DREAMING ABOUT SEX WITH STRAIGHT DUDES … WHEN YOU’RE QUEER AF

She’s queer AF … so what are her dreams about having sex with straight men trying to tell Wolf Medicine Magic? Portraits: Sandra Hong

Photo: Sandra Hong

It was around 2015 that the “man dreams” started. I don’t remember the details or the exact date, but basically for the past two years, and at this point on a weekly basis, I have had dreams about being attracted to, having sex with, seducing, pursuing and being good friends with straight men.

Probably not a big deal—except for the fact that I’m queer AF and haven’t slept with a straight man in years. More importantly, I’m not just a queer feminist. Calling myself a feminist seems like choosing Diet Coke. It’s kiddie stuff. Feminism light. It’s cute but it’s a label that cannot describe my deep, deep yearning to eradicate all traces of the patriarchy and toxic masculinity from this planet. If womyn’s separatist lands were more inclusive I’d sign-up in a minute.

For realz, my feminism is intersectional, queer, gender fluid, anti-racist, anti-apartheid, pro-trans, and realizes that all lives won’t matter until we are all free. This means that the patriarchy and our currently fucked up notions of who “owns” masculinity (hint: what if we are all free to be masculine/men at any time and on any given day?) needs to end.

I have also spent the past several years carefully carving out a life for myself that doesn’t involve *men. I absolutely love female energy, and being around those who are tapped into both female and male energy in a harmonious balance. To me, being in environments dominated by straight men feels like being wrapped in a wet blanket in sub zero temperatures. I become exhausted from having to deflect misogyny, sexual objectification, and struggling to be heard and seen.

The walk to the subway can be a battle against misogyny for most women, trans, and queer folks. So I’ve taken great care to at least make my work and social life free from gender oppression, and it feels amazing. None of my employers or co-workers are men. I don’t have any men as friends.

Occasionally I’ll have a man in one of my yoga classes but for the most part my world is queer and female. To me, my trans/gender fluid friends exude a harmonious energy that is devoid of toxic masculine energy. Meaning I’m never interrupted, talked over, or forced to take up less space.

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In fact, the gender scales of my adult life have tipped so far towards the feminine, I really don’t know what it’s like to be masculine or have exchange with masculine energy anymore. And I used to be totally fine with this—but I’m beginning to see the negative impact of this imbalance on my life.

This is most evident when it comes to asking for what I want from people (and mostly when it comes to my career and work related situations). I’m so used to tapping into a soft and gentle way of being, I am terrified of seeming too aggressive, too entitled to take up a lot of space, or of being too demanding—since I’ve learned to see these as negative traits.

But I’ve realized that what I want so badly for this world is for ALL PEOPLE TO BE SOFT AND GENTLE AND AGGRESSIVE AND DEMANDING WHENEVER THEY WANT. For these qualities not to be deemed “male” or “female.” I mean, right now I can hear a voice in my head saying: “stay in your lane. You must ask gently and with kindness and not too loudly. If you demand things from people and don’t consider how this demand affects them then you are a mean, privileged, entitled MAN. And you don’t want to be like that.” The struggle. Is. Real.

And did I mention that my own philosophy around gender is that it’s fluid AF, and something to be played and experimented with? To clarify, I love masculinity—just not when it’s being projected at me in the name of protecting some dude’s fragile ego.

I don’t hate men. I repeat, I don’t hate men. What I hate is that our society has told us that men have more privileges than women, and that masculinity needs to be protected at all costs (because it is fragile, and women/feminine power will destroy it). And I know not all men are exercising their privilege and exerting a toxic masculinity onto the world. Many men are great people, who want better for the world—but it is a FACT that all men benefit from and can use their privilege at any time. Sometimes it’s handed to them, whether they ask for it or not. Thus, the phrase “male privilege.”

At a young age, men are also taught all the masculine tools they need in order to be men—i.e. be powerful, aggressive, strong, commanding. Take what you want, take up a lot of space, talk as much as you’d like, make people listen to you. Your opinion matters most, you’re smart and clever (even if you aren’t), and women don’t matter as much.

This is changing, thank Goddess, because I see the up and coming generations fucking shit up and challenging all notions of sex and gender. So there is hope, but things are slow to change. Down here in 2017, we’re still in the thick of it.

Photo: Sandra Hong

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My own gender representation is that of masculine sissy fag. I don’t wear dresses or skirts or shave my legs or underarms or any other body hair below my neck. I haven’t worn a pair of heels in who knows how long. On the surface one might think “oh there goes that soft butch.” But five minutes into knowing me you’ll clearly see a swishy, prissy teenage boy. Who wants to be a fabulous girl. Who wants to be a gay teenage boy.

I couldn’t be any farther from “butch.” I can’t even put together IKEA furniture, let alone chop wood, fix a leaky faucet, or start a fire. Or whatever else our society has deemed as “masculine.” I hate contact sports and could care less about watching them.

And yet my subconscious is evidently desperate for me to connect with my masculine side. Or as I like to think of it, my more aggressive, entitled, demanding, space-taking side. Why else am I dreaming about having sex with a dude? At the time of writing this, the dreams are happening at least three times a week.

So I have begun exploring ways to start integrating more masculine energy into my way of being. The first being to notice when I’m avoiding aggressive, demanding behavior—easiest to notice and correct when emailing and texting. Instead of “I’m just emailing to ask about my workshop proposal…” I correct myself and write: “When will my workshop proposal be processed?” To get right to the point. I’ve had a few opportunities to put this into practice in real time, too—and I find it to be so difficult. It just isn’t my natural way of being. But it IS helping me get what I want—and faster!

I’ve also tried to have more compassion and empathy towards straight, overtly masculine men. So, so difficult. I really do feel though, that evolving spiritually and getting where I want to be in life as I ease to the other side of 35, that this is a process I need to go through. I am receiving a very clear message from spirit to start being everything that I don’t like: meaning more aggressive, taking up more space, being demanding. But with compassion. These qualities aren’t always bad. In fact, less labels please; balance is the key.

I believe this is why the feminine IS rising. We. Are. Tired. Of. This. Shit. I’m ready for a gender fluid, queer, anything goes kind of world. It’s not girls to the front, or down with me. It’s folks to the front—and wave your gender representation freak flag high.

*For sake of space and to avoid repetition the use of the term man or men refers to cis-gendered, straight identified men. When referring to women I’m referring to cis-gendered and trans women unless otherwise noted.

10 SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE FUTURE TRIPPING

Hitting the crystal ball so hard you can’t make a move without psychic intervention? Sounds like you’re future tripping, says Victoria Cox

I still recall my first psychic reading with incredible clarity. At first, I was skeptical. I held my cards close to my chest and answered any leading questions as briefly as possible.

But within minutes, goosebumps covered my entire body as she informed me that my beloved grandmother had come in from the ether to say hello and was looking after our cherished family dog. The psychic even nailed the name and breed!

I was hooked. And so over the years, I found myself going back for more. And more … 

My psychic gave me the courage to follow my soul mission as a writer and to make some pretty drastic changes in my life, all with the confidence that I had the support of the Universe behind me. This was all good stuff. The problem was, eventually, there was a gaping chasm between my dreams and my reality. To get from one to the other required action, yet I was paralyzed and fretting over a life I had yet to create. I was focusing on the future at the expense of the present. In short, I was future-tripping.

Have you found yourself getting swept up by the romanticism or sheer excitement of discovering what lies ahead? Use the 10 signs below to diagnose whether you’re seeing a psychic for the right reasons, or are simply future tripping on your own destiny …

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1/REGULARITY: How often do you get a reading? Generally speaking, as long as you aren’t becoming dependent on intuitive advice, one or two readings a year should suffice. Any more than that and it’s time to start asking whether you are using psychic guidance as a crutch, and thus disempowering your own free will.

2/REPETITION: Are you asking endless questions about the same topic? We all have times of uncertainty in our lives and it is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of scheduling multiple readings until you get what you deem a satisfactory answer. Instead, remember that a good psychic reading takes time to unfold and let yourself sit with the answers from one reading for a while.

3/REASSURANCE: Seeking out psychic guidance in the hopes of reassurance is never a good idea. Especially when the search for reassurance comes in the form of asking when Lady Luck will start smiling on you again. Ultimately, this takes you out of your own personal power and leaves you sitting around waiting for life to get better instead of making things better for yourself.

4/REASONS: The reasons you’re getting psychic advice are often more important than how often you are getting it. What are you really seeking from a reading? Is this just a thinly disguised attempt to control everything by knowing everything?

5/RIGIDITY: If your sole intention in a psychic session is to receive that defining answer to a specific question, disappointment will surely follow. If a psychic is legit, the information communicated doesn’t come from them, it comes through them, and they have virtually no control over what they’re being spiritually guided to convey. You’ll receive what you need, not what you want. Two very different things.

Image: Harper’s Bazaar

6/REVEALING: Much like a first date, revealing too much too soon can be a recipe for disaster. Remember that you’re paying a professional for their time. Allow them space to do their job and lead the discussion where it needs to go so that it may serve your highest good. If in doubt, ask the psychic if you may elaborate to underscore a certain point.

7/EMPOWERMENT: Remember that the true purpose of a psychic is to help guide you through a life issue, and to empower you to make your own choices as a result of this guidance. It is most definitely NOT a comfort blanket to protect against future fears. Ask yourself whether you are seeking constructive advice on an important life question, or simply seeking a salve for your anxiety.

8/PSYCHIC-SHOPPING: Much like seeking out a therapist, when you find an intuitive that you connect with try to stick with them for a while. Developing a working relationship with one psychic helps you to build on what you’ve already discussed, digging a little deeper each time. If you find yourself hopping from one to the other in search of new material, you’ll likely end up running in circles and driving yourself insane!

9/MAKING IT FIT: Predictions can feel wondrous (if they come true), but they can also be a minefield of epic mind-fuckery. No one can really know what will happen, even those who tap into their intuition as their professional calling. The danger lies in trying to make your life work around a prediction. Trying to force a certain situation to play out any differently than it is meant to runs contrary to the natural laws of the universe and should be avoided at all costs.

10/EASY ANSWERS: The best intuitive should provide the caveat that they can’t see everything. If you find yourself being told what you should do, run for the hills. True professionals will help you find your own inner truth and offer deeper perspective on it. It’s not their job to hand you easy answers. The point is to learn to rely on your own intuition and inner wisdom.

As we try and quell our anxiety about what happens next, the most important thing to remember is that we are masters of our own destiny. Life is really about every single one of us evolving our souls through the experiences that we uncover along the way. Whether or not we choose to seek psychic guidance about these experiences is entirely up to us!

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Victoria Cox currently resides in NYC. She has written for Amanda de Cadenet’s “The Conversation,” Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal, LifeHack, The Lady Project, Dumb Little Man, Sivana Spirit, and The Numinous. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or via her website.

DREAMS BECOME REAL: A READING FOR THE VIRGO FULL MOON

The February 22 Virgo Full Moon is our annual opportunity to ground our wildest dreams into our everyday reality, says Hannah Ariel.

“When you are far away from reality, your fantasy won’t work.” – Yogi Bhajan

February 22 there will be a Virgo Full Moon, a sign that is exacting in its every endeavor. Virgo energy works out of necessity. This mercurial sign is the very fabric of our reality; Virgo does exactly what makes the most sense based on the current circumstance – and yet, acknowledging that circumstances are always changing, can change its mind accordingly to fit each twist in the tale with masterful perfectionism.

A Virgo Full Moon is precious in its ability to clue us right into the heart of the matter. It reveals what works to make our lives a better experience while clearly showing us also, what is obviously not working. Keeping an ever so discerning eye on the lookout for where an adjustment is needed, with the ability to point out any singular detail that may be otherwise overlooked, Virgo can be our BEST FRIEND when it comes to manifesting.

Opposite to the moon, the Sun will have just entered Pisces where we can also easily experience the fluidity of our imagination and tune into higher realms of consciousness. This in turn can inspire us to follow our intuition as we take action to adapt to all that is changing in our lives. When it comes to actually manifesting anything of lasting value, once a year we tap into the most formidable tool in our cosmic toolbox – the VIRGO/PISCES axis – an inspired balancing act between the mystical and the material.

While Pisces can foresee and imagine all possible outcomes, Virgo takes direct action, focusing on what can be clearly understood in plain daylight, here and now. Together they are masterful co-creators of an ideal reality. One cannot exist without the other. This week, find how they can come together in synergy. Create your own divine intervention in one form or another. Fine-tune the details of your reality, your relationships, to work with our most outrageous visions.

Coming off a brilliant New Moon in Aquarius, this Virgo Full Moon will bring us down to earth, deepen our integrity, help us take practical step-by-step measures to keep us committed to making changes we may have been inspired to embark on during the past two weeks, strengthening a realistic resolve inside of us.

Virgo in its full capacity knows well that no matter how cosmic your vision, no matter how revolutionary your realization, or how noble your intention; it amounts to nothing without both feet on the ground, managing the details, managing the outcome. This week we will be shown how things can really come together for us in our everyday lives.

So much of this is about simply adjusting what we do and with whom we do it. Every circumstance that has outstayed its welcome will complete itself now. Every circumstance that needs to be salvaged will begin to be fixed. You will know which is which because at this time, our intuition will express itself as simple common sense. We find what FEELS out of alignment and we have a golden opportunity to get CONSTRUCTIVE about it. Also be mindful that this Virgo Full Moon means we will feel every nook and cranny of our current reality.

We will be pulled into our bodies. Our nervous systems will speak to us clearly. We will receive acute signals that have the power to change everything. Pay attention to ALL your interactions and all your experiences this week, and listen to how they make you feel. This will be as simple as noticing what is really happening and what really needs changing – for good, for the future’s sake.

Though the moon has moved on, Mercury and Venus will be lingering just a few degrees from one another in Aquarius, still coordinating the futuristic intentions of the last New Moon. This adds to a cosmic scene that’s allowing us to experience unmistakable lucidity. It will suddenly be obvious how things can and will come together at this Virgo Full Moon, if we stay rooted in reality.

So keep your feet on ground, but remain flexible. Breathe deep. Tune in. It’s the little things that will make a MASSIVE quantum difference at this time. Expect your every fantasy to be served well and moved into the future.

To book a personal reading with Hannah contact: [email protected]

A NEW ADVENTURE: READING FOR THE FULL MOON IN GEMINI

The Full Moon in Gemini is an invitation to re-shape our reality and reorientate on our journey, says Hannah Ariel. PLUS Three essential questions to help each sign navigate the vibes

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.” – The Matrix

If there were ever a week to take the red pill, it’s this one. It’s high time to engage these days like a Gemini, restless in a your infinite search for more knowledge, more truth. Wanting to hear and see everything, life through Gemini eyes is like experiencing an endless discovery channel.

Gemini is MUTABLE energy. It can’t help but change course with every turn of a thought. Nothing thrills this sign more than to follow a new lead, comprehend yet another fact, connect another dot. At the Full Moon in Gemini on Wednesday November 25th we’re beginning to realize we may have to take a few twists and turns to get to where we need to be going next.

In aspect to Neptune, this may not be at all where we thought to dream before. This Full Moon in Gemini illuminates how our lives are meant to change and mutate, to the point where they are unrecognizable at times, in order for us to explore a fresh vision. Cosmically, it’s a time where life can be stranger than fiction.

The Sun has just entered Sagittarius. We have survived the depths of Scorpio, and there is an unmistakable optimism in the air. And while Gemini is busy turning corners, Sagittarius always trusts there’s going to be a good time around the bend. Although these signs oppose one another in the sky, they actually make for lively partners in crime; Gemini points the way, and Sag has the good faith to follow the signs.

It’s a divine recipe for unlimited exploration, plain and simple. However, Mercury and Saturn have also joined the Sun in Sagittarius, creating a not so simple trifecta of nature. This Gemini moon is we don’t really have a reliable map. We can’t know which way we’re pointing without also investigating what we’re looking for, in good faith of course.

Thoughts and beliefs born of our experiences are our only reality right now. We can’t simply believe what we would prefer to anymore. Saturn in Sagittarius sees to this, as our beliefs will materialize opportunities in time and space faster than you can say Abracadabra. If you aren’t excited by the opportunities being presented to you in your life currently, check in with your third eye and ask: what do I envision for myself?

Reality is fundamentally mutable as this Full Moon in Gemini directly activates the first of three Saturn in Sagittarius/Neptune in Pisces squares – the first one on Thanksgiving Day, November 26th. When two slow moving outer planets square off it triggers shifts in consciousness that don’t come around very often. These heavy-hitters want to improve our circumstances, dissolving one boundary to re-create the next. We’re breaking through illusions we were unwittingly supporting while totally re-identifying with a new ride. Expect whatever vision you channel now to form and expand your reality.

When we look around we may be mistaken into thinking nothing makes sense right now; relationships are dissolving, re-locations are taking place, responsibilities are shape shifting, our identities and professions are being re-invented. With Neptune in the mix: surrender. Surrender to this Full Moon in Gemini. If what you thought was going to happen doesn’t, don’t flip out! Reweave the story. See to it that something else unfolds in its place.

As long as we keep the energy moving, the right situation will manifest at the right time, bringing treasures we did not know we were looking for. There’s so much we can’t possibly understand completely right now – the least we can do is open up to the journey. Surrender and feel free to experience a radiant sense of adventure in searching for where you’re headed. And above all, know you are not alone.

This Full Moon in Gemini will also reflect a particular paradigm-shift, based on your individual chart. Here are three essential questions to ask yourself, based on your Sun or Rising sign, to guide you through this Saturn/Neptune square – especially if at this Full Moon in Gemini you are struggling to make sense of what’s happening:

Aries :: Aries rising
Where is your community? How do you connect? Is there a spiritual purpose at work?

Taurus :: Taurus rising
Who are you really? What do you want more of? How can you expand your influence?

Gemini :: Gemini
How are you feeling? How are you healing? Who are you exploring with?

Cancer :: Cancer rising
Where do you fear? How do you experience peace of mind? When does it feel good to be in your body?

Leo :: Leo rising
Who do you inspire? How do you show love? What can you let go of?

Virgo :: Virgo rising
How many roles are you playing? Where are your roots? How can you see yourself more clearly?

Libra :: Libra rising
Do you see a big picture coming together? Which ideas fire you up? How can you put them into practice?

Scorpio :: Scorpio rising
Are you open to what is possible? How good does it feel to be you? Where do you experience love in your heart?

Sagittarius :: Sagittarius rising
What relationships are you attracting? Do you believe in yourself? How can you feel more at home wherever you go?

Capricorn :: Capricorn rising
What projects are you working on? Do you feel spirit supporting you? Which conversations inspire you?

Aquarius :: Aquarius rising
Are you having fun? Do you have an audience? What are you holding on to?

Pisces :: Pisces rising
What is privately coming to life for you? Where do you experience recognition? Do you feel your affect on others?

For a private reading with Hannah Ariel contact: [email protected]

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

Forbes’ 52nd most powerful woman in the world, Cancerian author and spiritual activist Arianna Huffington is at the forefront of the mindfulness revolution. Initiated into transcendental meditation by the Maharishi himself when she was just 13, here she reveals the details of a successfully Mystical Life…

Do you have any recurring dreams and what do you think they mean?
“I had a dream that has remained very important to me but is not recurring. I am on a train going home to God. (Bear with me!) It’s a long journey, and everything that happens in my life is scenery along the way. Some of it is beautiful; I want to linger over it awhile, perhaps hold on to it or even try to take it with me.

Other parts of the journey are spent grinding through a barren, ugly countryside. Either way the train moves on. And pain comes whenever I cling to the scenery, beautiful or ugly, rather than accept that all the scenery is grist for the mill, containing, as Marcus Aurelius counseled us, some hidden purpose and a hidden blessing.

I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and my younger daughter and I regularly exchange our dreams. One of her recurring dreams is a good metaphor for what a good night’s sleep allows us to do. She imagines herself as a living “Stop” sign, forcing people to come to a complete stop before moving on with their lives.”

What is your morning awakening ritual?
“My perfect morning begins the night before, with a good night’s sleep – which, for me, means seven to eight hours. And a big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: when I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone.

I make sure I have my phones charging far, far away from my bed, to help me avoid the temptation to check the latest news or emails. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.”

What is your favorite feel-good breakfast and why?
“I have terrible breakfast habits. I basically love breakfast foods but not at breakfast – the only thing I like at breakfast is a soy or almond cappuccino.”

What mantra do you leave the house with in the morning?
“’Don’t miss the moment.’ This was one of my mother’s favorite sayings and it embodied the philosophy of her life.”

Arianna’s daughters Christina and Isabella: “My healers”

What’s your lucky charm?
“Flat shoes!”

In what ways do you most embody the traits of your sign?
“If one of the signs of being a Cancer is being a homebody, then there is nothing I like more than staying home with a good book and my favorite music.”

And the healer you have on speed-dial?
“My daughters!”

What’s the one universal message you wish we could all could get our heads around?
“It’s a lesson I learned when I had my painful wakeup call in 2007: not only is there no tradeoff between living a well-rounded life and high performance, your performance will actually improve when your life includes time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving.”

And how do you deal with negative thoughts?
“I call my negative thoughts the obnoxious roommate living in our head. It feeds on putting us down and strengthening our insecurities and doubts. I have spent many years trying to evict my obnoxious roommate and have now managed to relegate her to only occasional guest appearances in my head.

Educating our obnoxious roommate requires redefining success and what it means to live a life that matters, which will be different for each of us, according to our own values and goals (and not those imposed upon us by society).”

Retail therapy is…?
“Nice, but ultimately not the answer!”

What’s your power outfit?
“A simple beige dress that I wear with a cotton bolero.”

And what makes you feel beautiful, why?
“What makes me feel beautiful is an 8-hour sleep, half an hour of meditation and a great yoga class.”

Your last conversation with the universe went something like…?
“It was me putting the universe in its place: ‘Sorry, I know I have an obscene number of unanswered emails, but I’m putting my phone away and going to bed!’”

For upcoming Third Metric events go to www.thrive.huffingtonpost.com.

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington is out now. 

@ariannahuff

I CAN SEE CLEARLY: NEPTUNE RETROGRADE FOR YOUR SIGN

King Neptune, planet of intuition, imagination and illusions, has begun its annual backward spin of the Zodiac. Ruby Warrington gets to grips with this elusive but powerful entity, and asks what this retro period will ask each sign to confront.

Neptune is the planet I find it hardest to get my head around – but then, that’s to be expected. Ruler of Pisces, Neptune is the dreamer and the empath of the cosmos, the planet ruling our imagination, our intuition and our ideals. One of the slower-moving celestial bodies (or “collective,” as their influence extends over generations), in the natal chart of anybody born between November 1970 to January 1984, and again briefly between June and November 1984, Neptune will be in Sagittarius, a sign where this deep-sea diver feels quite at home.

Sagittarius appreciates high ethics, prophetic thinking and spiritual seeking too, and has been working hand-in-hand with King Neptune to wire today’s thirty-something generation to idealize a broadening of our collective worldview. Welcome to the global village, baby, where the lure of escape into foreign cultures and spiritual codes is felt like the pull of the poles, altruism is aspirational and even the yoga or meditation practice we idolize is often seen as a gateway to a higher state of consciousness.

For Neptune the escapist and the mystic, mind-altering substances are another portal to the other dimensions that are always there in our peripheral vision. And with expansive, optimistic Sag on hand to pour or roll us another one, “go on, why not, it’ll be fun!”, it’s not surprising we found a stairway to heaven through ecstasy culture and invented binge drinking in the 1990’s. Or that addiction is the symptom of so many Neptune-in-Sagittarius casualties. Lucky we’ve learned to embrace the Neptunian notions of self-help and self-love too.

With Sagittarius rising, I have also have Neptune in my first house. Enter the body dysmorphia that led to an eating disorder in my teenage years, compounded by my controlling Scorpio North Node return – but also, Sag, for granting me the compassion to love myself out of it, allowing me to learn from it and refusing to let me take it too seriously. Neptune in the first house can also mean an effortless slide into the deeper reaches of the imagination, an alluring shape-shifter and a storefront displaying the mysteries of the Universe. So go figure, Numis…

Why all the Neptune research this week? On June 9, he began his annual retrograde cycle. Of all the outer planets, Neptune spends the most time treading water in retrograde motion – 158 days every 12.07 months – a fitting pattern for the planet that also governs subconscious memories of distant childhood and even past lives. In a Neptune retrograde cycle, the mysteries he usually conceals are brought to the surface for us to examine in real time. Our intuition is given more currency. Dreams demand to be interpreted. Illusions, and delusions, are exposed, and creative ideas that have been gestating come forth and begin to take shape in the material world.

Currently in Pisces, Neptune’s cosmic castle, I was curious to explore what this might mean for me in the coming months (he resumes direct motion November 16) and what subtly sensed waves his backward strokes will send across the Zodiac at large.

* For a truly accurate reading, get your birth chart for free here. As an Aries with Sag rising, I will feel ripples of Neptune retro in Pisces in both the twelfth and fourth houses. But as Pisces actually rules the third house in my natal chart, I’ll look here for the most meaningful and relevant insights.

Aries / Aries rising (twelfth house)
Here is your chance to dive deep and rise to the surface of your subconscious with that most highly valued prize: the truth. Pay close attention to the neuroses that occupy your thinking now, and be bold in seizing the opportunity for healing that comes with smoking them out. Avoid indulging in mind-altering substances. Be honest with yourself and embrace clarity as a tool for lasting personal development.

Taurus / Taurus rising (eleventh house)
Choose not to ignore your paranoia about issues affecting any area of your life where group dynamics rule. Demand to know the details of the political dealings you rightly sense are going on behind the scenes. Then, think not what your friends can do for you, but what you can do for your friends. Fall into compassion and fire up your humanitarian efforts. Meditate on the germ of a revolutionary idea, and watch it flourish.

Gemini / Gemini rising (tenth house)
Duties or responsibilities you’ve been avoiding can no longer be ignored. It’s time to take the reins and begin to steer your ship into deeper waters, however intimidating this might feel. Don’t be afraid to tap into your inner ball-breaker. Act “as if” you’re the boss. When the limelight beckons, don’t hide away in the shadows. Get real about the sacrifices you need to make if you want your career to take off the way you envision.

Cancer / Cancer rising (ninth house)
Come out of your cave and give in to your wanderlust. A spiritual awakening could be in store for you when you open your mind and put paid to fears you can now see are completely unfounded. Dive into your studies in the University of Life, and embark on a vision quest or spiritual pilgrimage. To achieve enlightenment, deal only in what you know in your soul to be the truth, and demand the same of others.

Leo / Leo rising (eighth house)
Like a butterfly, you are on a journey of transformation and rebirth. But now you’re being asked to come clean about wherever wallowing in your comfort zone is stunting your personal growth. Escape into obsession and control will only compound your sense of being stuck. Ignore your intuition at your peril, and pick up creative projects with Leonine gusto. A mystery about an inheritance or money owed could also be resolved.

Virgo / Virgo rising (seventh house)
Expect a breakthrough in your couple’s therapy sessions, as deep-seated fractures in your closest relationships come up for air and healing. Embrace situations that show your creative and business collaborators’ true colors, and resolve to accept what you see. Give in to the notion of compromise. See past your ego for ways for justice to be served. Accept that the skeletons in your closet could actually be good PR.

Libra / Libra rising (sixth house)
Any flaws in your logic will be exposed now, so arm yourself with a backup plan. Details you’d prefer to gloss over will demand your attention. Tackling mundane-seeming tasks could actually lead to the breakthroughs you’ve been looking for. Knuckle down. And no more excuses about your emotional over or under-eating. Your health and wellbeing is at risk if you continue to delude yourself about your diet. Be ready to redraft a creative project to perfection.

Scorpio / Scorpio rising (fifth house)
A clandestine affair or flirtation could come to light, or maybe you’ll be asked to play your hand in matters of the heart. Your secret vice won’t stay a secret for long. A creative project you’re personally invested in could come to fruition now, and this fertile creative phase could also see your parental urges kick in. Be wary of situations that allow you to escape into over-indulgence. A hidden talent for the performing arts could also be revealed.

Sagittarius / Sagittarius rising (fourth house)
Expect the unexpected from a family situation, as whatever’s been going on behind the scenes is unveiled. Family constellations therapy could prove especially insightful. In all other areas, embark on a Dream Quest to get to the heart of the matter, and let your subconscious be your guide. Now examine your daily habits. What nourishes you and what is holding you back will be clearer to you now.

Capricorn / Capricorn rising (third house)
Be ruthless in speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Allow yourself to hear the same in what others are saying. A hidden affinity with writing or speaking may come to light, embrace opportunities to explore this. Allow your logical mind to be infiltrated by your intuition. Journal about your dream life. False advertising won’t be tolerated. A sibling’s or neighbor’s secret may be revealed.

Aquarius / Aquarius rising (second house)
Get real about your finances and banish your credit cards to the back drawer. No more hiding your head in the sand and spending beyond your means, especially if shopping is a means of escape for you. Ask yourself; who am I without my luxuries and creature comforts? A creative way to add to your income may be unlocked. Look out for it, leave no stone unturned. Then act.

Pisces / Pisces rising (first house)
You’ll see past what’s in the mirror and view body image issues for what they really are: nothing but a figment of your insecurities. Now is the time for honest self-observation. Get real as you analyze your actions. In what ways do you allow your emotions to sabotage your personal vitality? Clean up your act. Insist on clarity of self-expression, no lying to yourself or your inner child.

INNER VISIONS: A LESSON IN LUCID DREAMING

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: Karolina Daria Flora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: MS LOUNIVERSE

Louise Androlia (a.k.a. Louniverse) is the beautiful white witch behind our monthly Tarotscopes. Also a gifted psychic and holistic life-coach, she reveals the day-to-day details of a very mystical life.

WHAT DID YOU DREAM ABOUT LAST NIGHT AND WHAT DID IT MEAN?
I’m currently on a major energy clear out and recalibrating myself after moving house so I’ve been having all sorts of super intense dreams about ex-crushes and old fears. Everything that needs to be zapped is getting worked out via my dreams. So I’ve been waking up a little tired but feeling like I’m dissolving emotional weight.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FEEL-GOOD BREAKFAST AND WHY?
I’m obsessed with breakfast. My ultimate favorite is cooked porridge oats with berries, cacao and chia seeds, aka chocolate porridge! Ideally I’ll eat it in the bath. That said I just got a juicer so I’m switching it up and currently dying everything in my house with beetroot juice.

WHAT MANTRA DID YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE WITH THIS MORNING?
“I SURRENDER” goes with me everywhere, I stand by it being the quickest way to shift obsessive thoughts or worries. It’s a way of asking for help from a bigger place, and it works.

WHAT’S YOUR LUCKY CHARM?
I’m totally un-superstitious and have never in my life had “lucky” items but I often carry something to suit my mood, very often for me a black tourmaline crystal to help with grounding.

WHO IS YOUR GO-TO GURU?
I adore Mike Dooley for his ‘Notes from the Universe.’ Mainly though, my gurus are my friends, who I can talk about everything with, who light up my ideas and work with me as we all better ourselves. Friendship is power!

WHAT’S YOUR STRESS-BUSTER?
Helping other people cope with stress is a passion and speciality of mine, and to do this I need to look after myself. This means taking my own advice and slowing down, eating well, resting and, most importantly, being present as opposed to overwhelmed by the bigger picture. This often means taking time out on my own just lying on the floor in my room, painting or taking a walk in one of my favorite parks.

RETAIL THERAPY IS…?
Treating myself usually means indulging in some holistic therapies or good food. That said I’m definitely ready for some new winter clothes!

WHAT DO WEAR WHEN YOU’RE FEELING LIKE THE QUEEN OF THE WORLD?
A vintage cream silk dress that I bought in LA a few years ago from Shareen’s Vintage in LA. It’s perfectly dreamy, and makes me feel good.

YOUR LAST CONVERSATION WITH THE UNIVERSE WENT SOMETHING LIKE…
“I’m ready.”

YOUR MISSION IN YOUR CURRENT EARTHLY INCARNATION IS…?
To learn, heal and teach.

AND WHEN DID YOU LAST WITNESS MAGIC IN ACTION?
All the time! My favorite kind of magic is when I witness clients realizing a shift that they have been creating in their life. On a more mystical tip, on recent full moon trip to the Lake District I was up lucky enough to witness energy, lights and orbs dancing around while visiting the stone circle in the early evening. And I see magic every time I look at an animal.

www.louiseandrolia.com
@louniverse

INTUITION 101: HOW TO BE YOUR OWN PSYCHIC

Last week at the Golden Bridge yoga center in NYC, Gahl Sasson, a.k.a. the Cosmic Navigator, hosted an evening called Becoming Your Own Psychic. If “intuition is like a muscle, you have to strengthen it,” Ruby Warrington reports on a practical session that was sort of like a workout for the third eye.

The evening kicked off with a round of names and signs. Why? “We can’t do this without water. Intuition is ruled by the water signs, Pisces in particular.” In fact, wherever Pisces shows up in your chart, “is where you will benefit most in life from what your intuition is telling you.” For me (an Aries but with six planets in water signs throughout my chart), I have Venus (romance, taste, personal style) in Pisces in the 3rd house (communication, friendships, community). No wonder I just did a psychic closet clear out, and my friends often tell me they’ve just been thinking about me when I call.

There’s even a theory that Pisces was actually the first sign of the zodiac, and that all the others are just a figment of Pisces’ potent imagination. And in fact, any activity that gets you closer to your inner Pisces is a good way to get your intuition (“the ‘tuition’ that comes from ‘in’ side us”) flowing – “so go for a swim, take a salt bath (“a little temple of Pisces”), take a yoga class or read some poetry.” Particularly before bed. Pisces also rules our dreams, so tune in just before you set sail for the land of nod and expect much more clarity when you try to interpret whatever messages your sleeping psyche has for you.

And never forget, the opposite sign to Pisces is Virgo. By being fastidious with our daily habits and our analysis of the world around us, and working to maintain good health through diet and exercise, will we create the right internal environment for our intuition to flourish.

There follows a series of practical exercises, drawing on cultures from the Kabbalah to the Aborigines to the C.I.A. (yes, really) to flex your psychic muscle.

THE DREAM QUEST
“Pose a question to your higher self while you’re asleep, and you brain is not impeded by logic.”

  • Refrain from drinking alcohol for three days prior to your quest
  • Refrain from eating food four-five hours before you go to bed
  • Right before you go to sleep, pose a very specific question to your higher self. Use the words; how, when, where, what…(as opposed to why)
  • Drink half a glass of water, and go to sleep
  • On rising, drink the rest of the water and immediately write down what you can remember from your dreams
  • If you find it difficult to remember what you saw, set your alarm for four a.m. to interrupt your dream mid flow, and write then
  • Repeat for up to seven nights, until your answer is revealed by the symbols in your dreams. Think, how do the images feel to you, and what do these feelings relate to?
  • For extra insight, find a poem that relates to the most potent symbolic messages by plugging them into Google

THE ANGEL IN A CUP
“Use this to allow your higher self to locate something that’s gone missing.”

  • Take one angel, and one glass
  • Holding the glass out in front of you, ask the angel to hop in, and then place it upside down on a table to trap the angel inside
  • Search for whatever it is that’s missing – your keys, your passport, your child
  • As the boundary of the glass creates “focus” for your psychic energy (represented by the angel) you will likely hit your target in record time
  • Release the angel and let it fly away

DISTINGUISH INTUITION FROM FEAR
“How do you know if it’s your gut or your fear telling you to act? The sensations can be similar so train your body to tell the difference.”

  • Download some music you know you will really hate. For some people this might be gabber house, for others, anything by Justin Bieber
  • Force yourself to listen to it, loud
  • Take note; where do you feel the sensation of disgust in your body? What does it feel like?
  • Repeat with a piece of music you really love
  • Take note; where do you feel the sensation of pleasure and happiness in your body? What does it feel like?
  • Remember the difference between your physical experiences of aversion and attraction. This is your body’s way of communicating what you need to know

(N.B. this experiment can also be conducted using food)

THE SORTES VIRGILIANAE
“Named for the ancient Roman poet Virgil, when mystics would use passages from his Aeneid to predict the future.”

  • Chose a book you feel emotionally connected to, or that resonates with you in relation to your situation
  • Pose a very specific question to your higher self
  • Open the book at random, and select one sentence from the page
  • Using this passage,  work with your intuition to find the answer to your question

AUTOMATIC WRITING

  • Take a blank piece of paper and a pencil
  • When you are very tired and by the light of a candle, spend five-10 minutes writing down the first things that come into your head
  • Without reading what you have written, go to sleep
  • Repeat for 30 days
  • Only at the the end of the 30 days, read everything
  • Circle the things you have no recollection of writing down, and string them together to create a message or poem from your higher self

DEVELOP YOUR INTUITION, C.I.A. STYLE
“In 1995, President Clinton revealed records of a C.I.A. investigation into the validity of psychic activity by the intelligence community, instigated as a counterfoil to similar activity by the K.G.B.”

  • Close your eyes and relax deeply
  • Focus on a background
  • Focus on a colour
  • Focus on a symbol
  • Focus on a smell
  • Focus on a sound
  • Think, are there water, plants, people, food or animals in the picture you are creating?
  • Think, are there round shapes, patterns, hard edges, is the image soft, linear or cloudy?
  • Open your eyes and draw the picture your higher self has created. This is where you will find your mark.

Like any muscle, with your intuition it’s a case of use-it-or-lose-it, so practise these techniques regularly. Start an “intuition diary” to make a note of symbols, noises and smells that light a psychic spark in you, so you can track the daily workings of your higher self.  After all, who doesn’t want know how to be your own psychic?

You should also be aware that as you open up your own energy field and begin to blur the boundaries of time and space, you’ll become more susceptible to negative vibes sneaking their way in along with the insights you now have access to. So here are some practical tips for creating a cosmic force field to protect yourself as you delve into the unseen.

www.cosmicnavigator.com
@gahl1

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: MARA HOFFMAN

How much are we obsessed with Mara Hoffman. Please, Universe, let us be dressed nipple-to-toe in her hippie-chic on the beach all summer. For now, the queen of gypset dressing dishes on the details of her mystical life.

Mara on the beach in St. Kitts.

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU MOST EMBODY THE TRAITS OF YOUR ASTROLOGICAL CHART?
“I’m quite a typical Aries. I’m a great ‘big idea’ person, and I view myself as a good leader but I need help with the smaller details. I like to say that I can move mountains but have a hard time sitting down and sorting pebbles.”
Continue reading “MY MYSTICAL LIFE: MARA HOFFMAN”