WHAT I LEARNED AT PRIESTESS SCHOOL

Seeking to reawaken her innate magic, Ani Ferlise enrolled in Priestess School. She shares how you can embody this ancient vocation …

Graell Corsini and The Goddess Temple of Ashland

Four years ago, I was feeling alone and unfulfilled. I was dissatisfied with the way I’d spent my college years, and I was frustrated with what was expected of me. And so, seeking more of the magic I had always felt in my heart, I left New York and moved to small, magical, Ashland, in Oregon—and it was here I first heard the word “Priestess.”

I had found my way to Graell Corsini, a loving, fiery, pixie Priestess, and founder of the Goddess Temple of Ashland. The Temple itself, a beautiful dome, is surrounded by gardens, flowing mineral springs, beehives, and tall oak trees. Inside, you are greeted by a wood stove and an altar, decked with Samhain decorations and offerings. Immediately on arriving here, I felt something nostalgic and familiar awaken inside of me.

I began my working for Graell at temple “melissae,” cleaning the temple, organizing, sprucing up the altars, and clearing the space. One year later, I asked Graell if she would be willing to do a one-on-one apprenticeship with me and teach me how to Priestess for myself. Over the course of a few short weeks, I immersed myself completely in this ancient vocation.

What I learned totally blew me open, while new insights continue to unfold every day. This is what I have learned so far about the Priestess way …

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A Priestess brings magic to the mundane
Graell told me how part of her practice was to make places more beautiful than when she arrived. If she goes into a bathroom that’s dirty, she cleans it. Graell sees this act alone as a living prayer, bringing the sacred to something so everyday. That’s just one example. Taking a shower can become an energetic cleanse, with lavender or rosemary soap, as you visualize the heaviness of the day going down the drain. Cooking can become kitchen witchery when you say, “Thank you for nourishing me,” as you stir intention into your split pea soup with a wooden spoon. The way you Priestess will be as unique as your fingerprints.

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A Priestess honors the darkness along with the light
Focusing only on the light is a major imbalance in the spiritual world—for we are made of love, light, AND a deep, deep darkness. We are all born from the darkness. The womb-space, the unknown, the place of rebirth. We confront our darkness every day, and to deny this is to deny yourself of your humanity. The deep, dark unknown must not only be looked at but loved. To honor the darkness, the unknown, the places that scare us in ourselves and in life, is sacred.

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A Priestess does not have to be perfect to be in service
We are all capable of manipulation, of stretching the truth a little too much, of judgements, of ignorance, and more. We are always going to be exploring our motivations. Being of service doesn’t require ridding yourself of these human parts. The Priestess approach is to muster up your strength, vulnerability, and courage, and instead of trying to rid yourself of imperfections, to nourish and be gentle with yourself, so that you are overflowing with love. Everything that is not in alignment will then flow out of you naturally.

The Temple

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A Priestess creates sacred space
Holding sacred space is a beautiful opportunity with a lot of responsibility. This space can be energetic or physical. You can push your cart into the cereal aisle at the supermarket while a toddler is throwing a tantrum, and you can ask the mother how she’s doing. Or you can be in ceremony, looking each person in the eye, letting them know that you hear them. You never know when the opportunity to hold space will show up!

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A Priestess nurtures self always
Being a Priestess means creating a (literal) sacred space for you, too. This space is used to pray and to nurture yourself—a place, when something is too big for you, to give it over to the Higher. Natural disasters, terrorism, and societal injustice, are impossible to take on by yourself, nor are you supposed to. You are here to do your part, and whatever is beyond you needs to have a place to go. So create that space. Organize, clean, and beautify it, so you can show up AND feel held.

Whether it is a home altar, a spare room, dresser drawer, or even your car dashboard, use whatever is accessible. My altar has each of the elements represented, and I use the Wheel of the Year for my inspiration. I keep it beautiful and divinely scented with flowers and plants based on the season, with candles and oils to match, and with crystals and incense to set the tone.

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A Priestess celebrates life with ceremony
Every life event can have a ceremony or ritual. Going through a breakup? Moving into a new home? Feeling grateful? Needing to cut ties from a person? Yearning to honor a loss? Ceremony is key to bringing the mythic to the seemingly mundane. Ritual is an invitation for the sacred to come in. While there’s nothing like having a trained guide for major life gateways, there are many opportunities to support yourself during times of transition. For example, if you just experienced a break up, take a cleansing bath with rose quartz, and drink a heart-opening and nourishing tea like Damiana.

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A Priestess is a part of nature
When you begin to pay attention to the transitions of the seasons, the shifting of the Sun from sign to sign, and the phases of the Moon, it’s hard to understand how we are supposed to operate separately from nature. Like the Moon and the tides she turns, our lives ebb and flow. From socializing to solitude, from sadness to joy, from confusion to certainty, and from giving to receiving—a Priestess understands that we too are constantly cycling. Be gentle with your tides.

My life has changed significantly since becoming initiated as a Priestess. I came to Graell searching for meaning, and what she taught me is that we find this in making the world better than when we find it, in ways big and small.

Ani at Priestess School

Embracing the magic in the mundane lights a fire in my heart like nothing else has. Turn toward those who have walked this path before you, for more guidance on living a sacred life. If you have any questions, you can find me at kozmicryder.com or @kozmicryder on Instagram, and Graell Corsini at the Ashland Goddess Temple and at priestessgraell.com.

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF MASCULINITY?

The “divine feminine” is often invoked as a Now Age ideal for our gender evolution. But how to really dismantle systems of patriarchal oppression? Trans man and diversity and inclusion activist, Aaron Rose, shares his vision for the future of masculinity …

Photo: Aziz Acharki

From Parasitic Patriarchy to Abundant Symbiosis 
When Now Age mystics speak of “divine masculinity,” what they are describing is simply: masculinity. Exalted qualities of heart-centered action, fierce loyalty, innovative logic, and earthly strength are what masculinity truly is. Everything else is an aberration, a mistaken idea, and a misuse of energy.

The divine masculine is complemented by the divine feminine archetype: the universal energy of intuition, receptivity, nurturance, creation, and collaboration. These energies are not inherently gendered. They flow within all of us.

So how do we reclaim healthy or conscious masculinity? How do we end our crisis of sexual violence? How do we build a world with true gender equality?

In the #metoo era, it can sometimes feel like the goal is total eradication of an inherently “toxic masculinity,” an embrace of androgyny, or an exclusive exaltation of the feminine. But the destination of our evolution is not about erasing our differences or course correcting from toxicity to divinity; it’s about reclaiming gendered archetypes while embracing an even wider spectrum of expression.

Patriarchy is the collectively held (and externally manifested) idea that men are superior to people of other genders, that there are right and wrong ways to be men and women, and that there are rewards for reinforcing these ideas, and penalties for violating them.

And if patriarchy is a result and a manifestation of parasitic scarcity consciousness, then we’re more than ready for abundant symbiosis.

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A Different Way to Be Human
When I first began my transition from female to male, I was terrified of becoming a man. It was who I was – a person who had been female-assigned at birth and who felt called to a male identity and masculine embodiment – and yet, I could not have been more scared.

As a woman, I had lived a life defined and constrained by male violence – from the abuse of family members, to the harassment of strangers on the subway, and the subtle discrimination at work. The manhood I saw around me did not represent the kind of person I wanted to be. And the people I loved were quick to reinforce this idea: You’ll become a tool of the patriarchy, they said. The world doesn’t need another MAN.

On a physiological level, I knew that taking testosterone (in the form of hormone replacement therapy) was right for me. My body needed it, hungered for it like a too-late dinner after a long day. But on an emotional level, I was paralyzed, wracked by immobilizing guilt.

I was afraid of losing the part of myself that cries at Pixar movies and gathers my friends into huge hugs and composes love letters to my beloveds. The part who really, really listens to my people when they’re hurting. I was afraid of embodying toxic masculinity. I was afraid of becoming (even more of) a stranger to myself.

This deterministic model of gender is one we’re all used to. We’ve all heard “that’s just how men are” and any number of absolutist statements that divide the population squarely down the middle, into two prescribed boxes: man and woman. I was just as trapped as anyone.

But equally, in making the choice to transition I knew I was signing up for a lifetime commitment to proving the idea that there was another way to be a man than what I had been shown. That ultimately, there was a different way to be a human altogether.

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Dismantling the Deal with the Devil
This commitment, this faith in the future of masculinity, has fueled my decade’s plus of evolving work in diversity and inclusion—a key part of which is leading conscious masculinity workshops in which men and masculine people of all genders have an opportunity to take themselves off of cultural autopilot and reclaim healthy masculinity.

Patriarchy invites men to make a deal with the devil: trade your eternal wholeness and humanity, in exchange for earthly and temporal power.

Time and again, I witness men become emotional in my workshops when we talk about gender equality and allyship. When I ask why, they say things like: “I feel like I don’t have anything else to offer,” or “What more do you want from me?,” or “Not everyone gets to be treated so nicely, you know.”

As the conversations unfold, we identify, again and again, that they are fundamentally bewildered about why or how they should be giving something to someone else that they do not feel they have themselves: gentleness, a reason to truly accept themselves, a full range of self-expression, emotional presence.

⁣⁣In my workshops, we inventory our masculinity stories, going all the way back to our first memories. And themes emerge, like the first moment of shame, often attached to a memory of playing with feminine clothing, hugging other boys, or crying when we were sad. We bring loving witness to these wounds, and then we choose again.

If the story was: “when I am emotional, the people I love reject me”—we elect to write a new story: “my vulnerability brings me closer to the people I care about.”

Photo: Sir Moon

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What is your role in this process? Here are 4 ways we can all help bring about the future of masculinity … 

1// Separate masculinity + femininity from gender identity and sex assigned at birth.
“Sex assigned at birth” is the label you were assigned at birth based on the external anatomy your doctor observed. Gender identity is your innate, internal, sense of your gender.

Within our current western gender model, which has its origins in European colonization and white supremacist social control, sex assigned at birth, gender, and gendered energy are all conflated. If you are male assigned at birth, it is assumed you will be a man, and that you will behave in a masculine way. This deterministic model belies the truth of our experience — the truth that indigenous people of many cultures have always embraced — that there are as many possible genders and gendered experiences as there are people.

For example, I currently have a pretty masculine embodiment – short hair, muscles, a deep voice, a flat chest, traditionally male clothing. However, my energy is a blend of masculine and feminine – I am a go-getter who is often charging forward on the next big idea AND I create space for the people I love to be vulnerable, where I too surrender into vulnerability with them.

We all contain both masculinity and femininity. The unique mix and balance of this energy within us is as essential as the flow of oxygen into our lungs and bloodstream.

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2// Conduct a patriarchal thought detox.
What are the stories you’re telling yourself about men and masculinity, and about gender overall? Do an inventory of your beliefs about masculinity and men, and choose some different stories.

Some of our big collective stories that you may have running on cruise control include: men should not be emotional, women are more emotional and nurturing than men, there are only two genders, men are just like that, what your body looks like determines your gender, and more.

Set a timer for 10 minutes, write these old stories out, and then decide what you want to replace them with. Write down your new narratives and reread them out loud every day for 21 days.

One my biggest autopilot scripts was that conscious men are few and far between, and that if I was really myself and spoke about gender the way I do, then I would have few connections with men, personally and professionally. I’m choosing to tell a different story now, to affirm that conscious stewards of masculine energy are all around me. And you know what? Bit by bit that community is emerging.

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3// Understand that this work is not just for “bad guys.”
When I discuss my conscious masculinity work, I often witness men immediately deciding that it’s not for them. Or women deciding that it’s not for their husband or their brother or their friend. Because they’re already “good.” They haven’t assaulted anyone recently. They don’t make gross jokes.

⁣We have this mainstream idea that there are “those guys,” those really bad guys, who have really messed up, who really need to get their act together. They’re the problem. They’re the patriarchy. They’re the ones who need an intensive on conscious masculinity. ⁣But the truth is that this work is for ALL of us. We all have an opportunity and a responsibility to become stewards of a new era of masculinity, of gender, of humanity.

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4// Embrace and reclaim the masculinity within yourself.
No matter your gender, you contain an alchemical blend of both masculinity and femininity within yourself. How does your masculinity manifest? In the clothes you wear? In the role you play in your relationships? In the way you tackle a project or negotiate a deal? In the fictional characters you identify with and seek to emulate? How conscious is your masculinity? How much have you chosen it, rather than operating it on autopilot? What do you love about your masculinity? How does it symbiotically complement and amplify your femininity? What do you wish others could see about it?

Write a love letter to your masculinity. Honor what you learn about yourself in the process.

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5// Practice inviting others into this conversation.
Where do you see others running on autopilot about masculinity and femininity? Maybe you’re a mom and you see how other parents assume so much about their children based on their sex assigned at birth. Assuming how their child’s body looks determines what their gender will be. Assuming boys will be tough and girls will like pink. Assuming girls will be nurturing and boys will be adventurous.

Just the other day I spoke with a mother who was grappling to understand why her 8-year-old son had been described by a teacher as “sensitive” and “safe” for the other kids to play with, because of how gentle and unaggressive he was. “I would have no problem seeing my daughter this way,” she said. “But it’s hard to compute how a boy could be described like that. It’s not how I see him.”

Maybe you’re a man and you are aware of how conditioned you are to not call out other men when they say something sexist, or to shame each other for expressing emotion. Maybe you’re a woman who feels super supported by your community of women, but feels like your male partner, family member, or friend, isn’t conscious of his masculinity and how it impacts you.

It’s okay to call the people into your life into greater accountability and connection. To do this, get honest about what your unique role is, however uncomfortable or scary it might feel. Whoever you are, your voice matters, and others will resonate with it.

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A Manifesto for Conscious Masculinity 
The work of remaking our relationship to masculinity and femininity is, like all other fundamentally spiritual work, ultimately about restoring our capacity to self-determine our identity, to trust our intuition, and to unconditionally love ourselves.

We are the generational clean-up crew, taking ourselves off of the autopilot our ancestors ran for centuries, mending the wounds they did not know how to tend. As we emerge from the shadow, it is our birthright to embody unprecedented levels of self expression, connection, and ease. It is the work of a lifetime, but it’s why we’re here. And we don’t have to do it alone.

The future of masculinity is not an erasure of the traditional masculine archetype (ie strong, rugged, powerful, action-oriented), but a conscious release of the shadow sides of these traits (domination, control, emotional suppression, violence) and a conscious choosing of what our masculinity means to us. ⁣⁣

The future of masculinity is the reclamation of this true divine masculine archetype, by whoever resonates most deeply with that energy.

The future of masculinity is amends and repair for generations of harm done, the honest reckoning of personal and collective shame and grief for violence committed, or violence not stopped.

The future of masculinity is an embrace of action without aggression, of leadership without dominance, of impetus and initiation without steamrolling, of grace without repression.

The future of masculinity is creation without collateral damage, strength without silencing, devotion without obsession, responsibility without control, power with rather then power over.

The future of masculinity is the intentional embrace of intuition, rather than the unconscious whim of instinct.

In short, it is a human life, fully and bravely lived, with self-love and connection with a Universal intelligence at its core, with nothing to prove and everything to share.

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Ready for more support reclaiming a positive masculine archetype, for yourself, or someone else in your life? Registration is open for my online Conscious Masculinity Intensive. Use code NUMINOUS for 20% off all ticket levels through next Tuesday, November 20th. It’s open to men, masculine people of all genders, and allies; we even have a few parents of male-assigned-at-birth kids joining too! Join us in co-creating the future of gender, together.

HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR LILITH SIGN

In astrology, our Lilith sign connects us deeply to our primal instincts and natural impulses. As she travels through revolutionary Aquarius until 2019, Rebecca Farrar reveals how to use your Lilith sign to awaken your inner wildness …

Photo: Maxine Caron

Both revered and feared, the goddess Lilith has long been associated with the more shadowy aspects of spirituality. Stemming from the Hebrew word laylah, meaning “night,” her symbols include creepy crawlers such as serpents and the screeching owl, as well as the dark/crescent moon.

The first wife of Adam, Lilith refused to submit to his sexual domination and fled Eden to mate with the Angel of Death, giving birth to hundreds of demon babies per day. After realizing his mistake (how could he not miss a woman like that!), Adam asked God to bring Lilith back—but she refused. And God created docile Eve as his new mate.

While Eve represents the patriarchal, acceptable version of womanhood, closely associated with Venus, Lilith represents the primal, instinctual feminine that puts her needs first and seeks approval from no-one. A feminine that is rising in 2018, and which we each embody—irrespective of biology, gender expression, or sexual preferences. In astrology, it’s little surprise that Lilith in Capricorn from November 2017 through August 2018 (the sign ruling the patriarchy), has been the backdrop to the #metoo movement.

There are four astrological points representing different aspects of Lilith’s dual role as both devouring mother and enlightened goddess. But the most talked about is Dark Moon Lilith—an alignment position rather than a physical planet, indicating the point in the Moon’s orbit farthest from Earth.

Last month Lilith moved into Aquarius, where it will remain until May 2019, awakening consciousness around Lilith’s unpredictable and earthly instincts, and pioneering a new vision of empowered femininity. Currently, Lilith squares Uranus in Taurus and is in exact conjunction with the South Node, calling on us to birth something radically new as a collective.

On a personal level, our Lilith sign and house placement shows us how we can uncover a deeper connection with our own primal instincts. To find Lilith in your chart click HERE, enter your birth information, choose “Extended Chart Selection,” scroll down to “Additional Objects,” and select “Lilith.” *Make sure to read for both your Lilith sign AND the house that holds Lilith in your chart.

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LILITH IN ARIES // LILITH IN THE 1st HOUSE
With this placement, Lilith craves expression that matches a strong identity, and is asked to explore how personal passion fuels instinct.
Journal Prompt: How does my sexuality inform an aspect of how I or others see me? In what situations do I use my intuitive gut-instincts and where am I afraid to?

LILITH IN TAURUS // LILITH IN THE 2nd HOUSE
Related to self-worth and values, with this placement Lilith wants to own her power without relying on others. Cultivating magnetism beyond seduction and in service of love itself may be a part of your Lilith mission.
Journal Prompt: What skills of sustainability or survival do I practice? How can I cultivate more of my own self-acceptance (who cares what God or Adam thinks)?

LILITH IN GEMINI // LILITH IN THE 3rd HOUSE
Here, Lilith wants to create a healthy dynamic with receiving and giving information, and its important to learn to own wisdom for yourself.
Journal Prompt: Where can I open up my sense of wonder about myself and the world around me? Am I afraid that learning new things from people means they are dominating me in some way?

LILITH IN CANCER // LILITH IN THE 4th HOUSE
Emotions or home life may be where Lilith in Cancer reveals her raw side the most (though 100 babies a day may be out of the question). The relationship to the family may also be a catalyst for expressing and harnessing the goddess’ power.
Journal Prompt: Am I willing to express my feelings to the fullest extent or do I keep them quieted down? How can my emotions offer a gateway into my connection with the natural world?

LILITH IN LEO // LILITH IN THE 5th house
With this placement, Lilith may manifest through more private sexual and creative acts of self-expression. Take pride in the many ways artistic potential moves through you.
Journal Prompt: Do I hide my creativity or art for fear of rejection or isolation? Can I integrate Lilith through story, visual art, another form of expression?

LILITH IN VIRGO // LILITH IN THE 6th house
With this placement there can be a sense of duty or responsibility that takes over Lilith’s needs. Pay attention to when you may be afraid to leave “Eden” because of an agreement.
Journal Prompt: How can I become less rigid of my day-to-day routines and allow more creative chaos? Do I feel tied to what I should do rather than doing what is best for me?

LILITH IN LIBRA // LILITH IN THE 7th HOUSE
There can be a tendency to project Lilith qualities onto others with this placement, and it’s important to reclaim her within so that she doesn’t show up through external domination.
Journal Prompt: How can I own more qualities of Lilith for myself? If I’m befriending or connecting with people who hold this energy, how can I reclaim it for myself?

LILITH IN SCORPIO // LILITH IN THE 8th HOUSE
Here, Lilith becomes a powerhouse for personal transformation and awakens depth through intimacy (though it may be necessary to have sex with the Angel of Death to do so!)
Journal Prompt: Do I hide my desire for power and domination? How can I honor Lilith’s wildness and primal power as a part of my internal process?

LILITH IN SAGITTARIUS // LILITH IN THE 9th HOUSE
Aspects of Lilith may consciously or unconsciously be a guiding force for ideals or religion. Here, Lilith leads with the heart and seeks truth. Above all else, utilize this placement to be guided by instinctive wisdom.
Journal Prompt: What is my relationship to religion and to the feminine in my spiritual seeking? Is my instinctive self expressed in my spiritual practices?

LILITH IN CAPRICORN // LILITH IN THE 10th HOUSE
With this placement, Lilith may be reflected in how you’re seen publicly but not how you feel internally. Claim your natural self-authority and allow it to inform your own version of feminine legacy (who knows, maybe you too can have four astrological points named after you?)
Journal Prompt: Can I use Lilith’s power in my career or work? Do I take responsibility for themes of authority, or fear them?

LILITH IN AQUARIUS // LILITH IN THE 11th HOUSE
As Lilith nears your natal placement, you may feel called to bring more of Lilith into modern consciousness. Your ability to tap into the collective means you are able to help create a future vision of how this goddess serves the whole.
Journal Prompt: Is my community full of Liliths or wild feminine figures? Or do I play that role of going against the grain in groups?

LILITH IN PISCES // LILITH IN THE 12th HOUSE
In the placement of spirituality and unity, Lilith craves connection to the whole. Gifts of this Lilith position include opening up to visionary abilities and intuition.
Journal Prompt: Do I fear Lilith and my own unpredictable nature? Can I integrate more of Lilith through connecting with the spiritual dimension of nature?

WHY THE GODDESS DIANA IS A FEMINIST ICON

As the heat of Leo Season urges us to sparkle and shine, the myth of the Goddess Diana shows how to stoke the flames of our wildness, says Rebecca Farrar …

Photo: Kyle Loftus

As one of the few virgin goddesses, Diana represents being whole unto oneself, and her myth honors this wild and free part of our nature.

According to legend, she begs her father, Jupiter, to liberate her from marriage and motherhood so that she can roam free with her friends, the Nymphs and hunting dogs.

Diana’s name comes from the Proto-Indo-European meaning “to shine,” and derives from the same Latin root meaning ”daylight.” In Ancient Rome, she was celebrated with August’s festival Nemoralia, or Festival of the Torches. During the weeklong tradition, hunting was forbidden and dogs were instead decorated with flowers. Her followers carried torches to Lake Nemi, outside of Rome, and left offerings of fruit in the forest.

While she is often thought of as a Moon goddess, she is also an active, protective force of the forest, known as the Goddess of the Hunt. Diana’s independence and caring instincts create a beautiful balance between lunar and solar energies—something we can all model as we seek to integrate the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves, creating a more equitable world.

Diana links us to sisterly love, feminism, and action heroines. Her archetype is reflected in our own psyches as WILDNESS in its purest form, and our connection to creatures and nature alike … 

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The asteroid Diana, discovered in 1863 by a German astronomer, currently sits at 20 degrees Aries, near Eris, the sister outsider. Together, these two asteroids in such a strong fire sign uplift and empower feminine energies.

Diana’s placement in our birth chart points to where we crave freedom and yearn to be barefoot running through the forest with our animal companions. It may also reveal where we are constantly on the “hunt” for something.

**To find Diana in your chart, go to  astro.com, enter your birth information, choose “Extended Chart Selection,” scroll down to “Additional Objects,” and type in 78.

Use the suggestions below to come more into contact with the many facets of Diana and her wild nature:

1st house // This placement suggests an identity empowered by the Diana’s protector and warrior. Try archery or another form of outdoor solo sport to awaken this natural protector energy.

2nd house// Diana had a deep love for nature and the Earth. Foraging for food or forest bathing would be fun hobbies to build a relationship with this archetype.

3rd house// Athena was known for her intellect, but Diana was in constant communication with her companions. Study bird communication, bird watching, or read about animal behavior.

4th house// Diana was well-known for being a protector of women and children. In this placement she is deeply intimate with the lunar and menstrual cycles. Pay attention to the Moon’s cycles and spend time at night outside, soaking up its light. (**Side-note: Ruby has her Diana here, so makes total sense she set up Moon Club!)

5th house// During Diana’s weeklong celebration, creating fire and more sources of light was an important element. Talents such as starting a fire or wood splitting are necessary wild skills to explore with a 5th house Diana.

6thhouse// Running around in the forest, it was important for Diana to know which plants did what. This location in the chart implies botany and plant identification as a way to honor the goddess.

7th house// Diana had lovers, both male and female, though wasn’t in a committed partnership, as her energy was instead more focused on appreciating nature. Experiment with art using sticks, pine needles, or tree bark for a woodsy aesthetic.

8th house// Spending most of her time outside, Diana was also deeply attuned to nature’s death and life cycles. With fall on the horizon, learn more about how different trees stay alive in winter and make it a point to notice the change in seasons. You may also want to study more about the many esoteric traditions that honor the Tree of Life.

9th house// The exploratory and adventurous side of Diana meant she was constantly on the move. Stray from the familiar forest trail and discover new ground, whether it be a new hiking area, tree climbing, or a forest on another side of the world.

10th house// With this placement, Diana strives to be sensible and to own her authority. She craves solitude and self-reliance. Take classes on wilderness survival or utilize the forest’s gifts for your quiet contemplation.

11th house// An 11th house Diana exemplifies her need for freedom and liberation from traditional roles. Focus on cultivating community with other wild souls who crave time in nature, such as communal hiking or camping.

12th house// Nature may evoke a mystical or flow state experience in this house. Imagination, such as photography or film, may be a gift, or even taking time to meditate under a tree.

Photo: Ben Waardenburg

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And no matter where the asteroid is in your chart, harness your own wild and free spirit with the suggestions below … especially potent during her festival from August 13-17th! 

// Food // Easily foraged foods such as mushrooms or berries, or seasonal fruits and vegetables.

// Workout // A run or walk through the forest, perhaps spending some time bird watching. If you are extra adventurous, an archery lesson would certainly make Diana shine.

// Watch // Hunger Games or Wild (Katniss and Cheryl Strayed both connect well with Diana’s spirit). Or try the documentaries American Revolution: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggsor, and Maya Angelou’s And Still I Rise.

// Read // Rachel Carson (or other eco-feminist authors), Audre Lorde, Malala Yousafzai, and Gloria Steinem (because Diana loves activism and empowered women). Or try the classic, Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

// Home // Diana’s home is nature, so bring more of it indoors by decorating with pine cones and leaves, or wood art. She is also linked to forest creatures such as deer or rabbits. Adding touches, such as deer antlers or a papier-mâché deer head, will also do the trick.

HOW TO BE A TIDE: A MESSAGE FOR CANCER SEASON

In the thick of Cancer season’s deepest feels, spoken word artist and Moon Club founding member Lisa Luxx’s exclusive new poem, “How To Be A Tide,” reminds us that our most tempestuous emotions are our beautiful birthright …

How To Be A Tide is a poem about the movement and motion of being woman. It’s a dialogue about finding our most supreme beauty in that familiar expansion and contraction. About how much can be gained from seeing ourselves as individual waves in the ocean of sisterhood.

One great purpose of poetry is to turn familiar aches into unfamiliar blessings; to subvert moaning into marvelling. The instability of a hormonal body could drive a person mad if they’re pressurising themselves to maintain a static constant. So for me, as an incredibly tempestuous person, I traversed this tidal metaphor as a bid for freedom.

I’ve been philosophically exploring the nature of beauty for the past year or so – what it is, what it does and why that might be – writing out my revelations and dreams. This piece is about taking ownership of one’s own beauty. When you no longer have the resources to flow outwards, that means your beauty – enriched now – is coming back home to you. – Lisa Luxx 

How To Be A Tide will be published in Luxx’s upcoming collection Breastmilk Martini, which is out later this year with New River Press.

WHY FEBRUARY IS THE MOST FEMINIST MONTH

It’s time to upgrade your normative notions of Valentine’s Day date nights. Lucy North tells us why why February is the most feminist month … Art: Naro Pinosa 

Art: Naro Pinosa

It may still feel cold outside—but Spring is coming! And this precious period of in-between is actually a key time of year to tap into the Divine Feminine through the ancient practice of co-creating with Gaia, the seasons, and nature.

While many of us have sold ourselves to the Monday-Friday lifestyle, the origins of these days actually connect us to Divine Feminine energy. After all, Monday is actually “Moonday” and Friday is dedicated to the Goddess Freyja. The Divine Feminine is both the beginning and the end, and a reminder of our power to break free and make time be whatever we want.

In response to the seven-day week of patriarchal DOING, here are seven reasons to reclaim February as the most powerfully feminist month …

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1// V.Day Actually Celebrates Your Erotic Sovereignty 
Before it was renamed by the Roman Catholic Church, Valentine’s Day was originally known as “Freyja’s Day.” Freyja was the Pagan Goddess not of romantic, but of erotic love, and on February 14th women would hand out cards to as many men as they desired.

Transcending the gender stereotypes of today, women were seen not only the gateway to new life, they were considered at one with the desire, love, and sexual energy that runs through nature. Reclaiming this celebration of women as desire itself (rather than objects), realigns us with our ability to create anything we want.

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2// 28 Days Means Lunar Power
Before being scrapped by the Church, the year adhered to the Goddess calendar—meaning there were 13 months and not 12, which reflected the 28 day cycle of both the Moon and womb.

Being only 28 days long, February is the only month of the year that still respects the Goddess calendar, and honors how the seasons and year really flow. This month, treat your womb like a second heart (whether or not you have a literal or metaphorical space there). Listen … what does it want to birth?

Art: Naro Pinosa

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3// Imbolc Challenges the Madonna-Whore Complex
The pagan calendar marks February 1st as Imbolc—an important step towards March’s Spring Equinox. This is the time to release some of our 9-to-5 programming in favor of a kind of “land feminism” that lets us co-create with the upcoming Equinox’s tantric energy.

The Celtic Triple Goddess Brigid, synonymous with this day, is the Queen of the Underworld, the Mother of all beings, and the Mistress of the Elements. Whether it’s the sacred prostitute, the Divine Mother or the snake in the garden of Eden, the Divine Feminine holds and honors it all. Think of February as a time to break free from the pain of having to be “one type of woman”—and to exchange archetypal constraints for a wildish knowing.

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4// Pisces Season Wants You to Wombifest  
As the Sun enters the final zodiac sign of Pisces on February 19th, right before the birth of the new astrological year, it’s time to create a nourishing, protective womb that will enable you to tap into the oceanic source of all life.

This means retreating from the “busy-ness” of everyday life, and setting some boundaries to re-connect with your soul. Just like a mother that needs to retreat for the last month of pregnancy, create a safe space for you as Divine Mother to meditate, breathe, make love, self pleasure, journal, paint, sing, do yoga, and eat well. Rest in the womb and let your Divine Child emerge!

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5// Saturn in Capricorn Spells Sacred Union Time 
2018’s sees the Goddess month of February with Saturn in the sign of Capricorn, spelling out the start of something huge for the Divine Feminine. Capricorn is technically a “yin,” or feminine sign, but it’s also cardinal, with a mountain-building, masculine energy that asks us to blend action and intuitive knowing.

The Divine Masculine can only come THROUGH the Divine Feminine. It will only come through an open heart and the womb of collective feeling—and, yes, as with any birth, through pain. Women and those who embrace the Divine Feminine have been socially okay’ed to feel more of this, so we must lead the way. This integration asks us to do what we love by taking action, and watch the fear fly away.

Art: Naro Pinosa

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6// The Aquarius New Moon Catapults Us Into Fairy Territory
When people are told they’re “away with the fairies,” it’s almost a derogatory comment. We say it’s time to celebrate our visits with the fairy realm!

With a New Moon in Aquarius on February 15th, it’s time for the Divine Feminine to swoop high, dream big—and to astro travel our dreams into the 3rd dimension. This New Moon also ends the longest complete lunar month of 2018 (the last New Moon was on January 16th, giving us 29 days, 18 hours, and 48 minutes). Mama Moon is giving you extra time to push on through, with a clear focus on new beginnings.

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7// Mama’s Wide Open During Eclipse Season
With January 31st’s Super-Blue-Blood Lunar Eclipse bonanza, and the upcoming Solar Eclipse on February 15th, the first two weeks of Feb see us in the middle of two incredibly catalytic aspects. It’s like the universe has its legs wide open in breach position providing a gateway though which we can birth projects, artistic endeavors, networks, and relationships that reflect our divine purpose.

Goddesses: F is for February, F is for Fertility, F is for the future. Reclaiming feminist February means pretty much get it on with the universe!

Lucy North is a writer, healer, and artist. She will be running a Goddess Healing Circle in honor of Freyja this Tuesday, February 13th, at The Alchemist’s Kitchen in New York. Click HERE to reserve your spot. She will also be holding an “I’m Every Woman” Goddess Circle at RA MA New York on Sunday, 25th February. Find out more and reserve your space HERE

HOW IT FEELS FOR A TRANS SOUL TO COME HOME

As the 2018 Leo Lunar Eclipse asks us to stand up in our fire and be truly seen, childhood abuse survivor and joyous healer, Danny Brave, shares his journey and reveals how it feels for a trans soul to come home …

Danny Brave. Photo by Tommy Venus.

“I remember the moment
when I came home to
my body

what a lovely reception 
that was
(though emotional) 
. . . ”

While working with a sexual empowerment coach in 2015, this was the beginning of a poem I wrote entitled “coming home.” In the exercise that inspired it, I visualized that pieces of my soul were perched over my head.

My coach then instructed me to reach up with my hands and pull these pieces of my soul back into my body with my hands. After a few minutes, the coach then instructed me to call my soul back into my body by placing my hands on my heart and saying my name out loud, three times: Katie. Katie. Katie.

And I burst into tears, because I felt in that moment a tiny piece of me came home, along with a deep knowing that I had never actually, up until this moment felt at home within my body. Not once in 28 years.

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:: MEETING DANNY BRAVE :: 
This session took place just a month after recalling memories of my father sexually assaulting me as a child, an event which completely altered the course of my life. The memory shattered the fabricated reality of the cheerful, healthy relationships I thought I had shared with my immediate family members up until this point.  

As a result, my journey home into my body has also felt, and still sometimes feels, extremely challenging. In fact, at times, this would be an extreme understatement.

Between July of 2015 and now I have, almost relentlessly, uncovered countless repressed memories of being sexually assaulted and abused in a multitude of ways. Not only by my father, but also my mother and grandfather, along with some deeply questionable evidence that I was not in fact a woman.

I remember being in the thick of my repressed memory recall and looking in the mirror and talking to myself, and hearing a voice in my head say to myself, “I want to be a boy.” I thought I must be insane, and shut that voice down for an entire year before I would allow it to re-emerge and accept it as truth.  

Fast forward to today. I now know that my true name is Danny Brave, and I am a gay trans man. I discovered the trans part in June of 2016, but was too terrified to come out until that November. And the gay part I wasn’t even too sure about until about a week ago.

Photo: Tommy Venus

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:: I WANT TO BE A BOY; I AM A BOY :: 
The reality of my gender identity came crashing down that June, when I decided to, once again, look my inner child in the mirror and have a conversation with them and really listen this time. This is a practice I had adopted from the amazing work of Louise Hay as I found it to be deeply healing (and for those who are brave, I cannot recommend it enough!)

I asked my inner child what was wrong, as I had been feeling deeply depressed, and I had long hair at the time that felt droopy and heavy. I asked what I could do to help them feel better. In response, I heard the voice of my inner child scream: “I want to be a BOY!! I AM A BOY!!  I want to cut off all of my hair!” 

It was that same voice I had heard a year ago, a voice that I could no longer ignore or discredit as crazy: this was the real me, the one who as a kid tried to pee standing up, who felt confused about why he did not have a penis, the one who loved dancing, singing, and fabulous shoes, and had dreams of being a visual artist.

This moment in the mirror was the moment I finally decided to listen to myself. Two days later, I cut off all of my hair and immediately felt so much better, so much more like me. I began to realize that I could not visualize myself in the future as a woman without wanting to die.  

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:: FROM TERROR TO TRANSITION :: 
At this time, I had dug myself into a hole by moving to a small town an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles, where I was making little to no money, had no car, and no health insurance, let alone access to trans health care or support groups.

I was terrified, and had created this situation out of that same terror. I knew I had to get back to a city to gain access to support for figuring out my transition. I thought my choice would be Los Angeles as that would be the most convenient, but shortly after moving to LA and not being able to land a job with decent pay, I took the little money I had left and moved back to NYC in August of 2016.

It was in NYC that I was able to take my old job back, and gain access to the support I needed to come to terms with myself and transition: trans masculine support groups and free therapy via the Center on 13th Street (for which I am forever grateful). I came out in October 2016, and lost a majority of the “close” friends I had at the time.

In the winter of 2016, I met up with a friend from one of my support groups and told them I was having suicidal thoughts and that I couldn’t get out of bed. They gently pointed out to me over a cup of coffee that not being on testosterone was “not working for me,” (to put it mildly) and I started hormone therapy shortly thereafter, in January of 2017.

Every week since then (with the exception of one month during which I completely panicked) I have been injecting myself with a needle filled with testosterone (also simply referred to as “t” within the trans community).

This simple act is slowly but surely transforming me externally into the person I have always been internally, which feels a bit like becoming sane and going crazy at the same time. I am going through a literal and a figurative process of transformation in order to become the person who I have also always been. Quite a trip!

Photo: Tommy Venus

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:: WHOLE, LOVING, JUICY :: 
Last week I had a more triumphant and joyful moment of homecoming, when I attended a dance class with my loving partner (who is also a trans man) shortly after having anal sex for the first time (for hours on end, I might add).

Something so essential about who I was clicked into place while with him: I felt like my soul actually landed it my body. It felt really good, and really whole and loving.

Running late for the class, I looked into his big, beautiful eyes on the train on the way to class and felt he was really seeing me for the first time, and I him. Beneath the boobs, we were, and are, two gay men, despite all of the “ma’ams” and “misses” and the lifetime of being perceived differently by everyone, including ourselves. Our truth felt so simple in that moment, and I felt truly beautiful in his eyes. Really real, and really me.

Looking in the mirror in the dance class, I could see how recently my arms, wrists, and fingers had gotten so much more masculine looking, and how flat my chest looked with my binder and the grey t-shirt I was wearing. This made me smile, as did acknowledging how much I love to dance—always have, always will.

I glanced over at my partner in the mirror, and saw a beautiful person who was somewhat scared to be themselves out in the world, but who was doing it anyway, just like me. I saw someone who was willing to go outside of their comfort zone to try something new, something they always wanted to do, like take a dance class, or write this article, and the simultaneous nervousness and courage behind his eyes made my heart swell.

Then I looked at his juicy butt doing the warm up and felt my genitals wake up once again in my stretchy pants. This also made me smile. I realized and accepted in this moment that I was gay—that I REALLY was a man who liked men (cis and trans). Always have been, always will be. And that despite all of the incest, I always have been and always will be a deeply sexual person (after all, my Venus is in Scorpio).

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:: IT TAKES COURAGE TO ENJOY IT :: 
It has taken years, a village of trans allies, sensitive artist friends, therapists, Reiki attunements, shamanic healers, dance/movement therapy teachers, sexual alchemy teachers, yoga trainings, sexual empowerment coaches, random acts of kindness from strangers like the lady in the Starbucks who told me that who I was was really beautiful and that the world would love the real me, and thousands of dollars worth of credit card debt to get here. But damn, I did it. I’ve done it. I’m here.

And I love sex. Yes, I love sex! says the man who had his first orgasm from masturbation when he was 27 years old, because he thought sexual energy meant being hit, yelled at, and penetrated without consent. Says the man with a female body who didn’t want to look down or touch himself there because it would mean realizing that my mind and body did not match. Says the man who was, as a child, anally raped by his father and grandfather and molested in a bath by his mother, and taught by the Catholic religion that sex was a sin and that my body was something to be ashamed of. Says the man who was not allowed to share a bed with his boyfriend when he visited his parents’ house at the age of 26, being not-so-subtly shamed that they lived together before marriage.

Yes, I love sex. And I have reclaimed sex to the extent that it now makes me feel alive, loved, present, powerful, and best of all, real. What once made me feel terrified now allows me to feel safe. It takes me from that idea of myself in my head perched above my body to actually being an embodiment of self. It is teaching me to trust life again.

In the words of Bjork in her song “Big Time Sensuality”: It takes courage to enjoy it. I hope that everyone who has been through what I have gets to experience this particular kind of courage.

I hope that everyone gets to experience the pleasure of coming home into their own sexuality, their own body. 

Tommy & Danny. Photo by Lyndsey Kamide.

Danny Brave is a Writer/Public Speaker/Educator on the subjects of Gender/Transgender, Overcoming Trauma, and Ascension/Spiritual Living. He is a Master Shamanic Reiki Practitioner/Psychic Healer specializing in helping people of all genders, ages, body types, and races overcome the effects of child abuse/sexual assault via various healing modalities which he has come to term “Brave Healing Arts.” He conducts monthly LGBTQIA & Allies Community Healing Circles at Maha Rose in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (1st or 2nd Wednesday of each month). He is 100% sober, vegan, and loves to paint, take photos, dance, and pet dogs. 

HOLY F*CK: HOW TO CREATE HEALING AS ART

Forget plasticky mats and badly lit yoga studios. Writer, director, artist, and transformational coach, Alexandra Roxo, tells you how to make sacred sexy, and create healing as art …

Photo: Keith Carlsen

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Magic feasts & dark chocolate canoodles …
I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life working as a writer, director, and artist. At age 21, I created an immersive theatre experience, where the music, the aromas, and colors allowed people to be completely lost in the moment, forgetting who they were. 

For a New Year’s Soiree in Portland, OR, in 2007, I hand dyed invites with beet juice. I instructed everyone to arrive in white. I decorated the house with vintage candlesticks. Made little tents out of sheets for couples to canoodle in, with books of erotica and dark chocolate. Throughout the night there were surprise musical acts. Everyone dancing! And in the morning there was a feast around a long table, where declarations were spoken. It was 48 hours of Magic. A retreat into Love. And this way of crafting experiences has continued with me.

Birthday parties, events, rituals. I can “direct” and make art out of any part of my life. And my healing work is no different. I see healing as art.

Photo: Alexandra Herstik

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Full body healing & healing as art …
When I think of healing spaces and rooms, I often think of bad lighting. Sagging couches. Yoga studios with plastic mats and water bottles and the same Kunda tunes on repeat. And as a healer and a director, I want nothing more than to make the healing experience a full body, full sensory experience of art, delight and great pleasure!  

I’ve had practice crafting this in our Moon Club meetups. Just last month, myself, Gaby Herstik and Kaitlyn Kaerheart— the LA pillars of Moon Club— crafted an evening of healing as living art, the whole night directed by me, like a Mistress of Ceremonies and a High Priestess extraordinaire!

We titled the event “There is a Light that Never Goes Out,” after The Smiths song. People arrived to candlelight. Wearing black. I opened with a monologue and setting of the space, an incantation, a dropping in. We were serenaded by Kaitlyn’s sweet voice. Like an angel! Then we shared stories in the dark. We received a magical Gong Bath from North and Nomad, and hands-on healings and oils from Kaitlyn, Gaby and I. The night was a piece of theatre. A true ritual, with every detail intact. No small talk. No chatter. No same-old Trader Joe’s snacks!

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Mix your sacred with your gorgeous …
This is how I will be crafting ALL my healing experiences from now on. Healing is getting a new look. Sex. Art. Fashion. Theatre. No more yoga studios and therapy rooms. I’ll be leading healing work on beaches. In gorgeous living rooms. In the forest. Sacred acts, dedicated to the Divine! A celebration of human existence. A return to the way we once healed and worshipped. Before the puritans took the fun out of it!

And you can DIY mini experiences for yourself and your friends anytime! No more pot luck dinner dates. How about hosting something fabulous and fun and experimental? It takes less efforts than you’d think to turn a night with friends into something magical and memorable.

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Here’s how to create your own artistic healing soirée … 
1// Create your event around a theme. This could be in line with the Moon. An Equinox. A certain ritual you’ve read about and feel inspired to lead. Or your own Solar Return!

2// Art direct the shit out of it! Make Pinterest boards. Choose colors. Start to envision and most importantly to feel the world you want to create.

3// Create a run-of-play. Do you want to put love notes in secret spots for people? Create a hot seat for Compliment Showers? Put sexy questions into a hat for people to answer? Invite a musician to stop by? Have someone lay down and get an 8-hand massage? Get creative and map out a time-line. Imagine the colors. The smells. No hummus and chips and no Pandora on shuffle! Get specific.

4// Ask for help. Get a friend on board to help you execute. This is your Assistant Director. Love them and have fun together. Send them a gift after!

5// Send those invites and test it out. The first one may be clunky. Maybe the music didn’t come on at the right moment. Someone got the dress code wrong. But have faith! Things will get more clean and clear as your faith in your ability to direct gets stronger. When you commit to bringing YOUR presence is when you’ll inspire others to elevate into their own greatness, too. I promise!

Photo: Alexandra Herstik

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In 2018, I’ll be creating my most ambitious healing as art experience to date—leading a Transformational Healing Journey for six women. And I have two spots left! It begins February 1 and will entail a RADICAL six-month healing journey of magic and art and sexiness. A true return to healing and transformation as your own greatest art form!

Our journey will include SIX fully art-directed, 2-day retreats, which I’ll be co-leading with some of the most incredible practitioners from my own healing journey—many of whom I’ve written about for this column. We’ll be dancing with serpents. Suspended by ropes. Sitting in sacred tea ceremony. Diving into the wisdom of plant medicine. Taking cedar baths in the desert. Doing heart-opening work with the Divine Masculine (in divine man form!) And so much more.

Email Alexandra at [email protected] to receive all info and an application! Program begins 2/1.  First retreat is 2/10-2/11.

BEST OF THE NUMINOUS 2017

It’s been one hell of a ride. From crystal dildos and wombifestation, to becoming a spiritual activist, our Best of The Numinous 2017 charts a truly transformative year …

Photo: Chansereypich Seng

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1// Andre J on Self-Expression as a Self-Love Practice: Gender trendsetter and spiritual mentor Andre J shared how a lifetime of fearless self-expression has been the ultimate self-love practice …

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2// Use Your Birth Chart to Meet Your Shadow Self: In a year where we faced our collective shadow on oh so many levels, we learned how to come face-to-face with the skeletons in our cosmic closets …

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3// How to Master the Art of Wombifestation: With the focus on ways to shift to a more feminine paradigm, Latham Thomas revealed the real secret to the law of attraction …

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4// Date Night as Spiritual Practice: As part of her popular Holy F*ck column, Alexandra Roxo shared how to make date date a mirror for where you’re at on your spiritual path …

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5// Healthcare Vs. The Wellness Industry: As the wellness industry came in for yet more criticism, we asked: what’s worse, a broken healthcare system or the elitist wellness industry?

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6// What’s Your Asteroid Goddess Sign? As the Divine Feminine demanded to speak up and be heard, Rebecca Farrar showed us how to harness the full feminine force of the stars …

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7// 7 Things I Learned Starting a Crystal Sex Toy Company: Adding to the conversation about self-pleasure as a healing practice, Chakrubs founder Vanessa Cuccia shared the deep spiritual lessons of her entrepreneurial path …

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8// Shaman Durek Says Spirituality Is Just Common Sense: On a mission to put shamanism in the hands of the masses, Shaman Durek explained how loving integration of our darkest places unleashes the power to heal ourselves …

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9// Mooners & Shakers Anniversary Edition: As we celebrated our one-year mooniversary, we celebrated the loving, empowering, and fearless community that is Moon Club

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10// Did You Know You Have a Tarot Type? With Tarot becoming more popular than ever, Hayley Ed Houseman shared how to discover your tarot type, and start casting spreads that speak straight to your spirit …

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11// How the Patriarchy Made You Fear Goddess Day: A.k.a. Friday the 13th. Lucy North shared the real meainng behind this “spooky” day, along with simple ways to reclaim its feminine power …

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12// 9 Tips for Running a Spiritual Business: Teeing up her new “Ask a Spiritual CEO” column (launching Jan 2018), Maha Rose founder Lisa Levine shared how to mix some magic with your business mojo …

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13// Why We Have to Get Real About Diversity in the Wellness Industry: Fundraising for her new Harlem, NY, location, SHAKTIBARRE co-founder Corinne Wainer confronted the issue at the heart of her biz head on …

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14// Dreaming About Sex With Straight Dudes … When You’re Queer AF: With gender and sexuality politics front and center, what were her dreams about having sex with straight men trying to tell Wolf Medicine Magic?

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15// Why You Need to Discover Your “Ikigai”: With more people than ever questioning our contribution, Sushma Sagar shared the ancient Japanese art of Ikigai, or how to discover your life purpose …

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16// 8 Ways to Be a Spiritual Activist in 2017: In a year of protests and political resistance, Numi founder Ruby Warrington shared timeless insight into how peace begins with each and every one of us and the daily choices that we make …

HOW THE PATRIARCHY MADE YOU FEAR FRIDAY 13TH—AKA “GODDESS DAY”

In the Goddess calendar, Friday 13th is the luckiest day of the year. Lucy North shares 10 simple rituals to reclaim the power of this sacred date with the Divine Feminine …

Photo: Pansy 

One of the biggest “cosmic jokes” the patriarchal system has pulled on the Divine Feminine is the demonization of the number thirteen. Skipped in airplanes and hotels the world over, it’s become the scariest number within mass consciousness.

Possible justification for this comes from speculative claims that both The Last Supper and the Crucifixion allegedly happened on Friday 13th. But the patriarchy has always had it in for Friday 13th—and this is likely a cover up for something that runs much deeper.

Not only did the number 13 happen to be the luckiest number in the Goddess calendar, Friday 13th was the luckiest day of the year!

In Pagan times, the year was not divided into 12 months but 13. The new month began every 28 days, in accordance with a woman’s menstrual cycle and the New Moon. This was the Goddess calendar. Then the church got involved and … “rejigged” things. Looking to move power away from the Divine Feminine, it added two or three days onto each month and got rid of the 13th month.

February is the one month of the year that still only has 28 days, and this is out of respect to our original Girl Friday: Freyja, the Pagan Goddess of erotic love. Yes, Fri-day is also named after her (hello, date night!) So, this Friday 13th, let’s reunite with our Goddess roots—and honor this sacred day with some of the following rituals …

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1. Invoke the vibrant confidence and freedom of Freyja and smile at 13 women who you wouldn’t normally smile at or acknowledge.

2. How about doing something really wild—and going to bed really early! Freyja was instinctively connected to the rhythms of our planet, as all Goddesses are at heart. Being completely in sync with the earth, let’s go to sleep at sunset and get up at sunrise. For new Yorkers, this currently means tucking up at 6.20pm—and getting up at 7.30am. (Tip: Do this for one week and watch your life change. Your soul will love it.)

3. Patriarchal religions have drummed it into women that the only archetypes available to us are “virgin”, “whore”, “wife” and “mother.” No more! Write a small list on four pieces of paper under each of these archetypes. Now write out some of the emotional words associated with being or not “achieving” this archetype. Burn the paper.

4. Freyja’s nickname was Frigg—still a term for female self-pleasuring in the UK. There is actually a name for the fear of Friday 13th—”friggatriskaidekaphobia.” It has Freyja’s nickname in it, so the fear of this day is directly linked to a fear of women pleasuring themselves! So, let’s write this word out on a piece of paper—and burn that too.

Author Lucy North in Goddess mode …

5. It’s only patriarchal religions that have associated virginity with purity. In Freyja’s day, virgins were seen as dangerously vibrant—ready to burst forward with forthcoming sexual energy. If there has ever been a day dedicated to sacred self-love, a Kundalini wake up call, or divine sexual union, this is it.

6. After today, our next Friday 13th will be in April 2018. In tune with the seasons, dedicate a moment today to thinking of something that you want to incubate and work on over the next six months. It might be a new project, a new way of thinking, or a life goal. Put in place a plan for how this can come to fruition, in time for April’s Friday 13th—when Freyja’s energy will be rising with the vibrant reawakening of Spring!

7. The number 13 was also the number of witches in a coven. Text 12 of your friends—and wish them a Happy Goddess Day!

8. Take a moment to take 13 deep breaths. With each in breath, breathe in the positive energy you wish to receive on each of the next 13 lunar cycles. Allow the out breath to represent the releasing of all that is no longer serving you. Like the tides of the ocean that come in and out of the shore, allow your breath to rise and fall like waves. Be at one with the rhythms of the moon, the ocean and your own divinity.

9. Many of the flowers dedicated to Freyja within Pagan folklore are not in season right now. But google-search images of snowdrops, Cowslips, Wild Daisies, and other flowers, such as the Harlequin-bonnet Columbine and the Scarlet Pimpernel, and you’re good to go! Send a quick sketch or drawing of one of these flowers as a gift to a male friend or colleague, your partner, your son – or a friend’s little boy. The celebration of Friday 13th is not just for women—it’s for ALL genders! And drawing and painting is a fantastic meditation practice. Even is it’s a doodle on your iPad!

10. Freyja’s sacred tree was the Linden Tree (known as the Lime in the UK). If you have one near you, this weekend is definitely the time to go pay it a visit and give it a hug!

Lucy North is a writer, meditation teacher, and artist. She will be running a Women Who Run With The Wolves healing circle on tomorrow evening (Saturday October 14th) at Maha Rose in Greenpoint Brooklyn. Click HERE to reserve your spot.

7 THINGS I LEARNED STARTING A CRYSTAL SEX TOY COMPANY

Vanessa Cuccia is the Founder of Chakrubs, The Original Crystal Sex Toy Company. Here she shares 7 deep spiritual lessons of her entrepreneurial path …

I was in my early twenties when I realized that no one was going to hand me the life I wanted. I also began to realize how complacent I had been, especially when it came to my sex life, relationship, and career. I knew I had to make a drastic change.

I began by breaking up with my boyfriend, who had been sexually and emotionally abusing me for six years. I felt I had finally taken responsibility for myself, and it was up to me to BECOME stronger, more connected to my body, and TO acknowledge my power. I wanted to be around people who could educate me on sexuality, so I took a job at a sex toy shop and invited a spiritual teacher to come live with me. During this time, I deepened my relationship to crystals and understanding of the body’s energy system, while opening up to my own sexual identity.

One night I was visiting the home of a woman with a large crystal collection when I saw a crystal wand. I realized that with a few adjustments it could be made into a tool for pleasure. Almost instantaneously I thought of the the name “Chakrubs™” and began receiving messages guiding me to create The Original Crystal Sex Toy Company®.

I’ve grown a great deal personally, spiritually, and professionally since beginning this journey almost seven years ago. Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way …

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1. When you’re rooted in your pleasure, no one can harm you.

At the very beginning of Chakrubs I began my own sexual healing journey with the Black Obsidian Chakrub. I started with this one because it is known to assist in releasing emotional implants that no longer serve us. After spending six years with someone who treated my body like a sex toy, I knew I had a lot of stored negativity. The Black Obsidian helped me release a lot of shame and guilt I had been holding onto.

This, combined with placing a strong focus on pleasure while starting my business, caused me to realize how much these negative emotions were draining me and how empowered I felt when I was rooted in pleasure. Being rooted in pleasure means being sensitive to what makes you feel good and having the confidence to pursue those desires. When you connect with what brings you pleasure, it will protect you from outside judgements or criticism.

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2. “When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

This quote from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist has been proven to me time and time again. When I decided to create Chakrubs, I gave myself permission to begin saying, “I started a brand called Chakrubs” to my friends, family, and people I’d meet. Even though most of the work I’d been doing was limited to meditation, brainstorming, and research at that point, I knew that those were all valuable steps in the process. I had decided in my heart that I was going to take on this role of bringing crystal sex toys to the mainstream to open people up to crystal and sexual healing.

I won’t say that it was easy starting this business, but at every point along the way I felt assisted by a power greater than myself. Everyone I spoke to had some key to help me unlock what was being created. It was as though my steps were being illuminated and I was just following the path laid out for me. I think once we proclaim that we want something and begin to work towards it, the universe will help us obtain it. We just have to be open to receiving and working within “the language of the universe.”

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3. I’m a fucking Goddess (and so are you).

Living in the redwood forests in Santa Cruz in 2011, I lived with women who would become the first focus group of Chakrubs. We would sing songs in our house and call each other goddesses.

I feel like what prevents us from being in touch with our own divinity is this idea that seeing yourself that way makes you conceited or narcissistic. In reality, recognizing your connection to all that not only enables you to understand the power you hold but also the power of the people around you.

Living with these women who were so different from me helped me understand that through our love, recognition and appreciation of one another we could be mirrors that would reflect each other’s potential. I’ve learned that it’s more fun and useful to honor people’s sacredness and shine light on what we love about them rather than focusing on their shortcomings.

When concepting Chakrubs, we sat in circles, in teepees, out on the picnic table, dreaming of which crystals would help others, what shapes would bring the most pleasure, and what energy could be infused into the crystals to make them even more special. Chakrubs took years and so much of my own self-healing to be able to bring it to you. The history of manifesting this creation is filled with depth and many stories that I am grateful to share.

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Over the weekend I celebrated my birthday (on Earthday) with friends, family and the community that I feel is within this world of Chakrub social media. I feel eternally grateful and deeply moved by the love I felt, and I want so intensely for this love to be shared by all. Though I am older I feel like a child as I am painfully, humbly, and honored to be aware of the lessons I still have to learn on my spiritual path. I say with no hesitation that you are each great teachers to me and I am learning from you every day. I want to continue to serve you the best and most authentic way that I can. Thank you for being open to opening. Thank you for loving to love. Thank you for being connected as we all are to one another and to yourself. ✨🌏💓🙏🏼Forever yours, Vanessa Cuccia Xx photo by @aliciarabbitheart

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4. The more heart you put into something, the better response you’ll receive.

Whenever I find myself feeling stuck or like things aren’t flowing with my business, I remember to show more of my heart. I reach deep into the “why” of what I’ve created, tell stories to my social media followers about how this all came about, reveal what I’m growing to understand, and I give gratitude.

Conventional businesses may not want to show the vulnerability of their CEO’s, but the mission of Chakrubs is to create connection to others through connection with the self. When I express myself I am not only strengthening my own understanding of why I started this company, but helping others understand that this is isn’t just a trend—it’s a lifestyle and philosophy meant to empower us.

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5. We don’t need anything outside of ourselves to heal, but we can use tools to facilitate that healing.

I’m a firm believer that we don’t need anything outside of ourselves to heal our emotional wounds. Crystals facilitate our natural ability to heal ourselves with their perfect molecular structures, but we already have crystals within us. There are crystals in our bones called apatite(1) and we can activate them through our intentions.

I like to be able to hold a tool, a tool that will help me to tune into myself and the sexual energy of the earth. So find a tool that works for you, but don’t rely on it entirely. Know that all of the wisdom you seek is within you, just waiting to be discovered.

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6. Arousal can reacquaint you with your spiritual beliefs.

In launching Chakrubs, I created a new way for us to use crystals to benefit our spiritual growth. When we work with crystals they become imbued with our intentions and Chakrubs are no different. As you become aroused and begin your Chakrub practice, your ritual becomes a reminder of your intentions and strengthens your focus. As someone who is not necessarily religious, I value practicing your values religiously. I may not remember to meditate daily, but every time I reach for my Chakrub, I am reminded how it is benefiting me on more levels than one.

When your art inspires other art. 🙏🏼✨ by @giulianaelina

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7. It’s difficult to receive love when you don’t know who you are.

Creating my brand ethos, I had to ask myself, why is self-discovery and awareness important? Who cares if I know who I am or not? My answer is this: knowing ourselves is the only way we will be able to accept the love we are given.

We won’t be able to receive love from our partners or the world if we are stuck in our egos or trying to deny aspects of who we are. Honesty is the only way to feel worthy of love, and self-awareness is the only way to be honest. If we take time for introspection and healing, we’ll be able to unveil who we are at our core. Once we really get to know ourselves it creates more compassion and empathy for others. Which is why I believe this to be true; heal yourself and you heal the world.

Learn more about Chakrubs and get rooted in a life of pleasure and creativity at Chakrubs.com

WHY THESE ARE THE PERFECT TAROT CARDS FOR MAY 2017

Stressing out about scheduling the month ahead? Put your planner aside & lay out the perfect tarot cards for May 2017, says Melinda Lee Holm.

May is a fertile season for embracing your power and exploring duality! Throughout this month, we will be asked to examine what kind of power we value, how we can expand our vision of our own power, and how to embrace, honor, and cherish aspects of ourselves that seem in opposition to one another.

Meet this month’s guides for creating, manifesting, and coming into balanced relationship with all that is …  

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:: 5/01  International Workers Day—7 of Pentacles :: 

The month kicks off with May Day or Beltane- a traditional northern European holiday celebrating the coming of Spring with rituals of fertility, abundance, and heaps of flowers and foliage. In 1904, it was also designated as a day to demonstrate for laborers’ rights.

The Rider-Waite image of a worker tending the vines is a perfect guide for honoring both the abundance of nature and the beauty of labor. Pentacles are the suit of Earth- that wonderful grounding element that connects us to the physical world and our animal natures. In the 7, the work has been done, the soil turned, the vines tended, and the result is a healthy crop of pentacles. Clad in marigold and sky blue, the figure revels in his power of creation in partnership with the Earth and the intuition that led his hand.

Calling in the 7 of Pentacles: 

  • Get your hands dirty! Gardening connects us to the fecundity of the Earth and to labor. 
  • Work hard, but don’t overdo it – end your work day at a reasonable time. 
  • Light a candle in an earthy scent like tomato vine or moss. 
  • Eat fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. 

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:: 5/03  Mercury Stations Direct- The Magician :: 

Rejoice! Mercury stations direct on the 3rd, bringing to a close 3.5 weeks of (often unexpected) insights about the recent past (and a lot of panic about glitches in technology). Now, armed with all of the new information we’ve dredged up, we can get start pressing forward with newly laid plans by calling on the Tarot’s great manifestor- The Magician.

In Golden Dawn teachings, The Magician is associated with the planet Mercury, so there is a natural alignment here that can really help push things along if we listen closely to the messages received during retrograde. Drawing on the power of the Earth and the Heavens, The Magician taps into his natural attunement with the Universe to vibrate his vision into existence, opening infinite possibilities. With a little guidance, you can step into his enchanted shoes!

Calling in The Magician: 

  • Use your magic words! Write down goals in the present tense as if they have already been achieved.  
  • Wear Pyrite jewelry – the stone is a master of manifestation. 
  • Dress for your dream life.
  • Eat foods seasoned with cinnamon – the spice accelerates mastery and magical abilities. 
Check out Melinda’s custom pieces of Tarot-inspired jewelry ! Pictured above: The Initiate in Pyrite.

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:: 5/14  Mother’s Day- 6 of Cups :: 

Whether you are a mom or share a connection with a biological or chosen maternal figure, this is a day for honoring and appreciating the feminine nurturers around and within us. We can often get stuck in a role of mothering or being mothered, and have trouble balancing our giving and receiving. This Mother’s Day, we call on the 6 of Cups to remind us to care for our care givers, and to take in the love we need to replenish ourselves as caregivers.

The 6 of Cups carries the energy of emotional harmony and balance. The figures in the card are out of balance proportionally, but the larger figure seeks to restore harmony by giving a flower-filled cup to the smaller figure. All of the cups bear a single white flower, which strongly resembles an enlarged jasmine blossom- the flower of purity and sensuality. The lesson here is that true and pure beauty is found through actively balancing the relationships in our lives.

Calling in the 6 of Cups: 

  • Perform random acts of kindness – and receive them gracefully from others!
  • Carry a Chrysocolla, the Goddess stone, to replenish the energy of the Divine Feminine. 
  • Wear jasmine perfume. 
  • Care for your mom or moms, biological, legal, or chosen. 

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:: 5/21  Sun Enters Gemini- The Lovers :: 

Twin season! The Sun’s entry into Gemini brings openness and flexibility to any stale routines, and teaches us to see all sides of an issue and not to press too hard for a solution that isn’t working.

The myth of Gemini follows a pair of twins with the same mother, but different fathers. Since one has been fathered by the god Zeus, he is immortal. When his mortal brother dies, he begs his father to keep them together and Zeus obliges, making both twins immortal, living together for eternity in the constellation Gemini, separate but perfectly paired. In our mortal lives, Gemini teaches us to allow conflicting sides of ourselves to co-exist in harmony. We can be a business mogul AND a dreamy poet, a driven creator AND a grounded homemaker. To find how to live in this duality, we look to The Lovers.

The Lovers shows two figures standing beneath a bright angel. Early interpretations positioned this card as indicative of romantic love, but modern Tarot scholars view the card’s energy as one of perfect pairing and ideal relationship- whether romantic, professional, or creative.  The core of the wisdom here is to see that excellence – in relationship or in ourselves – can only be achieved when each part is celebrated for its individuality and not consumed by the whole.

Calling in The Lovers:

  • Wear contrasting colors. 
  • Make an exquisite corpse drawing or poem with a friend.  
  • Explore foods with savory/sweet combinations. You can start with cayenne spiced chocolate or prosciutto wrapped melon and go wild from there! 
  • Include others in activities you would normally do alone like reading with a friend, or walking with a group … 

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Want more tarot magic? Book a session with Melinda here, and make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook. 

HOLY F*CK: HOW HEARTBREAK CAN BE THE MOST POWERFUL MEDICINE

When Love is our teacher heartbreak can be the most powerful medicine, says Alexandra Roxo in her latest Holy F*ck column…

So maybe just maybe some mega shit has been hitting the fan during this Venus Retrograde? Or perhaps it’s minor pieces of shit for you. Little annoying pieces of shit you thought were gone…but are still stinking up the place? Perhaps it’s around romantic love, rejection, partnership. Or perhaps self love, worth, value.

Chances are you’ve been stung. But guess what??! This means your heart is open—that it’s accessible, soft, tender, growing, reshaping, adapting, expanding. THIS IS A GOOD THING. Heartbreak can be the most powerful medicine.

Committing to living with an open heart it is not an easy road. It can mean letting your heart break and break and break, but each time it breaks it swells and becomes bigger and messier and wider and has the capacity to hold more.

This is the way of Love. (Cue Rumi.)

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CRUCIFIED BY LOVE  

Love has always been my personal teacher of choice. When I was 20 and all my friends had gurus, I was secretly writing the words “AHEM PREMA” (I am divine love) on my hand and telling folks, “Love is my guru!” I’ve been obsessed with Love for as long as I can remember. I’ve been in Love MANY times and rejected MANY times more, and still I keep on going for it.

How do I define Love?
Love is that which we were made from and that which we will return to. The primordial ooze in us. The ever present God-Goddess sparkle living in each cell. Which we feel when we”fall” in Love. Really what I believe happens is that this “falling” is us OPENING to the Love that already exists within us. What if you could feel that without an other person? This is what I’m talking about!!

And because I also never quit being curious and doing things that scare me, I signed up for a two-day intensive last week called “The Yoga of Intimacy” with Londin Angel Winters and Justin Patrick Pierce (who also may be the hottest couple on the planet. Major #RelationshipGoals.)

Arriving at a beautiful inn in Topanga I prepared myself to be “crucified by Love.” (My ideal Saturday!) Standing across from a man whose name I didn’t know, who wasn’t “my type,” I let Love show me where I was guarded. And I let it make me feel safe enough to pull down the walls and completely open to said stranger.

I looked into his eyes and cried. I shared my depths. And it felt as powerful as an Ayauasca ceremony. If not more powerful! With eyes open and locked onto someone else’s, instead of eyes closed solo-style like in plant journeys, I couldn’t escape my demons or pain or shut down or dissociate. Justin said it perfectly … “If you think ayahuasca is crazy, try love.”

I could literally NOT form a sentence afterwards. As a writer and wordsmith I was kinda freaked out by the temporary mush in my brain. But I was assured that this meant I had surrendered to the pure-as-hell-delicious Shakti/Divine Feminine energy that resides outside the mind.

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99 HEARTBREAKS & I DON’T WANT TO SOLVE THEM

At the workshop, I also had to go on a practice dinner date with an older doctor from Beverly Hills who talked like I imagine Freud would have sounded. I did NOT wanna get vulnerable with him but I did, and I broke into tears across the dinner table as I revealed to him my deepest desires. He was beyond grateful that I showed him my Heart.

As I cried and told him of all the times I had broken my heart, he said “At the end of your life would you rather have loved and had your heart broken 99 times and on the 100th found someone special, than hidden your heart and not loved at all?” It was true. And all 99 times of heartbreak are heart opening and “special” in my book.

Two days at this intensive rocked me to my core. It was SO terrifying to let go and let Love do its thing. Yet I felt more delicious than I had in ages.

SO HOW CAN YOU WORK WITH LOVE’S MEDICINE? 

When Love becomes a skill and a medicine, you can hang out with a close friend and feel deeply nourished and fed when you leave them, like you just got 10 hugs and a bowl of soup from your Grandma.

Or you and your Lover can be in a constant state of divine communion, and one glance feels like 1,000 gourmet raw chocolates for your soul.

A solo Love practice means at a stop light in the car you can feel the depths of Love swimming through your body and yoni, and you have the power to release a warm honey glow throughout your body that feels like you are cumming. Try walking into a meeting from that place!

Here’s how to start … 

– Love and be loved. Identify the 5 ways you feel most Love(d). I do this with all my clients. Perhaps it’s petting your cat. Or watching your fave film. Meditating. Chanting to Goddess. Get to know the direct path to your Heart, if you don’t already, and start feeling the Love vibes often by using those tools.

– Connect to humans/animals. The internet doesn’t count unless you are one-on-one on Skype with someone. IRL is the best way to go. Make this a priority. It is the remedy against overeating, loneliness, indulging in bad habits, overworking … I’m talking real connection! Even one solid hug and “Good Morning” from a roomie is something.

– Let your heart get naked. This is where you get vulnerable. If you can practice this daily, you’ll either deepen your already existing partnerships or tenderize the nest of your heart to get it ready to let love in. Call a new friend and share something intimate. Write a poem and share it online. Ask someone for help. Practice vulnerability and practice receiving some Love. (Like let the guy at Trader Joe’s help you to your car already!)

– Feel, feel, feel. Sounds obvious, right? But how often do you feel your feelings in the moment? Practice vocalizing your pain. Frustration. Sadness. As you’re experiencing it. Let yourself feel the depths of your yearning/your rage/your sadness/your joy DAILY.

– Daydream. Do a little bit of daydreaming each day. Imagine your lover caressing your neck. Imagine your lover giving you that “I wanna fuck you” look across the room at a crowded party. If this sounds cheesy to you then work on the vulnerability of your heart.

Whether you are in partnership or flying solo, you can play with Love every day. You can become more and more conscious of living in your full beauty and radiance and sexiness the more and more you release the fear of getting hurt. You can just open. The pain becomes part of your practice too and, trust me, you even start to love that! WHAAA?!!! Can it be?!!! Yeeeep.

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Londin & Justin’s next intensive is September 16-17th, and I’ll def be there crying and loving and embodying all the Shakti I can, Goddess willing. You can discover more about them and their work Londinangelwinters.com

MOONERS & SHAKERS: THE MOON CLUB MEMBERS MAKING WAVES

Get inspired by this month’s Mooners & Shakers, the Moon Club members making waves and fueling their passion projects!

HEBA TALLAH, LUMINOUS FEMME
“The medicine is in the remembrance. Cutting through the BS and the noise – going straight to the truth, and calling on it.”

The Project 
A Luminous Femme is a woman who has remembered that her greatest power, beauty, and strength, have been within her all along.

She knows that her trials and tribulations are opportunities for more self-awareness, growth, and compassion. And she jumps into this journey of deeper and deeper self-love and self-awareness with gusto and no apology. She cultivates a deep love and respect for her Femmebody, for the way she waxes and wanes, and for her inherent superpowers along the way.

The Medicine
I have been called here to anchor the Light and the Divine Feminine (in the Middle East, no less) and across all borders on Mama Earth. I feel the deepest honor and gratitude for carrying this calling. And such reverence for this life!

Being a woman (or a human, for that matter) in today’s world can feel so draining, confusing, and sometimes downright infuriating. Claiming who we inherently, truly are—and our connection to Source that is right here, in our heart space, in our every cell, at any given moment—is the fast track to inner peace. The medicine is in the remembrance. Cutting through the BS and the noise—going straight to the truth, and calling on it.

The medicine is also in knowing that the divine feminine that is within us all is awakening en masse—and she is not to be tamed, or quieted, any longer. I created Luminous Femme as a container to facilitate a woman’s return to her inner core, which is already perfect and whole, and to remember how to live from that space on the daily. Because there’s nothing juicier or more healing for the world than a woman in her divine feminine element!

The Birthing Process
It has been at least five years (more like my lifetime really) since I’ve had this luminous gift and voice pulsing inside, wanting to be expressed. This has meant healing myself and my blocks, my stories, and working through them all. It’s been knowing I had a message to share but having life keep throwing me curveballs to fill in all the blanks and help me get over whatever held me back in the past.

Discovering yoga at age 18, becoming a teacher 12 years later, and the journey it takes me on a daily basis is humbling and so fulfilling. My mat is my healer, my sanctuary.

The Moon Club Inspiration
It really feels like the coolest place to hang out on the web. I’ve been a Numinous reader for years and a lover of all things Moon related, which is a big part of Luminous Femme philosophy—cyclical living and connecting to the Moon phases.

When I see how this conversation is so normalized in the club, and the presence of all the women in the group who are so strong and healing and brave, it fills me up with so much juice and passion for this way of life. We’re all so connected and willing to do the work—to show up, to accept, and to self-realize. It’s not only deeply informative, it’s also so much fun, like a cosmic pajama party! It’s such an honor to walk this way with you all.

Discover more about Heba and Luminous Femme here. 

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Feeling the inspo? Read more about Moon Club here and become a member to start working your own Moon magic! 

HOW CAT MARNELL COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN ME

Magazine career, eating disorder, bad boyfriends, addiction. In another life, could Cat Marnell have been me, asks Ruby Warrington?

Cat Marnell

What I like best about Cat Marnell’s car crash autobiography How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir is that she makes absolutely zero apologies for who she is. Yeah there’s a line in there about “white girl privilege” (“warning! If you’re grossed out by it (who isn’t?), you might want to bail now”), but otherwise Cat tells her story with an utter lack of self-judgement and the kind of honesty that is a direct channel from the heart. Fuck yeah!

For the uninitiated, Cat Marnell rose to notoriety earlier this decade as the openly drug-addicted beauty editor for titles Lucky, Vice and xojane.com. Her drug of choice was Adderall (with pretty much everything else layered on top), her stories (GONNA WASH THAT ANGEL DUST RIGHT OUTTA MY HAIR: “Miracle” (Uh-Huh) Treatments To Help You Pass Those Follicle Drug Tests, Naughty Nancys!) written on no sleep “in an amphetamine spell.”

How To Murder Your Life reads like a Bret Easton Ellis novel (except it’s real life) and is the story of the ghouls behind the gloss. In Cat’s own words: “AUUUUGHHH!” But what struck me while I was reading it, was that served a different set of life circumstances, Cat Marnell could easily have been me.

Let’s examine the evidence…

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She was a teenage magazine addict. Like Cat, when I first discovered magazines at around age 12, it was like being given an instruction manual on how to be a woman (read: look good so I’d fit in and boys would like me). Like Cat, I gravitated towards a career in magazines—when she moved to New York, she became hell bent on scoring a role at Conde Nast.

Unlike Cat, when I moved to New York I began work on the Numinous, and immersed myself in exploring all the other very, very important things it means to be a human. Not to mention began to see the glossy magazine message for what it often is—a way to keep readers locked in the cycles of craving (for trends, for stuff to make us happy, for a “better” body) that fuel the capitalist machine.

She’s a perfectionist. Cat’s birthday is September 10, making her a Virgo. And if Adderall had a sign…it would so be Virgo! Total “no-sleep-until-every-last-detail-has-been-quadruple-checked” vibes. Plus Cat started taking amphetamines because “I felt like such a failure getting those terrible grades.”

My perfectionist streak comes from Mercury (Virgo’s ruler) conjunct my Sun in Aries (“must-maintain-image-I-have-it-all-together-at-all-times”). Cue teenage eating disorder (me too, Cat), and reaching for drugs (in my case booze) as a way to just chillax for a sec. These days, meditation and a whole lot of healing of my inner child is what keeps the perfectionist in its place.

Her parents are mental health professionals. Cat’s dad, a psychiatrist, was the first person to prescribe her Ritalin (and then Adderall) at the age of 16. In America, most psychiatric consultations seem to end with a prescription.

Back in the UK, my mum trained to be a psychotherapist in her late 50s, having faced her own demons with years of talk therapy. Years of therapy that have made her the kind of parent who wholly accepts me for who I am, since she accepts herself for who she is. Part of the reason I used drugs and starved myself was because I didn’t believe this. But as my own healing journey has shown me, all the years I thought my mum / society was judging me, I was judging myself.

She idolizes Marilyn Monroe and Edie Sedgwick. The damaged (and self-medicated) heroines of late 20th Century folklore! I collected Marilyn books from around age 10, and even made a magazine about her for my first big school project. And I fell in love with Sedgwick’s story when I read Edie: American Girl (the SO GOOD) biography of Andy Warhol’s muse.

As archetypes, these two women represent some of the ways our inner wild woman acts out when we get duped / spooked into playing by the rules (be beautiful, thin, submissive, SMILE!). And I no longer idolize them. I see them as a mirror for the parts of me that still don’t believe I’ll be accepted / loved unless I am beautiful, thin, submissive, and happy.

She loves fake tan. It makes you look thin and like you got enough sleep. In other words, like taking drugs, faking a tan is another way to fake feeling good about yourself. Another addiction I developed in magazine land (my friend Henry used to call me Umpa Lumpa) and one my Numinous path has not yet helped me kick.

She’s lets men use her like a sex doll because she thinks it’s normal. Some of the hardest stuff to read in Cat’s book, and one of the themes in mine. I tear up every time I re-read my chapter on the Divine Feminine, and I would love for Cat to read it sometime too. For a lot of women to, actually.

She had a lot of fun on drugs. Some might say Cat glamorizes drug use, but one dictionary definition for “glamour” is: “magic or enchantment; spell; witchery.” And if drugs do anything, it’s cast a spell, creating an illusion of happiness, connection, enlightenment, etc, making narcotics by their nature “glamorous.” I too fell under this spell coming of age in the UK’s rave culture, and I have also had some pretty “magical” experiences getting high.

Which is not to make light of addiction, which is both a killer and a tragedy. My heart wept for Cat every time she reached for the Adderall again in her book. But it’s also way too simplistic to label all drugs “bad.” And unlike Cat, as I write about in a chapter of my book called Healing is The New Nightlife, I have discovered SO many better ways to get high on my own supply.

Writing her book was a healing experience. Not least because having an 80,000-word deadline was the thing that finally made her take rehab seriously. We leave Cat listening to Louise Hay affirmations, getting eight hours sleep a night, and even praying. “Spirituality is so dope,” she writes. But best of all; “I’m supertight with my family now. Can you believe it?”

And yep, writing my book had a similar effect on me—my own 80,000-word deadline being what helped me kick booze once and for all. But living my subject matter, day-in-day-out, has also taken my relationship with my mum to a completely new level of intimacy and mutual respect. Not least because, the way I see it, as women our relationship with our mother is often a reflection of our relationship with our self.

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I loved Cat’s book so much. Yes, because I can relate (anyone?) But also because it’s a straight-up, honest-to-Goddess account of living with addiction, AND the society that feeds it. Meaning a society that medicates the fuck out of any personality type that doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter mold for “success”; that places utmost value on productivity (fuel for the capitalist model); and that celebrates thinness and the ability to dress like you swallowed a copy of Vogue as the epitome of attractiveness / worthiness in women.

And also because the lessons of my Numinous journey mean I have written something kind of like the antidote. Perhaps I should have called it How Not To Murder Your Life.

Material Girl, Mystical World is out in May 2017 on Harper Elixir. Read more and pre-order your copy here.