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 …
When Fundamentalist threats of Hell left her wanting more, Kate Forristall turned to Now Age practices. But how to explain your spiritual awakening to your religious family? Kate shares her top tips for making the holidays less hellish …
Christmas 2017. Reaching for a beautifully wrapped present (the gene I didn’t get, sigh), I notice my sister Sally give our mother a nervous glance. Given my family’s tradition of one-at-a-time unwrapping, there’s no hiding what’s inside, but I have to smile as I open my package and see an intricately carved wooden box … with a pentagram on top.
I steal a glimpse at Sally’s face and feel her telepathically communicating with me in a desperate Tim Gunn voice, “MAKE IT WORK!” I lift the new repository for my tarot deck (pentagram covered by my palm) and wave it quickly, “A wooden box!”
“Who’s next?!” Sally chirps, as we simultaneously head into the kitchen to get coffee and put my gift away. When it comes to the spirituality we now embrace, we’ve decided pick our battles.
Finding a faith to set me free … At the age of 15, I began attending a church youth group known more for fun and community than hard line theology. Leaders preached the Gospel, but it was as simple as the original version (appropriate for humans without a pre-frontal cortex). The Jesus People movement had paved the way for a faith that was about loving God and loving each other, and I was happy to go along for the ride.
Unfortunately I got hijacked on the way.
In college I met Christians who could recite whole passages of the Bible and never seemed to struggle to obey all the rules the way that I did. They let me know that I wasn’t doing it right and by the time I graduated, the shame I felt over my failings was enough to send me right into the arms of Fundamentalism.
There were no sermons about the messiness of life, no Young Adult Group talks about how hard it was to be in your 20s. Floundering was considered moral failure and the threat of Hell was always looming. My goal became security, for myself, and eventually, my growing family, and I lost the delight and wildness of the God I’d met as a teenager.
In other words, I can help you explain things to your conservative mother, because I’ve been her. But while I forgot the kindness of the Divine, it did not forget me, and over the past 20 years I’ve managed to unload the toxic institutional religion that held me captive, while finding a faith that set me free.
Such faith means changed opinions about almost everything in life – politics, sexuality, social justice, capitalism, feminism – topics my family has often been less than thrilled that I brought up at the Thanksgiving table. But they were small potatoes compared to announcing I’d fully embraced New Age practices that we once believed were nothing short of demonic.
The new practices of my faith—meditation, spiritual direction, energy healing, multiple sacred texts, astrology, body work, and tarot—came from a period of darkness and spiritual searching, a time when I lost the ability to hear God and believed I’d been abandoned.
Now I can see that I was never alone, that my unknowing was, in fact the gift that pushed me through the Life-Death-Life cycle and into a belief that now sees the Divinity of all things.
So as you prepare for Thanksgiving and the inevitable questions about why your life looks different than it used to, here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way …
1// “Preach … at all times. When necessary, use words.” This advice from St. Francis is the best wisdom I’ve ever found for sharing experiences that have changed my life. If your example is one of serenity, service, love and hope, you’ll have no better evidence for the truth of the New Age spirituality you’ve embraced.
2// The Bible is your friend. Really. I know, right? Whether it’s the Wise Men who used the stars to find Jesus, God noting the wheel of the Zodiac when conversing with Job, or Jesus feeling the energy leave his body when a hemorrhaging woman touched him, the Bible has an awful lot of examples of “New Age” faith. The word meditate is mentioned 20 times and if you do a Google search you’ll even find phrases like “centering prayer” from many corners of traditional Christianity.
3// Because science. Meditation’s benefits are now proven by so much data that if your loved one can’t handle it, they probably believe in a six-day creation. Measurable energy fields of everything from the flowers in your garden to the heart in your body have uncovered a universe way weirder than science fiction. Neuroscience has revealed that our brains are supercomputers capable of affecting objects miles away (hello, pray much?) If none of that lands, find an empty room, light a candle … and meditate. At least you’ll feel better.
4// Try not to brace for impact. This phrase has carried my family through many an anticipated rough situation. Neural communication studies show how much we convey before we ever say a word and I can tell you from experience that if you are telepathically shrieking, “I fucking dare you to make fun of my Tarot practice,” someone is going to comply. Moments like these are when the rubber meets the road. The Buddhist practice of accepting suffering while trusting its transitory nature has completely changed my life.
5// Baby steps. I’ve always been an evangelist. Whether it was Jesus or toasted pecans in chocolate chip cookies, if I love something, I can’t wait to tell everyone I know. But when asking people to expand beyond a fear-based bias, I’ve learned that you need to move like an acrophobe in a skyscraper – one floor at a time. My mother now knows that I own a tarot deck. We’ve discussed the astrology of the moment on multiple occasions, and for her birthday, I gave her a book about manifestation. But it’s been seven years since I began this journey and my goal isn’t conversion. It’s that she too would find the path of greatest freedom for her life, no matter what it looks like.
My resistance to the New Age movement wasn’t because I hated everyone outside my church. It was because I was terrified that it could destroy people I loved. Those who cling to fundamentalism are inordinately motivated by dread – circling the wagons to protect a God they can’t imagine being bigger than their sanctuary. Considering how vast and unknowable the Divine is, that’s a pretty sad perspective and I’ve given my kids unlimited permission to make fun of me forever for all the dumb stuff I did that was driven by fear.
Ironically, the greatest thing my New Age practices have taught me is how to deal with the fear I meet in this life. “If I go to the depths of the sea, You are there,” says the Psalmist to God, an understanding that no circumstance can separate us from Them—including, no matter how scary it is, spending the holidays with your family.
Can meditation and visionary medicine break cycles of addiction, trauma, and poverty? Elyssa Jakim sits down with the makers of new documentary Curato talk alternative healing as a tool for empowerment …
“When you find this disciplined practice, you discover that you can support yourself—you can be a sovereign being. That’s the big takeaway from medicine work or any of these other modalities: they help you find a way to stand up for yourself and to know when to ask for help”—Yolanda Frausto
Cura is a feature length documentary in progress that tells the story of Yolanda and Donny, a Mexican-American mother and son breaking cycles of addiction, trauma, and poverty using community, meditation, and visionary and alternative medicine. When Yolanda loses her younger son while in police custody, she strives to save her other son, Donny, from addiction and the possibility of suicide.
ELYSSA JAKIM: You call Cura an “An evocative soul portrait of a mother and her son healing generations of family trauma with natural and alternative medicine.” What is a soul portrait?
ISMAIL ALI: With this film, we want to show people that there are methods to healing that are beyond the body; that require a relationship between the body and the mind, and even the spirit. As a form of soul portraiture, the film is a snapshot of the lives of Yolanda and Donny. So, it’s about their lives in a mundane way, but it is also about them as spiritual beings—a portrait of their spirits. We’re saying this is a look at who they are at their core, framed by them living in Oakland and coming from poverty.
EJ: How did the title “Cura” come about? It seems like a word with multiple meanings. What does it mean to you?
YOLANDA FRAUSTO: To me “cura” means “here’s how we heal together. Here’s how you can find healing in yourself through my story.” There’s no one cure. It’s like the grief process—it’s a fact of life that we all go through it, but nobody can tell you exactly how it’s going to happen, you have to figure it out. I come from a background where it’s common for somebody to get stabbed or shot, overdose, or commit suicide and we don’t talk about it. So to be able to talk about grief is where the name “cura” helps. It means “let’s heal from what’s too hard to deal with and let’s do it together.” It plants the seed for healing.
EJ: How did you discover natural medicine, Yolanda?
YF: I got sober from drugs in 2005. I needed to change my life because I was headed in a really bad direction and I just stopped using. Three years later, I was working in a hotel in San Francisco and I learned about yoga from a woman doing a teacher training there. I started practicing, eventually up to six days a week. Then I got really serious about meditation. About a year later, I found plant medicine and I was like “Oh, this is my jam!” I felt that my whole life happened the way that it did so that I could find this as a spiritual practice. All of these things fell into my path, I didn’t seek any of it out, but inside of me I knew I was ready.
EJ: How has plant medicine helped you work through a trauma?
YF: It allowed me to have that one-on-one communing time with spirit that people can also find in prayer or in a deep meditation practice. I found the medicine around the time my mom became sick with ALS, and when I lost my son, I was already in the medicine community. Both times that I lost family members, I found that I had this community of people praying for me, showing up for me, bringing me food. I’d never had that kind of support before and they really taught me what it is to be supported. Also when you find this disciplined practice, you discover that you can support yourself—you can be a sovereign being. That’s the big takeaway from medicine work or any of these other modalities: they help you find a way to stand up for yourself and to know when to ask for help.
EJ: Do you believe that you have this kind of medicine work or curandera work in your ancestry?
YF: I hear the land where my great grandparents come from is peyote lands. So somehow I have a funny feeling that my great grandmother has been guiding me throughout my life and brought me home to the traditions by showing me a path. I believe strongly in the spirit world and how they lead us back to what’s home for us. When I was a kid, my grandma would cure us with folk remedies. And now I’m that person. I know the recipes and natural remedies, I know what to do. I feel like it was something that was instilled in me, but that no one taught me. I’m always saying “There’s a tea for that!” My sons would say “Oh, you’re just a witch.”
EJ: As plant medicine gets more popular, what kind of responsibility do people need to be taking when they take the medicine or administer it? Is it something you believe can find a place in a more Western medical mindset?
IA: Donny and Yolanda have experienced a tremendous amount of trauma as a result of simply being Mexican-American people who grew up in a place with huge amounts of drugs and violence, and which was not set up for them to have access to power or influence. I believe the strong pushes to decriminalize or medicalize or otherwise create access to pant medicines are in many ways responses to that harm.
So how can you leverage this harmful system to bring about some sort of benefit to the people who have suffered this exact kind of trauma? We need to take an honest look at what will be necessary to make this possible, and I think that during the next five or ten years we’re going to really crystallize what those systems look like.
EJ: Does the film speak to the phenomenon of wellness practices and techniques being inaccessible to people who aren’t of a particular ethnicity, or of a particular socioeconomic background?
IA: That’s actually why I started working on the film. These beautiful practices often require you to have resources—at the very least to be able to afford to take time off to care for your own mind. So many people are limited in this way. So accessibility is real, colonialism is real, and being aware of all these concepts and then shifting our behavior in line with addressing them is really important. The film is really about two people who are deciding to do some really serious work to break the cycles of their lineage, despite the fact that they don’t have the time and resources.
EJ: Did you find the process of filmmaking itself to be a kind of healing?
YF: I was able to process grief in a way that I did not know was possible. I reenacted the scene when I was driving and got the phone call from the coroner about my son. After we shot it, I cried for about an hour and then felt so much relief. I only got to process my grief in that visceral way because I was part of this film-making process. How else could you act out something in your life? Whenever things become challenging to film, I know it is creating space for me and my family to process. It’s hard to have these conversations but we’ve also found a way to communicate differently while filming.
EJ: What would you most like to see for the film?
IA: We hope people will be inspired to involve their own communities in it. We want people to watch this and to talk to the people in their lives about what all of these themes mean to them. We really think that yes, all of these healing modalities themselves are great, but part of the reason that Yolanda and Donny are where they are now is because of the community in their lives.
YF: I believe it will speak to specific people, who find something in it to help them. Maybe it just means they’ll find a way to say, “I can talk to my family, this isn’t so hard.” Quite a few friends have told me, “for you to come out and tell your story really gives me hope, trust, and faith in a future for myself and my family.” The goal was for my story to help other people heal.
Cancer Season 2017 invites you to dive into your deepest, sweetest desires, and dance into your own becoming, says Bess Matassa … Main image: Ilse Moore
Dim all the lights, strip it down to bare skin, and get ready to become your heart’s own private dancer … Cancer Season 2017 marks the zodiac’s violet-colored midnight hour. The moment when our secret emotional treasures are revealed, and we learn to protect the soft, crab meat that lives inside our shells.
It’s a Little Mermaid energy of precious pining for the incarnation of our most tightly held fantasies, and the risky beginnings of living these vivid dreams on the land up above.
So slip on your water wings and prepare to wash all the way back home onto your own shores. You belong to the night. You belong to all your past lives and all the ones you’ve loved. But above all, you’ve got to belong to the longings that live inside of you. Surf’s up.
The keyword: Belonging.
The song lyrics:“I never can forget those nights/I wonder if it was a dream/Those days are gone forever/I should just let ’em go/But I can tell you my love for you will still be strong/After the boys of summer have gone”—Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”
Check out Mojave Rising’s Cancer season playlist, complete with nostalgic nuggets, classic crooners, and sensitive night movers and shakers.
The color palette: Molluscular and crepuscular—midnight blues and shimmering violets, the opalescent insides of shells, and the darkness just before the dawn.
The style: Boudoir chic meets Ancient Greece. Underwear as outerwear, lace jackets, gold bangles, head dresses, dressing gowns, bedroom eyes, and fancy slippers.
The scents and flavors: Salt-kissed Mediterranean classics and tucked-in, pocket-shaped provisions—dumplings and samosas, mollusks, briny feta, milk & honey, succulent dark kalamata olives, black grapes, and the coastal black currant & cyclamen scent of Oribe hair products.
The healing: Homegrown, nostalgic, and nocturnal—pouring over high school yearbooks, revisiting old playlists, DIY salt bathes and clay face masks, storybook romances, and skinny dipping.
Sensuous Invitation of the Month: Summer Nostalgia For Your Moon Sign
Ruled by the Moon, Cancer season invites us to return to the private bedrooms of our souls at the witching hour; our Moon signs represents who we really are when no one else seems to be watching, and how we seamlessly slip into our own skin with comfort and ease.
Below, your sign-by-sign guide to plunging into those long summer nights and returning to your innocent lunacy …
*New to your birthchart? Discover your Moon sign here!
Moon in Aries Cancer season invites you to find comfort in igniting creative explosions. Summer Nostalgia: Blockbusters. Load up on the buttery popcorn and quicken your fiery pulse with the biggest, most badass action flicks the season has to offer.
Moon in Taurus Cancer season invites you to relish in the sweet sensations of your beautiful body. Summer Nostalgia: Sun Goddess Beauty. Go full-on St. Tropez with all the classic seasonal palettes and procedures- spray tans, bronzers, salty locks, coral polish, and highlights.
Moon in Gemini Cancer season invites you to celebrate giving voice to every flavor of your feelings. Summer Nostalgia: Beach Reads. Stock up on juicy paperbacks and back issues of Cosmo to share with friends on the blanket.
Moon in Cancer Cancer season invites you to plunge straight into your tenderness, and wear it like an empowered badge of honor. Summer Nostalgia: Skinny-dipping. Whether it’s in dangerously exposed afternoon light with friends or lovers, or a midnight solo plunge, embrace what your momma gave you.
Moon in Leo Cancer season invites you to sink your teeth into the deliciousness of simplicity and practice radically innocent presentism. Summer Nostalgia: Amusement Park Revelry. Ride your way all the way back to the sheer, thrilling joy of living with classic coasters, costumed characters, carnival fortune telling.
Moon in Virgo Cancer season invites you to discover divinity in all the details and soothe your nervous system with embodied acts of kindness. Summer Nostalgia: Ice Cream Truck Chasing. Delight in dazzling flavor choices and the sweetness of treating your body to a hard-earned reward.
Moon in Libra Cancer season invites you to fully embrace your romantic ideals and the prettified pleasures of aesthetic beauty. Summer Nostalgia: Classic Sunset. Embrace the pure, straightforward glory of nature’s color palette, no matter how “cheesy.” While you’re at it, throw in a pina colada and getting caught in the rain.
Moon in Scorpio Cancer season invites you to find soul security by fully acknowledging the power of your emotional intensity. SummerNostalgia: Backyard Bonfire & BBQ. Turn up the flames and revel in primal, smoked flavors, tiki torches, and limbo poles.
Moon in Sagittarius Cancer season invites you to let your expansively wild visions become your mobile sense of home. SummerNostalgia: Roadtripping. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway, or an all-out cross country voyage, lose the maps, and let it all unfold beyond the dashboard of your nomadic dreams.
Moon in Capricorn Cancer season invites you to love up on your deep need for quality, standards, and the richness of emotional maturity. SummerNostalgia: Yacht Cruise. Go luxe and live the good life with classic nautical wear, caviar, and self-sufficient ship steering.
Moon in Aquarius Cancer season invites you to find your own eccentric sense of family and revel in the looniness that drives your spirit. SummerNostalgia: Adult Camp. Collide with new besties and celebrate renegade utopian communities with everything from paintball to craft making and sing-a-longs.
Moon in Pisces Cancer season invites you to dive into the fantasy life and find sustenance with boundaryless dreams of worlds unseen. SummerNostalgia: Pool Party. Get your mermaid chic on and let the no-holds-barred dream time flow with slip n’ slides, giant animal rafts, and magical multi-colored blender beverages.
Want more juicy cosmic insights and sensory explorations? Arrange an astrology reading or private event with Bess Matassa here or follow her on Instagram.
2016 has been a wild year for the planet and for America. For me it’s been a year of change and growth and reshuffling and purging and mourning and planting seeds and learning. I also hadn’t been single in 10 years, and have spent this one being VERY single. I’ve used this time to have a giant rethink of ALL my ideas, values, and beliefs about love and sex.
I’ve done some dating, sure, but I put the brakes on things in the name of some deep diving and learning and observing of myself and my clients, which is hard for a Piscean princess who loves to dive into romance. My birthday is just days from Anais Nin (if that means anything to you you’re prob my tribe!).
Last week, in search of my culminating thoughts about love and sex and spirit for the end of this year, I called my friend Gala Darling, whose latest love story is one of my faves! After a divorce, Gala met her adorable boyfriend online a little over a year ago and I’d been swooning over them via Insta for a while. I wanted to hear the dirt…Did she believe in soul mates? Manifesting the man of your dreams with spells and rituals? Making a list of important things in love and meditating on them? I had a lot of questions for her.
Gala said many things but what stuck out the most was: “Relationships are not meant to be easy. Marriage is not easy. They are not meant to be comfortable. They are meant to push you to see things about yourself that are not actualized. Having a soul mate is not a party!” This sentiment is way too overlooked in the twin flame/soul mate discourse. Where’s the footer that says “Hey BTW this shit hurts”?
She also reminded me that there is no certainty. Like ever. In marriage. In relationships. In any of it. People who are single think “Oh when will I meet that special someone?” And then people who are in partnership may be asking “Is this right? Is it supposed to hurt this much? Be this hard? Do I still love them?” There is no certainty but our devotion to ourselves, and our practice of keeping aligned with our heart’s needs.
So in order to do just that I’ve prepared some writing exercises for this column, to help you too rethink/ rewrite / jumpstart your love and sex life in 2017…
So get out your journal. Put on a kimono. Or silk PJ’s. Select some quiet tunes. Burn some incense. Make yourself a cozy nest. I rec bed surrounded by blankets and pillows and some rose tea and a few candles.
RETHINK YOUR “LIST”
We all make these grand lists of what we want in a partnership and we often forget that the human we imagine coming into our life will also be flawed. Just like us! Do you have some list you’ve been working on for years? Fantasies in your mind about how your partner should or shouldn’t be? This can change as you grow so def revisit every six months. So use this time to make a list of HARD YES’s and HARD NO’s, and to really meditate on them.
Ask yourself big questions like: “Could you be with someone who doesn’t believe in God? Or do you absolutely need to be with someone who wants kids?”
BROADEN YOUR IDEA OF A SOUL MATE
Do you have people in your life you have let see the whole spectrum of your madness and beauty? Your most ugly side and your most beautiful? I believe all the people who can hold all of us and push us to our edges are our soul mates. If you’ve never let your darkness come out with anyone I say deepen a friendship with someone who you can do that with. Not in an abusive way, but in a way where the connection can go deep under the surface. That will get you ready for partnership, and if you’re partnered it will keep you deep diving into yourself.
My friend Rebecca and I really did NOT like each other when we met. I thought she was a dirty hippie and she thought I was a stuck up goodie two shoes. 15 years later we are best friends. During that time we’ve hated each other. Not spoken for a year. Had the most heinous of fights. But had the most enlightening and fun and hilarious moments together too. She knows me in a way no one else can. Our love is as deep as the ocean.
Ask yourself: “Who are my soul mates now? Who has pushed me to the edges and helped me grow? What can I learn from these relationships about myself?”
COMMIT TO A PRACTICE AND STICK WITH IT
If you haven’t dated in a while, will you commit to a dating practice? Perhaps you and a friend can buddy up, open an online account, make a ritual of creating your profile (which Gala says is “like casting a spell!”) Practice connecting with strangers in a non-attached way. Go on coffee dates with no agenda except chatting with a stranger. Maybe 1 out of 10 will be someone you’re actually attracted to, so keep it chill. No expectations. Treat it like a morning yoga practice!
If you’re in a relationship commit to a growth practice. Is it seeing a relationship coach once a month to make sure you are growing? Does your sex life need a reboot? Can you commit to an afternoon every other week of sexual exploration time to keep expanding there? If your relationship has become too dependent can you commit to developing and nurturing solo space?
Decide what practice you want to commit to in 2017 and break it down over the months and weeks.
GET TO KNOW YOUR LOVE STYLES
How do you like to be loved? (If you need some inspo you can do the 5 Languages of Love quiz.) I know I mostly need to be loved with touch and kind words, and if I feel I can communicate that to my next partner they don’t waste their time buying me gifts or giving me rides or cooking for me. I told Loulou (one of my besties) about this, and now we know that we both highly value a solid compliment we pay each other loving compliments regularly! It just takes knowing and asking.
Make a list of ways you like to be loved, either within a partnership or solo. Do you need more touch? Schedule a weekly massage or trade with a friend.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Don’t make me quote Michael but um…he had a point! If you were a potential partner meeting yourself for the first time what would you think? What would you want more of? Less of? This is good to look at whether you’re single or attached. Would you prefer someone who is more available? Someone who is more financially stable? Someone in better shape? Someone who meditates daily? Well, this is a great way to see where you need to make changes on yourself.
For example, I was thinking I would just love a partner who can chop wood—so fuck it, I guess I’ll learn to chop wood in 2017 too! You can also be the partner you want to your friends. I mean, don’t make out with them passionately or anything (unless that’s how you roll!) but love your friends like you wanna be loved. Cook for them. Write cute notes. Romance your friends and yourself!
Set some goals for how you can become the best partner and self and friend.
If you want to go deeper with this work sign up for my Holy F*ck course where we will be using creative writing and storytelling to dive deep into our habits, tendencies, hopes and dreams in love and sex in a conscious way. I also see clients one on one for six month periods of mentorship and on off coaching sessions. More info here.
Alexandra Roxo is a critically acclaimed filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur and mentor currently residing in LA. She recently co-founded Moon Club with Ruby Warrington (founder of the Numinous) and has been featured in Well + Good, Nylon, Out Magazine and more.
Taking an inner work break is fun—and also give you space to BE the transformations you’re experiencing in your life…
:: MONDAY + TUESDAY :: A month or so ago I noticed that my friend Valerie Oula had tagged a couple of her IG posts #innerworkbreak. There was one about a night in with Pretty Woman and some fro-yo, another simply titled: “Jenga + beer.” Valerie is the brains behind these beautiful intention candles and mists and works as a kundalini yoga teacher, meaning she’s usually up at 4.30am for sadhana (her daily spiritual practice), meditates with the best of them, and generally lives about as “clean” an NYC existence as you can get.
But, a fashion industry veteran like me, her posts showed that embracing a more mystical path has not meant totally forsaking her inner “material girl.”
And I can totally relate this week, having just come off a similar “inner work break” myself (also a break from this column, you might have noticed). Two weeks visiting friends and family in Europe found me setting aside my usual Numinous tools (besides my morning TM session) and dipping a toe back into my old life—which essentially became an exercise in honoring myself as a unified, material-mystical woman.
And fuck it’s been FUN! Not just the eating a bunch of pizza, drinking a bunch of beer, dancing until 7am at an outdoor rave in Poland, or investing in a new pair of summer kicks from Alexander McQueen (see below). But also the giving my numinous soul an opportunity to just be, for the inner work I’m so invested in to settle into my physical body, and to witness how my internal transformations are impacting my outer experience of the world.
A lot of what we cover on this site—and therefore what I’m invested in personally—is about excavating the depths. It’s about investigating who “I” am, with the aim of bringing this “true” self to the world. BUT please please not to the extent that we forget we’re still human-freaking-beings!
Human beings who are here to forge meaningful relationships, to do meaningful work, and to hopefully be of service in some way—easy to forget if we spend so much time looking “in,” diligently monitoring our progress on our personal journey, we’re never “out” there, shining our light in the world. Which might look a lot like eating pizza, drinking beer, and simply being a loving daughter, sister, auntie and friend to people who don’t necessarily give a fuck what planets are conjunct your moon this week, since they’re got more pressing “real world” concerns they need to talk to you about.
Because: all this against the backdrop of the devastating news of the Orlando shooting, and frankly medieval talk of Britain’s potential exit from the EU. If ever there was a moment to simply embody the changes your inner work has brought about, then NOW could be a good time to step away from the crystals—and be out there living the changes our world needs to see.
:: WEDNESDAY :: In love with Alexandra Derby’s new four-part gem + flower essence system, which is designed to support your system holistically during every stage of your moon (yes menstrual) cycle. The idea is you take one of four tinctures depending where you’re at—Visionary for week one, Manifestation for week two (ovulation), Serenity for week three (a.k.a. PMS), and Womb Wisdom when you’re actually bleeding.
My cycle is generally pretty irregular (something I’ve been working on with Aly for a while now), so I just made a note in my diary what days I should perhaps switch up this past month. And wouldn’t you know. Coinciding with my touch-down back in NYC, today I began to bleed as the “Womb Wisdom” notification popped up. I might have felt like I was on an inner work break in Europe—but something inside is working. The Cosmic Cycle Elixirs go on sale Monday June 20 at Alexandraderby.com. A percentage of proceeds will go to Femme International—supplying girls in east Africa with reusable menstrual cups.
:: THURSDAY :: Planning details of a FREE virtual Full Moon + Summer Solstice ritual I’ll be hosting with Numi contributors Alexandra Roxo and Elyssa Jakim next Monday, June 20. You can join anywhere in the world, and the idea is to celebrate and give thanks for the manifestations we are brining into the world, and set a solstice intention for the summer. Think: an overview of the current cosmic climate, self-inquiry for the Solstice, and a guided meditation connected to like-minded spirits around the world. Spaces are limited—click here to sign up!
:: FRIDAY :: And looking forward to our Club SÖDA NYC Solstice Picnic in McCarren park in Williamsburg this Sunday too! As mentioned above, there’s been some (very high-vibe) beer-drinking going on these past couple of months, but I’m now almost two weeks into my latest EPS—my dad’s term for the “extended periods of sobriety” I launched Club SÖDA NYC to help people navigate—and FEELING IT. The feeling of being high on life, that is, that I get when I get booze out of my system for a while. The picnic is gonna be a super low-key “friends of the Numinous” type thing, but if you’re in the hood, swing by and say hi!
:: MONDAY :: I’ve been pretty upfront on here about my journey re-framing my relationship with alcohol—a.k.a. to treat it (and use it) like the powerful psychoactive substance it is, rather than a knee-jerk way to feel “good” quick. And crystals have played a major role in this—namely amethyst, the “sobriety stone.” I’ve been carrying a piece on a key-chain for the past year or so, a pivotal time on my path to semi-sobriety. A key-chain which actually broke the week I launched Club SÖDA NYC our meet-up group for the sober curious—signaling that its work with me was done!
And you know, I’ve felt myself slip back a few steps in the months since…so I bought a new one last week ahead of the Memorial Day weekend (PRIME day-drinking danger zone). And yes I had a couple of beers. But literally two, thus achieving the ever-elusive but perfect “2-drink high”—opening the doors of perception just enough to land some killer insights about my life and my path going forward, but closing them tidily up again before drunkenness (and hangover / self-doubt territory) set in. Yay AMETHYST!
:: TUESDAY :: Which also got me in the mood to plan our next informal Club SÖDA NYC event—a sober solstice picnic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, June 19. Invite below—come!
:: WEDNESDAY :: Last week amazing Alexandra Derby posted on the subject of “Cash and Consciousness” in her new weekly vlog A Beautiful Answer—after watching a new doc called The Beginning of Life at the UN (yup, she got invited to a screening at the United-freaking-Nations, which is how important important people think the message of the film is). You can watch Alexandra’s take here, but the overall theme is: “money” = how grown ups frame “nurture” (since money provides for all our needs) = lack of nurture in childhood = poverty consciousness in grown ups = the poverty we see in the world (since our perception shapes reality). Are you with me?! And so the call to action is: time to invest (love / support / and or money, as needed) into the nurturing of the next generation, globally. To tackle poverty consciousness—and therefore a society that creates the poverty we see—at source. The Beginning of Life came out today.
:: THURSDAY :: Getting super excited for…Obonjan! Booked my flights today for this summer-long private island festival in Croatia (yes you read that right), where I’ll be giving a talk on healthy hedonism July 29. Full report PLUS details of a Numinous discount coming on next week’s newsletter. Here’s the link to sign up!
:: FRIDAY :: In Berlin for some hang-time with my fam
Daring greatly, a new favorite movie, some high-vibe gifts, a LOT of cosmic reading, and a 1/1 NYC tradition…
:: MONDAY :: In Berlin, celebrating Christmas #2 with my brother and his family (inc. my baby nephew Henry, see below!) Already deep into my internal review of 2015 – a majorly transitional year for me and pretty much everybody I know – I spent most of the time between swigs of gluhwein with my nose in Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, which I have finally got around to reading since “daring greatly” is essentially what the lessons of 2015 have suggested I will be spending most of 2016 doing. A favorite take-away for you today – Brene’s definition of spirituality: “Not religiosity, but the deeply held belief that we are inextricably connected to one another by a force greater than ourselves – a force grounded in love and compassion.” So simple, so heart-shudderingly effective.
:: TUESDAY :: Bagged an actual bone fide upgrade into business on the flight back to NYC! But then I should have seen it coming – I’d been seeing angel numbers all day. We even departed from gate 22 at Heathrow, the number for manifesting your highest ideals and desires 😉 I had been planning to use the flight to get back on top of my email inbox, but decided to kick back and enjoy the hospitality instead. Which meant discovering The End of the Tour, a film telling the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segal). MUST SEE ALERT for some of the best quotes on celluloid about life, the Universe, and everything.
:: WEDNESDAY :: Returned home to some bonus holiday gifts in the mail, woot! From Numinous contributor Wolf Sister, a dark and mysterious chunk of Nuummite crystal (a personal power stone for accessing inner gifts, um hello daring greatly) and a vial of her signature Wolf Juice crystal tincture. And from Yarnlight Collective designer Adam Jones, a healing energy-infused meditation shawl from his latest collection (see main image). Just perfect since one of my other 2016 intentions is to finally learn TM.
:: THURSDAY :: With my mind on those intentions, I got stuck into the plethora of cosmic year-ahead reading material that had been landing in my inbox all week. Namely, Louise Androlia’s 2016 Tarotscopes; The Astro Twins 2016 Planetary Planner; Gala Darling’s Radical Self-Love Almanac; the new year ‘scopes from Chani Nicholas; Hannah Ariel’s new year mantra from our own weekly newsletter (sign-up in the side-bar); and Felicia Bender’s reading of 2016 as a Universal “9” year in numerology (check back here tomorrow to read her post). Phew that’s a LOT of information! And having crosschecked a lot of the info, for me so much of it comes back to one key theme – as summed up by my “Secret Soul Message” from Louise’s Tarotscopes: “It’s time to get super friendly with your fears” (a.k.a. daring greatly).
:: FRIDAY :: That’s today, and here’s the plan: my husband (a.k.a. The Pisces) and I will be engaging in what’s become something of a 1/1 tradition since we moved to NYC four years ago – a four/five-hour mega-walk over the bridges and around the edges of Manhattan, talking out and writing down our intentions, hopes and fears for the new year and sending them into the Hudson river as we go. As well as the daring greatly, here are a few that have already come up for me this week:
Be the lynchpin in healing some of my family’s “stuff” Get my US drivers license Get coached Forgive and accept my binge / purge personality Go to Hawaii Get back off sugar Learn to take better selfies (see main pic) Retrain my inner perfectionist to work for me instead of against me
How about you? For me, the new year isn’t about “wiping the slate clean” or a “new start,” but a man-made opportunity to check in with where I’m at on my journey and make any necessary adjustments to the co-ordinates. Happy sailing, tribe.
The Full Moon in Cancer is inviting us to feel our way home…as we simultaneously step into brave new world, says Hannah Ariel.
“Like great works, deep feelings always mean more than they are conscious of saying. Great feelings take with them their own Universe, splendid or abject, they light up with their passion an exclusive world.” – Albert Camus
If you feel like you’re having an existential crisis – hang on a minute. If you feel like you’re feeling too much to put into words, that’s okay, be still inside and keep quiet for a while. If you feel like you are bursting at the seams to say something – maybe it’s time to say it!
And if you feel like you are opening up to feelings you’ve never felt before – say hello to a Full Moon in Cancer that began as a New Moon in Sagittarius. (And if you feel nothing, make sure you aren’t somewhere hiding in a corner, in total denial of what’s happening in your life right now!)
Astrologically, December has been a month of shifting our long-standing perceptions as a result of more expansive experiences in our lives; experiences that have re-defined our purpose here on Earth; experiences that shook us right off the branch we were clinging to for dear life; experiences that have left us here, now, with an opportunity to become more emotionally rooted in what is TRUE for us personally.
Just think for a moment – the constellation of Cancer is ruled by the Moon, which rules over how we experience our greatest, biggest FEELINGS, our deepest subconscious habituations. It is where we find our sense of belonging, our ability to be receptive, and our ability to establish a connection with our sensitivity.
Essentially the Moon is HOME, and in its full creative potential in Cancer – so even if it feels like you can’t recognize the territory this Sagittarius New Moon carved out for you, call on this energy now. It is time to let go of whatever is keeping you from feeling at home within your own life.
For a Full Moon in Cancer is pure maternal energy. This Full Moon is here to nurture our future development, by feeding us just what we need. Like the tide, she guides us with a subtle body of heavenly energy, helping us know how to act, when to re-act, and when to go with the flow with life.
Allow this to be a sweet and deep and personal experience, that may begin with a welling up of sentiments. Sentiments, perhaps, that you need to let go of. This may involve tears. It may involve laughter. It may involve silence. Whatever this Full Moon in Cancer brings forth in you as she rises to her full expression, feel the protective flow of energy the Universe is offering, and just a few days after Winter Solstice.
The Solstice is the exact moment where the Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest from the Sun. It is the longest night of the year, and without awareness, it can potentially be a time where we feel as if we’ve lost our “truth north,” or guiding light. As the Earth turns now, we’re being pulled to a place where only karmic memory can remind us of our next move.
The Full Moon in Cancer IS karma. Its light is a reflection of the Sun in Capricorn, on its way to its annual death/rebirth date with Pluto in the same sign. We are being asked to let go of the old and birth something new. It is within this alchemy that destiny will do its best work. Feel this. Find whatever it is that brings a strong sense of being peacefully in the right place, at the right time, within yourself, ready to nurture your future.
No matter what kind of Sagittarian adventure you’ve been on the past two weeks, it’s time to come home to yourself and your inner journey, and experience true emotional re-calibration. Sure, we’ve had our eyes opened to fresh new visions. But how can we move into these realities without connecting to the reality of our… FEELINGS?
How can you be upfront with yourself when asked the question: “How does what I am currently experiencing make me feel?” Does the answer to this question serve your future? And how can you answer without grasping for the same old familial patterns you’re accustomed to leaning on for emotional stability?
It could be all too easy for this Full Moon in Cancer to trigger old habits, old instincts, and old patterns that used to make us feel safe and “at home,” especially at a time of year steeped in family traditions.
Perhaps Christmas always sees you revisit certain family members, and the accompanying emotional patterns – but whatever tradition you find yourself carrying on, know that astrologically it’s a brilliant time to experience yourself ANEW.
Tap into the energy of the Winter Solstice for this, and know that you are supported as you go further into exploring a new spiritual identity, shining like a beacon in the dark. Know that this is about feeling your way into a new reality. The Sun has just passed through the “galactic center” of the Universe – literally – a time in space that offers the opportunity to go way further into your cosmic self. So allow yourself to be re-wired. What if the Universe promised you that on this day, this year, you have the power to create a new tradition? A new space to experience yourself. Then what would you feel?
On December 25th, 2015, how about cozying up to a new enlightened idea of what makes you feel alive. The light you have longed to kindle all year is ready to be ignited now, ESPECIALLY as Uranus, retrograde since July 26, goes direct in Aries. When Uranus is retrograde we may doubt sudden new potentials as they present themselves. When Uranus goes direct, we are booted out of the status quo in order to re-boot something important about ourselves.
So acknowledge where you’re experiencing twists and turns in your destiny, FEEL how it makes you feel, upgrade to the new reality, and acclimate. Although you may feel like you’ve been supercharged with something otherworldly, unrecognizable, unacceptable, and out of bounds, this Full Moon in Cancer is not meant to shock so much as it is here to bring you to where you belong.
SURPRISE; this is how you now feel “at home.” SURPRISE; this is where you’re supposed to be in your life. Whatever you uncover, maybe you’re most surprised to find you’ve had it in you all along – what you need to move forward, and this ability to feel your way into the future. So be receptive to what has suddenly become true for you, and feel its existence with your whole heart.
In her holiday survival guide, Erin Telford has some tips for staying zen when you’re home with the fam… Images: Ofir Abe via Behance.net
“If you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family.” – Ram Dass
Nothing is truer than this statement, since THIS is the real spiritual work. Take it off the mat, take it out of the personal development book, take it off the cushion – family time means time to walk the talk.
If you are mentally steeling yourself for holiday family time this year, know that you are not alone. We always revert to children when we go home, no matter our actual age. And this inner child will always re-experience the same unmet needs for attention, affection, allowing, acceptance or appreciation.
This inner child may even be coming into a family gathering with an expectation of feeling old hurt. This child may unconsciously be watching and waiting for familiar signs that he or she is inadequate, unwanted, or less than.
And if these wounds haven’t been addressed and healed, even if there isn’t an overtly toxic situation to navigate there will always be people present that push these buttons.
The trigger might be a casual remark about your job or relationship status, your parenting style or appearance. The deeper the wound, the more power these off hand comments can have to throw you off your game, creating a spiral of anger and insecurity. Happy holidays!
And we’re talking deep, subconscious stuff, the kind of stuff it’s hard to see coming. One minute you’re “fine,” the next, an insecure little girl who wants to lash out teenage rebel style – or else go hide in her room.
With this in mine, here are a few tips to keep in your back pocket while you navigate…
:: EVERYONE IS FEELING IT :: And truly doing his or her best (even if it doesn’t look anything like it from where you’re standing).
What if everybody was overtired, over sugared, feeling small, feeling ugly, feeling overweight, feeling anxious, feeling insecure, nursing old wounds, hurt by something that was just said to THEM, grieving, feeling lonely, feeling sick, trying to stay sober.
There are any number of reasons that people don’t act the way we wish they would, especially when our usual routines and coping mechanisms are taken away. They are trying with everything they have just as you are.
:: FORGIVE YOURSELF FIRST :: If you lose it, if you feel petty, if your buttons get pushed, if you respond exactly the way you didn’t want to, if you fall into old unhealthy patterns of relating, if you get sucked in…you are ALSO doing your best. Here is my prayer for you: A Prayer to Release Your Burdens
I forgive myself.
I will no longer be held hostage in my own mind.
I will no longer replay events and wonder if I could have/should have/would have done more/been more.
I did all I could do.
I gave it everything I had.
I acted with all of the tools that I have and to the best of my abilities.
My intent was always love.
I forgive myself.
Say this in the bathroom when you sneak off to get away. Say it into your pillow at night.
:: WE CAN’T CONTROL HOW WE FEEL BUT WE CAN CHOOSE HOW WE DEAL :: You are not a victim. You are an adult who has created a cozy little corner of self-love, proud achievements, acceptance for your authentic self, and emotional stability back home. HOLD ONTO THIS VISION.
If we walk into a situation feeling insecure and anxious, we are already poised to get knocked off our center. No wonder, then, that first obnoxious or critical comment already feels like the famous Last Straw.
It’s important to remember that what’s been said is magnified by the open wound we’re already re-experiencing. It’s like the salt jar accidentally fell in. So we can pick up the gauntlet and do battle, we can withdraw, or we can decide to eat/drink our feelings, depending on our personalities.
Or we can pause, we can breathe, we can excuse ourselves, and we can physically shake it off with a jog around the block or a brisk walk. Our call.
:: FOCUS ON GOOD SLEEP, EXERCISE, WHOLE FOODS, MEDITATION, PRAYER :: …but since it may not feel that easy to maintain your usual high-vibe routine, you can also ground and own the holiday space with this simple visualization. It will help shift the energy wherever you are to support you and help you feel comfortable:
Imagine a column of golden light in the center of the space you will be in. This column extends from the center of the Earth to the heavens.
Place a golden rose at the top of the column with three words that signal your intention for your experience. These can be words like Stable, Peaceful, Relaxed, Strong, Joyful, Happy.
Imagine writing your name on all of the walls in the space or hanging pictures of you smiling and having fun.
This exercise helps you to set the energy of the space to a vibration that supports your highest good. And I wish you the absolute loveliest holiday season and strength for any challenges that come your way!
The week that showed me there’s no denying the magic of plants…
Magic of plants part 1. I’m completely fascinated by the whole plant medicine revolution that’s happening right now. The concept that thousands of people, often the opinion-formers and change-makers of the world, are being sought out by the consciousness of Mother Earth via these medicines, and experiencing vast awakenings.
In fact, I was joking with my friend the other day that the current financial system won’t collapse because of dodgy bonds and unchecked “quantitative easing” – but because all the bankers will end up doing Ayahuasca, and quitting their jobs to make a positive difference in the world instead!
To date, I have not been called to sit in a ceremony myself. The stories of emotional and often physical intensity frighten me, and I know from past practice that I am capable of having similarly (third) eye-opening experiences using alternative, gentler methods.
But still, the fascination remains, and so when I learned about Deborah Hanekamp’s Medicine Readings, which she described as being as close as you could get to a ceremony without actually drinking Ayahuasca, I was obviously super intrigued.
Cut to Tuesday afternoon, when I met Deborah for a reading at my fave spot, Maha Rose. She began by asking what I was working on (as in emotionally), and from her questions about this I could tell immediately that she is a gifted intuitive, with an open and true connection the subtle realms.
I was then asked to lie on her treatment table, and begin a steady tri par viloma (three-part) breath. For the following hour Deborah would invoke the spirit of the plants using scent, in the form of sweet floral tinctures, healing stones and different sound instruments, including her own voice as she sang the haunting “Icaros,” traditional Peruvian medicine songs.
All the time I felt very much in my body – while I was shown, with incredible clarity and in the form of deeply held memories rising effortlessly to the surface of my consciousness, the very root of the issues I’d been grappling with during the recent eclipse period. Tears flowed freely as I was able to make sense of situations that my psyche had chosen to keep hidden from me until now, but in understanding and putting these pieces of my past together, I also felt a sense of forgiveness.
Coming out of the session, I was aware that I’d actually been in a trance-state – my body felt slow, my blood thick, as if I’d be dosed with a heavy anesthetic. One designed to null any pain, allowing me to face the truths that arose without flinching, or looking away. Writing this now, I realize this is probably very similar to what happens in a plant medicine ceremony.
Deborah then told me what spirit, the Grandmother consciousness of the plant, had shared with her during my reading, all of it deeply relevant. We finished the session with her giving me a prescription for a special bath I was to prepare for myself in the coming week, along with a crystal, a meditation, and a mantra to work with.
They say that when you are ready, the spirit of Ayahuasca will find you. And in a week of much confusion, actually, following the two eclipses, last weekend’s Blood Moon, and in the final throws of this Mercury Retro period, she offered herself to me in exactly the form I needed.
Magic of plants part 2. I also watched the brilliant documentary Cowspiracy this week – which has totally cemented my commitment to being vegan. This is something that goes beyond health, beyond all the completely unnecessary bloodshed, and even beyond environmental issues for me now (although, if you need any more convincing, check out this ridiculous fact sheet). For me, this taps into the evolution of consciousness.
Because okay, how’s this for theory. Animal agriculture is by FAR the biggest contributor to the destruction of the rainforests – responsible for 91% OF AMAZON DESTRUCTION. How freaking cool, then, that the Amazonian plants themselves are fighting back – the Ayahuasca revolution opening so many influential minds to the wider implications of this issue.
The broader message of this film + my interaction with plant consciousness with Deborah this week have made me more aware than ever of the connection we as humans share with every other living being (animal + vegetable) on Earth, and the responsibility of love and care to our extended “family” that comes with this.
Also, you can think about it from a karmic perspective – with so much environmental destruction in the name of using flesh for food…doesn’t it make a sick kind of sense that our addiction to animal protein (because that’s what it is, since all tastes besides breast milk are acquired) could be what brings about the extinction of our species?
Wow – big stuff. But it’s not too late! As one commentator in the documentary puts it: “No other lifestyle choice has a father reaching and more profoundly positive impact on the planet than choosing a plant-based lifestyle.” Amen to that.
In Vedic astrology, the Full Moon in Capricorn ushers in an opportunity to embrace concepts of unity and Universal love, says Eve James
Sitting in contemplation about the astrological theme for Summer 2015, a profound yet simple story from my teacher in India rose from the depths of my memory. In short, it was a story about his Master asking one of his close disciples why he felt the need to shout when angry. This disciple humbly replied that he had become frustrated – but his Master explained that the need to shout proves that anger creates distance and separation.
Even when someone is physically close to you, he explained, if you get angry with them you feel the need to shout loudly in their face – as if they were standing on the other side of the Grand Canyon. Conversely, the Master pointed out, when two people really love each other or feel tenderly towards each other, the need for speech dissolves. They feel internally connected, even if they find themselves physically separated.
Therefore, anger literally creates distance – whereas love engulfs that distance.Love unifies even while experiencing physical distance, while anger separates even in physical closeness.
This summer, we find ourselves riding an oceanic wave of higher consciousness, that is pushing relentlessly forward. Its only agenda is to manifest in a palpable way, exposing the truth of the heart, the truth of unity, and the interconnectedness of the human condition.
The first full Moon of July will be onJuly 1st at 10:20PM EST (7:20PM PST), and it’s firstly important to say that this Moon will actually be in Sagittarius in Vedic astrology (which calculates planetary positions based on astronomy versus the Western tropical system). More specifically, it is in the Vedic Venus-ruled star sign of Purva Ashadha. Whereas the previous star associated with Venus (Purva Phalguni) demonstrates the beauty and power of deeply romantic, personal love (as expressed in stories like Romeo & Juliet), Purva Ashadha is a sign of great selfless love, and the haunting beauty of sacrifice.
Though the stories of these two star signs intertwine, Purva Ashadha doesn’t sing the song of union for the sake of one or two of us, but for all of us. It is the sign of the cosmic waters, the ocean of collective consciousness and a rising awareness of universal love and connection.This sign should not be mistaken as fluffy, idealistic or lacking grit. It’s a sign that deals with the vulnerability of our human condition, something we all share, and the love that penetrates all things — the glue that unifies us all.
The quality of love expressed through Purva Ashadha manifests as a kind of inner upheaval, showing us what is worth fighting for in life as a family, a culture, a community, a city, a country or planet.
Purva Ashadha is known as an “invincible” star, demonstrating the invincible truth of unity and love, yet it is also a sign that, if compromised, is said to bring separation, war and disharmony. It also demonstrates how sometimes friction or conflict brings us into greater harmony with the truth of life, just as the terrible nature of war shows us the value of peace.
Due to this influence (which began June 28), through July we will continue to be required to use our moral compass, contrasting our core values against ideas, social structures or even laws that are unjust. This ushers in a tidal wave of opportunity for love and tolerance over judgement and anger, as expressed in last week’s landmark Supreme Court ruling to legalize same sex marriage in all 50 states.
Due to the heightened energy of this Full Moon, we can also expect some heated situations, and a microscopic focus on areas of our romantic or family life that need renovation. This could lead to times of intensity in romance, a dualistic expression of union and separation.
Travel is another big theme this month, as Purva Ashadha is also said to give blessings in travel and multicultural experiences. This is a perfect time to dissolve the idea of any country or culture as “foreign”, and embrace new ventures overseas in business or leisure. Donating to charity or non-profit organizations, starting a new project that supports bridging the gap between communities, and learning a new language also fits nicely into the agenda.
For those of you who have considered teaching or learning overseas, the experience should be especially fruitful and rewarding during this period.
Sacrificing for the good of the family as a unit is also commonly experienced during Purva Ashadha periods, and you may find yourself away from home with work or the service that you offer, or, conversely, experience what feels like an increase in responsibility and duties in the home.
You may also feel a new creative edge to projects you have been working on, and feel the need to restructure your team to bring fresh people or energy to your project. Some of this new work may require sacrifices that test limits, or bring into focus dynamic potential for expansion.
Philosophical and political discussions, arguments, debates or protests, are other things you may wish to embrace this month at your discretion. Purva Ashadha is definitely a sign that fuels higher thinking and deep political renovations, but it can be a sign of hostility – just as the ocean becomes destructive in a storm. Avoid harsh, opinionated or heated discussions if you wish to be affective, and rely on a grounded sense of unity, tapping into the Universal love consciousness (even with your enemy) if you want to be heard.
How will you work with the theme of Universal love in the weeks to come? Connect with us and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
“If Ayahuasca is the head medicine, Peyote is to heal the heart.” One woman shares her Peyote journey, and tells how the mystical cactus helped her find her family. Images: Daniel R. Moore (homepage) and Abbey Watkins (post), both via Behance.net
“I first heard about Peyote about four years ago when a friend told me about his experience in Arizona at the Church of Peyote, where he went to one ceremony after another for three months straight. I was captivated, and let him talk for three hours. His story was magical and he told it with so much love I could feel it. Also having known him for a while, I could see how his experiences had changed him as a person.
He continued to tell me whenever his “Roadman” (what the Church of Peyote call their Shaman) was doing a ceremony, and I always thought about doing it but the time was never right. Until my ex-boyfriend, also a mutual friend, texted me out of the blue three days after his first ceremony saying; “hey, I think I found OUR medicine.”
He and I share a very intimate knowledge of each other’s problems, and having taken Peyote he said he thought it could help me in the same way it helped him. And so six months later, when I found out that he was organizing a meeting in Europe in two weeks time, it felt like a no-brainer. I had $200 in my pocket, but I was like, ‘fuck it, I have to make it work.’
He’s a pretty social guy and word had got around, so there were about 40 people in attendance. It was taking place in quite a remote place, and I travelled 24 hours to get there and missed the first round of medicine, so I was asking everybody how it was. They told me; “if it’s for you, life will just make sense.”
But I already knew it was for me.
Each tribe has their own way of running their ceremony, but I’ve done four ceremonies with the same guys now and it starts with burning tobacco, which opens up a channel to the spiritual world. The Roadman runs the ceremony, and then there’s a Fire Chief, whose job it is to make sure the fire, the “Grandfather,” stays bright and beautiful all night.
The person arranging the ceremony is in the “sponsored seat,” and they set the intention for the night. The Doorman’s job is to make sure people are sitting in the right spot and to keep things clean when people “get well” (throw up). The Drummer drums for everybody individually, and we all sing. And if the men run the ceremony, one female is also chosen to bring food – corn, meat and fruit – and water in the morning.
After the tobacco the Sponsor sets the intention for the night, then the medicine starts rolling, which comes in completely different forms depending on the Roadman. My first time, it came in four forms – a paste, a fresh form, a tea and a cold juice, and we were invited to take a portion of each. It’s a very acquired taste and all you can smell for two days afterwards is Peyote…I can’t describe it, because there’s nothing else like it and you know it right away; the mescaline.
As for how it makes me feel? The first time it made me really, really tired. So tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open. So the challenge was to sit and pay attention for nine hours straight.
It also really amplifies feelings. If Ayahuasca is the head medicine, then Peyote is the heart medicine. With Aya you take it and you go somewhere else, but with Peyote you’re completely grounded. I could talk to you like I am now, no problem, it’s just everything is amplified. In your head you’re able to connect the dots, like when you’re smoking weed, but in your heart it’s like taking MDMA – when you feel connected to everything, and you’re able to understand what everybody else is feeling.
Some people get trippy visuals but I never have. That first time I did feel raindrops on my shoulder which obviously weren’t there, and which turned into a feeling of joy that spread over my whole body. For me it feels like love is in that tepee, I don’t know how else to explain it. And afterwards, I always feel supercharged.
After my first time, I did two more ceremonies in the space of two weeks. I only took a small amount the first time and didn’t get well, but the second time I decided I wanted to dedicate my experience to different people in my life and wrote down ten names – so I took a spoonful of medicine for each of them…and got super well!
I saw it like there was obviously something that needed healing in each of those relationships, because when I took a spoonful for each of the same ten people the next time, I was flying high – a high that lasted six months. You go to places in your head where you get so emotional, and I often cry all the way through which is an amazing release in itself.
Now I feel like I’d do it once a month to keep me on track, like you might see a therapist. It can become a way of life, but for some people once a year is enough. Personally, I’d like to learn more, to understand the culture more and all the details about how to run a ceremony. They’d never let a woman put the tepee up, but I’m fascinated by the way they tie the knots in a certain way to honour the elements and stuff…and to learn about it, I just need to spend more time with them.
Also, the Roadman I follow is hilarious – he’s covered in tats, like a Mexican gangster, and he’s a funny motherfucker! For me he bridges the gap between my world and the ancient spiritual world, which makes it all so much more relatable to me. I told my friend I think I’m in love with him; he was like, ‘get in line!’
More recently, visiting Phoenix Arizona for a ceremony to celebrate the 13th wedding anniversary of my Roadman and his wife was one of the most beautiful things I’ve every experienced. I felt so blessed to go to the place where they’ve been doing these ceremonies for thousands of years. It was like visiting the holy land. But I’ve also done one with a different tribe in the Bronx in New York City, which was run by my Roadman’s ‘brother.’
People in the Peyote families know each other as relatives, and they believe that if you bring a partner into the circle and sit next to each other, that means you’re partners for life. It comes down to the fact that if you know this medicine works for you, then you feel a connection to other people in the same circles. It’s like there’s something in your makeup that’s the same, or you understand that maybe you experience the same kind of problems in life.
For me, the most beautiful part of my whole experience has been learning what real family connection feels like. Seeing how much the families respect each other, it’s ridiculous – and it’s why I keep going back.
Growing up, I never understood what family values were – my parents were there, but not emotionally. We’re very distant as a family. My friends are the people I would take a bullet for – but through the ceremonies, I’m learning how to forge a connection with my blood relatives too. The most important lesson has been to understand their value in my life, and to respect that. I appreciate them more for who they are now – and understand why maybe I should text my mom just to tell her I love her from time to time.
Elsewhere, it’s brought me so much clarity. Meeting new people, I can tell what kind of relationship we’re going to have, and if I used to have a tendency to give too much, now I’m aware of when that’s happening so I can stop. It’s like I’ve been granted an outside perspective. I’ve also learned to listen more and absorb stuff without feeling like I need to react right away. To just sit, and pay attention. I feel like I approach everything in a more peaceful, patient and positive way. And my close friends have all been able to see it.”