THE NUMINOUS BEAUTY AWARDS 2017

For our first ever Numinous Beauty Awards, Eunice Lucero reports on the most magical product picks to bewitch and beautify, from your third eye down to your toes …

Marie Kondo must have been a mystic; there’s pure, Venusian magic in beautiful, useful objects that spark joy—or glamour, or confidence, or whatever it is we want to feel at any given moment.

Whether you’re looking for the witchiest fragrance ever, in search of some serious love potions, or simply to live more mindfully in the new year, here are the products that have earned a much-coveted spot on our vanities and our altars …

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:: GO-TO GOOD’UNS :: Gentle, cozy and nurturing, these are our fluffy safety blankets for when life just doesn’t make sense (a.k.a. Mercury is retro).

Rodin Luxury Face Oil

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:: THE UN-STRESSORS :: If a weekend getaway isn’t in the cards anytime soon, having charming little enablers that help you de-stress in the comfort of your own home is probably the next best thing to actual nirvana.

  • REN & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray, $25Lavender and frankincense come together for a deeply relaxing scent that promises to ease anxiety and worries at bedtime—which is, in the Now Age, so damn clutch.
  • doTERRA Peace Reassuring Blend, $37.33 ($28 wholesale), 5ml. One second you’re rubbing this minty blend of vetiver, lavender, ylang ylang and frankincense between your palms and on the soles of your feet; the next, you’re calmer, more collected, and actually, peacefully, sleepy.
  • The Pines Apothecary Luna Mist, $20, 2oz. Say hello to sweet, relaxed dreams with this pine, lavender and bergamot pillow spray, which encourages a few mistings on both the body and your beddings at nighttime.
  • Herbivore Calm Bath Salts, $18Not only does this look way too chic on our bathtub rims, but the vanilla and ylang ylang elevate the now-ubiquitous calming and detoxing properties of Himalayan pink salt crystals, for the last word in total body relaxation.
doTERRA Peace Blend

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:: THE DE-TOXERS :: Never underestimate the power of a good detox. Products infused with energy cleansing Palo Santo or sage help clear out icky low/bad vibes and purge you of all that no longer serves you. Clean slates for 2018, amirite?

  • Urb Apothecary Copal Palo Santo Body Oil, $30Our fave way to wear this mildly smoky (but super anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory) oil is right after a hot shower—cleansing on cleansing.
  • Skin Owl Clary Sage Beauty Drops, $30Simplify your regular serum + moisturizer combo with an oil that does both, while plumping up skin that’s been through its paces. It helps refresh and brighten skin with only two ingredients: organic Argan oil and organic sage.
  • Yoshimomo Black Charcoal Cleanser, $34, 120ml. This takes our charcoal obsession even further, and its cocktail of willow bark (natural salicylic acid), thyme, lavender and lemon also brightens and calms inflammation, making it a hard-hitting detoxifier. Act fast, though: this famous Etsy cult fave sells out in a flash.
  • Plantfolk Sacred Space (Palo Santo + White Sage) $18.50, 2oz. Chock-full of revered ingredients renowned for their purification properties and ties with the spirit realm, this tiny powerhouse is an über-practical solution for sageing and clearing your space, whether it be at home or on the go, like your car, locker, or even at work.
  • Peet Rivko The Rituals Box, $84Give the gift of fresh, new energy to your loved ones (or yourself!) with this charming, rustic set that includes all you need to detoxify both body and spirit.
Peet Rivko Rituals Box

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:: TIME-SAVERS :: For when you gotta get a move on, get some help from these multitaskers and 2-in-1 heroes that know the meaning of hustle and flow.

  • Egyptian Magic Cream, $39The 21 Century answer to medieval snake oil, that acts as a moisturizer, soother, burn healer, makeup primer, and even a lube (!) As the website says, it’s made with olive oil, beeswax, honey and, yes, divine love. Because what’s a stronger healer than that?
  • Purequosa Shower On the Go Organic Cleaning Body Spray, $17.95, 8oz. Essential oils like sage and lemon tea tree refresh and are reinforced with colloidal silver to neutralize odor and, fingers crossed, ward off any werewolves that may come a-sniffing.
  • Glossier Birthday Balm Dot Com, $12This cult fave all-purpose salve is the last word in low-key glam, a.k.a. MLBB (“my lips but better”). Note: The subtly sparkly Milk Bar collab is the perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays!
  • Pursoma x After the Class by Taryn Toomey Post-Workout Bath, $34. Fitness guru Taryn Toomey extends her wellness ethos with this post-workout tension-relieving muscle soak, which comes with a fun, intention-aligned crystal surprise inside each pack.
  • Piper Wei Activated Charcoal Deodorant, $11.99. 100% natural, odor-fighting, non-staining and wonderfully refreshing—finally a natural pit refresher that works as hard as we do
Glossier Birthday Balm

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:: HIGH-VIBE SERUMS :: Top of our holiday lists this season? All that’s calm and all that’s bright—especially our skin, because we’d rather spend our energies on big-picture stressors (like, you know, attaining basic healthcare and equality for all).

  • KORA Organics Noni Glow Face Oil, $68, 30ml. Miranda Kerr’s rich, nourishing face and neck oil has enough equity (and antioxidant power) to give good face to our most impossible missions.
  • The Vintner’s Daugter Active Botanical Serum, $185, 30ml. 100% organic from conscious growers, but with the price tag to match, we so wanted to be skeptical about the hype. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), we can’t, and can only wish this super-serum finds its way to us somehow this year!
  • W3LL People Bio Booster Facial Serum, $28.99The seven-in-one active botanical serum helps rejuvenate and resuscitate skin, while evening out our complexions and skin tones. Calms rosacea too!
  • The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%, $7.90. From the baby brand that took Instagram by storm in 2017, and with good reason: its insanely affordable yet high-potency skincare rivals even the most premium of labels. We love layering this slightly heavier serum under our moisturizer for a dewy, winter-proof plumpness.
Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil

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:: MULTI-PURPOSE MAGIC :: There are days when it seems like the Universe literally has your back. Now take that synchronicity and bottle it, and you get these super streamlined, multi-purpose products, where everything just flows … 

Philosophy Pure Grace Nude Rose Shampoo

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:: SKIN-SAVERS :: For when you can’t get over your past skincare sins, like sleeping with your makeup on or skimping on the SPF, these effective—and deeply nourishing—peels and moisturizers can help you along the way to self-forgiveness.

  • Josie Maran Argan Exfoliating Cleansing Powder, $40, 60g. A logical extension to her much-lauded oil, this gentle powder exfoliant can be emulsified with either water, or her signature Argan Oil for skin that’s buffed to perfection.
  • Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, $58. City-weary complexions and clogged pores get a revitalizing fix with this award-winning BHA, 1oo% natural mask, which can be used several times a week to get the refinement you seek.
  • S.W. Basics Exfoliant, $19.99, 3oz. Those who love a good Pinterest D.I.Y. recipe will embrace the tactile experience from this kitchen-quirky USDA-certified organic exfoliant, which uses oat and organic almond flour to renew skin.
  • Grown Alchemist Hydra Repair Day Cream: Camellia & Geranium, $49Jam-packed with plant actives, yet refreshingly non-greasy (and very French-toilette chic), this is one of our go-to hydrators for both day and night.
Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

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:: LOVE POTIONS :: These glamour spells in a bottle all include rose, the ingredient most rhapsodized in both romantic and occult literature for its seductive, love-enhancing properties.

  • Euphoria Aphrodisiac Love Tonic, $24When you ain’t got time to mess around! A few drops of this 1oo% organic love potion (which has hibiscus, rose petals and goji berries, among other ingredients) is meant to stimulate blood circulation, and is best shared with a partner, an hour in advance.
  • Shiva Rose Celestial Body Butter, $65Celestial rose opens the heart and crown chakras, while the formula envelops you in pure, luxurious softness. What better pre-game is there?
  • Witch Baby Soap Love Body Scrub, $8One whiff was all it took for us to obsess over this spreadable body exfoliator, but it’s the ingredient list that blew us away: it’s formulated with roses, apples and poppy seeds, a.k.a. all potent love spell ingredients.
  • Fresh Rose Floral Toner, $40, 250ml. Clarifies without stripping our skin, and leaves it calm and hydrated for nearly one full day.
  • French Girl Rose Lip Polish – Rose du Maroc, $15, 1oz. This organic rose and mint scrub makes sure those puckers are always ready for the kissing, with a gentle exfoliating and plumping effect.
Witch Baby Soap Love Body Scrub

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:: MOON BEAUTY :: The age-old archetype of the Divine Feminine, the nurturing Mother Goddess and the mysterious, untapped parts of our psyche, these products help you navigate life’s tides by harnessing the magically intuitive energy of the Moon.

  • De Lune Menstruation Tonic, $9Not one for Advil? This mineral-rich tonic helps ease uterine contractions and minimizes blood clots.
  • Moon Juice Dust Sachet Sampler Set, $35Not sure which mojo you want rising? Try ’em all with a handy sampler of liquid-soluble sachets.
  • Kypris Moonlight Catalyst Serum, $77Specifically used at night, this gentler retinoid option is the herbal way to go for those with more sensitive skin that can’t take traditional retinols, but crave similar smooth, refined, luminous results.
  • Fig & Yarrow Moon Mist, $24This sleep-inducing mist has lavender and yarrow (a root associated with Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon) to help relax and nurture before bedtime. Bonus: It has a sweet shimmer reminiscent of moonlight.
  • Aquarian Soul Lunar Bathing Stones, $12It’s easy to get lost in Aquarian Soul’s wide mystical offerings, but it’s these clever, practical/magical crystals that earned it those precious three words: “add to cart.”
Aquarian Soul Lunar Bathing Stones

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:: THE PROTECTORS :: Whether from the ravaging effects of UV exposure or against psychic, karmic vampires you meet on the street, protection, as they say, is everything. Underrated but utterly necessary, the name of the game is establishing the right boundaries—via SPF or otherwise.

  • The Ordinary Serum Foundation, $6.70Any foundation worth less than our weekday lunch earns a second look; that, plus a high-pigmented formula and lightweight feel, plus SPF 15? Now they’re just showing off.
  • Sister Spinster Ghosts Essence, $20. Lift the veils of illusion with this magical elixir that helps us see the truth, while smoky quartz and obsidian align and ground in the process. We like using three drops on our pillows at bedtime for an “a-ha!” moment in the morning.
  • True Botanicals Everyday Sheer Coverage, $40, 30ml. A lightweight feel with a breathable coverage, and full spectrum SPF 20 to keep away any nasty rays.
Sinister Spinster Ghosts Essence

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:: OUR FINAL FIVE :: And finally, a list of faves we can only hope and pray to find in our stockings this year …

Herbivore Rose Quartz Facial Roller, $45

Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask, $58

Among the Flowers Essential Oil + Soy Wax Candles, $18 each

Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray, $24

Storybook Cosmetics Gun Metal Wizard Wands Brushes, $55 for set of 5

Herbivore Rose Quartz Facial Roller

Eunice Lucero is the Editor in Chief and Chief Content Officer for All Things Hair US. A writer, editor, and beauty and style obsessive for over 15 years, she is also a certified astrologer under My Path Astrology, and an empath and intuitive—a combo she attributes to her Cancer + Libra stelliums.  

9 SIGNS YOU’RE HAVING A WELLNESS OVERDOSE

Paralyzed by Tarot-noia, astro dates, and constant cleanses? You might be having a wellness overdose, says Mercedes Kiss …

Collage by the author

With planet of spiritual abundance, Jupiter, now in insatiable Scorpio, it could begin to feel like we’re caught up in a zodiac discotheque of wellness … knocking back the ‘booch and dusting all your friends in Astragalus to keep the party going strong.

But watch your step in those Bulletproof platforms, disco minx, because too many sips on this cosmic mix could tip your Health Hustle into the Overdose Zone.

When it comes to wellness, here are 9 ways to tell you’ve gone from “Hot Stuff” to “Le Freak” …

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1// You intro yourself as an 80/20-Intermittent-Fasting-Lacto-Keto-Paleo-Vego-Juicing-(Nutso)
What started as a simple way to alert restaurants of your dietary preference has ballooned into a multi-hyphened food-entity.

The labels began as a way to help you to become THE BEST YOU. The problem is, so many of life’s glories—adventure, experimentation, spontaneity, surrender—require busting through those Bulletproof walls.

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2// You’re stuck in analysis paralysis
You went to the drugstore for eye drops.  After sitting on the itchy carpet comparing ingredients lists for 45 minutes, and diving deep into online review forums, you ultimately leave empty-handed (deeming it utterly irresponsible to put such chemically-laden toxic waste on your precious peepers).

When every purchase has become a debilitating tug-of-war between this-or-that-or-DIY, I dare you to just pick something by the count of three. If you hate it you can return it … but, babe, your free time isn’t meant to be spent under nasty drugstore fluorescents.

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3// You’re so “cleansed,” your digestive tract sparkles brighter than Martha Stewart’s silver
Yes Martha is the original #girlboss and nearly everything she does is “a good thing.” But constant cleansing is not.

I certainly champion for a diet loaded with green leafy veg, where snacks aren’t shackled in crinkly plastic bags. But adopting the philosophy that certain foods are “clean” and others “dirty” can make a mess of both mind and body. The stress we place on ourselves for crushing that WHOLE movie theater box of Sour Patch Kids can be just as gnarly to our overall health as its nutrient (non)density or caloric hit.

Collage by the author

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4// D stands for Detox, Dharma, Dulse … and Debt
After a recent super-natural shopping spree of powdered adaptogens, a highly-touted jade yoni egg, and a year’s supply of organic Jojoba oil, I crashed down with an ego-breaking thud when I checked my bank account.

Take a lesson from a gal who’s been there: all the green products in the world aren’t worth finding your finances in the red.

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5// E stands for Exercise … but also Exhaustion and Escape
I love running for long stretches out in nature with fabulous company … like Blondie or Donna Summer’s greatest hits! But I knew I needed to ask myself why I was craving those daily 2-hour jaunts when no amount of sleep left me feeling rested and I was procrastinating on other obligations.

The warning signs were obvious but I pushed to the physical and emotional breaking point before admitting, “I’m a savage for sweat who’s literally running away from reality.”

So sure, go after the high. But listen to your body’s wisdom and keep your intentions honest.

Collage by the author

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6// You have more dates with your colon-hydrotherapist than with your lover
Or your acupuncturist/Reiki Master/cryo chamber, and your best-friend/sister/mom …

Checking in with your tribe can bring tremendous satisfaction and healing all its own. The relief sought from your bevy of external therapies could mask other areas of life, and the relationships that really count, being swept under the rug.

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7// The stars. Must. Align
Your astrology newsletter said the 1st would be a “compromised day for business relationships,” so you called in sick to work. The 14th is forecasted to be lucky for romance, so you triple booked Tinder dates (swipe right! – swipe right! – swipe right!).

The zodiac is many things: magical, intriguing, guiding, telling. But it is not a guarantee. We might be handed a roadmap with highlighted routes, but it’s up to us to fill up the tank and drive responsibly.

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8// You’ve turned into “Sage On The Stage”
You find yourself in a social situation (a catchup over hemp milk lattes or dinner at that new “farm-to-upcycled-tablecloths” joint), and suddenly you morph into Gwyneth Paltrow meets Tony Robbins meets Anderson Cooper.

Sharing your wellness wisdom is a noble cause. Just remember, Your Highness of Health, that friends are equals and not a paying audience. They want to hang with you, not necessarily your monologue on ceremonial Matcha.

Collage by the author

9// “Wellness” just isn’t juicy enough
Do you ever say a word so many times that it loses all meaning? It dissolves into syllables, then elemental sounds, then POOF! It’s gone.

Wellness is, well, one thing … and it doesn’t get to the heart of all we sumptuous creatures crave. With expansive Jupiter stoking our transformational fires through November 3 2018, how about we also go after GREAT-ness? FIERCE-ness? Some Scorpio SEXI-ness? When it comes to disco-diva FABULOUS-ness, I’ll take a strong hit everyday.

Mercedes Kiss is a Boston-based designer, writer, and holistic health coach. After rocking her 20s as an architect of fancy buildings, she jumped tracks and became an architect of the soul. Follow her on Instagram and discover more about A STAND OUT, her sparkly biz devoted to serving a growing tribe of babes through high-vibe articles, personalized wellness coaching, and a line of hand-crafted organic skincare. 

HOW TO TAKE A CEREMONIAL SHOWER

Jemini Wild invites us to strip down, break out the loofah, and engage all five senses with a ceremonial shower…

Alla Kostromichova by Sølve Sundsbø for Vogue Nippon, May 2010

 

Think about the last time you showered. Removing your clothes, adjusting the water to the perfect temperature, the sound of it rushing from the faucet … this might be the only solitary time you get all day. Why shouldn’t you make this precious time underneath the showerhead into a personal ceremony?

Ritual baths are all the rage—but can take hours to prep, requiring all kinds of special “ingredients.” Not to mention the time actually soaking it in!

Doubting whether a loofah and a bottle of conditioner can help you create a similarly mystical experience? Consider how water carries energy (check out the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto). Water molecules actually respond to words and music—creating beautiful crystalline shapes, like snowflakes, when words like “love” and “gratitude” are used. Imagine … a waterfall of love in your bathroom!

Water is the source of life itself. Cultures all over the world revere it for its healing properties. From the ancient Romans’ giant community bathhouses, to baptisms and Native American rituals, the act of bathing has had a long history of ritual and magic. And as the attention brought to the Dakota Access Pipeline has reminded us all, it is our duty to truly honor the waters of the Earth.

Ceremonial Showering is an opportunity to reconnect with this magical element in our modern lives and take a cleansing power-pause. Even better, when we show up for ourselves in these small ways, it allows us to show up more powerfully in the world. Read on for a simple ceremonial showering ritual…

This month we are also honoring Pisces season by inviting all our Moon Club members to join us in a 30-day Water Healing Ritual. Discover more here!

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1. Set an intention before your foot even hits the tub. Hold the intention in your mind or say it out loud, and let the water carry your words into the Universe. Take long, deep inhale and exhales as you undress and turn on the water.

Some “Shower Intentions” to get you started: “May I feel stimulated & enlivened.” “May I feel warmth, rest, and rejuvenation.” “May I feel invigorated & refreshed.” Or how about: “May this water wash away all negativity from my day.”

2. Set the mood with some meditative drums or the Acoustic Concentration station on Spotify. Put drops of eucalyptus oil in a small dish in your bathroom—the steam will disperse it and a natural opening happens in the warm water. Yes, your skin actually relaxes! Or try one of my favorite mists, Jurlique Rosewater, or Zum Frankincense & Myrrh, to set the mood.

3. Shift the Routine. If you always start the water and then take off your clothes, try removing your clothes first. Routine lulls the brain to sleep and these small shifts will signal to your subconscious that something special is happening. If you always use a loofah, switch to a wash cloth or sponge. Buy a new shower curtain for a change of scenery.

4. Tune In to the sound of the water. Notice how the droplets sparkle. Where it hits your body first. Is it the curve of your calf, the pebbles of your toes, or the dip of your collar bone?

5. Stimulate Your Senses with texture and smell. Really feel that loofah, the squishiness of it. What color is the soap? Mine’s green—the same shade as pistachios and praying mantises. What things from the natural does your soap remind you of?

6. Receive. Above all, let the water flowing over you help you become conscious of your enhanced ability to receive. Many people have aha-moment in the shower. Open up. Let it in. You may be surprised by your revelations! 

 

Jemini Wild is a Visionist, Pray-er, and Magic-Maker. She believes the most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves, and that digging in the mess that makes us human is the most fun way to spend a day. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for even more beautiful humanness. 

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: WEEDS AMONG THE GRASS ROOTS, AND MEETING MY MINI ME

Big up to the grass roots entrepreneurs, an infrared detox, meeting my Mini Me…and the lies we buy about booze.

Witchy vibes in the streets of Sibenik with Alexandra Roxo and Jayne Goldheart

:: MONDAY ::
Massive shout out to the organizers of Obanjan, the Croatian music and wellness fest I returned early from today. Early because a gnarly confluence of eco-operational-political factors meant they had to postpone the opening…the night before the opening, having already flown artists and contributors in from all over the world! And with close to 300 guests and press arriving for the big reveal to boot. A.k.a. every entrepreneurs worst. Freaking. Nightmare.

And here’s the thing. It’s fear of monumental s*it like this hitting the fan that keeps most of us from stepping up, pursuing our dreams and truly doing our dharma. From putting our heart, soul, balls (ovaries?) and life savings on the line to create something we truly believe in. Anybody who’s built a business or launched a project or product will have experienced similar setbacks—falling somewhere on the sliding scale of devastation. I know I have. And it feels HORRIBLE. And I keep putting my heart, and soul, and ovaries and life savings into my projects anyway.

We all say we want less corporate, less branded, more DIY experiences, right? Well down in the grass roots, there are also gonna be some weeds.

Sure, it was an inconvenience to fly half way across the world for nothing. (Although it wasn’t for nothing really, since I got to brainstorm with my boo Alexandra Roxo, hang out with Shauna and Morgan from Unlimited, FINALLY bond with brilliant Jayne Goldheart, and meet the magical Gail Schock). And yeah, if the holiday I’d booked got cancelled/delayed at the last minute, I’d be pretty pissed off too. But really? Fairly minimal annoyances compared to what the organizers were going through.

All I kept thinking as I witnessed the fallout, was: Good for you. Good for you for feeling the fear, and doing it f*cking anyway.

AND latest update is, Obonjan opens for business Friday Aug 5 (yes, that’s today!!) Keep following their Twitter and Instagram accounts for more updates.

:: TUESDAY ::
Shout out to another badass entrepreneur, Henry Holland, who I watched set up his label House of Holland from scratch out of the fashion cupboard of the magazine we were working on together 10 years ago. Wow, a whole decade! And with PLENTY a “character building” road-bump along the way. Anyhow, this rather special sweatshirt (below) from his latest collaboration with Lee arrived in the mail today. #COSMIC!

Sweatshirt, £102, House of Holland for Lee

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Infrared saunas, anybody? It’s a big YES PLEASE from me after my first visit to HigherDOSE today, a new spa offering private infrared sessions in Manhattan. I kind of never got the sauna thing, but secluded in my little wooden hut, my own music on the speakers, sweating tennis balls of toxic travel stress (see: Monday), I found myself thinking: well this feels like it’s REALLY good for me. Kind of like Bikram, without the pain part. Maybe it’s cuz I was also reading their info pack—”decreases cortisol, increases serotonin; detoxifies heavy metals, radiation, and environmental toxins; stimulates collagen, reduces wrinkles; burns 600 calories a session (!)”—and maybe it’s cuz Kate Bosworth was in the booth next door. But I’ll be back. Discover more: Higherdose.com

:: THURSDAY ::
Got the actual date my book will be published next year…which meant I could finally do her birth chart!! (Yes, she’s a she). AND, it turns out we have the same Rising (public image), Moon (emotional center), Mercury (communication style) and Midheaven (professional path). How freaking rad is that?! Talk about Mini Me. She also has her North Node (karmic destiny point) at 0 degrees Virgo—which says she’s destined to be of service in the world, but colored with some unbridled Leo North Node self-expression. I want to be her friend already 🙂

:: FRIDAY ::
Will be mainly spent spreading the word about my next Club SÖDA NYC event with Biet Simkin and special guest Betsy LeFae, Sex, Lies & Alcohol. Turns out summer (not to mention toxic travel stress: see Monday) is a major drinking trigger for me (anyone?)—the “lie” my inner booze demon spins, that day-drinking in the sunshine is what August is made for. My personal truth being that nothing feels as blissfully free (my core desired feelings from day drinking) as…never being hung-over! It’s been getting super down with my intuition—simply, what feels right and what feels wrong for me—that’s helped me truly connect to this, which is why I’m so happy intuition coach Betsy is joining us for this event. Read more and get your ticket here.

HOLY F*CK: RELATIONSHIPS AS A PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT

In her latest Holy F*ck column, Alexandra Roxo finds herself on the path to enlightenment with relationships coach Perri Gorman

Lettin’ my hair go full Leo in the Croatian sun…

I met Perri Gorman when someone who I had met once messaged me on Facebook and was like: “I think you would like this teacher.” Perri was leading something called a “Relationship Detox,” and it DID seem appropriate, since I had decided to take a six month break from sex, dating, alcohol and drugs to focus on my healing. But then again, randoms send me FB messages all the time so I couldn’t be sure.

When I got Perri on the phone she was INTENSE. I’m an intense woman too, so when I come head to head with another of my kind I can adopt a “been there done that” attitude. Like, “Oh yeah, I’m not afraid to look at my shadows. I do it all the time.” And “Um duh. I’ve done the work.” But somehow she convinced me to sign up for her class. And it was the best gift ever. She called me out on places I had been hiding from my truth and still living from deep rooted childhood fears. (Ugh when does it end????!) At the end of the class I felt palpable changes. Like major shifts. Like, I had looked at all of my uglies in the face and hugged them and given them space to, well…turn into butterflies. Cheesy, yes, but true!

I sat down with Perri to try and understand this alchemical process a little deeper.

Alexandra Roxo: Your website says “TRANSFORMATION IS NOT OPTIONAL” in huge letters which kinda freaks me out but in a good way. Why did you choose that?
Perri Gorman: It’s a bit of a story. When I was living in Hong Kong back in 2007 my life felt like Ground Hog’s day. I had actually hit a certain level of success, but I was like “Is this IT? Like, Is THIS my life?” I had a magnet on my refrigerator that was my savior, which said: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” Oh, I must be in a cocoon I used to think. This part sucks. But just hang in there! After my life began to transform (longer story), my online moniker became and still is Bethebutterfly, and the butterfly is my inspirational creature.

Later, I went to a lecture by someone who was also fascinated by the life of the butterfly. She told a story of going to a butterfly farm and asking the keeper; “Does the caterpillar have a choice?” The answer was no. They either transform or they die. It’s not optional. And in this life, I think it is similar for us. Sounds grim but the stakes are really that high.

AR: I agree, and I also feel like the world needs transformation more than ever. Which is what I experienced on your relationship detox course. It’s hard for me to describe how you work though. It’s alchemy! Can you explain?
PG: Well, I am a guide and I create experiences. I walk people down a path that I have been down to and experienced transformation myself. If I haven’t been able to personally alchemize it (whatever “it” might be) I don’t create the experience. Rather than teaching, I help my students facilitate this in themselves. This part is really important. Often if you just “tell” people something, then either the Ego rejects it and can’t hear it—or the Ego hears it, rejects it and turns on you in the process! So in order to stun the ego, you have to guide the spirit and let the “aha” moments come naturally.

Each person has a different speed at which they transform, too. Mine was REALLY slow—partly because I had so much pain inside, it wasn’t safe for it to come out all at once. It was a process. Think of it like detoxing from chemicals. Since your body stores toxins in your fat cells, it won’t actually LET you lose weight too fast if you are toxic because it would poison the body. Awakening is similar. There is a massive pain body that you need to work through in order to open fully.

With the Relationship Detox specifically, it is designed to reframe your entire experience with relationships and have you see the divine messages that meant for you in each experience. By going through the process you are able to let go of behavior that is no longer serving you and choose something new.

Perri Gorman: relationships guru

AR: In the moments you’re coaching me I always start “strong” and then you get in there and crack me open. How do you always manage to do that?!
PG: I think a big part of my work is feeling “you” underneath the “strong,” which is usually a defense mechanism. It’s there to say “yeah I’m cool, nothing to see here, keep moving!” But if you listen closely there is another voice in there saying, “Hey! Don’t listen to her! I’m in here!”

My work is not for the faint of heart as you know, and I think it’s unique because I live it deeply myself. I am not perfect or enlightened but I have a deep deep practice of looking at my own stuff in every situation. I have unwound some really complex and tricky (and not so attractive) patterns in myself, so I can see the patterns more easily than others in many cases. So if you are like me and you have patterns that fog or trick other people, you come to me and I slice the head off that puppy and you feel so much better!

AR: So how is a relationship a crucible? That sounds scary as hell.
PG: Relationship as a crucible means that you don’t do this fairy tale thing of “acquiring” a relationship and then passing out back to sleep. It means staying conscious within the relationship, and being willing for it to “burn” the patterns in you that no longer serve you. It means looking deeply at the other person as a mirror and using that mirror to look at where you can be a better version of yourself.

AR: Yes! I find the deepest work I do is often in partnership. It’s like boot camp. No hiding! Wanna give us an example of what this can look like?
PG: Sure. Right now in my own relationship (I am getting married in October) I am working on a pattern where I try to fix him when he is down because his pain makes me really uncomfortable. So instead of letting him have his experience, I do things that would make him feel better. That sounds like the “nice” thing to do but it is not the “kind” thing to do. The thing to do is focus on myself, support him how he wants to be supported and not need him to be any way other than how he is.

As I started to look more deeply at it, I was like “Why do I do that? Where does that pattern originate?” It comes from childhood and being afraid that things going wrong were my fault and not wanting to get in trouble. But if I fixed it then that meant I did something good! It’s a rescuer pattern where I get personal validation that I am a good person by making him feel better.

But if we are practicing being conscious, then I have robbed him of his down which it is NECESSARY for him to get through himself to get to the freedom on the other side. By trying to help him feel better, (i.e. distract him from his feelings or helping him cover them with yummy things like a chocolate milkshake) I have helped him numb out and I have kept him from feeling what he needs to feel. So I notice it and then I actively practice doing something different so I can shift that piece of myself internally. It’s a practice.

AR: I love this, and I’ve been on both sides of this same coin. Allowing the uncomfortable is tough. People are always looking to “be ok.” But I wonder if some of us are avoiding the shadow. The truth. The messy side. Hiding under a mask of “zen.”
PG: We all have masks and patterns, which is why relationships as reflection from others is so important. I surround myself with people who can penetrate my defenses so the truth can get through. Of course we avoid it. I don’t think that I ever said “Oh hey, I want to be awake and spiritual.” I was a fucking walking ball of chaos and destruction, and I had no choice. It was transform or die. I had to learn how to use all the energy. For others, they feel dead inside or their relationships don’t work or they are bored. In this sense, it’s like we all have different locks that require a different key.

***

So there you have it. Perri always pisses me off with our work, but then she breaks me down and then I cry and feel so happy and see the light!  It’s an amazing process if you surrender to it.

And next up from Perri: self-love. Something I think gets misunderstood A LOT. Self-love doesn’t just mean treating yourself to a mani pedi. It means cutting off toxic relationships. Releasing self-judgment. Body shame. Sexual shame. Owning your voice. Standing up for your needs. Creating healthy boundaries. Self-love is deep. I’m still learning it more and more everyday.

Perri’s new experience, PRESENCE, is all about coming home to yourself through the path authentic self-love. Not in the “everything needs to be good and nice” kind of way, more like “I will sit here with you through it all—good or bad”—something she admits has been one of the most challenging practices for her, and so a major focus of her own healing journey.

Registration for PRESENCE opens August 1 for a limited time. To sign-up, and to learn more about Perri Gorman and her work visit: Theschoolofalchemy.com

5 SIGNS I NEEDED A SPIRITUALITY DETOX

When your practice becomes a crutch it could be time for a spirituality detox, says Victoria Cox. Artwork: Elayne Safir

I’ve been fascinated with the esoteric side of life since I was a little girl, but in recent years I’ve been delving a little deeper. Kundalini yoga, tarot, energy healing, astrology, crystals, meditation. You name it, I’ve probably tried it.

And lately I began to notice that whenever life got more intense, I would lean a little harder on these practices.

I’d pull a tarot card every day (okay, sometimes several), check five or more astrology sites religiously, and my morning meditation schedule became a non-negotiable. To the point I began to wonder if, instead of utilizing these practices to gain a deeper meaning of life, I was using them to numb out. After all, I was no longer experiencing the blissful results and striking insights I’d encountered initially. Simply put, the whole thing was starting to make me feel neurotic.

So, what was a girl to do?

In a twist of irony, my question was actually answered during an energy healing session. After listening to me whinge about how I was working so hard on myself yet my anxiety levels were creeping higher, I was informed I was being put on a month-long “spirituality detox.” In short, it was time to cut the woo-woo and get grounded.

Here are the five signs that showed me I was in need of a spirituality detox. If anything sounds familiar, you might decide to join me…

A daily practice becomes a daily obsession
For me this was Kundalini meditation. At first, the results were impressive; I was calmer throughout the day and found myself less likely to get sucked into life’s dramas. Yet, as external challenges mounted, I became more rigid about my practice. I had to do it no matter what.

There were mornings where I woke up tired yet pushed myself through the practice, counting the seconds until I was finished. My morning “meditation” was beginning to feel more like bootcamp, and I was no longer enjoying it. As a result, the benefits I’d experienced when practicing from a place of reverence, began to ebb away.

Pursuing spirituality for personal gain
Over time I’d acquired a toolbox of sorts to deal with life’s rough patches. If was feeling anxious, I journaled about my feelings. If I was feeling uninspired, I meditated. If I wanted to create something new in my life, I would use visualization techniques.

These tools were extremely helpful in getting me through hard times, but I was starting to use them in the good times too, to satisfy my ego desires—opposed to spiritual yearnings. And then when life didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to, I became angry. I realized that in using these practices this way, I was buying into the idea that the the Universe somehow “owed me”—and was mystically designed to reward selfishness, when actually the opposite is true.

Self-helping vs. self-medicating
I noticed a pattern of behavior that went something like this: waking up after a boozy night out I’d feel a familiar sense of self-loathing about having drunk too much. To alleviate these feelings, I would head straight to a yoga class to clear my head.

Feeling better about myself, I would then come home and have a glass of wine—undoing all the good work I’d done in class! I was essentially using my practice as a quick-fix means to feel better in the moment while ignoring the real issue (why I’d drunk too much again)—instead of a way to learn about myself on a deeper level.

Searching for the next spiritual fix
Living in New York, there are a classes and workshops offering every spiritual answer under the cosmos. Energy healing; Chakra cleansing; Past-life regression. You name it, it’s here. While this is wonderful in many ways, I noticed how the sheer abundance of choice made it feel like there was always one more thing to try.

I began to convince myself that I needed to do every treatment, attend every event. I was treating these revered spiritual arts like a mass consumer, always looking for more instead of stopping and simply asking myself what I was trying to heal.

Spiritual neurosis
I discovered that my motives were becoming completely anti-spiritual, as I indulged in a sort of metaphysical materialism. Over time my beloved practices had morphed from a source of comfort into a supposedly mystical way to manifest my worldly desires.

Instead of wanting to go to a sound-bath at the end of the week to relax, I felt I had to go—or I would be missing out on some great revelation about myself. I wasn’t. I was living my life wrapped up within my ego’s neuroses instead of living from my heart.

***

Once I saw clearly how I was misappropriating my spiritual practice, I asked my energy healer what I needed to do.

Her prescription?

No mind-altering substances (i.e. alcohol) for 30 days. Stop reading or engaging with all esoteric information. Cease all meditation. Stop all energy practices or group healing

Instead?

Spend time on grounding activities such as house-cleaning. Practice intense cardio exercise. Sleep and rest. Spend time in nature. Take plenty of salt baths to detox the body and drink lots of water.

Initially it seemed like too big of a pill to swallow. But as I deleted my astrology and tarot apps from my phone I already began to feel lighter. When my alarm went off at 7am for my morning meditation I almost squealed with pleasure at the thought of sleeping for an thirty extra minutes. I relished the empty weeknights where I didn’t have some class to attend.

I knew it was the right thing to be doing simply because it felt so damn good. I felt like a child taking a month off from a very strict boarding school. Admittedly the hardest part for me was not drinking alcohol; I didn’t partake during the week, but I’ll be honest and admit that I still dabbled, albeit lightly, some weekends.

And once the thirty days were up? There were some practices, such as Kundalini yoga, that I was dying to get back into—simply because they made me feel better. But there were others, like my incessant tarot card pulling, that no longer held any appeal.

Most importantly, my experience taught me far more about myself then I’d learned in my obsessive pursuit of all things Now Age. I learned that the spiritual path is a long and meandering one; that there are no quick fixes or shortcuts.

Most importantly it taught me to listen to my heart instead of my head, and to always ask myself if what I’m seeking is in service of enlightenment or egotism.

Have you had a similar experience to Victoria? Share your thoughts with the Numinous tribe Instagram and Facebook, or in the comments below…

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…

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: HAVE A HIGH-VIBE THANKSGIVING

Blindside your folks with these tasty vegan, gluten-free dishes, for a totally high-vibe Thanksgiving y’all! Recipes by Raquel Griffin. Photos: Oliver English

:: CHIA CORNBREAD WITH CARROT MAPLE MISO “BUTTER” ::
This is the perfect crowd pleasing vegan, gluten free Thanksgiving comfort food that even your SAD (Standard American Diet) loving relatives will enjoy. And it’s also easy-peasy to make. Vegan, Gluten Free Chia Cornbread with Carrot Maple Miso “Butter”. It’s a recipe. Make this.

Vegan Gluten Free Chia Cornbread
Makes 16 servings
1 – 20 oz. package gluten Ffee cornbread mix (like Bob’s Red Mill)
1 ½ cups fresh almond milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 6 tablespoons water
½ cup coconut oil

DIRECTIONS
Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease a 9 x 9-inch pan. Place cornbread mix in large bowl. Add milk, chia and water mixture, and oil. Mix until blended, then mix vigorously for 30 seconds more.Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake until golden-brown, about 25 minutes.

Carrot Maple Miso Butter
Makes 1⅓ Cups
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 6 medium sized carrots)
2 tablespoons chickpea miso (like South River Organic Chickpea Miso)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

DIRECTIONS
Place the carrots into a pot of simmering, salted water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are very easily pierced with a fork. Drain the carrots. Place all of the ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add water as needed to get a light, spreadable texture. Store the butter in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to five days. Serve with cornbread.

(Butter recipe adapted from The Full Helping)

:: COZY GREEN SOUP WITH SPICED PUMPKIN SEEDS AND HORSERADISH CREAM ::
This is the perfect winter soup when it’s cold and blustery outside and all you’re looking to do is cozy up under the covers. It also helps that this recipe is pretty flexible and can be whipped up with virtually whatever green items you’ve got on hand – that wilted kale, failing broccoli and any other sad sack green veggies taking up residence in the back of your fridge. Cozy Green Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds & Vegan Horseradish Cream. It’s a recipe. Make this.

Makes 6-8 servings
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup chopped leeks (or onions if you haven’t got leeks)
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups fresh almond milk (or store bought…if you must)
5-6 cups of whatever green veggies you’ve got on hand, roughly chopped
(Escarole, Spinach, kale, purslane, celery, broccoli, even cauliflower will do.)
2.5-3 cups cooked quinoa
1 avocado
2-3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons each of sage, basil & rosemary
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the fresh almond milk
6-8 tablespoons of raw almonds (soaked overnight)
6 cups of filtered water

For the spiced pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or any nut except peanuts
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon smoked salt (garlic salt will also work)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander

For the vegan horseradish cream (optional)
½ cup plain Almond Milk Yogurt (like So Delicious Plain Almond Milk Yogurt)
3-4 tablespoons Vegenaise (or any non-dairy style “mayonnaise”)
1 tablespoon horseradish
Sea salt & fresh black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
To make the cozy green soup: Begin by sautéing the leeks and garlic in a pot until the leeks are translucent. Then add all the chopped vegetables along with the fresh almond milk, basil, sage and rosemary and simmer for 8-10 minute or until veggies are soft. From there, transfer the contents of the pot into your blender or food processor, then add the avocado, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, nutritional yeast and quinoa and blend until mostly smooth (about 2-3 minutes on high). Serve topped with a dollop of horseradish cream and a sprinkling of spiced pumpkin seeds.

To make the fresh almond milk: Combine soaked almonds and water in any high-powered blender and blend on high until the consistency is smooth, frothy and light about 2-3 minutes.

To make the pumpkin seeds: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the seeds with coconut oil and spices. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Cooled pumpkin seeds can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

To make the horseradish cream: Combine almond milk yogurt, Vegenaise, horseradish, salt and pepper in bowl. Whisk ingredients together until smooth.

 

What’s your favorite high-vibe Thanksgiving dish? Please (really, please) share in the comments below, or show us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: ENERGETIC BREAKOUTS, A HEALING HANG DATE, AND SOME WARDROBE REIKI

This week, purging and clearing have been the themes of my mystical life…

I experienced an energetic breakout. Okay, this sounds like it’s gonna be about some radical consciousness shift resulting from a mind-blowing new healing technique…but actually it’s the tale of an aggressive outbreak of pimples in my mystical life. Ew. Gross. I know. But please bear with me, as these aren’t just any old pimples – I believe they are the result of an ongoing energetic detox.

Because WTF. I’ve been eating cleaner than ever since going full vegan and cutting out all alcohol over a month ago. As a result (I’m just guessing here) I’ve been sleeping like a baby, and experiencing “perfect” digestion for the first time in like forever. I’ve also been taking my supplements, letting all kinds of emotional s*** go, and feeling light of spirit and supremely optimistic about life – all the ingredients, surely, for radiant skin. And yet, not since my early teens have I seen zits like these!

It felt like time to consult facialist to the Numinati, Britta Plug, who brings a deep level of energetic healing to her sessions. My question: could this bout of extra clean living actually be the cause of my skissues (skin issues?) In a word: Yes! “We know that trapped emotional energy can cause sickness and disease, so it makes sense that we might actually see or feel it coming out,” she explained. “And if it’s really deep stuff, this could get a little gunky.”

In Ayurvedic medicine, she said, it’s also believed that the skin is the final frontier for toxins leaving the system – “once it’s showing up on the skin, chances are it’s been going through an internal process for a while” (i.e. affecting digestion, sleep, mood, etc). All of which made me feel WAY better about my current pizza face. In fact, I’ve even been able to embrace the pimples as evidence the deeper emotional clearing I’ve been doing over the past few months is working! Here are some tips Britta gave me for speeding up the process:

– Dry body brushing and Epsom salt baths – to help the lymph system clear that shiz out faster
– A Manuka honey mask – mix half a teaspoon mixed with water, spread on the skin and leave for up to an hour to speed up the healing process
– Accupuncture and massage – to keep the chi flowing, and assist the energetic detox further

I went on a healing hang date. As in, rather than do dinner or a yoga class as an excuse for a gossip with my Goddess gang, we got together to do a Family Constellation. It was my friend Alexandra’s idea. “I need to do a Constellation very soon. Venus retro has been kickin’ my butt, forcing me to really clear out and rethink! I would love to do this with you strong lovely women…” went the email. And well, how could we refuse?

You can read about what a Constellation is here, but it’s basically a form of group therapy that gets deep into your family patterns in a totally mystical way. I’ve only ever done it with strangers (not as scary as it sounds), and the results have BLOWN MY MIND. But with two women I know, who know me and elements of my story already, and who I knew I could trust implicitly with whatever came up? Next level.

Of course we bought snacks (our facilitator Marine even baked a vegan lavender cake) and caught up about the other stuff going on in our lives, and the session ended up lasting four hours. Totally  recommended next time you and a gal pal are in the market for more than your average dinner date.

I finally Kondo’d my condo. I might actually be the last person on the planet to read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but since I’m about to move (for the fourth time in as many years), and since I <3 tidying up big time anyway (seriously where is the Virgo hiding out in my chart?), I figured it was time to just get on this bandwagon.

And I quickly realized that “magic” is the operative word in the title, plus the reason, I believe, this little book has resonated so strongly with so many gazillions of people. Yes, there have been all the practical benefits (cleaner, neater apartment + A LOT of credit to spend in my local clothing exchange), but here are a few of Marie’s more mystical life lessons:

On tidying as meditation: “The work of carefully considering each object I own to see whether it sparks joy inside me, is like conversing with myself through the medium of my possessions.”

On healing through tidying: “If you can’t feel relaxed in a clean and tidy room, try confronting your feeling of anxiety. It may cast a light on what’s really bothering you.”

On tidying as personal evolution: “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

On wardrobe reiki: “When we take our clothes in our hands and fold them neatly, we are, I believe, transmitting energy which has a positive effect on our clothes.”

Conclusion? Marie Kondo is a totally witchcore modern mystic. LOVE!

BEHIND THE BEYONCE VEGAN BACKLASH

What’s up with the Beyonce vegan backlash?! Body image expert and spiritual healthy eating coach Heather Waxman responds to the haters – and talks to Ruby Warrington about diet and spiritual development

Beyonce by Kei Nicolee via Behance.net

Beyonce’s fans were mad because they expected a tour or album announcement (to which I say, “Give her a break and get over it, people!”). Meanwhile, many in the vegan community are angry because they think she’s a hypocrite for wearing fur and “posing with captive elephants and tigers” as one person commented.

Here’s the thing: judgment doesn’t get us anywhere. And since I don’t know Beyonce personally, I don’t know her heart and I don’t know her lifestyle, so it’s not really my place to comment. But what I can say is that we need to appreciate how much publicity eating vegan is receiving as a result. Let’s celebrate that! It’s awesome.

But let’s also focus in on what she said in connection to veganism and positive body image. Here’s a direct quote from Beyonce’s interview on GMA: “I am not naturally the thinnest. I have curves. I’m proud of my curves and I have struggled since a young age with diets and finding something that actually works, actually keeps the weight off, has been difficult for me.”

From what I understand, Beyonce started to eat vegan after she had her baby as a way to lose the baby weight in a natural way – opposed to a quick fix. As a result, she said she experienced many other beneficial side effects – like better sleep quality, improved digestion, and a positive feeling that her vegan choices could effect the people around her and the environment.

Which is all great. But I will point to the contradictory of saying you love your curves, but also saying things like you’ve tried everything to stay a certain weight.

If we have true BODYpeace, we don’t feel the need to do something to “keep the weight off” because we can naturally live and eat in a way that allows us to experience peace with our body. As a result, weight becomes a non-issue. It’s just not something you’re concerned about anymore.

This has got to get way harder living in the public eye, and I’m not sure if this was just a poor choice of words or if she actually does still struggle with body image. But either way, I hope that we can all agree that a.) this is great for the vegan movement and b.) pray that Beyonce (and all women for that matter!) is peaceful and happy in her body and continues to make choices from an authentic and ethical place for her.

Read on for Ruby Warrington’s interview with Heather Waxman about spirituality, diet and body image…

Get Beyonce’s “Kale” sweatshirt here!

I feel like starting to eat ‘healthy’ like Beyonce is the beginning of a lot of people’s spiritual awakening. Do you agree? Why is this?
I absolutely agree. As we let go of foods that are not serving us, we notice that those foods were doing a really good job at numbing out a bunch of stuff we didn’t want to feel. So as we start to eat cleaner, our thoughts and feelings become cleaner too – and that can feel amazing and joyful, but also very intense depending what we were avoiding dealing with. And that’s usually when people turn to spiritual practice for help.

We also see a lot of ‘extreme’ diets in spiritual + self-improvement circles – why is this?
Whenever I see or hear the word ‘extreme,’ the concept of perfectionism instantly comes to mind. And that’s what causes problems, isn’t it? We’ve all heard the cliché “perfection doesn’t exist” – but we don’t live by it as a society, as Beyonce knows only too well. I think most people opt for extreme diets because they think looking a certain way will help them truly love themselves. But that’s not how it works.

I want to add that I actually think that the word “self-improvement” is also damaging, particularly for sensitive souls, because it implies we’re somehow not good enough, which only perpetuates the quest for perfection. What I’ve come to conclude lately is that we’re not necessarily here to improve ourselves. It’s more that embarking on a spiritual path the aim is to become more of ourselves. It’s more about an unfolding, a peeling back, layer by layer, of who we thought we were, only to allow who we really are to be revealed. Which can be messy, beautiful, and terrifying! But, I believe, it’s what we’re all called to do.

But discipline and asceticism have long been associated with spiritual development – do you see echoes of this in things like juice cleansing, etc?
I do, but I think we need to define “discipline” before we dive into this. The word has the same root as the word “disciple” – which means to be a devotee of a certain philosophy. But the word discipline has been turned into something that’s just not fun – so, I prefer to use…devotion.

I think when we lean into our spiritual development with a strong air of devotion…that’s when the miracles unfold for us. And so I also think we need to be disciplined with, or devoted to, things that we have discovered we need to do so we can show up for life ready to give love, receive love, and serve those around us.

This can include juice cleansing, if that’s what you feel called to do! But as every individual body is different, I think it’s important to first get to know your body and also to consider your own mental / spiritual relationship with the concept. I tried (and failed) so many detoxes and cleanses. So, when it came time for me to want to consider detoxing for spiritual purposes, I had to first heal the mental issues I had with cleanses and learn the real “why” behind them, before I was ready to check it out.

What are the warning signs for you as a coach that healthy has tipped into obsessive?
There are a bunch of warning signs, but these are the most common ones I have seen, and they’re always present in my clients.

– You know things have turned obsessive if you’re doing one or more of these:
– You’re constantly thinking about your next meal and counting calories
– You’re obsessed with counting your macros, or avoiding certain foods or food groups because you’re afraid they’ll make you gain weight
– You’re avoiding certain foods or food groups because you want to “fit in” with the fitness / spiritual community you’re a apart of
– You restrict your food all day and then binge eat at night
– You have to work out for a specific amount of time or you have to do a specific type of workout because you’re afraid of gaining weight…and if you don’t have a chance to do that work out, you feel depressed and like your day is ruined

So what do you think a healthy and spiritually aligned attitude to food really looks like?
Our definition of health and spirituality is very individual, but I do believe there is a common thread tying every version of a healthy relationship to food together, and it sounds something like this: “I eat for vitality, freedom, and pleasure.” (Notice how I said vitality – not vanity).

This is definitely where I’m at now, and it’s allowed me to feel the happiest in my body I’ve ever felt. Vitality, freedom, and pleasure are not exclusive, though! I went on vacation last week and vitality went out the window for me. I wanted to eat for freedom and pleasure. So, I ate a bunch of things I normally don’t eat when I’m home like frozen yogurt, sweet potato fries, and chips and guacamole. It was great! When I returned home, I couldn’t wait to return to feeling that vitality. It’s a constant dance.

And what role does taking pleasure in what we eat play in our spiritual development?
Do you have a year to talk about this?! I think one of the most volatile things we’ve done as a society is completely neglect food as a source of pleasure. For example, some of my clients – even though they enjoy eating healthy meals – still equate healthy eating with it being stripped dry of pleasure. Or they think of making meals as another annoying chore on their to-do list instead of an incredible act of self-care and self-pleasure. We’ve lost touch with our feminine relationship to food – which means that for a lot of us, our bodies and our souls are screaming at us, “I just want to feel pleasure!” Enter those “guilty” vegan ice cream binges.

When we hear the word “pleasure” we instantly think of sex. But to me, pleasure is about actively engaging all my senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, and intuition. When we can become devoted (there’s that word again!) to bringing all our senses to every meal, that’s when we really start to feel pleasure and come to a place of BODYpeace that allows to finally feel spiritually and physically nourished.

Has changing your diet connected you to your spiritual practice? Connect with us and share your story on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

If this conversation resonates with you, you can read more from Heather Waxman in her and Kasey Arena’s book BODYpeace: Release Shame and Discover Body Freedom
– a 30-day guidebook marrying the spiritual and the practical side of food and body discovery. To book a 1:1 session with Heather, click here.

THE NUMI YEAR IN REVIEW: BEST OF 2014

2014 has been a year of SELF-EXAMINATION, TRANSFORMATION and ADVENTURE! Here are 11 posts that made us laugh, gasp, cry…and take a good long look at our lives from the inside (listed in no particular order of awesomeness).

1. YOGI VEGAN LEZ: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

The yoga was the fun part…

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

2. TURNED ON: THE TANTRA OF ONLINE DATING

Dancing between masculine and feminine…

Ellie Burrows is pretty sure she’s discovered the secret to online dating. And it’s Tantra. Not super-connected, total body orgasm, tantric sex – rather the energetic concept that makes that kind of sex possible: a balance of the masculine and feminine energies.

3. NEED-TO-KNOW: YOUR SPIRIT POWER ANIMAL

Feel so much more powerful knowing he’s on my side…

Dealing with a situation that had left her feeling vulnerable and alone, when Ruby Warrington met her spirit power animal last year…it got emotional. Here’s how to connect with your own beast of the wild unknown.

4. TO SKINNY DIP OR NOT TO SKINNY DIP: KNOW YOUR YOGA RTREAT ETIQUETTE

No hiding behind your hair all week…

Yay, you’re going on a yoga retreat! You want to get the most out of your experience, right? Who better than Heather Lilleston and Kumi Sawyers fromYoga For Bad People to lay down some summer retreat etiquette. We’re talking less freaking out, more more F.U.N.

5. KUNDALINI CALLING: HEAVEN ON EARTH WITH GURU JAGAT

Guru Jagat shot in Venice Beach by Lisandra Valazquez

Guru Jagat is the outspoken face behind the Ra Ma Institute, the only all kundalini yoga studio in California’s Venice Beach. She talks to Madeline Giles about her vision for the Age of Aquarius, life on the 33rd parallel and outsmarting the Global Elite. Conspiracy theories or conscious debate?

6. DARK FAIRY DELIRIUM: WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A GEMINI

Image by Bela Borsodi for Document Journal

Right after a powerful New Moon in multi-faceted Gemini, gifting us an opportunity to embrace the quicksilver side of ourselves, Nadia Noir gives an insight into a life spent searching for “the other me.”

7. THE NU RULES: ATTRACT THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP FOR YOU

See yourself through your lover’s eyes…

Can’t seem to attract the right relationship? It’s not him, honey, it’s you. Jennifer Kass re-writes The Rules, beginning with a lesson in self-love…

8. 26 LIFE LESSONS MY BURNING MAN EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME

Ruby and her husband Simon on the Playa…

Connfession: My Burning Man Experience was too full-on to be called fun, says Ruby Warrington. But when it comes to life lessons, a week on the Playa delivered pure gold.

9. SPIRITUAL AWAKENING: THE REBIRTHING OF BROOKE CANDY

Image: Brooke Candy’s Instagram account

Lessons in Kabbalah with Madonna and a “little spiritual trip to Hawaii.” Brooke Candy tells Ruby Warrington how following a more “soulful” path has been a lesson in self-love…

10. BEYOND BFFS: HOW TO CREATE A COVEN

Cara and her coven, photographed by Richard Bush for i-D magazine

Something very special happens when women come together in ceremony. Erin Telford explains how to create a Coven – and bonds that run deep as blood.

11. ORGASMIC MEDITATION: INSIDE THE CULT OF CLIT

Orgasm as spiritual exchange…

Empowering women’s movement, or de facto sex cult? Dani Katz gets intimate with the practise known as Orgasmic Meditation…

COUPLES THERAPY: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

Alexandra (right) and her girlfriend Orian after the cleanse

I was a bit nervous about telling my partner about the detox. We’d only been together five months, after meeting at a karaoke bar in Koreatown where I was instantly drawn to her off key rendition of “Stand By Your Man.”  Since then, we’d been falling in love over wine, croissants, late night snacks, drunken dancing…you know, the general dietary rule breaking that happens when you’re in a state of hormone induced euphoria. So deciding to put the brakes on the fun, so to speak, was a bold move. Especially seeing as we were moving in together a week later.

But I’ve always been one to take risks and do things in extremes, so I went with it. To my surprise, my girlfriend’s response was “I want to do it too.” This caught me very off guard because a) she’s more religious about her nightly cigarettes and wine and her morning coffee than her Jewish heritage, and b) I had been planning spending the week wearing mumus and listening to Enya while journaling, and never imagined doing it in front of my lover. Not to mention the idea of us both of being hungry/grumpy/gassy at the same time! Ew. I was hoping she’d be bringing me tea and holding down the emotional fort while I was the one being “transformed.”

Before the experiment

Okay, so what’s the big deal about a silly cleanse? Well THIS cleanse ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s a full on Ayurvedic experience, which includes rising with the sun, doing daily yoga, meditation and dream journaling, eating only two handful sized portions of vegan food at meal time, drinking your weight in greens, doing a three day juice fast, skin brushing, self oil massage, garlic liver flushes, kidney flushes, oil pulling, salt water colon cocktails. It’s basically its a full time job. But I did it last year and emerged glowing like a baby’s bum and happier than I’d felt in ages, so after this #$%^ing winter it was the medicine I needed. Plus with all the falling in love stuff (loads of white bread, recreational drugs…) I felt like I was in need of a full-on detox to get back on track.

What I wasn’t expecting was the emotional upheaval that occurred. Geez, not only had I stored up a few extra pounds this winter but also like, A LOT, of emotions. Four of my close friends also decided to do the cleanse and we were group texting about it all week. The word “meltdown” came up almost daily. Why were we all crying so much? Were we pms-ing? Nope. Were bad things happening? Not really, except not being able to eat. Shit just comes to the surface when you’re doing a detox, which I guess is why some people opt to take off work or go to a spa to do it. But alas, I’m not Lilo, so the closest I came was steaming up the bathroom and chilling in some epsom salts.

Couples cleansing: a balancing act

And of course, the meltdowns melted into my relationship. It began with me announcing I needed to be alone for the week and storming off in tears, and soon I was dividing the green powder and groceries in two as if I was the star in a reality show about cleansing. I also cried pretty much every day as I released fears about all the attempted relationships gone awry in the past year. And I’ve already gone to therapy and done a peyote ceremony to try and work through that shit.

But those past heartbreaks and insecurities came rushing to the surface with a vengeance with every organ flush I did. And all of a sudden my girlfriend was angry at me! I’d “taken away” her freedom and her ability to be herself (i.e. eat when she wanted to). She grew resentful of me as I asked her; “Did you read the cleanse booklet?” and reminded her “wait, you can’t drink out of the faucet!” As she was too embarrassed to admit she was having these feelings, she just got really cold and distant until I broke down and cried into my turmeric stained hands. (As an aside: she said she didn’t cry at all, but later admitted to sobbing while watching a film about low income housing in Israel. I mean…) It’s an emotional thing, this cleansing.

Very dark green juice

In the dark alone time while staring at my garlic olive oil slurpee, I found myself challenging and questioning everything about the relationship. Everything. No stone remained unturned. The cleanse had forced me to get REALLY real with myself, and now there was no turning back and nothing to hide behind. No robust red wines, no morning coffee in bed, no trips to the bakery on the corner holding hands like we were in some 1990’s rom com. No spontaneous nights getting stoned and laughing ‘til you pee your pants and pass out holding a bag of Doritos. None of that!

You’re just raw. Real. Without frill. Looking tired, feeling grumpy, stinking of garlic and coconut oil. And actually, an honest look at yourselves as individuals and as a couple is pretty much the best gift you can give your relationship. Detoxing together as a couple is hard, but worth it. You don’t have to cleanse your colons together or scrape each other’s tongues, but making a goal and seeing each other for who you are without all the other stuff is a risk that – hopefully – will only deepen your bond.

Here are some tips for doing a detox for couples and not fucking up your relationship:

  • If you’re fully addicted, the first few days without coffee are bad. You may get evil, so maybe take this time alone to yourself and try to start on a weekend when you can scream underwater or hide in a closet.
  • Do not micromanage your partner. If you know more about cleansing than them etc, it’s easy to say things like, “wait that apple’s not organic!” before snatching it out of their hand and throwing it across the room. Just don’t.
  • Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle on each other. Ride the emotional ups and downs like a pro surfer and don’t do anything rash. Just breathe and imagine yourself in that exotic spa, staring at an extremely overpriced juice while gazing at a partial ocean view.
  • Resist the urge to send a photo text asking “does your poop look this green?” Just ask Google instead, please.

Alexandra Roxo is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She and her business partner Natalia Leite have a company called Purple Milk that makes all kinds of fun stuff. See more here: Drinkpurplemilk.com

Their new web series Be Here Now-ish, which chronicles the spiritual pilgrimage of two girls’ from NY to LA , will be premiering April 10 on Beherenowish.com

Follow more from Alexandra and Orian @yogi_vegan_lez 

NEW YEAR, NU YOU: THE SPIRITUAL DETOX

Beyond green juice for fashion’s sake, transcendental fasting could take your detox to the next level, says Ruby Warrington. All images Karolina Daria Flora.

In the late summer of 2013, yogi, healer and spirit and lifestyle coach Raquel Griffin designed for herself the ultimate spiritual detox. Negotiating changes in various areas of her life, she found she’d hit a roadblock in her personal development, and so she embarked on a week-long juice fast.

But she didn’t stop there, also incorporating transformative daily mind practice and physical activity, a self-help blast, a daily ‘conversation’ with the Universe (putting all the big questions out there), and what she calls a ‘negativity diet’ (“avoid negative people like the plague, skip the trash talking at the water cooler and leave the rag mags at the checkout”).

“7 Days to Transformation (7DT) was a seven day mind, body, spirit boot camp that I created to generate massive shifts in my life…And boy did it ever!!! Kind of like a giant cosmic reset button the MASSIVE shifts I’ve experienced on 7DT are nothing less than ASTOUNDING,” she wrote on her site Granola Glamour at the end of the week. More than your average detoxer’s high, “I’m talking SEISMIC changes in the landscape here, people…and this coming from someone who’s meditated with the best of ’em and gone on MANY M-A-N-Y a mystic/yoga/health/wellness retreat….”

As Vanessa Grigoriadis noted in an in-depth report on juice fasting for New York magazine later last year, “you will, perhaps, meander down the road to transcendence. When you see people at the end of a long juice fast, they reach a special kind of accommodation with their bodies. It’s out of this world.” And beyond a desire to lose weight, experience increased energy or align yourself with the funky philosophy at Juice Press, 2014 is about fasting for a spiritual experience.

But taking your fast to the next level isn’t just a case of drinking greener juices for longer. “People are juice fasting every day of the week in America and not everyone is having a ‘spiritual’ experience,” says Griffin. “Heck, I’ve been fasting for seven years and it was only until I added intention, energy work, meditation and a serious negativity diet that I had these amazing results. Fasting opens you up but it’s what you do with that opening that really makes the difference.”

She has since been coaching clients through the same process she went through, with similarly enlightening results. “By cleansing my body and releasing anything negative, I was able to consciously choose what I put back in,” says Jillian Villafane, who embarked on 7DT at the beginning of January. “Fasting with conscious intent allowed me to change and transform without limitations, which resulted in a deeper connection to my true self.  As a result I have a clarity and awareness that I don’t remember having since I was a very small child.”

But transcendental fasting does still begin with the physical – specifically with decalcifying the pineal gland, or third eye. “Our ability to connect to higher frequencies is related to the openness of our pineal gland – and it’s when we clean it out that it starts to awaken,” says Griffin, who also points out that it was only last year that scientists reported finding DMT – the consciousness expanding psychoactive molecule in ayahuasca – in the pineal gland of rodents.

Drain your body of toxic mucus the theory goes (or “mucoid plaque” if you want the technical term) and you drain your third eye – which exists in the sinus cavity. From there on in; “you begin to tune in to the fact that miracles are happening all the time. That’s what blew me away – it’s like a constant conversation with the Universe! It’s answering all your questions – mundane things like ‘what shall I have for breakfast, should I sign into this business deal’ – ALL THE TIME. But most of the time we can’t hear the answers, because our pineal gland isn’t open enough.”

On a deeper level; “Having all this input from your angels, your guides, or even God, whatever you want to call it, you realize, ‘I’m not alone.’ And that the Universe is always trying to give us the information that will lead us to the life of our greatest good, which is essentially our purpose.”

Heady stuff – and an idea Elizabeth Gilbert explores in her latest novel, The Signature of All Things. One character, Ambrose Pike, describes his experience of living for several months “on sunlight and rain alone.” “I met he divine,” he says, “Or, I believe I did. I had the most magnificent thoughts. I could read the language hidden inside the trees. Also, there was a full fortnight when I could hear people’s thoughts. I was kept joyous by exalted feeling, by rapture.”

Which sounds not unlike the experience of Matt Monarch, founder of The Raw Food World and something of an expert on extreme fasting. Over Skype, he describes the physical sensation of his third eye opening following an extreme 7-day psyllium bentonite cleanse, after his first year of eating 100 percent raw; “As soon as all this stuff came out of me I started to feel this magnetic vibration right here (he gestures at his brow point) almost like 2 magnets opposing each other. The sensation is bliss…it just feels really, really good, it’s almost orgasmic.”

For the stinky details of what exactly a psyllium bentonite cleanse involves click here, but suffice to say; “it’s designed to take out all the mucoid plaque, and really scrape out your small intestine.” Monarch believes that the only way to “get over the hump” of fasting, and take it into the transcendental, is with intensive colon therapy; “it’s not the raw food or the juice that increases your spiritual experience, but the removal of all toxicity.”

Is it any wonder that yoga preacher Seane Corn joked to attendees of a “detox flow” session at Wanderlust Vermont last summer that; “you know you’re a true yogi when you can openly discuss your bowel movements,” or that there’s an exercise called “Unblock Your Bowels, Unblock Your Life” in Gabrielle Bernstein’s upcoming book Miracles Now? “I believe that the flow of our bowels has a direct correlation to the flow of our life,” she writes. “Skeptical? Ask yourself if when you’re feeling super stopped-up, your life is stopped up too.”

This could be because, as Clean Gut author Alejandro Junger puts it; “Your body has two brains: one in your head and one in your gut. While your first brain serves as your intellectual hardware, your second brain—the gut—is your spiritual and emotional GPS. Without it, you’re lost.”

Authors of the website Astro Dream Advisor, where you can find information on different ways to clean the gut, advise; “While doing (a psyllium bentonite) cleanse it is helpful to imagine that with each elimination you’re having you’re getting rid of any old outworn, un-needed thoughts, ideas, feelings…”

Which comes back to Raquel Griffin’s approach. “Our emotions are stored in our tissues, so when we detox we start to shift all those cell memories – which in turn can change the way you relate to the world and be a building block towards a ‘spiritual experience.’ Because once we remove the emotional lens through which we see the world, we’re able to see how it really works.”

For Monarch, this meant the beginning of a lifelong spiritual journey; “And trust me I’m not religious, but once you realise that god is in everything about our existence…then he has the ability to bring you through that door, and up and up and up.”

To experience 7-Days to Transformation with Raquel Griffin visit www.granolaglamour.com
@granolaglamour