FROM FEAR TO MEDICINE: USING THE TAROT TO FACE WHAT SCARES US

The Tarot is both a mirror and an evolutionary invitation towards change. Lindsay Mack offers us a guide to the so-called “scary” cards and reveals how we can use our decks to turn fear to medicine …

Fear is a highly unpleasant, but profoundly important emotion — one that deserves a place at our table of feelings.

Fear, when considered for what it is, can offer information, wise counsel, direction, and clarity on our deeper feelings. We don’t have to believe everything our fear communicates to us, but it can be transformative to hear it out. By doing so, fear can become an ally, especially when we understand the strength that can arise within us through working with it.

Fear has always been a very deep teacher in my life. I live with a long term brain condition. I’m a healthy and joyful survivor of extreme childhood abuse, and have worked through complex PTSD for most of my life. I have traveled through some of the darkest places a person can experience, and every time I take one of those journeys “through the woods,” I am shifted for the better, having gained deeper strength, trust, and faith, my fear shifting into medicine with wisdom to offer me. The more wisdom I cultivate through those paths of darkness, the more I have to offer to myself, my students, and my clients.

The Tarot is a profoundly useful tool to turn to in moments of fear, trauma and stress. It can help to contextualize what’s happening underneath our fear, and how it is trying to help us evolve. It can also bring a visual landscape to something that we may not be able to communicate or understand with words. Whether you are a reader or not, The Tarot can be a deep aid in moments of darkness.

There are six Tarot cards in particular that, when we look at them through a soul centered lens, offer a beautiful invitation to evolve through fear.

Read on for how use them as guides in our own journey, exploring what it means for us to shift from fear to medicine. You can also check out my brand new course, From Fear to Medicine: A Six Week Journey into the “Scary” Cards of the Tarot. The first class begins on April 22nd – find out more HERE

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// THE FOOL // Trusting The Invisible
Have you ever been called to take a giant leap of faith with hardly any proof that it will pay off? If you have, you’ve been in the energy of The Fool. It is the invitation to jump into the unknown, and begin a whole new cycle of our lives. We are drawn to the edge of a cliff in this card, but it is up to us to jump off of it. The soul work that we are asked to do in this card is to trust ourselves, and trust the invisible.

To our brain chemistry, The Fool can feel like death, a loss of control for the ego. If we can move through this deep contraction with mindfulness, leaping into the unseen, the treasures we will gain will be priceless. We will begin to truly know that when we jump in The Fool, we will be supported. We will begin to trust our intuition, and we will be a co-creator in our own evolution and growth. Trusting the invisible takes deep work. The Fool is here to help us learn.

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// WHEEL OF FORTUNE // Centering in the midst of change
The Wheel of Fortune heralds the coming of great change, the marriage between our choices and our destiny. The change that Wheel of Fortune brings is always for our good. There is no “bad” turn on this card, and there is no reversal.

When we work with the Wheel of Fortune, we can never see the change that’s coming. It teaches us to root into the unknown, and to stay centered in the Wheel, rather than flailing on the outer edges. When we work with this card, we get to learn how to root into ourselves in times of change, staying calm in the eye of the storm. Beautiful wisdom for life.

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// DEATH // Sacred Compost
There is no greater metaphor for the Death card than that of composting. I eat you, then you eat me. Nothing truly dies in the Death card, just like nothing ever truly dies here on Earth. It merely changes form, becoming a different version of what it was.

The Death card is the transformation of something – a relationship, a thought pattern, a belief – into something new. When we work in this card, it is a signal that we are no longer being fed by something growing in the garden of our lives. It lets us know that it is time to pull the weeds up and allow it to become sacred fertilizer, encouraging the new things in our lives to grow. The work we do in this card is profound ego surrender, letting go of the things that are ready to go.

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// THE DEVIL // Blessing the Shadow
The Devil is an opportunity to look deeply at our shadow. Are we judging ourselves? Believing that there is something wrong with us? Are we spiraling into an old, destructive pattern out of fear or contraction? If we are, The Devil will let us know.

If we pull this card, it is a sign that we are doing everything right. The Devil always shows up as a little mindfulness bell around our expansion, letting us know that the brain is trying to pull us into some old, limiting patterns to keep us in what it perceives as safe and known. We get to drop into these patterns and say no thank you to the invitation, whatever it may be. By doing so, we liberate ourselves from believing that we are “bad” or “wrong,” to thinking that there is anything adverse about us for our desires or our anger, and allowing all parts of ourselves to just be there.

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// THE TOWER // When Things go Wrong
Everyone has experienced a Tower moment in their lives. It is a moment where it truly feels like everything has gone wrong – it can feel like we are living in a nightmare. A beautiful metaphor for The Tower is a forest fire. We watch everything burn, knowing that it is clearing the soil for new growth.

It is an intentional shaking of the foundations underneath us, all to help us grow, and shed some part of ourselves that is no longer aligned with our expansion. The Tower can be intensely uncomfortable, or it can be a very minor, internal experience. When we survive and move through Tower experiences, we emerge stronger, clearer and transformed, our lives shifted on its very axis.

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// THE MOON // Floating in the Darkness
In The Moon card, we learn how to hang out in the Void – no easy feat! Ruled by Pisces, this card goes as deep as it can go. It is an experience of truly not knowing where we are going next, not having any answers, and feeling like we are floating back into old, shadowy feelings and emotions. To experience this can be very uncomfortable, and can make us want to really swim to shore, to find the light, to get some semblance of clarity and direction.

But, the more we kick, the deeper the waves become. We eventually learn the most profound surrender in The Moon card, letting the darkness become an ally, learning from the quiet, tuning in with ourselves beyond the din of our ego. When the light finally dawns, we learn that we have been moving all along, allowing the currents to take us to our next destination.

Want to go deeper into these energies, and learn how to work with your own fear in a mindful, empowered way? Please join me for my brand new course, From Fear to Medicine: A Six Week Journey into the “Scary” Cards of the Tarot. The first class begins on April 22nd – find out more HERE

SHAMAN DUREK SAYS SPIRITUALITY IS JUST COMMON SENSE

Shaman Durek is a visionary for the Now Age. In this excerpt from a talk he gave at the Obonjan wellness festival in summer 2018, he why spirituality is simply Common Sense—and how, with loving interrogation of our darkest places, it is within all our power to heal ourselves …

Photo: Nick Hopper

The spiritual path is not how many times you go to yoga class. It’s not how many workshops you’re doing, or how many healing sessions you got. It is found in the loving interrogation of the places you are vulnerable to the dark intelligence of “the system,” and how much Love you are willing to let into your being instead. Spirituality is actually a matter of Common Sense. Of tapping into the intelligence, the common knowing, of Spirit, of all that is.

This is what makes each and every one of you a powerful pastor, a teacher, a healer, an artist, a creator, an innovator, an edge maker. Someone who’s here to bring forth something that I need to learn, that we all need to learn.

I believe that we all have power. There is no hierarchy here. I don’t believe in gurus. And one of the things I’m here on the planet to do is to educate other spiritual leaders to stop playing their power games. To start delivering the truth and the teachings that have been made available to all by Spirit. To share the knowledge about how to access and use these tools.

I’m about, “Here it is. This is it. Take what you want from it. Go ahead. All the stuff in this box from the ancestors, all those tools over there. Just take it all, and use it because you’re powerful.” Because these are not the times to be playing small. You gotta be a rebel if you’re going to survive what’s happening at this time on the planet Earth.

Durek will lead a special Shamanic Tongues healing session at our NYC event on 11/10. Click for info

 

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We Shamans call the Earth a “type two” planet. Meaning it’s a slave planet. That the species has been conditioned to work against itself in its own process of evolution. Has been enslaved by the idea that it needs to be validated, loved, appreciated, and seen, as its reason for functioning. Instead of knowing that it is already loved, and that the embodiment of this Love is what will drive the species forward. If we truly knew this, we would not create bombs. There would be no war. Because Common Sense tells us that this would only hurt the species.

And yet we accept this paradigm because we have been abused.

When I say this, people often reply, “but I had a perfect life, nothing ever happened to me.” Well bullshit. It did happen to you. It happened to all of us. We have all been treated like dogs and trained in the idea that if we’re not acting a certain way, passing a test, getting good grades, doing something useful, we’ll be punished. That we will not be loved. This creates the belief that there’s always something to prove. That we must become something else and that we must accumulate certain things in order to be valuable as a human being. This in itself is abuse.

And the “dark intelligence” that created this system, is smart. It knows that if it can suppress the feminine, feeling part of you, you will become disconnected, from yourself and from each other. You will become disconnected from your intuition. Disconnect from your ability to recognize yourself as a Creator. Meaning you will keep looking for validation from the outside to acknowledge your power. Keep producing, keep consuming, versus knowing that all you need is in you, always.

We’ve been programmed to believe that our safety is based on how much we collect. How much we have. How much we hold on to. But these things only tie us down you down. Because you start to believe that your personality is tied to all these things, when in fact the only thing that matters is in the way you give someone a hug. The way that you sit and look someone in the eyes and you’re there for them.

We are living in a system that did not provide us the emotional intelligence to feel safe to simply be ourselves. But we must rebel against this conditioning. Meaning we have to rebel against every single thing that we sit in judgment about.

 

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When I asked Spirit: “Why is there so much suffering and pain on our Earth?” she told me that all suffering is the result of a malfunction in thinking. I asked, “What about war?” A malfunction in thinking. “Sickness?” A malfunction in thinking.

And our whole system is built to keep our thinking, our creative energy, and our powers of manifestation, focused on the suffering of the world. So that we will keep getting more of it. And it will never stop.

For example, if you see someone who’s sick and you focus on their pain, you’re accepting this reality and you’re locking it in. It will make it harder for that person to get better. You will recognize your power when someone tells you, “my God, I’m going through such a hard time.” And you don’t go into that story with them. You choose instead to see them where they need to be. Within this simple shift, you’re pulling the negative energy out of their life. You’re doing powerful energy work on them.

You see, you think these negative thoughts are yours. They are not, but you don’t question them. Because that’s what the system wants. That’s why they tell you if you talk to yourself you’re crazy.

But when you hear a voice that tells you, “You are an idiot,” it’s your turn to ask, “Why am I an idiot?” The voice may reply: “Well, because you did this when you were at school.” And again, you can ask: “But that was a long time ago, and why does it mean I’m an idiot?” The voice will continue to try and convince you … “Well, you know, because blah blah.” But if you keep questioning it, after a while you’ll show the voice that you’re not going to accept it. Soon, the same negative voice will appear in your head, and you’ll be like, “nice try, thanks for calling. Click.”

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So start questioning. I call it loving interrogation. You lovingly interrogate yourself when confronted with that nonsense. You lovingly interrogate the voice about the lies you have been told that are limiting you from realizing your ultimate power as a Creator.

Because every time a negative thought comes into your head and you let it ride its course, you’re drinking poison. Every time a doubt enters your being and you accept it and let it affect you, you’re drinking poison. Every time you get into a negative conversation with someone and you sit there and just continue listening, you’re putting poison in. I don’t care how much green juice you drink. I don’t care if you’re meditating twice a day. As long as you’re letting negative thoughts come into your mind, it’s all cancelled out.

It’s not enough to say, “I am spiritual because I do this or that.” The very things that we don’t like, the very things that make us the most uncomfortable about ourselves, the very things we are most afraid of in the world, are the very things we must learn to interrogate with Love.

We each embody four elements—the spiritual, the mental, the emotional, and the physical. But there is a fifth element, which is Love. When all four elements are working in alignment, all your visions, your dreams, are within reach, and all that’s required to make them manifest is love. And when Love happens, oh my God, then let’s talk about power. This is what we have come here to move into. Then there will be no more playing small in your life. This is it. This is the end of it. It’s done.

Numinous founder Ruby Warrington will be in conversation with Shaman Durek and Maestro Manuel Rufino for Emergence: Building Shamanic Communities in the Now Age on November 10 2018 in NYC. Click HERE for more details + to sign up.

5 WAYS TO FACE YOUR FEARS LIKE THE BUDDHA

Want to cross the threshold into immeasurable growth? Learn how to face your fears like the Buddha, says Angel expert and inspirational speaker, Kyle Gray

Photo: Chris Ensey

Let’s begin with a story …

One day the Buddha was meditating deeply in a hillside cave with one of his devotees keeping watch outside.

Suddenly, the devotee glimpsed a demon called Mara coming up the hill. Panicked, he began trying to figure out how to keep Mara away from the Buddha, dreaming up excuses about him being out for lunch or away shopping.

Lost in thought, he felt something breathing down on him and looked up to find Mara in all his demonic glory—tongue out, blue-skinned, frightening. “I’m here to see the Buddha,” Mara said. The guard didn’t know what to say when he was interrupted by a voice inside the cave. “Let him come in,” said the Buddha.

Mara entered the cave and stood before the Buddha. “I see you, Mara,” said the Buddha.

He looked at Mara right in the eye. He acknowledged him. He conversed with him. He accepted him. He allowed him to be there and found comfort in his presence. 

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This story is a huge metaphor for Fear. You are the cave. Mara is your fear. The guard is your ego. And Buddha is the voice of your soul.

We seldom want to deal directly with our fears. But to live a life of integrity and purpose we must shed light on our own darkness, and be willing to feel exactly what we feel. Our emotions are our messengers and Fear is one of our ultimate assignments.

Here are 5 ways to face your fears like the Buddha and begin to uncover your true purpose in the process …

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1// Fear reveals what we truly value 
Our emotions are constantly communicating to us who we are and helping us discern what is important to us.

Fear often arises when we really care about something. It’s a reminder that we want to do a good job, or make a good choice, or even be a good person. Whenever Fear rises up for me, it’s because I really want to deliver my best self to the world. Whenever it arrives it’s simply my higher self, asking me “are you sure you want to be this powerful?” And the answer is simple:  “Yes, I do!”

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2// Fear is our assignment
Ultimately Fear is an assignment, and you can choose to deal directly or run. If you choose the former, you are standing on the cusp of your greatness.

When we agree to face our fears head on, we create space for the miraculous, and remove the blocks that have held us back from living a completely heart-centred life. Your Fear is giving you an opportunity to rise. It’s what I call ‘the spiritual emotional colonic’—giving you the chance to leave your shit in the past, once and for all.

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3// Fear is just another form of Love
On the surface, it may appear that these two emotions are opposites—and we often get told this. That Love is the moment we remember we are one with the Universe—when we feel completely held supported and guided. And that Fear, conversely, is the moment we feel stuck, alone, and even lost.

But in reality, Fear and Love are both the energy of the Universe expressing itself in different forms. The energy that feels heavy, intense, and restrictive—what we might call Fear—is the same energy that can be transformed directly into the feeling of connectedness, support, and abundance. Use Fear to tap into Love by shifting your perceptions and realizing their interconnectedness. Which is that the presence of Fear shows us the path to Love.

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4// Fear is an opportunity for dialogue
When the Buddha (representing our soul voice) communicates directly with Mara (the incarnation of Fear), he is able to penetrate through the Fear and see it for what it is.

When your Fear threatens to take over, you might stop and have a loving but firm conversation with it. Try the following:

Hello Fear. Thank you for being here and for reminding me how much I care about this situation. I see you, I hear you, I feel you, Mara. But today, I am choosing to believe the higher truth that I am one with the Universe. Because of this, I can let you go and surrender this whole situation. I know I am being led to where I need to be.

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5// Fear is your birthright
When your Fear appears, you are being given the invitation to be strong, powerful, and real. Claim this for yourself—it’s your birthright.

All our emotions are messengers. Your fears are assignments. And all of this is ultimately because you have chosen (consciously or unconsciously) to be the most powerful possible version of you.

Know that when the voice of Fear gets louder it’s because you are on the verge of a miracle, and that the only way to experience that miracle is to sit with the Fear, communicate with it, make friends with you. You wouldn’t be experiencing this assignment if the Universe didn’t think you were ready.

Take the opportunity to rise up. In the words of Joan of Arc, “You were born for this!”

Kyle Gray is an Angel expert and an inspirational speaker. He’s also a Lululemon yoga and meditation ambassador, and international bestselling author of 6 books including Raise Your Vibration, Angel Prayers, and the brand-new Light Warrior. 

NUMINOUS WEEKLY TAROTSCOPE: JUNE 22—28 2017

The Strength card is back, and the invitation is to leap into something a little scary … but exciting, says Lindsay Mack.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: SELF-CARE WITH MAINSTREAM MEDIA

Skip to Wednesday if you want this week’s BIG MESSAGE about self-care with mainstream media. Clue: please practice extreme caution…

Step AWAY from the headlines…and reach out to Mother Nature

:: MONDAY ::
Moon Club launch day! If you didn’t read about it already, this post explains everything you need to know about the new mentoring + coaching program from me and Alexandra Roxo, which we announced tonight on our online ritual for the Taurus Full Moon supermoon. We’d actually put the launch date off several times, and hadn’t really paid too much attention to the fact we would be going live with the project right after the election—but following the events of the last week, our message—which is all about inspiring and activating a new generation of spiritual activists—feels more relevant now than ever.

I was also feeling confident about the potential of this project, thanks to an akashic records reading with amazing Andrea Frade the day right after the election (which will forever be remembered as 11/9, in a bizarre—or not—twist of numerological irony). When I asked my guides, teary-eyed, how the work I am doing with the Numinous could have more impact, and reach the people who need it most, the answer was pretty direct: gather large groups of people, women in particular, and share the tools and wisdom I have learned to help mobilize individuals to act. Which is the mission of Moon Club to a tee. Discover more about Andrea and her work at Andreafrade.com. To learn more about Moon Club and sign up, go to Moonclub.co

:: TUESDAY ::
In times of trauma and overwhelm (anybody?!), while some may turn to Xanax, my first port of call is always Kerri Aab—a.k.a. my flower lady. Which sounds pretty fluffy, ha, I know, but seriously—Kerri’s custom flower remedies have got me through pretty much every major “push” of the past few years. The effect, which builds over a course of weeks, is subtle—kind of like the self-affirming boost you get from a great conversation with a mentor or trusted friend. I wrote in more detail about this here. And after our session today, I also had Kerri write this beautiful piece about how being of service has helped her through the darkest of times. Discover more about Kerri and her work at Seedtoblossom.com

:: WEDNESDAY ::
A long talk with amazing Betsy LeFae—a professional intuitive coach, whose mission is to teach people how to trust our own inner knowing. The main topic of conversation? How it is of utmost importance right now to practice self-care and extreme caution when consuming mainstream media reports on the events that are unfolding post 11/9. YES we need to be informed. But what we really, really, really don’t need is to overdose on sensationalist headlines to the point of paralysis.

Think about the root of that word: sensationalist. As a journalist with almost 20 years working in the mainstream media, the most “successful” stories (the ones which keep readers coming back for more, and advertisers paying big bucks to reach those readers) are the ones that make us feel something (cause a physical “sensation” in our body). And the feeling that will keep people utterly hooked on the content you’re putting out is FEAR.

Get your readers afraid, and the adrenalin spike will trigger the “fight or flight” response, utterly drowning out our connection to the steady and calm inner voice that ALWAYS knows what is best for us. The result? You keep looking for “answers” (those headlines again) from the place which is actually keeping you trapped in fear. And so the cycle continues.

Worse, like the proverbial deer in the headlights, this cycle is also what prevents us from getting OUT OF THE FUCKING WAY of oncoming disaster—versus choosing the next right actions to steer ourselves and our loved-ones (as in like, the whole of humanity) to safety.

But also, we need to be informed. If you have found a credible, reliable news source that sticks to the facts (tricky, since it also feels pretty much like political quicksand out there right now) and presents them in a calm, helpful way, then please comment below! I’m doing my research on this too and will be sharing on our social media channels.

:: THURSDAY ::
Re. above, a word on “fear,” the big, bad wolf of the “spiritual” community. I actually believe that fear is a healthy and useful human emotion like any other. Without fear, we’d likely take all kinds of risks that could prove very detrimental to our wellbeing! But Betsy had another great point, which I was reminded of today when I had my first meeting post 11/9 out in “corporate America”—and witnessed first hand how fearful the majority of the population is right now!

There’s a difference between fear of an actual, physical, threat, and fear of a perceived danger up ahead.

Yes, there appear to be many, MANY, dangerous potential outcomes to the current political situation. But while we wait for the zombies to emerge from the swamp in all their gory glory, let’s do what we can (breath, keep taking the Rescue Remedy, stay away from adrenalin / fear exacerbating substances like coffee and alcohol, disengage as much as possible from sensationalist mainstream media), and keep focussed on the daily actions that our inner knowing knows is best for us and for our communities.

:: FRIDAY ::
Like…practicing utmost vigilance in making consumer choices that are good for us and for the planet, maybe? At the very heart of the current situation, Mother Earth is potentially the biggest loser of all—while we, as her children, will suffer to the extent that she does. Corrupt polititians included!! I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the struggles at Standing Rock have provided a constant backdrop to this entire presidential season—acting as both a mirror and a metaphor for the REAL issues at stake. Corporate greed, embodied, quite literally, by you-know-who, versus the rights of ALL PEOPLE to share in the abundance of Earth (all our home, y’all!)

This weekend I’ll be staked out at Ethikal—an “all good” holiday pop-up market from 1 Hotels, selling our Numinous sweatshirts—of which 10% of sales go to the Urban Yogis (also our partners for our #TuneInPeaceOut event back in September). Today this all feels like a drop in the ocean, considering the potential of what lies ahead. But the way I see it, step-by-step is the only way forward. And it’s when we ALL feel empowered to take the next right steps, that we will make progress together. 

HOLY F*CK: HOLDING SPACE FOR MY SHADOW SELF

“Just like our sexual self don’t have much space to roam in this world, neither does our shadow self…” says Alexandra Roxo.

Which is a mask, which is a shadow, and which is my truth?

Last week in my Holy F*ck salon I felt a heaviness as we gathered on the call, and so I asked: “How many of us are in pain today?” To which everyone replied: “Me.” Some quietly, some more boldly. We were about to do a round of storytelling around transcendental orgasms, but instead I decided: “Fuck talking orgasms today. Let’s talk shame. Sorrow. Rage.’”

I myself was in the deep throes of having let my shadow out to speak her voice at Burning Man, having been silenced for months. I’d literally called on my WHOLE healing team to help me process the experience. Coach Perri Gorman. Intuitive wizard Luke Simon. Michael Ventura, who’s been working with me on this for three years! And a psychologist I met at Burning Man, Justin Hartery.  Plus all my besties. LIKE WHOA IT TAKES A VILLAGE, and I’m so grateful I have help when I need it.

Somewhere during Eclipse season, at the Temple on the “playa”, some old wounds had gotten a fresh surface scrape. As a result I was oozing blood onto everything in my life. And as my wounds and the wounds of all the ladies of the salon were given a voice on that call, I realized—just like our sexual selves don’t have much space to roam in this world, neither do our shadow selves. But when they come knocking we have to answer.

We put on happy faces left and right and keep our shadow tucked away. We don’t want to “be a downer” at a party. So we tuck those feelings away. They get judged, while the “positive” feelings get center stage. Sometimes these are the shadow itself behind a clever mask, and sometimes the positive feeling is holding its hand over the “negative” one, creating a carefully curated dialogue.

“Who, me? No! I’m not insanely horny today! I’m great! Been meditating and doing Bikram!”  Or….”I’m fine! I’m not grieving the fact my dad forgot my birthday for the 18th year in a row. I’m a grown up. I should be over it by now, right?”

We walk around as if “doing okay” and “keeping it together” are badges that will earn us Love and Life Merits. We live by “shoulds.” I “should” be grateful. I ‘should” be strong (p.s. I have eliminated SHOULD from my vocab and I challenge you to do the same).

One shadow that surfaced in the salon was the overwhelming shame of being single. Of showing up to weddings and dinner parties alone. Of having people ask you, “Are you seeing anyone?” before asking about your work, your passions, your friends.

Another that floated into our call was about being in your 30’s and having your parents still supporting you. Many women I love deeply are supported by their families as adults, and since society says this is wrong, it creates yet more shame. When in truth their tribe is caring for them.

On the flip-side, another of my own shadows has been wearing the “Independent Woman” costume (ahem armor) that serves me so well at times, but had become hard to pull off, creating a tough barrier to deeper connections and vulnerability’—until it got ripped off at Burning Man that is.

As we gave these feelings a voice, they were like orphaned children being held tightly for the first time in a long time. How beautiful it was to each other say: “I pretend it’s okay. But I’m in pain.” As we each cried, the rest of us just listened. And I got to thinking…

What if we did this at dinner parties? What if we could eschew some of the socialization that keeps us separate and lonely by keeping these feelings—our truths—hidden away? And what if when I said: “I just feel ugly today”—instead of you replying, “Girl, you’re beautiful!” you just honored my feeling?

What if we just held space for that feeling like two wild witches on a Full Moon in the woods, and watched her fly around the room until she disappeared out the window and into the stars to be at home with all the other parts of our souls? And then we ate spaghetti with marinara sauce until it made our lips red, and talked about where we want to travel before we die and danced to Bowie.

Dancing with my shadows at Burning Man

How about we reclaim old rituals for honoring the shadows together, and make some new ones of our own? How about I just listen as you speak every fear to me…and I don’t try to fix them. I don’t offer you a solution. I don’t tell you “Everything is going to be okay.” I just hear you and see you and witness you and hold you.

After all, we came here to be wild. We came to make “mistakes.” We came to try things and fail. We came to let our hearts be smashed to bits and to carefully sew them back together. We came for glory. And we came for failure.

They tell us to keep it neat and pretty. To “be the light.” But your shadow is your asset. When you hide her away you teeter along as a half version of yourself, dragging a corpse of old, half-acknowledged feelings around. And so next time shame or grief comes calling, answer her. Make her a temple. Throw her a party. Give her center stage for once.

Will the shadow start running the ship? Most likely not. But if this fear exists, then create a container for these feelings. If you know rage could cause chaos, then take her moshing at a concert. Or give her a punching bag at a boxing gym.

In my Holy F*ck salon that day, I made a pledge to my group and we made a pledge to ourselves:

“When you cry I promise not to comfort you. I promise not to usher away your feelings with my ideas of what’s “right” and “wrong.” When you scream, I promise not to shush you and tell you it’s going to be okay. I’ll admit I don’t know if it will be, but I’ll listen and stand tall with you, and be by your side.”

I pledge this to you now and welcome you to share this with the people you call tribe.

This column is dedicated to those Wild Women and Men who are willing to go there with me and grieve and mourn and rage and laugh and cry and dream with me. Who don’t shut me out when things get ugly, and who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty in the name of growth and change. You know who you are.

Alexandra Roxo is a Spiritual + Creative Mentor, Writer, and Filmmaker living in LA.  Find out more on alexandraroxo.com and instagram.com/alexandraroxo/

EMPOWERED ACTION IN THE FACE OF TRAUMA

Recent world events have stirred up many emotions. Louise Androlia shares her wisdom on how to use our feelings as a catalyst for empowered action…. Images: Katya Volpato

Recent world events have left many of us feeling traumatized, whether or not we’ve been directly affected by acts of mass violence. These are turbulent times, and having been working on my own path to trauma recovery recently, I feel called to share some thoughts on how to work on being present in reality—but at the same time not becoming immobilized by fear.

At the root of it all, whether facing our own crisis or confronted with mass crisis, the difficult art to master is that it is safe to feel our feelings and continue to connect, especially when we feel as though it would be wiser to shut down.

The strong emotions being stirred up among switched on communities now are actually a valuable call to action. Here are some ways we can use them—while avoiding losing our connection to our highest selves, or getting swept up in the hype.

THE EMOTION: Overwhelmed
THE GUIDANCE: You can’t save the whole world at once
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Focus your attention

Pick something you currently feel very passionate or perhaps frightened about, and then learn and feel your way through it. Endless browsing through social media feeds may make you feel more frustrated because you also end up reading the comments, which can lead to yet more overwhelm. Instead, choose to focus on your chosen subject and learn all you can. Yes this will be hard if you are used to endless scrolling—because as well as learning, you are re-training your mind to be present.

THE EMOTION: Fear
THE GUIDANCE: Catastrophizing only fuels the fears
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Get involved in local politics and community

Looking on Facebook lately, all I’ve seen is people screaming into the Internet abyss about the apocalypse and giving fuel to their own fear and sadness in the process. This helps no one, including you. So look at how you can actually get involved within your community, and if you don’t see anything obvious, start something. It is so easy to just say ‘Fuck the world’. But this is not the time to give up. It’s time to shout louder, IRL, and to remember your voice and your vote DOES count.

THE EMOTION: Anger
THE GUIDANCE: Do not fight fire with fire
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Feel your anger; then channel it into positive action

The elements can always teach us something—for example, anger is a fire element emotion, while compassion and feelings are water element emotions. And you don’t put out a forest fire by setting another part of the forest on fire! Action, and so activism, is a positive channel for anger, and if what’s needed now is more of the water element, become an activist for love, compassion, equality, empathy, and connection.

THE EMOTION: Grief
THE GUIDANCE: It is safe to feel your feelings
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Explore and nurture your shadow side

Man of us are experiencing a huge collective sense of grief, coming in all forms, and for anybody not used to this emotion, this level of pain can seem very frightening to the mind, body and spirit. This is not a time to numb the pain, but instead an opportunity to dive deeper in your own self-inquiry practice. Checking out of reality serves no one, including you. Allow yourself to acknowledge and feel all the fears that have arisen recently and know that it is okay to do so. It can sometimes feel like our own personal crises are not ‘bad’ enough to warrant being the focus of our compassion—but ignoring your own pain will leave you unable to serve. By learning to compassionately address what is currently coming up for you, then you are actually helping to heal the collective and creating connection between yourself, your peers and those strangers you are really feeling for.

THE EMOTION: Helplessness
THE GUIDANCE: Re-connect to yourself
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Take a media break

First of all, avoid watching or reading the mainstream news on a loop. Studies show that when we keep recycling the news over and over we are re-traumatizing constantly. And the more scared we feel, the more helpless we can feel. To be able to start being of service it is essential that we learn to reconnect to our selves, as once back in the present moment we feel more stable to help others. I’ve also lost count of how many people I hear saying they wish they could use social media less, as this can have a similar way of hooking us into judgment and fear, and distancing us from our own truths. The great news is…you can!

Some easy ways to start:

  • Leave your phone at home and go for a walk in your neighborhood.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode at night.
  • Create a ‘no social media after ***pm’ rule.
  • Log out of all your social media channels on your computer and phone. This means that when you go to use them you become aware that you have to login. This allows using them to become intentional.
  • Move your social icons on your phone to a folder and put it on the last page of scrolling. Again this means you CHOOSE when to look rather than it just being there.
  • Do not read the comments. I repeat DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS.

These small actions may feel massively uncomfortable, and if so, good. If you feel anxious without your phone, good. The present moment will continue to feel painful until you learn to be IN it. And look how much time you now have! What would you like to do with it? I suggest reconnecting to PLAY. Connecting with your inner child is another way to ease anxiety and help you reconnect to your natural energy of love and connection. When you refresh your true north, you are more likely to be able to shift your helplessness into self-love.

THE EMOTION: Frustration
THE GUIDANCE: Express yourself in the way that works for you
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Show don’t tell

It can be really hard to express yourself in a way that you feel helps, especially when you’re angry and upset. It’s good to remember that we rarely get our point across when we try and force it upon someone and so preaching doesn’t usually feel good. You will always feel better when you can express yourself articulately and if you find it difficult to feel confidence with expressing yourself with words, remember also that you can always just BE the change. We always positively affect those around us with our behavior. So think: what small steps can you take in your day-to-day life that will provide example of the kind of world you’d like to live in?

*** 

A Final Word on Black Lives Matter. Vs All Lives Matter.

This is an argument that’s been raging, and below are a few of my favorite simple ways to explain the situation to someone who is having trouble understanding. It is part of human nature to make everything about ourselves (regardless of the topic) since in times of trauma our survival instinct kicks in. But it’s important to learn to recognize that not EVERYTHING is about us. The more that we can see ourselves connected to everyone else, the more empathy we can ignite.

  • “When we say ‘Save the Rainforests’, it doesn’t mean that all other forests suck.”
  • “Choosing to go to a rally for Breast Cancer does not mean that Liver Cancer is less important.”
  • “Saving an animal that’s about to go extinct does not mean that other animals aren’t important, it just means that right now, this one needs our help.”
  • “Yes, of course all lives are important, but currently it doesn’t feel like black lives are as important as other lives—and until the world is equal, meaning ALL people receive the same level of kindness and judicial treatment, then we need to speak up.”
  • “Choosing to support black lives does not mean your life is any less significant.”

You get the idea.

FACE YOUR FEARS…AT A SEX, DRUGS AND DEATH RETREAT

Personal development can sky-rocket when you decide to face your fears—as Rose Surnow discovered on a sex, drugs and death retreat…

Here’s me facing my fear of looking fierce AF.

I’m afraid of… basically everything. Swimming in a dark pool? What about sharks? Even though that’s impossible. Cute guy asks me on a date? He probably just wants to murder me and sell my pubic hair on Craigslist. Amazing job opportunity falls in my lap? It’s obviously a Ponzi scheme run by terrorists. So many fears, so little time!

Raised by intelligent but pathologically anxious parents, I was taught that the world is a land mine where nothing is safe. Wear a sweater! Wear a helmet! Wear a hazmat suit! Better yet, just don’t go outside. SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN. “Being Jewish is so relaxing,” said no one, ever.

So, it goes without saying I’d be terrified of things like sex, drugs and death. My greatest fear is probably having sex on drugs, and then dying. So, when I was invited to a mindfulness retreat called “The Taboo Weekend” to discuss these exact topics, I jumped at the chance. It was time to face some fears.

Organized by bohemian power-couple Michael Hebb and Angel Grant, the event is meant to help people open up about difficult subjects in order to live a more meaningful life. Hebb and Grant started the company Death Over Dinner, where they host dinner parties all over the world, to get people talking about death.

Held at a beautiful luxury retreat center in Atlanta, called the Inn at Serenbe the event was three days of discussion, meditation and reflection. And it was an incredible. I felt my heart break open a little more, my walls come down a couple inches, and my spirit get lighter and more free.

If you ever find yourself at the Taboo Weekend (which I highly recommend) or any retreat at all, check out my tips on how to get the most out of it. Because if I can get out of my fears and be present, literally anyone can.

:: PARTICIPATE FULLY ::
It’s easier to be a Skeptical Susan, judging life from the sidelines, than a Participating Pam. But Pam always wins in the end.

On the last day of the retreat we had a “sex lunch” which meant we sat in randomly assigned groups, ate fried chicken and took turns answering really personal questions about our sex lives. A dude in recovery confessed that sober sex was really intimidating. A beautiful blond talked about how her anti-depressants made climax impossible. And a hot German guy admitted that he didn’t like casual hook-ups and needed an emotional connection.

Everyone just spilled their insecurities like it was no big deal, and it was kind of an epiphany. Maybe our biggest insecurities aren’t that big of deal. Maybe we’re all just people doing the best we can trying to figure it out. I left that conversation feeling lighter than I have since I was a kid.

This was our bangin’-ass hot tub where I met my retreat boyfriend.

:: GET IN THE HOT TUB ::
I think it was Shakespeare who said, “Hot things happen in hot tubs.” So get in already! (And, if your retreat doesn’t have a Jacuzzi, what the fuck are you even doing there?)

On the first night of my Taboo weekend, I ended up in a Jacuzzi with a group of cute, young people because, doy. Slowly, everyone left to go to bed until it was just me and this hot guy named Brian. HOW CONVENIENT. We looked at the stars for a while and pretended to ignore the implications of being the last ones left. Then he walked me to my hotel room where we made out until the sun came up.

The point is you could die at any moment, so get in the hot tub of LIFE and make-out with Brian. Sidenote: straight men who go on mindfulness retreats are amazing lovers. Slow, sensitive and sensual it almost makes up for every single dude you slept with in college.

:: INTERVIEW A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR BUT, SOMEHOW MAKE IT ABOUT YOURSELF ::
The speaker who gave us a lecture about drugs was best-selling author, addiction expert and Holocaust survivor, Gabor Mate. Even though he’s 72 years old, he’s still fine as hell in that tormented Eastern European way. He looks like if Adrien Brody melted.

Gabor spoke a lot about the mind-body connection and if I can reduce his two-hour lecture to one sentence, it would be: Every problem in your life stems from not getting the love you needed as a child.

Obviously, that’s incredibly simplistic, but I can’t summarize his entire lecture here (but you should definitely watch his Ted Talk).

After hearing Gabor talk, I interviewed him about his life. I asked about his experience in Budapest during the Holocaust and then somehow we ended up talking about depression. Gabor has been on and off Prozac for decades, and I’ve been on Lexepro since I was 19. Then Gabor started asking me all these really personal questions about my life, my childhood, my family. Suddenly, I found myself crying about my parents’ divorce…when this motherfucker SURVIVED THE HOLOCAUST.

I’ve never felt more millennial: “Oh, your grandfather was murdered by Nazis. That sucks. My dad didn’t support my art!”

By the end of the conversation, Gabor had me smiling and laughing. “How do you feel now?” he asked me.

“I feel great, relaxed,” I said.

“That is your true essence,” he replied. “That is who you really are.”

Gabor thinking deep thoughts.

:: STAY CALM WHEN A WOMAN GETS POSSESSED BY KUNDALINI YOGA SPIRITS ::
Weird things happen at New Age retreats. I was sitting in a small lecture with Gabor Mate when all of the sudden this woman started violently convulsing. Gasping for breath, jerking, and shaking, I thought for sure she was having a panic attack.

Apparently, she was experiencing some kind of “Kundalini episode.” Whatever it was, it was scary to watch. I was starting to feel a little panic-by-proxy, when Gabor started to calm her down.

“What’s going on, right now?

“I can’t control it,” she said.

“That’s okay. How are you feeling?” he asked.

“I’m embarrassed. I feel like I’m being too dramatic. I feel like I’m too much for people,” she cried as she flailed around.

Then Gabor asked us all to stand up and get out of our chairs and imitate her movements. “We will do it with you, so you’re not alone.” We started jerking and shaking and it was kind of fun. We looked like a group of white people trying to dance. Finally, she calmed down.

It was like magic. Gabor turned this weird, edgy experience, into a supportive, playful exercise. Everything was okay. She was okay. She just needed to feel like she wasn’t alone.

***

If there’s one thing I learned over and over again on this retreat is that we’re all WAY TOO HARD ON OURSELVES. I spent three days having radically honest and open conversations with all types of people, from all types of backgrounds. And the thing I heard most was how much pain people were experiencing at their own hand. And I’m no exception.

All our problems are rooted in not feeling loved enough. And it starts with ourselves. I realize this article vacillates between sarcastic and cheesy, genuine and silly, but that’s me. I had no idea what to expect on a sex, drugs and death retreat. But what I got was compassion. A real sense of compassion for other people, for myself and for life.

When you face your fears, maybe the world’s not such a scary place after all.

POLITICAL CLIMATE CHANGE: A COSMIC OVERVIEW

We’re living through a time of intense political climate change, as reflected in the Cosmos. Five of our favorite mystics unpack the signs of the times…and weigh in on the way ahead. Artwork: Sammy Slabbinck

Here on The Numinous, astrology is not a tool for “predicting” future events, or explaining things away while abdicating our role in shaping how our lives play out—both individually, and as a society.

Rather, we see astrology as a language of symbols that speaks to our collective human experience on Earth, offering valuable perspective and allowing us to examine the bigger picture—especially useful at times when emotions are running high, clouding our judgement and making it difficult to choose the next right course of action.

As in the case of Britain’s recent referendum to leave the EU, the shock results of which have seen a nation spiral into panic and chaos. Made all the more vertigo-inducing against a backdrop of unrelenting terrorist attacks, and an emotionally fraught US election campaign.

Last month, in an eerie foreshadowing of the central issues to Brexit, New York magazine described the Clinton-Trump race as: “kind of a civil war. It’s a referendum on the country’s feelings about inclusion, about women, people of color, and their increasing influence…how it edges out the white men who have long held an exclusive grip on power.”

In short, it’s safe to say we are living through a period of intense political climate change—as written in the current movements of the celestial bodies. Skeptical? Since the political polls leading up to the Brexit referendum were woefully misleading (echoing the last general election in the UK), the wisdom offered by our resident astrologers below—including commentary on what will be needed of us moving forward—feels as relevent as anything the political scientists have got to say…

PLUTO IN CAPRICORN by Ash Bonelli
We are in unstable times, and have been financially since 2008 when Pluto, the planet of wealth/power, moved into the structural sign of Capricorn—and the extent of financial corruption in the world began to come to light. We’re currently half way through this cycle—during which we have seen a growing divide between rich and poor with the emergence of a super-elite, as well as major differences in values between the generations. (NB. “Even eerier? The last time Pluto was in Capricorn was 1762-1778, the exact time when the U.S. was fighting for its independence from England. It was also during this transit that Thomas Jefferson sounded the rallying cry for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and helped author the U.S. Constitution.” – Ophira Edut)

SATURN SQUARE NEPTUNE by Ameila Quint
The Saturn-Neptune square, currently occurring November 2015 through September 2016, is shifting cultural philosophies on a global scale. To give you the big picture, this alignment has caused ideological clashes for centuries in a looping cycle that goes back as far as the Salem Witch Trials and the Crusades!

Saturn is in Sagittarius, the sign of foreign affairs, expatriates, and immigration—all issues at the heart of the Brexit referendum. Sagittarius also rules expansion, so we’re being called to open our hearts and minds to new ways of relating and thinking. Unfortunately, this change won’t come easy with tough Saturn in play.

On the other hand, Neptune is in Pisces, his home sign. This magnifies the energies of compassion, healing, and spirituality. It’s a call from the Universe to ask, on a societal level, what you believe and why. The Brexit referendum did just that. It’s also interesting that Saturn and Neptune are both associated with karma in their own way, because the reverberations of this vote have certainly been karmic in scope.

JUPITER TRINE PLUTO by Ophira Edut
The announcement of Brexit also coincided with the June 26 barrier-breaking Jupiter-Pluto trine, a rare meet-up between global connector Jupiter and powerhouse Pluto. Trines are generally positive and harmonious—but they can also cause things to move quickly, and this massive upheaval happened in the blink of an eye, or so it seemed.

Jupiter is an excitable, optimistic planet that can quickly overshoot its mark. The hopeful populists did not wake up the morning after Brexit economically or politically empowered, but rather, to a currency that plunged to its lowest value in 31 years overnight.

Jupiter is also the “armchair philosopher” of the cosmos, whose starry-eyed visions don’t necessarily translate into reality. Stateside, we hear echoes of Trump’s “Make America great again” slogan. Um, perspective please? If anything, Trump—with his Plutonian land grabs and abuses of power—is making America hate again. And that’s the last thing this world needs now.

MARS DIRECT by Hannah Ariel
With warrior planet Mars about to go direct in controlling Scorpio (June 30th 2016) our urge to define, defend and protect boundaries is intensified to extremes. Mars in Scorpio demands that our actions reflect our integrity—and as it resumes direct motion, what we “yes” and “no” to becomes an act of personal empowerment.

This is a period of cutting ties, creating new bonds, and ultimately realizing from whence we draw our power—and what we must do with this power once we feel we have it. Scorpio rules creation and re-creation, so there is nothing being destroyed at this time that cannot be re-created.

THE UNIVERSAL 9 YEAR by Felicia Bender
In numerology, 2016 is a Universal 9 year—the number of completion, of letting go, transition, and transformation. It is a year of surrender, in it’s truest sense—a positive, intuitive way of living, that grows we learn to develop trust.

Trust that’s needed in a time where old paradigms are crumbling, dissolving, going up in flames or coming up for serious review. We can see this everywhere, from Trumpmania, mass violence, and displaced refugees, to the spotlight on rape culture, and the Brexit referendum—to name just a few boiling points. Numerologically, this is right on time.

This is the end of a cycle, and we can’t move into the next phase without a sobering and stark look at what has been (since the cycle began in 2008—the last universal 1 year) and where we’re at. The task at hand is to then let go of all that’s no longer serving all of us. This isn’t easy. It’s terrifying. It incites anger and fear and every other possible emotion.

THE WAY AHEAD…
“We can use this Saturn/Neptune square for the overall good. We must work on building a solid foundation (Saturn) that is created from a place of justice for all (Neptune). A place where everyone has their needs met. A society where equality becomes commonplace. But it will take time, patience, respect and dedication to achieve these Neptunian dreams.” – Ash Bonelli

“Saturn rules authorities while Neptune rules visionaries, and these groups were very much square to each other in the Brexit polling results. Still, the only way to make this transit work is to find a balance. In this case, this means steadying dogma with compassion, and laws meant to protect with laws that truly heal.” – Amelia Quint

“If anything, Brexit and Donald Trump’s shocking success is exposing an inconvenient truth: Despite the gains of social policies such as marriage equality, there’s a hate-filled Orlando shooter, a Brock Turner getting a tiny slap on the wrist in the Stanford rape case, millions of scared and small-minded people who would rather tank their economy than allow a Muslim or a Mexican to cross “their” (in some cases stolen) borders. We can’t sweep this under the rug or look the other way much longer…which, while also inconvenient, is a wakeup call we can’t ignore.” – Ophira Edut

“The key? Understand that what must fall away must do so without a net, leaving behind a liminal space—a gap. Understanding that we must make friends with this vortex of uncertainty while the old is cleared and the new is being created. And despite all of our impulses otherwise, we must enter into this space with optimism and a sense of excitement, because here is the opportunity of a lifetime to create something new on a massive scale. This process is not for wimps. It’s easier to criticize and despair. Yet it’s our challenge and our charge to visualize and create a now and a future that is more evolved and humanitarian across the board.” – Felicia Bender

“Stay tuned for how this plays out, as the Sun in Cancer will come into its yearly opposition to Pluto in Capricorn July 1st, reminding us that what brings us comfort can also at times hinder out ability to grow. No matter how much is perceived to be at stake these days, the astrology of the times reminds us that it’s all for the sake of transformation.” – Hannah Ariel

HOLY F*CK: HOW TO FIND YOUR EDGE

Only in the places of discomfort can we experience true healing, says Alexandra Roxo. PLUS 5 ways to find your edge…

Goddess power earrings by Marcia Vidal. Non toxic lipstick by Ilia Beauty.

“There must be something deeply disturbed about a person who wants to be flogged or spit on.” As my friend said this I nearly spit out my kombucha. It was a sunny day and we were sitting on a blanket in the Bay area, having some girl talk, munching on goji berries, having just completed two nights of plant medicine ceremony together.

I started to feel sweaty and hot which means my deep soul was having a freakout. I put my cup down, took a deep breath summoning massive courage and said: “I disagree. It can also be about a person wanting to push their edges. It can be a game, power play, fun, and a vehicle for catharsis. Something beyond the human polarities of ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ Just as enlightening as any other medicine that pushes you to your edge and into a place of expansion.”

Let’s be real, in a lot of spiritual circles we tend towards the light and white, the higher chakras, high vibes…And well, usually as far away as possible from the dark, scary underbelly of things. Be it talking about BDSM or deep wounds, many of us shy away. After all, IG posts that are dark/revealing and heavy, usually get a lot less likes than the ones that are bright and all “I’m floating up here with my Spirit team!”

Well I say…Fuck. That. In the past few years I’ve found the scary bits—the “nevers,” the edges, the parts that make my heart beat fast—to be possibly my biggest teachers. Lately I’ve been wanting to talk about them more and more among circles of women whose faces might go white as an angel’s wing if I said something about squirting being transcendental. But ladies, the time has come! (And yes squirting, and even fisting, can be transcendental. But more on that another time. Or just DM me, lol.)

>>>

You know those friends who push you to your edge? Usher you out of your cozy wozy comfort zone full of sheepskin rugs and Palo Santo, into a scary dark place you cannot control and force you to pull down your “Everything’s okay!” mask? I LOVE those friends. In the moment, I hate them for “making” me hitchhike with a creepy Mexican man on a beach in Oaxaca into the jungle.

Or for saying: “I saved you a spot on the three-day plant medicine retreat where we’ll be fasting and sleeping under the stars. Bring a poop bucket!” Or for calling me out on my shit. HATE THAT. But I really LOVE it. Thank Goddess for the friends that help you to your edge.

I recently signed up for an online course called a “Relationship Detox” with Perri Gorman. On Perri’s intake form you get to say to what level you want to be pushed. I checked off “HOT ORANGE” or something. Basically as hot as possible. (#overachiever!) So in class the other day, when I had to say what conclusions I had come to after making a relationship chronology, and I started rambling, “Well, we were dating and he said some really mean things but you see I’ve been meditating and doing a lot of WORK on this for months. Many healers. I really feel great about it now!” She stopped me mid-sentence.

“No you don’t. Pull off your mask, get in your pussy and tell me the story again!” I was taken aback but I knew immediately what she meant. I breathed through my mask, told the story again, deeply rooted into my truth, shared all the embarrassing parts, tears running down my cheeks, feeling such a huge catharsis: the feeling of being grounded deeply into my body. And then Perri told me: “Ultimate kindness is to risk saying something the ego may detest but that the soul is craving.” Which a wonderful teacher like that can make happen.

So forget smiling pleasantly with a namaste! Let’s get messy together. Hold space for each other to WAIL. Ask real questions to women who have birthed many babies. Talk about fucking. Sob until snot is running into our mouths. Have multiple orgasms that make us scream uncontrollably and then weep in a puddle of our own fluid. Not be afraid to pull down our masks.

“Thank Goddess for friends who call you out on your shit!”

Be it a paddling to the ass, or a projectile purge into a bucket in a room full of people or simply allowing yourself to feel anger, it’s only at the edge that we’ll find the collective catharsis we are looking for—a massive reconnection into the present of our bodies. And especially into our pussies. Into the force which creates life. Pushing us past our edges into a new land, the land of growth.

I try to push an edge every day. Last week I drove for an hour while still on mushrooms. A few days ago I admitted to a room full of people choking through sobs my deepest darkest shadows in love and relationships. I kissed a snake on the lips a few weeks ago. Just finished 40 days of chanting to Kali. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

:: 5 WAYS TO FIND YOUR EDGE ::

1. Make a list of all the things that make you uncomfortable, or that you said you would never do or say or be or admit. This could be getting naked in front of someone. Crying in front of someone. Admitting to yourself your heart is closed off and you need help. Going on a vision quest. Camping alone. Now get to know that list. Put it on your altar. Start to allow it into your consciousness.

2. Break it into steps. Maybe it’s opening a Tinder account and asking someone out. Or spending time alone. Maybe it’s working out in a sports bra instead of a t-shirt. Signing up for a primal screaming course. A tantric sexual healer. Not exercising for a few days. Everyone’s edge is different! Start small and BREATHE through it. If it’s not making your heart beat fast, then it’s not an edge.

3. Ask for help. I could not have done this alone. Find a friend who helps you find your edge. Or a coach. A teacher. A witness. Someone to keep you accountable and help you and hold you when you cry.

4. When it starts getting tough do not abandon ship! There is a point in the work where we wanna say “Okay cool! I think I’ve got this and I’m gonna take a break.” Don’t do it! Push yourself just a little more. When you make it over that hump it is going to be glorious I tell you!!!

5. When in doubt go back to your pussy and breathe into your roots. Dance alone naked. Shake it off. Keep going. Cry through it. Do not give up. Umm, yeah, Earth hasn’t given up on us though we’ve pillaged her. Our bodies keep going after disease and childbirth and self-hatred and eating disorders. We owe it to ourselves and to the grandma’s that came before us to not give up and get too comfortable.

And P.S. Remember your edge is your own. Do not compare to the friend who did ayahuasca 366 times in Peru. Do not worry about your friend who saw Jesus when she was cumming. Your journey is about YOU. And in your dark personal corners, you could find something so magnificent…you really have NO idea!

If you wanna go deep and investigate your patterns with love, sex and relationships, join us for The Numinous: Re-write your Love Story Retreat July 15-17th in upstate New York! We’re offering an early bird special while Venus is in Gemini of $50 off EACH if you bring a friend (#healinghangdate time!)

SHADOW EMOTION: HOW TO WORK WITH ANGER

Mars retrograde stirring up any suppressed…rage (um, Lemonaid)? You can use your anger as a powerful tool for transformation, says Erin Telford

Anger is my favorite shadow emotion. It’s powerful, it gets things done and it is excellent at creating boundaries and change.

But anger is also one of the most misunderstood and underutilized emotions. As women, we are socialized in both overt and covert ways to be nice, not make a fuss and not rock the boat. When we are taught by our loved-ones and by our culture to bite our tongue in service of keeping the peace, we can get very disconnected from trusting our feelings and from feeling safe to work with this emotion when it flares up.

The thing is, most of us have never seen a healthy expression of anger. We associate it with road rage, throwing things at people, screaming, crying, cursing, fear, abuse, physical threats, danger, and out of control people. These are all examples of unhealthy anger. It’s not an emotion we appreciate so we try our very best to suppress it out of existence.

But it’s actually unexpressed or suppressed anger can get ugly. And beyond the stigma, all anger is, is a catalyst for change and an opportunity for some honest communication. Anger can actually work for you if you work with it.

Anger in its purest form simply says: “I don’t like this. Something needs to be different about this situation.” It’s a call to action! You don’t like it? Okay, change it!

One of the best examples of healthy anger is peaceful protest. This is anger put to work—a group of people turning their collective anger into action to create change. We are seeing this right now in politics, the environment, and human rights. It is impossible for anyone with a beating heart to turn a blind eye to what is going on in our world. We are riled up, expressing our opinions and getting involved!

We can all do this in our personal lives as well. Anger is a very powerful force and if wielded with grace and finesse, it can move mountains. Where we get into trouble with anger is when we push it down, causing it to build.

Anger is connected with the season of spring. This is because it speaks to the catalytic energy surge required to turn a seed into a plant, to push it’s little head above the soil and reach for the sun! Spring, our liver, and by association the energy of anger, are connected with upward and outward growth.

So what happens if your growth is inhibited? What happens when someone tells you “no”? A ridiculous new policy is created at work? What if you are simply just trying to walk down the street and everyone is in your way? You didn’t get the apartment or the job or the acceptance letter, a flight is delayed, a class isn’t offered, you didn’t get the promotion?

These are ways that an obstacle interrupts the smooth flow of our life. We don’t like obstacles. We don’t like no. We don’t like interruptions to our plans.

And so our natural reaction can be anger. Which is totally fine. We are upset.

But to deny this is to block our access our personal power. When we feel guilty about what we feel or label ourselves as being “negative” when we feel angry, we miss out on an opportunity to out-create our circumstances.

Rather, if we can sit with our anger, can look at where it’s coming from and why we feel it, we can polish it into a nugget of transformational gold. If we have been hurt or upset by another person, rather than lashing out, we can advocate for ourselves and clearly state our needs to that person. If someone continually disrespects or hurts us, you may need to use that anger to create a change in the terms of that relationship!

You may have heard that anger turned inward results in depression—an oversimplified expression, since depression has many roots and takes many forms—but there is some weight to it.

When we repress our anger toward a partner, friend, loved one or co-worker by not sharing our truth, we are betraying ourselves. We are inadvertently communicating to ourselves that our feelings don’t matter and we are not worth standing up for. Self-betrayal is the most painful betrayal of all and can decrease self-esteem and confidence—leading to depression.

So we stay snippy and unexpressed and we self-medicate even more or our tense up even more, or our digestion suffers. It doesn’t have to be this way. Use your anger as a call to action to change your circumstances.

Breathe it out. Dance it out. Run it out. Write it out. Scream it out (not at someone else!) Sing it out. Create it out. Talk it out. Paint it out. Boot camp it out. Express it out.

You have to feel it to heal it. You have to let it out to transform it. Just don’t be afraid of anger.

The more you know your triggers and can feel when it’s rising in you, the more gently and safely you can manage this emotion. Anger is so powerful and properly harnessed it can do so much for you. Think of anger as your inner Mama Bear, your inner Kali, and your inner badass.

And let it be fuel to create powerful change and transform your life.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: SHAMANIC SKINCARE, AND ALOHA TO HAWAII

Plus: healing my throat chakra, refining my elevator pitch, and conversation with the sober curious…

:: MONDAY ::
Skype chats about possible future collabs with beautiful Fern Olivia turned into a mini coaching session for me, after I shared how nervous I was feeling about hosting our Club SÖDA NY event this week (see below!) Public speaking is NOT my thing you guys. So Fern gives me a beautiful meditation to do beforehand to help open my throat chakra: lying down, place a crystal (either something blue, or a Rose Quartz) on my throat, and slowly chant “haaam,” feeling the vibrations resonate through my throat. This while visualizing a ball of blue light spinning and expanding there, until it fills up my whole body – and beyond. Which I share with YOU in case, y’know, public speaking isn’t your favorite thing either.

:: TUESDAY ::
My 11-year-old nephew (visiting from the UK): “What’s your book about Ruby?”
Me: “Well, it’s about how I used to work in fashion, but it was really unfulfilling, and so I decided to use astrology, and things, to bring more meaning to my life…”
Nephew: (looks non-plussed)
THE NEXT DAY…
Me: “You know what I said my book was about? (nephew nods) Well it’s really about how to be happy, by always making choices that are right for you.”
Nephew: “Sounds great!”
*way to work out your elevator pitch*

:: WEDNESDAY ::
A delivery from shamanic skincare line Trimaran Botanicals – as in, it’s skincare made and blessed by a shaman! Made in Vancouver, products are not only vegan, toxin-free and filler-free, but are also blessed with spirit messages from the plant and crystal realms, and imprinted with transformational mantras and vibrational potencies. I’m trying out a serum, which smells heavenly and feels like magic as I anoint my (almost 40-year-old) face with it. Self-care doesn’t come much more high vibe.

Facial Serums, $128 CAD, Trimaran Botanicals

:: THURSDAY ::
Blown away by the beautiful souls who came out for my Club SÖDA NYC event with Biet Simkin (see main pics). The discussion was on learning to trust your body to make you feel fantastic, your life to get you inspired, the people you love to feel connected, and your SELF to stay true to a life of high integrity that supports your highest purpose. And to quit outsourcing any and all of the above to the quick fix of alcohol. We pitched the event as a social experiment for the sober curious – and our findings were that this is a conversation that’s only just getting started… Join the Club SÖDA NYC Facebook group to connect and find out about our next events!

:: FRIDAY ::
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!! And what a moment in time astrologically to be stepping into my FIFTH decade. Not only did yesterday’s Aries New Moon (potent intention-planting potential) conjunct my natal Sun to the very degree, Uranus (planet of breakthrough transformation) has passed over the exact SAME degree these past two weeks. Talk about the stars aligning for me to step into my future self with a whole fresh perspective on life, the Numiverse, and everything – which I’ll be shaping during a two week vacation in Hawaii. Which is a long way of saying, no Mystical Week column now until April 29. See you on the other side!

COMFORTABLY NUMB: EAT THE PAIN AWAY

Is our obsession with healthy food just another way to eat the pain away, asks Kate Atkinson? Images: Instagram.com/dishpigs

“Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood —
Cold jelly and custard! “

Lionel Bart, Oliver – Food, Glorious Food Lyrics, 1968.

Cut to the twenty first century: “I’ll have the burger please. Only I won’t have the bun. Or do you have gluten free bread? Wheat gives me hives. Does it have seeds in it too? Where was the meat farmed? Were the cows happy, like REALLY happy? I mean, ecstatic. Oh and can you make sure there isn’t any cheese on there? I’m allergic to dairy. My whole face turns bright yellow when I eat it. Actually I’ll just have some lettuce, thanks.”

To quote the Miranda July film title, this has begun to sound just a little like me and you and everyone we know. And apologies in advance to all my vegan, gluten-free friends out there, but can we just take a step back from obsessing over every morsel that goes in our mouth for a moment?

I’ll preface this by admitting I ate gluten-free bread the other morning (and full disclosure, it was really not as good as sourdough). Why? Because I’d travelled from the NY winter (read: seven layers of clothes + one extra layer of fat) to my home town of sunny Sydney, and found I was suddenly hyper aware of what I ate. But how many of us actually have a serious intolerance to gluten i.e. celiac? Why not just say we feel fat, and are convinced for some reason that “gluten-free” also means less calories?

Here’s some food for thought: are we depriving ourselves of the snacks we know and have always loved, inventing all sorts of conditions, because we’re ashamed to admit that actually we just really want to be perfect? Ashamed of looking stupid and being so susceptible to the unattainable ideals we’re pushed, since we all know perfection is impossible.

As ballet coach Thomas Leroy says to an emaciated Natalie Portman in Black Swan: “Perfection is not just about control. It’s also about letting go. Surprise yourself so you can surprise the audience. Transcendence! Very few have it in them.” And when it comes food, I think we should do likewise.

Back in high school, the pursuit of body-perfection meant doing star jumps in the toilet cubicles and puking when we thought no one is looking. Not me personally, but many girls I knew.

Now we’re all grown up, its our addiction to false nutrition bullshit that’s feeding the same appetite for fear. See the modern malaise of Orthorexia nervosa – literally translating as “proper appetite”, and a pathological fixation with eating only “healthy food,” that has aptly been described as “a disease disguised as a virtue”.

A condition in its infancy, Orthorexia is not yet recognized as a psychiatric disorder – but I see focussing so thoroughly on virtuous eating as just another way of distracting ourselves from our reality, and numbing what’s really going on.

I believe perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order – and deprivation just another means of exercising control in a world of imperfect unknowns. On a parallel with OCD, it’s a way of ignoring our pain and conforming to perceived societal norms…but what for exactly? To maintain the body of a 12-year-old who’s never even menstruated, or, come to think of it, slept with a man who told them they had a great ass?

A friend of mine, Georgia Ashdown, has recently started a blog in Australia called Dish-Pig as a way of exploring women’s relationship with food. Her crowd are foodies, but they aren’t obsessive, and while they’re all about sustainability and conscious eating, they also champion the enjoyment of food in a progressive way. Think hot babes (US Vogue are fans) eating ACTUAL food, not cotton wool!

I think it’s time for a new language around food. Most women (myself included) have a long way to go in learning to truly love  our own bodies. With so much social conditioning about we should look under our clothes, how can we not feel terrible when we see ourselves in the mirror naked?

By realizing none of this shit actually matters, because it really, really doesn’t. By remembering we are not the women being forced to marry suicide bombers in ISIS. By taking the time to tell each other how great our asses look. By realizing that it is totally normal and acceptable to pig out sometimes and not rush to justify it to others and ourselves. By no more comparing ourselves to celebrities or impossibly thin friends. By reading up properly on food, not just jumping on the latest fad diet when it comes along. By realizing that the people you want to look good for really DON’t care – they just want you to be happy in your own skin.

There are so many things in the world we can’t control. A talking head that no one can quite believe has been given an international stage. Gun laws that mean your four-year-old is able to shoot you. Climate change. Terrorism. Police brutality.

Can’t we just enjoy and be grateful for the simple pleasures we have?

To quote political activist and author Anne Lamott:

“I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is you will die anyway, and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”

We are all enough. More than enough. So isn’t it time we ate enough, too, and stopped picking toppings off our pizza? It’s getting really, really boring.

INSTAPOETS: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARKUS ALMOND

In a new series celebrating our favorite poets of IG, Kiran Gill talks to Markus Almond, author of Motivational Quotes To Get The Blood Moving, about the intersection of creativity and spirituality…

 

The Numinous: You’re both a poet and a musician, how do these two worlds intersect? Is the creative process similar or different?
Markus Almond: They are pretty similar I think. Writing feels more natural to me. With music, I would have to fit a certain number of syllables into a melody and then sometimes make it rhyme. But with writing prose, I’m able to say exactly what I wanted to say without making it fit into an existing format.

TN: Where do you get the inspiration for your writing?
MA: The inspiration comes from different things depending on what I’m writing. Sometimes I’m just writing thinly veiled notes to myself or people I love. Other times, I’m telling a story or trying to pass on some sort of advice.

TN: What is your definition of spirituality?
MA: It’s that unexplainable power that you feel when you close your eyes and let go.

TN: Do you have any daily rituals or practices to aid you in your writing?
MA: I meditate every day. And I listen to music in my headphones when I write. I prefer to write with the lights off and my office locked. It helps keep me focused on the task at hand. And I can usually only write at night after everyone else has gone to sleep.

TN: What was the impetus for putting your work out onto the Internet and becoming a published author?
MA: I was going through some personal stuff a few years ago. And I was so over-worked and tired of looking at a computer. So I bought this little manual typewriter and made a limited edition zine with some scissors, a glue stick, and a copy machine. It was the first thing I ever published. And people seemed to like it so I published some more, built a website and started writing books.

TN: What life experiences have had the biggest impact on your work?
MA: Being a musician has probably had the biggest impact on me. That journey took me to so many different places (both spiritually and geographically) that there is just so much material to write from. I’ve got enough stories floating around in my head that it will take me the rest of my life to get them all down on paper.

TN: We love your existential take on self-help – are you a fan of any traditional self-help authors? Who and how has their work impacted you?
MA: Yeah, I read self-help books all the time. Right now I’m reading two books by Thich Nhat Hanh and also The 12 Week Year. I think books are like software for our brains so it’s important what we read. It can have a great impact on our lives if we read helpful things.

TN: What do you hope your writing will inspire in people?
MA: Honestly, I hope that they’ll just email me once in a while and tell me I’m doing a good job. I don’t really write books for mass appeal or with the intention of selling a million copies. I write them because I enjoy writing. But still, it’s nice to know that people like them from time to time.

TN: What are the biggest challenges of being human? The greatest joys?
MA: Fear can be one of the biggest challenges. It can manifest itself in all kinds of weird ways. I think if you can learn to spot fear and get through it without stopping, you’ll go far in the world. The greatest joy of being human is probably different for everyone. For me, it’s those happy things that happen by accident. Sometimes lucky magic just crosses our path for no reason and that can bring a sense of joy.

Read more at Brooklyntomars.com and follow Markus on Instagram @markusalmond