7 WAYS TO TAKE A SPIRITUAL STAYCATION

Think you have to join an ashram or book a flight to Bali to get elevated this summer? Just step out your apartment door and start your spiritual staycation … Main Image: Darby Society 

How do you want to feel this summer? Kick-start your summertime spiritual journey this Memorial Day weekend with a local choose-your-own adventure that’s perfect for Gemini Season’s curious explorations …

***Want the perfect on-the-go guide to cultivating the 7 intentions below? We’ve teamed up with Jessica Caplan & Ally Bogard of SoundMind to offer Numi readers a special $11 discount on their digital meditation series with Code: numinous. 

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:: GROUND ::

Play: Find creative inspo at your local corner store.
Who says you have to journey into nature with a capital “N” to conjure earthy vibes? Meditate on the origins of all the luscious provisions in a local shop. Think about the rich dirt that the ingredients came from, the changing weather conditions the plants experienced, and the trip they took to arrive all the way here.

Taste: Host an impromptu afternoon picnic in a local park using only the shop’s ingredients or other farm-to-table delights.

Style: Earth Goddess Chic. Locally-crafted threads, flowy maxi skirts, strappy sandals, bangles, and undone locks.

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:: MANIFEST ::

Play: Let the streets become your tarot deck.
Pay attention. As you travel through your day, notice left behind objects and pieces of so-called “trash.” Let the tiny things you’ve found become tools of divination. Treat them like a tarot deck. What do they reveal about your life right now? How can you use them as intention-setting totems for what you’d like to manifest?

Taste: Bento boxes, tapas platters, buffets, fortune cookies.

Style: Modern Mystic. Body-con jumpsuits punctuated by pops of crystals, gems, and feathers.

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:: LET GO ::

Play: Travel to a neighborhood you’ve never even heard of and get totally lost.
Shut your phone off and leave the maps at home. Ride the train to the end of the line or wait at an unfamiliar bus stop and hop on the first one that arrives. Get out whenever you’re pulled towards a place name. Experiment with walking more slowly than you normally would through the streets. Smell the air. Is it different from your home turf? Get completely lost. Trust that you’ll find your way back home when it’s time.

Taste: Speak to a stranger and ask for directions to their favorite snack spot.

Style: Urban Nomad. Delirious mixes of prints and patterns, caftans, and colorful combat boots.

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:: APPRECIATE ::

Play: Do something unabashedly touristy
Suspend your ideas about “good taste” and your identity as an insider. Wait in line for a show that everyone wants to see. Snap pics at the most Insta-worthy spots. Hop on a tour bus or ferry. Get unapologetically joyous as you innocently open yourself to the experience, however corny it may seem.

Taste: Crowded, famous, family-style spots with your city’s classic dishes.

Style: Sporty Spice. High-tops, sparkly backpacks, primary palettes, and logo tees.

:: ACCEPT ::

Play: Descend into a crowded street.
Step directly into the fray and let yourself be swallowed up. Get jostled and brushed. Feel it all. Annoyance. Rage. And then … a delicious sense of your own status as a tiny speck in a dazzling whole. Notice a shade of lipstick or a colored fabric that makes someone’s eyes sparkle. Crowd surf on the crush of humanity. Let the street corner become an ocean tide as you’re lifted and carried. Accept whichever direction it takes you.

Taste: Street cart eats. Savor whatever flavors come your way without thinking twice.

Style: Beach Beauty. Raffia, halter tops, and neutral palettes perfect for drifting.

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:: FOCUS ::

Play: Look out from a vista point. 
Ascend to the top of a high-rise or trek to a viewing point, and gaze upon the kingdom. Focus in on a singular structure far down below. Think of the effort it took to build it, its history, and the people who are inside right now. And then, look beyond the structure and past the borders of your city. Imagine everything that exists beyond the edges, and your own future possibilities.

Taste: Ceremonial epicurean delights. Get fancy with foodie insider spots and a full-on feast fit for a queen.

Style: Off-duty Boss Lady. High-waisted jeans, button-down silk blouses, killer heels, and gold accents.

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:: SLEEP ::

Play: Meditate on the distant sounds of traffic.
Tuck back into your apartment at the end of the day and release completely into the white noise of the city. Bathe in the sounds of life going on without you. Let the distant shouts and rush of traffic reveal a buzzing city’s heartbeat that lives without you needing to make any effort. Let the feeling of having nothing to prove carry you to sleep.

Taste: Open the windows wide and just breathe in the crazy mashup of scents.

StylePure nakedness.

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SoundMind is the labor of love of vocalist/sound therapy practitioner Jessica Caplan and yoga/meditation teacher Ally Bogard. Both practical and ethereal, the series combines intuitive, intentional sound with breathwork, guided meditation, and visualization. 

THE MANY FACES OF THE FEMININE

The Earth needs empowered feminine energy like never before in 2017. How will you connect to the many faces of the feminine essence?

 

2016 was a wildly challenging ride through womanhood. As we enter the New Year, we sat down with Sarah Durham Wilson and Jessica Sevapreet Hesser to explore how you can activate all of the faces of your feminine in 2017—from awakening your creative force to making friends with death.

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DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO SHOW UP AS A WOMAN IN THE WORLD

To show up as a woman in the world, you have to understand that first and foremost you are WOMAN. Imagine what it would be like to feel worthy, beautiful, loved, and important without needing to change or maintain anything. What if no matter what you did, no matter how you looked, no matter what happened to you, you understood that these essential things were always yours?

Activation: Grace of God Meditation

Mantra: Bhand Jammee-ai

Crystals: Chrysocolla, Ruby, Larimar, Rose Quartz

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FIND YOUR GODDESS

I didn’t really find the Goddess, she found me. Many years ago I had an experience of my god dying. It really came out of the blue, and this idea of a Christian male godhead started to disintegrate within me. At first I really grieved this loss, but then things started to move in a different way—Jessica

Activation: Finding the goddess is really just about connecting with the parts of you that feel beautiful and graceful. A perfect way to do this is through dancing. Put on music and just let it move you. Raise the vibration even higher by wearing something silky or adorning yourself with jewelry. Start with this Goddess Playlist.

Mantra: Adi Shakti

Crystals: Moonstone, Mother of Pearl, Sapphire

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MAKE FRIENDS WITH DEATH

Women hold the death energy because we are always changing, like the Moon and like the seasons. When we remove ourselves from death and darkness it leaves us very incomplete and disempowered. In working with the Faces of Feminine we can come back into integrity with the beautiful wholeness, which is our birthright and the source of our power—Jessica

Making friends with death is about inviting back all the parts of ourselves we have exiled. It’s an invitation back into integrity and into wholeness. Explorations into this dark space can start by just allowing yourself to really be in the unknown.

Activation: Sit in silent meditation, unmoving, with your eyes closed for 20 minutes per day. See what comes up with curiosity, rather than fear.

Mantra: Kal Akal

Crystals: Black Tourmaline, Obsidian, Black Fluorite

Sarah Durham Wilson

DISCOVER THE “FOUR NIGHTS”

Once a woman understands the cycles of the earth and phases of the Moon, she can understand herself better. She doesn’t feel so alone because she is one with the Mother, which is where we feel best; it’s where we feel most natural, most feminine, most alive, most nurtured, abundant, and empowered—Sarah

Activations:

Dark of the Moon—Let yourself be emptied. Have a day of silence. Turn off your phone, computer, and TV and just experience being only with yourself, alone and quiet.

Waxing Moon—Make a list of all the new things you want to do for the next year and then go do one! Go on an adventure. Explore. Listen to music that enlivens your spirit.

Full Moon—Get creative. Paint, draw, or cook a fabulous meal.

Waning Moon—Self care. Take a bath. Get a massage. Do some slow yoga. Let yourself eat in a way that really feels nourishing.

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ALIGN WITH YOUR FEMININE AND MASCULINE ENERGIES

When I reside in the unhealthy masculine, I’m chasing, not receiving. I’m pushy, rushed, and faithless. When I lose touch with feminine energy, I lose touch with the best parts of myself. Re-finding the balance between the two serves not just me but everyone around —Sarah

We all have feminine and masculine energy. The key is to know when each is useful. Masculine energy is essential in order to manifest your creativity and turn your feminine force into action and form. But too much masculinity can show up as disconnection, rigidity, aggression, or irritation. Too much femininity arises through overly-emotional reactions, indecisiveness, confusion, or an inability to take action. If you’re experiencing either of these, it’s time to call your neglected side back to the table.

FEMININE ACTIVATION: Try reading or writing poetry, dancing, or singing. Focus on receiving. Do a few minutes of left nostril breathing.

Mantra: Adi Shakti

Crystals: Moonstone, Pearl, Rose Quartz

MASCULINE ACTIVATION: Get physical — go for a run, take a kickboxing class or do a few minutes of Sat Kriya or right nostril breathing.

Mantra: Har

Crystals: Black Lava or Tiger’s Eye

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TRANSITION FROM MAIDEN TO MOTHER

Woman is always the creative essence, whether through giving birth to children, ideas, businesses, art, words, or any other form you put into the world. The Maiden energy is full of vitality and energy. But when we stay there too long, the opposite actually happens: we are drained of our energy and we are stripped of our power. The Maiden doesn’t quite yet know what being woman is, but the Mother embodies it completely—Jessica

MAIDEN ACTIVATION: The gift of the maiden is innocence. If you feel a loss of vitality in life or are lacking passion and enthusiasm, you may need to connect to your maiden energy. Engage in something new—go on a road trip, check out a class you’ve always wanted to take, have an adventure day.

Mantra: Ardas Bahee

Crystals: Aura Quartz, Citrine, Spirit Quartz

MOTHER ACTIVATION: The gift of the mother is grace. If you find yourself really concerned with what other people think of you or are wrapped up in appearances, you could do with a good dose of Mother energy. Connect with Mother Earth. Go outside, walk barefoot, lay in the grass, pick wildflowers. Try the Maaa Meditation.

Mantra: Beautiful, Bountiful and Blissful

Crystals: Mother of Pearl, Celestine, Aquamarine

Jessica Sevapreet Hesser

WORK WITH OTHER WOMEN

I know that the Goddess is the missing piece in so many women living in a patriarchal culture—these are tools I wish my mother had had, the self love and intuition and feminine alignment of cycles and seasons in our lives. When I had a feminine awakening, it literally saved my life and I wanted to share the gifts I’d been shown with every woman I possibly could. I didn’t just want to, it felt like a mission that Goddess had handed me—Sarah

The first step to working with other women is to be willing to get over yourself! Allow yourself to really enjoy the things that other women bring to the table without needing to compete or compare. Every woman has her own gifts and when we join forces our power is exponential.

Activation: Explore lunar wisdom by joining the Moon Club or The Faces of the Feminine.

Mantra: Me Within Me is the Purity. Me Within Me is the Reality. Me Within Me is the Grace. I Am the Master of the Space.

Crystals: Blue Lace Agate, Blue Chalcedony, Turquoise

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BECOME A SACRED ACTIVIST

2017 will be the year of the woman. There is a huge awakening in response to a call felt deep in the heart of every woman, a call put out by a planet which is suffering. Women are rising up, ready to be sacred activists, ready to be protectors of the earth and its people, ready to be the saviors we have been waiting for—Jessica

Becoming a sacred activist means first coming into integrity and alignment with your own values. Take a look at the things you find yourself impassioned about. How much energy do you use that you don’t need to? What do you “make war on,”attack, or hate in your own life or in yourself? Where do you sell yourself as a woman—where do you abdicate your power? After you dig into questions like these, the work you can offer the world shows up really clearly.

Activation: Find an activist group near you or online. Practice the Meditation to Invoke Your Inner Light.

Mantra: Magnificent Mantra

Crystals: Vanadinite, Jasper, Carnelian, Pyrite, Amazonite

 

Join Sarah Durham Wilson of DOTIGIRL and Jessica Sevapreet Hesser for FACES OF THE FEMININE, a four-weeks online women’s study course, with guidance, virtual circles, rituals and Kundalini Yoga starting January 8th. Find out more and register here.

10 WAYS TO BE A UNICORN

Bring forth the most authentic you and basically BE a Unicorn, says George Lizos

“They said I could be anything, so I became a unicorn!”

What if I told you this popular Unicorn quote actually has a literal meaning, and your fascination with Unicorns is your subconscious way of expressing that?

The Unicorn represents happiness, fulfillment, and abundance—and paradoxically, the Unicorn’s strength, purity, and poise are also qualities we possess already, and through which our talents, abilities, and personality are expressed.

Elsewhere in our world, the Unicorn is said to refer to something that’s different and unique. Yet, different and unique are not the same as authentic. And it is authenticity that leads to happiness, abundance and fulfillment, not uniqueness. Uniqueness needs to be manufactured. Authenticity comes naturally.

Lightworkers’ fascination with Unicorns shows that we’re finally in the process of getting this! We’re in the process of reclaiming our Unicorn souls. To complete this, we need to replace our desire to be unique, with a desire to be authentically US. Which in turn holds the key to following and fulfilling our life purpose.

Here are 10 simple ways to reclaim the authentic, awakened, balanced unicorn you really are:

  1. Wear your imaginary alicorn: The alicorn, or Unicorn’s horn, symbolizes awakened intuition. By visualizing yourself wearing an imaginary alicorn, you work with the Unicorn energy to clear and empower your third-eye chakra. This is the portal through which spirit flows, to guide you in taking a balanced approach.
  2. Breathe into your heart: Your heart is where your Unicorn soul resides. Found between your masculine lower-body and feminine upper-body chakras, your heart chakra acts like a control centre, monitoring the information emitted by your other chakras and feeding it to your Unicorn soul, to help it provide accurate guidance. Consciously breathing into your heart clears blockages here, and helps facilitate this process.
  3. Allow yourself to be vulnerable: Vulnerability breaks down walls of pretense, and allows your authentic self to surface. Have weekly vulnerability dates where you consciously encourage yourself to get real with what’s going on in your life, express suppressed emotions, and allow yourself to feel them fully.
  4. Shower yourself in rainbow light: Rainbow light contains all the colors of your seven chakras, thus showering yourself in rainbow light is a quick and easy way to clear both your masculine and feminine chakras, to find balance. Do this while literally in the shower, and use the flow of water symbolically to empower your visualization.
  5. Schedule blank space: Most people are imbalanced towards their masculine side. We’re all about going for it, working it, making it happen, and have forgotten how to chill out, take it easy, and trust the Universe to take care of things. To rebuild your feminine energies, consciously schedule time in your day, week, month, and year, to mindfully plan yin activities (i.e. “do” less and “be” more) to cultivate more balance.
  6. Take uneasy action: If you’re imbalanced towards your feminine side and tend to procrastinate a lot, schedule time to take uneasy action towards your life purpose. This is action that is attainable but feels uncomfortable, meaning you must push yourself to grow.
  7. Dance: Don’t let the simplicity of this one mask its effectiveness in reclaiming your Unicorn soul! Your body is a physical extension of your Unicorn soul, and by shifting your attention out of your mind and into your body through dance, you encourage the flow of your soul’s energy, letting it move you into a balanced state.
  8. Drink alicorn water: In the Middle Ages, the Unicorn’s horn was believed to help neutralize poisons and purify water to create antidotes to most ailments. While wearing your imaginary alicorn, use it to channel sparkling white light into a glass of natural mineral water. Drinking this alicorn-infused water will infuse your body with Unicorn energy, allowing your balanced Unicorn soul to rise naturally.
  9. Do authenticity checks: To check if you’re faking uniqueness or being authentic on a particular decision, check in with your heart. Visualize yourself following through with a decision while having your hand on your heart. If your heart expands in agreement, you’re being authentic. If it contracts in disapproval, you’re faking uniqueness and need to take a more authentic approach.
  10. Create a unicorn altar: Honour your newfound perspective of Unicorns by instilling it in your everyday space. Having a physical reminder of your Unicorn soul in your house is a powerful way to train your subconscious to living the Unicorn way. Use Unicorn statues, flower essences, and candles to add texture in your altar, and celebrate finally capturing your Unicorn self!

George Lizos is a Spiritual Life Coach, the author of Be The Guru and the creator of Unicorn Bootcamp: Find Balance, Discover Your Gifts, and Fulfil Your Life Purpose. George empowers people to stop idolising spiritual teachers and become their own gurus. To learn more visit www.georgelizos.com 

SENSUAL AWAKENING: WORK WITH YOUR TAURUS MOON SIGN

Understand your Taurus Moon sign and maximize your self-care practice to be the best YOU, says Ash Bonelli. Artwork: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

The Taurus Moon sign is the symbol of sensuality. The full embrace of our five senses. Our moon sign symbolizes our heart, our deepest needs, our ideal environment, as well as the things in life that make us feel secure, safe and loved. We feed our moon and our moon feeds us. Understanding this side of yourself can help you feel more balanced, stable and centered.

The moon is considered to be exalted in Taurus—meaning the moon loves this sign and can operate quite well here. She gets to express her desire for security through earthy realms that satisfy our more human needs. As such, if you have a Taurus Moon sign, you like to stop and smell the roses and have the ability to feel comforted by the simple joys of life.

Work out your moon sign, when you do you chart for free here.

The Taurus Moon sign also needs and seeks out stability in all areas of life. It can be quite unnerving to you if you find yourself in a whirlpool of whipping emotions. Even if it doesn’t have to do with you in particular, just being around energy like that can take you off-kilter. You like to operate in a way that feels safe and comfortable.

You usually don’t rush into emotional situations without careful thought or even planning. The Taurus Moon sign likes to see what organically develops and prefers to allow time and space for trust to blossom. If you find yourself being forced into a situation that you feel you are not ready for, then those around you should get ready for some serious stubborn responses. This moon will emotionally resist just to prove a point because moving too quickly can threaten the sensitive heart of a Taurus Moon sign.

This moon can also be prone to overindulgence for pleasure’s sake or external soothing—such as emotional eating. A real love of healing touch, delicious tastes, and lovely landscapes are most certainly not a bad thing. It only gets unhealthy when you begin to use sensual pleasure as a band-aid. The Taurus Moon sign is stellar at finding pleasure in simply being human, but the real beauty is to enjoy it without getting totally lost in it.

:: CREATE INNER STABILITY ::
Accountability. Sudden change can be psychically toxic to this moon, so making your own plans and sticking to them helps keep your core more centered. Often not so simple in our fast-paced, always shifting world. Work on creating some habitual patterns with intent. For example, head to the market every Sunday to buy yourself fresh flowers for the week. You get the dependability of your routine and the sensual pleasure of the flowers themselves. Start an exercise regime that feels good to your body and stick to the goals you set. The more you can rely on yourself, the more your emotional body will open up to the vacillating currents of life.

:: CALM BEFORE THE STORM ::
Try this mini meditation when life does throw you some curveballs. The Taurus Moon sign doesn’t enjoy change, since they work hard to develop stable systems that work for them. Yet we all know that life moves to its own beat. When you find yourself freaking out, take the time to stop and do some deep breathing. Then really ask yourself, “Is my immediate reaction equal to the outcome of the change in front of me?”

We live in such a high-stress society that our nervous systems are always in “go” mode, making us more susceptible to react rather than respond. And for the sweet and stable lunar Taurus it can be even more difficult. We first breathe to balance the body, and then we create open space to allow the inner dialogue to occur.

:: MANTRA ::
“I am collected regardless of external uncertainty.”

:: SENSUAL BALANCE :: 
Seek out the pleasures in life without totally leaning on them for emotional stability. Ice-cream will eventually let you down. Sad, but true. Especially if you’re one those people that beats yourself up after eating a whole tub. Our bodies are amazing machines, and deserve to be taken care of. If you find yourself returning too often to something that’s not the most healthy option, take time to consider why. What are you trying to avoid, hide or ignore?

If you can’t dig deep enough to scoop up the root consider exploring this with a therapist.  I’ve seen many clients with this moon placement who use food in particular as a form of comfort, yet secretly hate this about themselves. I’ve even seen the opposite occur, where the denial of pleasure becomes a form of stability. Either way, these are vicious cycles that are usually signals that some psyche work needs addressing. It’s nothing to be ashamed of—everybody is going through something, and we are on this earth to help each other through it.

:: EARTHLY DELIGHTS :: 
This is a creative moon that needs to feel connected to its earthy roots. Think gardening, getting your hands dirty, and really feeling the earth. As well as working with pottery, clay, sculpture, mixed media, paper mache, etc, it’s about creating something that feels good in your hands and takes time to master. Go for long walks outdoors, collect beautiful flowers that you can press later for safe keeping, or go to artistic events that inspire you.

:: MOVEMENT :: 
The Taurus Moon sign is what’s called in astro language “fixed,” which can be embodied by traits such as being stubborn, lethargic or possibly lazy. Keep in mind that Venus rules Taurus, and she really does enjoy lying about being fed grapes from time to time. With that said, the body needs a fair amount of movement. Try vinyasa yoga, ashtanga yoga or a barre class, all practices that work through repetitive motions, allowing for heat and stability to build. A double whammy for you too, because you get the consistency of a set routine while allowing for more expansion in your head and your heart.

THE NUMINOUS PRESENTS: MERCURY RISING

Join us and Standard Talks for our Mercury Rising event, a full day of next level wellbeing and cosmic empowerment…

YES – we’re organizing a day-long event right in the middle of the up-coming Mercury Retrograde period. Are we crazy? NO. Because it’s time to break some taboos and show you how to make this much maligned Cosmic aspect work FOR YOU.

Numinous founder Ruby Warrington has curated Mercury Rising – a very special roster of talks and workshops, featuring some of our favorite modern mystics. Co-hosted by Standard Hotels, the day-long event is designed to help empower you in navigating this tricky astrological climate.

Famous for creating delays, miscommunications, and wreaking all kinds of havoc with our schedules, Mercury Retrograde has become the Donald Trump of the astro calendar – but there’s nothing to be afraid of! With awareness and a willingness to embrace what comes up, this can be a potent time for healing old wounds, tidying up unfinished business, and working WITH the Universe to carve out your best future.

Our Mercury Rising event has been designed specifically to show you how – with 3 instructional, fun and interactive workshops, PLUS individual tarot readings to leave you feeling fully empowered and with a Cosmic goddess glow!

Click here for tickets and logistics – and read on for everything you need to know…

DATE:
Saturday, May 7 2016

LOCATION:

The Standard, High Line, 848 Washington Street, New York, NY, 10014 (PLUS make a weekend of it with a 15% discount on rooms with the code MERCURYRISING) 

TICKETS:
Full day – $89 (including drinks and snacks)
Individual workshops – $35 each

RUN OF PLAY:
11am-12.30pm – F*ck You Mercury Retro Salon with The Astro Twins
Elle.com astrologers Tali and Ophira Edut break down WHY Mercury Retrograde gets such a bad rap, while providing expert insight about how we can actually make the energy at this time work in our favor. They will also provide an in-depth overview of the planetary aspects influencing this specific Mercury Retro phase, to further illustrate how to maximize the cosmic potential of the times – with a view to setting up your best summer ever.

12.30-1.30pm – Break (with refreshments from the Montauk Juice Factory + option to add on a lunch-box from Standard Hotels)

1.30-3.30pm – Lead Your Own Moon Ceremony with Deborah Hanekamp
As well as teaching participants the proper protocols for creating your own New and Full Moon ceremonies, this workshop includes an overview of how to work with the different phases of the Moon each and every month – including diet, lifestyle, and wellness practices. Living in alignment with the lunar cycles is a way of connecting to your own innate power source, giving you the inner strength to navigate any Mercury Retro hi-jinx!

3.30-4pm – Break (tea + pastries)

4-6pm – Breathwork for Mercury Retrograde with Erin Telford
Breathwork is an active meditation technique designed to move stuck or heavy energy, and a super fast way to emotionally detox – the perfect healing for clearing anything that’s come up during the Mercury Retrograde period. Think part self-healing technique, part catharsis, part adult temper tantrum, and part psychedelic experience! Set to music,  you will be held in sacred space during the entire session, releasing what isn’t yours to hold anymore and emerging with more light and clarity.

6-7.30pm – Individual soul tarot readings with Lindsay Mack (drinks + canapes)
We finish the day with sunset refreshments on the terrace, where The Numinous resident tarot reader Lindsay Mack will be available for mini one-to-one soul tarot sessions. With this final piece of cosmic guidance in your toolbox, you’ll be primed to thrive despite whatever the Mercury Retro phase sends your way – you may even find yourself looking forward to the next one!

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THE ASTRO TWINS
Through their popular astrology website, identical twins Ophira and Tali Edut help “bring the stars down to earth” with their unique, lifestyle-based approach to astrology. They are also the official astrologers for Refinery29, ELLE.com, Elle Australia, Virgin Hotels, GaranceDore.com and Interview Germany.As well as being featured in numerous publications, the sisters have read charts for celebrities including Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Jessica Simpson and Sting.
www.astrostyle.com

DEBORAH HANEKAMP
Deborah Hanekamp is a Seeress and Medicine Woman carrying over 15 years in the healing arts as an Initiated Amazonian Curendara, Reiki Master and Yogini. Guided by the present moment, Deborah has facilitated Medicine Readings and healing ceremonies all over the world. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Time out New York & The Numinous.
www.unityessences.com

 

ERIN TELFORD
Erin’s mission is to help people heal their relationships with themselves. She pulls from a toolbox of therapeutic conversation, lifestyle and spiritual counseling, essential oils, crystals, mantra and other healing tools. She is a healer, acupuncturist, herbalist and Reiki Master and leads individual and group Breathwork sessions. She was recently featured in Refinery 29 as one of “6 Women Who Are Redefining Wellness in New York City.” She is also a regular contributor to The Numinous and Live the Process online magazines. www.erintelford.com

LINDSAY MACK
Lindsay Mack is an intuitive tarot reader, teacher and heart centered healer based in Brooklyn, NY. She is the founder of Sacred Tarot School in NYC, and regularly tours her classes, workshops and Soul Tarot readings all over the world. She is the co-facilitator of Brooklyn Fools Tarot Intensive, located at Maha Rose in Brooklyn, and she is a full time tarot teacher at Spirit Weavers Gathering.
www.lindsaymack.com

SELF-CARE: A RITUAL BATH FOR REIKI HEALERS

Healers and empaths – sometimes you gotta give yourself some TLC, as recommended by Deborah Hanekamp… Artwork: found on Pinterest

This bath is medicine for the empath, some healing for the healer, and a way to soak up the power and presence of your own energy.

Taking a ritual bath combined with the self-healing treatment of Reiki has been a gift for me over the past 15 years working as a Medicine Woman and Reiki Master. And my heart is fed by sharing it now, for it is essential for Reiki Practitioners to regularly balance our chakras, clear blockages and call in our abundance as light workers.

I believe that the more people there are practicing Reiki, the more peaceful the world will be. To effectively share the enduring magic of Reiki, we must strengthen our “Reiki muscles” – beginning with self-healing, self-care, and personal ritual.

:: INGREDIENTS ::

Fresh pink roses, rosemary, and basil, to cover the surface of the bath water

Baking Soda: 1 TBSP
Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 TBSP
Epsom Salt: 1 Cup
Crystals of: Peach Moonstone, Fluorite and Amethyst
Cedar Wood, Jasmine and Rosemary essential oils: A few drops each

Combine all ingredients in a tub of water as hot as you can stand

:: RITUAL ::

Clear your energy by smudging your body with sacred Palo Santo smoke, including the soles of your feet and back of your head

For practitioners of Reiki 2 and up draw Se Hey Ki over the tub water

Step into the bath and dunk your head under the water

Place the Peach Moonstone crystal on your solar plexus, the Fluorite on your heart chakra, and the Amethyst on your third eye

Begin a self-healing treatment, combined with deep, rhythmic Ujjayi breath

When your self-healing treatment is finished, dunk your head under the water again and chant the sounds of the seven chakras from root to crown; LAM, VAM, RAM, YAM, HAM, AUM (the crown chakra’s sound is silence).

3 ALCOHOL-FREE WAYS FOR COPING WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY

How Victoria Cox switched from Dutch Courage to Divine Courage, and learned to say “cheers” to social anxiety… Artwork: Nahu Marín Luriaud

It’s 7pm on a Saturday night in NYC and I’m getting ready to hit the town for a charity event a friend is hosting. Keeping me company as I slather on the make-up is my obligatory glass of chilled white wine.

“Just to take the edge off,” I tell myself. Give me a quick buzz so that I arrive relaxed and confident. I don’t know many people at the party and this fact alone is revving up my anxiety levels. I’ll just be completely honest and admit that on occasion I struggle with social anxiety, especially when I’m with large groups of strangers. Likely a leftover from my childhood, when I used to be crippled with an extreme case of the shy’s.

Thankfully, I left that mortifyingly awkward stage behind me as I grew into adulthood, but on occasion, my inner shy girl pops up from the deepest recesses of my subconscious to say hello. She usually makes an appearance at large social gatherings and she’s guaranteed to show up as my plus-one at networking events. Those are her favorite.

She especially enjoys it when I walk into a party, look around and realize I’m engulfed in a sea of strangers. “Look,” she whispers conspiratorially in my ear. “You don’t know anyone here, why don’t you just leave?” When I do eventually strike up a conversation with someone she’ll pipe up incessantly; “This person is bored by you. You have nothing interesting to say. This is so awkward. Just go home.”

Sometimes she gets her way and sometimes she doesn’t. But over the years, I’ve grown sick of the bitches sneaky antics, and so I figured out a way to make sure she stays her ass home. Alcohol. That intoxicating social lubricant. She hates it – one glass and I’m already dancing out the door. Two glasses and I can approach a group of strangers. Three glasses and I’m on the dance floor with said strangers, a.k.a my new best friends. Four glasses and… let’s not go there.

I’ve been feeling pretty smug about my secret weapon for many years and it’s got me through some skin-crawlingly awkward networking events that I’ve gladly suffered the hangover for.

But in recent years, as I’ve begun to focus on getting to know myself on a deeper level, I’ve begun to question my secret weapon. Is it really a weapon – or simply a crutch? Could I cope at one of these events if I didn’t drink beforehand? What was it saying about me that I could only be my “best self” when I numbed my senses with alcohol? Why did I feel I couldn’t just be me, weird social ticks and all?

These questions reverberated around my head for many months yet I had no answers. All I knew was that I had two options. Choose to keep on applying the social lubricant or get to the bottom of the matter once and for all.

I chose the latter.

And so, I began an experiment. I decided to switch from “Dutch Courage” to “Divine Courage,” and see what I could learn about myself in the process. Here’s what’s in my tool-box…

:: BREATHWORK ::
Being a long-time yoga devotee I was already familiar with the breathwork known as “pranayama.” And, one form of this is called Alternative Nostril Breathing – where you do just that. Breathe out of one nostril for a set period of time, then switch. Sounds odd but what this actually does is soothe the nervous system and equalize the hemispheres of the brain. Fancy talk for saying, “It chills you the F out.”

This practice had always worked a charm at calming down my over-excitable brain so I added it to my toolbox. But I needed more. Breath-work alone wasn’t likely to be enough to stop me running back into the arms of a perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio.

:: VISUALIZATION ::
This is where visualization meditation came in. It’s no secret that visualization can be incredibly powerful – even professional athletes are known for using it to get “in the zone” before a game. Basically, the aim is to try to see your desired outcome before it happens. So, before heading out to a social engagement these days, I sit quietly and visualize myself at the party, acting confidently, laughing, having fun, meeting new people and generally enjoying myself.

More often than not, what I visualize, or a version thereof usually comes to pass. Even on those occasions where things didn’t quite go as planned, I found I was in a much more centered space which helped me to relax and connect with people a little easier.

:: MANTRA ::
My toolbox was coming together but I needed to add one more thing. A mantra. Whilst mantras are typically used during meditation they can also be used throughout the day as a method to turn a negative thought pattern into a positive one.

Mantras can be incredibly powerful to soothe anxiety or just to give the mind something positive to focus on, thus avoiding a leap down the rabbit hole of fear and worry. My personal mantra differed for each occasion, but phrases such as “I am relaxed and confident” or “I am enjoying meeting new people” were especially helpful when I just wanted to run away and hide in the bathroom.

***

Its been a few months since I began my experiment and already I’ve been noticing some improvements. While I will probably always experience an involuntary shudder at the word “networking” I no longer feel that I simply must have a drink beforehand to get through it.

Whilst my pre-party drink routine enabled me to come across as lively and fun, in actual fact I was only showing people what I thought they wanted to see, lending an air of superficiality to my encounters. The real me might not be the life of the party but it is authentic – and more often than not I’ve noticed people can sense the difference leading to a more genuine connection.

Although I’ll probably never eradicate my inner shy girl completely, she no longer accompanies me to every social event. At the end of the day I’m only human and she’ll probably make an appearance now and again but I no longer feel the need to chase her away with gulps of wine. As a result, she doesn’t hold the same power over me.

I’ll also admit that wine and I will likely never end our love affair completely, but I no longer need it in the same way I used to. Alcohol has transitioned into something I enjoy on occasion rather than a can’t-cope-without.

My experiment has gifted me the knowledge that my social anxiety toolkit is available at any time; which in turn has emboldened me with a burgeoning self-confidence. I feel that I’m now able to face an intense social situation without desperately seeking an exit route, and surely that’s something worth raising a glass to.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: YOGI SWEATS, AND A SHAMANIC CLOSET CLEAR OUT

Time for another shamanic closet clear out – PLUS sound baths, breathwork, and the latest in the plant-based revolution…

 

:: MONDAY ::
Skype date with beautiful yogini Shona Virtue (above) – a.k.a. one of the main reasons we are RE-LAUNCHING OUR YOGI SWEATSHIRT LINE! Shona picked up a couple of the original (v v limited edition, pretty much sold to friends-and-family only) sweats, and has been on at us to make more ever since. So we listened. And they’re going on sale reeeeeealy soon! The pic is a behind-the-scenes peak from our photo-shoot this week. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when they go on sale – and maybe win one too!

:: TUESDAY ::
I hadn’t actually planned anything special for Eclipse night, and so I figured a last minute invite to a sound bath meditation hosted by Well+Good co-founder Melisse Gelula and her friend Summer Rayne (real name) sounded just about perfect. Plus the sound bath itself was being performed by Sara Auster – whose name had literally crossed my radar three times in the past week. It was beautiful, and a precursor to further group meditations in Summer Rayne’s Brooklyn apartment. So let’s just talk about the apartment for a moment…The girl is plant CRAZY, and has created an actual. Freaking. Urban jungle in her home. Full story (on her basically teaching me how to cure my “black thumb” – since I seem to kill anything green that enters my auric field) + pics to follow in a future post…

Sound bath good to go

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Psychic closet clear-out! I first enlisted the help of a psychic to help me to an energetic blitz on my closet a couple of years ago, and having moved twice since then things had been getting kind of messy again. Enter Colleen McCann, a stylist-turned-shaman, who essentially does this FOR A LIVING. To kick our session off she read my crystals (yes this is a thing), and used my birth chart details to map my Ba Gua – kind of feng-shui-meets-human-design (I know!!) to map the power places in my apartment / wardrobe. Then we hit the rails. Not enough red (my power color), and everything needs to be reorganized by clothes for my behind-the-scenes vs. front-of-camera life (to invite more “front of camera” opportunities in). To finish, Colleen ran her hands over every piece – and anything holding any extra dense energy had to go, to create space for more high-vibe alternatives. Including a pair of McQueen stilettos, beautiful but wicked painful relics from my “old life” (and which are currently sitting in the Eleven Consignment boutique on NYC’s First Avenue, just FYI).

VERY SPECIAL CRYSTALS in Colleen’s Shamanic “mesa” (medicine bag) + neon pink nails #materialgirlmysticalworld

:: THURSDAY ::
JUST YES RAVI DEROSSI – the vegan restaurateur dedicated to bringing plant-based eating to the hipster masses. Like in his East Village tiki bar Mother Of Pearl, where vegan chef Daphne Cheng has just launched an entirely meat-free menu of bar snacks and small plates. I met Daphne there today to talk future Numinous projects (she also hosts supper clubs at her space Exhibit C – sign up for info about what we’ve got planned) and got to sample a ridiculous Edemame Spring Rolls and King Trumpet Mushroom Crudo. #plantpower #futuroffood

:: FRIDAY ::
Date-night with Erin Telford – because, Breathwork. I’ve written many times about how much I love this incredibly healing, vibe-raising, multiple-crygasm inducing pranayama workshop, but it’s not something I do on the regular. Rather, my body will just be like “GO. NOW” whenever some stuff has come up that needs to be breathed out. Like, y’know, the Friday night following a FULL ON Pisces New Moon Solar Eclipse…Click the pic below for Erin’s upcoming Breathwork schedule 

 

SENSITIVE SOUL: WORK WITH YOUR PISCES MOON SIGN

Understand your Pisces moon sign and maximize your self-care practice to be the best YOU, says Ash Bonelli. Artwork: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

“My heart is ever at your service.” – William Shakespeare

If you were born with a Pisces moon sign, then this one is for you, dear hearts. Our moon is our emotional headquarters. It alerts us to our deepest feelings and we express it in our knee-jerk reactions. It shows us how we nurture and how we wish to be cared for in return. Our lunar landscape is an often private land that we only fully reveal to those we trust most  and the Pisces moon sign is a particularly tender one.

You believe in compassion and kindness – often referred to as too sensitive and emotionally weak. You may have experienced people telling you to box up those gushing feelings as you walk through this intense world, or you will just get hurt even more. But suppressing your truth is never a good thing. You were born with a big, sweet, all feeling heart and frankly, more of which we so dearly need in our often detached world. You naturally radiate a light for humanity that allows others to easily trust you. Possessing the ability to really listen without judgment helps you to move through the world with intuitive ease.

Work out your moon sign, when you do you chart for free here.

You can be an idealist in love – because your heart space LOVES to love. Which also means harsh realities can really sting you deeper than others. You probably have the tendency to give “too much” of yourself, which in turn can set you up for other people taking advantage of your sweet little disposition. But since you’ve been blessed with an intuitive heart you have the ability to know when your tank is running on near to flat out empty. You have to give back to yourself so you can be recharged enough to give again.

Letting also comes naturally to you – letting go of that which you can’t control. It’s a slippery slope though with the Pisces moon sign though, because sometimes you let go too often. You may have the tendency to let someone off of the hook for something you need to confront them about, just so you can go on being the nicest person everyone knows. You’ll forgive before you rock the boat – but only to keep the peace. Working on discerning when it’s appropriate to move on because the situation really isn’t worth fighting over, and situations that require some discussion, examination, and / or healing.

Below are some wellness suggestions to assist as you get to know your delicate Pisces moon sign.

:: GROUNDING PRACTICE ::
The Pisces moon sign can sometimes have a bit of a savior complex. You feel your feelings so deeply – often along with everyone else’s. You hate to see someone suffering so you will go to great lengths to help out however you can. This is beautiful but not if it comes at the expense of your quota of support for your own soul.

Create a grounding practice by learning to say “no” more often. Actively notice how often you feel depleted and see if you can cut back on the areas of your life that are draining you. Are you overcommitting your time? Do you say yes to things just so you won’t hurt someone’s feelings? Write a list of all your activities for each day for a month and put a checkmark by the ones that made you feel down/sluggish. See if you can cut those out.

Sometimes we get into such a comfortable habit that we don’t even realize it’s an issue until we literally see it on paper. You also want to set up healthy boundaries. One way is by being selective about the company that you keep. If they don’t bring positivity to the table and you just feel heavier after visiting with them, then their energy are toxic for you. Time to weed the garden! You want only roses of hope in that yard, and it’s up to you to plant wisely.

:: SHIELDS UP ::
Your heart experiences life via feelings, and those feelings become your thoughts, so the last thing you want is everybody else’s negativity clouding up your judgment. Being a natural sympathy sponge you want to be mindful to ward off any vibes you don’t need in your bubble!

Each morning, either in bed before you start your day or while taking a shower, imagine shimmering golden light surrounding you from above your head to below your feet. Let the feeling of completeness engulf you. Take enjoyment in your breath and try not to think of anything other than your own personal ease and calm. Take at least one minute to do this practice.

This is so simple and effective because when you start to feel something negative in your day you can come back to the sensation of serenity that you created earlier. If it really is the bad vibes of other people or places then this centering practice should suffice. If you are still feeling off kilter, these could be your own genuine feelings. In which case it’s up to you to feel deeper into your situation and tend to the issue as needed.

:: ESCAPE ARTIST ::
The Pisces moon sign can sometimes avoid confrontational issues in order to keep things copacetic. While sweet in theory it’s bad energy to carry. Plus it can create a karma ripple you certainly don’t want showing up later. So you need to create boundaries by proactively planning ahead if you are entering a situation that could turn negative.

Practice what you would say. Visualize the upcoming conversation, but try a different response each time. How do you physically feel with each answer? The one that closes you down and makes you curl inwards is the one you don’t want. The one that gives that sensation of light, expansive openness is the winner.

If it’s a situation where the gross feeling option is the right thing to do, then take time to find a way to move forward in the kindest way possible. Sometimes you have to rip the band-aid off to let the wound heal. Know in your heart that you are doing the right thing and let the feeling of truth be the balm to any fear that arises.

:: RESTORATIVE YOGA ::
When thing get too much and it’s time to get back to yourself, you need the desserts of the asana world in your life. I suggest doing these poses when you feel sad, depleted or stressed to revive your spirits and help your heart feel nourished from within.

Supported Bound Angle Sitting in easy pose, draw the soles of your feet together to touch. Take a block under each knee. Take your hands behind you and slowly lay down on your back. Take a folded blanket and place it under your head (if you find that to be more supportive). Let your arms relax to your sides with the palms up. Relax your whole body and rest for five minutes. To finish, bring your feet as wide as your mat and let your knees fall in. Rest here for a few more moments.

Supine Twist Come to your back and draw your knees into your chest. Take a deep inhale and on the exhale drop both knees over to the right. Take your arms out to the sides like wings. Take your gaze to the left. With each inhale allow your spine to lengthen and your belly to fully expand. On the exhale allow your body to twist deeper. Stay here for two minutes and then inhale the knees back to center. Exhale and repeat on the opposite side. In this detoxifying twist, use your breath to emotionally release anything holding you back from moving forward with your goals.

Legs up the wall Come over to a wall space and sit down next to it with one hip against the wall.  As you start to lay down on your back simultaneously begin to walk your feet up the wall until the legs are straight towards the ceiling – and your body is on the floor at a right angle to your legs. The knees can have a slight bend and if you want extra support take a block or blanket under your hips. Your hips and seat should be touching the wall so inch your way as close as you can. Just rest your arms out to your sides or on your belly/heart. Close your eyes and feel yourself relaxing. Stay here up to 15 minutes.

Keep space, move with grace & continue your healing work. From those places, your Pisces moon sign will feel content.

SIT WITH IT: A NEW WAY TO WORK WITH DEPRESSION

Depression can be a signal of deep discontent from your soul. As tough as it is, try diving into those feelings through meditation and self-reflection to clear your psyche, says Erin Telford

 

“Winter is a great time for depression,” I joked at a Breathwork group last month. I was met with some very nervous giggles. As with most things, it’s only funny because it’s uncomfortably true.

All humor aside, I got really depressed last winter.

It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling. The first time I remember feeling depressed was when I was about 14 years old. It felt like being trapped in a glass, banging on the walls with no one listening, fatigue and a vague sense of loss and hazy unmet needs.

When I started to sink down and enter that deep gray landscape, I just felt tired and defeated. You again? After all this work?

I was involved in a group-coaching program at the time. I was honest with everyone about the despair I was feeling. They came full force with the positivity. You got this! You just need a spa day! Self-care! Find your gratitude!

“Seriously?” I thought. I was surprised by how fiercely irritated I was with their advice. And it hit me. I did not want to be cheerled out of this. I wanted to go down into the dungeon of my psyche and find some f*cking answers.

My response to feeling depressed in the past was to wait until it was over. Back pedal out of the icky feelings. Utilize the usual anesthetics. Self-medication. Self-isolation. Online shopping. Staying busy. Hitting the crack pipe rabbit hole of social media.

This time needed to be different. I’m not a confused teenage girl anymore. I’ve been waking up for a long time and I have an arsenal of tools in my bag, perfect for this emotional renovation. So I made a commitment to going down and in – and not coming back out until I found what I was looking for.

So what did that look like in real life? I turned my phone off. I sat in my favorite spot in my apartment, this little nook with a bunch of plants, great light, and a big window, and I checked in. I sat with myself. I did some writing. I asked many times and in as many ways as I could, “what is underneath all of this pain?”

I was really gentle with myself. This line of inquiry did not involve self-criticism, curse words, belittling myself or my process or any feeling of needing to hurry up and get back to “normal” life. I did not take time off but I did give myself all of the time that I had and needed.

What I found was a deep well of sweetness for myself.

The supposed truth that had taken me down to these depths was uncovered as just another clever way that I had fooled myself into believing that I was separate, that I was unloved, that I was unsupported. I discovered that I had the power inside to be able to break a life long pattern by looking at my wounds with tender curiosity rather than frustration or disdain.

***

Depression is often framed as something that just happens to us like getting a cold or a bummer draw of a genetic card. While environment, brain chemistry, and family lineage can be part of long-standing major depression; many of us experience it simply as a response to what’s going on in our lives.

We sell ourselves short by saying, “I’m just depressed.” As if it has nothing to do with the emotional pain that we’ve endured, the unattended wounds, the countless hours spent confused and alone or in groups of people who fail to see or help our hurt. The real life existential crisis that is: “I was told this would make me happy and I’m not. That must mean something is wrong with me. “

Very few of us have been taught any kind of practical way to channel and work with emotional pain. Most likely the instruction we covertly receive is to tuck away the unlovable, messy parts of ourselves. Shove them way, way, way into the back of the closet so we never have to look at the shame or hurt or confusion we feel. Or, let anyone else see it!

There is a single seed of discontent within you that is begging to be acknowledged.

It could be linked to:

Wrong job
Wrong friends
Wrong city
Wrong relationship
Wrong environment
Wrong…paradigm

Only you know, and facing it down is what I call Constructive Depression. It will require your participation. It will require fierce internal responsibility. And it is your job and your job alone, since no-one else can connect to your deepest parts but you.

The longer you’ve been feeling this way, the more wildly uncomfortable you may be with the truth that is banging on the door of your heart, begging for bread and water. How honest are you willing to be with yourself when your wellbeing is on the line?

So how to you do this?

You can think of Constructive Depression as a soul expedition. So what do you need for an internal journey? Nutritious snacks, great music, paints, journals, talismans, crystals, instruments, quiet, something to burn away the energy. Gather all of your supportive resources.

This is not an intellectual exercise. This is a reckoning. You with you.

This is a slow immersive dip into your soul. A psychic cleansing. Mental decongestion. Moving toward rather than away. Your resistance to this idea is equal to your commitment that all of this is due to the outside rather than inside forces. You ARE up to the task.

We experience the full range of human emotions for a reason. We feel sad because something is breaking our heart. We feel angry because something isn’t right and it needs to change. We feel fear because we are threatened or being asked to expand.

Depression is an opportunity for internal exploration. You are not depressed because you are a bad person or you skipped too many days of yoga or gratitude journaling.

You are depressed because something is not working for you. There is a yearning. An emotional chasm. Something that is crying out to be witnessed and seen like it’s never been seen before. Our wounds are rarely greeted with the exact kind of care and response that we are craving. When we accumulate a lifetime of hurts that have gone unnoticed or unattended to by others, the responsibility falls back to us to determine what we need.

So meet yourself with all of the tenderness, all of the sweetness, the hugs, the love, and the acceptance that you hold within you. Go inside, find your golden nugget of truth, and only come back out when you are ready – holding your treasure high.

*Mental health can be very tenuous. If you feel like this is something you can safely undertake, please do. If it feels like too much, please seek professional support for this internal exploration.

FREEDOM FOR ALL: WORK WITH YOUR AQUARIUS MOON SIGN

Understand your Aquarius moon sign and maximize your self-care practice to be the best YOU, says Ash Bonelli. Artwork: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

Let’s dive deep into the unique and progressive energies of a soul born with an Aquarian moon sign. Our Moon is our HEART. Our emotional and physical support system. Our mama. Our deepest, hidden feelings, that only the ones we really trust get the privilege of knowing. We feed our Moon sign so we can go out and be our best selves, our Sun sign. And once you know how to care for your Moon, you can show others how to do the same.

Self-care is one of our allies to a better world. The Moon is also the source of our intuition, and the zodiac sign it falls in signifies the way we instinctively know things. So understanding your Moon sign can really bolster your relationship to your subconscious feelings in a healthy way.

Work out your moon sign, when you do you chart for free here.

So, what if you have an Aquarius Moon sign? This is the independent thinkers’ Moon. Aquarius is an air sign, that uses its intellect to go about its daily tasks. This is also a fixed sign so once you set your mind on something it may prove difficult to persuade you otherwise. You may also have a tendency to think with your emotions versus feel them. This can actually be used as a superpower though, since this level of detachment can give you the upper hand at in life’s more emotional situations. You most likely don’t wallow in your emotions, and this allows you enough freedom and space to distance yourself and apply some of your unique logic to the given situation.

You probably require a lot of freedom in relationships in general, and need a home environment that lets you come and go as you please. Other people’s expectations could feel like a tremendous amount of pressure – as if your true self is being stifled.  But you gladly offer this same freedom in return. Any sort of “boxing in” creates discord and dampens your ability to by authentically you. You need to be accepted for your original and possibly eccentric ideas, philosophies and ways of being. You may even rebel within your relationships just to prove the point that you won’t conform to their ideas about you.

This is also the humanitarian sign. You care deeply about the collective and will rally for a cause you stand behind. It can make an Aquarius Moon sign sing to really support a charity/foundation, or even a circle of friends that has a progressive impact on society. I could see you as the friend people turn to for solid advice. You have the Moon sign of the wise owl that flies so high you see everyone’s perspective with clear vision. You can be an emotional bolster for humanity without diluting yourself in an ocean of feelings.

Below are some wellness suggestions to express, soothe and connect to and from your Aquarius Moon sign. Your heart runs free and needs a whole cosmos of space to breathe. When you find yourself feeling caged in or overwhelmed, come back to some of these tools.

:: Have a writing practice ::
Aquarius Moon signs express their emotions through the use of their intellect. They use words versus demonstrative acts. Start journaling your thoughts, ideas, wishes and dreams. Try your hand at writing poetry. Use your non-dominant hand, just to get a new perspective. Write out the stories you hold dear. Write down what you are grateful for each day. Make a cookbook or keep a dream diary. Whatever is close to your inner sanctuary, take the time to write it out. Come back to it and reflect on your own spiritual/emotional growth.

:: Join a breathwork circle ::
That’s right, air element Moon sign! Your heart has lungs of its own. Connecting to your life force will give you that much needed feeling of freedom, while at the same time allowing you to connect with yourself on a potent level. Plus you get to meet new people and find that sense of community you so thoroughly enjoy. You have a natural spiritual intuition that can grow and expand with grace via pranayama.

:: Find your cause ::
Get into charity work or assist with a non-profit so you can utilize your greatest emotional strength, your compassion for humanity. You can express this humanitarian pulse in the best way possible by supporting a cause that pulls at your heartstrings. Any type of goodwill is up for grabs and the work will add to your quality of life while making this world a little better than it was before. It’s a win-win for the Aquarius Moon sign.

:: Guided meditation ::
Your heart is always in your head – and you need a break from that constant stream. This type of meditation would be good because it covers both bases for you. The spoken words help your mind follow a path. The path, however, leads to the detachment of thoughts. Giving your mind the space to be empty will in turn give your heart a deep rest.

:: Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) ::
Balance out both hemispheres of your mind to balance your heart.

Bring your first and middle finger down and in towards your palm. You will use your thumb and ring finger for this practice. The pinky can just hang out and rest where it’s at. Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril. Now breathe in from the left nostril and then press the left nostril gently with the ring finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. You have now completed one round of Nadi Shodhana pranayama. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils. 10 rounds please.

Keep space, move with grace & continue your healing work. From those places, your moon will feel content.

MY MYSTICAL WEEK: A REALIZATION ABOUT REINCARNATION

This week, I’ve been mainly bonding with my baby nephew Henry – prompting some way deep realizations about reincarnation…

The epiphany officially occurred six weeks ago at Erin Telford’s Cancer New Moon breathwork circle. It was one of those psychedelic experiences that’s hard to convey in words – but lemme have a go! Fittingly, with the moon in family-orientated Cancer, towards the end of the breathing section of the workshop, which is designed to bring deep seated emotions, memories and fears to the surface to be healed, I experienced a full mind-body-soul understanding that not only am I linked to my family by my DNA – I actually am them.

I just GOT, on a numinous level, the fact that since our physical being is formed of our parents’ cells (and therefore of their parents’, and their parents’, and so on), our ancestors literally LIVE ON through us. Since new strands of DNA are constantly being added to the mix, the bigger realization was that ALL HUMANITY is connected in this way! And all this accompanied by a beautiful visual of atomic rainbows of particles, swirling together to form image resembling my mother, then my brother, and his brand new baby boy. Not bad for a stone, cold sober Friday night in Greenpoint, I think you’ll agree.

It got me thinking a lot about reincarnation, obvs, especially when we fast-forward to this week which I have mainly spent bonding with my new nephew Henry in London. I decided at about age five that I didn’t want kids of my own, and as much as I’m 100% happy with my choice, my recent revelation had left me feeling like perhaps this life is the end of the line for my soul (whoa, deep). And then along comes Henry, who looks so much like me as a baby there’s just no denying that a part of me will live on in HIM.

Baby Henry, baby me

Reincarnation is the belief that the soul itself leaves the physical body at the end of biological life, to begin a new life in a new body. But my experiences lately have given me a new appreciation of the soul contracts we share with our families – karmic lessons we have for each other, which we continuously reincarnate together in this dimension in order to learn or heal. Clear this karma, the theory goes, and your soul will ascend to a new level of enlightenment when you reincarnate the next time around.

It’s a belief system I’ve chosen to subscribe to, not least because it’s meant making a commitment to nurturing and healing my family relationships NOW – which, in my experience, has been the truest way to find fulfilment, and an authentic, stable, sense of self. in other words, to find happiness – a theory that’s actually backed up by the findings of Shawn Achor, the happiness expert I worked with on my recent project for Buick.

In Shawn’s research, the breadth, depth and meaning of our relationships – beginning with our families – was the biggest predictor of long-term happiness, and can have as much impact on our overall health and longevity as smoking, high blood pressure or obesity. In my (mystical) book, this is all a wake-up call to dig deep into what the soul contracts with YOUR tribe might be – and to prioritise working them out in this life, so that we can all ascend together.

Do you believe in reincarnation? Connect with us and share your thoughts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

20 THINGS I LEARNED AT CRYSTAL SCHOOL

Crystal consciousness is on the rise! Isn’t it about time you expanded your knowledge of these mystical rocks at crystal school? By Ruby Warrington. Images: Karina Eibatova (available as prints at Karina’s online store)

You know crystal consciousness is MAJORLY on the rise when even mainstream media like the London Evening Standard is covering the phenomenon. And it makes sense that more and more people are being drawn to working with crystals – not only are they said to possess mystical healing powers, they give us a much-needed connection back to nature. And seeing as they also look totally beautiful, it’s kind of like why wouldn’t you want more crystals in your life?

I’ve connected with crystals on and off over the years, whether I’ve been been gifted them by friends or actively sought out specific stones I felt would help at times I could use a little extra cosmic support. As a result, I’ve ended up with crystals stashed in different bags and nooks and crannies of my apartment – from the Lemurian quartz pendant from Vega Jewelry that travels in my yoga bag for general high-vibery, to the selenite tower I picked up at Spellbound Sky that watches over my dreams from my bedside.

And considering all these stones have just somehow shown up in my life (which crystals have a habit of doing), I figured it was time to learn a little more about how to work with their numinous properties. Enter lovely Luke Simon and his in-depth crystal workshops at Maha Rose Center for Healing in Greenpoint, BK.

“I started working with crystals when I first moved to NYC and realized I needed some serious juju to wear ON my body,” he explained, kicking off the session I attended last month. As for the first step on the path to expanding your crystal consciousness? “Crystals first job is to give us permission to work with our intuition,” explained Luke, “I like to call it their ‘Tinkerbell effect’.” In other words, you just have to believe…

Here are 20 more things I learned that day at crystal school:

1. Never have more crystals than you have time to love

2. Crystals form very slowly as liquid cools and evaporates and atoms of whatever pure substance remains move closer and closer together, imbuing them with a concentrated energy that’s much more highly evolved than glass

3. The particles in crystals form repeating tight-knit structures – as in music, and in our thoughts and physical structure. In humans, these patterns becoming disturbed is what leads to dis-ease, and crystal healing occurs when our own cellular structures seek to mimic the crystal structures we hold in close proximity to us

4. If you’re repeatedly drawn to certain crystals, it’s likely you will have worked with them in past lives

5. Lots of small crystals formed to make a “bed” is called a “cluster”

6. You can directly imbibe crystal energy by putting them in your tea kettle. Also keep in mind however, that some crystals dissolve in water (like Selenite and Halite) and some can be toxic to ingest, like Malachite. So consult a book or an expert first!

7. Placing crystals in a “grid” is like following a recipe that allows them to merge their properties and heal on a more potent level

8. Use four crystals in a grid to create stability; three or five to work with themes of transformation; and eight to symbolize infinity, and in multiples of these numbers. When placing crystals in a grid, consider the properties of the different stones you’re using and be very clear with your intention

9. Your energy will also stir your crystals up, and this is what makes them programmable. Clear quartz crystals are the most receptive to this process, making them like a blank canvas for channelling your consciousness

10. When working with a specific stone over a period of time, you can keep a crystal journal to chart your progress

11. When selecting a new crystal to work with, see which stone you feel naturally drawn to. Your cells will be attracted to the vibrations of the crystal that can offer the most healing to you in that moment

12. Hold the crystal in your non-dominant hand, as you’ll be more sensitive to the subtle vibe it creates for you. Ask yourself, does the stone make you feel more energized, or more grounded? Practise this with different stones to develop your sensitivity

13. If you’re repelled by a certain stone, consider whether it relates to something you’re avoiding in your life

14. Since crystals absorb the energy around them, they need to be reset with regular cleansing

15. Ways to cleanse your crystals include: using the smoke from burning sage or other cleansing herbs (i.e. Palo Santo, Cedar leaves, sweetgrass, lavender) – and imagining the smoke as water; submerging them in natural spring water; burying them in salt (if intense cleansing is needed); burying them in earth in your garden or a plant pot (remembering to put a marker in the ground if you do this outdoors!)

16. Some crystals don’t need cleansing – Citrine for example doesn’t hold negativity, while Selenite is self-cleansing

17. To charge your crystals, place them in direct sun or moon light for anything from a couple of hours to overnight. Do this when your stones begin to look or feel “dull” to you

18. You can also charge crystals with the energy of a place or icon that holds special meaning for you by placing them on an altar next to symbolic imagery

19. When placing crystals on the body for more intimate and specific healing, it’s more comfortable to work with polished stones

20. Never forget your crystals in a crisis!

Have you been working with crystals? Connect with us and share your experiences on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Luke Simon’s next crystal workshop at Maha Rose takes place June 6 and is titled: Crystal Breathwork: Labradorite. Click here to sign up and get more details

TURNED ON: ME AND MORGAN LE FAY

Who was Morgan Le Fay? Ellie Burrows gets up close and personal with an everyday Goddess. Portrait: Mikal Marie Evans

Ellie Burrows shot by Mikal Marie Evans

Morgan Le Fay is sweating me.

I recently bought a The Goddess Oracle Deck & Book Set, and I’ve gotten into the habit of pulling a card each morning. And the strangest thing has been happening.

No matter how much I shuffle, I get Morgan. And the last time a friend was over, she showed up for her, too. The Goddess obviously has something to tell me.

I didn’t really know much about Morgan Le Fay, except that references to her can be found throughout the Arthurian legends, that she’s supposedly a fairy (neé fay), and the main character in a book called The Mists of Avalon that’s been sitting on my shelf, unread, for no less than five years.

In July, prior to her recurring role in my morning routine, I went to Glastonbury, her home turf. I put my feet in the Chalice Well and Gardens, and did not hear her siren song. I felt zero connection to her. I always thought Kali, Kwan Yin, and Artemis are more my jam anyway.

According to my deck, Morgan Le Fay is there to help us honor our own rhythms and show us that we are the master and mistress of our own clock when it comes to eating, sleeping, exercising, and making love. Since my routine is pretty on point (what up, black tea, Body By Simone, 8+ hours of sleep per night), it felt like this was about something else entirely. So I decided to do some digging. And that’s when I began to hear Morgan’s song.

In books, Morgan Le Fay is a healer, a heroine, a seductress, or sorceress. Her realm of expertise lies beyond the concrete (unlike my beloveds, listed above). Morgan is a bit harder to pin down, and often considered controversial. Her influence is consistently twisted and turned in service of a story.

So it looks like Morgan and I do have some things in common; my essence too can be twisted and turned in service of stories.

Observe:

Ellie the Healer: In 2008, Ellie was diagnosed with a permanent pain condition in her lady parts. Through ecstatic breathwork, deep relaxation, emotional exploration, copious amounts of sleep, a cleaner diet, and routine exercise, she healed herself and now is fully functioning down there and everywhere.

Ellie the Heroine: An average student at an intense high school, Ellie decided to get her shit together and ended up graduating magna cum laude from Northwestern University. She had a moderately successful career in the film business, before heading off into the sunset to explore the world as a spiritual tourist and pursue her dream career as a writer. She often uses the monomyth aka the hero’s journey in her personal essays, in service of helping herself, and others, evolve.

Ellie the Seductress: Ellie often uses her words and body to attract and send messages. She is warm-hearted and vulgar-mouthed. She likes putting pictures of herself online that show off her body by Simone. She’s uses extreme amounts of eye contact and takes an inordinate amount of pleasure in distracting people from their work in favor of more hedonistic pursuits.

Ellie the Sorceress: Ellie believes anyone can talk to the Universe and that it will talk back. She often makes decisions based on astrology, and consults psychics, tarot card readers, and mediums when necessary. She relies heavily on her intuition and ardently believes in the existence of the soul. She claims to have had visions of things before they happened. Kind of like Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl.

In addition to the above, I can also identify with the loving sister, nagging girlfriend, super-down hook up, naïve millennial, fearless adventurer, or reclusive homebody. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to define my person using personas, casting myself as characters in various stories as a means of figuring myself out. Humanity is really hard to make sense of, and that’s why we’re busy telling so many stories in the first place. And we all know where stories are generated: solely in the mind.

That thing in our chest – it’s a place of confusion. The heart knows no classification, no characters, no story. It knows nothing – but it feels everything. That’s why someone who “follows his/her heart” is someone who we would call “free.” Free from the judgment, free from stories.

I think Morgan wasn’t a Goddess at all. I think she was an actual human being, and that’s why she’s hard to identify with and her role and influence greatly debated. Morgan will never be just one thing. Neither will I. And so I choose to see her as a real woman, suspended between mind and heart, trying to make it work in Medieval Times. I can so relate; bubonic plagues and lack of electricity aside, Millennial Times has its challenges, too.

Okay Morgan, message received. Drop the stories. Drop the personas. My everyday Goddess deck just wants me to be an everyday woman. An everyday human.

Nota Bene:
For more on archetypes see Katy Perry’s Elle cover story.
For more on “real” women: See Maggie Gyllenhaal’s acceptance speech at this year’s Golden Globes.

LET’S GET DEEP: YOGA SEQUENCE FOR SCORPIO

As the nights get longer, Scorpio season is here to make us face our inner demons – all in the name of transformation, of course. Use Ash Baker’s simple yoga sequence for Scorpio like a physical prayer to take you there…

Madonna shot for H&M 2006

SCORPIO
October 23 to November 21

Ruler: Pluto, Mars
Element: Water
Modality: Fixed
Anatomy: The nose, genital organs, blood, bladder and bowels.

8th sign of the Zodiac

Phew – we survived. Coming out of Mercury Retrograde and two Eclipses, now it’s time to transform and integrate what we’ve learned – and there’s no better sign than Scorpio as a backdrop. Symbolising re-birth and transformation on the deepest level, the most mysterious sign of the Zodiac invites us to do a deep dive and shine a light into the Cosmic cave.

Scorpio season knows it takes serious determination to kick out of our comfort zone and rise above the banal. As for the famous sting in the Scorpio tail? Sure, if you piss ‘em off you’ll feel it – but all of us possess that inner warrior, the loyal guardian of our deepest truths.

To harness this energy in the month to come, let us focus on the strength, wisdom and determination of the Scorpion. The poses chosen here are designed to ignite the energy to overcome that which no longer serves you, and to dig a little deeper into your own dark corners to bring your truth to light.

Skull Shining Breath :: Kapalabhati Pranayama
This breathwork will help to eliminate toxins, amp up your energy, and get your blood moving. Find a comfortable cross-legged seat on a blanket to prop up the hips and lengthen the spine. Let your hands rest on your thighs. If you’re a tactile person you can place your hands on top of each other on your belly. Take a deep inhale through your nose. Exhale and quickly contract your belly inward pressing all of the air out. The next inhale should be automatic and passive. Aiming for 60 rounds of beath per minute, the contractions in your lower belly should follow in rapid succession. One minute is enough if you’re new to breathwork, otherwise try three minutes. When you’re finished take a deep inhale through the nose and exhale fully through the mouth.

*Avoid this if you have high blood pressure, hernia, heart disease or are a pregnant mama to be!

Boat Pose :: Navasana
Come to sit and bend the knees with the feet on the floor. Take your hands behind you with your fingertips pointed towards you. Press your hands and sit bones down towards the floor to lengthen your spine upward. Engage your pelvic floor by scooping the tailbone slightly forward and your pubic bone up towards your chest. This action will automatically engage your abdominals. If you’re a total beginner stay here and just breathe. If you wish to go further, draw your calves up in alignment with your knees, parallel to the floor. You can keep your hands behind you for support or take them behind your thighs. Keep lifting your chest up and keep the spine straight. Don’t let your lower back round at all. To move into the full pose, straighten one leg and then the other, reaching through the toes. Take your arms straight out parallel with the floor. Keep lifting the heart with each inhale and squeeze your pelvic floor (bathroom muscles) with each exhale.

Bound Angle :: Baddha Konasana
Find a comfortable seat. Imagine your spine lengthening with each inhale, pulling you up from the crown of your head. Draw the soles of your feet together to touch. If you need a little support or feel a pulling sensation in your inner thighs you can sit on a blanket or place a block under each knee. Take a hold of your feet and pull your chest through your arms to feel as much length in your spine as you can. Inhale your arms up over your head and begin to fold forward at your hip creases with a flat spine until you reach the edge of your stretch. Then place your hands down and allow a little rounding of your upper spine and neck to happen. Stay here and use your breath to help you relax into the pose more deeply. With each inhale lengthen out a little more and with each exhale sink deeper.

*Counterpose: Lay down on your back and bring your feet as wide as your mat. Let your knees fall in. BREATHE.

:: Sea Breathing Meditation ::
Come to lie on your back and drape a blanket over your body. You want to be fully relaxed so take a pillow under your head and a rolled up blanket under your knees if you wish. Imagine you are on the beach, warm and safe. Everything is calm and serene. Feel the heat coming from the sand beneath you and a slight breeze in the air. Scorpions are usually linked to fire but we often forgot that they are water warriors, so direct your attention to the ocean. Listen to it breathing, inhaling as the tide comes in, exhaling as the tide goes out. Now listen to your own breathing. Imagine your breath is syncing up with the tides. You are breathing the ocean. Think briefly about what you would like to wash away from yourself. Picture the vast amazing power and beauty that is the ocean cleansing that which you don’t need. Use the strength of the ocean to find your inner strength. Stay with this practice for as long as you like.

Monthly Mantra: “I am empowered by my own truth.”