BEST OF THE NUMINOUS 2018

This year rocked us to our personal and collective cosmic cores. From sex tarot 101 to the future of masculinity, our Best of the Numinous 2018 charts the course …

Photo: NordWood Themes

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1// Spread ‘Em: Sex Tarot 101: Alessandra Calderin gave us a crash course in casting cards between the sheets …

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2// Healing From Trauma With Psychedelics: Psychiatrist Will Siu, MD, shared insights into a very human way to heal …

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3// How To Work With Your Lilith Sign: Rebecca Farrar’s astrological guide led us back to our unbreakable inner wildness, during a year when we needed it most …

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4// Is Visiting Mexico City’s Sonora Market Spiritual Appropriation?: During a journey of spiritual self-discovery, Danielle Dorsey shared why she decided not to visit the famously witchy landmark …

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5// How Body Positivity Can Unlock Your Intuition: After a lifetime of food issues, Jillian Murphy discovered that living fully in her own skin was the key to her magic …

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6// Work Your Saturn Sign & Feel Solid As A Rock: As Saturn transited its home turf of Capricorn, this astro guide helped us harness our biggest growth opportunities …

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7// Coming Home To My Hoodoo Roots: Growing up British but with her family history in Mauritius, Stephanie Victoire’s journey to reconnect with her Hoodoo roots finally led her home …

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8// Why Radical Dharma Is Your 2018 ‘Must Read’: This incomparable text tapped eradicating systemic racism as THE healing issue of our times …

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9// Holy F*ck: How To Reach EcstasyAlexandra Roxo revealed that experiencing ecstasy is the key to strengthening our channel …

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10// How To Explain Your Spiritual Awakening To Your Religious Family: In a deeply polarizing climate, Fundamentalist turned Now Ager, Kate Forristall, gave us a primer in navigating the spiritual-religious divide …

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11// What Is The Future of Masculinity?: As we grappled with how to dismantle patriarchal oppression, trans man and diversity and inclusion activist, Aaron Rose, shared his vision for the future of masculinity …

SEX DRIVE: A JOURNEY TO THE CLITORIS OF AMERICA

In an excerpt from her new book, Sex Drive: On the Road to a Pleasure Revolution, which chronicles her cross country search for a lost libido, Stephanie Theobald embarks on an “ecosexual” nature walk led by porn star-turned-performance artist Annie Sprinkle

Photo: Jan Phoenix

Annie Sprinkle christened San Francisco’s Bernal Park hill “the clitoris of America.” Researching my new book, Sex Drive, I knew I had to visit for myself, and so Sprinkle and I met in a local diner for breakfast. After demonstrating her ability to have an “energy orgasm” on the spot (think Meg Ryan’s infamous turn in When Harry Met Sally, but for real), she promised to take me on a Bernal Park “ecosexual” nature walk, where she would show me how to do it too …

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An X-rated nature walk 
By this time, I’m quite keen to get up onto the Clitoris of America and try it all out myself. So off we set on a climb up the hill to Bernal Park and an X-rated nature walk begins. It’s not X-rated because Annie’s going to take her clothes off. The plants are going to be doing much filthier things. “Look at that,” she says, stopping in front of a cherry tree in full bloom. “Flowers are tree genitals. Basically, you’re looking at porn.”

We walk on until the siren call of another tree brings Annie to a halt. “Look at this trunk, it’s like a big penis. Isn’t it beautiful?

Hockey pitch nature walks with Miss Corbett at the convent were never like this. Annie says that I need to find my “E-Spot,” her ecosexy take on G-Spot. (She’s great at coming up with new words). I’m drawn to an exuberant hibiscus flower. “Oh yeah!” she says approvingly in her raunchy porn voice. “Hibiscus stamens!”

I wonder if David Attenborough shows ever give her that Deep Throat feeling. We approach the hibiscus and she says, “You can smell it casually. Or you can imagine this plant is a lover and it wants to give you a gift.”

She smells her new lover, pulls off one of its genitals and sticks it on her third eye. She sticks one on me too. None of this strikes me as stupid or odd. Cornwall isn’t a million miles away from California in terms of country weirdness. My eco or “E-Spot” as she calls it, kicks into action as I notice that a tree we’re passing looks a bit droopy.

“Don’t you think this tree looks a bit sad?” I say.

“It is a little heavy, isn’t it?” she nods.

She knows immediately what to do. “You just need a hug,” she tells the tree enfolding it in a bosomy embrace.  “Oh, love you.” I participate in the love-in, realizing only afterwards that I have just hugged a tree in California. This is the sort of thing that people make fun of back at home, but American Stephanie doesn’t care. Annie looks wistfully at the tree then mumbles something about, “I may be projecting…” She slaps the tree’s butt. “You’ll be OK,” she cracks. “Hang on in there.”

It’s fun going on a nature walk with an ex-porn star. She’s not great on the names of flora and fauna, but she does things like saying hi to her favorite Eucalyptus tree. She plucks a leaf, thrusts it under my nose and chuckles, “Sniff that pantie!”

The sap must be rising from the ecosexy nature walk because I soon have a sort of sexual panic attack. I start gabbling about how I want to check out some seedy places in San Francisco and how I really want to get laid and, “you know that feeling when you want to have sex and you’re not having sex and…”

“Stay in the moment,” she puffs as we carry on up the steep road. They’re magic words and I immediately calm down. I think back to my interview with Barbara Carrellas back in New York a month ago. I arrived too early for the interview and the prospect of writing a book about masturbation suddenly overwhelmed me. What the hell was I thinking of?! I wasn’t even sure what I meant! So I just experimented with letting go: dropping into my body, unsticking from the world so that for a few moments I was just snow and boots and crunch. When I came ‘back’ a few seconds later, it felt like a shot of a week of the best sleep ever.

The author heads into the wild …

And then suddenly Annie announces that we’ve reached “the urethral sponge” i.e. we’re in Bernal Park but not quite on the clit. My main feeling is that the Clitoris of America has had a bit of a bikini wax. Its green pubic hair is a bit patchy. There’s a lot of uncovered soil. Maybe the dog walkers nobbled it. There are a lot of them. Annie says it’s the drought. It’s been a serious problem in San Francisco. Annie has actually married the main culprit along with a group of ecosexy friends.

“If you think about it, right now the sun is penetrating your pores,” she says in her incantatory broad-from-the-1950s voice. “They’re fucking your whole body.”

When I ask her how she knew the sun wanted to get married, she says, “We can only assume that things respond well to love and appreciation. Like, if you cruise a bunch of girls or guys, you’ll get the message who’s available.”

She and Beth have also married the mountains, the snow, coal and the ocean. I try and impress her by saying, “My favourite drugs are sugar and the sun.” She enthuses, “Oh, I love sugar too,” but adds that she has to lose weight for the filming of her and Beth’s upcoming ecosexy tour. “Saying it’s OK to be fat, it’s the one thing about feminism I don’t agree with.”

By now we’re sitting on the very top of the park, a bumpy grassy area that slopes down with massive views over the city on every side. Looking at the view, it suddenly strikes her that, “Maybe the earth is the clitoris of the universe.” She laughs. “Betty would say, ‘Oh that’s bullshit!’” She tells me that we’ll do the energy orgasm right here.

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Meditation + masturbation
She describes the technique as similar to something she used to call “medabation,” meaning a combination of masturbation and meditation. But mainly, she says, it’s like learning tennis because, “It’s a technique and at first it’s confusing and you’re like, ‘Woah! How do I hit it and how hard?’” She confides that it took her three years to learn how to do it properly.

I realize that this “energy orgasm” is her take on the heart wank that Barbara Carrellas told me about back in New York. Annie explains that the idea came about when she and Carrellas were investigating more spiritual ideas about orgasm during the AIDS years. “All of us had lovers who got HIV, so we had to figure out how to have safe sex.” They adapted the breath technique from a method taught by a Native American called Harley Swiftdeer. He calls it “Firebreath Orgasm,” but Annie doesn’t “because I didn’t take the very expensive training that initiates you.”

And so my tennis lesson begins. She starts by telling me to, “Say, ‘Yes’ to erotic energy. You have to allow it because it’s there just for the asking.” She points to the tree in the near distance and says that the ideal would be to, “Start feeling sexy and then direct your energy to the tree and see what happens.” She tells me to do some kegels (clenching of the vagina as if you want to stop a stream of pee) and undulating movements of the pelvis. “That’ll stoke the furnace.” After that comes the most important thing of all: the breath.

“You’re really sucking the inhale and relaxing the exhale.” She advises to make noises because that helps shift energy in the body. “The idea is to bring in energy through the feet and end up shooting it out of the top of the head. Fake it til you make it,” she quips in what she tells me is jargon from the porn world.

Annie Sprinkle on the path to “the clitoris of America”

It’s a great lesson. It reminds me of the Transformational Breathing technique I tried out in my hippie journalism phase with the British teacher Alan Dolan. Basically you breathe quickly in and out, taking in more than usual amounts of oxygen until a wave of euphoria hits you.

And then there I am, lying on a hillside in San Francisco as the woman once dubbed “The Golden Girl of Porn” makes sounds ranging from deep Witches’ Sabbath to mid-range horny-bitch-on-heat to high-pitched damsel-in-distress to glass-shattering Kate Bush on the moors. “Wooo! Woo!”

Listening to the tape afterwards, I do sound a bit stuck in Witches’ Sabbath mode. Clearly I need to work on moving my energy up to more damsel-in-distress mode. Meanwhile, I am in the ludicrous position of lying with my feet towards the top of the hill and my head towards the bottom because I want to face the sun. But something is definitely happening. I get to the state where I forget to worry about what the dog walkers must be thinking of us.

I have a flash of some of the boring-looking dog walkers I’ve seen in Presidio Heights. I want to unzip them and show them some love. Tell them it’s OK. Occasionally I get distracted by the fact that I’m not feeling anything remotely like an orgasm although Annie is now sobbing. Wailing almost. We get in breathing synch. I try and keep up with her her “Ah! Ah!”s until finally she makes a prolonged, “Oh yeeeeeeah!” presumably when the energy passes out of the top of her head.

I open my eyes and the sky is indeed bluer. There is also dog shit on the bottom of my right boot. I think I won’t say this to Annie. She’s clearly having a moment.

“When I masturbate like this, I feel the pain of the world, I really do. The Boko Haram, The Charlie Hebdo shootings. The animals, everything.  I become a channel sometimes. I just need to release the pain. It’s like truly connecting. It sounds really strange.”

“No, it doesn’t sound strange …” She’s right that the concept of words becomes shaky after this kind of tennis. I struggle to speak.

“We can’t really experience pleasure on a really grand scale unless we can feel the suffering and the blocks and the disconnect somehow.”

Watching Annie with tears streaming down her face, it strikes me that this is what a modern-day nun looks like. Sending an orgasm to promote peace in Nigeria and Paris isn’t that weird. Christians and Buddhists send off distilled thoughts known as “prayers” to try and alleviate world suffering every day. Yet the kind of energy generated during orgasm is jet fuel compared to the economy petrol that comes from a morning at mass.

Stephanie Theobald’s Sex Drive: On The Road To A Pleasure Revolution is out now. Join Stephanie in LA for the launch party on December 7th from 6-9pm at The Pikey 7617 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and check out mysexdrive.org  for more details. **And discover more about Annie Sprinkle’s SexEcology HERE!

HOLY F*CK: HOW TO REACH ECSTASY

Want to have Divine on speed dial? In her latest Holy F*ck column, Alexandra Roxo reveals that experiencing ecstasy is the key to strengthening our channel …

People have been seeking ecstasy for a long time. Whether it’s through herbs and psychoactive and psychedelic substances, or through ritual, prayer, meditation, fasting, sleep deprivation, pain, sex, and extreme temperature baths, most cultures have rituals and celebrations that invoke deeply ecstatic states.

From Greek rituals involving mind-altering substances, to the Sufis’ dance into ecstatic bliss, and the tantrikas’ journey into oceans of “samadhi” (ecstatic union with God/Goddess), religious texts usually speak of this search. In Norse mythology, the berserkers would enter into an altered state to be able to fight. And even animals have sought out herbs and fermentation that brought about some sort of consciousness shift.

These exercises can allll produce states of BLISS that allow the participant to commune with “God” or the Divine. And, well, who wouldn’t want that? 

I’ll tell you who! A culture that DOES NOT want its people to be empowered to know the Divine on our own terms. That would prefer us to have to pay into the Divine via tithing (offerings), and bow to the leaders of a church. This being one of the epic reasons WHY ecstatic states became stigmatized in the U.S., specifically, and in the Western world in general.

Personally, I blame the Puritans for labelling seeking ecstatic states as scary, transgressive, or somehow shameful. If people, and women especially, had the Goddess on speed dial, than what would they need the church for?!! SO, they got the ax. Or rather, in the case of the Witch trials, when women would dance themselves into states of ecstasy, the noose.

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What exactly is an “ecstatic” experience? 
In my terms, it is an experience that overrides the default mindset, the internal and external conditioning, and allows for a mind/body/spirit connection that transcends the normal, the typical, and the everyday.

This can result in waves of bliss, with senses ablaze and alive, heart open to a massive flow of love. Where the normal perception and experience of reality is transcended and expanded into a massively blissful, joyful, and loving one that shakes you at the core.

I’ve been exploring this for many years. At age 12, I was attempting to speak in tongues and faint on the floor at Baptist Church camp. And I experienced my first waves of sexual ecstasy around the same time. Since then, I’ve experimented with meditation, prayer, fasting, ritual, dance, song, pain, sex, and psychedelics. Each produces a different type of ecstasy.

Now, I take other people on journeys in my work through ecstatic states that can reframe and contextualize trauma, release stored emotions, and promote a deeper connection to self. Within a safe space, this process of finding ecstatic states can be very, very healing. 

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A dating app for ecstasy? 
I am drawn like a fly on honey to people who know and experience ecstatic states without drugs.

A few years ago, I met two men who had participated in the Sundance ceremony, which involved piercings on the chest, and days of dancing and fasting. To me, these were the HOTTEST men alive! “Um, you spent multiple days with flesh wounds on your chest while fasting and dancing and singing, in the name of uniting with Divine energy and helping save the Earth?! Sign me up!!!”

There is nothing sexier to me than someone who sees and understands the value of finding ecstatic states on the regular without having to pop a pill. Someone so adept at meditation that turning their body to light is NBD. If there was a dating app for this category of human, it would make my life a lot easier!

It’s not Burner vibes. It’s not adventures with psychedelics. I’m talking about people with a thirst for ecstasy that comes from wanting to know the Divine. Wanting to know love. From a remembrance of a state that your soul knows, and longs for.

Anybody else with me on this one?

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5 paths towards ecstasy for the Modern Spiritual Human
**A disclaimer: When you enter into ecstasy, you are opening yourself up massively, so you want to allow for this shift in your reality, perception, and internal state to happen in a safe setting. If you enter into an ecstatic state in a train station for instance, you could get taken away to a mental institution. So set and setting are key! You want be in a safe space. Surrounded by people you trust. Or alone. Remember you are opening ALL the channels and you want to do this with care. Especially if you are new to it.

1// Start simply. If you want to start safely, you can explore ecstatic states through something simple like chanting or ecstatic dance. Many cities have “Ecstatic Dance” communities and classes. Places with DJs and it’s sober and you just shake it out.

If you’re a yogi, chanting mantras in Kirtan could produce these states. You can seek a Bhakti yoga practice. Many cultures and religions have their own styles of song, and some may take you into ecstasy. Some not. When I used to go to the Agape Church in LA, their gospel choir had me in tears and I sang and danced til I lost myself.

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2// Explore your blocks. 
Because it can take years to release your default programming and open to the ecstasy available through song and dance, many people reach for a psychedelic or drug—because it offers a quick way in! But that also means it may have the most emotional, spiritual, and physical hangover, since you are literally stretching into an expanded state very quickly, flooding your body, and then snapping out fast.

You can micro dose different plant medicines if you want to go slowly. But beware; before you are granted ecstasy, you will likely first be shown any blocks you have to ecstasy! If you take MDMA, for instance, you may be opened quickly, but will likely be asked to deal with some spiritual and mystical pain the day after from that flood of chemicals and expansion, and the ensuing lack thereof.

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3// Ease in with meditation.
It may take years before you get to ecstasy this way, but it will happen. Trust me! I’ve been meditating for 15 years and it happens often now. I feel like I am being made love to by an invisible force (consensual of course!) and it is amazing.

If you want to reach ecstatic states in meditation and not wait 10 years, you can try White Tantra or a Vipassana retreat. Both are in-depth practices and you’re likely to access ecstasy faster. But no guarantees of course!

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4// Get it on (consciously).
If you establish trust, a deep connection, and emotional and physical safety, you can achieve insane ecstatic states with sex. Again though, if you open too fast, without a safe container and the spiritual and emotional components, you will suffer the repercussions. Chances are, you will feel depressed, anxious and shitty for days after. Perhaps you will feel guilt and shame as well.

Conscious BDSM is an amazing way into ecstasy in a safe space. Set the intention to open to the Divine before you begin. Japanese rope bondage and suspension work in particular has taken me to great heights of ecstasy, and I led two retreats last year that took women into that space for transcendence, ecstasy, and healing.

Pain can be a tried and true portal to ecstasy. Again, within a safe container, an intense consensual pain session with spanking or flogging or whipping or caning can produce deep and ecstatic bliss. Some religious sects also used pain as a portal to divine and ecstatic bliss. Light spankings are a safe place to start!

You can also start a self-pleasure practice that opens you to ecstasy. It will take time. Practice. A safe space so you can let go and scream and cry and release. At dinner the other night with my two besties, I was talking about my magical rose quartz wand and the orgasmic bliss I have with it, and their jaws dropped. It’s profound!

Japanese “Shibari” rope bondage

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5// Remember that integration is KEY.
Integration means the time you take in between practices to process, rest, release, and allow your system to recalibrate. If you mix drugs and sex and pain and all of it you may go into wild ecstasy, but have a “WTF did I just do?!” the next day, feeling like you got hit by a train.

Unless you have stretched yourself internally to hold some levels of ecstasy over time, you will fuck with yourself psychologically, spiritually, emotionally and physically if you rush things. Seriously. I’ve learned this the hard way.

If you don’t have the skills or tools to integrate ecstatic experience into your life, you can blow a fuse, go back to exactly where you were before, or contract even smaller. But if you integrate your experience fully, you can allow the ecstatic experience to expand you. And you can STAY expanded, therefore experiencing levels of ecstasy OFTEN.

Begin by simply noticing when you feel ECSTATIC and take note. Breathe it in. Don’t zip by. As you notice, your capacity will grow. As you practice, you will stretch into holding more.

Rest. Be gentle on you. You’re re-teaching your system that’s its safe to feel this good. After centuries of being told that IT IS NOT. Write. Journal. Take salt baths.

Start slowly, but be diligent and don’t give up on finding this KEY and GIFT to your human system!!

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Stay tuned for more Holy F*ck from Alexandra. Over the next few months, she will be interviewing women who learned how to access deep healing and ecstatic states during her yearlong program. Learn more about Alexandra and her work HERE.

THE 2018 CANCER WANING MOON WANTS YOU TO FIGHT FOR YOUR FEELINGS

As Venus prepares to travel retrograde, the 2018 Cancer Waning Moon marks a powerful moment to integrate our feminine and masculine, and embrace the fierceness in putting our feelings first, says Jennifer Racioppi
Photo: Timothy Paul Smith

Waning Quarter Moon / October 2 2018 / 5:45am EST / 9 degrees Cancer

The 2018 Cancer Waning Moon invites a poignant pause. With Venus moving towards her retrograde station and descent into the darkness, the Cancer Waning Moon asks everyone, regardless of their gender orientation, to adopt the feminine qualities within.

This can be an aggressive position for Venus when she embraces her warrior aspects, and this Moon’s relationship to Venus profoundly amplifies our powers of intuition, empathy, and feminine moxy. As we prepare for her retrograde journey by surrendering what is no longer aligned, feminine values and voices will rise … 

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//The Cycle//
The Waning Quarter Moon falls at the halfway point between the recent Harvest Aries Full Moon and the upcoming Libra New Moon. This halfway point asks us to actively release our blocks to success. What’s standing between you and the fruition of your most heartfelt intentions and goals? Consider what you can let go of, and burn it, baby.

From a long-term perspective, this Waning Quarter Moon brings intentions set with the Cancer New Moon on July 4, 2016, to fruition. What are you cultivating in your life now that relates to what you hoped and prayed for on the New Moon in July 2016?

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//The Transits//
This Moon occurs just three days before Venus, the planet of love and beauty, stations retrograde. Venus will travel retrograde from October 5th- November 16th. Unlike Mercury, who goes retrograde 2-4 times per year, Venus only travels retrograde once every 18 months. As one of the most potent transits of 2018, this brings with it strong and necessary medicine. Her retrograde periods support realignment with feminine values.

This Waning Cancer Moon forms a perfect manifestation trine to Venus at the degree of her station, 10 degrees of Scorpio. The water trine deepens emotional introspection, and supports inner alignment in preparation for the upcoming retrograde cycle. And with Mars simultaneously clearing his retrograde shadow (finally) at 6 degrees of Aquarius, he makes an air trine to the Libra Sun.

This combination offers us profound resources that we can use to harmonize the masculine and feminine, both within ourselves and for the collective. 

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//The Square//
This cardinal square between the Libra Sun and Cancer Moon instigates an in-depth look at personal values. Fairness (Libra) squares safety and security (Cancer). As you prep for both the Venus retrograde station, and October 8th’s Libra New Moon, let the cardinal focus empower you to stand strong in your values. Now is not the time to let old limiting beliefs and insecurities stand in your way.

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//The Opportunity//
This Waning Quarter Moon amplifies feminine prowess. The Sun in Libra, who is ruled by Venus, prepares us for Venus’ descent into her underworld. Venus, who represents love and beauty has two sides— she the goddess of love and the goddess of war. The feminine, after all, protects what she loves.

We can expect this lunar moment to elicit deep emotional connection. Use it to your advantage. Prepare yourself for the upcoming Venus station and Libra New Moon by standing up and fighting for what YOU believe!

For more Moon wisdom, or to book a coaching session with Jennifer visit Jenniferracioppi.com.

HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR LILITH SIGN

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

Photo: Maxine Caron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHOOSING COMPASSION IN A CALLOUT CULTURE

A former social media “comment crusader,” diversity and inclusion specialist Aaron Rose is committed to moving beyond the “us vs. them” callout culture. PLUS Aaron shares 7 ways to upgrade your spiritual activism by choosing connection and compassion over fear …

Photo: Alberto Vasari

With 15 years working as a facilitator, educator, and consultant in the field of “Diversity & Inclusion,” my overarching mission is to heal our world’s generational patterns of separation so that we can all thrive as our authentic selves. Though always important, this work has of course taken on even more urgency in the escalating polarization following the 2016 election.

But in the last few years I have had to rethink some of how I was originally trained to approach this work. Namely, that relying on a callout culture of shame and dehumanization—however subtle or justified—as motivating tools of change, will never resolve the isolation and exclusion we ultimately seek to address.

Historically, my work focused on explaining the history of institutionalized oppression and practicing “dos and don’ts” for interacting with different groups. The premise—albeit often unspoken—was that we were there to help the privileged people understand how to treat the marginalized people better. Many people did indeed leave feeling more informed and better prepared to work with people different from themselves. However, when others would express feeling upset, confused, or silenced, I knew something was missing.

Many of my colleagues wrote this off as collateral damage—some people would just never get it, they said. And if a white man left feeling upset, maybe that was a good thing, because lots of people have been upset for a long time. I understood the logic, but this theory of social change felt incomplete to me. It’s a dynamic that has become all too familiar in social media interactions in which people are called out for offensive or exclusionary behavior and summarily “canceled” or rejected without any space for recourse or repair.

Back then, my life mirrored my work. I genuinely saw light and potential in everyone—and wanted to help us all understand each other better. But, truthfully, I usually meant, you (a person with historically more access and power than most) needed to understand me (a trans and queer person with experiences of violence and marginalization).

My approach was that of a pretty typical East Coast liberal. I would passionately launch into Facebook comment monologues, determined to get people to understand how they were hurting others, while distancing myself from people based on their presumably more privileged identities. My tone was condescending at best, and vitriolic at worst. I wanted people to understand the harm they were doing, and I wanted it to stop. Now.

Deep down, I, like so many others, felt scared and misunderstood. In most of the jobs I’d had as a young adult, I’d experienced harassment and discrimination—from prying questions about my transgender identity, to constant misgendering, to sexual harassment and violence—and the pain of my own marginalization kept me in a defensive stance.

I was quick to judge people’s politics, and even quicker to let them know about it—when separated by a screen and a keyboard. In most cases, there was little hope for redemption once someone had acted in a way I deemed oppressive, racist, heterosexist, transphobic, or more. But for all my accusations of division and dehumanization, I too was compartmentalizing people, saying things like “I could never be real friends with a straight guy … he just wouldn’t get me.” It hadn’t occurred to me yet that maybe I didn’t really get him either. I had never thought to ask.

While doing the work of humanizing historically excluded minorities, I had been unwittingly dehumanizing others. It seemed natural to view my work as an us vs. them quest to change some people’s minds on behalf of others. But I’ve come to understand that this approach will only continue to amplify the feeling of uneasy disconnection that characterizes so much of modern life, particularly online: the fear of being judged, the fear of being harmed, the fear that saying the wrong thing will result in excommunication.

The work that many pioneering LGBTQ people, people of color, women, and other historically marginalized people have done to legitimize the acknowledgement of our individual pain and institutionalized discrimination is important and invaluable. That kind of self-expression and community accountability is indispensable. But if simply being able to recite our personal and collective histories of oppression back and forth to one another with flawless terminology was going to create true progress, we would not be in our current accelerating state of political polarization and identity-based isolation. If we truly want a more just and connected world, we all have to go a step further.

Today, I no longer take to social media with fear and contempt to catalogue the ways in which others are letting me down. I’ve shifted my focus from what we’re tearing down to an approach that does not calcify divisions but instead catalyzes connection. This does not mean releasing people from accountability or never speaking up against injustice. It simply means setting the intention to treat no human being as if they are disposable, even if they are failing to honor our humanity. It means creating the conditions in which we can, as adrienne maree brown writes, “default to trust on a community level.”

Below, I share 7 ways we can be stewards of this paradigm shift:

Photo: Gwendolyn Rodriguez

1// Heal yourself to heal the world. Your work starts with you – owning your story, and releasing the blocks that stand between you and truly recognizing yourself in another. Regardless of your identities, our conditioned social autopilot reinforces the idea that connecting with people from different backgrounds puts us at risk in some way. For those of us (read: all of us!) who have felt minimized or unsafe because of who we are, leaning into even more discomfort can feel scary. But the more we connect with our own sense of humanity, the more we can extend that to others.

**Action Step: Take some time to meditate on welcoming feelings of safety. The more you cultivate a feeling of security within yourself, the more you will be able to welcome others into your world. You are safe, you are resilient, you are here to thrive and make space for others do the same. This meditation is one of my favorites. You can also check out my meditation series here.

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2// Redefine how you love. We are all called to love each other now as if our lives depended on it. Because they do. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke often about agape love as the driving force behind all his work. He said, “And this is what Jesus means … when he says, ‘Love your enemy.’ And it’s significant that he does not say, ‘Like your enemy’ … There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people … But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them.”

**Action Step: Practice silently blessing every person you encounter and wishing them peace and happiness. Your world will begin to transform before your eyes, from the inside out.

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3// Meditate for real. Meditation creates space between external stimuli and our responses, allowing us to act as we choose, versus on autopilot. In the same way that  we cannot change our world unless we face the truth of it, we cannot embody a new energy of love unless we retrain our nervous systems. Meditation is the path to this change.

**Action Step: Practice the Buddhist metta, or loving kindness, meditation. A common mantra is: May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be safe, May you live a life of peace. Extend this blessing first to yourself, then to those you love, then to the world around you, and finally to the people who you find it hardest to love. This practice is a gift you can give yourself anywhere, anytime.

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4// Know our history, know yourself. We make it a lot easier for others to trust us and give us room to grow when we show up fully. In the context of identity and social change, this means understanding our world’s historical patterns of exclusion and violence. Acknowledge your part and make amends, for yourself as well as your ancestors. Understand both your access and power, as well as your history of pain and struggle. Recognize that we all have inherent biases, and be prepared to acknowledge them as they surface. Learn bystander intervention protocol and be ready for action.

**Action Step: What are your identities? Where do you fall toward the margins and where do you have more access? Explore Kimberle Crenshaw’s work on intersectionality to develop a deeper understanding of how our combination of identities shape our experience of the world.

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5// Release perfection, embrace integrity. We will all make mistakes along the way. Doing this work is about integrity: staying in alignment with your values and maintaining your sense of wholeness in the process. No one comes from the same perspective, and many of us do not have an academic foundation in theories of oppression and liberation. Despite our commitment to love, none of us will have the perfect word every time.

**Action Step: How will you respond when you or someone else messes up? What are your go-to phrases for communicating when a boundary has been crossed? How will you apologize and repair? Practicing ahead of time allows our brains to find the right words when our bodies are in fight or flight.

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6// Reframe callouts as opportunities for connection. When someone tells you your words were offensive, it’s easy to get defensive and push back. And to build a culture where everyone can thrive, we need to reframe how we perceive negative feedback. Humans don’t often take the time to let somebody know they feel hurt unless some part of us cares about being understood by the person who hurt us. Framed this way, each callout is a gift in service of our collective healing and evolution. Show the same investment in the connection by showing up to learn and repair together.

**Action Step: Practice responding to call-outs with grace and integrity. Pick your go-to phrases. Some options: “Thank you for letting me know how my words impacted you. I’m committed to building a community where everyone feels welcome.” “I hear what you’re saying and I will shift my words in the future. I’m sorry I used that hurtful language.” P.S. You really have to mean it, so align your energy with your words before pressing “share.”

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7// Redefine the personal vs. political binary. Who actually benefits from the idea that there is a difference between the personal and political? Certainly not you and me. Taking responsibility for caring for all life on Earth is the most profound investment we can make in our own self-care.

Action Step: How can you realign what is best for you as being what is best for all sentient beings? For example, is your meditation or intention-setting practice exclusively about your individual life? Set intentions not only for personal wealth and happiness, but for white people’s capacity to release our dependency on white supremacy, for example. For the renewing of our healthy relationship with planet Earth. For men’s commitment to repairing the wounds of the patriarchy. And for ongoing guidance about your role within the larger process. The support is there. You need only to tap in and ask.

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Aaron Rose is a writer, speaker, and diversity & inclusion coach. In his spare time you can find him waxing poetic about quantum physics, boy bands, and healing intergenerational trauma. Follow Aaron online at @aaronxrose and learn more about his work, including his upcoming healthy masculinity intensive for conscious men, at www.theaaronrose.com

SUNFLOWER BEAUTY FOR LEO SEASON

Wanna hang on to the Leo Season vibes a little longer? Eunice Lucero shares her top Sunflower beauty finds to have you shining on long after the Lioness has left the skies …

Photo: Hi Wildflower

Leo Season brings the passionate, slightly #extra drama of Sunflower mythology.

According to Greek myth, the nymph Clytie, scorned lover of the Sun god Helios, resorts to staring at her ex for nine days without food, water, or clothing, in a show of unabashed lovesickness. She pines longingly as he rides by in his chariot, till she dies and is then transformed into a flower—the Sunflower.

Unlike its sad heroine, Sunflower seed oil is no martyr. Long celebrated in beauty circles for its moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits, as well as its heart health and energy boosting properties, Sunflower beauty provides a rainbow of good stuff both inside and out.

What better way to cap off the high summer than with smoother, more nourished skin and hair, increased vitality, to get you looking and feeling at the top of your game come fall?

**We’ve listed Sunflower beauty suggestions for each Leo placement, but these confidence boosters are for everyone. Curious about what planet and /or House Leo rules in your chart? You can do your birth chart HERE for free.

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1// Sun in Leo / Leo Ruling the 5th House: Languidly stretching out those last vestiges of summer is probably high on your agenda. Stay on the safer side with Badger Tinted Unscented Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30, $15.99, 2.9oz, a certified organic natural sunscreen that also prolongs a sun-kissed complexion, while leaving no residue. Set off your late summer glow with Clarins 4-Colour All-in-One Pen, $30 (below), a fun lip-and-eye pen, in warm, desert-inspired shades.

Clarins 4-Colour All-in-One-Pen

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2// Moon in Leo / Leo ruling the 4th House: RMS Luminizer X Quad, $48, is a subtle yet high-impact shimmery highlighter, just be what an expressive, behind-the-scenes goddess like you needs to navigate the limelight. The silky payoff also speaks to your inner loyalist, who values quality output above all else. Alternatively, use a sponge to apply a few drops of calming vegan Pacifica Super Flower Rapid Response Face Oil, $16 (below), for a glow that puts even Mother Moon to shame.

Pacifica Super Flower Rapid Response Face Oil

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3// Ascendant in Leo / Leo Ruling the 1st House: A glorious lion’s mane deserves to be showcased in its highest, flashiest expression, i.e. thick, full, and brimming with a healthy-looking sheen. Rinsing with Andalou Naturals Sunflower & Citrus Brilliant Shine Shampoo, $9.95, a vitamin-laden shampoo containing fruit stem cells, will keep your locks in tip-top shape. There’s also no mistaking that classic magnetic leonine sex appeal, particularly when punctuated with RMS Lip Liner in Dressed Up Red, $20, a traffic-stopping lip liner sure to get your roars heard.

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4// Mercury in Leo / Leo Ruling the 6th House: Most times, an infectious enthusiasm and zest for life is enough to bring on your signatire blush of excitement; other times, faking it is the next best thing. Enter W3LL People Nudist Multi Use Cream Stick, $23.99, a no-nasty, natural-looking, sheer multi-stick that evokes a warm, satiny flush in seconds. Alima Pure Eye Primer, $20 is a vegan, gluten- and fragrance-free eye primer also keeps your shadow vibrant, for a more convincing twinkle in your eye.

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5// Venus in Leo / Leo Ruling the 7th House: Indulge in a seriously luxurious bath session with Leonor Greyl Huile Secret de Beauté, $66, a romantic hair-and-body oil with sunflower, apricot and almond, takes the edge off working your queenly duties (or running your empire) 24/7. Use as a pre-wash treatment or a styler on hair for sleek, frizz-free tresses. For the face, use as a skin moisturizer, then follow up with Alima Pure Pressed Foundation with Rosehip Antioxidant Complex, $34, a mineral pressed powder that leaves a beautiful, velvety smooth finish that’s selfie-ready.

Leonor Greyl Huile Secret de Beauté

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6// Mars in Leo / Leo Ruling the 1st House: Never one to shy from the heat of the matter, Le Labo Coffee Body Scrub, $44, is a robustly tactile body scrub that will appeal to your down-and-dirty aesthetic, which also skews rather minimalistic. Coffee and sunflower seeds exfoliate without the drag and help promote cell renewal, while priming you for the next step: a refreshing, straightforward (and nasty-free!) shower experience withLe Labo Mandarin Shower Oil, $30, to further energize and help you conquer the day ahead.

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7// Jupiter in Leo / Leo Ruling the 9th House: Goop Luminous Melting Cleanser by Juice Beauty, $90, is an award-winning gel cleanser with a generous blend of oils and butters to gives you the clean, wholesome pampering you deserve. Take the self-care party one step further with Juice Beauty USDA Organic Treatment Oil, $42, a potent certified organic anti-oxidant face oil, ideal for soothing and revitalizing dry spots and keeping your optimistic radiance on point. Shining for others means shining first for oneself!

Goop Luminous Melting Cleanser by Juice Beauty

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8// Saturn in Leo / Leo Ruling the 10th House: White & Elm Deep Pore Oil Cleanser, $18, will satisfy your skin OCD by drawing grime from your pores simply and efficiently. It also multi-tasks as a makeup remover and acts as the first step in a double-cleansing method, which is awesome, since you have that whole global takeover thing to oversee. Follow up with Elemis Superfood Day Cream, $45, a pre-biotic moisturizer that not only gives your skin a healthy dose of “supergreens,” but also balances its flora and which, like you, are big on protection.

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9// Uranus in Leo / Leo Ruling the 11th House: Your unconventional approach to beauty has you experimenting with creative new formulations on the reg. You favor those with a green angle, which speak to your humanitarian spirit—so Youth to the People Superfood Peptide Eye Cream, $35, an eye cream that blends scientific breakthrough with healthy superfoods is a no-brainer. Top things off with RMS Lip & Skin Balm, $25, an all-encompassing healing balm that satisfies your dramatic, ever-changing moods.

Youth to the People Superfood Peptide Eye Cream

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10// Neptune in Leo / Leo Ruling the 12th House: Your super creative, theatrical approach to life has you gearing towards the Golden Age of Hollywood and all its trappings—so make Hi Wildflower Botanical Matte Lipstick in Mala, $27, a vampy, screen-siren red lip, a staple in your boudoir. Then have Vapour Organic Beauty Spirit Solid Perfume, $40, a sexy, enigmatic scent, pull your captivating femme fatale persona together.

Hi Wildflower Botanical Matte Lipstick in Mala

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11// Pluto in Leo / Leo Ruling the 8th House: Your ego overcomes any adversity thrown its way, particularly when it demands a change in approach—which you’re always willing to take on with an open-mind. Sylveco Smoothing Facial Scrub, $25, is a moisturizing facial scrub, that leaves a delicate film after rinsing, making it perfect for skin that has renewed itself time and again. W3LL People Expressionist Mascara, $21.99, offers a “boundary-breaking” mascara formula, with a botanical blend and unique brush that will also appeal to your Plutonian laser-focus.

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12// *Bonus placement—Chiron in Leo: A few uses of Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Deep Recovery Pak, $25, a deep-conditioning, silicon- and paraben-free hair mask, and you’ll be confidently hair-flipping that crowning glory in no time. You can also boost your boldest self-expression with Paula’s Choice Skincare Perfect Cleansing Oil, $21.25, a renowned cleansing oil that’s got many an editor’s seal of approval. Bonus: a spritz with Pinrose Sun Saint Eau de Parfum Travel Spray, $24 (no sunflower oil, but with loads of fun!), a positive, summer-drenched fragrance, will help give you the elusive laid-back flamboyance you desire, all year long.

Pinrose Sun Saint Eau de Parfum Travel Spray

WHY THE GODDESS DIANA IS A FEMINIST ICON

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

Photo: Kyle Loftus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Ben Waardenburg

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW TO BE A TIDE: A MESSAGE FOR CANCER SEASON

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

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

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

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

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

HOW TO FIND YOUR POWER DURING MARS RETROGRADE

With Mars retrograde for the summer, it’s time to reconnect with our inner drive. Healers from London meditation hot-spot, Re:Mind Studio, share how to go inside to find your power right now …

Photo: Cristian Newman

“Find your power” is a super buzzy rallying cry in the wellness and healing worlds that can leave us feeling more confused than courageous. Where has it been hiding? How do I hunt it down? And what exactly does it look like? 

Cosmically, the concept of power connects us to Mars, planet of drive and creative libido. At its core, Mars energy is about affirming our right to be here, to want what feels good to want, and to go after it in a way that brings us fully alive.

With Mars stationing retro for the Summer, we’re being asked to dive deeply into our internal power centers, and to explore what pushes our buttons—in a good way. For example, Mars rules anger—but rather than projecting onto others any time we feel pissed, this is a moment to examine what this emotion is here to teach us. Where it wants us to take action and make positive change in our lives.

We teamed up with healers and speakers from the Summer of Women’s Power event series at London’s Re:Mind Studio to roundup the top tips for activating your life force right now …

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Treat Your Triggers Like Treasures
“Any time you feel triggered, use this as a way to learn something about yourself and the area in your life you can pull back your personal power.

Rather than react in the moment, take however long you need to sit with the emotions that are coming up and pay attention to the stories that accompany them. Write down some questions that will help you look deeper. Journal about it. It may feel good to talk it out with a friend. If needed, seek professional guidance—with a therapist or healer—to help make more sense of why this feels so raw.

Tending to your wounds in this way will help you feel stronger, more whole, like there are no ‘gaps’ where your power is leaking out. Ultimately, this wholeness will make you invincible.” – Ruby Warrington, Founder, The Numinous 

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Get Body Con
“We can come in to our true power by getting out of our heads and coming into our bodies, since this is the where we often store old emotions and also where we can tap in for our deepest intuitive knowledge. This is something I’ve been working on myself for some time now, and a simple way to begin is to meditate for 5-10 minutes before sleeping with your left hand on your heart and right hand on your womb area. As your mind begins to quiet, be open to just seeing what comes up for you.” –Yulia Kovaleva, Co-founder, Re:Mind

Re:Mind Studio

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Return to Innocence 
“Reconnect with something in the material world that brings you alive in an immediate, visceral, unedited way. It could be as simple as a song, or a favorite color or object. Maybe it’s something from your youth, like an old school playlist from your teen years. Let whatever it is remind you that you have a right to your tastes and your specific flavor of encountering the world. Carve out the edges of yourself through this process of loving exactly what you love without apology.” – Bess Matassa, Assistant Editor, The Numinous 

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Claim Pleasure as Your Birthright 
“Pleasure is a woman’s birthright. It is her source of power, creativity and vibrancy. When a woman learns to cultivate a continuous state of deep pleasure in all areas of her life, she is a force to be reckoned with. A woman who owns her desires and puts pleasure first will not take an averagely led life for an answer.” – Grace Hazel, Empowerment coach

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Retreat Into You
“My tip is to get yourself onto a retreat this summer. Even if that means you can only afford a day somewhere, do it! Give yourself permission to unplug, connect back into your body, and meet like-minded people.” – Millie, Studio Assistant, Re:Mind

Re:Mind Studio

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Get Obsessed 
“Critiques about our ‘too muchness’ are often connected to others’ discomfort with the intensity of our feelings, and how much space we’re taking up. Throw proportion out the window and tap into your primal force that wants to live rawly and fully, no-holds barred. Start by treating whatever you’re loving like a romantic obsession. Whether it’s a new passion project, your healing process, or simply a topic that’s lighting you up right now, stalk it, dive in deep, and let it take up all the space that it needs to bring you alive.” – Ruby Warrington, The Numinous 

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Fall in Love 
“We embody powerful energy that we can tap into through the elements of love. As love blooms we discover our truth and in that truth we reveal our authentic self. There is nothing more powerful.” – Jasmin Harsono, Emerald and Tiger

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Plan a Solo Date 
“To connect with our life force, we have to get down and dirty with our most intimate desires, wants, and needs. Which means some good old fashioned solitude. Notice any stickiness you have around the concept of being ‘alone’ and commit to sitting with the discomfort. And while you’re at it, make it juicy. Treat your time with yourself like a sweet vacation. Take yourself for dinner. Dress up for yourself in clothes that feel like second skin. Let this solo dance lead you back to the power moves that you alone can bring.” – Bess Matassa, The Numinous

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Re-nature Yourself
“Connect to your roots, to the power of our land. Notice how it feels to be out in nature, how it impacts your body, your mood and your emotions. Once you begin to tap into the rhythms of nature, you begin to tap into the natural and honest rhythms of your life. The ups, the downs, the endings, the beginnings. Our lives are part of an ever ebbing, ever flowing cycle. A portal into our wild inner guidance.

As nature fully blooms this summer, think of the areas in your life where you can to. What areas are calling you to grow, to create, to express? Remember yourself as a sacred woman that has chosen this Earthwalk. You’re powerful. You’re needed to seed and grow new life, a new way for humanity.” – Vickie Williams, Vickie Williams Yoga

Connect to your power in real time with London’s new meditation and spiritual hub, Re:Mind, with their Summer of Women’s Power event series. Designed to activate, inspire, and uplift, workshops cover everything from “Self Pleasure Magic” to “Daily Ayurveda,” leaving you tapped in and connected to your very own superpowers.

NON-BINARY BEAUTY FOR GEMINI SEASON

Treat yourself to the full Gemini season rainbow with Eunice Lucero‘s non-binary beauty picks …

Photo: Rawpixel

Thankfully, we’ve begun to embrace that gender is anything but a binary concept—it’s not black and white, or worse, pink versus blue—and Gemini season is prime time to embrace the full spectrum of the rainbow. No shade to feminine frills, but this month we’re feeling sleek, minimalistic buys that are as sassy as they are inclusive.

We’ve listed our selections for each Gemini placement, but these products truly are for everyone. Curious about what Gemini rules in your chart? You can do you birth chart HERE for free. Oh and bonus, we also put the spotlight on product pairs and groups—as Geminis know, twinning is twice the fun …

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1// Sun in Gemini: Panacea The Aegis Daily Facial Moisturizer, $46 for 50ml, and The Aegis Daily Facial SPF, $38. Named after the Greek word for “all-healing,” you love witty products that talk the talk, but that have integrity too. This line is made of premium ingredients all in a straightforward, easy-to-use formulation—appealing to your smart, ingredient-based approach to skincare. The moisturizer’s potent yet streamlined cocktail (hyaluronic acid, Japanese seaweed, fig extract) delivers lightweight nourishment and syncs up with your penchant for thoughtful content; the SPF is scentless and non-greasy, allowing you some hassle-free fun in the sun, as you can’t let UV rays cramp your networking steez. Best yet? They’re both TSA-friendly, because, of course, you’re all about leaning into that natural wanderlust.

Panacea Moisturizer & SPF

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2// Moon in Gemini: Meant The Absolute Balm, $45 and The Wonder Polish, $43. Multitasking is the name of the game for this delightfully chic line, which totally simplifies your shower routine—and gives mood-groomers like you a break from overthinking! Your decisions, particularly with beauty indulgences, are as mercurial as your mile-a-minute convo skills, so dual-purpose winners take the anxiety out of choosing between style and substance. Prep with the polish, which is an organic body scrub and an in-shower moisturizer (it has coffee, sugar and avocado—basically brekkie for your bod), then indulge in the anti-oxidant-filled balm, whose soft formula doubles as a sexy, cozy salve that treats and soothes.

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3// Ascendant in Gemini: Schwarzkopf Professionals BlondMe® Instant Blush Blonde Beautifier in Steel Blue and Strawberry, $22 each. Your youthful looks and charming open-mindedness give you the moxie for the latest trends; you’re not afraid to try new things, which is why you were probably first on the candy-hair bandwagon when it hit the scene years ago. Prolong those rainbow-unicorn vibes while giving your look a current spin with a pair of non-committal pastel sprays specifically formulated for lightened or blonde locks. Spray and comb through for a fest-best ’do, or even use the light blue shade to help tone that on-trend dusky platinum when it turns brassy. The colors last up to five washes—enough time to stay breezily on-point for your next soirée.

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4// Mercury in Gemini: Cydney Mar Wellness Energetic Body & Mind Adrenal Support, $38, and Jecca Correct & Conceal Palette in Medium, $21.80. A ball of restless energy, you’re undoubtedly at home in an intellectually stimulating environment. Eclectic, versatile and super quick on the uptake, life can definitely burn you out if you’re not careful! A supplement that gives a gentle energy boost via rhodiola, a.k.a. nature’s secret weapon against fatigue and mental burnout, is great for nervous types. Fun fact: Rhodiola also helps improve allergy resistance, which is clutch for you Mercs in Gemini who are so plugged into their social surroundings. Once you’re set on the inside, fine-tune any remaining imperfections with a concealer palette that impeccably neutralizes, because as you’ll learn time and again, life is nothing but a play on balance.

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5// Venus in Gemini: Pinrose Pillowtalk Poet Eau de Parfum, $65 for 50ml, and Bite Beauty Limited Edition Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Gemini, $26. Words are the way to your heart; lively, sparkling conversation is what you consider the biggest turn-on. Communication is also the main vehicle for your charms, making you an expert in the art of smooth-talking and flirty conversation, not to mention that perfectly placed double entendre. Maintain this seductive signature with a perfume that’s made for morning-after banter—a powdery, fresh-laundry scent evokes a light, gender-neutral vibe—and seal the deal with a two-in-one (!) lippie, in shades that mirror both sides of that quirky Gem personality.

Pinrose “Pillowtalk Poet” Parfum

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6// Mars in Gemini: Context Nude Balm in Heartbreaker, $20, and dōTERRA Basil Oil, $26.67. Gentle reminder to all you Mars in Gemini firecrackers: The pen is mightier than the sword, particularly where you’re concerned. An impassioned orator and writer, you are SO not one to shy away from a healthy debate to get your point across—so perhaps a muted, non-threatening lip balm can help soften those blows (also try and keep your convo nasty-free, just like the balm’s formula). For that changeable energy though, go for an oil blend that heightens focus and keeps your social ADHD from going haywire. Tip: Rub on your pulse points and inhale with three deep breaths, especially when you start feeling fidgety.

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7// Jupiter in Gemini: Non Gender Specific Everything Serum, $65, The Art of Shaving Engraved 3 Blade Razor, $175. You’re genuinely curious and outgoing, leaving you with no shortage of friends, and perhaps even a handful of admirers who enjoy your “the more, the merrier” approach in social situations. Your magnanimous vibe is echoed in your choice of self-care too: You love starting with a positive, clean slate, and a clean shave, with a quality razor, is as tabula rasa as it gets! Follow up with an equally high-minded serum that’s not afraid to go big: As the name suggests, this optimistic formula targets nearly all major skin issues, from lines to pores to hyperpigmentation, with a lovely, all-folks-welcome smile on its face.

Non Gender Specific Everything Serum

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8// Saturn in Gemini: KNIGHT CO. Exfoliating Face Scrub, $30, and Complete Moisturizer, $30. Crisp and simple, yet with an exacting attention to detail, it’s no surprise that you resonate with expertly curated products that don’t waste time on frivolities. Not only is this no-nasty exfoliant too chic not to flaunt on your shelf (you’re all about understated, almost curt-like quality), it’s also made with natural and organic ingredients. Same with the moisturizer, which wears so light on skin and imparts a soft matte glow, which people know is a hallmark of your cool confident look.

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9// Uranus in Gemini: Herbivore Botanicals Travel Set for Combination/Oily Skin Types, $48. A bit dry one day, crazy-oily the next? Sometimes travel can wreak havoc on a complexion, as changes in temps and hormonal levels can be zany AF. Thankfully you’re no stranger to unpredictability (and frequent flyer miles!), and even welcome both with a gregarious, offbeat spirit. Thank your innate good-naturedness, or, you know, having a handy, backpack-friendly, beat-anything set of natural face and body boosters in tow. Just saying.

Herbivore Botanicals Travel Set

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10// Neptune in Gemini: Fluide Blue Trio (liquid lipstick, glitter and nail polish), on sale for $35. This wonderfully inclusive brand’s lip, nail and glitter set is made for nebulous Neptune Gems, who practically embody sparkle in thought and deed. For this wildly imaginative lot, communication is more intuitive and facts are more like suggestions anyway, right? And besides, anyone who doesn’t get your big-picture mentality can immediately be waved off, stat, with a perfectly pigmented, 7-free vegan mani and matching pout.

 

Fluide Blue

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11/ Pluto in Gemini: Context White Charcoal Detox Mask, $45, and Absorb Skin Care The Face Oil, $110. Detoxing, whether physically, mentally or energetically, is a requisite in this day and age, and Pluto Geminis embrace this purge like a fish to water. Keeping things fresh and cutting edge highlights your love of renewal and change, and a luxe charcoal mask, followed by a refreshing serum made of all of nature’s best stuff (organic pomegranate and other omegas and antioxidants) is all the doctor ordered to kick-start your skin—and psyche—into gear.

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12// Chiron in Gemini: MMXV Infinitude Universal Facial Treatment, $225, and The Better Skin Co. Zit No More Acne Treatment, $18. Maybe you never got over that niggling middle-school bout of insecurity keeping you from speaking your truth; maybe it’s just a paralyzing self-doubt of not being articulate or well-versed enough, or being the subject of other people’s toxic gossip. Squash all these irrational bad news bears and start building your confidence from the outside in, with a skin saver that gives you one less thing to feel anxious about. Follow it up with a game-changing miracle cream that also tackles seven main concerns, literally making your glam as foolproof as can be.

THE 2018 SAGITTARIUS FULL MOON WANTS YOU TO DEFINE YOUR MISSION

The 2018 Sagittarius Full Moon is a powerful invitation to stand in truth, while remaining open to challenge our patterns. Define your mission statement and celebrate a brand new point of view, says Sandy Sitron

Photo: Samantha Sophia

Full Moon :: May 29 2018 :: 10:20 am EDT :: 8 degrees Sagittarius

The archer locks in on the target. The alignment of her body determines the trajectory of the arrow. Note—there must be alignment and there must be a target.

A Full Moon pulls back the bowstring into a state of tension just before the release of the arrow. There is a heightened build-up of energy.

This 2018 Sagittarius Full Moon is opposite the Gemini Sun. With Gemini we weave together our thoughts and perceptions. And with Sagittarius, we form the beliefs that are the result of these repeated thoughts and perceptions. One cannot exist without the other.

Remember the archer bringing her body into alignment? This is the Gemini side of things. This is where you examine the mental patterns that make up the foundation of your beliefs.

The target is where Sagittarius comes in. The goal. The philosophical mark you are shooting for. Your higher thought process. Your mission statement. Your truth. And the freedom to aim for that truth.

The purpose of the 2018 Sagittarius Full Moon is to help you understand not only how to drive your energy forward, but where to direct it. What is your truth? What do you believe? What makes you feel passion and purpose?

If these questions feel overwhelming for you, now is your time to find a new approach. The key to your new approach is to examine your form and bow, aka your self-worth. How’s your posture? Is there a flaw in the bow? Do you believe that you are enough? Do you know that you are already whole?

The message is to find a way to become more grounded and less self-critical. To become active and not get stalled in self-flagellating

If you feel overwhelmed, define a small and simple task you can dedicate yourself to. If you feel angry, assert a boundary. If you are frustrated, talk about it. Talk with someone who can hear you and reflect back how you are feeling without trying to fix anything. If you feel stuck, find something to celebrate.

Change the pattern. 

At this 2018 Sagittarius Full Moon, there might be something that you need to fight for. With contacts between this Moon, Mars, and Saturn, asserting yourself and firming your foundation are key. Yet a serene grand trine between Venus, Neptune, and Jupiter, is also a soothing balm if you find yourself needing to be right at all costs.

Imagine the Sag Full Moon as a dial. On one side of the dial are the words “I Need to Be Right.” On the other side is “My Truth, Our Truth.” Tune the dial. Notice when you are more on the belligerent side of things—“I need to be right.” Dial yourself over to the side of things where your truth exists alongside the truths of other people—unique, necessary, powerful, but not zealous.

As you lock into the higher vibration of the dial, this receptive and expansive frequency will help you transcend fear …

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Full Moon semi-sextile Saturn
First you throw the stones, then you build a tiny castle.

You could use this energy to throw stones at yourself or others. You could look for all of the things that are “wrong.” Or you could get super honest with yourself and determine where you need to show up. We can all take more responsibility without compromising our integrity. This aspect reminds you to do the work.

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Full Moon sextile Mars
A bugle plays in a marching band.

Action will remind you that there is hope. Take action first. It will help you sift through the thoughts. You can be your own bugle player, encouraging yourself to wake up and get in the game. Give yourself a call to action. We can’t deny that there is fight in this Full Moon.

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The below conversation starters for each sign are designed to help you dive deeper into the energy of the Sagittarius Full Moon. Gather with a trusted friend or friends, and each take turns using the sentences below to begin to share an experience that is currently front and center for you. Allow each person to speak without interruption, questioning the speaker further after each share to get deeper into the heart of the matter.

For the most accurate insight, find the sentence for the House that holds 8 degrees Sagittarius in each of your birth charts. Don’t have that info? Do you chart for free HERE.

Aries // 9th house
“The teaching that’s had the most impact on my worldview lately is …”

Taurus // 8th house
“I close myself off to intimacy by …”

Gemini // 7th house
“The relationship that currently feels the most supportive to me is …”

Cancer // 6th house
“I feel healthiest in my mind and body when I …”

Leo // 5th house
“The creative project I am ready to begin birthing is …”

Virgo // 4th house
“I am learning to take better care of myself by …”

Libra // 3th house
“The most interesting thing I read about this week was …”

Scorpio // 2nd house 
“Beyond financial rewards, I feel most valued in the world when I …”

Sagittarius // 1st house 
“I feel most confident expressing myself when I …”

Capricorn // 12th house 
“The part of my life I am most ready to focus on healing is …”

Aquarius // 11th house 
“My vision for myself five years from now is …”

Pisces // 10th house 
“The career goal I am setting for myself is …”

Want more wisdom? Book a reading with Sandy here. And check out our Numiversity digital course MERCURY: YOUR COSMIC VOICE COACH with a special Mercury guided hypnosis from Sandy, plus symbols and activations for each Mercury sign. 

HOLY F*CK: A DARK MOON PRACTICE TO LIBERATE YOUR SPIRITUAL ESSENCE

Stuck under layers of conditioning and aching to break free? Alexandra Roxo shares 5 ways to liberate your spiritual essence …

Photo: Caitlin Mitchell

I’ve been doing stripteases since I was 12. In 1996, in Marietta, Georgia, my friends and I dressed in Victoria’s Secret matching leopard-print bra and panties sets, and knew all the moves to Elizabeth Berkley’s routines from Showgirls.

But the striptease I wanna share with you here is FAR sexier. FAR juicier. FAR edgier. It’s one that will have your heart racing. Your panties wet. Your knees trembling.

Because it’s time for us to bring it back to basics and get spiritually NAKED. We live in “apart”ments. We stare at screens most of the day. The way we eat, shit, talk, walk, dress are all programmed for us by the dominant schema that we are born into. A return to our spiritual essence is a deep call for each of us. One that could possibly change the course of history. Of Mother Nature’s well-being. Our grandchildren’s lives. The health of the ocean. The future of fashion magazines. Of culture. Of REALITY as we perceive it.

This means peeling away, layer by layer, of all the baggage we have inherited. The stories. The conditioning. The things that weigh on us everyday. Stripping this away and getting down to our spiritual essence is part of our individual and collective awakening.

You began taking on your family’s shit in utero. Your mom’s anxiety. Depression. Her busyness. The way her heart sank when your dad didn’t come home til late or just flipped the TV on after work. The pain at seeing her old body slip away. The abuse she endured perhaps. Or her mom’s or her grandma’s. From the moment you were the size of a pea in the womb you began to be clothed in layers. Your spiritual essence began to be shrouded.

When popped out you inherited a specific culture. The pressure to look a certain way, talk a certain way,  dress a certain way. Coats and veils of other people’s ideas and customs and ways of being.

As a teen, this led you to feel confused about your body. Why did it not look the way it was supposed to? People were mean at school. Boys touched you. You weren’t allowed to be gay or queer. So you put on some more layers. You hid yourself. You were too weird. Too much. Too sexy. Too fat. If people didn’t notice you they couldn’t hurt you.

Perhaps there were traumas. Date rape. An eating disorder. Abandonment. Neglect. Health issues. Things that forced you deeper into hiding. Further masked your wild, loving, utterly unique spiritual essence.

And now here you are today—wearing enough layers to survive an antarctic freeze of the soul! True healing? The ultimate liberation? Learning how to peel them back, one by one, until you are bare. Naked. Vulnerable and WHOLE.

Below are my tried and true tips for freeing yourself from those layers and living in alignment with your spiritual essence …

1// Learn to feel your feelings. You may think “Well of course I know how to do that!” But we all have days where we think we’re feeling but are actually THINKING, which prevents us knowing our soul’s truth. To learn to FEEL more, breathe into your belly all day. Stay soft. Pull your car over to cry when you need to. Start sentences with “I feel …” instead of “I think …”  and before you make a decision FEEL into it with all your being. Soon you will start to feel more of YOU.

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2// Begin to hunt for your true essence. Look for it in books, works of art, libraries, operas, films, museums, national parks, oceans, fields, and albums. As you do these things, BREATHE into your heart and FEEL. Did that book make me wanna jump for joy? Scream? Did it feel like a wildfire broke out in your veins? Then THIS my dear that is a KEY to your TRUTH and your ESSENCE! Keep it close.

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3// Speak up when something hurts or doesn’t feel right. This may seem obvious, but it’s the microhurts that betray our soul’s essence. If someone cuts you off in line for the bathroom than say “Excuse me. I’m in line.” If you’re in a class and the teacher says something inappropriate, stand up and say, “Excuse me. That didn’t feel appropriate to me.” This demand for integrity will tell your soul you are SERIOUS about your devotion to yourself. You’ll notice how often these little things happen. You think “Oh whatever. No biggie.” This puts you into complacency and is literally like an ice pack for your JUICY fire. Once you stop you doing it, you’ll begin to feel a POWER beyond words emerge from you.

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4// Dare to pave a new way. Notice how many times a day you do and say things because that’s what others do. Now try something new. If all the other wellness people on Instagram are taking photos with white backgrounds and green plants but it feels more “you” to do it in a vintage car on a deserted highway, then why not? Notice where you follow the status quo out of habit. When you feel afraid to shake it up, look to people who have not followed; Frida. Anais. Albert Einstein. There is a huge payoff for taking a risk that’s aligned with your truth.

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5// Surround yourself with Souls who are unafraid to bare their love and truth to the world. You are who surrounds you. Your community should feel like Butter Love, Fire Love, Honey Love, warm tea, firecrackers in your Soul. When you leave hangouts notice: Do you feel more YOU? More alive? More loved? If not, find the community that does make you feel this way.

**Bonus: Take this a step further with an actual striptease class or simply strip in the mirror with your sexy self. As you remove layers of clothes, imagine that you are removing “Mom’s catholic shame,” “my fear of being too big” or “society’s gender impositions” so that you’re stripping on all levels at once—multitasking your way into your Soul’s Grand Reveal to humanity.  

 

Alexandra offers one-on-one transformational coaching programs globally online, and in NYC and LA. She also is the co-founder of Moon Club where she guides group coaching, leadership training, and mystical moon school.  Find her @alexandraroxo and alexandraroxo.com

QUEER HERO: 7 WAYS TO HEAL FROM SEXUAL TRAUMA

In the wake of Jupiter’s transit through Scorpio, sexual trauma has been brought to light over and over again. In his latest “Queer Hero” column, survivor and healer Danny Brave shares 7 ways to process the deep pain and move from #Metoo to I AM … Photos by Tal Shpantzer 

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

The #MeToo movement exploded onto social media on October 15th 2017, only four days after Scorpio’s transit into Jupiter (the sign of intimacy, sex, secrets, and power). The hashtag was created by Tarana Burke, the black woman whose brilliant activism started the movement all the way back in 2006. Her decade of advocacy reached mainstream awareness when Alyssa Milano tweeted #metoo in response to accusations of sexual assault & misconduct in Hollywood.

Whether or not we wanted to deal with it, molestation, rape, and sexual trauma was being brought to light over and over and over again. Some of us felt ready for this darkness to reveal itself so dramatically and intensely, while others of us felt ill-prepared for all of the undigested emotions and traumas that these women were bringing to the forefront of our consciousness.

With Jupiter still retrograding through Scorpio, and April marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month (S.A.A.M.), I have been reflecting on all that has transpired since the initiation of this powerful planetary movement … 

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Widening the sexual trauma narrative
The stories of who is sexually assaulting who are as varied as the number of people on earth. I know white cis gender men who have been assaulted by cis white women, and I have met men who were molested by their mothers as boys. Sexual violation has been perpetrated by gay men to other gay men, by queer POC to other queer POC, by fathers to girls who come out later in life as non-binary or trans men, by white people to black people and vice versa.

The list of race, gender, sexuality, body type, and age variable narratives continues, as is reflected by the statistics:

– 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime
– Of trans people of color: American Indian (65%), multiracial (59%), Middle Eastern (58%), and Black (53%) have experienced sexual assault
– American Indians are twice as likely to experience rape/sexual assault compared to all races
– 1 in 3 women experience sexual assault
– 1 in 10 men experience sexual assault
– 44% of lesbians experience rape
– 61% bisexual women experience rape
– 26% of gay men experience rape
– 37% of bisexual men experience rape

*Statistics are for the United States only, from the U.S. Trans Survey in 2015RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), and the National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey). 

And the effects are staggering. From persistent and debilitating anxiety and/or depression, to the shutdown of one’s sexuality, and a sense of complete worthlessness and suicidal thinking, the wake of this abuse’s devastation goes on and on.

For the sake of everyone’s healing, we must not confine this widespread epidemic to old stereotypes and the rigidity of the gender binary.

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

7 ways to heal your sexual trauma …
To provide some solutions, below is a love letter—a list of tools, rituals and advice that have helped me and my clients reclaim our lives, sexuality, and bodies in the aftermath of sexual trauma …

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1//Make art. Whatever your creative medium, express it! You don’t have to show what you create to anyone at all (unless you want to!), you don’t have to be good at it, and you don’t have to spend much money (writing, for example, costs about $3 for a cheap notebook and pen). The purpose is just to get the energy moving.

Creativity is governed by the sacral chakra, located in the pelvis, genitals, and lower back, and connected to sexual energy. When you are being creative, you are helping to unearth, clear, uplift, and release some of the stagnant or painful energy that got planted there during moments of abuse.

If you are struggling with depression in particular, making art makes you active again. It puts the ball back in your court and helps you remember that life can be beautiful, and that it is okay to feel. Become the transmuter of your own pain through your creativity and I promise you catharsis will be there, and that this will eventually (if not immediately) lead to feeling better.

*Recommended:  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

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2//Tell someone who makes you feel safe and who you know will believe you. One of my mentors taught me that the lips of the labia and the lips of the mouth have the same nerve endings—they are connected. What this means is that sexual trauma silences us; it makes us somehow incapable of voicing our truth, standing up for ourselves, and asking for our needs (emotional or otherwise) to be met.

Telling our deep dark truths to someone we can trust can be one of the most healing experiences. Here’s a loose structure to get you started:

1 – Contact the person you are going to meet and ask them, in your own words, if they will meet with you in person so that you can vent and get something really difficult off your chest.

2 – Tell them exactly what you need from them afterwards. Is it a quick hug? To be held for a while? To say “I’m sorry that happened to you,” to say “thank you for telling me your story”? It can feel weird to make such a clear and specific requests, but people aren’t mind-readers, and our abuse stories are so intense that we often require a very specific type of support to feel just that: supported.

3 – Tell them your story and provide as many details as possible. I am talking about the date and time, who did it, the location of the abuse on your body, how you felt—the whole thing. If it makes it easier, you can write this out all out in advance. Notice the resistance to doing this and try to push through and speak your truth anyway.

4 – Set up something really lovely to do for yourself afterwards—something that makes you feel comforted, brings you back to the present moment, or brings you joy. Do you love to go see movies? To plant a garden? To paint? To go for a joy drive and blast music? After unleashing your powerful truth, make sure you engage with this activity for as long as it takes to get you back to the present moment.

*Recommended: Vagina by Naomi Wolf

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

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3//Realize that what happened to you is NOT your fault. Something that tends to get built into the experience of sexual abuse is that we, on some level, caused or created it.

The mind of a child is more straightforward than the mind of an adult, and it does not understand that bad things that happen are not caused by them. If the abuse is being perpetrated by an adult to a child, the child knows that the parent is the one feeding and clothing them and therefore will do any and all mental gymnastics to repress, imagine, or self-blame the abuse away by taking on and in all of the pain and blame.

If you were an adult when the abuse happened to you, it’s still easy to think: “If I hadn’t been drunk, if I had been wearing something different …” If we are spiritually-inclined, we might even torture ourselves with spirituality and the law of attraction, asking ourselves ridiculous things such as: “Why did I create this experience? Maybe I wasn’t thinking positively enough … I wonder why I attracted this abuse?”

Why do we try to make something as awful as this our fault? The truth is simple: it is easier to blame ourselves and engage in self-hatred then it is to deal with the fact that what happened was not in our control and not our fault whatsoever. Doing this also prevents us from having to deal with the emotional reality of holding someone else accountable for their actions.

Hating ourselves or trying to make ourselves responsible for something we clearly didn’t cause or do is an incredibly effective defense mechanism to either defend the memory of our parents because we want to maintain a relationship with them, and/or to avoid holding the perpetrator fully accountable for the painful emotions associated.

It is because of this that I cannot stress enough: what happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault.

It wasn’t.

And coming to terms with this is an all-too-necessary step that needs to happen before forgiveness and letting go (after all, if we don’t hold someone accountable to begin with, then what is there even to forgive?)

*Recommended: Repressed Memories by Renee FredricksonQueering Sexual Violence by Jennifer Patterson; Stacyann Chin’s powerful speech: Not my fault; Diana Oh’s incredible feminist art/activist installation My Lingerie Play (Especially Installation 3/10: “Even If You Found Me Like This”).

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4//Perform a releasing ritual. Ritual is a powerful way that we can find closure and healing for experiences and situations that seem impossible to ever gain closure from. By doing something physical, ritual provides a concrete moment that serves as a bridge for us to walk over and into the next phase of our lives.

Here are a couple of suggestions for releasing rituals that I have found to be incredibly powerful in healing my own sexual trauma:

1 – Write a letterto the person who did it (and don’t send it). I know, it’s intense. The thing is … if you have not done something like this already, it is likely that the thoughts and feelings you would communicate directly to this person are rolling around in your head and your body, anyway, and without an outlet.

What we are looking for here is catharsis and closure. It is not meant to be sent to the person, and that being said, it does not have to be respectful or kind in any way. Get it aaaaalllll out. And then, safely destroy it! Rip it up, or light it on fire. Afterwards, make sure you set yourself up with some really lovely after-care: a relaxing walk alone or with a friend, a gentle movie that makes you feel comforted, etc.

2 – Go somewhere in nature. Preferably a body of water (and especially the ocean). Take a stroll to find either a seashell or rock, and place it in your hand. With the object in your hand, charge it up with all of the feelings and experiences of the abuse, and all of the things that have happened as a result of it.

Take a moment to really feel all of that energy and pain moving through and out of your body and into the shell or rock. Then, THROW IT IN THE OCEAN! Boom: it’s done, it’s over. Give yourself some time to sit and have a leisurely walk or maybe even journal after you release this- again, with everything involving your recovery, taking the time for gentle after-care is important.

*Recommended: She Let Go by Rev. Safire Rose (adjust pronouns accordingly, brave ones!)

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5//Adjust your sexual expression accordingly. While it may not be the case for everyone, it has been my own, and many of my clients’ experiences that sexual abuse tends to create a polarity of subsequent sexual expression: either way too much, or way too little (basically non-existent).

This is not an invitation to judge yourself, rather to become self aware of your sexuality and sexual patterns from a place of unconditional love. Remember, the extremity is not your fault (re-visit bullet point #3 if you’re beating yourself up).

*For my way too much-ers: Take a vow of celibacy for 3 months (it’s ok: you can still masturbate). During this time, when you do masturbate, take a few breaths and ask to connect to God/Spirit/the Universe (whichever term you prefer) through your sexual energy (and prepare to be blown away!!)

Make a list of 10 other ways to feel loved, outside of engaging in sexual activity with another person, and commit to exploring one of them each week during your temporary celibacy.

*For my non-existent/way too little-ers: Make it a non-negotiable commitment to exploring your sexual nature and opening up to sexual experiences on a bi-weekly basis, working up to sharing yourself with a consenting partner, if it feels right.

Also, dance. Yes, DANCE. Take dance classes that bring the energy down into the lower chakras: African dance, hip hop, pole dancing, etc. Get out of your comfort zone!

*Recommended: Why Mother Nature is the Ultimate Goddess of Love by Tirzah Shiya

Photo of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

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6//Invest in healing that is holistic and takes your body into account. We know that the conscious mind governs only 10-20% of the totality of our consciousness. Traditional psychotherapy is typically working with the 10-20% of the conscious mind to try to get to the 80-90% that’s less conscious. Unsurprisingly, I prefer methods that go straight to the 80-90%: reiki, shamanic healing, and meditation. You might also try sound healing, hypnotherapy, tapping, somatic experience, or any other mind-body practice you feel drawn to.

The site that is typically inflicted with a sexual trauma wound for women, trans men, and those assigned-female-at-birth is the vagina, or “yoni.” Mystics and shamans know this place to be the gateway to the universe, and the key to creation of life itself—not only human life as in childbirth, but also the creation of all things, such as personal dreams and manifestations.

In my personal shamanic healing practice, I use a tool called a shamanic extraction, which uses the intelligence of crystals to safely extract pain, fear, and any other energy intrusions that were inflicted on the individual’s yoni during the time of abuse out, followed by the channeling of reiki healing energy into the area. This allows the individual to have agency over their yoni, one of the deepest and most powerful tools for us to create our lives from this place- a place of health, clarity, and integrity.

Another incredibly effective tool I use is shamanic cord cutting, which is a powerful ritual in which we take the cord of energy that is usually still subconsciously or unconsciously connecting the client to their abuser via a vibration of pain, and we release it, and follow up by channeling reiki or healing energy into the area for deep healing.

*Recommended:  My one-on-one healing workMoon Mysteries by Nao Sims & Nikiah Seeds & Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend

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7//Connect with community. The patriarchy thrives off of separation. Pain and darkness prevail when we are in isolation. This is not normal or natural, and we need matriarchy now—a matriarchy that is for all genders, races, body types, and ages.

It is imperative that in your healing journey, you find some sort of community to join where you feel safe enough to be seen. It can be a shamanic community, a monthly women’s circle, AA, a hiking club—there are tons of things to do and join in this world, both in-person and online.

Don’t do this alone. You can’t do it alone. Other people need you and you need them, and that’s okay. My hope is that we start to live in a world where our emotional needs are no longer judged as being “needy.” We all need each other, and we all heal each other. So let’s do that.

*Recommended:  If you’re located in NYC, sign up for my upcoming 6-week transformational community group HERE; also check out the Red Tent MovementMoon Club, and Meetup.com

HOW BODY POSITIVITY CAN UNLOCK YOUR INTUITION

After a lifetime of food issues, Jillian Murphy discovered that living fully in her own skin was the key to her magic. She shares how body positivity can unlock your intuition …

Photo of Jillian by Wild Little Hearts Photography

“Before you can hear, much less follow, the voice of your soul, you have to win back your body.” – Meggan Watterson

I remember the day I first abandoned my body. 

I was 8 years old and visiting the mysterious temple my mother escaped to every evening when my dad got home from work—she called this evasive place of worship “the gym.” It was a Saturday open house and I was an immediate convert. The place was magical – dusty rose carpet, slick chrome and mirrors, George Michael pumping through the speakers, and LYCRA. So much lycra! (It was the 80s, k?)

I could tell right away that this was the place for me—a space of transformation, potential, and movie-worthy —this was a place where life happened. I grabbed a pop and a hotdog and then I naively hopped up on the scale where they were weighing everyone. And that’s where “It” got me.

As I scarfed my lunch, the two staff members in charge of weighing me began sniggering. Whispering about something clearly “adding 5 pounds” while looking at my body.

I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on but I knew the joke was on me. And I knew it was bad. Bad enough to remember but never ever talk about, until 25 years later, when I finally started to heal my relationship with food and with my own shape and size.

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Coming face to face with “it” … 
“It” is not that creepy clown from the Stephen King movie you’re picturing. No, no, the “It” I speak of is much worse—its name is diet culture and it spews a thin-is-best, fatphobic, classist, able-ist, racist, gender-biased rhetoric where the gold standard of beauty, body, and more recently “wellness,” is blatantly clear, objectively unhealthy, and unavailable to most.

Beyond the gym, there were many other moments when “It” got me, some that obvious, highlighted in Technicolor and frozen in time—a mental photo album created to prove my lack—while others were so subtle I internalized them without realizing, recognizing the damage only in hindsight.

From health messaging at school and dieting advice from teen magazines, to negative looks from boys and the admiration of “beautiful” girls in front of me, the signs were everywhere.  

Once, I remember hearing an older male cousin condescendingly laugh about the shape of a specific woman – stating that “to be attractive to men your shoulders needed to be at least “X”cm wider than your waist. Though I thought it harsh, I internalized the comment as though it were about me. In a diet culture with rigid beauty ideals, no woman is left unscathed.

Everywhere, the message I absorbed was: you are not good enough. More specifically: your body is not good enough.  

Even more specifically: your body is not good enough and, as a female, it’s your personal responsibility to take charge of your weight and beauty and behavior and do what it takes until you fit the ideal lest you remain unworthy forever. Also, hot sticks of processed meat are un-ladylike.

Photo of Jillian by Wild Little Hearts Photography

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Your intuition lives in your flesh …
It might look like a criticism, a comment, a side-eye (sometimes much worse), and it makes you gasp, the foul gas of “you’re not good enough” filling your lungs and seeping into your tissues. From that day on, the myth of diet culture is no longer just a story around you, it is a story about you.

You disconnect. You abandon your physical self. You override your female knowing that your curvy, lumpy, bumpy body is beautiful and normal and you do your best to crush the voice that says “I’m hungry” or “carbs would be nice” because that voice is clearly an idiot that doesn’t know bikini season is coming up.

The result? Food issues, yes. But diet culture doesn’t just destroy our relationship with food and distort our body image—it separates us from the most powerful ally we have—our inner knowing.  

Your intuition lives in your flesh and speaks to you through your body. She is nourished by pleasure, abundance, approval, and desire.

When she has been dampened and starved into submission, you are left living a storyline that keeps you doubtful, unsteady, competitive, and unsure. An ideal that keeps you distracted from your most important work in the world and suggests your worth is up for debate.

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Amplify the whisper …
When we discourage (read: flat out ignore) the whisper of biological feedback that tells us we need more calories or carbs or a day of rest—we simultaneously diminish the whisper that helps us discern and decide in all areas of our lives.

These whispers are one in the same. Learning to hear and trust the signals from our very intelligent, self-regulating, female appetites is a super-powered short cut, reconnecting us to our broader inner knowing. It amplifies the whisper.

I lost so much time sacrificing my wellbeing and connection to self in the pursuit of worthiness via weight loss and superficial beauty. I made bad decisions. I was distracted. I lost time. I learned slowly that, in order to write a new storyline for myself, I would need the power of my intuition and that the first step in rebuilding a connection with my soul voice was winning back my body.

Photo of Jillian & family by Wild Little Hearts Photography

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Here’s how to start amplifying the whisper and winning back your own body …

1// Give up the pursuit of weight-loss. The pursuit of weight loss is THE thing that disconnects us and keep us looking outside of ourselves for shoddy solutions. Weight-loss attempts fail over 90% of the time, long-term, and the collateral damage is your relationship with food and your connection to your inner knowing. Start by pretending that you aren’t in control of your weight (because you really aren’t) and that your only goal is to feel vibrant and energetic and joyful in your body.

2// Counter the deprivation narrative. Tuning into our hunger and reliably feeding our bodies is the first step in repairing the collateral damage of deprivation and moving towards a more intuitive relationship with food.

Start the process of consistent nourishment by connecting with your hunger signals. See if you can rate your hunger on a scale of 0-10 (0 = not hungry at all, 10 = “hungry,” low blood sugar, shaky). Can you notice the subtle differences between a 4 and a 7, or do you regularly swing from overstuffed to starving?

3//Discover your delicious. The basics when it comes to nutrition and movement have been well understood and unchanging for generations – move your body regularly, get fresh air, drink water, eat lots of plants and unprocessed foods – not too little, not too much, and honor your mental/emotional need for pleasurable, celebratory foods.

Now, from this magical place—without all the rigid rules, “shoulds”, and fears—what do you feel like eating? How do you feel like eating it? How do you want to move your body and for how long?

*Note: There is a good chance you have NO IDEA. Start by asking the questions and experimenting. Follow your curiosity and see how it goes—maybe you hate plain raw carrots but you love them roasted or with dip (Hot tip: DIP IS DELICIOUS). Allow yourself to try new things and neutrally observe how your body feels.

4// Fully live with the beautiful bod you’ve got. When your physical appearance stops representing your entire worth and is, instead, just a fun outward expression of your personality, the game changes. Start living the life you aspire to have when you are in the perfect body and watch the shift!

Make a list of all the activities you are waiting to do when you lose the weight, get more toned, have your nose fixed, are more perfect, etc. Make the list as exhaustive as possible. Next step? Start doing all of those things IMMEDIATELY. Wear the red lipstick, rock the shorts, eat the gelato, show your navel, go on the date, try the tap class, climb a mountain, go back to school. Do it all!

Dr. Jillian Murphy is a registered, licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. She has dedicated the past 8 years to studying intuitive eating and body image, and works with diverse, smart, health-conscious, women who are DONE WITH DIETING, and looking to get out of their heads and re-connect with their bodies. Follow her on Instagram, listen for more wisdom on her Podcast, and join The Food Freedom/Body Love Collective, her monthly membership space that provides you with the tools, strategies, support, and community you need to live healthfully in the body you are IN!