7 SPIRITUAL TEACHINGS OF MY NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE

What you really get from a near death experience is a numinous new perspective on life, the Universe, and everything, says Worthy Stokes  …

The last thing I remember before leaving my body was the U2 song playing on my iPod shuffle: It’s A Beautiful Day. I was out for a morning jog wearing headphones and stopped at a crosswalk to wait for the signal to change. When it turned green, I turned up the volume and raced straight into Death.

A van had run a stoplight, and at the very moment it crashed into me, the world disappeared. Instead of memories of my skull breaking against pavement, I remember only that song and an image of wide, open sky. Thus, U2 serenaded my departure from this life; the ensuing brain trauma erasing everything except for Bono’s voice. So, when I tell the story of my Near Death Experience (NDE), I always think of him.

Five years have passed since my harrowing return to my body, during which time the nuts and bolts of universal intelligence have emerged in waves and codes. During this time, seven spiritual teachings have emerged — to inform my life and work here on Earth 

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1. Consciousness is not religious, humans are. When I dropped into the vastness of the primordial, cosmic soup, I came face-to-face with infinity. I was lucid in my perception of an elegant, fluid order, and, at the same time, the experience felt wholly incomprehensible to my human brain. I felt neither shock, or distress. I floated about leisurely, as I noticed, rather abruptly, that religion simply does not exist beyond the human mind.

Having previously “believed” in Buddhism, I came back into my body with a transfigured cosmology for which I have no translation. My faith rests instead in a mysterious beauty that remains unencumbered by mortal bias, dogmas, or doctrines—all of which, I see now, are highly destructive to human beings. Religion perpetuates guilt. Consciousness activates possibility.

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2. Death is a choose-your-own-adventure experience. If you like Jesus, he’ll be there. If you love practicing meditation, maybe you’ll see a monk. If you are tired of patriarchy, perhaps a fierce Goddess or tree spirit will greet you. For atheists or stoics who think this is nonsense, the journey into Death is destined to unfold in a way that is relaxing, uneventful, and not at all weird. Each of us naturally transitions from one state of consciousness to another without the slightest bit of pain—which brings me to the idea of Hell, which isn’t real, so everyone can relax. There is no darkness in that final exit, and if there is, it’s probably because you wanted it that way.

3. We are all as connected as we are separate. There is an individuated blueprint in each of us describing multiple portals to other dimensions, but how this system mechanically functions is beyond us. Invisible points of contact, layers of free will, shifting realities, and elements of destiny all move and meld in ways that are too complex for us to ever name. In the popular TV series about NDEs (OA), there are gestures coupled with movements to be found in the afterlife, which combine in an eerie combination of breath and choreography.

This hints at an interlocking system we all share and must sort out together, because each of us carries a vital piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fully work until connected with others. In other words, the success of our collective matrix depends on its parts functioning as coherent, interactive particles engaging consciously. So yes, your healing journey is valuable to all of us. My NDE showed me that we are linked, and we are separate. We have shared paths, and we engage singularity. We are interdependent, and we are alone.

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4. Some things do not heal. Consciousness is not just for manifesting a Ferrari or a mate or healing a primal wound; it is not a spoon we can learn to bend with our minds. We do not have as much control as we wish we did, and we do not get to know why some things heal and others don’t. Asking why X still hurts (despite having done all the Work), as so many of us like to do, leads nowhere. Let’s ask each other instead, “What happened? What can happen next?”

Our job here is to hold each other’s fragility, alongside qualities of strength, power, purpose, and possibility. Even after having seen in my NDE how vast we all are, and how very little control we have in our lives, I returned with a belief that wanting to heal something was enough. Over time, I learned I was wrong. I learned instead to make peace with hundreds of things I cannot fix. Now, I pay close attention to what IS possible here, in the realm of the living. I find enormous solace in my understanding that on the other side, there is no pain.

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5. Transformation is your birthright. We have the right to change what we do not like, need, or love, in this wakeful, transient life. Further, we are spiritually and neurologically wired for transformation. I’m not saying transformation is easy, and I am also not saying it’s going to be an affordable, realistic, or linear process. Nor is it a test or an experiment. There are no grades, or getting it “right” or “wrong.” Showing up and exploring is what counts. Dreaming, breathing, building, evaluating, noticing, and repeating what works. Getting into your carpe diem flow while motivated by visions of awesomeness is a very good place to start. Find mentors, make revisions, and don’t be afraid to color outside the lines.

Photo: Ameen Fahmy

6. We need our people guides more than our spirit guides. We are each like turtles bringing houses of consciousness from oceans of possibility to this shared, changeable world. Like turtles, we carry pieces of our primordial homes on our backs, which means we are all, always, “at home.” From this space, we can choose to be fiercely, tenderly present for each other, right here and right now. Yet I see countless seekers hitching rides on decorated spaceships to visit fancy vortices in search of “answers” and healing. The irony is we already boarded the most cosmic spaceships of all, our bodies, and we traveled a very long way to reach this life. Meeting each other in the flesh is a fantastic, holy, and healing event, in and of itself.

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7. Being human is the ultimate spiritual path. As spiritual beings, we are elements of unified consciousness, and as physical beings, we are connected by way of our neurobiology. Being human and being here in this life IS the ultimate path; regular meditation or devotional practices that nourish our relationships with each other are simply ways to maintain our connection with the Divine.

The task at hand, truly, is to care for each other in the physical domain, as creatures who age, break, triumph, and fail, through moments of tragedy and ecstatic, heart shattering joy. There is no need to look beyond this reality. Presence is what we are, and life inside of these beautiful days IS the messy, sacred experience we came here for. When we look outside of ourselves for truthful meaning, we shut down access to the very miracles we seek.

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Worthy Stokes is a healer, seer, and sage. Learn more about her work at thisworthylife.com, get her free meditations on Insight Timer, and follow her on Instagram @thisworthylife. Get on her mystical frequency with code NUMINOUS and a 20% discount: HeartMind: A 10 Day Meditation Journey for Sensitives and Survivors on the Path of Spiritual Awakening

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.

ADORNMENT AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: COMMUNING WITH JOY SMITH

Channeling the Divine through the decadently bejeweled, artist and mystic Joy Smith is raising the mystical-material vibration ever higher with her transformational talismans.

Sculptress and seer Joy Smith believes that adornment is an intimate conversation—between the creator, the wearer, and the Divine.

Inspired by nature’s potent mysteries, and the light of Divine beauty that resides in every being, the artist’s ethically sourced, recycled gold pieces spark an emotional exchange between the the universe and each of us.

For Smith, connection to the Divine is always available, and through our talismans we can bring our personal conversation with the heavens all the way down to Earth.

With her newly-launched Light Sessions, Smith is raising the material-mystical vibration even higher. During these custom experiences, she uses song, meditative chants, and Reiki to channel a one-of-a-kind talisman that supports your distinctive transformation and growth.

Spirit is absolutely everywhere. Why not dress her in radiant gold?

(Hint: Start decking out your Divine with some inspo from Joy’s jewel-drenched Instagram feed!)

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Ruby Warrington: What are your own personal talismans?
Joy Smith: I wear pieces according to what I need—so I can beam my light out everywhere. I have different pieces that embody different feelings for me.

For example, I have a custom piece I made for myself that’s super special. In Milan, on a retreat with Deborah Hanekamp, we hiked to a pagan ritual place, where I found what looked like a piece of a ceramic vessel glinting in the grass. I could feel that it was infused with a spirit that wanted to help me with my healing work, and so I set it into a ring, which I wear when I’m creating pieces, and during my Light Sessions.

Even talking about it takes me back to that place. In the future, I’d like to go on pilgrimages to sacred sites to source similar pieces as part of my work.

 

My Moon, My Light Necklace

RW: Your pieces have a strong spiritual essence. What’s your relationship to organized religion?
JS: The dogma of different religions can get messy, but the essence of spirit is what’s precious to me. I connect to the idea of the Holy Spirit, which I think of as our connection to the Divine—the spirit in us. My work is about activating that in others. I’m also super interested in world religions. I see the common thread and that’s fascinating to me. All the stories are the same, just different characters.

Having grown up Catholic, I still connect deeply to the iconography. I see the etchings in my designs as radiating light, and my goal is to elicit the idea of “heaven,” which I define simply as the place where great spirit lives … bliss.

 

Guardian Rustic Shield Ring

RW: What do you see as the intersection between spirituality, craftsmanship, and art?
JS: I never thought I’d make jewelry. I knew I loved art history, and wanted to be a painter. I also connected to artists, as I felt they were connected to something spiritual with their work. I wanted that connection to come through in my work, too. I also love fashion because I see the spirit of the designer in it. It’s like art to me.

I fell into jewelry through the sculpture of making it. I initially wanted to be a fine painter, but didn’t think I was good enough and I couldn’t relay my message effectively at that time in that medium. Now, I express myself spiritually through my pieces as they relate to how I feel on the inside. I want them to be infused with feelings of beauty and light, and for this to be reflected in how I adorn myself on the outside.

I believe God, spirit, etc., created us as an expression of the beauty of the Divine. I make it a point to meditate and pray before I make my work. When we work in this way as creators, that’s spirituality to me.

The artist at work

RW: What do the concepts of God and the Divine mean to you?  
JS: I believe God and the Divine are forms of the highest spirit, a spirit greater than ourselves that also lives within us and is part of us. That guides and protects us and loves us unconditionally. Neither are religious terms for me- I see them as a universal Spirit.

My own spiritual breakthrough came in my early twenties, when I had a very severe panic attack, and found myself debilitated by anxiety. My first teacher asked about my spiritual practice, and she gave me my first spiritual book, Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Prayer. I still read it every day. It helped me remember how to pray—how to connect to God—in a spiritual way.

RW: “Light Language” is such a glorious phrase—tell us about learning to speak this language, and how clients experience it during your “Light Sessions.”  
JS: “Light Language” is how I describe my conversation with the divine, something that comes out in channeled melodies, or prayer. The term came to me via my guides during an Akashic records reading—and this really is how I feel about my conversations with God. The Light Language also comes through as automatic writing, which I carve into my talismans and artwork.

I came up with the Light Sessions since my work can be very solitary and I knew I wanted to connect with people on a deeper level. And my Light Language becomes vocal, as if I’m speaking in tongues, during one-to-one with my clients. I see it as the language of love, as expressed in my creations.

The Light Sessions are about channeling creations for transformation. We talk about stones and the style of the piece, and then my clients give me their intention and lay on my table, and I’ll either sing melodies of prayer or do Reiki and channel messages that come to me.

Afterwards, we create an intention candle together and they go home with their candle to pray / meditate with their intention in mind, and I go home and channel that energy while creating the piece for transformation. The plan is to also make this available to couples as a custom ring engagement ceremony.

RW: Who is the “Communion Woman”? 
JS: Women who wear my jewelry have a strong sense of self. The common thread is that they have a connection to spirit, and that they’re all powerful in their own right. A lot of my clients have often been through a lot emotionally.

Having experienced challenges in their lives, they have been led to work on themselves spiritually, in order to connect more deeply to themselves and to the Divine. They’ve already found this connection, and want to explore more deeply what it means for their lives. A lot of their work is in service of the greater good. They have that depth.

Discover more about Communion by Joy’s sumptuously sacred jewels HERE, and book a custom Light Session with Smith in LA. 

THE TEACHER: THE NUMEROLOGY OF 44

4-4 is a numerological power day, bringing the energy to learn something new and tackle your to-do list, says Felicia Bender.

In Numerology, repeating numbers are always significant.

They pack a punch, so to speak.

April is a number 4 month and when we line it up with the number 4 day, we get a double-dose of 4 energy.

The number 4 is all about foundations, systems-building, and hard work – just to name a few of its many attributes. It’s also an energy related to knowledge and holds the vibe of The Teacher.

April is a month to set time aside to learn something new. It encourages us to sign up for the class, pick up the book, or sign-on for a hands-on learning experience.

It’s also set up for reviewing our purpose in life and how we may or may not be tapping into it, focusing on it, and taking the practical and step-by-step actions to achieve it. And since we never “achieve” our purpose, a better way to think about it is to investigate how we are (or aren’t) taking actions and thinking thoughts that are in alignment with our purpose and our personal and spiritual evolution.

And since this is a double dose, the numerology of 4/4 makes it a great day to evaluate and take even the smallest step in this direction.

What to watch out for on today? Choose your words wisely and thoughtfully. We might respond to people and situations impulsively because we’re all feeling this energy, so everyone will be grappling with reining in whatever blunt and opinionated comments that might bubble to the surface without a filter. So step out of the debate, and especially out of any, “I don’t want to argue and yet let me tell you why I’m right,” mind-set.

Instead, ride the energy 4/4 offers by doing something to enhance and beautify your home, get out into nature, and make a punch-list of goals and aspirations – along with a sub-list of the steps you envision will be needed to get there.

CASTING MY SPELL: CONFESSIONS OF A WHITE WITCH

“I see writing as a spell, decorating my home as a spell, singing as a spell. Whenever I express myself I am casting MY spell.” Shaheen Miro shares what it means to grow up and embrace being a white witch…

I have always had an intimate connection to the unseen – as a child I could feel the pulse of magic in the world around me. I spent my time wandering through the shadows of trees, marveling at the menagerie of creatures forming, looming, and dancing on the ground around me. I gathered stones, flowers, and found objects to create charms for change and good fortune. I spent my time talking to invisible forces…the spirit of the river, the rocks, and my little calico cat.

A little fairy on the edge of dreamland, roaming between worlds, and unraveling mysteries, sometimes I found myself lost, and confused by things I could not put into words. The loneliness of abandoned buildings made my spine tingle, and spirits of the dead danced in and out of my awareness – difficult things for a child to articulate.

My mother and grandmother were my advocates. Strong, beautiful women with big hearts, strong hands, they were brave witches who honored this path, and these gifts.

And so we explored the tangles of nature together. Singing with the plants, and soaking up the light of the moon. My grandmother always spoke of angels as divine helpers who could be called upon at any time, and my mother gave me the gift of the Tarot as a small child – her way of helping me cultivate and hone my blooming psychic abilities.

To some, my story may sound fantastical, the musings of a child captivated by fairytale visions. But all myths are rooted in reality, and I’ve simply always been aware that magic is alive and well in the “real” world.

As such, I never “grew out” of my exploration of the mystical world. I learned to read between the lines, to see the space beyond the eyes. In every moment, in every situation, and in every person, I can see a bead of magic. How we are all made of the same light and shadows – divine beings on an arduous and essentially liberating earth-walk journey.

I have found magic in books, in stories, and in art, and my life has become a pilgrimage to reclaim the folds of the mystical world, while remaining grounded here in the physical. Because this is where magic has the most power.

To quote Stevie Nicks (a weaver of spells through songs): “The stars are apart of us.” Witches know the ebb and flow of the Moon, and we hone and honor this powerful tide of energy in the understanding that we are equal parts spirit and flesh. Our bodies know the grace of the seasons, and the tides of the Moon, and when we channel this energy we become super-powered.

As such, the Moon has always been my muse and my teacher. I spend time soaking in her milky light. I talk to her, expressing my deepest wishes, and my heaviest regrets. My mother and I wander out into the landscapes of the moon and light candles in honor of her light and glory. The moon has become a portal to our inner world, and even when we are apart we know that the Moon connects our souls.

How else do I live it?

There is nothing like wrapping myself in an aura of black chiffon, and letting my wings catch the wind as I spin and spin in the moonlight. A little white witch taking flight into the mystical; transcending my body, and moving through time. I feel alive in the cool hush of the night. Night sounds are prayers that awaken the soul. Witches know the night holds mysteries, and so they seek refuge in her subtle energy.

And the white witch knows the power of magic lies in the ability to evoke what is cradled within. Spells become nothing more than a rhythm of expressing and exploring intention. We mingle with, and call upon the latent potential of objects. Calling on the spirit of botanicals, igniting the influence of candles, and mingling with the essence of crystals.

The Shadow self has also become a teacher for me – for there are gifts to be found here, in the parts that are suppressed, feared, and therefore unacknowledged. When you reach into the dark, you can pull out treasures and heal what’s stuck. So when I encounter the dark, I try to communicate with it. To see what my Shadow Self has to say.

I call myself a White Witch, because I know I am the night and the day. I seek to understand the dark, rather than fear it. To do this, I must know and honor my intuition, seeking out the patterns of the Universe unfolding around me. In omens, cards, and tea leaves. And it’s when I ignore the messages that I find myself falling off kilter.

This is why owning the word “witch” is an act of power. Sometimes it can feel easier to grow numb to the whispers of the magical world. To put your head down, and do what you are told. To act “normal.” But you are not living if you are not expressing, and you are not expressing if you are not telling the whole story. So now I find my power in being “different” – and stepping into the flow of my eccentricities.

For me, witchcraft is a way of life, an inborn desire to truly live. This also means following my creative impulses as an act of scared communion. I see writing as a spell, decorating my home as a spell, singing as a spell. Whenever I express myself I am casting MY spell.

This applies to all the powerful ones, the thought leaders, the rebels, the eccentrics, the artists. The ones who operate in the Earthly realms from a deep seated desire to bring their inner world to life. Magic asked them to channel their vision into being. All they needed was to be their unique expression. And the world changed because of it.

Witches know they do not have to explain their doings. They just do what feels right. Whatever feeds their spirit. And since this takes real bravery, witches don’t do well with fear.

TEMPLE OF VENUS: CRAFTS TO CONNECT TO YOUR INNER CHILD

Elyssa Jakim’s monthly Temple of Venus column returns with some crafting inspiration to connect to your inner child this Pisces season. PLUS: a bonus video featuring a love potion!

 

It’s Spring! Well, almost. And I don’t know about you, but with the current swell of deep Pisces feelings I’m ready for creative play – and all I want to do is craft.

Over the last year, I have crafted more than since I was a scrap-booking sixteen-year-old. Teaching at Fairy School (an after school program for connecting children to their magic), I found myself making magic wands, fairy houses, bird-feeders, magic necklaces, and it was wondrous. Even cuter was how many of the parents exhibited a desire to craft too. “I want to go to Fairy School!” they’d say.

This is a perfect illustration of how crafting helps you connect to your inner child; to a sense of play and wonder. Crafting slows us down, asking us to consider just how sparkly that bead is, just how cuddlesome this fabric feels. It’s a meditative mindful practice that’s also easy and fun. Crafting invites us to re-enter our childhood mindset and to view each moment through innocent eyes.

This summer, Numinous founder Ruby Warrington and I created the Temple of Venus, a space that created room to explore the feminine. An essential component of this space was craft. We held flower crown and silk dying workshops that were full of giggles, music, sharing, and sisterhood. These events filled up, and I saw the women who attended leave with a sense of vigor and playfulness.

Healer Camilla Blossom Bishop pointed out to me that when we do craft projects, we nurture a deep feminine part of ourselves – our womb space, which is the seat of creativity in the body. Venus loves this approach to connecting to the unadulterated feminine essence, but it’s wonderful for men too, because we all hold feminine and masculine polarities inside of us. Even better, crafting is also a great way to get to know others, because you bond on a deep and innate level.

With that said, here are some easy-peasy, aesthetically pleasing, joyful and invigorating craft projects for you to try at home!

:: MAGIC WANDS ::

You will need:

  • Sticks (small pieces of driftwood are nice)
  • Glitter
  • Wood glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Thick paper such as cardstock

The magic wand is a Fairy School staple. This technique was invented by Maha Rose founder and Fairy School Teacher Lisa Levine and these wands will have you connected to your inner elemental in no time (the photo below is of the beautiful wands she makes).

Put the wood glue in an easy-access container like a glass jar (this way you can save and reuse it easily). Brush glue onto your stick in a stripe around the wood, starting at one end of the stick. Fold your cardstock in half and hold it underneath the stick you as a glitter catcher. Pick a color of glitter and sprinkle the glitter on the glued portion. Pick up your folded paper, gathering up the glitter that has fallen onto it, and siphon it back into the container. This saves a lot of glitter and keeps the colors from mixing. Repeat with another stripe. Repeat. Repeat. If you’d rather go off the grid and not do stripes, you certainly may. You can get extra creative and add strands of beads, feathers, flower petals, or anything else you fancy to your wand.

Note: stray glitter often abounds, so it’s a nice idea to do this craft on a tablecloth or newspaper and to follow up with a vacuum.

:: VISION BOARD ::

You will need:

  • Stack of magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Poster board

Vision boarding is the ultimate girl time activity and a powerful manifestation exercise that gets you in touch with your desires – especially following a New Moon! But whenever I do it, I’m surprised by what my board reveals to me, and I exclaim (inwardly or outwardly): “Oh wow, that’s what I’m desiring right now.” For the vision board is a visual representation of your dreams — the things you want to achieve, obtain, and experience. It’s great to do this with a group of pals and let the love flow.

Start by flipping through the magazines and pulling images you feel drawn to. Then cut these into pleasing shapes and glue them down to your poster board. As I learned from Sara Goff who runs a group called Vision Board Soiree, there are two ways to do this:

1. Pull intuitively whatever images make you feel really good.
2. Know what you want on your board and look for those images.

Most people will find themselves tending toward 1 or 2 (1 Is more Ying, 2 Is more Yang). Make a conscious effort to mix up these two techniques and see what happens. You can also announce to your friends what you’re looking for – “I want a yacht!” – and have them help find it (this asks you to speak your desires aloud). You can also suggest an image to someone if you feel like it’s for them. This way, everyone interacts with each other’s boards.

If you get an image that’s almost right but you’re not sure, dump it. You gotta LOVE it like those perfect jeans. When your boards are completed, share them with one another, discussing your experiences and discoveries. I once did this with a bunch of art students and it was like a mini art history critique, but the most positive, supportive crit in history!

A Vision Board Elyssa made last year

:: MERMAID RATTLE ::

You will need:

  • Small glass container with lid
  • Little bells
  • Yarn
  • Beads, shells, crystals, glitter, and any other things that you find pretty

Nature spirits (mermaids, unicorns, angels, fairies, dragons, gnomes) love when we sing to them, and this rattle will give your song an extra dose of magic. I just made one of these babies last week in a water healing gathering held by Camilla Blossom Bishop. Ours were mermaid themed, but you can use them for any element or elemental.

You can get creative with your container. Light blue and clear are nice, but even a salt shaker will do. Open the container you chose. Put beautiful tiny objects like beads, shells, crystals, glitter, feathers, and any other pretty things inside, but leave some space for them to move around. Shake as you go to assess the sound it creates, and adjust to your liking. Now close the lid tight. Tie a piece of yarn around the shaker at lid level and tie bells onto the ends. Send a loving intention to connect with nature spirits into your shaker. Behold, you are ready to rattle and roll!

:: MORE CRAFTY RESOURCES ::

If you’re looking to make a professional Flower Crown, check out my girl Rawan Rihani, founder of Aurora Botanica. She led a workshop at the Temple of Venus, teaching us that nothing feels more luxurious than a bed of fresh flowers in your hair—and it smells so good too! Okay I’m gushing.

Cara Marie Piazza is a genius of silk and dye-ing materials, and her workshop at the Temple of Venus knocked our socks off too. Silk and flowers together spell sensual feminine paradise and Cara’s joy for the art is infectious. Plus, the things she creates and teaches us to make are unspeakably beautiful.

And for something even more delicious, Alexandra Roxo and I give you two very simple recipes for love with this Valentines Video: featuring a love potion and raw chocolates.

Need more Venus inspiration? Check out Elyssa’s last Temple of Venus column on a Meditation for Manifesting True Love.

LOVE YOURSELF: A BODY WORSHIP RITUAL

Learn how worship your body with the same reverence you show when entering a sacred space of prayer, says Kitty Cavalier.  Artwork: Pedro Sacadura

As a little girl, I loved volunteering to clean my church after mass on Sundays. My family and a few other parish members would polish the pews, switch out the flowers on the altar, sweep the long processional aisle of dust bunnies and organize the hymnals. As a very devoted little Catholic girl, I felt like I was being given a backstage pass to my favorite concert. Tending and caring for what I considered God’s house was a huge honor and made me feel quite elite.

As time (read: puberty) went by, my beliefs about religion began to shift tremendously. As Mae West once said: “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” The church no longer felt even remotely like home – and as for many of us, my spiritual path since has followed more of a curve than a straight line. But there’s been one constant throughout: my body.

“My body is my temple” – it sounds so cliché. But let’s really think about it for a second. A temple is defined as “a space devoted to religious reverence,” and I can think of no greater house of worship than the cathedral of my very own heart. There is no holier a song than the sweet hum of my inhale and exhale. The light in my eyes mirrors the warmth of a candle’s flame. My skin houses and protects me like the smooth, lavish marble of the Taj Mahal, and the flush of my cheeks after an orgasm can put the ceiling of Sistine chapel to shame.

Yes, my body IS my temple. So today I’d like to share with you one of my personal favorite rituals to start 2016 off right: body worship. There is no way to do this ritual wrong. Just like learning a prayer or a hymn, a little heart, a sprinkling of soul, and practice is all it takes.

Suggested supplies for this body worship ritual:

  • Body Oil (such as coconut oil)
  • A mirror propped against a wall
  • A body scrub (like some sea salt mixed with body oil), or a loofah
  • A towel
  • Candlelight, incense, flowers, or anything else that helps you set sacred space
  • Music: click here for a free, hand-curated Body Worship Ritual playlist

1. Set Sacred Space
Imagine you are setting space for the high holy days of your inner temple. You can light candles, burn incense, place rose petals on your bath mat, fold your towel as you would for a guest, play music, or anything else that evokes the spirit of the sacred for you.

2. Tending The Temple Grounds
Step into the shower or bath. As you wash and scrub your skin, do so with the same care, attention and tenderness that you would show to the house of the Divine. Scrub and loofah your elbows and knees with the same softness and reverence you would show when walking into a sacred temple. Imagine that as you caress your body with soap suds, every bubble of soap is like a flower laid down in offering at the altar of YOU. When you rinse your body, feel the water wash away that which no longer serves you, and it’s healing power to make space for something new to enter.

3. The Sacrament of Body Worship
Now you have prepared the temple, you are ready for ceremony and worship! Place a soft blanket or towel on the floor in front of your mirror. Position yourself naked by candlelight seated on the floor and bow to the beauty of your reflection. Take the body oil and warm it between your holy hands, using your breath to blow a prayer of gratitude into the oil. Then, allow your hands to be both pilgrim and priestess, as they slowly, reverently massage prayers into your skin. Approach each curve and corner of your body as a different room in the temple waiting to be explored.

4. Encountering Eternity
When you feel complete with your body worship, get very close to the mirror. Stare deep into your own eyes and see if you can glimpse the part of you that is eternal, that never ages, and transcends time. Just like that sense of divinity we feel when we walk on sacred ground, that spirit is right there, woven into the fibers of your DNA. All that’s required to encounter it, is the courage to really look.

HEY GOOD LOOKIN: WHEN’S YOUR VENUS RETURN?

We celebrate our birthday once a year, right? Wrong – you also have a beauty birthday, says Kimberly Peta Dewhirst of Star Sign StyleArtwork: My Dinh via Behance.net

Wait, what does your “beauty birthday” even mean?!

Your traditional birthday is also known as your “Solar Return,” referring to when the sun (solar) returns to the place in the zodiac where is was when you were born. Hence how we coined the phrase: “Many happy returns!”

And so your beauty birthday is when Venus, planet of all things aesthetic, makes the same repeat visit.

Now you might already know your Venus sign, which says lots about the way you shop, flirt, dress up, and conduct friendships – your Venus sign reflects your tastes, and the image of your Venus zodiac sign can provide an aspirational archetype to express yourself through.

For example, if you’re a Pisces with Venus in Aries, imagine a hot, feisty passionate woman as your fashion and beauty muse (i.e. Pisces Rihanna, who has Moon and Venus in Aries). Your Sagittarius woman with Venus in Scorpio meanwhile, will totally gravitate towards a sultry look, a little more mysterious and private than the typical jovial nature of the archer (think of Sagittarius plus Scorp Katie Holmes).

And at some point during every year (for about one or two days), planet Venus is also in the exact position she was when you were born. Now, because of the constant nature of the Sun and its path through the zodiac signs we know that our birthday falls on the same day every year, making it super easy to plan a get-together.

Venus, on the other hand, can go retrograde (as we found out last year!) and so it’s not so straightforward calculating your “beauty birthday” – but it’s definitely worth it.

Why? Because your beauty birthday is when the stars are aligned for you personally when it comes to looking your best, attracting the right relationships, and getting a great deal on any luxury purchases you’re planning to make. Matters around money and your female relations can go well too – essentially, all things Venusian. (Hint: watch out for tomorrow’s special post on the Goddess Venus for more intel!)

So when Venus returns to the position of your “natal Venus” in your chart, this is no time to hide away – instead, come out, get dressed up to the nines, and celebrate your beauty birthday! Make it a time to indulge your senses, surround yourself with friends and notice how you attract likeminded people.

In fact, why not invest in a fabulous piece for the occasion? It’s a great day to get a new haircut, or even make-over your look at your favorite beauty counter.

Knowing the position of your “natal Venus” (where Venus appears in your birth chart), you’ll be aware when the planets are vibrating on her too – for example, you could have a slow moving planet like Pluto or Uranus passing over your personal planet of love, offering their transformative qualities to your relationships by “transit.” Invaluable information to have at your fingertips, I think you’ll agree!

Want to know your beauty birthday? Order a 2016 Astrological Calendar and Kimberly will calculate your beauty birthday for the coming year. Simply include your time, date and place of birth in the order notes (and try and get your time of birth as close as possible).

Kimberly’s brilliant calendar also includes the path of Venus in 2016, as well as the sign the Moon is passing through each day. The below YouTube video tells you more!

https://youtu.be/V03h4iiiUE0

DEAR DIARY: A CONVERSATION WITH THE DIVINE

As Neptune goes direct and the Sun moves into Sagittarius, it’s the perfect time to instigate a conversation with the divine. And your journal is the place to start, says Katie Simpson.

Almost 18 years ago, I bought my first journal. It was a small back hardbound book covered in pictures of Mickey Mouse designs. I’ve since journaled for self-care, self-expression, and so much more.

In the past year, my journal has provided a surprising new benefit: it’s become the space where I have dialogues with the Divine. This began on more intense days, such as in the build up to a New or Full Moon ritual. But now I can have these conversations during lunch breaks, late nights, or days when I am sick.

To be clear, these conversations don’t require any mind-altering substances. The most I have in my system may be a cigarette or a glass or two of wine. And my most profound conversations with the divine occur when I’m completely sober.

Journaling and talking to God both happen in my journal but look very different. When I’m journaling, I write my thoughts down as they come. With the Divine, it’s a written conversation. It sounds and looks like two different people having a discussion. I will write something, and then She responds. The best way to explain it is like the old written notes we used to pass in class. Only I am both one of the writers and the messenger.

These dialogues are a gift, but not one that’s unique to me. I believe that with a little time and effort, you can have these kinds of conversations as well. Here are a few practices that have helped me commune with the Divine through the written word.

:: The faces of God ::
As a religious studies major in college, I learned a lot about the different faces of God. For example, in Hinduism, you could see Kali, Goddess of destruction, and Sarasvati, Goddess of wisdom, as two separate entities. Or they could represent two different aspects of the same Divine Feminine.

So often in the Judaea-Christian West, we focus on God as a judge, ruler, or father figure. But for many women, it’s difficult to connect with this. Personally, I connect best with Jewish idea of the Shechina. She is the feminine, the maternal presence, that I see when I reach out to God. And as such, she is the one who communicates with me on the page.

To begin a dialogue with anybody, you need to feel a connection with them. It’s the same with the Divine. Perhaps you need God to be a fierce warrior. Or perhaps you prefer the idea of God as Sophia, or wisdom.
There’s no wrong answer. So think back to which icons, saints or experiences really made the divine manifest for you. Is there a pattern? What images and ideas do you gravitate towards now? Exploring this is a great start to feeling a connection with the Divine.

:: The inner God block ::
For me, God has never just picked up the pen on her own and started writing: she writes through me. Which means that before the Divine can show up on the page, I have to make space for her – space beyond the doubt, the criticism and the disbelief around God, that so many of us have developed.

To give her space, a free-writing practice is critical. Each morning, I sit down and write three pages, either typed on my computer, or in a hardbound journal. No editing, no second guessing, just writing. Have I perfected this practice? No, but showing up helps me be honest on the page. This way, when the Divine does decide it’s time for a chat, I don’t fight it. I just keep writing.

This practice does take time: I’ve been doing it for over two years now. A couple glasses of wine could be a faster way to muting the inner critic. However, drugs are only a quick fix. Taking the time to show up and write will prepare you to have a dialogue with God, whether it’s 8am or 8pm.

:: Just ask ::
My dialogues with the Divine don’t start off in a complicated way. In fact, they usually begin with a vulnerable honesty.

“I’m so scared of telling him, what will happen?”

“I’m feeling so tired today, I just want to rest in your arms.”

I don’t believe there’s one right way to start chatting with God. For me, it’s about being simple and direct. My dialogues began by me being honest about where I was and what I needed – while the maternal Shechinah simply listened, and held me.

It’s very rare that God reaches out to me or begins the dialogue. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have had any dialogues with God if I hadn’t started the conversations. Why? I wouldn’t have even known I was hearing the Divine.

And what YOU need when chatting with God could look and sound completely different. However, it is up to you to show up. It’s up to you to say you want the conversation, and in fact it’s critical that you ASK for it. The Divine is all around us, waiting. It’s up to us to show we’re ready for a deeper connection.

:: Say Thanks ::
I’ve seen it time and again in human relationships. Want to mess something up? Take a person for granted. Believe that your employee will simply continue producing great work and never leave – and just watch that relationship ferment into a bitter and moldy fruit.

The Divine doesn’t need gratitude. However, simply assuming that you can continue to have dialogues with God won’t do, since becoming proud and assuming of this connection is a surefire way to destroy the dialogue.

Being in the presence of the Divine should always feel like a gift. As such, showing good manners and saying even a quick thank you after the fact can help. There are other ways to show your appreciation: donate money to your favorite charity; give a loved one a call and tell them you love them; pick up some trash from your park.

Divine dialogue has become a gift that helps me be the best version of myself, for others and for myself. Whether you find God on the blank page or in the woods, know that it is your birth right to have time and space directly with her. But taking time to discover what aspects of the Divine resonate with you, and then actually asking for that relationship, are fundamental to creating and sustaining this connection for the long haul.

READING FOR THE ARIES FULL MOON ECLIPSE

The Aries Full Moon Eclipse is an invitation to step into the most authentic expression of you. Hannah Ariel Eckhaus explains how this will manifest in your life…

“ Fire is the ultra living element. It is intimate and it is universal. It lives in our heart. It lives in the sky…Fire suggests the desire to change, to speed up the passage of time, to bring all of life to its conclusion. To its here-after. It magnifies human destiny; it links the small to the great; the hearth to the volcano; the life of a log to the life of a world… It is a renewal.” – Gaston Bachelard, The Psychoanalysis of Fire

On September 27th we will be experiencing the utterly transformative power of a super Full Moon, total lunar Eclipse, blood moon and full harvest moon all rolled into one fiery phenomenon happening at 5 degrees Aries. This will be the fourth and final of a tetrad of blood moons that have taken place across the Aries/Libra axis over the past two years, transforming how we take liberated action, both uniquely as individuals and in relation to the world beyond our self.

Anytime there is an eclipse the Nodes are involved (the points where the orbit of the moon cross the ecliptic); the South Node whispers of our past life while the North Node hints at visions meant to be experienced in this lifetime. On September 27th the Nodes will be aligned with the Equinox, and everyone on planet Earth is bound to experience a great sense of destiny being magnified.

This particular change of season also asks us to step directly into the axis of self/other with the courage carried over from past lives, in order to dignify our future relationship with the world we live in. EXCITING!

We are arriving at a divine moment in time, when the Earth, Sun and Moon line up in such a way that the Sun’s light does not illuminate the Moon – instead the Earth casts a red shadow across its surface. It may feel for a moment that you are swimming in waters you cannot name, and yet at this time you are being asked to trust in the next chapter.

This Eclipse will pull on us like an ancient memory that’s ready for our full attention. It will ask for your direct participation in life, and to trust that your deepest instincts on this day will be aligned with divine energy. No matter what shows up, emotionally speaking, there is nothing to fear. You are being given the opportunity to boldly answer the call – to confront and resurrect the root of what stirs within you, no matter how unrecognizable may appear.

As the Earth casts its shadow, be mindful that whatever is unearthed from your subconscious that may require re-rooting or re-routing. You are ready! Like an Aries you will feel as if you are born ready. Trust. And remember, as Aries is the first constellation in the Zodiac it speaks to the original impulse, the initial spark that sets the whole story aflame. React authentically from an empowered position of fearlessness, and trust in your destiny.

There is a certain soul-affirming nature to this Moon, as it will not only be conjunct the South Node but the also asteroid Vesta – Goddess of the hearth, protector of the flame, her energy is one of true devotion. Who or what within us is worth protecting? Where and how in your life can you renew your devotion to your soul’s desires?

What you experience on a personal level depends on your chart, in particular, where the Aries/Libra axis falls, and whether or not you have planets in any of the Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn).

Because Mercury is currently retrograde in Libra, this is a potent time to reflect on the relationships you are currently invested in. Remember too, that relationships do not just come in one form – observe your relationship to your thoughts, habits, a belief systems, health regimes etc. If you are trying to maintain a connection to something or someone you’ve outgrown, it will become very apparent at this time.

While the scales of Libra seek connections that create a sense of safety, a sense of “I know if I stand here then this (insert person place or thing) will be there,” at the other end of the spectrum, Aries asks what can you do to liberate yourself and transcend your current situation in order to manifest your highest destiny.

A passage of time is opening up for you to assert the Self you actually want to be. Again, in which area of life you are being asked to transform and absolutely re-invent yourself depends where this Eclipse falls in your chart. Aries rules the head, so you can also think of this as a time to quite literally blow your own mind and re-imagine who you can be in this lifetime.

For those who have been following the rhythm of 2014’s Cardinal Grand Cross, which shook many of us out of limiting self-perceptions, you will find this Eclipse to be a culmination and celebration – a moment to cross over once and for all from who you were into who you will be.

A moment to renew the original connection to your Soul and the destiny it is continuing to form a relationship with. Rest assured that wherever you are being encouraged to take action, or assert yourself in a way you never have before, is a call from your Soul’s inexplicable urge to be self-actualized, and ultimately to relate to your life in a way in the most authentic way yet!

Look to see where 5 degrees Aries falls in your natal chart to map out where you can begin to fearlessly take action and where you can begin to celebrate this culmination of energy in a way that will best support your future self:

1st house: show up for yourself in a way that honors how you would like to be seen

2nd house: initiate an empowered sense of your own personal resourcefulness

3rd house: speak your truth, and allow your words to reflect your most authentic thoughts

4th house: find where you feel most at home and know you belong there

5th house: recognize how much you shine, and realize how YOU want to enjoy your time

6th house: actively create a routine that sparkles with your individuality

7th house: your opinion matters; you do not have to be who others need you to be

8th house: transform the ways in which you evaluate your worth – individuate your magnetism

9th house: transform your relationship to the truth; tell yourself the story you know to be true

10th house: aim for authentic recognition out in the world, a personally meaningful reputation

11th house: focus on finding allies who help you shine in your community

12th house: give your longest held dreams a heartbeat of their own

To schedule a personal reading with Hannah, email: [email protected]

MANFESTATION STATION: HOW TO DESIGN AN ALTAR

A cosmic radio tower for broadcasting your wishes to the Universe, manifestation expert Emily Tepper shares how to design an altar that’s perfect for YOU…

From “Fluorescent Virgins” by Pilar Gordillo via Behance.net

GO WITH WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
We live in a time with unprecedented access to information and advice – including this article! And while it’s amazing to be able to approach altar design by tapping into different covens and styles and belief systems, the point is to put YOU and your desires at the center of the altar. After all, it is there to act as a radio tower for the divine as experienced through YOU.

WORK WITH SYMBOLS
When choosing artefacts for your altar, think less less about the object itself and more about what it symbolizes for you. Yes, crystals, candles and other sacred objects all look beautiful and bring their own super-powers, but to truly personalise your altar include a few items that are completely unique to you and your situation. For example, if you want more dates and your ideal date is a day on the beach, you could place some sunscreen on your altar. Or if you want to call in more financial abundance, write yourself a check from your dream client.

Numinous founder Ruby Warrington’s altar from summer 2014

FEEL INTO IT
Having trouble finding a symbol for what you want? When you’re manifesting something, the trick is to focus on creating the physical feelings of having that thing in your life before it actually materializes – that way, the Universe will pick up on the signal (feeling) you’re putting out, and send the corresponding object / event your way. So choosing your symbols, what image / object comes to mind first when you’re getting into the emotional essence of your hot beach date? Or having unlimited funds in the bank? But remember, the symbol can be anything – there are no rules!

PAY ATTENTION TO PLACEMENT
As a rule, you can work with the energy flow of your altar by placing objects and symbols relating to the things you want to call in to the right – and things that symbolise the all the things you want to  clear / move away from to the left.

Numinous Tarotscopes writer Louise Androlia’s altar

HAVE FUN!
Seriously – even the witchiest witch experiences work better when they vibrate with joy. And while often ritual work is about accepting things as they are and then shifting them to a better place, improvement and ascension happen in a gradient from bad, to not as bad, to pretty good, to awesome! Make creating your altar about enjoying this ride.

TAKE A MINERAL BATH AFTER YOU INTERACT WITH YOUR ALTAR
Altar and ritual work can be a bit of an out there experience, and minerals calm the spirit and bring us delicate souls “back into the body.” My personal favorite is a mineral rich blend of dead sea salt and kelp powder (also good for growing my mermaid tail back). But seriously, it’s important to honor the process of re-grounding after communing with the spirit world and that’s important. It’s what being a material girl in a mystical world is all about, after all.

What’s on your altar, and why? Share your altar pics with us on Instagram and Facebook, tag #NuminousAltars, and we’ll include them on our altar Pinterest board to inspire the Numinous community!