus we bring the treasures home. Super sensual Taurus delights in the body and acquires things that please the senses.

To help us stay strong and able to cope with massive change and intense pressure during these transitional times, use the simple, anxiety soothing meditation below from the Kundalini yoga tradition. It is one of five particular mediations given by Yogi Bhajan for what he called the “gray period,” after the transition into the Aquarian Age, post 2012. Use it to calm the mind, restore mental balance, and protect against irrationality.

Meditation For Strong Nerves: 

-Sit comfortably, spine straight.
-Left hand, touch ring finger and thumb together, hold it at the level of your ear. Right hand, touch little finger and thumb together, keep it relaxed in your lap.
-Close your eyes softly and focus them at the point between your eye brows, which we call the third eye, and take long deep equal breaths. Hold the position for 11 minutes to feel the full effects.
-To finish, take a deep breath in, stretch and shake your hands for a couple of minutes.

Moon Club member Kiranjot is a Kundalini Yoga Teacher and Doula in London and Ibiza. Connect with her at kiranjot.com and wisemother.co.uk

Kiranjot summons her Uranian courage

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From BESS MATASSA
Striving to make heaven a place on Earth.

Uranus’ entry into Taurus wants us to loosen our grip, as we offer ourselves up to beauty, and take on a permanent mood ring shade that’s contingent on nothing and no-one to fill our cup.

As Uranus’s neon lightning electrifies the bovine boudoir of Taurus, we are offered the chance to start where we stand, and with exactly the resources we already have on hand. With whatever creams and serums are clustered in our medicine cabinets. With whatever savory spices we are ready to pestle and mortar to perfection. With whatever flesh and bones currently house our spirits. We’re being reminded that our bodies are a vestal vessel for magic and majesty.

That we’ve got enough, and we are more than enough.

Uranus in Taurus Mantra: “When I settle in to what can’t be stolen, I can serve up my delicious mission.”
Theme Song: Heaven is a Place on Earth
Style: The earthbound “housewife” chic of Pedro Almodóvar’s women, in outer space. Chunky lucite hoops, plastic floral hair pieces, and body con neon prints.
Flavors: Think the languid luxe lickables and spontaneous bounty of an impromptu picnic—fresh baguettes, mascarpone, nutty gouda, full-bodied butters, succulent stone fruit, salted charcuterie, and concord grape juice.

Want more juicy cosmic insights and sensory explorations? Arrange a reading or private event with Bess here and follow her on Instagram

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From KIMBERLY PETA DEWHIRST, AKA STAR SIGN STYLE
Ground shaking pragmatism and sensory revolutions.

From the heady daredevil realms of Aries to the bull’s more stable pastures, the flavor of our collective innovations has shifted; a pioneering, fighting spirit transitions into a more practical approach to necessary change.

However, rebellious Uranus faces some challenges in this earthy territory, and we’ve felt the birthing pains to prove it. With earthquakes across the US, and volcanoes in both Hawaii and Japan, we’re viscerally connected to Uranus’ shocking vibrations.

Outside of this Gaia-based realm, whatever Taurus governs can now experience revolutionary leaps—from banking, agriculture and food production, to ways of working, our income, and even sensory experiences. Think the widespread normalization of digital finance, and technological advancement in farming that helps us face sustainability issues with tangible solutions.

And as Taurus governs our sensuality and how we experience the material world, the style forecast for this transit is more Ecological practices in the fashion industry!

Connect with Kimberly at Star Sign Style, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Photo: Patrick Tomasso

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From REBECCA FARRAR, AKA WILD WITCH OF THE WEST 
Awakening Earth activism and connection consciousness.

With the celestial shift of Uranus into Taurus, a.k.a. “Tauranus,” the energy in the air is palpable.

At first, this cosmic combination may seem jolting, as opposing earthly and etheric forces come into contact. Yet Taurus can ground Uranian forces into more practical means, and Uranus has the opportunity to utilize the Taurean powers of connection to move things forward.

As a transpersonal planet closely linked to collective experiences and generations, Uranus’ sign shift is an important indicator of group evolution and the potential for shifts in the collective consciousness. We’ve already seen the effects through new financial structures, such as the sharing economy and cryptocurrency, and Earth technologies that include ocean clean-up efforts and major strides in renewable energy.

Beyond creativity in the fields of environmentalism, food sources, and finance, these next 8 years also offer up revolutions in the way we relate. My hope is for a revolution around connection, and a new consciousness that includes greater intimacy with ourselves, others, mothership Earth, and the cosmic community. I’m eager to watch it unfold.

For more cosmic musings, check out the “Wild Witch of the West” on Instagram and Facebook. 

WHY SKINCARE IS A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

Fed up with the beauty industry’s impossible standards, Giselle La Pompe-Moore set out to heal her relationship with her skin at soul level. She explains why skincare is a spiritual practice …

Giselle La Pompe-Moore

Have you ever thought about your skin beyond aesthetics?

We can spend hours in front of the mirror analyzing every pore and perceived flaw, but we rarely see beyond this. But on a deeper level, our skin is a barrier between our internal and external worlds. Something both public and deeply personal at once.

This skin allows us to experience the universe around us, to touch and be touched in return. This is why skincare is a spiritual practice.

The color of my skin was different from most of the people I grew up with, and from the women I saw in the media. I loved my skin, but as a black woman I always felt like an “other.” Was always comparing my skin to that of somebody else. The black women I DID see on TV and in magazines seemed hyper-real, with flawless, perfect skin. In an attempt to replicate this for myself, I pursued a career as a beauty editor, drowning myself in products.

Over the years, I began to notice that while creams and treatments can heal the skin externally, they do nothing to address feelings of not being good enough, of shame, and of endless comparison.

And so I took a step back to shift my focus from how skin looks on the outside to what it reflects about our inner life. To investigate the impact of spiritual tools, such as reiki, meditation and tarot, on our relationships with the skin we are in.

Now working as a healer specializing in skincare, I’ve seen how acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema have impacted the way my clients move through the world. I’ve listened to stories about what they’ll do once their skin is “healed, better, or different,” while denying themselves of the life they could be living right now. I’ve also learned that our skin is the physical embodiment of our innate self-worth.

Whether you’re working through a skin condition, are struggling to accept your physical appearance, or want to add some spirit to your skincare, here are the tools that I’ve used on myself and my clients to help shift our skincare mindset …

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1// Give yourself a crystal facial massage
Crystals can work wonders helping to set intentions around your skin—and one way is with a crystal facial massage. Here’s how to do it:

  • Choose a crystal that symbolizes your skin intention. Pink Transparent Calcite (for non-judgment and comparison), Apatite (willpower for shifting your skin mindset) and Malachite (forgiveness, committing to this journey) are some of the crystals I’ve prescribed to clients.
  • Get comfortable, cleanse your space, and connect to the crystal. Hold it in your hand and feel its energy. As you hold it, visualize your intention. If it’s to help you to forgive yourself for the unkind words you’ve said about your skin in the past, imagine this forgiving energy passing through your body. Then ask the crystal to offer you support and guidance in achieving this.
  • With the crystal in front of you, start to massage all around your face in upward and outward strokes using a face oil. With each movement, feel your intention sinking into your skin at the same time.

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2// Journal to go beneath the surface
A lot of our limiting beliefs about our appearance reside deep below the surface. Use journaling to investigate your relationship with your skin and unearth subconscious beliefs.

Here are a few questions to start with:

-How would you describe your skin? Think about the language you use, is it positive or negative?
-What does the word ‘comparison’ bring up for you, in relation to your skin?
-What memories do you have where someone made a comment about your skin or appearance and how has this had an impact on you?
-What has your inner critic said to you today? Do you believe what it told you? How do you usually talk to yourself when you’re in front of the mirror?

Through journaling, I realized that I used only negative words to describe my skin and would skip past the features I liked. So I decided to start accentuating the parts of my face that I did love, like my lips. See what comes up for you and what tools you can use to release and heal these limiting beliefs. I’ve used tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique), binaural beats and visualization in response to what I uncovered in my journal, and written letters to my skin.

Giselle guides a client

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3// Synch your skincare with the Moon
The phases of the Moon phases can provide a mirror to examine our self-image triggers, and a framework for charting our inner work and emotional landscape over a period of time. Here’s how to incorporate each phase into your skincare routine …

New Moon. Use this time of new beginnings to set an intention for your skin. It could be to reconnect with your skin. Start with self-massage, simply feeling the skin beneath your fingertips. This is also the time to add any new products in to your beauty routine.

Waxing Moon. Check in with the intentions you set at the New Moon, examining how you’re feeling about your appearance now, and thinking about how you can move closer to growing your intentions and reconnecting with your skin. Your skin is also the most absorbent and receptive to nutrients now, so add in a serum with hydrating properties or a nourishing face mask.

Full Moon. Take a moment to celebrate yourself, thanking yourself for all of the work you’ve been doing to shift your skin mindset. There can be heightened emotions and energy at this time, so make sure you’re filling your cup back up with restorative baths or an Ayurvedic abhyanga massage.

Waning Moon. Use this phase for journaling and exploring the limiting beliefs that might have come up for you over this cycle, reflecting on what you need to release in order to grow. To support this internal cleansing and shedding, use an exfoliating body scrub, try body brushing, or add in a detoxifying charcoal soap to draw out impurities and toxins.

Dark Moon. Give yourself a break! It’s easy to end up with spiritual overload, I’ve been there many times – digging into shadow work, past life astrology, and the deepest crevices of my psyche all before lunch ain’t easy! Allow yourself this time to restore, heal, imagine, and to press pause.

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4// Use the tarot to talk to your skin 
The tarot is a powerful tool for working on your mindset and self-worth, and I use it daily for both myself and in my rediscovery: skin sessions. You can start with a single card pull, asking the deck to show you how you can work on your self-image. Use the cards to start a conversation with your skin and listen to what it needs.

Example:
In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Two of Swords depicts a blindfolded woman with two swords crossed over her. The moon is above her and a body of water lies behind her. This card is all about taking the time and space to be still and look inwards. To embody this card, think about how you can create a boundary that allows you to dive into your own self-care. Allow this stillness to offer you intuitive guidance as to where you’re in need of healing and any areas of low self-worth. Use this as an invitation to see through your third eye rather than your physical eyes.

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5// Meditate for both mind and skin
Meditation is a powerful tool for shifting our skin mindset, and for relieving the stress that can trigger or aggravate neuro-inflammatory conditions such as acne.

In sessions, I guide my clients through a skin-focused meditation, which fosters gratitude, forgiveness, acceptance, and kindness, and includes a simultaneous facial self-message that creates physical connection with the skin.

*You can download a version of this meditation HERE. You’ll need cleansed skin, a comfortable space, and a facial oil in easy reach, then plug in and tune out.

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Giselle La Pompe-Moore offers one-to-one rediscovery: skin sessions that guide you to shift your skin mindset to a path of acceptance and gratitude. Her rediscovery: soul sessions incorporate reiki, tarot, and meditation. Both are held either virtually or in-person in London. She also hosts monthly Mirrorscope skin healing circles

MANIFESTO FOR AN INCLUSIVE WELLNESS INDUSTRY

After discovering that there was nothing “wrong” with her body except conventional health messaging, Jillian Murphy shares her manifesto for a more inclusive wellness industry …

Photo: Samantha Santy

I had put on 40lbs in my second pregnancy and they seemed to have nestled in for good. I was eating well and moving my body religiously but I just couldn’t lose the weight.

Every well-intentioned health care professional I worked and interacted with as a naturopath was happy to offer up advice about what must be wrong with my adrenals, thyroid, hormonal health, sleep patterns, food combining, mindfulness, sugar intake, etc. etc. etc. and I had worked on it ALL. But to no avail, and I was exhausted from the effort.

Frustrated, I hired a body image and emotional eating coach and, after explaining my long and convoluted health and weight story to this new mentor, she told me something I was wholly unprepared to hear:

“There is nothing wrong with you except for your belief that your body is wrong. You are exceptionally healthy: you don’t have a food problem and your body is exactly, happily, where it needs to be.”

It was one of the strangest, most revolutionary things I’d ever heard. It simultaneously crushed and liberated my soul. Crushed, because, OMG! All the lost time I’d spent trying to “fix” my body. Liberated, because I’d finally been given permission to shed the physical expectations of our culture and just live my life.

The mere suggestion that my body weight and shape may not dictate my health nearly blew up my brain. It set into motion a 7-year journey of critical thinking, self-discovery, and research that would ultimately serve to heal my relationship with food and my body and revolutionize my understanding of health.

What I realized was:

Conventional health messaging flattens beautiful, complex, and biodiverse individuals into 2D facsimiles. Squishes us into mathematical equations, diets, and wellness checklists that promise abundant health and complete control over our bodies.

This messaging makes us believe that if our bodies don’t fit, we are at fault – too lazy, not enough willpower, intelligence, or effort. And in our attempts to conform, we offer up our emotional and spiritual wellbeing, our peace of mind, and sometimes our sanity.

Now, we in the wellness industries are being called to dismantle and challenge outdated, oppressive, and limiting beliefs about food, movement, weight, and health. To present a model for inclusive wellness that is respectful of ALL bodies; critical of information that leaves us feeling confused and in lack; and that offers alternatives to restrictive and prescriptive health ideologies that ignore the lived experience and values of the individual.

This is my manifesto for a more inclusive wellness industry ….

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1// Pursue physical health without compromising your mental, emotional, and/or spiritual self.

When we exercise though our body is asking for rest; when we cut carbs or calories despite our body begging for sustenance; when we skip dinner out for fear of not having the “right” food options; when thinking about food and health consumes our every thought – we sacrifice our sense of peace, connection, and joy in the pursuit of physical “health.” The outcome is a feeling of depletion despite doing “everything right.”

The shift: Put physical health back in its place, as one piece of the health puzzle and not the whole picture.

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2// Respect and appreciate the diversity of human bodies. 

All bodies deserve access to quality healthcare and health resources without judgment or shame. Current body type and weight ideals are problematic and unscientific (including the Body Mass Index or BMI). They negatively impact our relationship with food and movement, and encourage the stigmatization of all but a small percentage of bodies deemed “appropriate.”  Those in bigger bodies are judged harshly and mistreated in every sphere of society, from the workplace to medicine.

The shift: We must shed the belief that losing weight is the #1 path to health and wellness and work instead to pursue behaviors that have been proven to have a positive impact on health – whether we lose weight or not – while developing a much broader and inclusive definition of bodies we deem healthy, attractive, and worthy.

Photo: Samantha Santy

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3// Define “health” and “wellness” for yourself. 

These terms are social constructs that differ across communities and cultures. It’s also important to recognize that many people don’t have the privilege of prioritizing wellness, even if they want to. We can own our own investment and interest in health and wellness without projecting it onto others. Imagine how many hours a day/week could you free up if you let go of food, body control, and worry.

The shift: Consider what aspects of health and wellness actually light you up. Can you think of moments when you’ve judged the health and wellness choices of others? Begin to think about how our narrowly drawn ideas about these concepts impact the overall health of our society.

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4// Become the leading expert on YOU.

We have been taught that we must rely on externally devised, highly moralized food plans telling us how much to eat, what to eat, and when to eat. The Now Age way is to turn to models for nourishing ourselves that put us back in touch with our innate ability to regulate food variety and quantity. These models consider the needs of our physical bodies, while also taking the mental, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of food, movement, and health into account.

The shift: Promote eating based on our bodies’ internal cues instead of following fad diets or parroting somebody else’s food rules. (ED: read Jillian’s tips on using body positivity to unlock your intuition).

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5// Cultivate a sense of purpose and worth beyond your physical form.

The exhaustion, digestive issues, inflammatory processes, and body concerns I see in so many of my patients are one part physical, two parts spiritual/emotional. We feel disconnected and the stress of floating through the world unsure of where we belong, what makes us worthy, and what our purpose is shows up as dysfunction in our thought processes and bodies. We then cling to the rituals, routines, and ideologies of wellness and weight that serve as the ultimate distraction.

The shift: Replace diets and health “regimens” with rituals that connect you to the moon, meditation, talk therapy, dance parties, ditching toxic relationships, eating mindfully, speaking up, saying no, walking in nature, swimming in the ocean, lighting a candle, giving back. Anything that reminds us that our worth is inherent, we are more than our bodies, and we are connected to everyone and everything.

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6// Work to change the systems in place that deeply affect the health and wellness of our culture and community.

Socioeconomic status is the leading determinant of health. Accordingly, we must work to shift these issues on a systemic level if we truly care about our health and the health of those around us. There are systems in place that can’t be “love + light”ed away, and we all have a responsibility to pull apart our own oppressive beliefs and work toward amplifying the perspectives of those who experience this system differently.

The shift: Realize that representation matters – if we want to feel normal and acceptable in our various forms, we need to SEE those forms and diverse paths to health. Start with your social media feed by including a wide range of body shapes, sizes, races, abilities, and gender expressions, and enter into those spaces with the intention of listening. As you learn, commit to engaging those who share your social identity in conversations that question your current health and wellness beliefs. Be an active catalyst for change.

BEST OF THE NUMINOUS 2018

This year rocked us to our personal and collective cosmic cores. From sex tarot 101 to the future of masculinity, our Best of the Numinous 2018 charts the course …

Photo: NordWood Themes

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1// Spread ‘Em: Sex Tarot 101: Alessandra Calderin gave us a crash course in casting cards between the sheets …

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2// Healing From Trauma With Psychedelics: Psychiatrist Will Siu, MD, shared insights into a very human way to heal …

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3// How To Work With Your Lilith Sign: Rebecca Farrar’s astrological guide led us back to our unbreakable inner wildness, during a year when we needed it most …

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4// Is Visiting Mexico City’s Sonora Market Spiritual Appropriation?: During a journey of spiritual self-discovery, Danielle Dorsey shared why she decided not to visit the famously witchy landmark …

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5// How Body Positivity Can Unlock Your Intuition: After a lifetime of food issues, Jillian Murphy discovered that living fully in her own skin was the key to her magic …

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6// Work Your Saturn Sign & Feel Solid As A Rock: As Saturn transited its home turf of Capricorn, this astro guide helped us harness our biggest growth opportunities …

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7// Coming Home To My Hoodoo Roots: Growing up British but with her family history in Mauritius, Stephanie Victoire’s journey to reconnect with her Hoodoo roots finally led her home …

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8// Why Radical Dharma Is Your 2018 ‘Must Read’: This incomparable text tapped eradicating systemic racism as THE healing issue of our times …

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9// Holy F*ck: How To Reach EcstasyAlexandra Roxo revealed that experiencing ecstasy is the key to strengthening our channel …

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10// How To Explain Your Spiritual Awakening To Your Religious Family: In a deeply polarizing climate, Fundamentalist turned Now Ager, Kate Forristall, gave us a primer in navigating the spiritual-religious divide …

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11// What Is The Future of Masculinity?: As we grappled with how to dismantle patriarchal oppression, trans man and diversity and inclusion activist, Aaron Rose, shared his vision for the future of masculinity …

SEX DRIVE: A JOURNEY TO THE CLITORIS OF AMERICA

In an excerpt from her new book, Sex Drive: On the Road to a Pleasure Revolution, which chronicles her cross country search for a lost libido, Stephanie Theobald embarks on an “ecosexual” nature walk led by porn star-turned-performance artist Annie Sprinkle

Photo: Jan Phoenix

Annie Sprinkle christened San Francisco’s Bernal Park hill “the clitoris of America.” Researching my new book, Sex Drive, I knew I had to visit for myself, and so Sprinkle and I met in a local diner for breakfast. After demonstrating her ability to have an “energy orgasm” on the spot (think Meg Ryan’s infamous turn in When Harry Met Sally, but for real), she promised to take me on a Bernal Park “ecosexual” nature walk, where she would show me how to do it too …

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An X-rated nature walk 
By this time, I’m quite keen to get up onto the Clitoris of America and try it all out myself. So off we set on a climb up the hill to Bernal Park and an X-rated nature walk begins. It’s not X-rated because Annie’s going to take her clothes off. The plants are going to be doing much filthier things. “Look at that,” she says, stopping in front of a cherry tree in full bloom. “Flowers are tree genitals. Basically, you’re looking at porn.”

We walk on until the siren call of another tree brings Annie to a halt. “Look at this trunk, it’s like a big penis. Isn’t it beautiful?

Hockey pitch nature walks with Miss Corbett at the convent were never like this. Annie says that I need to find my “E-Spot,” her ecosexy take on G-Spot. (She’s great at coming up with new words). I’m drawn to an exuberant hibiscus flower. “Oh yeah!” she says approvingly in her raunchy porn voice. “Hibiscus stamens!”

I wonder if David Attenborough shows ever give her that Deep Throat feeling. We approach the hibiscus and she says, “You can smell it casually. Or you can imagine this plant is a lover and it wants to give you a gift.”

She smells her new lover, pulls off one of its genitals and sticks it on her third eye. She sticks one on me too. None of this strikes me as stupid or odd. Cornwall isn’t a million miles away from California in terms of country weirdness. My eco or “E-Spot” as she calls it, kicks into action as I notice that a tree we’re passing looks a bit droopy.

“Don’t you think this tree looks a bit sad?” I say.

“It is a little heavy, isn’t it?” she nods.

She knows immediately what to do. “You just need a hug,” she tells the tree enfolding it in a bosomy embrace.  “Oh, love you.” I participate in the love-in, realizing only afterwards that I have just hugged a tree in California. This is the sort of thing that people make fun of back at home, but American Stephanie doesn’t care. Annie looks wistfully at the tree then mumbles something about, “I may be projecting…” She slaps the tree’s butt. “You’ll be OK,” she cracks. “Hang on in there.”

It’s fun going on a nature walk with an ex-porn star. She’s not great on the names of flora and fauna, but she does things like saying hi to her favorite Eucalyptus tree. She plucks a leaf, thrusts it under my nose and chuckles, “Sniff that pantie!”

The sap must be rising from the ecosexy nature walk because I soon have a sort of sexual panic attack. I start gabbling about how I want to check out some seedy places in San Francisco and how I really want to get laid and, “you know that feeling when you want to have sex and you’re not having sex and…”

“Stay in the moment,” she puffs as we carry on up the steep road. They’re magic words and I immediately calm down. I think back to my interview with Barbara Carrellas back in New York a month ago. I arrived too early for the interview and the prospect of writing a book about masturbation suddenly overwhelmed me. What the hell was I thinking of?! I wasn’t even sure what I meant! So I just experimented with letting go: dropping into my body, unsticking from the world so that for a few moments I was just snow and boots and crunch. When I came ‘back’ a few seconds later, it felt like a shot of a week of the best sleep ever.

The author heads into the wild …

And then suddenly Annie announces that we’ve reached “the urethral sponge” i.e. we’re in Bernal Park but not quite on the clit. My main feeling is that the Clitoris of America has had a bit of a bikini wax. Its green pubic hair is a bit patchy. There’s a lot of uncovered soil. Maybe the dog walkers nobbled it. There are a lot of them. Annie says it’s the drought. It’s been a serious problem in San Francisco. Annie has actually married the main culprit along with a group of ecosexy friends.

“If you think about it, right now the sun is penetrating your pores,” she says in her incantatory broad-from-the-1950s voice. “They’re fucking your whole body.”

When I ask her how she knew the sun wanted to get married, she says, “We can only assume that things respond well to love and appreciation. Like, if you cruise a bunch of girls or guys, you’ll get the message who’s available.”

She and Beth have also married the mountains, the snow, coal and the ocean. I try and impress her by saying, “My favourite drugs are sugar and the sun.” She enthuses, “Oh, I love sugar too,” but adds that she has to lose weight for the filming of her and Beth’s upcoming ecosexy tour. “Saying it’s OK to be fat, it’s the one thing about feminism I don’t agree with.”

By now we’re sitting on the very top of the park, a bumpy grassy area that slopes down with massive views over the city on every side. Looking at the view, it suddenly strikes her that, “Maybe the earth is the clitoris of the universe.” She laughs. “Betty would say, ‘Oh that’s bullshit!’” She tells me that we’ll do the energy orgasm right here.

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Meditation + masturbation
She describes the technique as similar to something she used to call “medabation,” meaning a combination of masturbation and meditation. But mainly, she says, it’s like learning tennis because, “It’s a technique and at first it’s confusing and you’re like, ‘Woah! How do I hit it and how hard?’” She confides that it took her three years to learn how to do it properly.

I realize that this “energy orgasm” is her take on the heart wank that Barbara Carrellas told me about back in New York. Annie explains that the idea came about when she and Carrellas were investigating more spiritual ideas about orgasm during the AIDS years. “All of us had lovers who got HIV, so we had to figure out how to have safe sex.” They adapted the breath technique from a method taught by a Native American called Harley Swiftdeer. He calls it “Firebreath Orgasm,” but Annie doesn’t “because I didn’t take the very expensive training that initiates you.”

And so my tennis lesson begins. She starts by telling me to, “Say, ‘Yes’ to erotic energy. You have to allow it because it’s there just for the asking.” She points to the tree in the near distance and says that the ideal would be to, “Start feeling sexy and then direct your energy to the tree and see what happens.” She tells me to do some kegels (clenching of the vagina as if you want to stop a stream of pee) and undulating movements of the pelvis. “That’ll stoke the furnace.” After that comes the most important thing of all: the breath.

“You’re really sucking the inhale and relaxing the exhale.” She advises to make noises because that helps shift energy in the body. “The idea is to bring in energy through the feet and end up shooting it out of the top of the head. Fake it til you make it,” she quips in what she tells me is jargon from the porn world.

Annie Sprinkle on the path to “the clitoris of America”

It’s a great lesson. It reminds me of the Transformational Breathing technique I tried out in my hippie journalism phase with the British teacher Alan Dolan. Basically you breathe quickly in and out, taking in more than usual amounts of oxygen until a wave of euphoria hits you.

And then there I am, lying on a hillside in San Francisco as the woman once dubbed “The Golden Girl of Porn” makes sounds ranging from deep Witches’ Sabbath to mid-range horny-bitch-on-heat to high-pitched damsel-in-distress to glass-shattering Kate Bush on the moors. “Wooo! Woo!”

Listening to the tape afterwards, I do sound a bit stuck in Witches’ Sabbath mode. Clearly I need to work on moving my energy up to more damsel-in-distress mode. Meanwhile, I am in the ludicrous position of lying with my feet towards the top of the hill and my head towards the bottom because I want to face the sun. But something is definitely happening. I get to the state where I forget to worry about what the dog walkers must be thinking of us.

I have a flash of some of the boring-looking dog walkers I’ve seen in Presidio Heights. I want to unzip them and show them some love. Tell them it’s OK. Occasionally I get distracted by the fact that I’m not feeling anything remotely like an orgasm although Annie is now sobbing. Wailing almost. We get in breathing synch. I try and keep up with her her “Ah! Ah!”s until finally she makes a prolonged, “Oh yeeeeeeah!” presumably when the energy passes out of the top of her head.

I open my eyes and the sky is indeed bluer. There is also dog shit on the bottom of my right boot. I think I won’t say this to Annie. She’s clearly having a moment.

“When I masturbate like this, I feel the pain of the world, I really do. The Boko Haram, The Charlie Hebdo shootings. The animals, everything.  I become a channel sometimes. I just need to release the pain. It’s like truly connecting. It sounds really strange.”

“No, it doesn’t sound strange …” She’s right that the concept of words becomes shaky after this kind of tennis. I struggle to speak.

“We can’t really experience pleasure on a really grand scale unless we can feel the suffering and the blocks and the disconnect somehow.”

Watching Annie with tears streaming down her face, it strikes me that this is what a modern-day nun looks like. Sending an orgasm to promote peace in Nigeria and Paris isn’t that weird. Christians and Buddhists send off distilled thoughts known as “prayers” to try and alleviate world suffering every day. Yet the kind of energy generated during orgasm is jet fuel compared to the economy petrol that comes from a morning at mass.

Stephanie Theobald’s Sex Drive: On The Road To A Pleasure Revolution is out now. Join Stephanie in LA for the launch party on December 7th from 6-9pm at The Pikey 7617 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and check out mysexdrive.org  for more details. **And discover more about Annie Sprinkle’s SexEcology HERE!

HOLY F*CK: A DARK MOON PRACTICE TO LIBERATE YOUR SPIRITUAL ESSENCE

Stuck under layers of conditioning and aching to break free? Alexandra Roxo shares 5 ways to liberate your spiritual essence …

Photo: Caitlin Mitchell

I’ve been doing stripteases since I was 12. In 1996, in Marietta, Georgia, my friends and I dressed in Victoria’s Secret matching leopard-print bra and panties sets, and knew all the moves to Elizabeth Berkley’s routines from Showgirls.

But the striptease I wanna share with you here is FAR sexier. FAR juicier. FAR edgier. It’s one that will have your heart racing. Your panties wet. Your knees trembling.

Because it’s time for us to bring it back to basics and get spiritually NAKED. We live in “apart”ments. We stare at screens most of the day. The way we eat, shit, talk, walk, dress are all programmed for us by the dominant schema that we are born into. A return to our spiritual essence is a deep call for each of us. One that could possibly change the course of history. Of Mother Nature’s well-being. Our grandchildren’s lives. The health of the ocean. The future of fashion magazines. Of culture. Of REALITY as we perceive it.

This means peeling away, layer by layer, of all the baggage we have inherited. The stories. The conditioning. The things that weigh on us everyday. Stripping this away and getting down to our spiritual essence is part of our individual and collective awakening.

You began taking on your family’s shit in utero. Your mom’s anxiety. Depression. Her busyness. The way her heart sank when your dad didn’t come home til late or just flipped the TV on after work. The pain at seeing her old body slip away. The abuse she endured perhaps. Or her mom’s or her grandma’s. From the moment you were the size of a pea in the womb you began to be clothed in layers. Your spiritual essence began to be shrouded.

When popped out you inherited a specific culture. The pressure to look a certain way, talk a certain way,  dress a certain way. Coats and veils of other people’s ideas and customs and ways of being.

As a teen, this led you to feel confused about your body. Why did it not look the way it was supposed to? People were mean at school. Boys touched you. You weren’t allowed to be gay or queer. So you put on some more layers. You hid yourself. You were too weird. Too much. Too sexy. Too fat. If people didn’t notice you they couldn’t hurt you.

Perhaps there were traumas. Date rape. An eating disorder. Abandonment. Neglect. Health issues. Things that forced you deeper into hiding. Further masked your wild, loving, utterly unique spiritual essence.

And now here you are today—wearing enough layers to survive an antarctic freeze of the soul! True healing? The ultimate liberation? Learning how to peel them back, one by one, until you are bare. Naked. Vulnerable and WHOLE.

Below are my tried and true tips for freeing yourself from those layers and living in alignment with your spiritual essence …

Photo: Ed Herrera

1// Learn to feel your feelings. You may think “Well of course I know how to do that!” But we all have days where we think we’re feeling but are actually THINKING, which prevents us knowing our soul’s truth. To learn to FEEL more, breathe into your belly all day. Stay soft. Pull your car over to cry when you need to. Start sentences with “I feel …” instead of “I think …”  and before you make a decision FEEL into it with all your being. Soon you will start to feel more of YOU.

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2// Begin to hunt for your true essence. Look for it in books, works of art, libraries, operas, films, museums, national parks, oceans, fields, and albums. As you do these things, BREATHE into your heart and FEEL. Did that book make me wanna jump for joy? Scream? Did it feel like a wildfire broke out in your veins? Then THIS my dear that is a KEY to your TRUTH and your ESSENCE! Keep it close.

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3// Speak up when something hurts or doesn’t feel right. This may seem obvious, but it’s the microhurts that betray our soul’s essence. If someone cuts you off in line for the bathroom than say “Excuse me. I’m in line.” If you’re in a class and the teacher says something inappropriate, stand up and say, “Excuse me. That didn’t feel appropriate to me.” This demand for integrity will tell your soul you are SERIOUS about your devotion to yourself. You’ll notice how often these little things happen. You think “Oh whatever. No biggie.” This puts you into complacency and is literally like an ice pack for your JUICY fire. Once you stop you doing it, you’ll begin to feel a POWER beyond words emerge from you.

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4// Dare to pave a new way. Notice how many times a day you do and say things because that’s what others do. Now try something new. If all the other wellness people on Instagram are taking photos with white backgrounds and green plants but it feels more “you” to do it in a vintage car on a deserted highway, then why not? Notice where you follow the status quo out of habit. When you feel afraid to shake it up, look to people who have not followed; Frida. Anais. Albert Einstein. There is a huge payoff for taking a risk that’s aligned with your truth.

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5// Surround yourself with Souls who are unafraid to bare their love and truth to the world. You are who surrounds you. Your community should feel like Butter Love, Fire Love, Honey Love, warm tea, firecrackers in your Soul. When you leave hangouts notice: Do you feel more YOU? More alive? More loved? If not, find the community that does make you feel this way.

**Bonus: Take this a step further with an actual striptease class or simply strip in the mirror with your sexy self. As you remove layers of clothes, imagine that you are removing “Mom’s catholic shame,” “my fear of being too big” or “society’s gender impositions” so that you’re stripping on all levels at once—multitasking your way into your Soul’s Grand Reveal to humanity.  

 

Alexandra offers one-on-one transformational coaching programs globally online, and in NYC and LA. She also is the co-founder of Moon Club where she guides group coaching, leadership training, and mystical moon school.  Find her @alexandraroxo and alexandraroxo.com

QUEER HERO: 7 WAYS TO HEAL FROM SEXUAL TRAUMA

In the wake of Jupiter’s transit through Scorpio, sexual trauma has been brought to light over and over again. In his latest “Queer Hero” column, survivor and healer Danny Brave shares 7 ways to process the deep pain and move from #Metoo to I AM … Photos by Tal Shpantzer 

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

The #MeToo movement exploded onto social media on October 15th 2017, only four days after Scorpio’s transit into Jupiter (the sign of intimacy, sex, secrets, and power). The hashtag was created by Tarana Burke, the black woman whose brilliant activism started the movement all the way back in 2006. Her decade of advocacy reached mainstream awareness when Alyssa Milano tweeted #metoo in response to accusations of sexual assault & misconduct in Hollywood.

Whether or not we wanted to deal with it, molestation, rape, and sexual trauma was being brought to light over and over and over again. Some of us felt ready for this darkness to reveal itself so dramatically and intensely, while others of us felt ill-prepared for all of the undigested emotions and traumas that these women were bringing to the forefront of our consciousness.

With Jupiter still retrograding through Scorpio, and April marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month (S.A.A.M.), I have been reflecting on all that has transpired since the initiation of this powerful planetary movement … 

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Widening the sexual trauma narrative
The stories of who is sexually assaulting who are as varied as the number of people on earth. I know white cis gender men who have been assaulted by cis white women, and I have met men who were molested by their mothers as boys. Sexual violation has been perpetrated by gay men to other gay men, by queer POC to other queer POC, by fathers to girls who come out later in life as non-binary or trans men, by white people to black people and vice versa.

The list of race, gender, sexuality, body type, and age variable narratives continues, as is reflected by the statistics:

– 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime
– Of trans people of color: American Indian (65%), multiracial (59%), Middle Eastern (58%), and Black (53%) have experienced sexual assault
– American Indians are twice as likely to experience rape/sexual assault compared to all races
– 1 in 3 women experience sexual assault
– 1 in 10 men experience sexual assault
– 44% of lesbians experience rape
– 61% bisexual women experience rape
– 26% of gay men experience rape
– 37% of bisexual men experience rape

*Statistics are for the United States only, from the U.S. Trans Survey in 2015RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), and the National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey). 

And the effects are staggering. From persistent and debilitating anxiety and/or depression, to the shutdown of one’s sexuality, and a sense of complete worthlessness and suicidal thinking, the wake of this abuse’s devastation goes on and on.

For the sake of everyone’s healing, we must not confine this widespread epidemic to old stereotypes and the rigidity of the gender binary.

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

7 ways to heal your sexual trauma …
To provide some solutions, below is a love letter—a list of tools, rituals and advice that have helped me and my clients reclaim our lives, sexuality, and bodies in the aftermath of sexual trauma …

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1//Make art. Whatever your creative medium, express it! You don’t have to show what you create to anyone at all (unless you want to!), you don’t have to be good at it, and you don’t have to spend much money (writing, for example, costs about $3 for a cheap notebook and pen). The purpose is just to get the energy moving.

Creativity is governed by the sacral chakra, located in the pelvis, genitals, and lower back, and connected to sexual energy. When you are being creative, you are helping to unearth, clear, uplift, and release some of the stagnant or painful energy that got planted there during moments of abuse.

If you are struggling with depression in particular, making art makes you active again. It puts the ball back in your court and helps you remember that life can be beautiful, and that it is okay to feel. Become the transmuter of your own pain through your creativity and I promise you catharsis will be there, and that this will eventually (if not immediately) lead to feeling better.

*Recommended:  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

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2//Tell someone who makes you feel safe and who you know will believe you. One of my mentors taught me that the lips of the labia and the lips of the mouth have the same nerve endings—they are connected. What this means is that sexual trauma silences us; it makes us somehow incapable of voicing our truth, standing up for ourselves, and asking for our needs (emotional or otherwise) to be met.

Telling our deep dark truths to someone we can trust can be one of the most healing experiences. Here’s a loose structure to get you started:

1 – Contact the person you are going to meet and ask them, in your own words, if they will meet with you in person so that you can vent and get something really difficult off your chest.

2 – Tell them exactly what you need from them afterwards. Is it a quick hug? To be held for a while? To say “I’m sorry that happened to you,” to say “thank you for telling me your story”? It can feel weird to make such a clear and specific requests, but people aren’t mind-readers, and our abuse stories are so intense that we often require a very specific type of support to feel just that: supported.

3 – Tell them your story and provide as many details as possible. I am talking about the date and time, who did it, the location of the abuse on your body, how you felt—the whole thing. If it makes it easier, you can write this out all out in advance. Notice the resistance to doing this and try to push through and speak your truth anyway.

4 – Set up something really lovely to do for yourself afterwards—something that makes you feel comforted, brings you back to the present moment, or brings you joy. Do you love to go see movies? To plant a garden? To paint? To go for a joy drive and blast music? After unleashing your powerful truth, make sure you engage with this activity for as long as it takes to get you back to the present moment.

*Recommended: Vagina by Naomi Wolf

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

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3//Realize that what happened to you is NOT your fault. Something that tends to get built into the experience of sexual abuse is that we, on some level, caused or created it.

The mind of a child is more straightforward than the mind of an adult, and it does not understand that bad things that happen are not caused by them. If the abuse is being perpetrated by an adult to a child, the child knows that the parent is the one feeding and clothing them and therefore will do any and all mental gymnastics to repress, imagine, or self-blame the abuse away by taking on and in all of the pain and blame.

If you were an adult when the abuse happened to you, it’s still easy to think: “If I hadn’t been drunk, if I had been wearing something different …” If we are spiritually-inclined, we might even torture ourselves with spirituality and the law of attraction, asking ourselves ridiculous things such as: “Why did I create this experience? Maybe I wasn’t thinking positively enough … I wonder why I attracted this abuse?”

Why do we try to make something as awful as this our fault? The truth is simple: it is easier to blame ourselves and engage in self-hatred then it is to deal with the fact that what happened was not in our control and not our fault whatsoever. Doing this also prevents us from having to deal with the emotional reality of holding someone else accountable for their actions.

Hating ourselves or trying to make ourselves responsible for something we clearly didn’t cause or do is an incredibly effective defense mechanism to either defend the memory of our parents because we want to maintain a relationship with them, and/or to avoid holding the perpetrator fully accountable for the painful emotions associated.

It is because of this that I cannot stress enough: what happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault.

It wasn’t.

And coming to terms with this is an all-too-necessary step that needs to happen before forgiveness and letting go (after all, if we don’t hold someone accountable to begin with, then what is there even to forgive?)

*Recommended: Repressed Memories by Renee FredricksonQueering Sexual Violence by Jennifer Patterson; Stacyann Chin’s powerful speech: Not my fault; Diana Oh’s incredible feminist art/activist installation My Lingerie Play (Especially Installation 3/10: “Even If You Found Me Like This”).

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4//Perform a releasing ritual. Ritual is a powerful way that we can find closure and healing for experiences and situations that seem impossible to ever gain closure from. By doing something physical, ritual provides a concrete moment that serves as a bridge for us to walk over and into the next phase of our lives.

Here are a couple of suggestions for releasing rituals that I have found to be incredibly powerful in healing my own sexual trauma:

1 – Write a letterto the person who did it (and don’t send it). I know, it’s intense. The thing is … if you have not done something like this already, it is likely that the thoughts and feelings you would communicate directly to this person are rolling around in your head and your body, anyway, and without an outlet.

What we are looking for here is catharsis and closure. It is not meant to be sent to the person, and that being said, it does not have to be respectful or kind in any way. Get it aaaaalllll out. And then, safely destroy it! Rip it up, or light it on fire. Afterwards, make sure you set yourself up with some really lovely after-care: a relaxing walk alone or with a friend, a gentle movie that makes you feel comforted, etc.

2 – Go somewhere in nature. Preferably a body of water (and especially the ocean). Take a stroll to find either a seashell or rock, and place it in your hand. With the object in your hand, charge it up with all of the feelings and experiences of the abuse, and all of the things that have happened as a result of it.

Take a moment to really feel all of that energy and pain moving through and out of your body and into the shell or rock. Then, THROW IT IN THE OCEAN! Boom: it’s done, it’s over. Give yourself some time to sit and have a leisurely walk or maybe even journal after you release this- again, with everything involving your recovery, taking the time for gentle after-care is important.

*Recommended: She Let Go by Rev. Safire Rose (adjust pronouns accordingly, brave ones!)

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5//Adjust your sexual expression accordingly. While it may not be the case for everyone, it has been my own, and many of my clients’ experiences that sexual abuse tends to create a polarity of subsequent sexual expression: either way too much, or way too little (basically non-existent).

This is not an invitation to judge yourself, rather to become self aware of your sexuality and sexual patterns from a place of unconditional love. Remember, the extremity is not your fault (re-visit bullet point #3 if you’re beating yourself up).

*For my way too much-ers: Take a vow of celibacy for 3 months (it’s ok: you can still masturbate). During this time, when you do masturbate, take a few breaths and ask to connect to God/Spirit/the Universe (whichever term you prefer) through your sexual energy (and prepare to be blown away!!)

Make a list of 10 other ways to feel loved, outside of engaging in sexual activity with another person, and commit to exploring one of them each week during your temporary celibacy.

*For my non-existent/way too little-ers: Make it a non-negotiable commitment to exploring your sexual nature and opening up to sexual experiences on a bi-weekly basis, working up to sharing yourself with a consenting partner, if it feels right.

Also, dance. Yes, DANCE. Take dance classes that bring the energy down into the lower chakras: African dance, hip hop, pole dancing, etc. Get out of your comfort zone!

*Recommended: Why Mother Nature is the Ultimate Goddess of Love by Tirzah Shiya

Photo of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

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6//Invest in healing that is holistic and takes your body into account. We know that the conscious mind governs only 10-20% of the totality of our consciousness. Traditional psychotherapy is typically working with the 10-20% of the conscious mind to try to get to the 80-90% that’s less conscious. Unsurprisingly, I prefer methods that go straight to the 80-90%: reiki, shamanic healing, and meditation. You might also try sound healing, hypnotherapy, tapping, somatic experience, or any other mind-body practice you feel drawn to.

The site that is typically inflicted with a sexual trauma wound for women, trans men, and those assigned-female-at-birth is the vagina, or “yoni.” Mystics and shamans know this place to be the gateway to the universe, and the key to creation of life itself—not only human life as in childbirth, but also the creation of all things, such as personal dreams and manifestations.

In my personal shamanic healing practice, I use a tool called a shamanic extraction, which uses the intelligence of crystals to safely extract pain, fear, and any other energy intrusions that were inflicted on the individual’s yoni during the time of abuse out, followed by the channeling of reiki healing energy into the area. This allows the individual to have agency over their yoni, one of the deepest and most powerful tools for us to create our lives from this place- a place of health, clarity, and integrity.

Another incredibly effective tool I use is shamanic cord cutting, which is a powerful ritual in which we take the cord of energy that is usually still subconsciously or unconsciously connecting the client to their abuser via a vibration of pain, and we release it, and follow up by channeling reiki or healing energy into the area for deep healing.

*Recommended:  My one-on-one healing workMoon Mysteries by Nao Sims & Nikiah Seeds & Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend

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7//Connect with community. The patriarchy thrives off of separation. Pain and darkness prevail when we are in isolation. This is not normal or natural, and we need matriarchy now—a matriarchy that is for all genders, races, body types, and ages.

It is imperative that in your healing journey, you find some sort of community to join where you feel safe enough to be seen. It can be a shamanic community, a monthly women’s circle, AA, a hiking club—there are tons of things to do and join in this world, both in-person and online.

Don’t do this alone. You can’t do it alone. Other people need you and you need them, and that’s okay. My hope is that we start to live in a world where our emotional needs are no longer judged as being “needy.” We all need each other, and we all heal each other. So let’s do that.

*Recommended:  If you’re located in NYC, sign up for my upcoming 6-week transformational community group HERE; also check out the Red Tent MovementMoon Club, and Meetup.com

HOW BODY POSITIVITY CAN UNLOCK YOUR INTUITION

After a lifetime of food issues, Jillian Murphy discovered that living fully in her own skin was the key to her magic. She shares how body positivity can unlock your intuition …

Photo of Jillian by Wild Little Hearts Photography

“Before you can hear, much less follow, the voice of your soul, you have to win back your body.” – Meggan Watterson

I remember the day I first abandoned my body. 

I was 8 years old and visiting the mysterious temple my mother escaped to every evening when my dad got home from work—she called this evasive place of worship “the gym.” It was a Saturday open house and I was an immediate convert. The place was magical – dusty rose carpet, slick chrome and mirrors, George Michael pumping through the speakers, and LYCRA. So much lycra! (It was the 80s, k?)

I could tell right away that this was the place for me—a space of transformation, potential, and movie-worthy —this was a place where life happened. I grabbed a pop and a hotdog and then I naively hopped up on the scale where they were weighing everyone. And that’s where “It” got me.

As I scarfed my lunch, the two staff members in charge of weighing me began sniggering. Whispering about something clearly “adding 5 pounds” while looking at my body.

I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on but I knew the joke was on me. And I knew it was bad. Bad enough to remember but never ever talk about, until 25 years later, when I finally started to heal my relationship with food and with my own shape and size.

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Coming face to face with “it” … 
“It” is not that creepy clown from the Stephen King movie you’re picturing. No, no, the “It” I speak of is much worse—its name is diet culture and it spews a thin-is-best, fatphobic, classist, able-ist, racist, gender-biased rhetoric where the gold standard of beauty, body, and more recently “wellness,” is blatantly clear, objectively unhealthy, and unavailable to most.

Beyond the gym, there were many other moments when “It” got me, some that obvious, highlighted in Technicolor and frozen in time—a mental photo album created to prove my lack—while others were so subtle I internalized them without realizing, recognizing the damage only in hindsight.

From health messaging at school and dieting advice from teen magazines, to negative looks from boys and the admiration of “beautiful” girls in front of me, the signs were everywhere.  

Once, I remember hearing an older male cousin condescendingly laugh about the shape of a specific woman – stating that “to be attractive to men your shoulders needed to be at least “X”cm wider than your waist. Though I thought it harsh, I internalized the comment as though it were about me. In a diet culture with rigid beauty ideals, no woman is left unscathed.

Everywhere, the message I absorbed was: you are not good enough. More specifically: your body is not good enough.  

Even more specifically: your body is not good enough and, as a female, it’s your personal responsibility to take charge of your weight and beauty and behavior and do what it takes until you fit the ideal lest you remain unworthy forever. Also, hot sticks of processed meat are un-ladylike.

Photo of Jillian by Wild Little Hearts Photography

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Your intuition lives in your flesh …
It might look like a criticism, a comment, a side-eye (sometimes much worse), and it makes you gasp, the foul gas of “you’re not good enough” filling your lungs and seeping into your tissues. From that day on, the myth of diet culture is no longer just a story around you, it is a story about you.

You disconnect. You abandon your physical self. You override your female knowing that your curvy, lumpy, bumpy body is beautiful and normal and you do your best to crush the voice that says “I’m hungry” or “carbs would be nice” because that voice is clearly an idiot that doesn’t know bikini season is coming up.

The result? Food issues, yes. But diet culture doesn’t just destroy our relationship with food and distort our body image—it separates us from the most powerful ally we have—our inner knowing.  

Your intuition lives in your flesh and speaks to you through your body. She is nourished by pleasure, abundance, approval, and desire.

When she has been dampened and starved into submission, you are left living a storyline that keeps you doubtful, unsteady, competitive, and unsure. An ideal that keeps you distracted from your most important work in the world and suggests your worth is up for debate.

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Amplify the whisper …
When we discourage (read: flat out ignore) the whisper of biological feedback that tells us we need more calories or carbs or a day of rest—we simultaneously diminish the whisper that helps us discern and decide in all areas of our lives.

These whispers are one in the same. Learning to hear and trust the signals from our very intelligent, self-regulating, female appetites is a super-powered short cut, reconnecting us to our broader inner knowing. It amplifies the whisper.

I lost so much time sacrificing my wellbeing and connection to self in the pursuit of worthiness via weight loss and superficial beauty. I made bad decisions. I was distracted. I lost time. I learned slowly that, in order to write a new storyline for myself, I would need the power of my intuition and that the first step in rebuilding a connection with my soul voice was winning back my body.

Photo of Jillian & family by Wild Little Hearts Photography

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Here’s how to start amplifying the whisper and winning back your own body …

1// Give up the pursuit of weight-loss. The pursuit of weight loss is THE thing that disconnects us and keep us looking outside of ourselves for shoddy solutions. Weight-loss attempts fail over 90% of the time, long-term, and the collateral damage is your relationship with food and your connection to your inner knowing. Start by pretending that you aren’t in control of your weight (because you really aren’t) and that your only goal is to feel vibrant and energetic and joyful in your body.

2// Counter the deprivation narrative. Tuning into our hunger and reliably feeding our bodies is the first step in repairing the collateral damage of deprivation and moving towards a more intuitive relationship with food.

Start the process of consistent nourishment by connecting with your hunger signals. See if you can rate your hunger on a scale of 0-10 (0 = not hungry at all, 10 = “hungry,” low blood sugar, shaky). Can you notice the subtle differences between a 4 and a 7, or do you regularly swing from overstuffed to starving?

3//Discover your delicious. The basics when it comes to nutrition and movement have been well understood and unchanging for generations – move your body regularly, get fresh air, drink water, eat lots of plants and unprocessed foods – not too little, not too much, and honor your mental/emotional need for pleasurable, celebratory foods.

Now, from this magical place—without all the rigid rules, “shoulds”, and fears—what do you feel like eating? How do you feel like eating it? How do you want to move your body and for how long?

*Note: There is a good chance you have NO IDEA. Start by asking the questions and experimenting. Follow your curiosity and see how it goes—maybe you hate plain raw carrots but you love them roasted or with dip (Hot tip: DIP IS DELICIOUS). Allow yourself to try new things and neutrally observe how your body feels.

4// Fully live with the beautiful bod you’ve got. When your physical appearance stops representing your entire worth and is, instead, just a fun outward expression of your personality, the game changes. Start living the life you aspire to have when you are in the perfect body and watch the shift!

Make a list of all the activities you are waiting to do when you lose the weight, get more toned, have your nose fixed, are more perfect, etc. Make the list as exhaustive as possible. Next step? Start doing all of those things IMMEDIATELY. Wear the red lipstick, rock the shorts, eat the gelato, show your navel, go on the date, try the tap class, climb a mountain, go back to school. Do it all!

Dr. Jillian Murphy is a registered, licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. She has dedicated the past 8 years to studying intuitive eating and body image, and works with diverse, smart, health-conscious, women who are DONE WITH DIETING, and looking to get out of their heads and re-connect with their bodies. Follow her on Instagram, listen for more wisdom on her Podcast, and join The Food Freedom/Body Love Collective, her monthly membership space that provides you with the tools, strategies, support, and community you need to live healthfully in the body you are IN! 

HOLY F*CK: LIVING FROM THE SEAT OF YOUR SEXUAL POWER

How can embracing your deepest sexy unleash your creative force? In her latest column, Alexandra Roxo shows us that diving into our full sexual power is the key to world domination …

Owning my sexual and creative power, and letting it inform my life and creativity and work, has been revolutionary and radical …  despite how much society had told me I’m too loud or too sexual or too freaky or kinky or messy or whatever.

Here are a few of my tried and true techniques for owning your sexual power, your guts, your voice, and your gifts to the world … 

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FIRST: A little visualization for your viewing pleasure … 

Imagine you are a house. Perhaps 5 stories high. Castlelike. Grand. Tall. Well crafted. And each floor and each room is decorated beautifully. Lamps and lights and candles. Beautiful art. Cultivated space. But the first floor, the foundation, is dark, full of cobwebs. Closets locked. Perhaps a corner here and there with a little light that is only turned on “sometimes”—on a special occasion …

Now imagine this floor is your sexual energy. Your life force. Your creative power that is waiting to be stirred deep inside you.

Does it only get stirred in a bed in the dark? Between sheets? With your partner? Or a vibrator? What if you ran through that first floor, saged it out, turned on all the lights, decorated it—made it come to life?

We live in a world of compartmentalization. We shit in another room with a locked door. We carry our money in locked safes and little wallets held close to our bodies. We have sex in a bed in the dark.

When I was younger, my menstrual cycle was WAY off. After some soul searching, I realized that it was most off during the times that I was suppressing my power. Now, if my cycle is late, I look at how I’ve been holding back and “keeping it together?” How can I EMBODY my power, my vision, and my voice more boldly?

Sexual power IS creative power! And it does not work when controlled or locked away. In fact, this is hurting many of us. Disrupting our menstrual flows. Our skin. Causing diseases. Depression … the list goes on.

How might your life change if your sexual energy was present in every moment, every business deal, every Pilates class? Here’s how to awaken your deep sexy and use it to power your mission … 

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STEP 1// DEFINE YOUR “DEEP SEXY” 
Sexual energy does NOT have to be defined or encapsulated in the “sexy” of black lingerie. Or being coy, Or performing “sexy.” Or having skinny thighs. Or whispering fantasies at dinner. I LOVE all that but that is JUST one layer.

Deep Sexy to ME is sexual energy as POWER. Holding the key to all creation between your legs. The womb being an infinite pool of ideas and visions of growth. Orgasms healing the world.

A portal to the Divine that you are I are both gifted with.

We begin breaking the compartmentalization of sex as penetration, locked doors, and quiet moments in the dark, by practicing turning it on. No need to stroke a clit. No need to stick it in. Just breathe into that flow. give it space, connect to its depths.

This can be literally visualizing sexual energy as a certain color running through your body. Or connecting it to a scent. Or a song. Find a VISCERAL and SENSORIAL “IN,” and go with it.

That is what lights up the house. Increases financial flow. Health. Radiance. Love. Business growth. The whole house is illuminated.

OKAY NOW YOU GO! Write your own list. What is sexy to YOU?

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STEP 2// BELLY BREATH VS. CHEST BREATH
This is how you start to see and FEEL your sexuality. Meditate into your pelvis, your guts. Give your whole lower body as much importance as you do your mind, remembering every day about the portal to source energy that lives in there.

This can be practiced through dancing in your undies. Doing deep belly breathing at home in the mirror or with a book on your stomach while watching TV. Or picking points in your day by putting an alert in your cal that says “Am I breathing into my GUTS? My deep BELLY?”

And notice if you’re sucking it in. Let your belly hang out as much as possible, even though it may feel kinda weird! Breathe it open with deep belly breaths instead of shallow chest ones.

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STEP 3// WHAT IF YOUR BRILLIANT IDEAS CAME ALL THE WAY FROM DOWN BELOW? 
Ask yourself “Did I just make this business decision from my mind? My heart? My womb? My balls?”

Regardless of your genitalia or gender identification, let your ideas brew from your depths, the roots, the intimate parts of you. Not the surface layers of your mind.

One way to check if you are truly dropping into your sexual power and living from THERE instead of the mind is to see how much you can FEEL in the moment you are making that decision. Can you feel your clit? Your cervix? Your kundalini vibes? Your balls? Your anus? (Not by literal touching, just the vibes and energy!)

And if you’re not feeling it, THAT’S OK! Try using a Chakrub, doing some PC muscle clenching, or literally start talking to your body and trying to put into words what that part of you is feeling today.

It may sound LOL, but unless you can really identify what your root is feeling, you definitely can’t find your gut intuition or make decisions from there.

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STEP 4// GET MESSY AND WILD  
Look to the most genius creator for wisdom—MOTHER NATURE! She is wild! Messy! Disgusting! Ravenous! Beautiful! Sensual! Vicious! 

Messy for me can mean taking a day to hike, laying in a field, walking barefoot, wearing no makeup, peeing outside.

But what does it mean to you? This may mean vision boarding on the floor of bedroom and making a mad genius mess of old magazines. It may mean a week you play with letting your hair be wild and free. Or only wearing long flowy dresses.

Write down 5 things that feel “messy,” aka “outside the box,” to you. One day a week take a “IMA B MESSY AND NOT GIVE A FUCK” practice. So. Fun.

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STEP 5// MAKE CONTAINERS FOR YOUR FLOW TO FLOW IN!
As you unlock your flow, don’t be afraid to have structures. A set time to meditate. Time to stare into space. Time to journal. To masturbate. Time to roll around on the floor sobbing.

Because when you start to open that flow of energy stored in your pelvis you will feel A LOT. The power can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid. Stay close to friends. Nurture yourself. And most of all … HAVE FUN!

We are deep in the collective process of healing through hundreds of years of collective trauma towards women, towards sexuality, towards, well, A LOT. We will not stay quiet, hating ourselves, being ashamed of being sexual, powerful beings. Let’s do this. TOGETHER.

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In Moon Club, our online mentoring program and growth accelerator for your Spirit and Business, you can get help finding your power and voice, and sharing it with the world.  Join our “New Moon Ritual Intentions Setting Journey” on April 15th with something to let go of! Last month people were loving it so much that we heard it was “orgasmic” and “completely life changing.” Attend your first New Moon Ritual for FREE by emailing [email protected]. We would love to have you!

SPREAD ‘EM: SEX TAROT 101

Looking to add some spice to your divination practice? Alessandra Calderin gives us a crash course in Sex Tarot 101, and uncovers how you can start casting cards between the sheets …

Art: Serpentfire Tarot

The Tarot is a mirror and a tool that reflects archetypal imagery that spans the spirals of the human experience. It allows us to connect to ourselves (and our Selves) because we intuitively understand these images. Sexuality is as primal and instinctual in us as the need to eat, sleep and breathe, and so the cards can reflect the ways in which our power, intuition, and connection manifest through our sexuality.

So WTF is a “sex tarot” reading?? There are so many ways to draw cards and create spreads to explore sex and desire! Here are 4 ways to get started …

Art: She Wolfe Tarot

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1// Pull a “desire” spread. Pull cards asking what your subconscious desires are, what might be blocking them, and how to work through that block. The possibilities are endless!

Start with a simple 6 card spread:

Card 1: What is my heart’s desire?
Card 2: What is blocking me from fulfilling it?
Card 3: What is my deeper unconscious desire?
Card 4: What is preventing me from seeing this?
Card 5: How can I balance and integrate these desires?
Card 6: What can I shed to make space for their fulfillment?

Art: She Wolfe Tarot

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2// Do a sacral chakra reading. Explore the seat of your sexuality by diving into the 4 “sides” of this chakra. The more you look at the pelvis and your desire as linked to your creativity, the more you start feeling how they ebb and flow together, and the more tools you have to work through both.

Card 1: Front of the sacral chakra. How does your sexuality appear to others? What is your exhibition style?
Card 2: Right side. How do you manifest sexuality and creativity in the world?
Card 3: Back. What experience of your sexuality do you hold onto?
Card 4: Left side. How do you receive creative inspiration, the desire of others, and pleasure?

Art: Serpentfire Tarot

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3// Masturbate with the Majors. You can also use Tarot for masturbation and sex magic practices by meditating on the archetypes of the Major Arcana or court cards.

Choose whatever cards are ruled by planets or signs that show up strongly in your birth chart, where the Moon is hanging out, what astro season we’re in, or just pull a Major and start working with it at random. You might even choose one you have trouble with (like when I pulled Justice- I was bummed by how unsexy that card might be on the surface, but there was powerful medicine in that feeling and the resulting meditation!)

Most recently, for the Super Blue Blood Moon in Leo on 1/31 during Aquarius season, I meditated on Strength (because Leo rules it) and The Star (because Aquarius rules). I let those two figures guide me as I touched, explored, played with my hands and my favorite toy (Njoy Pure Wand). As I was getting ready to orgasm, these two images reassured me that my sexuality and desire were a gift, and sacred sources of feminine power.

Art: She Wolfe Tarot

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4// And channel the deck’s sexiest cards to unlock pure magic! I could probably make an argument for the sexual energy of every card, but this is a good place to start. Explore how you feel about these cards and the kind of pleasure they channel, or isolate the pack and draw one as your teacher of the moment.

*She/He pronouns refer to the archetypal genders of masculine and feminine energy. These figures are figuratively gendered, but anatomically genderless.

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:: Strength :: In the Thoth, Strength is actually called Lust. Some interpretations say it’s the taming of desire, but I would say it’s more like mastery over desire. Taming connotes that there is too much desire and you need to control it. In this context, I see her as the master of her desire in a world that denies her that power. Your desire becomes sacred fuel the moment you master it.

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:: The Empress :: The Empress is receptive. She is how I learned to receive pleasure without having to think about reciprocating in that moment. She allows herself to be fully nourished, filled to the brim with love, pleasure, and affection, but she also rides and caresses like a goddess. She bestows the gift of her mouth upon you and it’s like drinking an unearthly elixir with her kisses and nibbles and expertly executed oral.

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:: The Emperor :: The Emperor might be a surprise for this, but as the Empress’s counterpart, he allows her to unleash. He’s like a very good Dom, providing the container for every expression of kink you might wish to explore safely. You want to be tied up, spanked, penetrated in out of the ordinary ways? He reads your body language, pushes the edges, and knows your limits before you even need to utter a safe word. The master of boundaries, he’s here to teach you how to consent so enthusiastically you forget what ambiguity feels like.

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:: The Moon :: The Moon represents the wild woman running naked in the woods and howling at the Moon- the deep waters of sexuality and mystery. She is a shapeshifter. A wolf. A mountain lion. She visits you in the dead of night and brings your to orgasm in the dream realm, and when you wake up the memory is hazy but you know something powerful has been touched inside you. She breathes underwater and is as mysterious as the bottom of the sea. You know her without words.

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:: The Devil :: The Devil can sometimes deal with a repression of desire, and to me has always had a BDSM vibe to it. I think this one depends on your relationship to that kind of imagery and sexual practice, but as a Capricorn (The Devil is ruled by Capricorn), and a big fan of power play, The Devil can sometimes be a freeing card. Reclaiming the divinity and balance of the shadow, of words like slut, whore, bitch, freak, breaks the chains that bind us to our own fear and repression. It’s a balancing act. The Devil reminds us that there are more layers and sides to it.

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:: The Lovers :: The Lovers feels like an obvious one because you have to love all the sides of yourself like a lover before you can love anyone else. Getting there is anything but obvious or easy, though. Use a mirror. Look at yourself. This is the real shit. The deep work. It takes a lot of unraveling and excavation to be able to love your body and yourself just as you are. Your best Lover will look back at you eventually.

Art: She Wolfe Tarot

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:: Queen of Pentacles :: Queen of Pentacles is the master of the home and body. An independent woman, she knows what she likes and moves through the material world with the grace of an angelic ballerina. Queen of Wands is known to be the most sexual queen in the deck, but Queen of Pentacles knows pleasure like no one else. Part earth angel, part water nymph, she creates the primordial mud that those Dead Sea masks get their magic from.

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:: Knight of Cups :: Knight of Cups will go down on you first without being asked. Inviting this kind of energy into your bedroom, the person who will massage and caress you slowly, who dreams of drinking you like you’re water in the desert, is clutch in truly sinking into pleasure. Find you a man (or woman or non-binary) who can give it to you good.

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:: Page of Wands :: Page of Wands is bursting with potential energy, often creative and sexual. She’s ready and willing to try new toys and discover what she likes. She’s the teen who just discovered her clitoris and hasn’t been told there is something wrong with the amazing feeling that swims through her body when she touches it. She just got her period and is ready to finger paint with her blood. She will make out behind the bleachers and let herself love completely. She writes love songs and sings them without the slightest bit of embarrassment.

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:: Ace of Cups :: Ace of Cups is a pure gift of water, love, communication, and intuition. I often see it as an invitation to masturbate with more loving intention. To swim in your waters and to practice accepting the water gifts from elsewhere.

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:: 10 of Cups :: 10 of Cups is a literal orgasm. It could be something that feels as good as an orgasm, a self pleasure practice that’s out of this world, or a partner that takes you to the places of rainforest waterfalls and fireworks.

Alessandra is an intuitive healing facilitator, tarot practitioner, yoga teacher, writer, poet, comedienne and performer based in New York. She will be teaching her Tarot Immersive later this month and currently teaches yoga at Three Jewels, focusing her attention on energetic sensitivity and the pelvic floor. Explore her offerings at Boneseed, and follow her on Instagram.

WHAT CAN GODDESS APHRODITE TEACH YOU ABOUT LOVE?

As Pisces season brings on the deep emo vibes, George Lizos tells us how the Goddess Aphrodite can help us start calling in the flavor of love we need right now …

Photo: Joanna Nix

Meeting Aphrodite … 
Growing up in Cyprus, the island where Aphrodite was reputedly born, my childhood was saturated with the art, stories, and myths surrounding the Goddess of Love. Everywhere you looked she was there, posing in her seductive nakedness in statues and paintings.

As an adult, dissatisfied with my love life and drained of feminine energy, I travelled back to my homeland with a single desire in mind: I wanted to know love more deeply, more fully. 

I drove to Aphrodite’s Rock, the beach where, according to Hesiod’s myth, the Goddess was born of the sea foam and washed upon the shore. And as I walked into the calm, cool water of the Mediterranean Sea, I felt layers upon layers of sexual shame, limiting beliefs around love, past hurts and resentments, all washing off of my body.

Right then and there, I met Aphrodite. And love finally made sense, for the first time.

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What can the Goddess Aphrodite teach you right now? 
Embodying Aphrodite invites us to accept and honor romantic love in all its meanings and layers. The four ancient epithets she’s been given mix the sea (sensual love), land (erotic love), and sky (spiritual love) energies. Read on to discover which of the four qualities of Goddess Aphrodite is currently missing from your life … 

Photo: Zara Walker

1// Ourania (Sky element; Spiritual love): This is the spiritual, romantic essence of love, that’s best experienced when a couple is “in love” with each other. The experience of falling in love transcends the ego’s perception of love, helping us realize that in spiritual truth, that all is love. Call upon Ourania Aphrodite if you’re having trouble committing to, or falling in love with, a partner.

*How to Call Her In: Mentally place a pink rose within your heart. Visualize the rose blooming slowly and radiating pink light, allowing the energy of Ourania Aphrodite to replace any blocks you have around being vulnerable and opening your heart.

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2// Chrusee (Sea element; Sensual love): This is the love towards oneself that’s fundamental for healthy romantic relationships. It also includes the act of adorning your body with beautiful clothes, jewelry, oils, and perfume. Call upon Chrusee Aphrodite if you’re struggling with low self-esteem, lack of self-love, and body confidence.

*How to Call Her In: An unorthodox yet powerful way to embody Chrusee Aphrodite is by taking away all external body adornment props (i.e. jewelry, clothes, perfume), and facing yourself naked in the mirror. Closing your eyes, visualize your body emanating a bright golden light that reflects its inner, perfect beauty. Open your eyes and accept this new perspective as your truth.

Photo: Hal Gatewood

3// Peitho (Land element; Persuasive Love): Playfulness, flirting, teasing, and being able to seduce a partner into meaningful romantic and sexual experiences. Call upon Peitho Aphrodite to attract vitality if your love life is feeling dull and stagnant.

*How to Call Her In: Buy or create a blend of rose, frankincense and myrrh essential oils. Add three drops in your palms, rub them together, and then use your hands to clear and energize your aura. These three oils were traditionally used for seduction by Aphrodite’s priestesses; instilling your aura with them will give you the inspiration you need to spice up your love life.

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4// Philommeides (Land element; Erotic love): The love of bodily pleasures and intimate sexual connection between lovers. Call upon Philommeides Aphrodite if you have a low sexual drive, have trouble enjoying sex, or lack sexual chemistry with your partner/s.

*How to Call Her In: Just as the name suggests, to embody Philommeides Aphrodite you need to learn to love and accept your genitalia. Spend time observing, exploring, and pleasuring yourself. Educate yourself in your own sexual rhythms, needs, and desires. Make peace with them, accept them without judgment, and let them guide the way in your sexual encounters.

Photo: Michael Paz

Once you’ve channeled your personal Aphrodite, amp up the vibes with a beach ritual to honor romantic love in all its expressions. **And you can download the Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite HERE to infuse your ritual with even more magic!

-Sit or stand on the shoreline, at the point where the waves crash on the sand, and close your eyes. If you don’t have access to the sea, just visualize yourself there and you’ll still benefit from the meditation.

-Breathing in and out, ground yourself and allow your body to adjust to the fluid energy of this in-between place. Reflect on what it means to be at the meeting point of sea, land, and sky, which captures Aphrodite’s multi-layered essence.

-Either mentally or verbally say, “I am Aphrodite,” over and over again. The ‘I am’ statement invites the essence of Aphrodite into your present moment.

-When you establish a connection with the goddess, spend some time reflecting on your willingness to honor both earthly and heavenly love. Do you reject one or the other? Do you feel guilty about either? Are you willing to accept both in your life?

-With eyes closed, open your arms wide and receive the Aphrodite qualities you need in your life right now. As the hymn ends, hug the energy into your heart by gradually bringing your arms and hands to your chest.

-End the meditation by thanking Aphrodite for her continued presence in your life, and ask her to keep guiding you in embodying romantic love to its fullness.

George Lizos is a spiritual teacher, author of Be The Guru, and the creator of the Mermaid Bootcamp. He works with the angelic and elemental realms helping lightworkers find, follow, and fulfill their life purpose. To learn more about George visit georgelizos.com, and follow him on Instagram.

WHY FEBRUARY IS THE MOST FEMINIST MONTH

It’s time to upgrade your normative notions of Valentine’s Day date nights. Lucy North tells us why why February is the most feminist month … Art: Naro Pinosa 

Art: Naro Pinosa

It may still feel cold outside—but Spring is coming! And this precious period of in-between is actually a key time of year to tap into the Divine Feminine through the ancient practice of co-creating with Gaia, the seasons, and nature.

While many of us have sold ourselves to the Monday-Friday lifestyle, the origins of these days actually connect us to Divine Feminine energy. After all, Monday is actually “Moonday” and Friday is dedicated to the Goddess Freyja. The Divine Feminine is both the beginning and the end, and a reminder of our power to break free and make time be whatever we want.

In response to the seven-day week of patriarchal DOING, here are seven reasons to reclaim February as the most powerfully feminist month …

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1// V.Day Actually Celebrates Your Erotic Sovereignty 
Before it was renamed by the Roman Catholic Church, Valentine’s Day was originally known as “Freyja’s Day.” Freyja was the Pagan Goddess not of romantic, but of erotic love, and on February 14th women would hand out cards to as many men as they desired.

Transcending the gender stereotypes of today, women were seen not only the gateway to new life, they were considered at one with the desire, love, and sexual energy that runs through nature. Reclaiming this celebration of women as desire itself (rather than objects), realigns us with our ability to create anything we want.

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2// 28 Days Means Lunar Power
Before being scrapped by the Church, the year adhered to the Goddess calendar—meaning there were 13 months and not 12, which reflected the 28 day cycle of both the Moon and womb.

Being only 28 days long, February is the only month of the year that still respects the Goddess calendar, and honors how the seasons and year really flow. This month, treat your womb like a second heart (whether or not you have a literal or metaphorical space there). Listen … what does it want to birth?

Art: Naro Pinosa

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3// Imbolc Challenges the Madonna-Whore Complex
The pagan calendar marks February 1st as Imbolc—an important step towards March’s Spring Equinox. This is the time to release some of our 9-to-5 programming in favor of a kind of “land feminism” that lets us co-create with the upcoming Equinox’s tantric energy.

The Celtic Triple Goddess Brigid, synonymous with this day, is the Queen of the Underworld, the Mother of all beings, and the Mistress of the Elements. Whether it’s the sacred prostitute, the Divine Mother or the snake in the garden of Eden, the Divine Feminine holds and honors it all. Think of February as a time to break free from the pain of having to be “one type of woman”—and to exchange archetypal constraints for a wildish knowing.

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4// Pisces Season Wants You to Wombifest  
As the Sun enters the final zodiac sign of Pisces on February 19th, right before the birth of the new astrological year, it’s time to create a nourishing, protective womb that will enable you to tap into the oceanic source of all life.

This means retreating from the “busy-ness” of everyday life, and setting some boundaries to re-connect with your soul. Just like a mother that needs to retreat for the last month of pregnancy, create a safe space for you as Divine Mother to meditate, breathe, make love, self pleasure, journal, paint, sing, do yoga, and eat well. Rest in the womb and let your Divine Child emerge!

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5// Saturn in Capricorn Spells Sacred Union Time 
2018’s sees the Goddess month of February with Saturn in the sign of Capricorn, spelling out the start of something huge for the Divine Feminine. Capricorn is technically a “yin,” or feminine sign, but it’s also cardinal, with a mountain-building, masculine energy that asks us to blend action and intuitive knowing.

The Divine Masculine can only come THROUGH the Divine Feminine. It will only come through an open heart and the womb of collective feeling—and, yes, as with any birth, through pain. Women and those who embrace the Divine Feminine have been socially okay’ed to feel more of this, so we must lead the way. This integration asks us to do what we love by taking action, and watch the fear fly away.

Art: Naro Pinosa

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6// The Aquarius New Moon Catapults Us Into Fairy Territory
When people are told they’re “away with the fairies,” it’s almost a derogatory comment. We say it’s time to celebrate our visits with the fairy realm!

With a New Moon in Aquarius on February 15th, it’s time for the Divine Feminine to swoop high, dream big—and to astro travel our dreams into the 3rd dimension. This New Moon also ends the longest complete lunar month of 2018 (the last New Moon was on January 16th, giving us 29 days, 18 hours, and 48 minutes). Mama Moon is giving you extra time to push on through, with a clear focus on new beginnings.

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7// Mama’s Wide Open During Eclipse Season
With January 31st’s Super-Blue-Blood Lunar Eclipse bonanza, and the upcoming Solar Eclipse on February 15th, the first two weeks of Feb see us in the middle of two incredibly catalytic aspects. It’s like the universe has its legs wide open in breach position providing a gateway though which we can birth projects, artistic endeavors, networks, and relationships that reflect our divine purpose.

Goddesses: F is for February, F is for Fertility, F is for the future. Reclaiming feminist February means pretty much get it on with the universe!

Lucy North is a writer, healer, and artist. She will be running a Goddess Healing Circle in honor of Freyja this Tuesday, February 13th, at The Alchemist’s Kitchen in New York. Click HERE to reserve your spot. She will also be holding an “I’m Every Woman” Goddess Circle at RA MA New York on Sunday, 25th February. Find out more and reserve your space HERE

HOW TO MAKE A BEAUTY VISION BOARD

Aquarius Season is the perfect time for radicalizing our routine and reimagining reality. Start manifesting the magic with a beauty vision board, says Eunice Lucero. 

Photo: Our Satellite Hearts

Everyone from Olympic athletes to Wiccan high priestesses has acknowledged the power of visualization for manifesting your heart’s desires. What we constantly pay attention to gets charged with energy, and we align with that energy, for better or worse.

Harnessing this energy for our beauty manifestation can be particularly potent—just watch as your visions materialize before your very eyes!

Being of mixed heritage, I had a touch-and-go relationship with my looks as a child. I always felt my “halves” were the wrong kind of each, and like a puzzle walking around with pieces that didn’t fit right. My skin wasn’t “Asian enough”, my nose wasn’t “white enough”, my abnormally light green eyes reminding my Catholic schoolgirl classmates of “the lizards on the street.”

It wasn’t until I saw pictures of Kate Moss’ first Calvin Klein campaigns in the ’90s—gawky and lost, with her trademark bird-like street urchin quality, quirky nose and stringy hair—that I really felt it was okay to not look like the rest of the world.

As I began plastering all my notebooks in cutouts of Obsession and cK one ads, my outlook started to change. My face—my strange, strange features—now suddenly made sense! And eventually, I became a beauty editor, hired on the spot after a detailed email on how makeup should enhance your quirks and not mask them.

Think of your beauty vision board as a constant reminder of your life map—your soul’s North Star. Look for photos of women you identify with, and ask yourself why you admire them. Chances are there’s something in them that reminds yourself of your own beauty, your own potential. Let’s get started … 

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1// Clear your photographic space.
 Alongside other forms of detox, visual clearing is key to manifestation. Light up your incense of choice, and still your mind as best you can. Then, start deleting any images of yourself that aren’t aligned with how you want to feel, and empty the Trash Bin immediately. For actual photos, thank them and keep them for posterity in storage. Get rid of any photos that are particularly painful, hurtful or traumatic, and dispose of them outside your home.

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2// Free-fall towards your vision
Take a pen and paper, and begin writing as fast as you can about anything that pops into your mind about your beauty visions. Stop as soon as you’ve filled the entire page—and be surprised at what jumps out at you.

I started one of my free-fall sessions with an emo entry about how my eyeglasses kept people from seeing my true self (hello, 15-year-old angst!), and then ended up rambling about how, in fact, I wanted to be free to see the beauty in the world without any hindrances. Quite a change in perspective, right?

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3// Tap into the tingle
Speak in present tense, internalizing the feeling of already having or being what you desire. I personally love the phrase “I adore myself”—it sparks images of the Star Tarot card, a.k.a. the card of self-care (and ruler of Aquarius), as I instantly get flashes of being immersed in a divine spa session of some sort.

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4// Collect in white heat. 
Applied to your journaling—“write in white heat; revise in cold blood”—means any form of self-censorship or judgment is not allowed, especially in the beginning. Same goes for vision-boarding.

Whether you’re going digital (Pinterest, Instagram) or old school (magazines, newspaper clippings) doesn’t matter; choose the media that speaks to you most clearly and let yourself get lost in that judgement-free zone!

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5// Curate in cold blood. 
Now that you have a good pile, or have mentally and emotionally exhausted your intuition in the gathering process (in a good way), you’re ready to edit and map these images out.

Take a look at your images and see if there’s an underlying theme, color or concept. You can title them after certain events or occasions but even more powerful is to give them a state of mind. One I’m absolutely loving right now? “Why I’m a 2018 Beauty Icon.”

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6// Display it!
Make sure you see your vision board at least thrice a day. Make it your iPhone wallpaper, display it on top of your work desk, tape it on the inside of your closet or gym locker. Infusing it with daily energy helps strengthen your alignment to these goals, and puts you deeper in sync with your personal road map. You can also prop it up on an altar and surround it with manifestation crystals (clear quartz, rose quartz, carnelian) for an added energy boost.

Finally, thanking your board when you first see it in the morning will realign your neurons into a gratitude mindset, opening you up to a constant flow of positive energy. 

8 REASONS WHY YOUR PERIOD IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

In the face of enormous political and social challenges to our bodies and souls, the time for period pride is right now, says Cora founder Molly Hayward. Here’s why your period is a feminist issue and how to harness the power of this change-making cycle … Main Image: Zoe Buckman 

Now, more than ever, the claim to our bodies in all their messy, beautiful, real complexity is imperative.

From debates over period product ads in the subway system, to parts of the world where girls are exiled from school due to lack of sanitary supplies, our monthly life-giving cycles are in the news. Which means the time for period pride is now.

And as we reclaim the Numinous parts of the menstrual experience (consider the sky-high rise of Moon circles and Moon magic), our generation is reigniting the conversation about what our periods mean, how they can bring us together, and why we must harness their full power.

To understand the potency and potential of this change-making cycle, we sat down with founder of organic tampon subscription service Cora, Molly Hayward. Her mission? To charge the experience of womanhood with respect and reverence for our periods. “We see a world where women can live fully-embodied,” says Molly. “Your period is an essential part of human life.”

Want to reclaim your period as a feminist issue? Read on for 8 reasons why bleeding is beautifully badass …

It’s in our blood.

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1// Because moon power burns as brightly as solar power.
In a relentlessly solar-powered world with an emphasis on egocentric, “yang” action and force, the yin cycles of the Moon provide a subtle counterpoint that teaches us to value our internal processes, and our alignment with the natural world that surround us. “Our cycles are a practice in the wisdom of life/death/life,” says Hayward. “Women experience this truth every month in their bodies.”

This kind of wisdom allows us to understand how endings fuel unexpected beginnings, and how we are powerful participants in something much greater than ourselves. “[Through my cycle], I began to see myself, and all women, as the bearers of the wisdom that everything in life has a cycle,” notes Hayward. “Ideas, institutions, plants, animals, and humans, all have to die to allow for the birth of new ones. This is powerful wisdom for our society today.”

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2// Because badass boss ladies bleed.
As we tune in to these rhythms that often fly in the face of the ceaseless cult of cutthroat corporatism, we can change the way work gets done from the inside out.

When we repress our cycles and “skip” periods (using birth control pills, for example) because we believe must “keep up” with the pace of masculine career achievement or avoid discomfort in some situation (during sex, on vacation), we are voting yes to a work environment and world which thrives on gender inequality and denies our internally-facing wisdom. Periods of retreat from “go” mode can actually inform and fuel our creative process in the world.

When we bring our full bodies to the boardroom table, we can change the way that work gets done.  

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3// Because period exile is an education issue.
The statistics are startling. 300 million girls and women worldwide use rags, plastic, sand, and ash to manage their menstrual cycles. 1 in 4 girls in India drops out of school once she reaches puberty. “While I was traveling in Africa,” says Hayward, “I met girls who would stay home from school during their periods because they couldn’t afford period products and then learned that millions of girls around the world stay home from school during their periods because they don’t have a way to manage them.”

With a 90% decrease in dropout rates worldwide when girls have access to sanitary products, it’s imperative that we support girls and women worldwide to bleed with dignity, safety, and adequate supplies.

Art: Lina Scheynius via Cora’s Instagram

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4// Because healthy bodies bleed.
Whether it’s deliberately augmenting or suppressing our cycles so we don’t have to deal with the “mess,” or obliterating our cycles entirely as the result of compromised eating habits or over-exercise, our bleeding bodies are barometers for our overall health.

“In addition to the way periods of have been negatively perceived, there are so many other aspects of women’s bodies that are shamed and stigmatized,” says Hayward. “Our mission is to bring women and society to a place of understanding, acceptance, and respect for the awesome power of our bodies.”

And as we commit to celebrating our healthy bodies, we also begin to question the harmful synthetics and chemicals that enter them through conventional sanitary products. “I hated the idea that so many women were unknowingly exposing themselves to these potentially harmful substances for several days every single month for decades of their lives,” Hayward comments.

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5// Because period sex should not be taboo.
As we move through our monthly rhythm, we have the delicious chance to connect with all aspects of our desire and nature. Each of us responds to the distinctive phases of our cycles with different moods, cravings, and sexual needs.

We deserve to feel sexual pleasure when, where, and with whom (consensually of course) we damn well please. Each month, our periods are gateways to a shifting, sensual landscape. Get curious about exactly when you’re most turned on and claim this pleasure, no matter the time of the month. Partners who love you, should love your body in its entirety.

Art: Romily Alice Walden via Cora’s Instagram

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6// Because periods are a rite of passage.
Periods connect us to a magical, matrilineal line. They are part of both our ancestral histories, and the history of our own lives. Remember when you had your first period? Maybe you felt shame or confusion. Maybe no one was around to help you make sense of this powerful rite of passage.

Puberty, maturity, aging, the mystery and magic of both fertility and menopause … as we pass through the seasons of our lives as women, we have every right to bow down at the altar of our beautiful bodies during their complex cycles of change.

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7// Because there’s no shame in getting messy.
Ever been told that you’re “too much?” That your emotions take up too much space. That you’re unruly. That you’ve gone overboard. Our periods are part of our carnal bigness, and shame around their messiness keeps us from inhabiting our fullest range of emotions and potential.

“Periods are a natural biological fact of womanhood,” affirms Hayward. “Access to safe and healthy menstrual products is a matter of human dignity, in addition to being critical to girls’ and women’s ability to stay well, attend school, and participate in the formal economy. These things are in turn tied to our equal standing in society- not to mention being basic human rights.”

Quite simply, periods connect us to our humanness. And we deserve to be fully human.

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8// Because there’s strength in synchronicity.
More than just a college co-ed curiosity, there’s scientific proof that when we assemble in close community, we often sync up our cycles. And while each one of us can tap into the particularities of our own rhythm and our wisdom, there is powerful medicine in communal cycling. As we share the experience of being in our bodies, we share the stories of how these bodies move through the world– our overlapping wants, needs, fears, and aspirations.

Women who bleed together can change the world together.

Cora founder Molly Hayward

We produced this post in partnership with Cora, a monthly subscription service for premium organic cotton tampons with BPA-free applicators that honor our bodies, while providing performance and convenience. For every subscription purchased, Cora also provides a month’s supply of sustainable pads to a girl in need in a developing country so she can stay in school during her period.

7 WAYS TO HAVE AN (ACTUAL) MAGIC WORKOUT

Fitness becomes truly powerful when we also get our spiritual sweat on. Former NFL cheerleader turned conscious trainer Kayla Vernaglia shares her top tricks for how to have a magic workout …

Let’s get real. It seems like everywhere we look these days there’s an ad to get “beach body” ready or “slim down for summer.” It’s no wonder we’re all running for our tarot decks and tubs of vegan matcha ice cream … 

There certainly isn’t anything wrong with honoring your bod, taking a sexy ass photo, and flaunting what your momma gave ya! But beyond the physical vessel fitness is a FEELING, and that’s where the magic lies and the change happens. When meeting our physical wellness goals is challenging, it’s often because there’s a mental, spiritual, or emotional weight behind it.

Which might sound like some heavy sh*t if it’s hard enough to find time to go for a run or get your down dog on.

Below are some of my pro tips for getting your spiritually conscious sweat on, and bringing an extra layer to your magic workout … 

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:: 1/CREATE A WORKOUT ALTAR :: 
Clear the space and really set the intention! This is especially great for in-home workouts. If you’re using a mat, find sacred items that hold meaning to you and place them at the head or foot. Perhaps you line the mat with spell-infused candles or a freshly pulled tarot spread. Maybe you incorporate the four elements in some way.

Don’t have a mat to create the traditional vibe? Alternatives could include anything from practicing on a patch of grass or dirt in your backyard that calls to you, using your own body as a moving altar (with your outfit choices, for example), or mapping a route on your walk/run, starting North, and then hitting the other three magical directions.

You can make it as non-traditional or traditional as you’d like—it’s your space to connect to. Work with what you’ve got and if the intention is pure, you”ll always be able to harness the magic.

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:: 2/PRACTICE MIND CONTROL :: 
The mind is powerful AF. Truly, every choice we make, from the foods we eat to the words we say, start in the mind. If you are mid sweat and can’t stop thinking about how much you hate your thighs, well they’re probably not gonna respond with loving you back, sister. Flip the script and write a little love note to those puppies: “I love and appreciate my thighs for holding me up and keeping me strong.” Ah, doesn’t that just feel better?

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:: 3/LOVE UP ON YOURSELF :: 
Stay in your own lane and let go of comparisons. Whether you’re an avid fitness goer or a complete novice, you are right where you should be in your journey. Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t. Be kind to yourself, and give yourself some love for showing up and granting your soul the beautiful opportunity to move energy and connect to the core.

Words count for sure, but there are so many other magical ways to tell yourself yor’re worthy. Perhaps you put on your sauciest pair of skivvies and walk around all day like you’re carrying a sexy little secret, or wear sensual fabrics and colors that make you feel desirable. When was the last time you sent yourself flowers? Do it up and love yourself up cause you deserve it baby!

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:: 4/CHECK IN WITH YOUR “EARTH SUIT”:: 
We are different day to day, moment to moment—what might feel okay for you now might be different later. Have you ever had those days where you just feel sluggish or sad? Or maybe you feel really jazzed and inspired? Listen to those feelings and follow suit, literally. If something does not feel accessible for you, then modify or take that sacred pause. Modifying does not mean you’re doing less than, it means you’re honoring your body.

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:: 5/GET DIRTY :: 
Get outside and do your workout barefoot! There is something incredibly magical about placing your feet into the earth and really grounding into her energy. Whether it’s by the ocean, in a garden, or beyond, taking our sweat sesh outside is a wonderful way to remind us that we are connected to something greater. With that sense of security, it may just allow you to reach new sweat levels you never dreamed possible.

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:: 6/SWEAT WITH THE MOON :: 
Allow your workouts to follow the moon cycle. If the moon is waning, perhaps you go for a long run to help sweat out the toxins and release. If it’s waxing, you might work on strength building exercises such as lifting free weights to help connect to the idea of adding power to your life. If it’s summer and your workout lands around a Strawberry Full Moon, you may focus more on pelvic floor exercises for sexual liberation. Perhaps, it’s closer to the colder months, such as a Snow Moon, and you shift your focus to gentle stretching to enhance relaxation and yoke mind with body.

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:: 7/BREAK OUT THE TUTU :: 
Like for real … HAVE FUN! Working out doesn’t have to be a horrible experience. It might even be *GASP* enjoyable! If someone farts in yoga class, we’re all still gonna make it people. As adults, sometimes it’s like we need permission to play. Add the element of fun whenever you can—maybe mid gym sesh you pretend the floor is lava, or wear a tutu to yoga class. Get creative and release that little kid who just wants to experience the world through light and laughter.

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And always remember: you are a strong ass warrior queen. A Wonder Woman. Next time you lace up your sneakers or slip into your leotard (do people still wear those—please say yes!), harness the power of thought, try a few magic tricks, and allow self-love to transform you from the inside out. Now go get ’em (cue Rocky theme music)!

Kayla Vernaglia has always allowed her love of music, fashion, performance, and fun to infiltrate her active lifestyle. She is a former team captain and NFL cheerleader for The New England Patriots. In 2010, she teamed up with her sister to create The Mind Body Barre Method® – a multi-level workout emphasizing body awareness, functional fitness, and spiritual connection. ​Her mentorship program lovingly displays her passion for helping people embrace their inner wild, connect to their core, and push past societal bullshit to uncover their own deep sacred truths. She currently resides in Boston with her 10lb fur baby, Lucy.