THE HIEROPHANT SESSIONS: WHICH TAROT CARD IS YOUR TEACHER?

The Tarot is a powerful tool for intention setting and conscious growth. With The Hierophant Sessions, Melinda Lee Holm shares how to discover which card is your Tarot teacher right now …

melinda lee holm tarot the hierophant sessions tarot teacher the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world

We generally consult the Tarot when we have specific questions and seek clear answers.

Yet in the same way that we look to figures like Joan of Arc, Yogananda, Angela Davis, and Harvey Milk as role models, we can also look to the Tarot’s archetypes not just as divination tools to give us information about our lives, but as actual guides for our behavior.

In my own work, I use the cards as practical guides, and encourage my clients to actively work with the deck by meditating on its images, setting altars to archetypes, and consciously cultivating relationships to these symbols through everyday strategies.

I’ve selected my top Tarot “teachers” and techniques for you below. See if you recognize yourself in any of these types and when in doubt, separate the 6 teachers, shuffle, and pull one to discover whose guidance is calling to you right now.

*Want to learn more about the Tarot as a practical guidance tool? Listen to my Hierophant Sessions podcast every Wednesday (preview episode up now!) and book a session with me HERE.

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1// Teacher: The Empress. You may need The Empress if you are experiencing: impatience, narrow focus, scarcity mentality, a closed heart. 

Stone: Aventurine
Food: Basil
Scent: Rose
Action: Open

The Empress teaches us that sometimes the best way to get the great love and prosperity we desire in life is to wrench open that bear trap around our little modern hearts, lean back, and let the love flow! There is an element of profound trust inherent in this card, a fundamental knowing that we are loved by the Earth and the Universe and that by simply opening up and loving unconditionally, we can tap into that great well of abundance they promise.

**Activate The Empress by embracing the idea that to give is to receive. Volunteer your time cooking at a shelter, reading to children, caring for animals or the environment, sorting food at the food bank—anything that gets you immersed in that consciousness of the Universal flow. Showing your love for others and backing it up with your time and money is a great way to get into Empress mode! 

melinda lee holm tarot the hierophant sessions tarot teacher the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world the empress

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2// Teacher: The Hermit. You may need The Hermit if you are experiencing: stress, feeling overwhelmed, lack of direction.

Stone: Sodalite
Food: Watercress
Scent: Lemon balm
Action: Withdraw

 When it all feels like it’s just too much and you want to run away, it may be time to do just that—with the focused guidance of The Hermit. While in common usage we use the word “hermit” as a synonym for “recluse,” in the Tarot the figure is a wizened sage who seeks solitude in order to gather more wisdom. The seclusion he seeks is not motivated by desire to hide, but rather to cut out the noise to better focus on gathering the knowledge he needs to best serve not only his own personal development, but the needs of the broader community.

**Activate The Hermit by thriving in the cycle of intake and reflection. Try reading a great book on a topic near and dear to your Self and take time to journal for at least 30 minutes after reading each chapter. Solo trips into nature are a great Hermit activity as well—if you can’t make a trek into the mountains, sit alone under a tree in a park for a few hours. It’s a great time to read that book!

melinda lee holm tarot the hierophant sessions tarot teacher the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world the hermit

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3// Teacher: Strength. You may need Strength if you are experiencing: isolation, fatigue, weariness, feelings of resentment. 

Stone: Ruby
Food: Thyme
Scent: Ginger
Action: Embrace

This card teaches us that true strength comes through co-creation and collaboration with the world around us, and through knowing our strengths and our weaknesses and embracing both. So much in our society pulls us apart and encourages us to see our fellow humans as competitors or even adversaries. Strength counters this messaging and reminds us that we are all children of the Earth and the Cosmos, and that when we embrace each other and our home we can achieve the greatest results. Only through vulnerability can we fortify ourselves to accomplish our greatest goals.

**Activate Strength by seeing the results of co-creation appear before your very eyes. Complete a project with someone close to you—this could be a household project with your partner or a creative project with a friend, anything where you are working in tandem with someone else and there is a clear concrete goal you can see completed. Repeat as needed!

melinda lee holm tarot the hierophant sessions tarot teacher the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world strength

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4// Teacher: The High Priestess. You may need The High Priestess if you are experiencing: disconnection from self, lack of confidence, feelings of being unworthy, imposter syndrome. 

Stone: Moonstone
Food: Pomegranate
Scent: Lilac
Action: Reflect

The High Priestess calls us to fully explore the depths and dark corners of our souls. Just as the Moon shows itself by reflecting the light of the Sun, the High Priestess teaches us to look for clues about our true natures by looking at our reflections all around us. All of this inner exploration is made possible by her dedication to maintaining strong boundaries around her temple (nuns may be our closest living embodiment of High Priestess energy). From her, we can learn how important it is to enforce and maintain strong boundaries around a space we designate as sacred in our lives.

**Activate The High Priestess by designating and consecrating your temple. Your studio, office, bedroom, even a little corner of your living room that is just yours. Choose a space, clear it (physically and energetically), and then very selectively populate it with items that reflect you as you aspire to be and be seen.

melinda lee holm tarot the hierophant sessions tarot teacher the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world the high priestess

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5// Teacher: Death. You may need Death if you are experiencing: scattered thinking, lack of productivity, obsessive thoughts about the past, inability to form new relationships. 

Stone: Black Tourmaline
Food: Sesame
Scent: Lavender
Action: Release

When we try to hold onto ideas, patterns, and even relationships that have passed their usefulness to our well-being, it can manifest in a confusing series of seemingly unexplainable setbacks and energetic blockages. As the confusion sets it, we tend to clamp down ever harder, afraid to lose the ground we’ve worked so hard to gain, and further exacerbating the problem. The magic and wisdom of the Death card shows us that loosening the grip and allowing release is the surest way to make more room for new growth to emerge.

**Activate Death by leaning into the wisdom of letting go. Start with donating clothes you no longer need. The act of purging material posessions has a profound effect on the emotional and energetic bodies that can lead to greater ease in releasing emotional patterns and psychic loops.

melinda lee holm tarot the hierophant sessions tarot teacher the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world death

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6// Teacher: The Hierophant. You may need The Hierophant if you are experiencing: lack of meaning, directionlessness, strained connection to the Divine, difficulty finding your path. 

Stone: Herkimer Diamond Quartz
Food: Sage
Scent: Frankincense
Action: Transmit/Receive

While all of the cards offer wisdom and guidance of their own, The Hierophant stands apart as the one figure completely dedicated to downloading Divine teachings and disseminating that information for the benefit of others. If you’re feeling lost, calling on The Hierophant can be a powerful force to help you find the direction you need. Working with this card in manifestation practice can even bring in the teacher or mentor you need to get going on your path and achieve your goals – as long as those goals are aligned with your spiritual purpose!

**Activate The Hierophant by quite literally finding your gurus. Read spiritual texts, go to group meditations, go on a retreat if you can swing it—just get around as many people and ideas as you possibly can that are inspirational and aspirational to YOU. And be ready for the surprise twist where you actually end up being the guru someone else was looking for! We all have wisdom to offer the world.

melinda lee holm tarot the hierophant sessions tarot teacher the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world the hierophant

*Want to learn more about the Tarot as a practical guidance tool? Listen to Melinda’s Hierophant Sessions podcast every Wednesday (preview episode up now!) and book a session with her HERE.

FROM FEAR TO MEDICINE: USING THE TAROT TO FACE WHAT SCARES US

The Tarot is both a mirror and an evolutionary invitation towards change. Lindsay Mack offers us a guide to the so-called “scary” cards and reveals how we can use our decks to turn fear to medicine …

from fear to medicine lindsay mack ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world tarot

Fear is a highly unpleasant, but profoundly important emotion — one that deserves a place at our table of feelings.

Fear, when considered for what it is, can offer information, wise counsel, direction, and clarity on our deeper feelings. We don’t have to believe everything our fear communicates to us, but it can be transformative to hear it out. By doing so, fear can become an ally, especially when we understand the strength that can arise within us through working with it.

Fear has always been a very deep teacher in my life. I live with a long term brain condition. I’m a healthy and joyful survivor of extreme childhood abuse, and have worked through complex PTSD for most of my life. I have traveled through some of the darkest places a person can experience, and every time I take one of those journeys “through the woods,” I am shifted for the better, having gained deeper strength, trust, and faith, my fear shifting into medicine with wisdom to offer me. The more wisdom I cultivate through those paths of darkness, the more I have to offer to myself, my students, and my clients.

The Tarot is a profoundly useful tool to turn to in moments of fear, trauma and stress. It can help to contextualize what’s happening underneath our fear, and how it is trying to help us evolve. It can also bring a visual landscape to something that we may not be able to communicate or understand with words. Whether you are a reader or not, The Tarot can be a deep aid in moments of darkness.

There are six Tarot cards in particular that, when we look at them through a soul centered lens, offer a beautiful invitation to evolve through fear.

Read on for how use them as guides in our own journey, exploring what it means for us to shift from fear to medicine. You can also check out my brand new course, From Fear to Medicine: A Six Week Journey into the “Scary” Cards of the Tarot. The first class begins on April 22nd – find out more HERE

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// THE FOOL // Trusting The Invisible
Have you ever been called to take a giant leap of faith with hardly any proof that it will pay off? If you have, you’ve been in the energy of The Fool. It is the invitation to jump into the unknown, and begin a whole new cycle of our lives. We are drawn to the edge of a cliff in this card, but it is up to us to jump off of it. The soul work that we are asked to do in this card is to trust ourselves, and trust the invisible.

To our brain chemistry, The Fool can feel like death, a loss of control for the ego. If we can move through this deep contraction with mindfulness, leaping into the unseen, the treasures we will gain will be priceless. We will begin to truly know that when we jump in The Fool, we will be supported. We will begin to trust our intuition, and we will be a co-creator in our own evolution and growth. Trusting the invisible takes deep work. The Fool is here to help us learn.

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// WHEEL OF FORTUNE // Centering in the midst of change
The Wheel of Fortune heralds the coming of great change, the marriage between our choices and our destiny. The change that Wheel of Fortune brings is always for our good. There is no “bad” turn on this card, and there is no reversal.

When we work with the Wheel of Fortune, we can never see the change that’s coming. It teaches us to root into the unknown, and to stay centered in the Wheel, rather than flailing on the outer edges. When we work with this card, we get to learn how to root into ourselves in times of change, staying calm in the eye of the storm. Beautiful wisdom for life.

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// DEATH // Sacred Compost
There is no greater metaphor for the Death card than that of composting. I eat you, then you eat me. Nothing truly dies in the Death card, just like nothing ever truly dies here on Earth. It merely changes form, becoming a different version of what it was.

The Death card is the transformation of something – a relationship, a thought pattern, a belief – into something new. When we work in this card, it is a signal that we are no longer being fed by something growing in the garden of our lives. It lets us know that it is time to pull the weeds up and allow it to become sacred fertilizer, encouraging the new things in our lives to grow. The work we do in this card is profound ego surrender, letting go of the things that are ready to go.

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// THE DEVIL // Blessing the Shadow
The Devil is an opportunity to look deeply at our shadow. Are we judging ourselves? Believing that there is something wrong with us? Are we spiraling into an old, destructive pattern out of fear or contraction? If we are, The Devil will let us know.

If we pull this card, it is a sign that we are doing everything right. The Devil always shows up as a little mindfulness bell around our expansion, letting us know that the brain is trying to pull us into some old, limiting patterns to keep us in what it perceives as safe and known. We get to drop into these patterns and say no thank you to the invitation, whatever it may be. By doing so, we liberate ourselves from believing that we are “bad” or “wrong,” to thinking that there is anything adverse about us for our desires or our anger, and allowing all parts of ourselves to just be there.

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// THE TOWER // When Things go Wrong
Everyone has experienced a Tower moment in their lives. It is a moment where it truly feels like everything has gone wrong – it can feel like we are living in a nightmare. A beautiful metaphor for The Tower is a forest fire. We watch everything burn, knowing that it is clearing the soil for new growth.

It is an intentional shaking of the foundations underneath us, all to help us grow, and shed some part of ourselves that is no longer aligned with our expansion. The Tower can be intensely uncomfortable, or it can be a very minor, internal experience. When we survive and move through Tower experiences, we emerge stronger, clearer and transformed, our lives shifted on its very axis.

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// THE MOON // Floating in the Darkness
In The Moon card, we learn how to hang out in the Void – no easy feat! Ruled by Pisces, this card goes as deep as it can go. It is an experience of truly not knowing where we are going next, not having any answers, and feeling like we are floating back into old, shadowy feelings and emotions. To experience this can be very uncomfortable, and can make us want to really swim to shore, to find the light, to get some semblance of clarity and direction.

But, the more we kick, the deeper the waves become. We eventually learn the most profound surrender in The Moon card, letting the darkness become an ally, learning from the quiet, tuning in with ourselves beyond the din of our ego. When the light finally dawns, we learn that we have been moving all along, allowing the currents to take us to our next destination.

Want to go deeper into these energies, and learn how to work with your own fear in a mindful, empowered way? Please join me for my brand new course, From Fear to Medicine: A Six Week Journey into the “Scary” Cards of the Tarot. The first class begins on April 22nd – find out more HERE

DIARY OF AN EGO DEATH ON LSD

Facing a major life meltdown, Sam Lam was ready to turn herself inside out. Little did she know, her first LSD trip would lead to the experience of ego death …

LSD ego death Sam Lam The Numinous acid trippy
Photo: Frida Aguilar Estrada

I’d majored in philosophy in college, studied metaphysics, epistemology, and even endured a stint in theology. But despite the multitude of theoretical expeditions I’ve taken into human consciousness, nothing could have prepared me  for the acid trip that led to me experiencing the much-documented “ego death.”

By age 30, I’d burnt out in my career as a Business Development Manager for a multi-national oil and gas company. So I did what any self-respecting women worthy of her prized Louboutins would do: I jacked in that job, packed my (many) bags and boarded a flight to ‘La La Land’ to pursue a career in fashion.

As if this identity crisis wasn’t enough, a couple of months prior I’d discovered that my now ex-husband of almost 10 years was having an affair. Needless to say, I was a total emotional-fucking-wreck. A 30-something divorcée with a fresh “Monroe” lip piercing, I soon found myself trying to heal my shattered heart by reliving my hard-partying youth.

Cut to me raging it up at a major music festival. I’d never taken LSD before that night, but in the sweltering heat of the desert, as the hot, orange sun began to dip, I decided to drop.

I felt very little at first. Twenty, maybe thirty minutes passed and by this point I was eager to rush to the front of the main stage and offer my metallic flash-tattooed body as a sacrifice to the music now engulfing me. I just wanted to dance. Dance all my life’s pain away.

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This was death, I felt certain of it … 
It’s not really possible to describe what happened next. Before I could even begin to move in the direction of the stage, I took one glance at the illuminated festival Ferris wheel swirling ahead and the acid hit my brain like a bolt of lightning.

In that instant all of my senses merged. I could taste sounds, smell the music, and literally see my feelings.

This was death, I felt certain of it. The world as I knew it disappeared, and while I could no longer feel my body, my mind got busy imagining my demise in vivid, graphic, Technicolor.

Gory, violent, blood curdling. Vicious ends that felt oh too real. At one point I was hit by a steam-train in the middle of the desert. The next I was being eaten alive by rattle snakes. Next, I was a victim to the desert sun as its rays pierced my skin and melted my flesh to the bone. I then tried to write an (imaginary) letter to my family to apologize for giving up and going out in such a shameful way, but I literally couldn’t find the words to express how deeply sorry I was.

Then came a silence. A complete and utter black quiet in my head. It was a peaceful moment where I was truly thinking “nothing” at all (if that’s possible). A temporary respite from that torment that followed.

Photo: Kelly Malloy

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I could feel the world weep … 
Nothing can prepare you for “Ego Death”—the term is used in various, intertwined contexts to describe a fundamental transformation in the psyche, where we lose the self entirely. The words “I,” “me,” “myself” lose all meaning whatsoever.

This is what I experienced next, and it altered my life forever.

I could feel the pain of the entire Universe. Immense and immeasurable, agonizing torture. Quite literally, I felt for both a split second and an eternity, the utter, agonizing grief of every single man, woman, child, animal, tree, the oceans, and the skies.

I felt the Universe inside of me and all of its desperate misery. I could feel the world weeping.

A the Universe sobbed, my sense of self had completely and utterly vanished into it. “I” no longer existed. “I” no longer related to anything. It was as if I had become “dark matter,” as theorized in quantum physics—”I” was empty space. Nothing.

I woke up the next morning on the floor of my hotel room, with my festival uniform intact (bikini top, denim shorts, misappropriated tribal feathers). The desert was still in my hair and I had no memory of how I’d gotten home.

As my eyes slowly opened and the speckles of light danced into my retinas, I realized I was still alive. “Samantha” had survived her first (and probably one and only) acid trip. But something fundamental had changed …

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Had I melted my brain? 
The trip had been so intense, I was left fearing the worst. For months I worried that I had in fact melted my brain. I was no longer draw to “partying” as a way to dance out my demons. What can I say, the world just isn’t the same after you’ve “died.” Nothing seemed to make sense anymore.

Four months after the trip, I was severely depressed and still trying to make sense of my marriage breakdown, my scattered career choices, and this extraordinary experience. One afternoon, I found myself all alone in my apartment.

I was lying on my bed ugly crying, with blood-shot puffy eyes and chapped lips, and the what felt like the weight of my woes making it difficult for me to breath. I was then gripped with an urge to step out onto the balcony of my pokey apartment to get some fresh air. As I stood out on that balcony staring at the cloudless blue expanse of sky, I could have sworn I heard a voice in my head:

“You have felt my pain, now let me take yours,” said what I can only sensibly identify as The Universe.

In that instant I felt a warm calmness encircle me, as if I’d been injected with a large dose of MDMA. Yet this was an instant, drug-free Nirvana. The voice signaled that it was going to take away my suffering and pain, and transform it into something positive, pleasurable, maybe even beautiful.

In that moment, everything in my life just seemed to make total and absolutely succinct sense. I understood that I was designed to contain light and dark energy—to be the embodiment of Yin and Yang. I wanted to kiss my pain. Without it, I wouldn’t have embarked on this journey. I wouldn’t have had the courage to push my body beyond its physical and mental limits. I would have remained spiritually asleep.

lsd sam lam ruby warrington ego death the numinous material girl mystical world
The author

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The comedown … 
My life has since returned to “normal.” But my Ego Death experience has led to notable changes to my outlook.

I’ve drawn relationships into my life that are supportive and calm but also fun. I laugh more. My current partner lets me fully be myself. And I’ve found friendships circles with likeminded creatives and artists who are interested in alchemy and alternative modalities.

After these experiences, it’s been hard to return to the corporate world. Climbing the ladder no longer appeals to me. And though I haven’t quite found my niche, I’m figuring it out. I know somehow I’m supposed to be here in L.A … that something drew me here.

Most importantly, I’m more eco-conscious and aware of how my choices are impacting the future of the planet (after all, I had felt the whole world sobbing). I still love fashion, but I am no longer her slave, and have lost the desire to consume in the way I used to. And while organized religion is still not something I identify with, I’ve become intrigued by esoteric and alternative spiritual modalities.

What learned about a connected global consciousness is well documented elsewhere—an open-minded outlook that’s especially relevant in our current era of regressive, right-wing politicking.

After all, in the words of ethnobotanist and mystic Terence McKenna: “If the words life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the ‘Declaration of Independence’ isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.”

I certainly don’t believe that drugs are the only path to experiences such as mine. But surely to muse and ask “why?”—or to protest “WTF?”—is an innate part of the human experience. How else can we pursue the kind of evolutionary advancements I may have accidentally stumbled on during my long, bizarre, and deadly dark night of ego death?

Born and raised in the North East of Scotland to an Irish/Scottish mother and Chinese father and having travelled the world in her previous career, Sam Lam is an L.A based creative who spends her time writing, consulting, styling, modeling and collaborating with brands to produce visual content.

DEEP INSIDE: READING FOR THE SCORPIO NEW MOON 2016

The Scorpio New Moon is an invitation to journey deep inside—so that we may emerge reborn, says Sandra Sitron…Artwork: i MANIPULATE

Scorpio new moon 2016 The Numinous

 

On Sunday October 30th at 1:38 pm ET (17:38 UTC) we have a New Moon at 7 degrees Scorpio.

The Moon and it’s message: “Cradle your heart in your hands.”

This Scorpio New Moon asks you to get quiet, so that you can hear her persistent whisper…Slow down. Study yourself. Prepare to let go of that which is no longer serving you. Be brave. Trust yourself. Cup your hands around your heart in honor and protection. Be your best witness. Hold space for yourself. Listen to the quiet, still, emotions that have been buried beneath “busy-ness” and action.

Your job right now is to Be. Your job is not to Do.

Every New Moon marks a new beginning; a time to plant seeds of intention for the upcoming Moon cycle. To visualize the manifestations of the coming 28 days. And the Scorpio New Moon especially is here to show us what needs to be eliminated in order to make room for the new.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Scorpio New Moon arrives with the season of Autumn in its fullness. It invites us to witness the trees as their leaves fall away. The leaves are ready to die, to decay, to go back to the earth. The leaves have served their purpose. The tree trusts this. There is no effort in letting the leaves fall away. The only action is to let go—trusting that the next cycle will bring new leaves.

Scorpio tells us about cycles. As such, it rules Sex. Birth. Death. Rebirth. You may not fully understand the cycle that you are moving through. But trust that you are moving. You may not understand why letting go is so important. Yet let go you must. This watery, intuitive moon is not about logic. So let go of logic and open your heart to trust.

But also, don’t expect to be shown the easy way out.

Scorpio’s ancient ruler is Warrior Mars, while her modern ruler is Transformational Pluto. She will challenge you. She will prod you. This Scorpio New Moon may poke at your underbelly. May knowingly turn your eyes to what is decaying in your life. She wants you to see what is ready to be burned and transformed. She wants to help you eliminate the old to make room for the new.

The challenge of this Scorpio New Moon is to explore our deepest, most habitually fixed emotional reactions. The emotional grooves that are scored deep into the nooks and crannies of our psyche. Want catharsis? Recognizing these buried emotions could bring a lot to the surface. Releasing them could set a fresh new cycle in motion. So show up courageously. Look closely at your wounds. Don’t shy away from intensity.

Look at the part of your life that you are trying to control. Scorpio rules letting go AND control. Can you loosen your grip?

Ask: what are your thoughts and feeling about this area of your life? Is there some fear there? If so, is the fear triggered by a thought? What is the thought? Why do you believe the thought? What proof is there? When was the first time you thought this? What was going on in your life at that time? Is there another thought that could replace it? How would you like to feel instead?

Free up some time this weekend to just sit quietly and see what comes up. Scorpio archetypes are the Detective, the Researcher, and the Psychologist. It is the job of all these archetypes to search and uncover. To reveal a hidden truth. Do this with your emotional self. Take a steady, close look beneath the surface.

Then slow down. Trust. Witness. Let go. Cradle your heart in your hands.

Read on for the cosmic aspects at play PLUS New Moon self-inquiry by sign…

Scorpio new moon 2016 The Numinous

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NEW MOON CONJUNCT MERCURY
The pitter patter of rain.

Chatty Mercury joins the Scorpio New Moon to help communicate to you what you are ready to let go of. These communications may be quick and persistent, like the pitter patter of rain. All you have to do is allow the message to come through. Mercury is bringing lots of ideas and new information. Areas of your life that you think you have all figured out may be ready for new interpretations. Get ready to start up a conversation with your highest self.

NEW MOON TRINE NEPTUNE
Finding your way through the maze.

Dreamy Neptune is in a harmonious Trine aspect with the Scorpio New Moon. This energy will help you open up to your intuition to receive a message from across the veil. The symbol promises that if you use all of your senses and follow your best hunch, you will arrive at your destination. Let your third eye help you navigate.

SUMMARY
You are ready to go inward. Explore your deep feelings. Let the unnecessary fall away. The leaves have fulfilled their purpose. Let them go, reflect, and prepare for the next cycle.

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NEW MOON SELF-INQUIRY BY SIGN :: For a more accurate reading, see which house in your birth chart contains 7 degrees Scorpio.

Aries or 8th House
What desires are you avoiding? What is blocking you feeling into what you truly want? What do you see when you lean into the feeling you would like to have right now?

Taurus or 7th House
Are you holding on to any assumptions about relationships that you are ready to let go of? Where did these ideas originate? Can you see how they are no longer serving you?

Gemini or 6th House
Is anything preventing you from making healthy choices for your body? What is one habit you can let go of this week that feels aligned with your goals for your health?

Cancer or 5th House
What is blocking your creative self-expression? Why are you allowing this to persist? How might you bring more creativity and fun into your life?

Leo or 4th House
Take a moment to tune into yourself and have your notebook ready: If your inner child could talk to you, what would she tell you right now? Is there a pattern she is holding onto that she is ready to let go?

Virgo or 3rd House
What is coming up for you mentally right now? What are the ideas that won’t go away? How can you pay attention Do you see any assumptions that are influencing you in relation to this topic?

Libra or 2nd House
What is blocking you from realizing your self worth? What limiting beliefs are behind any instances of poverty consciousness (“I am not enough / There is never enough”?)

Scorpio or 1st House
Let yourself breathe more fully, and see if you can get more deeply in touch with yourself. What is blocking you from expressing your unique energy in the world? How can you step past this?

Sagittarius or 12th House
What is the dominant feeling surfacing for you right now? What’s it like to feel this way? Journal on this feeling and then ask yourself: What can I let go of in order to heal?

Capricorn or 11th House
Jot down some hopes and dreams for your future. Who in you might interfere with your goal? (Can you give a name to the part of you that may interfere? Can you have a conversation with that part?)

Aquarius or 10th House
Where would you like to be ten years from now in regard to your career? Can you imagine how you might get there? What must you let go of to realize your greatest ambitions for yourself?

Pisces or 9th House
What deeply held beliefs have you found yourself questioning? How could you chose to see things instead? How could this help you progress on your spiritual path?

FACE YOUR FEARS…AT A SEX, DRUGS AND DEATH RETREAT

Personal development can sky-rocket when you decide to face your fears—as Rose Surnow discovered on a sex, drugs and death retreat…

face your fears by rose surnow on The Numinous
Here’s me facing my fear of looking fierce AF.

I’m afraid of… basically everything. Swimming in a dark pool? What about sharks? Even though that’s impossible. Cute guy asks me on a date? He probably just wants to murder me and sell my pubic hair on Craigslist. Amazing job opportunity falls in my lap? It’s obviously a Ponzi scheme run by terrorists. So many fears, so little time!

Raised by intelligent but pathologically anxious parents, I was taught that the world is a land mine where nothing is safe. Wear a sweater! Wear a helmet! Wear a hazmat suit! Better yet, just don’t go outside. SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN. “Being Jewish is so relaxing,” said no one, ever.

So, it goes without saying I’d be terrified of things like sex, drugs and death. My greatest fear is probably having sex on drugs, and then dying. So, when I was invited to a mindfulness retreat called “The Taboo Weekend” to discuss these exact topics, I jumped at the chance. It was time to face some fears.

Organized by bohemian power-couple Michael Hebb and Angel Grant, the event is meant to help people open up about difficult subjects in order to live a more meaningful life. Hebb and Grant started the company Death Over Dinner, where they host dinner parties all over the world, to get people talking about death.

Held at a beautiful luxury retreat center in Atlanta, called the Inn at Serenbe the event was three days of discussion, meditation and reflection. And it was an incredible. I felt my heart break open a little more, my walls come down a couple inches, and my spirit get lighter and more free.

If you ever find yourself at the Taboo Weekend (which I highly recommend) or any retreat at all, check out my tips on how to get the most out of it. Because if I can get out of my fears and be present, literally anyone can.

:: PARTICIPATE FULLY ::
It’s easier to be a Skeptical Susan, judging life from the sidelines, than a Participating Pam. But Pam always wins in the end.

On the last day of the retreat we had a “sex lunch” which meant we sat in randomly assigned groups, ate fried chicken and took turns answering really personal questions about our sex lives. A dude in recovery confessed that sober sex was really intimidating. A beautiful blond talked about how her anti-depressants made climax impossible. And a hot German guy admitted that he didn’t like casual hook-ups and needed an emotional connection.

Everyone just spilled their insecurities like it was no big deal, and it was kind of an epiphany. Maybe our biggest insecurities aren’t that big of deal. Maybe we’re all just people doing the best we can trying to figure it out. I left that conversation feeling lighter than I have since I was a kid.

face your fears by rose surnow on The Numinous
This was our bangin’-ass hot tub where I met my retreat boyfriend.

:: GET IN THE HOT TUB ::
I think it was Shakespeare who said, “Hot things happen in hot tubs.” So get in already! (And, if your retreat doesn’t have a Jacuzzi, what the fuck are you even doing there?)

On the first night of my Taboo weekend, I ended up in a Jacuzzi with a group of cute, young people because, doy. Slowly, everyone left to go to bed until it was just me and this hot guy named Brian. HOW CONVENIENT. We looked at the stars for a while and pretended to ignore the implications of being the last ones left. Then he walked me to my hotel room where we made out until the sun came up.

The point is you could die at any moment, so get in the hot tub of LIFE and make-out with Brian. Sidenote: straight men who go on mindfulness retreats are amazing lovers. Slow, sensitive and sensual it almost makes up for every single dude you slept with in college.

:: INTERVIEW A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR BUT, SOMEHOW MAKE IT ABOUT YOURSELF ::
The speaker who gave us a lecture about drugs was best-selling author, addiction expert and Holocaust survivor, Gabor Mate. Even though he’s 72 years old, he’s still fine as hell in that tormented Eastern European way. He looks like if Adrien Brody melted.

Gabor spoke a lot about the mind-body connection and if I can reduce his two-hour lecture to one sentence, it would be: Every problem in your life stems from not getting the love you needed as a child.

Obviously, that’s incredibly simplistic, but I can’t summarize his entire lecture here (but you should definitely watch his Ted Talk).

After hearing Gabor talk, I interviewed him about his life. I asked about his experience in Budapest during the Holocaust and then somehow we ended up talking about depression. Gabor has been on and off Prozac for decades, and I’ve been on Lexepro since I was 19. Then Gabor started asking me all these really personal questions about my life, my childhood, my family. Suddenly, I found myself crying about my parents’ divorce…when this motherfucker SURVIVED THE HOLOCAUST.

I’ve never felt more millennial: “Oh, your grandfather was murdered by Nazis. That sucks. My dad didn’t support my art!”

By the end of the conversation, Gabor had me smiling and laughing. “How do you feel now?” he asked me.

“I feel great, relaxed,” I said.

“That is your true essence,” he replied. “That is who you really are.”

Gabor thinking deep thoughts. face your fears on the Numinous
Gabor thinking deep thoughts.

:: STAY CALM WHEN A WOMAN GETS POSSESSED BY KUNDALINI YOGA SPIRITS ::
Weird things happen at New Age retreats. I was sitting in a small lecture with Gabor Mate when all of the sudden this woman started violently convulsing. Gasping for breath, jerking, and shaking, I thought for sure she was having a panic attack.

Apparently, she was experiencing some kind of “Kundalini episode.” Whatever it was, it was scary to watch. I was starting to feel a little panic-by-proxy, when Gabor started to calm her down.

“What’s going on, right now?

“I can’t control it,” she said.

“That’s okay. How are you feeling?” he asked.

“I’m embarrassed. I feel like I’m being too dramatic. I feel like I’m too much for people,” she cried as she flailed around.

Then Gabor asked us all to stand up and get out of our chairs and imitate her movements. “We will do it with you, so you’re not alone.” We started jerking and shaking and it was kind of fun. We looked like a group of white people trying to dance. Finally, she calmed down.

It was like magic. Gabor turned this weird, edgy experience, into a supportive, playful exercise. Everything was okay. She was okay. She just needed to feel like she wasn’t alone.

***

If there’s one thing I learned over and over again on this retreat is that we’re all WAY TOO HARD ON OURSELVES. I spent three days having radically honest and open conversations with all types of people, from all types of backgrounds. And the thing I heard most was how much pain people were experiencing at their own hand. And I’m no exception.

All our problems are rooted in not feeling loved enough. And it starts with ourselves. I realize this article vacillates between sarcastic and cheesy, genuine and silly, but that’s me. I had no idea what to expect on a sex, drugs and death retreat. But what I got was compassion. A real sense of compassion for other people, for myself and for life.

When you face your fears, maybe the world’s not such a scary place after all.

WEEKLY TAROTSCOPE: FEBRUARY 29 – MARCH 6

Our guest Tarotscopes queen, Lindsay Mack of Wild Soul Healing, has pulled Oppression (The Devil) for this week’s forecast! Don’t be scared – this is the perfect energy to help us face our demons ahead of next week’s detoxifying Pisces New Moon eclipse…

WEEKLY TAROTSCOPE: FEBRUARY 15-21

The Ace of Swords brings clarity and confidence in our own abilities, helping us see beyond the challenges of the week ahead, says Louise Androlia.

You can watch last week’s weekly tarotscope at the link – did Louise’s message resonate with you? Share in the comments below, and connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

WHAT IS A RED TENT ACTIVATION?

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

artwork by Emi Haze for 'what is a red tent ceremony' article on The Numinous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My life has been transformed by training with DeAnna.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 WAYS TO WORK WITH FULL MOON TAROT

If you’re looking for a super potent time to work with the Tarot, the Full Moon could be the cosmic invitation you’re after. Gabriela Herstik has five ways to work some Full Moon Tarot magick…Image: The Starchild Tarot

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Read For The Month Ahead
Perhaps the most obvious and direct way to incorporate the Tarot into your Full Moon ritual is to do a reading. The cosmic energy now is ripe for making decisions on whatever’s been brewing since the previous New Moon, so spending some time reflecting on what you now want to manifest can only serve you. Set up a sacred space, get centered, find a layout that sings to you and draw a card, any card. Reflect on the cycles of your life, and be open to what comes up in the card you’ve chosen.

Make A Tarot Temple
The Tarot is all about imagery and symbolism after all, so why not play with this? You can create a Tarot altar or temple by picking a card that resonates with you (or simply picking one randomly with your intention for the Full Moon in mind) and choosing objects and offerings that help you personify the card. Flowers, photos, statues of deities or animals, and anything else that taps the energy of your card can bring its message to life. You can even create a piece of art that relates to your card, and display it in your chosen sacred space. Focus on the feeling the card brings up for you – especially relating to what you want to manifest in the coming weeks – and channel it into your space.

Meditate on It
The day of the Full Moon is the perfect time to manifest the results of any intentions you’ve set in recent weeks. Once the moon starts to wane, aka lose light, it’s the perfect time to let go and surrender all outcomes to the Universe. Meditating with your card can intensify whatever intention is set. So whether you’re meditating on Death and choosing transformation as the result of any process you’ve been going through, or if you’re simply sitting with The Moon card and focusing on the divine feminine, you’re golden. Taking time to breathe, absorb the energy of the Full Moon and really channel it into your intention is simple, doesn’t take a lot of time, and is a sweet reminder to just be.

Spell It Out
The Full Moon is a strong time for spell or magick work and um, hello, why not incorporate your cards into your work! Whether you’re doing some sigil magick, candle magick or something in between, using the imagery from a card can help set the tone. There’s a whole realm of tarot magick out there, so do your research and get creative.

Dress Like Your Favorite Card
If you really wanna channel your favorite card, take some sartorial cues. Dressing for your Full Moon ritual in something that chimes with the imagery of card you’re working with is a super direct way of aligning yourself with its energy. Feeling the High Priestess this month? Why not wear some jewels or a dress that reminds you of your own connection to Goddess energy? Feeling kinda Two of Cups? How about you dress in something your lover gave you, or something red and sexy. Get creative and manifest, it really is that easy!

What card are you working with this Full Moon? Connect with us and share your Full Moon rituals on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

7 WAYS TO HAVE A SUPER SPIRITUAL HALLOWEEN

All Hallows Eve is about more than slutty costumes and tequila shots. Here, our favorite modern mystics share their ideas for a super spiritual Halloween… Illustrations: Natalie Shau

Beautiful girl with a skull for a spiritual Halloween by Natalie Shau. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

Oh, wait…what if Halloween wasn’t just about dressing up as a slutty ghost and getting slammed on tequila shots? What if it were actually an ancient Pagan celebration to recognise the passing of souls, at a time when the veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest? Hmmm…

The way I’ve come to see it, there are two ways to get down and party with the concept of death. Laugh in its face (ridiculous costumes, booty shakin’ to Black Widow, copious amounts of alcohol), or look it calmly in the face and accept what you see.

Last year I chose option two. Dressed head-to-toe in non-costume black, I attended a séance on All Hallows Eve. The messages that came through for people were all supportive and loving, and afterwards we enjoyed a silent (pot-luck, mainly vegan) supper with our deceased ancestors.

Here, some of our favorite modern mystics share their ideas for a super spiritual Halloween. May the most fabulous phantoms be with you…

Girl dancing with death by Natalie Shau. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

:: FROM RESIDENT NUMINOUS PSYCHIC BETSY COHEN (A.K.A. PSYCHIC BETSY) ::

Halloween is the time when the veils between the worlds are the thinnest, making it an ideal time for you to simply sit quietly and connect with your ancestors. Find some time to yourself on Friday to tune in.

To get into the right energy and to make sure you stay safe, I recommend you clear and protect your energy first. Now turn off all electronics and light a candle.

Using your imagination and all five senses, your ancestors will speak to you through symbols, so be sure to have a pen and paper nearby to record any psychic impressions that come through for you to be interpreted later. When it comes to deciphering the messages in these symbols, trust your intuitive voice – and focus on the feeling associated with what you saw, felt, smelt or heard.

Day of the dead illustration by Natalie Shau. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

:: FROM TAROSCOPES QUEEN LOUISE “LOUNIVERSE” ANDROLIA ::

To honour this step forward into the darker part of the year, perform this simple and insightful Four Card Tarot/Oracle reading to honour your own shadow side.

Card 1: What aspect of my shadow self needs some light shining upon it right now?
Card 2: What is holding me back from moving forwards?
Card 3: What actions will help me nurture and explore this aspect of myself?
Card 4: What secret message does my inner soul system have for me?

Girl in a rabbit mask with white rabbits by Natalie Shau Read more at Thenuminous.net!

:: FROM INTUITIVE COACH AND ELEMENTAL REALMS EXPERT MADELINE GILES ::

In my opinion, animals are the bridge between heaven and earth, and thus act as messengers on behalf of Spirit. The below ritual is one of my favorite ways to intentionally ask for answers and see physical evidence of receiving guidance. Do not underestimate the simplicity of this exercise, it can produce many miracles as long as you are willing to trust and allow your intuition to take charge.

1. Prepare for a walk. Before you head out (or you can do this outside), center yourself by taking long, deep breaths. Call upon Divine source/angels/your guides/whatever resonates and the animal kingdom. Set an intention to receive a message, answer and/or sign from an animal who can help you with a particular situation for the highest good of all concerned.

2. Be Fully Present in your walk. That means no headphones, iPod, or cell phone. Really BE with each moment. Pay attention to the animals and insects you pass en route and assess your feelings about them. When you sense a true resonance with a particular animal or insect, accept that animal as your messenger.

(Note: you do not need to see the animal in flesh. If you spot an animal on a t-shirt, billboard, photograph, etc. – honor that. The animal is equally valid no matter the form it shows up in. This is why it’s extra important to pay attention!)

3. Once you’ve met your animal, ask what message it has for you and notice the initial feelings, impressions, and/or words you hear. Really feel into what this animal wishes to communicate to you before looking it up in a book or online. What feels true to you takes precedence over what anyone else says, including experts.

4. Express gratitude and continue to pay attention over the next three days. You can further synthesize this process by tracking your experience in a journal.

Goth woman with blackbirds by Natalie Shau. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

:: FROM PSYCHIC AND SPIRITUAL COACH TODD SAVVAS ::

Many people forget that Samhain, All Hallows eve and Halloween (and all variations of) can be used to express your other archetypal natures. Yes, many people express that as being a ‘sexy kitty’ or a ‘slutty nurse’. But why not try meditating for a moment on what your soul truly wants to express instead? This will reveal aspects of your self that want to reveal their power as the doorway of Halloween opens.

For example: perhaps you feel as if this year has been all about endings and new beginnings. You’ve left a job or a relationship, and come to some realisations about yourself in the process. You can call on the power of rebirth and transformation to honour and solidify this, by dressing as something that symbolises, signifies or represents transformation – like a phoenix. After all, the true Magickian owns their every action as an opportunity to shape the forces of the universe.

Girl bleeding petals by Natalie Shau for a spiritual Halloween. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

:: FROM VIBRATIONAL HEALER TINA CUTER ::

I suggest running a hot bath, adding some delicious lavender Epsom salts, essential oils and some of my TLC Healing Remedy. Add a rose crystal and some rose petals. Light some candles and put them all around the bath and bathroom.

Lying in this special bath, meditate on your own death, the celebration of passing to the next life and the beauty of life and death. What would people say at your funeral? What you could be doing with your life now to create an epitaph that reflects the impression you’d like to leave in this world?

Meditate on your ancestors and on all lost souls and send them light and love. Send this all over the world. To end your meditation, spend a few moments in simple gratitude for all you have in this life now, for breath and for love.

Halloween ballet dancer with birds and a tutu by Nathalie Shau. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

:: FROM CUSTOM RITUAL DESIGNER EMILY TEPPER ::

The short video below introduces the basics of Custom Altar Design – i.e. how to create an altar for Halloween that’s specific to what you want to manifest in your life at this auspicious time.

LET’S GET DEEP: YOGA SEQUENCE FOR SCORPIO

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

Madonna shot for her 2006 H&M collection to illustrate a story on a yoga sequence for Scorpio. Read more at Thenuminous.net
Madonna shot for H&M 2006

SCORPIO
October 23 to November 21

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

8th sign of the Zodiac

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

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

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

Mysterious woman hiding her face. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

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

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

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

Mysterious naked woman in the woods. Read more at Thenuminous.net!

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

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

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

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

INNER VISIONS: A LESSON IN LUCID DREAMING

If turning on to your spiritual journey is often described as the process of “waking up”, lucid dream coach and Hay House author Charlie Morley explains that actually we can reach the same higher state of being by…going to sleep. He explains all to Lisa Luxx.

Lucid dreaming is the coveted state of being able to navigate your way around your dreams, like playing in the virtual reality of your own esoteric landscape. Which can be shed loads of fun. For example, Charlie Morley got seriously into lucid dreaming when he was 16, and revelled in the opportunity to have loads of sex and be awesome at skateboarding. But alongside the obvious kicks, lucid dreaming can be used as a technique for enlightenment and even as a preparation for death, while he says one of its key side effects is increased kindness in your waking life.

I sat down with Charlie at the Hay House Ignite event in London for a lesson in the hows and whys of lucid dreaming.

So how do we begin training ourselves for lucid dreams?
There’s no quick way to learn lucid dreaming, but there are ways to help your mind move towards the lucid dreaming state. The first is to start remembering your dreams. Keep dream diaries to work on your dream recall and start to get to know the territory of your dreams. Eventually you’ll begin to recognize that territory when you’re in it, and go “aha, I’m in a dream right now.”

What if you’re one of those people who never seem to dream?
Our dream world is behind a sliding door, not a brick wall. Those people who don’t remember their dreams simply need to ask for a dream before they go to sleep. Try repeating this; “I remember my dreams and I have excellent dream recall.” Present tense affirmative works like any good hypnotic suggestion, so say that right before you go to sleep and you’re going to have much more vivid dreams that night.

But the work we do to train ourselves is done during the day?
There are more difficult practices such as falling asleep consciously, and a lot of people try going straight to that but they miss the lazy man’s option. That is to train your mind in the waking state so that the mindfulness muscles are so strong and so flexed that when you go to sleep at night lucidity will dawn naturally.

Image: Karolina Daria Flora

How does working our mindfulness muscle translate in our unconscious mind?
It’s all about awareness and recognition. If you spend your whole day walking around going “could this be a dream right now? Can I see anything dreamlike right now?” you’ll do the same thing when you’re asleep.  In a dream you might ask yourself; “can I see anything dreamlike right now? Oh, there’s a pig flying through the sky! I’m in a dream!” And boom. You become lucid.

What is the relationship between lucid dreaming and dying?
Within Tibetan Buddhism, lucid dreaming is used as preparation for death and dying. It’s because of a concept called “the bardo”. A Sanskrit word meaning “in-between,” the idea is that don’t just die and are instantly reborn, rather you enter this in-between state, which occurs when the mind stream separates from the physical body at the point of death. The mind stream then flips inward on itself and experiences its own projection. Which is not dissimilar to what happens when we dream.

If you can train yourself to recognize the dream world consistently by having lucid dreams, then at the point of death you might be able to recognize the death process. So rather than going “aha I’m dreaming, great I can fly!” you can go “aha, I’m dead.” If you can have the presence of mind to realize you’re dead, you’re experiencing the mind beyond the limitation of the physical body, and as separated from the Self. So you’re experiencing the raw nature of mind. This opens up the potential for full spiritual enlightenment at the point of death.

Wow. So, what changes should we expect to manifest in our waking life through lucid dreaming?
It makes you aware of your own projection. So in a lucid dream you literally recognize that what you thought was real is in fact a projection of your own mind. Lets say that you’re having a dream that you’re the Queen of Egypt – you totally believe you’re the Queen of Egypt, right? In a lucid dream you recognize that you’re not the Queen of Egypt; you’ve woken up to the fact that what you believed was real is in fact the projection of your own mind. So you’ve trained your mind to see the difference between physiological projection and the reality of the situation. In the daytime state you might be projecting onto someone you’re in conversation with, arrogance for example, and then you’ll get this moment of lucidity. It’ll taste like a lucid dream – it’ll be a sudden realization.

Which makes you a more compassionate person I guess?
I spoke to my teacher about this and he said; “Soon you’ll get to the point where you’ll recognize a projection before you do it. This is when you really start to open up to compassion.” 99% of the times we’re mean to each other is because we’re projecting onto each other. It’s very rare to meet someone who is actually a nasty person. Usually it’s the fact that we’re so unaware of our projections that we project our darkness on to others without seeing it in ourselves. If we can start to see it in ourselves before we project, we start to open up to more feelings of kindness.

Is there a way to bring that clarity of the bardo into our daily life?
You’re talking about is that which isn’t constrained within this contained vehicle of me. And yes it is in us at all times. In a lucid dream you see that you’re everything. If I dream about you tonight, I know it’s not you, it’s my projection of you. So I realize that whatever you represent to me has come into my dream to communicate. If we can apply those same contemplations to our waking state we can enter that numinous space while we’re awake, while we’re doing the washing or going to work, or sitting next to the guy on the bus with BO. We can realize that this is available at all times, if we could only step out of the self and into something bigger.

If you can do whatever you want in a lucid dream and reach a higher state of being, surely waking life becomes dull in comparison…
Lucid dreaming helped me wake up to my potential and see how much more I could be doing with life. In lucid dreams you can fly through the sky, walk through walls and hug your demons. The next day is different. Because you think; “maybe I can fly through my own limitations, maybe I can walk through the wall of my own arrogance, maybe I could embrace the demons of my phobias or my relationship issues in the waking state.” The lucid dream becomes a rehearsal for waking life. It’s not that you want to stay asleep all day. After a lucid dream you can’t wait to wake up and put it into practice.

Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dreams and Sleep by Charlie Morley is out now on Hay House. 
Charliemorley.com

Lisa Luxx is the editor-in-chief of Prowl magazine.
@ProwlHouse