As we move towards Spring’s peak, it’s time to delight in the playfully creative energies of the Goddess Maia, says Rebecca Farrar …
From the flowers blooming (aka plant sex organs!) to the weather warming, May is a month for delight and desire …
Named after the Earth Goddess Maia, or Maja, who represents passion, wishes, and playfulness, the month of May brings a slow burn after Ostara’s April spark. With the same root as the word “majesty,” Goddess Maia represents the peak of spring’s fertility and blooming.
Throughout history, May has been a month of celebrations, and in Roman, Greek, and Celtic traditions, Goddess Maia has represented sexuality, creativity, and growth. In ancient Greece and Rome, the first and fifteenth days of the month were particularly sacred for honoring her. And in Celtic traditions, Beltane or May Day rituals focused on feeding the senses. During the holiday, unmarried men and women jumped over bonfires wishing for partners and fertility, and the Maypole was originally a tree tied with flowers and ribbons, which represented the wrapping of female energies around the phallus.
Goddess Maia also has an asteroid named after her. Astrologically, Maja is currently hanging out in tight conjunction with Neptune in Pisces. Making for a dreamy and romantic month ahead in May 2018 …
Tap into your own playful and sensuous Spring nature by finding Maia in your own chart. Wherever she’s placed, you’re invited to offer your wishes for more blossoming this month.
Below are questions to consider for reigniting creative sparks and growth with Maia’s help …
**To find Maia/Maja in your chart, go to astro.com, enter your birth information, choose “Extended Chart Selection,” scroll down to “Additional Asteroids,” and type in 66.
1st house// Where do I lack purpose or intention in my life? How can I become re-inspired?
2nd house// What makes my heart beat faster? Is it specific people, activities, being outside?
3rd house// Which books, media, or resources provoke or scintillate me? Conversely, which ones dull my senses or excitement?
4th house// How do my emotions put me into contact with my artistic process? How can I use them as fuel for my own fire?
5th house// Where and how do I experience my creative spark? What makes me shine and light up?
6th house// What habits or routines help me stimulate my imagination? How can I add them into my day-to-day rituals?
7th house// Have I been putting aside my own creativity because I’ve been focusing too much on others? Instead, can this relationship put me in touch with my own muse?
8th house// What kindling is missing from my inspiration fire? Do I need more nurturing, community, or time alone?
9th house// How can I re-create my own life vision and come more into alignment? Are there places I need to expand into or explore physically or emotionally?
10th house// Where have my passions been left behind in place of responsibility? How can I commit more to my own passion projects?
11th house// When and where do I come into contact with my creativity in the world? Is it through others or alone?
12th house// How can I move out of wishful thinking and fantasy around something I care about? What concrete actions can I take?
And no matter where the asteroid is in your chart, here are ways to connect to the seductive Spring goddess this May …
// Style // Show some skin, or your favorite body part- whatever makes you feel sexy
// Food //Sensual and decadent foods such as figs, truffles, or dark chocolate
// Workout // Think playful and sexy … pole dancing or Zumba
// Home // Add a romantic touch with flowers, soft colors, candles, or fairy lights
// Healing // Sacred sex practices alone or with a partner
In the wake of Jupiter’s transit through Scorpio, sexual trauma has been brought to light over and over again. In his latest “Queer Hero” column, survivor and healer Danny Brave shares 7 ways to process the deep pain and move from #Metoo to I AM … Photos by Tal Shpantzer
The #MeToo movement exploded onto social media on October 15th 2017, only four days after Scorpio’s transit into Jupiter (the sign of intimacy, sex, secrets, and power). The hashtag was created by Tarana Burke, the black woman whose brilliant activism started the movement all the way back in 2006. Her decade of advocacy reached mainstream awareness when Alyssa Milano tweeted #metoo in response to accusations of sexual assault & misconduct in Hollywood.
Whether or not we wanted to deal with it, molestation, rape, and sexual trauma was being brought to light over and over and over again. Some of us felt ready for this darkness to reveal itself so dramatically and intensely, while others of us felt ill-prepared for all of the undigested emotions and traumas that these women were bringing to the forefront of our consciousness.
With Jupiter still retrograding through Scorpio, and April marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month (S.A.A.M.), I have been reflecting on all that has transpired since the initiation of this powerful planetary movement …
Widening the sexual trauma narrative The stories of who is sexually assaulting who are as varied as the number of people on earth. I know white cis gender men who have been assaulted by cis white women, and I have met men who were molested by their mothers as boys. Sexual violation has been perpetrated by gay men to other gay men, by queer POC to other queer POC, by fathers to girls who come out later in life as non-binary or trans men, by white people to black people and vice versa.
The list of race, gender, sexuality, body type, and age variable narratives continues, as is reflected by the statistics:
– 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime – Of trans people of color: American Indian (65%), multiracial (59%), Middle Eastern (58%), and Black (53%) have experienced sexual assault – American Indians are twice as likely to experience rape/sexual assault compared to all races – 1 in 3 women experience sexual assault – 1 in 10 men experience sexual assault – 44% of lesbians experience rape – 61% bisexual women experience rape – 26% of gay men experience rape – 37% of bisexual men experience rape
And the effects are staggering. From persistent and debilitating anxiety and/or depression, to the shutdown of one’s sexuality, and a sense of complete worthlessness and suicidal thinking, the wake of this abuse’s devastation goes on and on.
For the sake of everyone’s healing, we must not confine this widespread epidemic to old stereotypes and the rigidity of the gender binary.
7 ways to heal your sexual trauma … To provide some solutions, below is a love letter—a list of tools, rituals and advice that have helped me and my clients reclaim our lives, sexuality, and bodies in the aftermath of sexual trauma …
1//Make art. Whatever your creative medium, express it! You don’t have to show what you create to anyone at all (unless you want to!), you don’t have to be good at it, and you don’t have to spend much money (writing, for example, costs about $3 for a cheap notebook and pen). The purpose is just to get the energy moving.
Creativity is governed by the sacral chakra, located in the pelvis, genitals, and lower back, and connected to sexual energy. When you are being creative, you are helping to unearth, clear, uplift, and release some of the stagnant or painful energy that got planted there during moments of abuse.
If you are struggling with depression in particular, making art makes you active again. It puts the ball back in your court and helps you remember that life can be beautiful, and that it is okay to feel. Become the transmuter of your own pain through your creativity and I promise you catharsis will be there, and that this will eventually (if not immediately) lead to feeling better.
2//Tell someone who makes you feel safe and who you know will believe you. One of my mentors taught me that the lips of the labia and the lips of the mouth have the same nerve endings—they are connected. What this means is that sexual trauma silences us; it makes us somehow incapable of voicing our truth, standing up for ourselves, and asking for our needs (emotional or otherwise) to be met.
Telling our deep dark truths to someone we can trust can be one of the most healing experiences. Here’s a loose structure to get you started:
1 – Contact the person you are going to meet and ask them, in your own words, if they will meet with you in person so that you can vent and get something really difficult off your chest.
2 – Tell them exactly what you need from them afterwards. Is it a quick hug? To be held for a while? To say “I’m sorry that happened to you,” to say “thank you for telling me your story”? It can feel weird to make such a clear and specific requests, but people aren’t mind-readers, and our abuse stories are so intense that we often require a very specific type of support to feel just that: supported.
3 – Tell them your story and provide as many details as possible. I am talking about the date and time, who did it, the location of the abuse on your body, how you felt—the whole thing. If it makes it easier, you can write this out all out in advance. Notice the resistance to doing this and try to push through and speak your truth anyway.
4 – Set up something really lovely to do for yourself afterwards—something that makes you feel comforted, brings you back to the present moment, or brings you joy. Do you love to go see movies? To plant a garden? To paint? To go for a joy drive and blast music? After unleashing your powerful truth, make sure you engage with this activity for as long as it takes to get you back to the present moment.
3//Realize that what happened to you is NOT your fault. Something that tends to get built into the experience of sexual abuse is that we, on some level, caused or created it.
The mind of a child is more straightforward than the mind of an adult, and it does not understand that bad things that happen are not caused by them. If the abuse is being perpetrated by an adult to a child, the child knows that the parent is the one feeding and clothing them and therefore will do any and all mental gymnastics to repress, imagine, or self-blame the abuse away by taking on and in all of the pain and blame.
If you were an adult when the abuse happened to you, it’s still easy to think: “If I hadn’t been drunk, if I had been wearing something different …” If we are spiritually-inclined, we might even torture ourselves with spirituality and the law of attraction, asking ourselves ridiculous things such as: “Why did I create this experience? Maybe I wasn’t thinking positively enough … I wonder why I attracted this abuse?”
Why do we try to make something as awful as this our fault? The truth is simple: it is easier to blame ourselves and engage in self-hatred then it is to deal with the fact that what happened was not in our control and not our fault whatsoever. Doing this also prevents us from having to deal with the emotional reality of holding someone else accountable for their actions.
Hating ourselves or trying to make ourselves responsible for something we clearly didn’t cause or do is an incredibly effective defense mechanism to either defend the memory of our parents because we want to maintain a relationship with them, and/or to avoid holding the perpetrator fully accountable for the painful emotions associated.
It is because of this that I cannot stress enough: what happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault.
And coming to terms with this is an all-too-necessary step that needs to happen before forgiveness and letting go (after all, if we don’t hold someone accountable to begin with, then what is there even to forgive?)
4//Perform a releasing ritual. Ritual is a powerful way that we can find closure and healing for experiences and situations that seem impossible to ever gain closure from. By doing something physical, ritual provides a concrete moment that serves as a bridge for us to walk over and into the next phase of our lives.
Here are a couple of suggestions for releasing rituals that I have found to be incredibly powerful in healing my own sexual trauma:
1 – Write a letterto the person who did it (and don’t send it). I know, it’s intense. The thing is … if you have not done something like this already, it is likely that the thoughts and feelings you would communicate directly to this person are rolling around in your head and your body, anyway, and without an outlet.
What we are looking for here is catharsis and closure. It is not meant to be sent to the person, and that being said, it does not have to be respectful or kind in any way. Get it aaaaalllll out. And then, safely destroy it! Rip it up, or light it on fire. Afterwards, make sure you set yourself up with some really lovely after-care: a relaxing walk alone or with a friend, a gentle movie that makes you feel comforted, etc.
2 – Go somewhere in nature. Preferably a body of water (and especially the ocean). Take a stroll to find either a seashell or rock, and place it in your hand. With the object in your hand, charge it up with all of the feelings and experiences of the abuse, and all of the things that have happened as a result of it.
Take a moment to really feel all of that energy and pain moving through and out of your body and into the shell or rock. Then, THROW IT IN THE OCEAN! Boom: it’s done, it’s over. Give yourself some time to sit and have a leisurely walk or maybe even journal after you release this- again, with everything involving your recovery, taking the time for gentle after-care is important.
5//Adjust your sexual expression accordingly. While it may not be the case for everyone, it has been my own, and many of my clients’ experiences that sexual abuse tends to create a polarity of subsequent sexual expression: either way too much, or way too little (basically non-existent).
This is not an invitation to judge yourself, rather to become self aware of your sexuality and sexual patterns from a place of unconditional love. Remember, the extremity is not your fault (re-visit bullet point #3 if you’re beating yourself up).
*For my way too much-ers: Take a vow of celibacy for 3 months (it’s ok: you can still masturbate). During this time, when you do masturbate, take a few breaths and ask to connect to God/Spirit/the Universe (whichever term you prefer) through your sexual energy (and prepare to be blown away!!)
Make a list of 10 other ways to feel loved, outside of engaging in sexual activity with another person, and commit to exploring one of them each week during your temporary celibacy.
*For my non-existent/way too little-ers: Make it a non-negotiable commitment to exploring your sexual nature and opening up to sexual experiences on a bi-weekly basis, working up to sharing yourself with a consenting partner, if it feels right.
Also, dance. Yes, DANCE. Take dance classes that bring the energy down into the lower chakras: African dance, hip hop, pole dancing, etc. Get out of your comfort zone!
6//Invest in healing that is holistic and takes your body into account. We know that the conscious mind governs only 10-20% of the totality of our consciousness. Traditional psychotherapy is typically working with the 10-20% of the conscious mind to try to get to the 80-90% that’s less conscious. Unsurprisingly, I prefer methods that go straight to the 80-90%: reiki, shamanic healing, and meditation. You might also try sound healing, hypnotherapy, tapping, somatic experience, or any other mind-body practice you feel drawn to.
The site that is typically inflicted with a sexual trauma wound for women, trans men, and those assigned-female-at-birth is the vagina, or “yoni.” Mystics and shamans know this place to be the gateway to the universe, and the key to creation of life itself—not only human life as in childbirth, but also the creation of all things, such as personal dreams and manifestations.
In my personal shamanic healing practice, I use a tool called a shamanic extraction, which uses the intelligence of crystals to safely extract pain, fear, and any other energy intrusions that were inflicted on the individual’s yoni during the time of abuse out, followed by the channeling of reiki healing energy into the area. This allows the individual to have agency over their yoni, one of the deepest and most powerful tools for us to create our lives from this place- a place of health, clarity, and integrity.
Another incredibly effective tool I use is shamanic cord cutting, which is a powerful ritual in which we take the cord of energy that is usually still subconsciously or unconsciously connecting the client to their abuser via a vibration of pain, and we release it, and follow up by channeling reiki or healing energy into the area for deep healing.
7//Connect with community. The patriarchy thrives off of separation. Pain and darkness prevail when we are in isolation. This is not normal or natural, and we need matriarchy now—a matriarchy that is for all genders, races, body types, and ages.
It is imperative that in your healing journey, you find some sort of community to join where you feel safe enough to be seen. It can be a shamanic community, a monthly women’s circle, AA, a hiking club—there are tons of things to do and join in this world, both in-person and online.
Don’t do this alone. You can’t do it alone. Other people need you and you need them, and that’s okay. My hope is that we start to live in a world where our emotional needs are no longer judged as being “needy.” We all need each other, and we all heal each other. So let’s do that.
How can embracing your deepest sexy unleash your creative force? In her latest column, Alexandra Roxo shows us that diving into our full sexual power is the key to world domination …
Owning my sexual and creative power, and letting it inform my life and creativity and work, has been revolutionary and radical … despite how much society had told me I’m too loud or too sexual or too freaky or kinky or messy or whatever.
Here are a few of my tried and true techniques for owning your sexual power, your guts, your voice, and your gifts to the world …
FIRST: A little visualization for your viewing pleasure …
Imagine you are a house. Perhaps 5 stories high. Castlelike. Grand. Tall. Well crafted. And each floor and each room is decorated beautifully. Lamps and lights and candles. Beautiful art. Cultivated space. But the first floor, the foundation, is dark, full of cobwebs. Closets locked. Perhaps a corner here and there with a little light that is only turned on “sometimes”—on a special occasion …
Now imagine this floor is your sexual energy. Your life force. Your creative power that is waiting to be stirred deep inside you.
Does it only get stirred in a bed in the dark? Between sheets? With your partner? Or a vibrator? What if you ran through that first floor, saged it out, turned on all the lights, decorated it—made it come to life?
We live in a world of compartmentalization. We shit in another room with a locked door. We carry our money in locked safes and little wallets held close to our bodies. We have sex in a bed in the dark.
When I was younger, my menstrual cycle was WAY off. After some soul searching, I realized that it was most off during the times that I was suppressing my power. Now, if my cycle is late, I look at how I’ve been holding back and “keeping it together?” How can I EMBODY my power, my vision, and my voice more boldly?
Sexual power IS creative power! And it does not work when controlled or locked away. In fact, this is hurting many of us. Disrupting our menstrual flows. Our skin. Causing diseases. Depression … the list goes on.
How might your life change if your sexual energy was present in every moment, every business deal, every Pilates class? Here’s how to awaken your deep sexy and use it to power your mission …
STEP 1// DEFINE YOUR “DEEP SEXY” Sexual energy does NOT have to be defined or encapsulated in the “sexy” of black lingerie. Or being coy, Or performing “sexy.” Or having skinny thighs. Or whispering fantasies at dinner. I LOVE all that but that is JUST one layer.
Deep Sexy to ME is sexual energy as POWER. Holding the key to all creation between your legs. The womb being an infinite pool of ideas and visions of growth. Orgasms healing the world.
A portal to the Divine that you are I are both gifted with.
We begin breaking the compartmentalization of sex as penetration, locked doors, and quiet moments in the dark, by practicing turning it on. No need to stroke a clit. No need to stick it in. Just breathe into that flow. give it space, connect to its depths.
This can be literally visualizing sexual energy as a certain color running through your body. Or connecting it to a scent. Or a song. Find a VISCERAL and SENSORIAL “IN,” and go with it.
That is what lights up the house. Increases financial flow. Health. Radiance. Love. Business growth. The whole house is illuminated.
OKAY NOW YOU GO! Write your own list. What is sexy to YOU?
STEP 2// BELLY BREATH VS. CHEST BREATH This is how you start to see and FEEL your sexuality. Meditate into your pelvis, your guts. Give your whole lower body as much importance as you do your mind, remembering every day about the portal to source energy that lives in there.
This can be practiced through dancing in your undies. Doing deep belly breathing at home in the mirror or with a book on your stomach while watching TV. Or picking points in your day by putting an alert in your cal that says “Am I breathing into my GUTS? My deep BELLY?”
And notice if you’re sucking it in. Let your belly hang out as much as possible, even though it may feel kinda weird! Breathe it open with deep belly breaths instead of shallow chest ones.
STEP 3// WHAT IF YOUR BRILLIANT IDEAS CAME ALL THE WAY FROM DOWN BELOW? Ask yourself “Did I just make this business decision from my mind? My heart? My womb? My balls?”
Regardless of your genitalia or gender identification, let your ideas brew from your depths, the roots, the intimate parts of you. Not the surface layers of your mind.
One way to check if you are truly dropping into your sexual power and living from THERE instead of the mind is to see how much you can FEEL in the moment you are making that decision. Can you feel your clit? Your cervix? Your kundalini vibes? Your balls? Your anus? (Not by literal touching, just the vibes and energy!)
And if you’re not feeling it, THAT’S OK! Try using a Chakrub, doing some PC muscle clenching, or literally start talking to your body and trying to put into words what that part of you is feeling today.
It may sound LOL, but unless you can really identify what your root is feeling, you definitely can’t find your gut intuition or make decisions from there.
STEP 4// GET MESSY AND WILD Look to the most genius creator for wisdom—MOTHER NATURE! She is wild! Messy! Disgusting! Ravenous! Beautiful! Sensual! Vicious!
Messy for me can mean taking a day to hike, laying in a field, walking barefoot, wearing no makeup, peeing outside.
But what does it mean to you? This may mean vision boarding on the floor of bedroom and making a mad genius mess of old magazines. It may mean a week you play with letting your hair be wild and free. Or only wearing long flowy dresses.
Write down 5 things that feel “messy,” aka “outside the box,” to you. One day a week take a “IMA B MESSY AND NOT GIVE A FUCK” practice. So. Fun.
STEP 5// MAKE CONTAINERS FOR YOUR FLOW TO FLOW IN! As you unlock your flow, don’t be afraid to have structures. A set time to meditate. Time to stare into space. Time to journal. To masturbate. Time to roll around on the floor sobbing.
Because when you start to open that flow of energy stored in your pelvis you will feel A LOT. The power can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid. Stay close to friends. Nurture yourself. And most of all … HAVE FUN!
We are deep in the collective process of healing through hundreds of years of collective trauma towards women, towards sexuality, towards, well, A LOT. We will not stay quiet, hating ourselves, being ashamed of being sexual, powerful beings. Let’s do this. TOGETHER.
In Moon Club, our online mentoring program and growth accelerator for your Spirit and Business, you can get help finding your power and voice, and sharing it with the world. Join our “New Moon Ritual Intentions Setting Journey” on April 15th with something to let go of! Last month people were loving it so much that we heard it was “orgasmic” and “completely life changing.” Attend your first New Moon Ritual for FREE by emailing [email protected]. We would love to have you!
As we emerge from our wintry cocoon and head toward the Spring Equinox, how do we keep worldly ambitions aligned with our intuition? Greta Solomon shows us exactly how to support our soul goals by balancing hustle and flow …
There’s never been a better time to be a self-driven woman with big dreams, and a big heart. In the past, we were taught to err on the side of caution when it came to career. When I left my full-time gig to go freelance in 2002, I was warned not to leave gaps in my resumé.
Now, taking a year out is seen as decidedly grown-up. It’s all about the side hustles, taking big leaps, and embracing the highs and lows of being your own boss.
But to truly succeed on your own path, is about more than simply “making it happen.” It also means being in the creative flow. Without mastering this, it’s easy to feel stifled and frustrated, as you try to muscle through inevitable blocks.
In the corporate world, we’re taught to operate in fight or flight mode. Success often means “putting out fires” and dealing with crises. Many of us have absorbed this mentality. That work is all about pushing, striving and achieving linear goals. That it requires stress and strain.
But to get your own business off the ground—and see it thrive—we need to exist in an Alpha brain state. The state of being alert yet relaxed, this is where you can access your intuition, and write, think and speak most freely.
Read on for my tips for dipping into your Alpha, and using your flow to fuel a successful business …
1// Schedule flow time in your diary Meaning blocks of time where you deliberately do activities that create flow—ESPECIALLY when you have deadlines and tons on your “to-do” list. You could have a head-clearing walk, do a workout, or chop some veggies to make a big salad. Cooking, driving, running and showering help you get out of your mind and into your body. Listening to music at 60 beats per minute can also get you in an Alpha state, priming you to do your best work. Find what works for you.
2// Make important decisions when you’re in your flow Five years ago, most of my writing skills training clients were sales teams in the corporate world. So, a coach advised me to call myself a “sales expert” and totally ignore the fact that I taught writing. This was VERY, VERY wrong advice, that led me away from my true path. At the time, I was juggling a new baby and a newly-published book. I was frazzled and couldn’t think straight. I recommend using your flow time to carefully consider your big career choices.
3// Know your personality type, so you can do things YOUR way Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type (you can take a free version HERE)? Having this info means you’re less likely to second guess yourself when it comes to the BIG decisions. For example, I’m an “INFP” type, which means I’m introverted, sensitive and rely on intuition to make choices. I’m unconventional and enjoy working alone, but my empathic nature means I also connect very well with people. Knowing my type has helped me to feel confident about building a business based on writing, speaking and coaching.
4// Plan and plan some more—because creativity also needs a container But don’t just sit at a computer and make spreadsheets. Go on quarterly or yearly planning retreats, where you switch off from everything and map out your vision in both pictures and words. Creativity is truly your secret weapon when it comes to business success. After all, there are no new ideas, products or services—it’s all about your unique spin on things.
5// Sometimes you just need to hustle hard It’s fine to hustle when you need to—when the deadlines are stacked up, opportunities are popping, and there are bills to pay. But do it consciously and mindfully. Keep your time in the Beta energy zone to a minimum. Then schedule plenty of time to rest and recover afterwards—as well as some space to just go with the flow!
Ultimately, there is no short cut to building your own business. But knowing exactly where you’re putting your energy and why, will help to prevent burnout. It’s about learning to protect your sacred creative time, so you can hustle with heart, and create a business that lasts.
Greta Solomon is an author, creative writing coach, business writing trainer and former journalist for British newspapers and magazines. She is the author of “Just Write It! How to Develop Top-Class University Writing Skills” (McGraw-Hill, 2013) and the forthcoming book “Heart, Soul & Sass: Write Your Way to a Fully-Expressed Life” (pre-order it HERE from April 15th for fab bonuses). She lives in South West London with her husband and daughter, runs creative writing workshops for bloggers and the business world, and coaches people to bring their own books to life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
In the first official installment of his monthly column, Queer Hero, Danny Brave shares his journey to discover the name that reflected his true identity. PLUS how you can cast your own name spell …
Over the course of my journey as not only a transgender man, but also as a shamanic healer, I’ve discovered the power of our own names (both given and chosen).
I lived most of my life being called Katie Greene, moving through several different iterations and identity crises, only to discover, or rather re-member, that I am Danny Brave. Now when I say “re-member,” what I actually mean is the opposite of dis-member: to put myself back together, to become more whole.
Read on to discover my name changing story, and discover how you can cast a name spell on your own life …
Releasing my ancestral line In the Fall of 2015, “Katie,” first started to feel like it was not really me any more. After remembering the sexual assault I experienced as a child (read more about my sexual reclamation after incest HERE), the name was feeling more and more like a fake smile—something that I did often when I was living that identity. If you say “Katie” out loud, you’ll notice your mouth even takes the shape of a smile at the “ie” part.
After remembering what had actually happened to me as a kid, there was, not surprisingly, no more fake smiles left in me, and my full birth name “Kaitlin” began to feel more appropriate. This name felt darker, more serious, and more powerful—a reflection of my energy at the time. This was the name I was called when the abuse happened to me, and it facilitated me in re-membering and reclaiming some of the darkest moments of my life.
With “Kaitlin” in place, I started to search for a replacement for “Greene,” a name that belonged to my father and his father—a name that to me denoted false Irish family pride, toxic Catholicism, and all of the lies and abuse that had been passed down my ancestral line. This line would decidedly end with me, and it would end via the ritual of literally releasing this last name and claiming a new one for myself. This change-of-name spell happened gradually over a long period of time …
Was I “Brave” enough? “Brave,” first came to me in December 2015 at the Barnes and Noble in the town where I grew up, where one fateful night I noticed a little green book with the gold shiny words titled “Brave Enough” by Cheryl Strayed winking at me from the shelves.
Strayed’s memoir “Wild” had come to me a few months prior, shortly after the volcanic repressed memory eruption and was like a little twinkling ray of hope from God, a love letter to my soul. It was a story that had a lot of trauma, death, and addiction—that was totally true, and often brutally honest. In her memoir, Cheryl literally gives herself the last name “Strayed” and changes it legally to reflect more honestly whom she knew she really was. Someone who had, in more ways than one, strayed.
I opened “Brave Enough” and read: “Hello, fear. Thank you for being here. You’re my indication that I’m doing what I need to do.” I wasn’t leaving without the store without it.
Dancing in my own words … “Brave Enough” came with me in my bag to India a month later, where I was attending a women’s dance-healing retreat, and a self-imposed writer’s retreat.
Every morning I would dance for 2-3 hours with a beautiful group of women, and every afternoon I would write alone, mostly poetry, and sometimes for hours and hours. It seemed like the energy of “Brave” had already started working on me, giving me the courage to re-claim my authentic voice, and I wrote and wrote about everything as honestly as I could handle at that time. I transmuted abuse memories that spontaneously arrived in the morning dance class, channeling those feelings and vibrations into words, vomiting the poison out of my system.
During my time in India, without thinking much about it, I switched my email address to reflect the last name “Brave.” My old last name just kind of slipped off—like the wind blowing a piece of fabric off of a rock. It was just so ridiculously obvious that “Brave” was my name, and that it now belonged to me.
As I prepared for the journey back to the States, I realized I could never go back to my parents’ home. No longer sharing a last name with any family member, “Brave” carried me onward, forcing me to individuate myself from my family and preparing me to stand on my own two feet.
Becoming Danny Brave When I started to realize that I was a guy (which is really a whole other story), I was initially so uncomfortable with myself and scared that I wanted to die. At the same time, there was an immediate ease with which my first name arrived—it was Danny. I just kind of knew, it was a lightning bolt that zapped the crown of my head in meditation.
But the name and my body and life at that time felt too at odds, and I was living too far away from where I knew I could feel supported enough to transition. Desperate for some sort of change, but not yet able to feel safe enough to fully step into Danny, I switched my first name again, this time to “Kate.”
I took a part-time gig as an assistant to a jewelry designer. “Ooo, I love your last name … I think that ‘brave’ means a female warrior” the woman I worked for told me. I Googled it and discovered that it in fact meant MALE warrior. “Oh dear god,” I thought with terror. I was being called out, pushed out of the closet, by my own last name! As I started to prepare myself to face the fact that I was not, and never have been, a woman, I knew that “Kate,” a female name and the one my dad would use whenever he yelled at me, would have to go.
When I showed up to my first trans-masculine support group, late and shaking, I simply said “I’m Brave.” As I would to the random barista, just to practice having a different name with no clear gender. Just to have to say it out loud to remember I was courageous, to cling to the one true part of me over which I had ownership.
The affirmation of my last name would eventually lead me to admitting to the real first one, Danny, a month or so later in my support group.
The vibration of Danny has lead me home to my ultimate truth: that of a flamboyant little gay boy who loved to play dress up, loved watching figure skating, loved to paint, draw, and dance. The real me, only now a man. Sometimes the most loveable parts of ourselves are the most hard-won.
I was recently joking with a new friend, saying to her that I gave myself the last name of “Brave” so that I would constantly have to strive to live up to it. “I don’t think that’s true,” she said. “Names are spells. You don’t even have to try, it’s just you now, and it’s how your life will unfold.” Looking back on this story, I can see that she was right.
How to cast your own name spell Your name(s) (past and present) carry a meaning and vibration that is worth exploring! Being curious about what is underneath your name may lead you to a deeper understanding of your family dynamic, about what remains to be healed within you, and about your life path and purpose.
The following exercises are for you to explore your true feelings about your name(s) so that you can either reclaim it with your own meaning, intention, or vibration, or maybe even choose a new one for yourself!
1// Call your own name Start with either your first or last name—whichever one you want to explore and play with first. Then, if you wish, you can follow up with your second name:
Close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart. Take a few deep breaths. Say your first name three times. What do you feel? Does this name feel like you? What do you feel in your body when you say it? What comes up for you? Honor whatever it is and trust your feelings. Know that if your name doesn’t feel like a match for the real you, there is one that is.
2// Free associate You can do this with your current name, or play with a different one that you have in mind.
Take out a piece of paper and a pen. At the top, make two columns if you don’t have a middle name, and three if you do. Under each column, without thinking, write stream-of-consciousness based off of each of your names (if you are trans-identified, I recommend you do this with both your birth name and your chosen one). Then, take a moment to read your associations. Our names carry so much energy, don’t they?!
3// Take an inner child name inventory You may want to use a pen and piece of paper for this one as well:
Consider or write down answers to the following: Was there a name that you really loved as a kid? Is there a name that you really love now? What did you name your pets, your dogs, your dolls when you were little? Is there a celebrity or friend whose name you admire? Is there a name you have always loved and wish that you had? What would happen if you tried it on for a minute, like trying on a new dress or shirt?
4// Play with your gender identity Don’t take this one too seriously or freak yourself out—try to have fun and maintain an attitude of light playfulness! Now, let’s do some name-drag:
If you identify as a woman, imagine for a moment that you are a man. What would your name be? If you are a man, imagine for a moment that you are a woman. What would your name be? What does it feel like to call yourself by this pretend name? What spell would this name cast on your life?
5// Know that you are worthy of your real name In the USA (in the larger cities in particular), we are so privileged to live at a time where we can exercise our free will to become more of the person that we really are. Know that if you are unhappy with your current name, or if you don’t feel like it is truly yours, you can, in fact, change it. The same goes for your life! If you don’t like it, you do, in fact, have the power to change it.
Beyond gender identity, I hope that you feel you are worthy of the real you. You deserve to love your name, which is to say, you deserve to love yourself. I know that if you follow your heart and trust your gut, you will find (or re-member) your real name.
**If you are a transgender individual living in the U.S., please visit my list of resources for trans individuals HERE
Danny Brave is a shamanic healer, writer, public speaker, and artist. In his private practice, he specializes in helping women and individuals assigned female at birth overcome the affects of sexual trauma. He conducts monthly LGBTQIA Shamanic Healing Circles at Brooklyn’s Maha Rose (sign up for the next one HERE) with the intention of creating safe, sober spaces for queer people to heal, and to amplify marginalized voices. He loves to paint, dance, and spend time in nature.
Looking to add some spice to your divination practice? Alessandra Calderin gives us a crash course in Sex Tarot 101, and uncovers how you can start casting cards between the sheets …
The Tarot is a mirror and a tool that reflects archetypal imagery that spans the spirals of the human experience. It allows us to connect to ourselves (and our Selves) because we intuitively understand these images. Sexuality is as primal and instinctual in us as the need to eat, sleep and breathe, and so the cards can reflect the ways in which our power, intuition, and connection manifest through our sexuality.
So WTF is a “sex tarot” reading?? There are so many ways to draw cards and create spreads to explore sex and desire! Here are 4 ways to get started …
1// Pull a “desire” spread. Pull cards asking what your subconscious desires are, what might be blocking them, and how to work through that block. The possibilities are endless!
Start with a simple 6 card spread:
Card 1: What is my heart’s desire? Card 2: What is blocking me from fulfilling it? Card 3: What is my deeper unconscious desire? Card 4: What is preventing me from seeing this? Card 5: How can I balance and integrate these desires? Card 6: What can I shed to make space for their fulfillment?
2// Do a sacral chakra reading. Explore the seat of your sexuality by diving into the 4 “sides” of this chakra. The more you look at the pelvis and your desire as linked to your creativity, the more you start feeling how they ebb and flow together, and the more tools you have to work through both.
Card 1: Front of the sacral chakra. How does your sexuality appear to others? What is your exhibition style? Card 2: Right side. How do you manifest sexuality and creativity in the world? Card 3: Back. What experience of your sexuality do you hold onto? Card 4: Left side. How do you receive creative inspiration, the desire of others, and pleasure?
3// Masturbate with the Majors. You can also use Tarot for masturbation and sex magic practices by meditating on the archetypes of the Major Arcana or court cards.
Choose whatever cards are ruled by planets or signs that show up strongly in your birth chart, where the Moon is hanging out, what astro season we’re in, or just pull a Major and start working with it at random. You might even choose one you have trouble with (like when I pulled Justice- I was bummed by how unsexy that card might be on the surface, but there was powerful medicine in that feeling and the resulting meditation!)
Most recently, for the Super Blue Blood Moon in Leo on 1/31 during Aquarius season, I meditated on Strength (because Leo rules it) and The Star (because Aquarius rules). I let those two figures guide me as I touched, explored, played with my hands and my favorite toy (Njoy Pure Wand). As I was getting ready to orgasm, these two images reassured me that my sexuality and desire were a gift, and sacred sources of feminine power.
4// And channel the deck’s sexiest cards to unlock pure magic! I could probably make an argument for the sexual energy of every card, but this is a good place to start. Explore how you feel about these cards and the kind of pleasure they channel, or isolate the pack and draw one as your teacher of the moment.
*She/He pronouns refer to the archetypal genders of masculine and feminine energy. These figures are figuratively gendered, but anatomically genderless.
:: Strength :: In the Thoth, Strength is actually called Lust. Some interpretations say it’s the taming of desire, but I would say it’s more like mastery over desire. Taming connotes that there is too much desire and you need to control it. In this context, I see her as the master of her desire in a world that denies her that power. Your desire becomes sacred fuel the moment you master it.
:: The Empress :: The Empress is receptive. She is how I learned to receive pleasure without having to think about reciprocating in that moment. She allows herself to be fully nourished, filled to the brim with love, pleasure, and affection, but she also rides and caresses like a goddess. She bestows the gift of her mouth upon you and it’s like drinking an unearthly elixir with her kisses and nibbles and expertly executed oral.
:: The Emperor :: The Emperor might be a surprise for this, but as the Empress’s counterpart, he allows her to unleash. He’s like a very good Dom, providing the container for every expression of kink you might wish to explore safely. You want to be tied up, spanked, penetrated in out of the ordinary ways? He reads your body language, pushes the edges, and knows your limits before you even need to utter a safe word. The master of boundaries, he’s here to teach you how to consent so enthusiastically you forget what ambiguity feels like.
:: The Moon :: The Moon represents the wild woman running naked in the woods and howling at the Moon- the deep waters of sexuality and mystery. She is a shapeshifter. A wolf. A mountain lion. She visits you in the dead of night and brings your to orgasm in the dream realm, and when you wake up the memory is hazy but you know something powerful has been touched inside you. She breathes underwater and is as mysterious as the bottom of the sea. You know her without words.
:: The Devil :: The Devil can sometimes deal with a repression of desire, and to me has always had a BDSM vibe to it. I think this one depends on your relationship to that kind of imagery and sexual practice, but as a Capricorn (The Devil is ruled by Capricorn), and a big fan of power play, The Devil can sometimes be a freeing card. Reclaiming the divinity and balance of the shadow, of words like slut, whore, bitch, freak, breaks the chains that bind us to our own fear and repression. It’s a balancing act. The Devil reminds us that there are more layers and sides to it.
:: The Lovers :: The Lovers feels like an obvious one because you have to love all the sides of yourself like a lover before you can love anyone else. Getting there is anything but obvious or easy, though. Use a mirror. Look at yourself. This is the real shit. The deep work. It takes a lot of unraveling and excavation to be able to love your body and yourself just as you are. Your best Lover will look back at you eventually.
:: Queen of Pentacles :: Queen of Pentacles is the master of the home and body. An independent woman, she knows what she likes and moves through the material world with the grace of an angelic ballerina. Queen of Wands is known to be the most sexual queen in the deck, but Queen of Pentacles knows pleasure like no one else. Part earth angel, part water nymph, she creates the primordial mud that those Dead Sea masks get their magic from.
:: Knight of Cups :: Knight of Cups will go down on you first without being asked. Inviting this kind of energy into your bedroom, the person who will massage and caress you slowly, who dreams of drinking you like you’re water in the desert, is clutch in truly sinking into pleasure. Find you a man (or woman or non-binary) who can give it to you good.
:: Page of Wands :: Page of Wands is bursting with potential energy, often creative and sexual. She’s ready and willing to try new toys and discover what she likes. She’s the teen who just discovered her clitoris and hasn’t been told there is something wrong with the amazing feeling that swims through her body when she touches it. She just got her period and is ready to finger paint with her blood. She will make out behind the bleachers and let herself love completely. She writes love songs and sings them without the slightest bit of embarrassment.
:: Ace of Cups :: Ace of Cups is a pure gift of water, love, communication, and intuition. I often see it as an invitation to masturbate with more loving intention. To swim in your waters and to practice accepting the water gifts from elsewhere.
:: 10 of Cups :: 10 of Cups is a literal orgasm. It could be something that feels as good as an orgasm, a self pleasure practice that’s out of this world, or a partner that takes you to the places of rainforest waterfalls and fireworks.
Alessandra is an intuitive healing facilitator, tarot practitioner, yoga teacher, writer, poet, comedienne and performer based in New York. She will be teaching her Tarot Immersive later this month and currently teaches yoga at Three Jewels, focusing her attention on energetic sensitivity and the pelvic floor. Explore her offerings at Boneseed, and follow her on Instagram.
Amidst all the external noise, how can you tell what’s coming from the “real” you? Samantha Moyo reveals how to hear the voice of your soul and open a direct channel to the messages that count …
“You are gold, GOLD! Always believe in your Soul. You’ve got the power to know…” – Wise words from a 1970s Pop Guru.
Want more soulgasms? Connecting with our soul means more confidence, clarity, intimacy, sensuality, creativity, sexual empowerment, passion, heartgasms, tribegasms, naturegasms and if you’re lucky, multiple-orgasm orgasms! Want more of that? Of course you do.
I’ve included a ritual below to help you call the voice of your Soul back in, plus all the ways I know when it’s my Soul speaking to me—and my hope is that you reach the end of this article with the realization that you don’t actually need me to tell you jack shit, since your Soul has all the answers you could ever need …
But first, I am because we are My last name, Moyo, means Heart/Soul in a few different African languages. I grew up in Zimbabwe where life was a combination of breath-taking adventures, community celebrations and sunsets … and moments of what felt like hell. Poverty, Mugabe’s dictatorship, inflation, family drama, fuel shortages and AIDS spreading through families like wildfire.
In a climate like this, you learn very quickly about the importance of human spirit; rituals, tradition and ceremony that connect you to spirit are introduced to a child from day one. And with this comes an understanding of the word Soul, as well as the Ubuntu philosophy, which says: “I am because we are.”
Concepts of love, oneness, tribe, and generosity of spirit are infused in the blueprint of my people, to the point these are not even topics of conversation. When things simply are, they go unspoken. Like the sacred love you have for a beloved after 30 years of marriage.
The unspoken, hidden truth Some of my favorite childhood experiences were the times I’d spend with Grandpa in the garden. Hanging out with him meant sitting still, in silence, and staring at the plants and flowers. He’d sit there for hours and I’d challenge myself to sit with him for as long as possible. Little did I realize that Grandpa was teaching me to appreciate silence, nature, and the art of listening within. When we weren’t silent, he taught me African Proverbs.
In hindsight, all this time with Grandpa was teaching me to tune into my inner wisdom and read between the lines.
I remember from a young age understanding that we can see more than what others may see and we can see more than we share. That there seem to be unspoken truths to life that we all kept hidden away. Like the way my Soul could tell when an adult was lying about something to appease me, or knew that trying dangerous tricks on my bike and playing in the rain could get me ill (but still couldn’t stop me trying!)
The voice of my Soul in childhood was waaaaay less conservative than now. If my childish Soul could have her way, I’d escape the office daily to climb London’s scaffolding sites just for the fun for it!
A ritual to reclaim your soul Before learning how to know when our Soul is speaking to us, there’s some prep we’ve all gotta do, which is to reclaim our connection with Soul and learn how to tune in easily!
(*And by the way, I still lose touch with my Soul daily—like when I find myself practicing mindlessness in the form of social media scrolling, grabbing a sandwich with ingredients I “shouldn’t” be eating, or daydreaming about having a sacred sexual awakening with Cara Delevingne and Danai Gurira).
Here’s how to start:
1// Place thy ass on the floor / a chair
2// Smile and feel into the heart. If this feels weird, just think of a heart-warming experience you’ve had
3// Use “boyband-reaching-up hand gestures” to bring your soul into your heart (repeat x 8)
4// Close your eyes and sit in silence for ***as long as it takes*** with your attention on your heart space. (“You can’t hurry love, no you just have to wait!” said another pop guru).
5// Only open your eyes when you have felt your essence, your soul, your spirit, your passion, your glow, your fire, any hint of aliveness that feels greater than the incessant chatter of the mind. This feeling might resemble a moment of excitement, intrigue, elation, or joyful curiosity.
6// Take MORE time if it’s required. Kindness, compassion, and gentleness, are the way to this connection
**Bonus step: Book an appointment with your “Soul Doctor” Another way of reclaiming your soul connection is to prescribe yourself some Soul Medicine—meaning anything you can keep in your metaphorical tool kit for getting into your Soul space. Examples might be music, smelling essential oils, crystal bathing, nature walks, yoga, meditation, dancing, stroking your face. Anything that triggers the soft, raw, authentic You within you. Yes, you’ve got this! No health insurance required.
But how do you know if it’s your Soul speaking to you? We are all receiving internal messages and ideas all of the time, and it’s super important to distinguish what is Soul, what is ego, what is influence from the external world, and what is just plain old crap.
For example, feeling horny one night I texted my ex because I thought my Soul was telling me we needed to have break-up sex! Errr, yeah, this was not the Soul, it was pure horniness / ego.
The reason I could tell is because my ex laughed at me and had not had the same message from her Soul! What I was experiencing was loneliness and some vulnerability, and framing this as my Soul speaking to me gave me a romantic way out. #soulnotsoul
Here’s how to know it really IS the voice of your Soul …
1// There are no maybes.Ask yourself three times if it is your Soul. Close your eyes, place your hand on your heart and ask, “is this my Soul?” Then pause for an answer and repeat three times. The “yes” has to be clear and be a full body “yes.” A hint of doubt is “no.” “Maybe” is also “no.”
2// Messages from the Soul are loud and clear. When they are ignored they keep coming back to you. So that thing that won’t go away—yep, it’s your Soul calling.
In August I was meant to go to Burning Man to host a gig with Carl Cox and then spend a weekend at a gathering at Harvard Divinity School. Two very important things for my work life. Then a message came through to cancel both trips. I tried to ignore the message but it kept coming back to me. My body was experiencing the message in every cell and it was clear I had to cancel the US trip. Cancelling was the best thing I did in 2017, as I ended up going on an unforgettable trip through Africa. My Soul fucking knew!
3// Your Soul is in it for the long-haul. Your Soul is non-biased and gives messages for your long-term wellbeing, not necessarily short-term. The messages can be obscured and may not seem urgent, but listening will help you make choices in the present that will benefit you further along in your Soul journey. Your Soul is a Compass that is Connected with the frequency of everything else in existence. It therefore has the coordination/timing of when you are meant to do certain things—exactly in alignment with the rest of world, for everyone’s greatest good.
4// It’s not all “me, me, me!” Your Soul is pure love so sometimes a message has other people or the planet’s requirements to share with you. Hence soul-synched people are always sharing, spreading and uplifting others. You’ll know you’re listening when you find yourself acting this way too! When we’re working from a Soul space we tend to be driven by purpose, and pleasure comes from the joy of contributing positively to our world. Yes, you become a bit of an urban-hippy and no matter how much you hide it, you may find yourself being super compassionate, giving, loving, in flow, while coming up with ways to help the homeless.
5// You’re in an “unfuckwithable” space.When your Soul is speaking you are in an empowered, clear, confident, “unfuckwithable” space. This means your Soul may be telling you to say “no” more often, cut out the haters, and protect yourself. Your Soul is wild and strong and has no filter. Your Soul is loyal, direct, and loving, but doesn’t take your shit.
The relationship with your Soul will be the one that brings all your dreams to life. Listen even when it’s hard. Listen even when it’s not what your want to hear. Listen even when it’s takes you out of your comfort zone. Then pass the learned wisdom onto the next person.
Nothing I have said is rocket science, and you will develop your own ways of knowing when your Soul is speaking to you. This is the only true knowing or knowledge there is to attain in life. And you can’t google that shit!
**Want to jumpstart your Soul connection? Dive into Samantha’s digital course for Community Building and Entrepreneurship HERE.
Samantha Moyo is a wellness inventor, speaker, and mentor best known for founding Morning Gloryville, the sober dance experience that changed the face of clubbing in the UK. With the ability to help anyone connect with their purpose, Sam works as a wellness consultant for those looking for playfulness, wisdom, strategy, or new networks. Follow her on Instagram and connect with her at [email protected]
Forget plasticky mats and badly lit yoga studios. Writer, director, artist, and transformational coach, Alexandra Roxo, tells you how to make sacred sexy, and create healing as art …
Magic feasts & dark chocolate canoodles … I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life working as a writer, director, and artist. At age 21, I created an immersive theatre experience, where the music, the aromas, and colors allowed people to be completely lost in the moment, forgetting who they were.
For a New Year’s Soiree in Portland, OR, in 2007, I hand dyed invites with beet juice. I instructed everyone to arrive in white. I decorated the house with vintage candlesticks. Made little tents out of sheets for couples to canoodle in, with books of erotica and dark chocolate. Throughout the night there were surprise musical acts. Everyone dancing! And in the morning there was a feast around a long table, where declarations were spoken. It was 48 hours of Magic. A retreat into Love. And this way of crafting experiences has continued with me.
Birthday parties, events, rituals. I can “direct” and make art out of any part of my life. And my healing work is no different. I see healing as art.
Full body healing & healing as art … When I think of healing spaces and rooms, I often think of bad lighting. Sagging couches. Yoga studios with plastic mats and water bottles and the same Kunda tunes on repeat. And as a healer and a director, I want nothing more than to make the healing experience a full body, full sensory experience of art, delight and great pleasure!
I’ve had practice crafting this in our Moon Club meetups. Just last month, myself, Gaby Herstik and Kaitlyn Kaerheart— the LA pillars of Moon Club— crafted an evening of healing as living art, the whole night directed by me, like a Mistress of Ceremonies and a High Priestess extraordinaire!
We titled the event “There is a Light that Never Goes Out,” after The Smiths song. People arrived to candlelight. Wearing black. I opened with a monologue and setting of the space, an incantation, a dropping in. We were serenaded by Kaitlyn’s sweet voice. Like an angel! Then we shared stories in the dark. We received a magical Gong Bath from North and Nomad, and hands-on healings and oils from Kaitlyn, Gaby and I. The night was a piece of theatre. A true ritual, with every detail intact. No small talk. No chatter. No same-old Trader Joe’s snacks!
Mix your sacred with your gorgeous … This is how I will be crafting ALL my healing experiences from now on. Healing is getting a new look. Sex. Art. Fashion. Theatre. No more yoga studios and therapy rooms. I’ll be leading healing work on beaches. In gorgeous living rooms. In the forest. Sacred acts, dedicated to the Divine! A celebration of human existence. A return to the way we once healed and worshipped. Before the puritans took the fun out of it!
And you can DIY mini experiences for yourself and your friends anytime! No more pot luck dinner dates. How about hosting something fabulous and fun and experimental? It takes less efforts than you’d think to turn a night with friends into something magical and memorable.
Here’s how to create your own artistic healing soirée … 1// Create your event around a theme. This could be in line with the Moon. An Equinox. A certain ritual you’ve read about and feel inspired to lead. Or your own Solar Return!
2// Art direct the shit out of it! Make Pinterest boards. Choose colors. Start to envision and most importantly to feel the world you want to create.
3// Create a run-of-play. Do you want to put love notes in secret spots for people? Create a hot seat for Compliment Showers? Put sexy questions into a hat for people to answer? Invite a musician to stop by? Have someone lay down and get an 8-hand massage? Get creative and map out a time-line. Imagine the colors. The smells. No hummus and chips and no Pandora on shuffle! Get specific.
4// Ask for help. Get a friend on board to help you execute. This is your Assistant Director. Love them and have fun together. Send them a gift after!
5// Send those invites and test it out. The first one may be clunky. Maybe the music didn’t come on at the right moment. Someone got the dress code wrong. But have faith! Things will get more clean and clear as your faith in your ability to direct gets stronger. When you commit to bringing YOUR presence is when you’ll inspire others to elevate into their own greatness, too. I promise!
In 2018, I’ll be creating my most ambitious healing as art experience to date—leading a Transformational Healing Journey for six women. And I have two spots left! It begins February 1 and will entail a RADICAL six-month healing journey of magic and art and sexiness. A true return to healing and transformation as your own greatest art form!
Our journey will include SIX fully art-directed, 2-day retreats, which I’ll be co-leading with some of the most incredible practitioners from my own healing journey—many of whom I’ve written about for this column. We’ll be dancing with serpents. Suspended by ropes. Sitting in sacred tea ceremony. Diving into the wisdom of plant medicine. Taking cedar baths in the desert. Doing heart-opening work with the Divine Masculine (in divine man form!) And so much more.
Email Alexandra at [email protected] to receive all info and an application! Program begins 2/1. First retreat is 2/10-2/11.
Can meditation and visionary medicine break cycles of addiction, trauma, and poverty? Elyssa Jakim sits down with the makers of new documentary Curato talk alternative healing as a tool for empowerment …
“When you find this disciplined practice, you discover that you can support yourself—you can be a sovereign being. That’s the big takeaway from medicine work or any of these other modalities: they help you find a way to stand up for yourself and to know when to ask for help”—Yolanda Frausto
Cura is a feature length documentary in progress that tells the story of Yolanda and Donny, a Mexican-American mother and son breaking cycles of addiction, trauma, and poverty using community, meditation, and visionary and alternative medicine. When Yolanda loses her younger son while in police custody, she strives to save her other son, Donny, from addiction and the possibility of suicide.
ELYSSA JAKIM: You call Cura an “An evocative soul portrait of a mother and her son healing generations of family trauma with natural and alternative medicine.” What is a soul portrait?
ISMAIL ALI: With this film, we want to show people that there are methods to healing that are beyond the body; that require a relationship between the body and the mind, and even the spirit. As a form of soul portraiture, the film is a snapshot of the lives of Yolanda and Donny. So, it’s about their lives in a mundane way, but it is also about them as spiritual beings—a portrait of their spirits. We’re saying this is a look at who they are at their core, framed by them living in Oakland and coming from poverty.
EJ: How did the title “Cura” come about? It seems like a word with multiple meanings. What does it mean to you?
YOLANDA FRAUSTO: To me “cura” means “here’s how we heal together. Here’s how you can find healing in yourself through my story.” There’s no one cure. It’s like the grief process—it’s a fact of life that we all go through it, but nobody can tell you exactly how it’s going to happen, you have to figure it out. I come from a background where it’s common for somebody to get stabbed or shot, overdose, or commit suicide and we don’t talk about it. So to be able to talk about grief is where the name “cura” helps. It means “let’s heal from what’s too hard to deal with and let’s do it together.” It plants the seed for healing.
EJ: How did you discover natural medicine, Yolanda?
YF: I got sober from drugs in 2005. I needed to change my life because I was headed in a really bad direction and I just stopped using. Three years later, I was working in a hotel in San Francisco and I learned about yoga from a woman doing a teacher training there. I started practicing, eventually up to six days a week. Then I got really serious about meditation. About a year later, I found plant medicine and I was like “Oh, this is my jam!” I felt that my whole life happened the way that it did so that I could find this as a spiritual practice. All of these things fell into my path, I didn’t seek any of it out, but inside of me I knew I was ready.
EJ: How has plant medicine helped you work through a trauma?
YF: It allowed me to have that one-on-one communing time with spirit that people can also find in prayer or in a deep meditation practice. I found the medicine around the time my mom became sick with ALS, and when I lost my son, I was already in the medicine community. Both times that I lost family members, I found that I had this community of people praying for me, showing up for me, bringing me food. I’d never had that kind of support before and they really taught me what it is to be supported. Also when you find this disciplined practice, you discover that you can support yourself—you can be a sovereign being. That’s the big takeaway from medicine work or any of these other modalities: they help you find a way to stand up for yourself and to know when to ask for help.
EJ: Do you believe that you have this kind of medicine work or curandera work in your ancestry?
YF: I hear the land where my great grandparents come from is peyote lands. So somehow I have a funny feeling that my great grandmother has been guiding me throughout my life and brought me home to the traditions by showing me a path. I believe strongly in the spirit world and how they lead us back to what’s home for us. When I was a kid, my grandma would cure us with folk remedies. And now I’m that person. I know the recipes and natural remedies, I know what to do. I feel like it was something that was instilled in me, but that no one taught me. I’m always saying “There’s a tea for that!” My sons would say “Oh, you’re just a witch.”
EJ: As plant medicine gets more popular, what kind of responsibility do people need to be taking when they take the medicine or administer it? Is it something you believe can find a place in a more Western medical mindset?
IA: Donny and Yolanda have experienced a tremendous amount of trauma as a result of simply being Mexican-American people who grew up in a place with huge amounts of drugs and violence, and which was not set up for them to have access to power or influence. I believe the strong pushes to decriminalize or medicalize or otherwise create access to pant medicines are in many ways responses to that harm.
So how can you leverage this harmful system to bring about some sort of benefit to the people who have suffered this exact kind of trauma? We need to take an honest look at what will be necessary to make this possible, and I think that during the next five or ten years we’re going to really crystallize what those systems look like.
EJ: Does the film speak to the phenomenon of wellness practices and techniques being inaccessible to people who aren’t of a particular ethnicity, or of a particular socioeconomic background?
IA: That’s actually why I started working on the film. These beautiful practices often require you to have resources—at the very least to be able to afford to take time off to care for your own mind. So many people are limited in this way. So accessibility is real, colonialism is real, and being aware of all these concepts and then shifting our behavior in line with addressing them is really important. The film is really about two people who are deciding to do some really serious work to break the cycles of their lineage, despite the fact that they don’t have the time and resources.
EJ: Did you find the process of filmmaking itself to be a kind of healing?
YF: I was able to process grief in a way that I did not know was possible. I reenacted the scene when I was driving and got the phone call from the coroner about my son. After we shot it, I cried for about an hour and then felt so much relief. I only got to process my grief in that visceral way because I was part of this film-making process. How else could you act out something in your life? Whenever things become challenging to film, I know it is creating space for me and my family to process. It’s hard to have these conversations but we’ve also found a way to communicate differently while filming.
EJ: What would you most like to see for the film?
IA: We hope people will be inspired to involve their own communities in it. We want people to watch this and to talk to the people in their lives about what all of these themes mean to them. We really think that yes, all of these healing modalities themselves are great, but part of the reason that Yolanda and Donny are where they are now is because of the community in their lives.
YF: I believe it will speak to specific people, who find something in it to help them. Maybe it just means they’ll find a way to say, “I can talk to my family, this isn’t so hard.” Quite a few friends have told me, “for you to come out and tell your story really gives me hope, trust, and faith in a future for myself and my family.” The goal was for my story to help other people heal.
Forget your middle-school collection of holograms. Body Vibes are grown-up, Now Age magic stickers designed to change your frequency for optimal health …
What if you could tap into the mind/body connection with just one touch?
When we first heard about the new sticker collection from Body Vibes, we could not have been more intrigued. The stickers have been designed to invite more self-love, soothe anxiety, or up your creative game. All you need to do is apply one of their super sexy stickers, emblazoned with unicorns, mermaids, third eyes, and more.
And then just let the sub-harmonic signals do the rest …
Wait … WTF?!
Uh yeah, we needed to get the full low down on how these babies work, too! So here’s what we learned when we sat down to chat with the babes behind Body Vibes …
Science meets magic: Because you’re electric, baby Just like all of nature, every part of our bodies exists in a state of vibration. When we’re healthy, the body broadcasts overall harmonic health. But when an unhealthy frequency sets up shop in our body, it creates a disharmony we call “disease.”
Similar to crystal healing and Reiki, Body Vibes “Sacred Six” Smart Stickers are designed to bring us back into optimal frequency, based on the basic belief that we are electrical and energetic beings, and that it’s possible to move blocked energy.
How? The stickers have been programmed by scientists with actual frequency signatures taken from organic and living botanicals in a form that our body’s own electricity can read and mimic.
The actual science part Bio engineers capture frequencies found in nature. These are then condensed into the same unit of frequency found in the human body, and imprinted into special Mylar material that can hold an energetic flux for two years.
Each sticker is then embedded with up to 33 distinctive vibration patterns, including one of the “Solfeggio” frequencies. With roots in the Gregorian chants of the early Middle Ages, Solfeggio frequencies come from the pure tonal notes that made up the ancient musical scale, and are said to have harmonizing effects on the body as they unite us with Divine.
Oh yeah … science + magic= energetic nutrition for your cells
The back story Body Vibes founder Leslie Kritzer was first introduced to the technology when her husband’s naturopathic doctor gave him a bio-energy disc to help manage his arthritic pain. After his pain was dramatically reduced with no apparent side effects, she immediately started to utilize them to manage her own chronic anxiety.
After a month, she became aware of the little things—less road rage, more patience, more relaxation and ease. The big “aha” moment came when she decided to quit for a few days. By day 3 of sticker-free life, she was feeling much more anxious again and able to identify her “OCD” thinking in a brand new way.
How do I tell if they’re working for me? Since all of our bodies are different, the technology can affect everyone differently. For example, the more energizing blends may leave you feeling immediately stimulated, while others may not notice the change until after they remove their sticker and realize how productive and energetic they felt. The same goes for the calming frequencies—the effect for most people is immediate and for others, becomes apparent after the sticker has been removed.
*Read Numinous Founder Ruby’s Body Vibes verdict at the end of the post!
The Sacred Six: Stick to how you want to feel Leslie and her partner Madison DeClercq (who also own hip LA skincare line Skin Worship) designed the different Body Vibes stickers based on the chakra system.
Each of our chakras vibrates at a different frequency—from the lowest, deepest, slowest at the root to the highest and fastest at the crown.
So, how do you want to feel? Pick it and stick it!
Less Anxious (Root Chakra): Stick this lightening-bolt-emblazoned Anti-Anxiety hummingbird on to liberate guilt and fear, and reduce feelings of nervousness.
Empowered (Sacral Chakra): Create lasting change with the endurance and empowerment of the open-palmed Energy sticker
Loved (Solar Plexus Chakra): Transform your self-care practice and summon miracles with this gilded heart Self-Love sticker.
Connected to others (Heart Chakra): Heal conflict and harmonize relationships with a lounging mermaid At the Beach blend.
Focused (Throat Chakra): A golden pyramid and third eye imprint on the Focus sticker increase productivity, and enhances expression, creativity, and problem-solving.
Gorgeous (Third Eye): Unicorn power restores spiritual order, and reflects light, beauty, peace, and strength in the Beauty sticker.
MY WEEK GETTING HIGH ON (BODY) VIBES by Ruby Warrington
Obviously, we had to put Body Vibes stickers to the test—and so I decided to wear a different one for each day this week. Read on for the verdict!
MONDAY Mondays have been coming around WAY too fast lately (anybody??) and I kind of wanna carry on the weekend vibes, so I go straight for the new Flower Power stickers—designed to promote “relaxation, coping skills, and muscle relaxation” (and emblazoned with a cannabis leaf). My afternoon is pretty chill, and that evening I find myself giggling all the way thought Mindhunter. Huh? I also have to eat an extra piece of avo toast before bed. #Munchies?!
TUESDAY A busy day of meetings means time to up the ante with the Energy sticker. Notably, my usual afternoon dip doesn’t happen and I’m able to stay super chatty and … energized … for two back-to-back podcast interviews. That night I wake at 4.30am and can’t go back to sleep, and find myself peeling the sticker off in an attempt to stop my mind whirring with tomorrow’s to-do list.
WEDNESDAY A bad night’s sleep is not gonna help me ace the first promo push for our New Year, Nu You retreat, followed by a 2-hour in-depth business call, another podcast interview, and cooking dinner for a friend this eve. What I need is some Focus! I slap the sticker featuring a pyramid with an evil eye right above my heart. WOW. Not only do I power through all the above, I also create a super-detailed 20-story IG promo for the retreat, and manage to fit in a yoga session before dinner. That night … I wake up, mind racing, at 3.30am! I feel like I spent the day downing espresso.
THURSDAY Chatting with Numinous assistant editor Bess about our Body Vibes post, she tells me that the “strong coffee” effect is apparently a common way some of the stickers are described—and on the pack, “sensitive types” ARE advised to wear the stickers further away from the heart. That must be me. Feeling exhausted from two nights with no sleep, I opt for the Anti-Anxiety sticker today. Perfect for back-to-back meetings with three of my favorite women. I find myself focusing 100% on enjoying the moment with them, and barely thinking about the emails I know are stacking up in my inbox.
FRIDAY I still didn’t sleep great last night, and woke up with a stiff neck—so it’s back to Flower Power for me (which I place on my left shoulder right where it hurts). It is Friday, after all!
THE VERDICT Some of it could be psychosomatic, sure, but I have definitely noticed subtle shifts in my energy using the stickers this week. And that word is always key when it comes to energy work: subtle. We live in a world of such sensory overload, it can be hard to hear the gentle messages we’re receiving from our energetic body day-in-day-out, and it’s like wearing these stickers helped remind me to tune in. Plus the energy surge I felt using the Focus was undeniable! I’ll definitely be using them again …
***How to stick ’em Place the stickers on the left side of your chest, close to your heart—or on the left side of your arm, back, or shoulder. For those who are more sensitive to changes in their homeostasis, place on the lower inner arm above the wrist, or on the right side
And for magic multiplied, you can also create your own “cocktail” with more than just one. The Third Eye and Solar Plexus stickers are particularly good for adding an additional positive well-being frequency to any other vibe.
*Please be advised that once the sticker is removed, it loses its adhesive property and a new one will need to be used.
Mastering the art of wombifestation is the real secret of the law of attraction, says Latham Thomas—PLUS Ruby Warrington shares 3 ways to start wombifesting today …
The womb is receptive, soft, and a container for cultivation. And the act of creating something from that place, of accessing our womb space and drawing to us that which we most desire, is called wombifestation.
It’s the opposite of the manifesting power that so many modern spiritual leaders and thought-leaders talk about. Manifestation has become correlated with “making it happen,” whereas wombifestation means simply “letting it happen.” It’s an act of fierce allowance, of saying “yes” to what you want and letting it come, whether it’s a job, a romantic partner, a new car, a baby—simply envisioning, and holding space for it.
There is tremendous value in being a go-getter, getting things done, making shit happen. Both men and women can be very skilled in this arena. But there are qualities within us women that can be enhanced by also acknowledging the uniquely feminine force of receptivity. We have this other force working in our favor, and we should play to that. And I’d also like to note that you don’t have to have been born with a uterus or currently have one to embrace this concept.
This feminine force is magic, and employing it is a powerful way to walk through life. It is the magic of owning your glow.
Now, I am not simply advocating that you pray for what you want, kick back and relax, and expect that you will get it. “The Universe will provide” philosophy has also been misapplied by many who believe that you can simply ask for what you want and it will be handed to you, with no work involved. My philosophy is much more dynamic than that.
You can’t be lazy when you want something; being receptive is an active state of being. In nature, the spider makes weaving her web a meditation and focuses on creating a vortex of energy that draws the prey to her. She doesn’t go out to hunt it. She dwells in the certainty that when she does her part, Mother Nature does the rest, and food will be provided.
Observe how flowers use their beauty and fragrant scent to seduce the pollinators. Flowers can’t pull up their roots and go proliferate on their own. They depend on the insects and animals to help spread their pollen, so they use stillness to create an energy vacuum to draw the bees, birds, and butterflies.
Have you ever been so laser-focused on something, yet it seems to elude you? And then, once you forget about it and focus on something else, it seems to find its way back into your orbit? Do you think this is a coincidence?
Like most feminine processes, choosing to simply let things happen is powerful, and yet it can be seen as a form of weakness. In a culture obsessed with conquest and control, we’ve forgotten the very basics when it comes to the law of attraction. When you let it happen, you, my dear, are at the helm.
Instead of spending energy actively hustling and pursuing the desired outcome, you summon it, you invite it forth. You stir the pot, and you make the space for it—so that the vision blooms within you and becomes reality. Like a spider with her web, you create the very vacuum that invites the opportunity to occur.
3 WAYS TO GET WOMBIFESTING TODAY by Ruby Warrington
1// Clear your cal. Having my Google cal stacked back-to-back sometimes feels like a badge of honor to me. Like, “wow, look at how in demand I am,” or “check out what a boss I’m being taking all these meetings.” But I can also feel the way it makes my belly clench (yep, all the way down in my womb), as the quieter, softer voice of my inner knowing, asks, “but what about some time for me?” In the same way, if I look at the coming week and there are big empty stretches in my calendar, the sense of inner peace is palpable.
Cultivating more of this feeling of peaceful groundedness is what wombifestation is all about, and one way to do this is to simply block off time in your cal to give you some (deep belly) breathing room. Maybe even literally if you use this time to meditate, bringing your attention and focus back to the things that truly matter to you. You could also use it to nap, to play with your cat, to cook, or even to masturbate! Not activities we’re generally taught are part of a “successful” life, but all of which are about stoking the fires of your feminine essence.
2// Ninja your to-do list. To help you work out what to remove from, write down all a list of all the actions connected to what you are currently manifesting. If it’s a work thing, this might mean meeting with X amount of people, pitching Z, or going to Y networking events. In a romance scenario, it could be your commitment to going on how ever many dates per week. For each one, write down the actual progress you’ve seen as a result of each. Now write out the big “successes” you’ve had, and the actions (or not!) that had the most impact on them occurring.
This could help you get super clear about all the places you’re leaking energy on activities that aren’t actually in service of your desired outcomes. That just make it look like you’re “trying.” Lol—is it any coincidence that the word “trying” can also mean: “extremelyannoying,difficult,orthelike;strainingone’spatienceandgoodwilltothelimit” (from the Miriam Webster Dictionary)?! Wombifestation is about “trying” less and “trusting” more.
3// Embrace boredom. We live in a world that’s basically designed so that we are never bored. I witness myself do it all the time—the minute there’s no immediate action to be taken, conversation to be had, or piece of information to be processed, I reach for my phone and either hit up Instagram, start a text chat with somebody, or open a browser to start researching yet another new idea I had the other day.
Which can all make life feel very full and exciting and productive … not to mention shrink time to where it feels like there’s never enough. When we’re here, there, and everywhere, there is no time to recharge. No opportunity for our energy reserves to become replenished to the point of overflowing (out of us and into our wombifestations). It sounds counter-intuitive, but in the Now Age we have to actively make space for boredom. Time for our minds to wander and just be. This is the vortex. THIS is where the magic happens.
As the Weinstein scandal exposes deep-rooted sexism in the creative world, Moon Club member and electro pop maven Kaerhart is rocking the music industry with guts, intuition, and uncompromising vision … Photos by Jennica Mae.
Breaking up the “old boys club” to a brand new beat … The Harvey Weinstein scandal has dug up a lot for me personally. I almost quit music entirely after a very traumatic experience and it breaks my heart to think that any other woman could be subjected to this.
One of my artistic project’s main objectives is to bring together talented women so we can collaborate, support one another, and use our voices to create communities where we feel safe and heard. I see a lot of communities like this forming in LA right now and it is truly amazing. The more we are bringing each other up, the more we are able to overcome the obstacles that a male-dominated industry presents.
As women increasingly fill high level positions in the industry, we will start to break down the ‘good ol boys club’ mentality and give way to a safer space where sexism has no place.
Letting the pain spill into art … When I wrote my debut single, “Drain My Love,” I was in a really turbulent headspace. I had been suppressing my emotions, not wanting to face them, and pretending like everything was ok when it wasn’t.
With “Drain My Love,” I finally gave myself the permission to let go. I had felt emotionally ‘fucked up’ for so long and just needed to let it all spill out in order to heal the pain. My hope is that the song provokes others to do the same.
“Making it” means trusting your gut … I’m not sure if you ever really feel like you have “made it” as an artist. There’s always room to grow, other limits to push yourself towards, and new parts of yourself to explore and discover.
Everyone you meet, from producers, to A&Rs, to friends, and even your own parents, will have an opinion about the music you are making or the music they think you should be making. Your art and vision will be judged every which way regardless of what you create.
There have been times when I could have compromised who I was or my values in order to get ahead in the industry. But I always knew I had a purpose that was beyond just attaining success.
You have to listen to your own voice and go with your gut each and every time. As long as you can stand behind your work, regardless of what others think or say, that is ‘making it’ to me.
The Moon Club tribe … Moon Club has really helped me to find my tribe- not just online but in Los Angeles as well. I have met some of my best friends and biggest supporters through this community.
And beyond the community itself, coming back to the ancient wisdom of flowing with the Moon’s cycles has helped me to deepen my spiritual practice and feel more in touch with my intuition and Mother Earth.
With her new book It’s Messy, photographer and media-preneur Amanda De Cadenet is inviting women everywhere to abandon the quest for perfection—and get real about the flaws that make us fearless. She sat down with Ruby Warrington to talk self-love, creativity, and why fame is the biggest head f*ck of all …
RUBY WARRINGTON: I love the title of your book—and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I feel like we’re really seeing that the world is damn messy! Like, no matter how things look on the surface, there’s a ton of crap going on underneath. Was there an epiphany when you were just like, “I’m not gonna fight this anymore. I’m just gonna embrace the mess, and see its beauty”? AMANDA DE CADENET: There’s no way you can do any serious self-reflection if you aren’t willing to be honest with yourself about your own messiness. The biggest danger is the lies we tell ourselves, and to recover from the trauma I’ve experienced in my life, I’d be dead if I wasn’t willing to get honest about who I was a long, long time ago. For people who really haven’t done that kind of self-reflection, it can be like, “Oh, my God. How can you accept this stuff about yourself or say that about yourself?” But there’s just no way you can progress and evolve otherwise. We would’ve found a way around it if there was.
RW: People try to avoid going there do through substances, shopping. All the stuff … ADC: Right? Which is fine until all that stops working, and then you’re like, “Right. Fine. I guess I’m going to have to deal. Okay.” To get really brutally honest about who I am was not my first choice. I did try everything else. Clearly!
RW: It also takes so much energy to pretend everything’s “fine” when it’s really not. And there just isn’t time, especially when you get on any kind of a mission in the world! ADC: I keep showing up to interviews looking kind of … messy. And I’m like, “Well, this is who I am!” I haven’t got time for hair and makeup. I’m running a company. I’ve got three children. I’ve got another book out with #girlgaze in two weeks. So, I look a bit messy and I’m okay with that. That’s the whole point. I don’t have a problem with it. If someone else has does, that’s their problem.
RW: How about in your work life? How do you let yourself off the hook when you “mess up” publicly, or something doesn’t work in a professional sense? ADC: Hosting live TV in the UK as a teenager, I learned fast that there was no safety net. You just got on and did it. And that’s how I made (Amanda’s chat show) The Conversation. I knew enough about cameras and sound equipment to be like, “Right. We’re just going to do it.” And the sound on the first ones was so bad because I didn’t know how to do it properly and I couldn’t afford anyone else to do it. But the important thing is, I made the thing.
And by the way, every successful woman or person I’ve ever interviewed has talked about the difference between having a good idea, and actually acting on it. They’re not like, “Oh, I’m going to wait until it’s all perfect.” No. I’m launching. I’m putting it out in the world, and then we’ll clean up whatever we need to clean up.
RW: I really like when you talk in the book about how the biggest head fuck of all was becoming famous at age 18, and learning at a really young age that you were loved and adored for being that person. You go on to describe how: “real and lasting self-worth comes from consciously creating a life that you’ve earned and that is authentic.” It gives me chills, because I think it’s so where a lot of people are at right now. ADC: The thing is, unfortunately, the way we look and our level of fame are the biggest commodities in the world. Never more than now do we live in that culture. And it’s extremely dangerous, because it means people have zero investment in the internal self. How do you raise kids or encourage people to develop anything else, when they can point at so many people who are basically famous for being famous, and say, “Why do I have to develop myself as a person? This one didn’t and that one didn’t.” It’s like, what’s the upside to developing yourself?
RW: So, what is the upside of developing yourself? ADC: Well the downside to NOT, is that you’re constantly relying on external sources to validate you, whether it’s how many social media followers you have. Whether it’s how many pictures of you are published in magazines. Whether it’s how many paparazzi are outside your door. Whether it’s how much free stuff you get. Whether it’s what you get paid to do an ad. It’s all about other people validating your self-worth, and that is a very, very dangerous place to live, because you’re constantly relying on outside sources to feel okay about yourself.
RW: And when that all goes away, where are you? Literally, what’s left? ADC: Exactly, you don’t exist because there is no mirror. There’s no one to reflect back at you that you exist.
RW: You mention many years of therapy, but in terms of, like, “Who is Amanda, and what am I here to bring into the world?”—what are your practices for staying connected to that place of authentic self-worth? ADC: It’s been different things over the years. For a period of time, it was yoga, and kundalini yoga specifically. At another, it was Buddhism. Then 12-step. Another time, it was simple prayer and meditation. I’ve taken bits and pieces from everywhere and now I’ve kind of got my own thing going on. My own tool kit. I also practice TM, and nature is a fail-safe for making me feel grounded and connected to myself.
RW: I think sometimes when you’ve been using a practice for a while, you may have realizations that can create a permanent perception shift. Like you learn to recognize, “Oh, I’m in this kind of behavior pattern. I know where that leads me.” And so you no longer need the practice, because you’ve learned how to bring yourself back. ADC: You’ve got the years of experience, and that’s what growth is, right? The most painful place to be in for me, has been to know that I needed to stop a behavior, to observe myself doing it and know the pain on the other side of it, but not be able to stop myself. I just had this upstairs just now, where I was like, “Gosh, why do I keep going to this person for proof that I’m not good enough?”
There’s a certain person in my life who’s the least responsive, the least enthusiastic, the least excited to have anything to do with me, and yet I keep going there. Out of the 10 times I might have gone to them in the past, I probably do it two times now. The eight times I don’t, I’m really proud of myself because I’m like, “Well done. You didn’t ask for more proof that you’re not good enough.”
RW: I obviously looked at your birth chart, and your Moon is in Leo, which suggests a real emotional need to be seen and celebrated. Out of balance, this can manifest as things like the love addiction you talk about in the book, for example. Have you come to a place where you can recognize the sorts of situations that will flip you into your pain body? ADC: I do know those people and those situations, and impulse control has been something I’ve had to work on a lot, to not tell people what I think of them.
RW: Interesting … Addiction to drama is another trait of Leo Moon out of balance. Like, “Let’s stir things up so you can pay me more attention” kind of thing! ADC: So interesting. I come from a lot of neglect, so it makes sense that I would do that. However, I also know now that it’s just a way of creating a distraction from what I actually need to deal with in myself. I recently abstained for a year from telling someone what I thought of them. Someone I’m really close to, one of my best girlfriends. I did it as an experiment, and wrote all these emails and letters and just never sent them. Over time I learned that I just don’t need to go there, and I probably would have taken the situation to a completely different place if I had.
RW: Lastly, I want to talk to you about self-love, and specifically self-pleasure. Both our books mention the taboo around female masturbation, and you talk about how, as girls, we’re not taught that sex is meant to be pleasurable. It’s basically something to be feared, because it’s what gets you pregnant or in trouble. I draw the connection between our sexual pleasure and our creativity. How does the fact that we’re not taught to pleasure ourselves impact women’s view of ourselves as creators, as leaders, and our confidence about putting ourselves out in the world? ADC: It’s all connected. If you’re oppressing or suppressing any aspect of yourself you’re prevented from having a full life experience. Whether it’s your sexuality, your intellect, your creativity, your spirituality, if any aspect of you is closed down, you’re not living authentically and you’re not living to your full capacity. It means you’re limiting your experience of life. Creativity does come from the same place as sexuality, and I’d actually be very curious to know about the sex lives of the women who are considered to be successful in that area.
RW: It would be a very interesting study to do actually. And a really good interview series … AC: Yeah, right? There you go. One of us will have to do it!
Vanessa Cuccia is the Founder of Chakrubs, The Original Crystal Sex Toy Company. Here she shares 7 deep spiritual lessons of her entrepreneurial path …
I was in my early twenties when I realized that no one was going to hand me the life I wanted. I also began to realize how complacent I had been, especially when it came to my sex life, relationship, and career. I knew I had to make a drastic change.
I began by breaking up with my boyfriend, who had been sexually and emotionally abusing me for six years. I felt I had finally taken responsibility for myself, and it was up to me to BECOME stronger, more connected to my body, and TO acknowledge my power. I wanted to be around people who could educate me on sexuality, so I took a job at a sex toy shop and invited a spiritual teacher to come live with me. During this time, I deepened my relationship to crystals and understanding of the body’s energy system, while opening up to my own sexual identity.
One night I was visiting the home of a woman with a large crystal collection when I saw a crystal wand. I realized that with a few adjustments it could be made into a tool for pleasure. Almost instantaneously I thought of the the name “Chakrubs™” and began receiving messages guiding me to create The Original Crystal Sex Toy Company®.
I’ve grown a great deal personally, spiritually, and professionally since beginning this journey almost seven years ago. Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way …
1. When you’re rooted in your pleasure, no one can harm you.
At the very beginning of Chakrubs I began my own sexual healing journey with the Black Obsidian Chakrub. I started with this one because it is known to assist in releasing emotional implants that no longer serve us. After spending six years with someone who treated my body like a sex toy, I knew I had a lot of stored negativity. The Black Obsidian helped me release a lot of shame and guilt I had been holding onto.
This, combined with placing a strong focus on pleasure while starting my business, caused me to realize how much these negative emotions were draining me and how empowered I felt when I was rooted in pleasure. Being rooted in pleasure means being sensitive to what makes you feel good and having the confidence to pursue those desires. When you connect with what brings you pleasure, it will protect you from outside judgements or criticism.
2. “When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
This quote from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist has been proven to me time and time again. When I decided to create Chakrubs, I gave myself permission to begin saying, “I started a brand called Chakrubs” to my friends, family, and people I’d meet. Even though most of the work I’d been doing was limited to meditation, brainstorming, and research at that point, I knew that those were all valuable steps in the process. I had decided in my heart that I was going to take on this role of bringing crystal sex toys to the mainstream to open people up to crystal and sexual healing.
I won’t say that it was easy starting this business, but at every point along the way I felt assisted by a power greater than myself. Everyone I spoke to had some key to help me unlock what was being created. It was as though my steps were being illuminated and I was just following the path laid out for me. I think once we proclaim that we want something and begin to work towards it, the universe will help us obtain it. We just have to be open to receiving and working within “the language of the universe.”
Living in the redwood forests in Santa Cruz in 2011, I lived with women who would become the first focus group of Chakrubs. We would sing songs in our house and call each other goddesses.
I feel like what prevents us from being in touch with our own divinity is this idea that seeing yourself that way makes you conceited or narcissistic. In reality, recognizing your connection to all that not only enables you to understand the power you hold but also the power of the people around you.
Living with these women who were so different from me helped me understand that through our love, recognition and appreciation of one another we could be mirrors that would reflect each other’s potential. I’ve learned that it’s more fun and useful to honor people’s sacredness and shine light on what we love about them rather than focusing on their shortcomings.
When concepting Chakrubs, we sat in circles, in teepees, out on the picnic table, dreaming of which crystals would help others, what shapes would bring the most pleasure, and what energy could be infused into the crystals to make them even more special. Chakrubs took years and so much of my own self-healing to be able to bring it to you. The history of manifesting this creation is filled with depth and many stories that I am grateful to share.
4. The more heart you put into something, the better response you’ll receive.
Whenever I find myself feeling stuck or like things aren’t flowing with my business, I remember to show more of my heart. I reach deep into the “why” of what I’ve created, tell stories to my social media followers about how this all came about, reveal what I’m growing to understand, and I give gratitude.
Conventional businesses may not want to show the vulnerability of their CEO’s, but the mission of Chakrubs is to create connection to others through connection with the self. When I express myself I am not only strengthening my own understanding of why I started this company, but helping others understand that this is isn’t just a trend—it’s a lifestyle and philosophy meant to empower us.
5. We don’t need anything outside of ourselves to heal, but we can use tools to facilitate that healing.
I’m a firm believer that we don’t need anything outside of ourselves to heal our emotional wounds. Crystals facilitate our natural ability to heal ourselves with their perfect molecular structures, but we already have crystals within us. There are crystals in our bones called apatite(1) and we can activate them through our intentions.
I like to be able to hold a tool, a tool that will help me to tune into myself and the sexual energy of the earth. So find a tool that works for you, but don’t rely on it entirely. Know that all of the wisdom you seek is within you, just waiting to be discovered.
6. Arousal can reacquaint you with your spiritual beliefs.
In launching Chakrubs, I created a new way for us to use crystals to benefit our spiritual growth. When we work with crystals they become imbued with our intentions and Chakrubs are no different. As you become aroused and begin your Chakrub practice, your ritual becomes a reminder of your intentions and strengthens your focus. As someone who is not necessarily religious, I value practicing your values religiously. I may not remember to meditate daily, but every time I reach for my Chakrub, I am reminded how it is benefiting me on more levels than one.
7. It’s difficult to receive love when you don’t know who you are.
Creating my brand ethos, I had to ask myself, why is self-discovery and awareness important? Who cares if I know who I am or not? My answer is this: knowing ourselves is the only way we will be able to accept the love we are given.
We won’t be able to receive love from our partners or the world if we are stuck in our egos or trying to deny aspects of who we are. Honesty is the only way to feel worthy of love, and self-awareness is the only way to be honest. If we take time for introspection and healing, we’ll be able to unveil who we are at our core. Once we really get to know ourselves it creates more compassion and empathy for others. Which is why I believe this to be true; heal yourself and you heal the world.
Learn more about Chakrubs and get rooted in a life of pleasure and creativity at Chakrubs.com
“From fabric selection to garment creation, these are healing garments disguised as ‘fashion.'”
The Passion Project I wanted to create a sensory experience: one where you feel elevated and transformed … that feeling when putting on a robe after a Moroccan or Turkish bath. This is the feeling I imagined while creating the Kao-Kabi collection.
Kao-Kabi is Arabic for “my planet,” and with this collection I hope to meet the delicate needs of today’s modern wearer through garments that are kind to the skin and to our environment. I work exclusively with natural fibers, including bamboo, hemp, linen, and pineapple.
All the garments from Kao-Kabi have been bathed with Reiki light and love; from fabric selection to garment creation, these are healing garments disguised as “fashion.”
Dressing to Honor the Spirit When I was younger my style was very eccentric, layering my skin with lots of accessories and clothing that embodied a lot of mythology and symbology. This style reflected my fascination with the history of costume, and how each period influenced the image of how the self was portrayed.
After moving to Brooklyn in 2013, my transformative healing journey began: the cleansing and purifying process … shedding skin and tuning in to the core and essence of the delicious self. Now, I dress to honor my spirit by radiating the light within me outwards. In doing so, I find myself surrounded by similar radiant entities.
I really do enjoy wearing white, and a lot of that is influenced by my Kundalini practice. Yogi Bhajan’s idea about the color white resonates with me. Not only is white an auric color therapy, but wearing white is an exercise in awareness, as it takes more consciousness and care to keep white clothes clean!
The Futuristic Fashionista Vision Kao-Kabi offers a glimpse into the eco-conscious world I envision for fashion. Moving forward, I intend to create my own sustainable, innovative textiles from which my future collections will be designed—a sustainable material that honors our planet by being gentle to its resources.
The Moon Club Inspiration It has been a huge inspiration to be part of this community—Moon Club is a sacred space for all the Luna lovers out there. As the astrology fan that I am, I get an insightful dose of what’s happening astrologically, the Moon cycles, and their impact on us. Moon Club guides me with my creative process by reminding me to pause, clear my mind, and MEDITATE in order to dive deeper.
We’ve had such incredible coaching sessions with innovators and healers, like Sah D’Simone sharing the “Happiness Equation,” and powerful female entrepreneurs like THINX co-founder Miki Agrawal—I’m all about the divine yoni power!!!!
I’d also like to share here the Forgiveness Mediation from Moon Club founding member Eddie Stern, which has been particularly inspiring for me in my creative process:
“For anyone I caused harm, knowingly or unknowingly, I ask for your forgiveness/For anyone whom has caused me harm, knowingly or unknowingly, I offer you my forgiveness/For any harm I have caused myself, knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive me.”
Feeling ready to up your manifestation game? Read more about Moon Club here and start working your own lunar magic!