CITY TOUR: A GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL CHICAGO

Forget everything you know about the Windy City—there are plenty of high-vibe happenings in Spiritual Chicago, says Andrea Kasprzak

 

The Windy City may be better known for the Cubs than the cosmic, but it’s not all deep dish pizza and boozy baseball fans. When it comes to tapping spiritual Chicago, you just have to know where to look. Here’s our itinerary for a day of crystals, yoga, and high vibrational cuisine.

9AM :: Kundalini Yoga at Sat Nam Yoga
The second you step into this cozy, sanctuary-within-the-city you’ll want to curl up on a white sheepskin rug and never leave. Take a kundalini class in the sun drenched front room, shop for sage and crystals in the store, or book a treatment with some of the area’s most sought after healers. Not to be missed: lunar tune-ups in the outdoor courtyard during monthly new and full moon rituals and cosmic vinyasa (yoga and symphonic gong immersion under the projection of the stars).

Sat Nam Yoga

11 AM :: Soak at Float Sixty
Whether you consider sensory deprivation tanks a spiritual experience or a just a slightly trippy way to spend an hour, you’ll never regret the experience. Head to this River North haven to soak in style. The industrial cool space features tons of tubs, a meditation room to hang out in post-soak, and a grooming area. Try the Samadhi Tank for a super cool intergalactic womb-like vibe.

1PM :: Juice and Crystals at Infiniteus
Kill two birds with one (high energy) stone at this Wicker Park rocks and juice shop. First, hydrate with a cold-pressed juice or purified alkaline water amidst massive amethysts and orange calcite covered tables in the cafe. Then, hit up the back room to shop for gems and crystals. Owner Alex Drummond is super knowledgable and on hand to help. Bonus: they’ll even deliver your gems and juices to your door.

2PM :: Gong Therapy with Mason Pain
Transportive, elevating, and a little bit other-worldly, getting gonged by sound therapist Mason Pain offers deep release on a higher level. Surrender to the healing vibrations of three gongs, as well as singing bowls and chimes. Sessions begin with Yoga Nidra to open you up to maximum receptivity.

Maison Pain

3PM :: Nut Milk at Owen + Alchemy
Think you’re over juice after too many cleanses? This gothic cool Logan Square juice bar from Anne Owen and Jared Van Camp may change your mind. Try the nut milks. We suggest the dessert-y 54 (raw hazelnut, cacao, cinnamon, vanilla bean, raw local honey) or the fresh and creamy 59 (young raw coconut juice and young raw coconut meat).

4PM :: Tarot Reading with Laura Gonzalez
Laura, a self-described Mexican witch, has felt a true connection and psychic insights since childhood. Tarot card reading is her passion and it shows. Sessions are meant to offer guidance and clarity. Go deeper by asking specific questions. Laura’s hyper presence makes it easier to digest tough truths.

5PM :: Reiki with Jerry Mikutis
Clear energy blocks and connect with a like-minded sensi soul during a session with Reiki healer and yoga instructor Jerry Mikutis. Her warm personality and magic touch puts clients at instant ease.

6PM :: Vegetarian Dinner at Green Zebra
Bar and ballpark snacks may get first bill, but there’s still plenty of high vibe, creative and veggie-centric places to grab a bite. Case in point: Green Zebra. Fresh, local, and elevated, the West Town restaurant is a standout not to be missed. Small plate dishes like the Hen of the Woods mushroom pate and fermented beet tartare with borscht yogurt, candied pistachios, and dill pickles are plated to impress.

Green Zebra

8PM :: Crystallsage Massage at Ruby Room
Cap off the night with a Crystallsage Massage at this Wicker Park healing hybrid space. Sessions start with a flower and gem essence spray and reading. Move into a treatment room for an intense 90-minute massage featuring Himalayan salt crystals for serious grounding. After, shop for crystals and spend the night in one of the upstairs rooms.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: HELLO MOJO AND AN EVENING WITH THE CACAO GODDESS

Enter the 8/8 Lion’s Gate…and an encounter with the cacao goddess, a return to my mojo, and a meeting of minds with Amanda “Moon Juice” Bacon.

Just hangin’ in my hammock loving the 8/8 vibes of the Lion’s Gate

:: MONDAY ::
Happy New Year! According to the Mayans, that is, for whom 8/8 marked the planetary new year. Also the opening of the mystical “Lions gate” portal (8/8 through 8/12—a.k.a. this week), marked by the star Sirius moving closer to earth and aligning in Orion’s belt, which perfectly syncs up with the Pyramids in Giza. Linked to the numerology of 8/8, the astrological sign of Leo, and the Strength tarot card (which traditionally shows a woman holding the jaws of a Lion) the message is basically “MAJOR POWER PORTAL”! So let’s see what went down for me…

Sarah’s altar to the cacao goddess…

:: TUESDAY ::
My first cacao ceremony! Thanks to a particularly switched-on editor in the UK commissioning me to write about cacao for The Times newspaper. #progress. And as the cosmos would have it, The Alchemist’s Kitchen was hosting a ceremony tonight with Numinous contributor Sarah Eve Cardell. Sarah’s been working with the cacao goddess for about 10 years, and the first thing she advised the 60-odd people in attendance was that: “it doesn’t taste pretty.” Not your average cocoa treat, in other words.

But I actually did like the bitter chocolate taste of the thick, gloopy glassful I was instructed to drink down as fast as possible—even if made throat a little raw and my mouth go slightly numb. Since we’d already been around the circle to share our intentions for the ceremony (mine, to invite the energies of collaboration and mutual support in my current projects) now it was time to journey.

As we all found a place to lay down and zone out (or rather in, to the visions of our heart center—since cacao is known as heart medicine), I felt a little nauseous, the cacao sitting kind of queasy in my stomach. But soon I was transported to a lulling trance state on the sounds of a gong bath by Jarrod Mayer. I actually think I drifted in and out of sleep, and while I didn’t have particularly strong “visions” (like I have in, say, breathwork sessions with Erin Telford, or Deborah Hanekamp’s medicine readings), towards the end of the experience I received a kind of “pat on the back” from what felt like a loving maternal presence for the work I’m currently doing—particular my Club SÖDA NYC initiative.

“The world needs what you’ve got…so keep giving it?” was the message I shared with the group afterwards, Sarah having reminded us that whatever came through for us was also a message for everybody in the circle. And since you, dear readers, are part of my circle too, let’s take this as the message the cacao goddess also has for YOU.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Maybe it’s the Lion’s Gate, maybe it’s the cacao, and maybe it’s because Mars finally moved into Sagittarius last week (likely a combo of all three)…but today I found myself thinking: “whoa, I’ve got my mojo back!!” Like the speed at which I can feel myself processing stuff, and the energy welling in my veins again this week, has made me realize I’ve been operating on half speed or something for most of this year. And well, what can I say but bring. It. On! (And where can I get my hands on some medicinal grade cacao please?)

:: THURSDAY ::
More talk of magical medicinals, as I got to interview my friend Amanda Bacon, founder of Moon Juice, for the UK’s Red magazine today. Also more #progress, since Amanda was slammed by many in the mainstream media when a food diary she once shared with Elle re-surfaced earlier this year.

Her response to that whole situation? “Taking the harsh words away, I was interested in getting to the essence of: what are people really saying here? They’re saying that they don’t understand it. They’re saying that they’re skeptical. They may not believe in it. They’re afraid that they’re not invited or included, and it’s not for them,” she told me.

As such, it actually became an opportunity for this savvy businesswoman to find ways to refine her message—that we can all use food to heal and feel amazing—for the masses. Next up? Two new stores in LA, and her first cookbook, The Moon Juice Cookbook (above), out in November this year. 10 years ago, even green juice felt far out; 10 years from now, it’ll be Sex Dust for breakfast.

:: FRIDAY ::
Planning my own mini ritual to close the Lion’s Gate tonight. And to thank you, cosmos, for another magically mystical week.

AFTER THE PARTY: HOW TO HOLD ON TO YOUR SPIRITUAL HIGH

Who says there’s no comedown from a spiritual high? Erin Telford has some advice for rolling out the high vibes even once reality bites.

Illustration: Cate Parr

You know the feeling. You’ve been living in a bikini and cutoffs and braids for a week, meditating and practicing yoga every day, eater cleaner than you’ve ever eaten before and you might even have broken your tech addiction.

You’ve been living off the land, having “paradigm shift” experiences. Who cares about showers? You woke up like this. You’ve got the glow that comes from roaming, discovering, and connecting with wild, uncharted territory ALL DAY.

You’re full of vitality and big plans! Fired up and high on life, your routine is completely revamped before you land back home. You’re totally getting up at 6am every day to move your body. You will finally commit to juicing! Your relationships are going to be so Zen.

And then…wah wah wahhhhh. Reality. Back to the grind. It feels almost like you never left, except for those great photos you keep flipping through on your phone.

We’ve all been there. The post yoga retreat/Burning Man/revolutionary healing session that feels like it will catapult you into a completely new existence. And then you return to “real life” and it feels so hard to hang on to all of those incredible insights.

Illustration: Lauren Albert

What happens when we have new experiences is that we’re flooded with dopamine – a.k.a. the pleasure center chemical, the neurotransmitter of DESIRE. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that chases rewards – and as new things fuel us with perspective and possibility, it’s a thrill and a half to get your mind blown. We thrive on the sensation of every fresh beginning.

So how do we hang onto the high vibes as we return to life as we know it?

Here’s the deal, everything you’ve felt, transformed, and learned is still within you. There’s nowhere for it to go. The ecstatic dance, the peaceful quiet morning, the Reiki session that turned your world around. The after-effects are contained and imprinted into your psyche.

In Chinese medicine, they say every time your heart beats, it’s like a camera click taking a picture of your moment-to-moment existence. Your sweet heart stamps every bit of beauty and love that you move through into your blood!

Routine is a killer and can make us feel complacent and uninspired. Novelty stirs our souls and our creative spirit. So, to keep yourself in the groove, do something you’ve never done before every week! When they say that life begins outside of your comfort zone, they aren’t kidding.

Illustration: Belinda Chen

Grab the most beautiful vegetable you see at the green market and build a meal around it. Round up some friends to watch the leaves change at Storm King. Go all the way up to to Washington Heights to have dinner. Revel in a Gong Bath. Visit the Dream House.

When you decide to look at life through a new lens, this beginner’s mind can apply to literally anything. Can you use your newfound courage and sense of self to share your fears and insecurities with a friend for the first time? Can you translate the feeling of peace in your body into a more harmonious relationship with your parents or partner? Infuse your transformation into your daily life and extend the feelings of bliss indefinitely.

And remember, you also have no idea how different things would be if you’d just stayed home – because you didn’t! And you can apply this theory to every experience, every day of your life.

Every time something shifts one teeny tiny degree in your perspective, even if you only make the most infinitesimal change in your outlook…you will still be walking an entirely different, an entirely NEW path.

Illustration: Kelly Smith

So you really can’t ever go back to the way things were because you are different now. And now. And now…The wisdom you’ve gained about yourself, your desires, your ideals, and your truth will inform every choice you make for the future. It’s impossible for you to go backwards.

In other words, what goes up doesn’t always have to come down.

Erin Telford is the founder of Radiant Heart Acupuncture.

@RadiantHeartNYC