5 GENDERS: THE STORY OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN TWO-SPIRITS

Prior to Christian intervention, fluid gender identities of the Native American Two Spirits were seen as a gift from the gods, says Pearson McKinney

Celebrated Lakota Two Spirit Osh-Tisch (left) with his wife.

It wasn’t until Europeans took over North America that natives adopted the ideas of gender roles. For Native Americans, there was no set of rules that men and women had to abide by in order to be considered a “normal” member of their tribe.

In fact, people who had both female and male characteristics were viewed as gifted by nature, and therefore, able to see both sides of everything. According to Duane Brayboy, writing in Indian Country Today, all native communities acknowledged the following gender roles: “Female, Male, Two Spirit Female, Two Spirit Male and Transgendered.”

He goes on to describe how: “Each tribe has their own specific term, but there was a need for a universal term that the general population could understand. The Navajo refer to two spirits as nádleehí (one who is transformed); among the Lakota is winkté (indicative of a male who has a compulsion to behave as a female), niizh manidoowag (two spirit); in Ojibwe, hemaneh (half man, half woman), to name a few.”

As the purpose of ‘Two Spirit’ is to be used as a universal term in the English language, it is not always translatable with the same meaning in native languages. For example, in the Iroquois Cherokee language, there is no way to translate the term, but the Cherokee do have gender variance terms for ‘women who feel like men’ and vice versa.”

The Two Spirit culture of Native Americans was one of the first things Europeans worked to destroy and cover up. According to people like American artist George Catlin, the Two Spirit tradition had to be eradicated before it could go into history books. Catlin said the tradition: “must be extinguished before it can be more fully recorded.”

And as Brayboy also notes: “Spanish Catholic monks destroyed most of the Aztec codices to eradicate traditional Native beliefs and history, including those that told of the Two Spirit tradition.” As a result, Native Americans were forced to dress and act according to newly designated gender roles.

One of the most celebrated Two Spirits in recorded history was a Lakota warrior fiercely named Finds Them And Kills Them. Osh-Tisch (see main image) was born a male and married a female, but adorned himself in women’s clothing and lived daily life as a female. On June 17 1876, Finds Them And Kills Them earned his stripes when he rescued a fellow tribesman during the Battle of Rosebud Creek, an act of fearless bravery.

It’s an example of how in Native American cultures, people were valued for their contributions to the tribe, regardless of the gender attributes they exhibited. Parents did not assign gender roles to children either, and children’s clothing tended to be gender neutral. There were no ideas or ideals about how a person should love; it was simply a natural act that occurred without judgment.

Without a negative stigma attached to being a Two Spirit, there were also no inner-tribal incidents of retaliation or violence toward the chosen people simply due to the fact they identified as the opposite or both genders. If anything; “Traditional Native Americans closely associate Two Spirited people with having a high functioning intellect (possibly from a life of self-questioning), keen artistic skills and an exceptional capacity for compassion,” writes Brayboy.

We’wha (1849-1896), of the Zuni nation. We’wha was biologically male and engendered with a female spirit.

Once outside religious influences brought serious prejudice against “gender diversity,” openly alternative or androgynous people were forced into to one of two choices. They could either live in hiding, and in fear of being found out, or they could end their lives. Many of whom did just that.

Imagine a world where people allowed others to live freely as the people nature intended them to be, without harm, without persecution, without shame. Imagine a world where we are truly free.

This article originally appeared on Bipartisan Report. For further reading visit Indian Country Today.

COSMIC FASHION + BEAUTY NEWS: JULY 2016

Material girl, mystical world indeed—Gabriela Herstik rounds up all that’s cosmic in fashion and beauty for July 2016. 

 

Rihanna in Rick Owens
In RiRi’s latest music video, “Sledgehammer,” we’re taken on a journey to a distant planet somewhere far away in the cosmos—where eyebrows are optional and Rick Owens is a necessity. Rihanna dons a burnt orange, draped Rick Owens masterpiece, face tattoos, textured silver cuffs and a matching choker, and the perfect black lips (which you can copy with this Kat Von Dee lipstick.) Who knew, but if anyone can play up the role of galactic fashion alien goddess, it’s Rihanna—proving this Pisces babe to be a truly mystical mama (who’d look perfect on a Starchild Tarot card).

Vivienne Westwood MAN SS17
Aries powerhouse and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood has done it again, creating a genderfluid collection for MAN Spring/Summer 2017. In true Westwood fashion, there were drop crotch velvet trousers in plush scarlet, reworked netted blouses, heart chakra cut-outs, with plenty of layering in the house’s signature stripes. Westwood has always been on the forefront of what’s political in fashion—hello, mother of punk—and, of course, the runway show started with a video message in support of Julian Assange, as he begins his fifth year in unlawful confinement. Who says fashion is all fluff, anyway?

Willow Smith for Chanel
Willow Smith, alien enthusiast and soon-to-be power woman, has been named face of Chanel for the brand’s Fall 2016 eyewear campaign. Smith looks exquisite in the campaign (below) in Chanel shades, an evil eye chain (with plenty of diamonds) and a septum piercing. High fashion is still (!!!) finding its way to being truly inclusive, so signing Smith is a statement to say the least. Last time dreads were featured in a Chanel campaign, it was on a white woman.

SWETE
Is a new leisurewear label from Parsons-trained, London-based, Aussie designer Emily Nam. Easy-to-wear pieces include t-shirts, sweaters, sweatpants, dresses and skirts, inspired by 1990s street culture and woven with a social mission to boot. All cotton is Australian certified organic, which means grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, while Nam only works with suppliers who pay their employees a fair wage. And with a campaign featuring British artist Phoebe Collings-James (above), what’s not to love?

Concrete Minerals Black Magic Collection
100% cruelty-free, vegan and American made, Concrete Minerals has us under their spell—especially since their “Black Magic” collection, which features names like Séance, Bitches Brew and Arsenic, is a everything a witchy woman could want in a mineral eyeshadow. The iridescent shades in hues of cranberry, rose and violet, are super pigmented and made without any preservatives, and are begging to be worn with your layered quartz necklace and cat eye. Bonus—stare into the pots of for long enough and it’s like looking at an ethereal planet somewhere in a galaxy far away…

 

Jeffree Star Cosmetics
The next frontier for celebrity makeup artist and all around bad bitch Jeffree Star is…makeup. Namely his line of cruelty free, Los Angeles-made eye, lip and face products, which are almost consistently sold out already. Perhaps the most noteworthy of his products is his Velour Liquid Lipstick, with names such as Scorpio (a muted lavender/violet), Gemini (a soft brick red) and Dominatrix (a deep chocolate brown). And for a truly otherworldly glow, check out Skin Frost—a highlighter that provides the perfect pixie/ mermaid/alien sheen. On it.

 

POLITICAL CLIMATE CHANGE: A COSMIC OVERVIEW

We’re living through a time of intense political climate change, as reflected in the Cosmos. Five of our favorite mystics unpack the signs of the times…and weigh in on the way ahead. Artwork: Sammy Slabbinck

Here on The Numinous, astrology is not a tool for “predicting” future events, or explaining things away while abdicating our role in shaping how our lives play out—both individually, and as a society.

Rather, we see astrology as a language of symbols that speaks to our collective human experience on Earth, offering valuable perspective and allowing us to examine the bigger picture—especially useful at times when emotions are running high, clouding our judgement and making it difficult to choose the next right course of action.

As in the case of Britain’s recent referendum to leave the EU, the shock results of which have seen a nation spiral into panic and chaos. Made all the more vertigo-inducing against a backdrop of unrelenting terrorist attacks, and an emotionally fraught US election campaign.

Last month, in an eerie foreshadowing of the central issues to Brexit, New York magazine described the Clinton-Trump race as: “kind of a civil war. It’s a referendum on the country’s feelings about inclusion, about women, people of color, and their increasing influence…how it edges out the white men who have long held an exclusive grip on power.”

In short, it’s safe to say we are living through a period of intense political climate change—as written in the current movements of the celestial bodies. Skeptical? Since the political polls leading up to the Brexit referendum were woefully misleading (echoing the last general election in the UK), the wisdom offered by our resident astrologers below—including commentary on what will be needed of us moving forward—feels as relevent as anything the political scientists have got to say…

PLUTO IN CAPRICORN by Ash Bonelli
We are in unstable times, and have been financially since 2008 when Pluto, the planet of wealth/power, moved into the structural sign of Capricorn—and the extent of financial corruption in the world began to come to light. We’re currently half way through this cycle—during which we have seen a growing divide between rich and poor with the emergence of a super-elite, as well as major differences in values between the generations. (NB. “Even eerier? The last time Pluto was in Capricorn was 1762-1778, the exact time when the U.S. was fighting for its independence from England. It was also during this transit that Thomas Jefferson sounded the rallying cry for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and helped author the U.S. Constitution.” – Ophira Edut)

SATURN SQUARE NEPTUNE by Ameila Quint
The Saturn-Neptune square, currently occurring November 2015 through September 2016, is shifting cultural philosophies on a global scale. To give you the big picture, this alignment has caused ideological clashes for centuries in a looping cycle that goes back as far as the Salem Witch Trials and the Crusades!

Saturn is in Sagittarius, the sign of foreign affairs, expatriates, and immigration—all issues at the heart of the Brexit referendum. Sagittarius also rules expansion, so we’re being called to open our hearts and minds to new ways of relating and thinking. Unfortunately, this change won’t come easy with tough Saturn in play.

On the other hand, Neptune is in Pisces, his home sign. This magnifies the energies of compassion, healing, and spirituality. It’s a call from the Universe to ask, on a societal level, what you believe and why. The Brexit referendum did just that. It’s also interesting that Saturn and Neptune are both associated with karma in their own way, because the reverberations of this vote have certainly been karmic in scope.

JUPITER TRINE PLUTO by Ophira Edut
The announcement of Brexit also coincided with the June 26 barrier-breaking Jupiter-Pluto trine, a rare meet-up between global connector Jupiter and powerhouse Pluto. Trines are generally positive and harmonious—but they can also cause things to move quickly, and this massive upheaval happened in the blink of an eye, or so it seemed.

Jupiter is an excitable, optimistic planet that can quickly overshoot its mark. The hopeful populists did not wake up the morning after Brexit economically or politically empowered, but rather, to a currency that plunged to its lowest value in 31 years overnight.

Jupiter is also the “armchair philosopher” of the cosmos, whose starry-eyed visions don’t necessarily translate into reality. Stateside, we hear echoes of Trump’s “Make America great again” slogan. Um, perspective please? If anything, Trump—with his Plutonian land grabs and abuses of power—is making America hate again. And that’s the last thing this world needs now.

MARS DIRECT by Hannah Ariel
With warrior planet Mars about to go direct in controlling Scorpio (June 30th 2016) our urge to define, defend and protect boundaries is intensified to extremes. Mars in Scorpio demands that our actions reflect our integrity—and as it resumes direct motion, what we “yes” and “no” to becomes an act of personal empowerment.

This is a period of cutting ties, creating new bonds, and ultimately realizing from whence we draw our power—and what we must do with this power once we feel we have it. Scorpio rules creation and re-creation, so there is nothing being destroyed at this time that cannot be re-created.

THE UNIVERSAL 9 YEAR by Felicia Bender
In numerology, 2016 is a Universal 9 year—the number of completion, of letting go, transition, and transformation. It is a year of surrender, in it’s truest sense—a positive, intuitive way of living, that grows we learn to develop trust.

Trust that’s needed in a time where old paradigms are crumbling, dissolving, going up in flames or coming up for serious review. We can see this everywhere, from Trumpmania, mass violence, and displaced refugees, to the spotlight on rape culture, and the Brexit referendum—to name just a few boiling points. Numerologically, this is right on time.

This is the end of a cycle, and we can’t move into the next phase without a sobering and stark look at what has been (since the cycle began in 2008—the last universal 1 year) and where we’re at. The task at hand is to then let go of all that’s no longer serving all of us. This isn’t easy. It’s terrifying. It incites anger and fear and every other possible emotion.

THE WAY AHEAD…
“We can use this Saturn/Neptune square for the overall good. We must work on building a solid foundation (Saturn) that is created from a place of justice for all (Neptune). A place where everyone has their needs met. A society where equality becomes commonplace. But it will take time, patience, respect and dedication to achieve these Neptunian dreams.” – Ash Bonelli

“Saturn rules authorities while Neptune rules visionaries, and these groups were very much square to each other in the Brexit polling results. Still, the only way to make this transit work is to find a balance. In this case, this means steadying dogma with compassion, and laws meant to protect with laws that truly heal.” – Amelia Quint

“If anything, Brexit and Donald Trump’s shocking success is exposing an inconvenient truth: Despite the gains of social policies such as marriage equality, there’s a hate-filled Orlando shooter, a Brock Turner getting a tiny slap on the wrist in the Stanford rape case, millions of scared and small-minded people who would rather tank their economy than allow a Muslim or a Mexican to cross “their” (in some cases stolen) borders. We can’t sweep this under the rug or look the other way much longer…which, while also inconvenient, is a wakeup call we can’t ignore.” – Ophira Edut

“The key? Understand that what must fall away must do so without a net, leaving behind a liminal space—a gap. Understanding that we must make friends with this vortex of uncertainty while the old is cleared and the new is being created. And despite all of our impulses otherwise, we must enter into this space with optimism and a sense of excitement, because here is the opportunity of a lifetime to create something new on a massive scale. This process is not for wimps. It’s easier to criticize and despair. Yet it’s our challenge and our charge to visualize and create a now and a future that is more evolved and humanitarian across the board.” – Felicia Bender

“Stay tuned for how this plays out, as the Sun in Cancer will come into its yearly opposition to Pluto in Capricorn July 1st, reminding us that what brings us comfort can also at times hinder out ability to grow. No matter how much is perceived to be at stake these days, the astrology of the times reminds us that it’s all for the sake of transformation.” – Hannah Ariel

COSMIC CULTURE FOR MAY 2016

Check out Amelia Quint’s round-up of cosmic culture for May 2016, bringing you the most mystical new releases in music, film, and literature…

Queen Bey

:: MUSIC :: 

BEYONCÉ

If you haven’t watched or listened to Lemonade yet, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful musical events of our generation. More than an album or documentary alone, Lemonade is a work of feminist, activist art. Fueled by the blues and righteous anger, Queen Bey’s Moon – Uranus – Lilith in Scorpio conjunction roars louder than ever. Lucky Jupiter is transiting her Virgo sun in the selfless twelfth house, immaculate timing for her to give the world such an amazing gift.

Lemonade is available now on iTunes, Amazon, and Tidal.

PEACHES

Peaches

Already a mainstay in the electronic music world, Maya Jane Cole’s NSFW brand of genderfluid, sexually charged charisma has her poised for mainstream success. Peaches’ new album, Rub Remixed, was created entirely by female and female-identifying producers – how’s that for divine feminine? Her Sun, Moon, Venus, and Neptune are aligned in magnetic Scorpio, and she has Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, a placement known both for its poetic potential and ability to shock.

Rub Remixed is set for release on May 27.

:: TELEVISION ::

Prince

Don’t waste your precious energy on TV this month, as May is heartbreakingly devoid of any high-vibe premieres. Instead, take the time you’d spend binge-watching Netflix and pay respects to the incredible artists that have recently passed beyond the veil.

David Bowie

Watch Prince as he debuts his signature purple style and Jimi Hendrix worthy guitar riffs in Purple Rain, or David Bowie in his iconic turn as the Goblin King in Labyrinth. Light a candle, listen to their music, or perhaps write something of your own. Ask yourself: “What legacy do I want to leave behind in this world when I move on to the next?”

:: FILM ::

HIGH RISE

High Rise

An adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s critically acclaimed novel, this dystopian thriller follows the tenants of a luxury high-rise apartment building as they descend into Lord of the Flies-esque tribalism. The novel is a cutting critique of materialism and excess in modern society – must know themes for any modern mystic. If the Kubrick inspired poster is any indication (A Clockwork Orange, anyone?), this is going to be good.

High Rise is scheduled for US release on May 13.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

Alice Through the Looking Glass

What witch can resist the charms of Lewis Carroll? In this sequel to the live-action 2010 film, wild card Gemini Johnny Depp reprises his role as the Mad Hatter, along with many other original cast members including Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway. In keeping with the ancestors theme, Alan Rickman is featured here as the voice of the Blue Caterpillar. Go for the memories of Professor Snape, stay for what’s sure to be an magical escape.

Alice Through the Looking Glass is scheduled for US release on May 27.

THE WITCH

You can read our full review of The Witch in last month’s Cosmic Culture post, but great news…

The Witch will be available on DVD on May 17. Yes, please!

:: BOOKS ::

THE INNER FIX: BE STRONGER, HAPPIER AND BRAVER

Addictive Daughter

In the first book from Persia Lawson and Joey Bradford, the YouTube self-help divas known collectively as Addictive Daughter share their personal strategies for navigating life in an overstimulating world. With practical videos like “The Trick to Manifesting Your Ideal Lover”, “Why It’s Okay to Be Jealous of Your Friends”, and “How to Stop Anxiety & Panic Attacks in an Instant,” their written advice is sure to be as entertaining as it is enlightening.

The Inner Fix will be available on May 19 via Yellow Kite Books.

365 TAROT SPELLS: CREATING THE MAGIC IN EACH DAY

365 Tarot Spells

Are you a tarot lover who wants to learn magick? This book is for you! In Sasha Graham’s follow-up to 365 Tarot Spreads, she offers a spell for every day of the year based on the archetypes of the tarot. According to the book description, each spell has a list of ingredients, visualization, meditation, affirmation, and card layout — oh my! With enchantments for money, career, creativity, love, and more, Graham definitely has your magical needs covered.

365 Tarot Spells will be available May 8 via Llewellyn Worldwide.

COSMIC CULTURE FOR APRIL

Check out Amelia Quint’s round-up of cosmic culture for April, bringing you the most mystical new releases in music, film, and literature…

Chelsea Wolfe

:: MUSIC ::

CHELSEA WOLFE

If you’re experiencing an inner underworld journey, channel Ishtar and listen to Chelsea Wolfe’s Abyss. According to Consequence of Sound, the album is a metaphor for descending into the subconscious. It’s also inspired by her experience with sleep paralysis – a condition that causes vivid, disturbing hallucinations on a nightly basis. That sense of the numinous comes across in her stark black and white artwork, ethereal personal style, and fuzz-driven music.

Chelsea Wolfe kicks off her tour in Las Vegas on April 24 with dates across the United States through June 7.

DESERT MOUNTAIN TRIBE 

It’s Aries season, which means it’s the perfect time to roll down the windows, turn up the music, and take a ride. That’s what you’ll want to do when you hear Desert Mountain Tribe’s feisty, psychedelic brand of rock and roll. With titles like “Interstellar,” “Heaven and Hell,” “Leave It Behind,” and “Feel The Light,” it’s definitely cosmic in scope.

Their new album, Either That Or The Moon, is set to release April 3, and the band is touring the United States all month.

Desert Mountain Tribe

:: TELEVISION ::

THE PATH

Hulu’s new character drama, starring Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame, follows a husband and wife’s relationship as they are seduced into a fictional upstate New York cult. Trigger warning: the show’s tagline, “to belong you must believe,” may feel eerily familiar to those who have had negative experiences with organized religion or exclusionary spiritualities; however, it poses important questions that we, as mystics, need to address.

The Path debuts on Hulu March 30.

The Path

THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT

If you’re looking for high vibe Netflix bender material, look no further. Relentlessly optimistic, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is the ultimate in positive entertainment. If you’ve been living in a bunker for the last year, the show follows Kimmy as she navigates life in New York after escaping a doomsday cult. Her unflappable spirit in the face of trauma – and everyday disappointments – will inspire you to keep going. The completely on-point social commentary and hilarious banter are the icing on the cake.

Season 2 premieres on Netflix April 15.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

:: FILM ::

THE REVENANT

Put away your Gilbert Grape memes – Leo finally got his Oscar (with additional thanks to the moon and Mars in his sign of Scorpio on the big night). The intense Scorpio energy of his chart also helped him pull off a gripping performance as frontiersman Hugh Glass in 2015’s award season sweetheart, The Revenant. In the film, DiCaprio as Glass faces down a grizzly bear and, ultimately, nature itself. Is it allegory or coincidence? You decide.

The Revenant will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 19.

The Revenant

THE WITCH

I’d be in remiss if I didn’t recommend Robert Eggers’s The Witch, a stunning (and disturbing) depiction of a Puritan family who become cursed by a witch living in a nearby wood. It’s certainly not perfect, but the film is rich in folklore and got a surprising amount right about modern witchcraft – including psychic attacks, wild nature, and sacred sex. You can read my full review here.

The Witch was released on February 19, but is still in many theaters due to popular demand.

The Witch

:: BOOKS ::

#HIGHERSELFIE

Can spirituality and social media coexist? In their new book, #HIGHERSELFIE, UK life coaches Lucy Sheridan and Jo Westwood say yes! Together they investigate why astrology, tarot, crystals and everything Now Age is taking over the blogosphere. Billed as a spiritual manifesto for Gen Y, the authors also offer up straightforward advice on how to avoid the “compare and despair” trap, let sh*t go, and generally stay on your ultralight beam.

#HIGHERSELFIE will be released via Hay House UK on April 5.

#HigherSelfie

BECOMING WISE

In Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, Krista Tippett mines her experience as host of NPR’s On Being for spiritual lessons on the nature of existence. Her list of awards and credentials are impressive, but what’s even more so is the philosophical conversation she’s distilled into this book. She gathers powerful teachings from “across disciplines and denominations” into a 21st-century meditation on truth, beauty, and love.

Becoming Wise will be released via Penguin Press on April 5.

Krista Tippett

COMFORTABLY NUMB: AN AMNESTY ON COOL

Enough with the hiding your real self behind your artfully composed selfies. It’s time to call an amnesty on cool, says Comfortably Numb columnist Kate Atkinson.

 

I want to declare an amnesty on modern cool – realizing this is one of the most uncool statements I could write, and more than aware that several people will probably be cringing reading this. If you are, call me anti-millennial and grind away. But if you’d have hoped we’d left it behind in high school, it seems like “cool” is an extremely contagious epidemic no thanks to the digital revolution.

What exactly is cool anyway? It’s an intangible phenomena that you can’t really touch, a state of being that defines the way you walk and talk, what you wear, the music you listen to, where you’re eating, and whether something is on trend – that is, worthy of likes on Instagram. It’s visceral. You can just feel it. And when it comes to true self-expression, I have to say, the modern version is a straight-jacket.

I also want to preface this story with the fact that while, yes, I do have tattoos, by no means am I an expert on cool. I was on the debating team at school – enough said. But I have got up close and personal enough with this insidious contagion to know how it works, and the more I examine its motives, it’s beginning to feel like cool is the root of an identity crisis that’s plaguing our generation.

A girlfriend put it perfectly when I asked what it means to be cool: “it’s the desire to be accepted, the need for validation, the urge to seem radical, despite longing to fit in.” And so it goes. Oh, the dichotomy of being human. Our narcissistic tendencies AND our insecurities are fuelled by cool, especially at a time when platforms for inclusion and exclusion are at an all time high.

Are you aspiring to be an “influencer?” This breed is all about being seen and accepted, “liked” on the interweb. For them, Instagram is basically a digi-friendly version of the high school cheerleading team. Things are sold to us now by “seeding” them with cool people. Brands, celebrities, and destinations are made by their manufactured “cool factor.” What I want to know is, what happened to under-the-radar cool of yesteryear?

In his 2013 book “The Cool School”Glenn O’Brien talks about the new tastemakers. But his cool  “squad” were, put simply, incredibly creative weirdos. Homeless Jazz beatniks, bohos and roaming beat poets. Anyone who made people uncomfortable basically. Something tells me that they wouldn’t be invited to Kim and Kanye’s dinner party.

We live in an age of such style over substance that it’s incredibly hard to rage against the machine and do your own thing. In fact, a study commissioned by smartphone maker HTC late last year revealed that 52% of the approximately 1000 Brits surveyed admitted to posting images of possessions and items with an intention of making their “friends” jealous. What the hey?

Wasn’t this cool thing supposed to be people going against the grain? Rather than just sticking up photo-shopped images captioned: “I ate, I pooped, I wore Celine!” Now pardon my French, but WTF? If this isn’t numbing what’s going on in our down and dirty daily human reality, I don’t know what is.

Because cool these days is about hiding the “sad” half of your life and projecting the best bits. Ambivalence is also key – pretending not to care, even (especially) if you do. Which is basically saying to your soul that your true hopes and aspirations count for nothing unless they fit with whatever’s trending this month. And yet, as the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character puts it in cult classic Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

A moment please to consider this: when the cool castles in the sky come crashing down around you and you’re left with the reality of your life, who out of your carefully curated online “tribe” will actually be there to help cushion the fall? Because what you’re really doing when you shield the real you with a glossy veneer of cool, is construct a bulletproof force field that deflects true intimacy.

So beside a total social media detox and cancelling our memberships to Soho House, how can we wake up from this aspirational bullshit existence that we’re creating for ourselves? By taking the time to get conscious to how we while away our days, and creating meaning in every interaction. By walking our talk, with our roots firmly entrenched in reality.

It sounds so obvious, but social media is the great distractor when it comes to following your own expressive intuition….and it’s there for seeking approval when you do actually create something. The old greats weren’t preoccupied with showcasing their creativity, they just did it.

It’s a mythic delusion and a safety net to communicate and earn accolades in this way – as well as a way to mask what’s actually going on. Surely giving away change on the subway is also worth a few “likes” – so why aren’t we posting on Instagram about that? “Saw a nice guy dish out change today on the subway – what a dude!” Shouldn’t he be the real “influencer?”

These stories DO come up on social media – and when they do it’s meaningful, the positive slant on modern technology. But too often, they’re engulfed in a stream of exclusivity: “I ate this, my bae wears that” – with resulting countless digital high fives and @s to follow.

I know my feed rarely delves beyond the aesthetics. And yes, fashion week happens, and friends stay in epic mansions. There are days at the beach with the clearest water ever. Again, I am not counting myself out of ANY of this malarchy, I am as partial to a well-posed selfie as the rest of us. But the lack of reality is what’s wrong with this whole picture, and it’s beginning to be all I can see.

Can’t somebody invent “Unstagram” for the days you’re feeling a bit off? For when you get dumped, you spent the last two days in tracksuit from Target, or you have an embarrassing medical problem?

Because you know what’s really cool? Being real. Not some projection of me me, me, me, I’m so fabulous, watch me eat, watch me sleep! Watch me break my arm! Look at me tagging historical references to show how tapped in and culturally aware I am.

Are we really this dumb? Is there no end to our ridiculous need for validation? This is the worst kind of cool that there is, and what’s more, this culture of exclusion is not social by any means. It’s actually scientifically proven to be making people chronically depressed.

So in a recent discussion with a friend on a rather significant life choice that involved making a potentially un-cool move, when she advised me to: “Fuck cool” – I decided I whole-heartedly concur.

NOT by Ernest Hemmingway

You are not your age,

Nor the size of clothes you wear,

You are not a weight,

Or the color of your hair.

You are not your name,

Or the dimples in your cheeks,

You are all the books you read,

And all the words you speak,

You are your croaky morning voice,

And the smiles you try to hide,

You’re the sweetness in your laughter,

And every tear you’ve cried,

You’re the songs you sing so loudly,

When you know you’re all alone,

You’re the places that you’ve been to,

And the one that you call home,

You’re the things that you believe in,

And the people that you love,

You’re the photos in your bedroom,

And the future you dream of,

You’re made of so much beauty,

But it seems that you forgot,

When you decided that you were defined,

By all the things you’re not.

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA: INSIDE THE MIND OF THAT SPIRITUAL DUDE

Because we never feature enough Numi dudes! Gabriela Herstik gets Unknown Mortal Orchestra front man Ruban Neilson’s take on love, the Universe, and everything. Image: Dusdin Condren

Best known for being the third eye of psychedelic pop rock band Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ruban Nielson has more to offer the world than just some groovy tunes. Ruban’s experience grounding his soulful nature in day-to-day life has shaped many things, including his relationships – UMO’s latest full length, “Multi-Love,” is a synthy trip about his experiments with polyamory. We talked to the man himself about his constant commitment to channelling something beyond himself – and how it helps make some good dancin’ music.

On Spirituality
“I don’t really worry about whether I’m spiritual or not because it’s a mysterious part of life and categories mess it up for me. Music is my concrete connection to forces outside myself, whether this means community, history, spirit, the subconscious, or some concept of God – that isn’t my place to define. But through music I know there’s more than my ‘self’ because I get gifts from that place in the form of songs, or the ability to perform beyond what I thought I could.”

On Astrology
“I’m a Pisces, but the first day so I’m a cusper with Aquarius. I’m also a Cancer Moon. I feel like a pretty typical Pisces. Astrology is fun. I like talking about it with people and trying to find patterns. But I take it with a grain of salt like most things.”

On Love
“Being in love is so important to me. I spend most of my time thinking about love, although I’ll never know anything about it. I’m always just drowning and I prefer it that way.”

On Culture
“I have my own personal ideas about being Hawaiian. Most people don’t know what a Polynesian is and that’s both frustrating and useful. I think my genetics shape my music quite a bit. I think my music puts my heart on display, and Hawaiians are known to be very hot-headed and deeply emotional.”

On Yurts
“The shape of a yurt is beautiful and living in a yurt was cool. It was a certain time in my life. I miss it sometimes but my life doesn’t fit in a yurt any more, haha.”

On The Unknown
“Aliens of all kinds definitely exist. You can ask any mathematician. Magick is real too. It’s all around us in the form of branding; symbols and suggestions used to manipulate reality. It’s a pity it’s come to that. As for spirit guides and ghosts, I’m not going to try to categorize things that no-one really understands. There are a lot of levels to reality though, I’m certain of that.”

On Wearing Mala Beads
“I guess I do.”

Rockin’ some Mala beads 12 weeks ago on Instagram

On Mantras
“I do work with mantras. They change a lot.”

On Inner Peace and Zen
“I play music. I’m always looking to be possessed by this very happy and invincible version of myself.”

On Living Your Truth

“I’m really lucky. These days I’m really able to pursue my music and live the way I want to live. I don’t sleep much but I get to be the person I dreamed I could be and I get to be moving and creating all the time. That’s the way I want to be.”

Get tour dates and more for Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Unknownmortalorchestra.com

THE TEMPLE OF VENUS IS OPEN!

Last night saw the launch of The Temple of Venus, a Numinous community art project in collaboration with energy healer and artist Elyssa Jakim – and we want you to get involved! Image: Victoria Keen Goddess Tribe series

Welcome to the #summeroflove, Numis! We’re beyond excited to announce The Temple of Venus, a community art project dedicated to the Goddess of beauty, love, and abundance.

Based in Williamsburg, BK, and created in partnership with energy healer and artist Elyssa Jakim, the Temple is an interactive altar celebrating our community, the power of love, and the energies of the divine feminine. And the CRAZY serendipity leading up to the launch makes us feel like Venus herself basically MADE US DO IT.

Housed in a private residence (in what is actually called the “Venus” building!) and open to all, we are inviting healers, seekers and modern mystics to contribute their offerings and wisdom throughout this two-month period, creating an ever-evolving container charged with positive vibes.

Open from 7/7 through August 19, the planet Venus will also retrograde in artistic, playful Leo for the second half of the project – creating a cosmic portal for healing our attitudes to love, money and beauty through creativity.

The altar room itself will be a space for meditation, prayer, contemplation and healing, while a second space will be available for larger group gatherings and workshops. And if you just want to come make an offering to Venus and soak up the healing energies, the space will also be open for drop-in appointments each Wednesday between the hours of 3 and 5pm. International offerings by mail or Skype are also welcome!

Any donations collected will go towards the maintenance of the space, after which all funds will be gifted to The Doula Project.

Want more info? Contact us: [email protected], or connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with your questions and suggestions.

All events will be listed at Thenuminous.net/events – here’s a taster of what’s lined up to date:

7/10: Reiki 1 workshop with Elyssa Jakim

7/15: Be Here Now(ish) screening and open discussion

7/18: Tarot readings with Lindsay Mack

7/31: Full Moon Sacred Drum Circle with Wild Soul Healing

8/12: Flower Crown making workshop with Aurora Botanica

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: RAW VEGAN BLONDE

Amber Locke, a.k.a. @rawveganblonde has gained a cut following for her beautiful and unique farmers’ market art. We meet the woman behind the phenomenon, and ask her…what vegetable would you be?

The artist at work…

How long have you been a Raw Vegan Blonde, and what drew you to the lifestyle?
I’ve always been blonde, but only discovered the concept of raw food about 18 months ago! I first read about it on the blog of Ralph Lauren model Valentina Zelyaeva and decided to try it out as an experiment, but I was so blown away with how amazing it made me feel after just a few days, I carried on.

Eating raw gives me incredible energy, improved mental clarity and a general feeling of calmness, harmony and well-being. I’ve become far more in tune with my body and very aware of how what I eat can dramatically affect how I feel both emotionally and physically.

What makes you so passionate about vegetables?
For me it’s the fact that fruit and veg not only taste amazing, they’re visually fascinating and have the power to nourish and heal our bodies too. They really are super foods.

Zucchini Shadows print, £180 from Ambaliving.com

And why do you think they’re so beautiful to you?
I love the beauty of natural elements, and I’m constantly amazed and delighted by their different shapes, colours, textures, and character. So my designs aim to showcase their unique qualities and reflect the changing seasons of the year, as well as being a celebration of living a healthy lifestyle.

If you were a fruit or a vegetable, which would you be and why?
I think I’d probably be a candy beetroot. They look pretty much like a normal beetroot on the outside, but when you slice them, they reveal their amazing pink and white striped flesh and it never ceases to make me smile.

What’s the most out there plant-based experience you’ve had to date?
I’m not sure I’ve had an ‘out there’ experience…but I always get a sense of something greater at work when I’m composing my designs. I sometimes stand back and wonder how I did it.

:: M A T E R I A L  G I R L ::

My label
I love Hermes and although I only own a few pieces (mainly leather goods and scarves) they all have special memories and are so exquisitely made they will last a lifetime.

Hermes Zebra Pegasus scarf, $1175

My shoes
I’m addicted to Belstaff boots as they’re so comfy, look great and fit my narrow shins well! I have several pairs and wear them almost all year round.

My fragrance
I’ve worn ‘Un Jardin Sur Le Nil’ by Hermes for years. I think the top notes are green mango but I love it as the smell reminds me of tomato leaves which are one on my favourite fragrances along with orange blossom. I’m still pursuing my quest to find the perfect orange blossom perfume and the closest I’ve come across so far is by Jo Malone and I wear this sometimes in the Summer.

Un Jardin Sur Le Nil by Hermes, $131

My jewels
I don’t wear much jewellery apart from my boyfriend’s old Breitling watch which I love as it’s so big and chunky on my wrist, and an antique silver fob chain given to me by my Mother which I wear as a charm bracelet.

My pampering
A trip to the hairdressers! I recently took the plunge and had 10” chopped off by the brilliant team at Richard Ward Salon in London, their colourist David Viner is a legend too!

My home
I live in a quirky house in a small countryside village. Its part Tudor, part Georgian, part Victorian and part Medieval so it’s a real mix of architectural styles.

My food
I love to eat a mainly raw diet so my kitchen is always full of fresh fruit and vegetables and I eat this way at least 90% of the week. I love green smoothies, as well as my beloved high-speed ‘Blendtec’ blender makes them super smooth, rich and creamy.

Blendtec blender, $649.95

:: M Y S T I C A L  W O R L D ::

My awakening
I have a very simple morning ritual; I drink a large glass of water (warm water and lemon if I have time) then take a walk with my dog before making a big green juice for my boyfriend and I. We’re really into stronger flavoured spicy juices now the weather has turned colder so I use a lot of ginger, lemongrass, whole lemons and sometimes a bit of green chilli for an extra kick.

My sign
I’m a Capricorn

My mantra
I don’t really have a mantra as such but I love the line in the Baz Luhrmann song ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ which goes: ‘Enjoy your body… it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own’. I think so many people live unhappily with their body but if you can learn to love it and feed, nourish and exercise it properly the rewards of such team work can be incredible.

My healer
I think a balanced diet of fresh, natural food can be a great healer – physically, medicinally and emotionally.

Hermes-esque print, £180, Ambaliving.com

My reading
I’m fascinated by food so for me it’s any book related to the subject (I have hundreds!) and I really love searching out vintage cookbooks and out of print titles.

My transformation
Trying out a raw food diet was a big transformation for me as I had no idea eating this way had the ability to make you feel so good. I think it should be renamed the ‘Happiness Diet’ as it’s almost like nature’s happy pill.

My mission
I love to share my passion for fruit and vegetables (through my designs and recipes) and if that encourages or inspires others to eat more of them then that makes me very happy!

Purchase one of Amber’s limited edition prints at Ambaliving.com, and follow her on Instagram @rawveganblonde

SXSW SPIRIT GUIDE: 36-HOURS IN AUSTIN

Yee-haw, here comes the annual music and culture mash-up that is Austin’s SXSW festival. But there’s a whole other side to the town that’s more hippie than hipster (in a good way). Here’s our recipe for a weekend of self-discovery  and spiritual hi-jinx in the Portland of the South…

SATURDAY

9AM BLACK SWAN YOGA

The girls who run this donation based studio ($10-$15 suggested, $7 minimum) made a grainy, black and white freaking yogic music video as the intro to their website. All classes – Beginner, Power, Sweaty and Flow – take place in a 90-degree heated room, and if you can’t get to one of the four Austin locations there are even online classes to do. We suggest kicking off your Austin tour with the 9am Power class taught by Adam M at the Downtown studio. Set to a soundtrack of hip-hop, reggae, and, um, tango; “The idea is that we’re working ‘towards’ being the best version of ourselves and having some fun doing it,” he says.

Blackswanyoga.com

11AM JUICELAND

Now it’s obviously juice o’clock, and with seven locations dotted throughout Austin this is the place to get your greens on. We say go straight for the hard stuff and make your selection from the “Next Level” menu. How about a Cold Shower (cucumber, parsley, mint, watermelon, lime, salt) to cool you down after that hot yoga session? Or if you really need waking up, the Xtra Holla Pain Yo! (jalepeno, garlic, carrot, orange, cilantro, lime, salt) should do the trick. They also do smoothies and soups, and there’s a vegan, gluten free “Functionally Good Food” menu too.

Juiceland.com

12 NOON THE HERB BAR

You’re invited to switch off your mobile phone before you enter this magical mystery emporium, which, open since 1986, looks like Bilbo Baggins hobbit cave with its little red door almost buried behind the ivy bush that covers the front of the building. Inside, you’ll find everything from herbal tea blends and massage oils to locally produced natural beauty products and remedies, astro paraphernalia, crystals, prayer flags and wind chimes, all served up by super-friendly owner Twila Dawn Willis. Yep, it’s basically Numi retail heaven.

Theherbbar.com

1PM UNCOMMON OBJECTS

 

 

There’s plenty more magic to be found at this Austin stalwart, but rather than try to describe the kind of treasures a root around this sprawling space might uncover, we repeat for you their manifesto; “We relish the time worn and well loved. We are crazy about genuine patina. We cherish folk arts and parlor crafts from around the world. We reflect the melting pot that is the American experience. We adore ingenious repair. We honor beauty found in unexpected places. We are inspired by the joy found in serendipity.” And seriously, where else are you going to find a skate board that doubles up as a ouija?

Uncommonobjects.com

2PM MR NATURAL

There’s A LOT of amazing vegetarian food in Austin, but we’re sending you to this meat-free take on a traditional Tex Mex joint for a couple of reasons. 1) It comes highly recommended from Twila at the Herb Bar. 2) They do an ENTIRE GLUTEN FREE MENU. 3) There’s an yoga studio attached where they offer a ‘spiritual Hatha’ practise. And, maybe most importantly, 4) They produce a huge assortment of insane wheat / sugar / dairy / etc free cakes and pastries out of the on-site bakery.

MrNatural-austin.com

5PM SPARTAN

This ridiculously hip lifestyle boutique is essentially what the Numinous would be if we had a store (now there’s an idea…) Owner Currie Person has curated THE chicest collection of spiritually aware fashion, jewellery and homewares, while some new arrivals for spring include a crazy cool tie-dye leather bag from Creatures of Comfort, a selection of vintage Andean blanket rugs, this set of Bing Bang skull studs and the great felt hat by Janessa Leone pictured here.

Spartan-shop.com 

8PM CHEER-UP CHARLIE’S

With kombucha on tap and the MOST delicious vegan food truck parked out back, this indoor-outdoor bar / live music venue is a one-stop healthy hedonism shop. They also serve fresh pressed juice cocktails, while a parachute canopy covering the patio creates an other-worldly, that-bar-from-Star Wars kinda vibe. Oh, and check out the rad décor on the dance floor! Who needs ‘shrooms with all this trippy black light s*** going on?

Cheerupcharlies.com

12.30AM STARRY EYES

If you can drag yourself away from the fun times at Charlie’s (see above), Starry Eyes – described as “an occult tale of ambition, possession and the true cost of fame,” is being screened as part of the official SXSW schedule. Following the (mis)fortunes of a wannabe actress in Hollywood, after a series of strange auditions she lands the lead in a new film from a mysterious production company. “But with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically…” Yikes!

SXSW.com

SUNDAY

10AM BARTON SPRINGS POOL

This man-made pool in Austin’s Zilker Park is filled from the water of the Main Barton Spring, the fourth largest natural spring in Texas. Open for year ‘round outdoor swimming, long before the pool was built the springs were considered sacred and were used for purification rituals by tribesmen of the local Tonkawa tribe. So where better to refresh your Sunday morning head?

Austintex.gov

11am JYOTISH ASTROLOGY WITH ANNE BEVERSDORF 

This renowned Austin astrologer goes back and forth between traditional Western and Vedic astrological systems during a reading, cross-checking information to give a totally in-depth, 360-reading. Coming to astrology as a healing modality, “My goal is to open doors for a deep flowering of your innermost Self in relation to the world. My peace is in hearing that YOU have found meaning in both joys and sorrows,” she says.

Stariel.com

1PM WHOLE FOODS RAW VEGAN FOOD BAR

Not only does Austin have one of the biggest Whole Foods in the world (or at least what feels like it, this is the home of their HQ after all), there’s also a WHOLE counter of the infamous salad bar dedicated to vegan (and mainly raw) cuisine. Well, hello broccoli cashew crunch, chickpea chix salad, pumpkin seed cheese, and raw German chocolate cake. Oh, or how about a raw flax seed tortilla was topped with kale and avocado, spicy cashew cheese, mock sour cream, cilantro and pico de gallo? Yes please.

Wholefoodsmarket.com

3PM GARDEN OF THE ANCIENTS

A 15-minute drive out of town, this “herb emporium and nursery” carries over 300 medicinal and culinary herbs, while the store itself is set among the creeping vines of a sprawling working herb and vegetable garden. They also grown a large selection of “ethnobotanical”, or medicinal, plants, including Daturas and Morning Glories, Wild Dagga, Baby Hawaiian Woodrose, Wormwood, Skullcap, Wild Lettuce, Wild Tobacco and the legendary San Pedro cactus. Properly witchy stuff.

Gardenoftheancients.com

5PM CUSTOM CRYSTAL DESIGN SESSION WITH FORREST LEE

Fort Worth native Forrest Lee has been creating his beautiful Healing Vortex Crystal Wraps since 2009, when he was gifted his first crystal – “with intense compassion from a dear brother in a hard time” – with life changing results. Now, “my goal is to spread healing and compassion by igniting that heart flame in each human. The crystals help remind us of our divinity,” he says, and a custom design session with Forrest is the best way to find the crystal that will work the hardest for YOU.

Facebook.com/healingvortex.crystalwraps

7PM BANGERS

Time to balance today’s air and water energy activities with some low down and earthy SAUSAGE. Bangers is Austin’s famous “sausage house & beer garden” – and, yes, their veggie options (beet and goat cheese or veggie BLT) get a huge thumbs up from us. The veggie ranchero brunch and sides (jalepeno cream corn with onion gratin anyone?) are also ridiculous, and all washed down with libations from the gluten free beer menu (yep, you read that right!)

Bangersaustin.com

9PM SOUND HEALING WITH TINA RODRIGUEZ

This incredible local healing artist, who works with crystal bowls as well as the sound of her own sweet voice, hosts regular group sessions and is available for one-to-one healing. As the rest of the SXSW revellers rock out to the closing sets of the festival, send your spirit soaring high on her beautiful cosmic vibes.

Facebook.com/tinalasirena

For full listings of what’s up at SXSW go to the festival website.

@SXSW

With thanks to Caleb Campaigne.