WHAT IS A RED TENT ACTIVATION?

Your period is your connection to the divine. Learn to listen at a Red Tent Activation, says Alexandra Derby. Image: Emi Haze via Behance.net

We are all pretty down with the memo on self care and coming into a place of self-love. This is what all spiritual traditions come down to at their core, the fact that only once we can fully love ourselves can we fully LOVE – one-another, the planet, and all life. But as women, we have some murky territories to traverse on the journey of self-love and ultimate self-acceptance.

A pretty big one is our complicated relationship to our body, and especially the fact it bleeds once a month. Yup, our period is something associated with negativity in our current culture. Something to ‘hide’, ‘clean up’ and generally try and pretend we are not ashamed of.

We have been trained to ignore it, and at best be grateful for the modern pharmaceutical options to ‘deal with’ our individual and unique cycles. Just think of the language that has been used to describe it; ‘the curse’. It’s also been decided it’s a time women become ‘irrational’, and that we should disregard what they (we!) are trying to articulate as ‘just them being emotional’.

But what if there was a different story that got lost over time? What if our period was actually a powerful and potentially life changing event – one that we get to experience every single month of our menstruating years?

We bleed and yet we do not die – just think about the symbolism of that. We are capable of allowing our life blood to flow out of ourselves without any harm to us. And we do this month after month after month. It is literally a physical embodiment of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

In the past, men were likely intimidated and threatened by this female creatrix energy, and declared it ‘unclean’. But there was a time when women would all bleed together, at the time of the New Moon, and meet to honor their menstrual cycles in what is called a Red Tent.

A Red Tent (or Moon Lodge in the Native American tradition) is a place where women come together to honor their bodies as sacred, and celebrate the Blood Mysteries – what DeAnna L’am (recognized world expert on menstrual empowerment, and author of Becoming Peers: Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood) says is the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ when it comes to women connecting to their sacred wholeness.

My life has been transformed by training with DeAnna.

My period used to be a time of pain and frustration that felt like an internal war with my body, coupled with a fear of ‘leaking’ as people would then know – shock! – that I was having my period. I did not want to get this messy (both physically and emotionally). Today my Moon time is actually my most powerful time – a time to retreat and listen to my body, literallyand do what it wants, not what my to-do list wants.

The reward? I get beautiful, spine tingling downloads from my intuition. Ideas come through, and my days are peppered with “aha” moments. I get clarity on exactly what is in alignment for me. And every single woman has this capacity too. We each carry our own Oracle, and each month we are asked to take the time to sit down and listen to what she has to say.

Because the voice that comes through while you are bleeding is the voice of the GODDESS, and if something is out of whack she is gonna let you know! Hence not being prepared to ‘put up and shut up’, like we often usually do. Your job is to listen to that wise voice and take heed, because the part of you that creates IS the Goddess. And she knows what’s best for you, your family and your tribe.

Now I hold Red Tent Activations myself – daylong events, where you get to completely and radically alter your perception of your own menstrual cycle, your creative potential and your body, and re-establish your divine birthright as being connected to all women on the planet in sacred sisterhood. Connected by blood to all women who have gone before you, and all women who will come after you.

A Red Tent Activation is a powerful and life-changing ceremony around telling the story of your first blood, and of letting go the judgments and prejudices you took into your precious early teenage self that have kept you from fully accessing your power and creative potential as a goddess Creatrix today! And, finally, of enacting the ceremony we never receive in modern society – that of a girl being welcomed into womanhood.

It is a deeply moving to take your place in your lineage of ancestors and as a woman on the planet with the capacity to birth LIFE – be that children, ideas, creative masterpieces, businesses, or a even a new Earth. Yes, it is that big! And we have been hiding from this part of ourselves month, by month, by month.

But just imagine each and every woman in NYC connected to their own inner guidance system. Tapped directly to the Source through their own body, listening to the Goddess within. What choices would women make in their relationships? Their work? Their family life?

Now imagine a whole WORLD of women operating from the true Source within, not longer carrying the baggage of negative self image, not swayed or influenced or manipulated by the external world, but living in complete alignment with their true values, their true desires. That is the world we can create. This is my vision for our new Earth.

Join Alexandra Derby for the next Red Tent Activation in Brooklyn, NY, on September 13 2015. Further information and tickets available at the link.

Have you re-claimed your monthly bleed as a sacred time for intuitive connection? Connect with the Numinous community and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

PIECES OF ME: WHAT IS A SOUL RETRIEVAL CEREMONY?

Maggie Harrsen of Puakai Healing explains how our soul can become fragmented when we experience trauma, an what exactly happens in a Soul Retrieval ceremony. Images: Prince Lauder

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SOUL NEEDS RETRIEVING?
To first understand if a Soul Retrieval Ceremony may be beneficial for you, it is important to know the signs of Soul Loss (see below). During Soul Loss a piece of our soul, our light essence, flees the body in order to survive a traumatic or shocking experience. Examples of situations that may cause Soul Loss are: all forms of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual), death of a loved one, divorce, separation, natural disasters, accidents, surgery and any distress during rites of passage.

THAT SOUNDS PAINFUL…SO WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SOUL LOSS?

Soul Loss could manifest in any of the below:
A feeling of being lost or incomplete
Chronic depression, anxiety or grief
Feeling disconnected from all of life
Feeling “out of body”
The sense that you haven’t been “the same” after a certain event
Chronic illness and ongoing misfortune
Blocked memory
Lack of joy
An inability to make decisions
Addictive behavior patterns
Being disconnected from your intuition
A loss of energy

IF OUR SOUL FRAGMENTS WHEN WE EXPERIENCE TRAUMA, WHERE DOES IT GO TO RETREAT?
According to the Qero paq’os (healers) of the Andean mystical tradition, when a soul part flees our body it goes to the Ukhu Pacha, the place of the underworld where Pachamama, our Cosmic Mother lives. Being our Earth Mother, she is able to keep these parts of our soul safe until we’re ready to receive them back. It is my belief that in order to fulfil our soul’s particular mission on Earth, we need all of our soul parts restored and within us!

It is also interesting to note that in indigenous cultures, if a little one falls and breaks a limb or witnesses the death of an elder, the healer will perform a ceremony on their behalf right away. In Western culture, the understanding of our energetic body and the spiritual causes of illness are not so recognised or well understood, so restoring all the parts of our soul can often mean going back decades.

HOW SHOULD YOU PREPARE FOR A SOUL RETRIEVAL CEREMONY?
In the Soul Retrieval Ceremony we are working within the luminous energy field (the energy bubble that surrounds and informs the physical body) so the only preparation is in our intention, as this is what drives energy. And in a Soul Retrieval Ceremony our intention is simple – we are calling back any lost soul parts that are ready and willing to return to the individual right now.

When we create sacred space and have an openness and willingness for healing to occur, it simply happens. My role in ceremony is holding this space for individuals to heal themselves. The most important element for me is trust – to build trust with my client and create a space in which they feel safe to completely open, like a blossoming flower. It is through our own courage and will that we are able to heal ourselves and, in turn, heal the Earth.

WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS IN THE CEREMONY?
The ceremony takes place either inside a space or outside in nature. The client will lay comfortably on the ground with blankets and pillows and I will sit at their side. I will begin by preparing sacred space, using the smoke of the Palo Santo wood and other various rituals, and then I will gently guide the client into a relaxed place of stillness. They will remain laying down – resting and focusing on their breath for the duration of the ceremony.

Together we will set our intention and go into an altered state of consciousness through the sound of various instruments, including a rattle, drum and bells. As the healer, I journey outside of time and space to my guiding spirits who assist me in locating and understanding why these light essences, or soul parts, originally left.

They are then brought back and restored to the individual through my breath, as I blow them into their heart center and crown of the head. We then move into the transmutation sequence of the ceremony, where the client absorbs the light of their soul into every cell of their being. During this time, I play various high vibrational instruments and music. To complete the ceremony, the client gently sits up, sipping a glass of water and I share my healing story, focusing on the gifts that were restored. The client may also share any visions, sensations or experiences they had during their ceremony.

AND HOW DO PEOPLE FEEL AFTERWARDS?
Since we are all unique as human beings, everyone feels differently after a Soul Retrieval Ceremony. Some individuals may feel sleepy and some are buzzing with energy. Some feel emotional. Some feel a shift in physical sensation and perception. Some feel nothing. Many feel deep peace and relaxation, and most individuals report a sense of being grounded and “in their body”. Individuals often express they feel at home again. In the days and months after a Soul Retrieval Ceremony most individuals report significant life changes.

SUCH AS…
I have heard people report all of the following:
A sense of spiritual harmony
Greater wellbeing and vitality
Healing of physical dis-ease
Clarity/remembering of the soul path
Unconditional love for the self
Restoration of individual gifts
Depression replaced with joy
Renewed relationships
An ability to be their authentic self
Courage to follow their dreams
A deeper connection to the natural world

Find out more about Maggie Harrsen and Puakai Healing here, and check out the details of her upcoming Hamptons retreat, which takes place July 27 and 28 2015

A LESSON IN LOVE: THE PEYOTE DIARIES

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

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

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

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

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

But I already knew it was for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: Daniel R Moore via Behance.net

BYE BYE NEGATIVE ENERGY: SMUDGING 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:: SMUDGING RITUAL: THE BASICS ::

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

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

@MarikaMessager

Taylor EyeWalker is a scent alchemist who crafts moon and crystal-charged botanical perfumes from her magical lair in Topanga Canyon, California. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, Madeline Giles shares her experience of receiving a custom-made Love Potion.

Driving up the desolate dirt road to Taylor EyeWalker’s mountain home on a warm California day, I have no idea what to expect. There’s no manual on how you’re supposed to feel prior to meeting a scent alchemist for a consultation for a personalized Love Potion – but weaving through the enchanted forests of Topanga Canyon, perhaps I am Cinderella (pre-Prince Charming) about to meet her fairy godmother for the first time.

Having come across her page on Facebook, I had contacted Taylor first and foremost because I wanted to create a loving experience for myself. The magical vibe of her site totally resonated with me, and, having just moved from Brooklyn to Venice Beach, I felt receiving a custom scent might help ground me. For the record yes, I am single – and while I’m comfortable with this right now, I’m definitely open to receiving all the help I can get. Especially when it involves Earth magic.

After parking on an uphill driveway, Taylor, who is tall, blonde and beautiful (this is LA after all, where even the witches look like movie stars), greets me warmly with her adorable French bulldog, Monkey. She then leads me upstairs onto a dreamlike outdoor terrace, where a Navajo-themed straw mat lies adorned with meditation cushions, a Buddha statue, incense, earthen bowls, and a teakettle. As we sit in comfortable silence, Taylor begins preparing a pre-consultation tea ritual.

The consultation “room”
Making magic

“I like to serve tea first so we can authentically connect to the now,” she muses. I take a sip, and immediately feel pulled into a deeper part of myself. “Whoa,” I share. “What’s in this?” Taylor tells me we are drinking Living Tea, which comes from the high mountains and valleys of China and Taiwan from trees that are hundreds of years old. “The veins of a tealeaf resemble the veins of our bodies,” she says. “Connecting with the plant spirit allows us to more deeply connect with the energies of the earth.”

It only takes three cups of magic tea for me to feel completely at ease. When I arrived I was slightly anxious and unsure what would be expected of me, as I knew I was going to have to reveal deep aspects of myself. But thankfully, post-tea, my nervous monkey-mind is silenced. I feel entirely safe – and even eager – to share it ALL. Taylor asks if I’m ready to commence, so I take a deep breath and, pen and paper in hand, she begins.

Do you smoke? Have you ever smoked?

Is there a place in your life where you desire deeper love and connection?

Is there anything in your life you’d like to change?

What is your intention for this creation, this alchemy?

Are you ready for a relationship?

The list goes on, and I find myself sharing things I wasn’t consciously aware were even there. Like the fact that my deepest desire is to be in a soul-centered, romantic relationship, yet at this point in time I don’t feel ready for it. Question after question, I dive deeper into my heart. Before I know it, almost an hour has passed, and the consultation is over.

I ask Taylor to take me through what happens from here. “When you leave, I go into my realm and really create for you,” she explains. “Every alchemy is different, and generally I go up into the ninth plane of existence to be sure I’m not bringing any of my own projections in.”

Though Taylor has sustained an intuitive relationship with plants all her life (even as a child she crafted plant potions in a cauldron on her parents’ land in South Carolina), in recent years she further developed her abilities by studying plant medicine with indigenous tribes in South America.

“I still hold very true to the shamans of the Amazon,” she says. “I really appreciate what they can create – especially Pusangas, which are Amazonian Love Potions made specifically for individuals by connecting with plant spirits. The potion becomes a divination tool that you use in ceremony or ritual. It’s something that you keep sacred.”

A few days later, I receive my custom potion in a tiny glass bottle with a hand-written card that shares channeled messages Taylor received during the creation. I read the card first, and my eyes immediately well with tears. Several of the messages she shares are things I’ve intuitively been feeling for months. This is such a powerful, whimsical, feminine potion…it reminds me of Quan Yin, she writes.  I went very, very deep in a cosmic wave, and I did many Theta downloads on this creation, ones you have requested in your life.

The downloads included things like dancing to eating more beets (who knew?), to wearing pearls on my body (as an incarnated mermaid, I deeply connect with them). I haven’t even smelled my Love Potion yet, and I already feel so seen, loved and understood. “This is really a self love potion,” Taylor had said during our consultation. “If we don’t have love within our hearts, if we don’t have love for ourselves, if we don’t feel whole, if our cup is not full, we will not attract the love we deserve.”

The author
Madeline’s Love Potion

Something I feel I’ve literally heard said a million times, yet coming from Taylor, I receive the message differently. I feel, for the first time ever, like I could literally hold the love of my own heart in the palm of my hand, thanks to this magical little bottle. Keeping this in mind, I carefully open my Love Potion and gently inhale. All I can say is…oh my God! Lavender, cedar, oak moss, rose, white lotus, jasmine, tiger’s eye, and many more familiar and unfamiliar scents rush to embrace every cell of my body. I feel like I am literally smelling my essence in liquid form, and this makes me smile. A lot.

I immediately decide I need to go for a walk and so I head out and hop in my building’s elevator. A man is waiting there. I’ve never seen him before, and yes he’s pretty cute. I’m smiling. He’s smiling. Then the elevator door opens, and as I walk outside I hear his pace quicken behind me. “Hey!” he says. “Are you wearing perfume?” I nod awkwardly – but then I remember I’m not, exactly. He looks into my eyes, brows raised, and grins; “It smells so good.

Taylor Eyewalker also teaches kundalini yoga, offers theta healing, leads retreats, reads tarot and conducts rituals. Discover more at Eyewalkerelements.com

Connect with Madeline Giles at Mermadeline.com
@Mer_Madeline

BODY GLYPH: A CEREMONY FOR MOTHER NATURE

“Nature sustains us, and is a living force to be remembered and to be honored. She clothes us in sunlight and shadows, leaves and sand, flowers and geometry. This is the beauty of life off the runway and beyond seasonal trends.”

Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg 

When I first saw Oliver Halsman Rosenberg at a party on the roof of the Standard Hotel this summer, I knew it was only a matter of time before we’d be featuring him on the site. The NYC-born artist and global nomad wore bones around his neck and silver paint on his face, and is the living embodiment of the consciousness-expanding message of his work, “body glyphs” which use the human form as a canvas for messages divined from the world of the unseen.

Described as; “vibrational mantras manifested on skin,” Oliver’s latest project, Ceremony, is a collaboration with the photographer Polina Sirosh. Begun in Tulum, Mexico, on the cusp of the Mayan calendar change in the winter of 2012, the project continued over the summer of 2013 in Berlin.

Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg
Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg

HOW DID THE CONVERSATION ABOUT THIS COLLABORATION START?
I was in Tulum as part of a Design Hotels’ “Pop Up Ashram” project at Papaya Playa, where Polina was living with her husband Claus and two kids (in an amazing home in the jungle right on the beach). She saw me doing my body glyphs at an event there, and proposed we do a shoot. At first it was for fun, but we got such magical results that I moved into her guest hut and we continued to work together for a few months; shooting on the beaches, in the jungle, on ruins, and in cenotes.

WHERE DID YOU SHOOT AND WHY? 
Polina lives in Berlin part of the year, and she invited me to continue working on the project with her there. We used her house as a base and a studio, and then we would drive out into the amazing forests and fields that surround the city. We both have an attraction to the purity of nature, and for this series we wanted to explore and be inspired by the landscape.

Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg
Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg

HOW LONG DOES EACH PAINTING TAKE, AND WERE THESE ALL PRODUCED ON SITE?
Each painting takes three-four hours. Because I never know how Polina will ask the models to pose, I need to cover practically every square inch. I used her rooftop as the studio. It had an amazing view of the city, and created quite a meditative space under the expanse of the Berlin sky.

YOU HAVE DESCRIBED TO ME BEFORE HOW THE PAINTING PROCESS IS ALMOST LIKE ‘CHANNELING’ AN ALIEN LANGUAGE – WHAT’S THE MESSAGE WITH THIS PROJECT?
The calligraphy I do on the body is a language, it’s poetry, it’s math, it’s energy, and it’s meditation all at once. It’s always unique and un-premeditated. Often I just sit with the model, and based on her vibration different patterns emerge on her skin. One model I started to paint with King Tut colors and patterns unconsciously, and it turned out she was part Egyptian. For me it’s just a precious gift I have that I am trying to take care of, and explore in creative ways with creative people. I think with this project, Polina and I both wanted to communicate to the world is that Mother Nature is precious, perhaps the most precious and magical resource we have. And that the body the temple where we worship her. So this project is a celebration of all things natural.

Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg
Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg

WHERE WOULD YOU LOVE TO SEE A WOMAN WEAR ONE OF YOUR ‘PIECES’?
Polina often talks about a fantasy she has about being able to wake up in the future, and instead of wearing clothes, just step inside some machine that prints a fresh pattern of mine on her every morning. As far as seeing women wearing my pieces, I am really curious to see what the designers ThreeAsfour come up with for their next season’s line, which will be based on some textile patterns I created before I went to Berlin in Aug. But I guess the ultimate would be to see my future beloved wearing an otherworldly bridal dress at an altar out somewhere in nature.

Catch Oliver’s body glyphs in person as part of NYC fashion group threeASFOUR‘s PERFORMA 13 event on Nov 10th at The Jewish Museum (RSVP only). The glyphs also feature in the threeASFOUR Fall 2014 collection, premiering Feb 2014