Feeling bloated from pie and difficult holiday season emotions? Resident fitness witch Russ Marshalek shows you how to burn calories AND bad feelings by making your workout a forgiveness practice …
For most of us living in post-Woke America, the “saveable” facet of the holiday season is the food—and idea of togetherness at any cost, through gritted teeth, regardless of how racist Grandpa is.
And what you “indulged in,” this can also be a time to practice the art of forgiveness.
“Why should I let that asshole off the hook by forgiving and forgetting?” you might ask (especially if you’re a witch with a penchant for revenge).
Well, true forgiveness isn’t the same thing as forgetting or shitty faux-happiness. Instead, it’s the act of acknowledging what’s happened, and actively choosing to allow past grievances to be fuel for your personal power.
You’ll be surprised at how damn good it feels—so good, you may even be able to deal with good ol’ racist Grandpa without biting your own hand off.
Turning bullshit into power: that’s magic.
But it also takes practice and rock solid awareness. Try these 5 fitness practices to summon the core strength and mental fortitude you need …
1// Walk it Off When you can’t stomach any more negativity and are ready let go and let Goddess, take a walk and hug a tree. Seriously.
As witches, the healing power of nature is a truth we hold to be self-evident, but I feel like it bears repeating til the cows come home.
Feel your negative energy leaving you and imagine the tree breathing a deep green or white energy into you in its place. If you want to add more to this—a run, sprint, etc, or incorporate this into an existing outdoor workout—feel free. But the important and non-negotiable part is to hug a tree. Definitely do a quick but sincere offering to the local spirits as a thank you after.
2// Sit with Forgiveness, aka “Let’s take a time out” Ok, so Grandpa/Uncle/whathaveyou was offensive, admitted to voting for Trump, and basically stands in total opposition to you, your beliefs, and your existence.
The best way to let that shit go? The incredibly challenging practice known as active meditation. This guided meditation from The Mindfulness Movement is an excellent starting point until you’re able to guide yourself.
3// Breathe Into Self-Forgiveness “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck,” you say to yourself, “I can not fucking believe I did that.” Whatever THAT is, I can assure you that you are dwelling on it way more than anyone else. And even if that’s not the case: so what?
Use this planking exercise to embody the sensation of “letting go,” get over it/yourself, and be grateful for the experiences that have brought you here, even the sucky ones.
While holding a plank, suck your stomach all the way in and tighten your stomach muscles. Breathe normally, ideally through your nose. Hold this position for one minute, and then relax your stomach slowly as your lower down to the ground from plank position. Try raising the length of the exercise by 30 seconds every week to keep pushing yourself.
4// Knock This One Out Feeling overwhelmed by all of the internalized crap you’ve been bottling up?
Try this drill for starters. Imagine the air in front of you filled with the charged emotions that have made you feel bad, kept you from moving forward, and locked your heart in a dark place. Then punch it out, imagining the air in front of you purifying into a bright white light.
5// Reps for Retribution Ok, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include a post-Thanksgiving “Bye, Pie” type workout in here, so this is that one. Sure, you can meditate on the meaning of self-love or whatever, but mainly this is here to make you sweat.
The antidote for anxiety is to create your own manifesto for 2017, says Dani Katz. All you need to begin is a passionate cry of “Yes, I am!”
Despite any and all mainstream propaganda to the contrary, I happen to know that 2017 is going to be amazing—chock-full o’ fun, joy, personal breakthroughs, real-deal love, next-level sex, and quantum leaps in consciousness, success, prosperity, and lifestyle.
I know this because I also know that I, and I alone, am responsible for how I choose to experience reality. To this end, it’s become a daily practice—aligning my heart, mind, body, and spirit with my values, my genius, my desires, and my dharma. It helps that I have created a secret weapon—Yes, I Am—a hand-drawn, transformational coloring book that supports me in being my very best me ever, and in making 2017 my most wonderful year yet.
The book is divided into twelve I Am chapters, each one focusing on a different intention. I chose the I am theme because “I am” is the most powerful phrase in every mystical tradition there is, was, and ever will be—these two words are encoded with the transformative power of the multiverse.
And so, because sharing is caring, and caring is cool, I am offering up this manifesto, inspired by that aforementioned book of intentional awesomeness, so that you, too, can make 2017 your very best year ever.
“I AM SYNESCOPIC POSSIBILITY”
I choose to remember that limitation is an illusion that exists to be obliterated. I don’t buy into anyone else’s attempts to limit me, and I devote myself to surpassing my perceived limitations, and surprising myself with all that I can—and will—accomplish, and be, and share.
“I AM LOVE”
I choose to align myself with love in every moment. I meet non-love with love. I love myself unconditionally, and al(l)ways, and I radiate that love outwards, towards everyone I meet and engage with (while remembering that boundaries and discernment are self-love, too). I know that love is a state of mind, and a way of meeting the world, and I commit to embodying this love more and more, and better and better, each and every day.
“I AM OPTIMAL HEALTH”
Because the external is ever and always a reflection of the internal, I am committed to cultivating optimal health. This means sweating, breathing, and hydrating. This means eating organic whole foods, and getting plenty of sleep, and flossing and cleansing and supplementing accordingly. It also means minding my media intake, extricating myself from toxic relationships, and not overtaxing my adrenals on yerba maté, regardless of how yummy it tastes.
“I AM AUTHENTIC”
While money, achievement and outward notions and acknowledgements of success are lovely, I am far more interested in being the very best, most integrated and expressed me I can possibly be. I embrace my uniqueness. I appreciate my individual quirks and characteristics, and all the ways they come together to make this once in a lifetime phenomenon called me. Fuck trends. Fuck in/out lists. Fuck envy, comparison, established standards of beauty and love and success and lifestyle. I’m carving out my own course, and I’m doing a bang-up job of it.
“I AM MAGIC”
Did you know that 99% of our reality is totally invisible? Yup. And so it is that I am living 2017 as a testament to unseen forces of good and love and fun and wonderful, knowing that the Universe is infinitely more mystical than I could possibly imagine, and that miracles happen every second, of every day. Bring ‘em on, I say.
“I AM CONFIDENCE”
I know my value. I embody my wonderfulness. I shrink for no one. I am an empowered badass warrior of light and love and giggles, and I model this elevated awesomeness for, and in service to, the world at large. We. Are. Welcome.
“I AM NOW”
I don’t lollygag in the past, or worry about the future, because those are mere conceptual traps that keep me from experiencing the present moment, which is where reality (and juicy magical awesomeness) reside. I don’t surrender the miracle of my now to dark, dreary future fears, or what ifs, or worst case scenarios. I meditate. I focus on sensation instead of mind chatter. I trust in divine timing. I am patient. I am patient. I am patient.
I AM A HEALTHY, BALANCED, THRIVING PLANET EARTH”
The earth isn’t just our home planet—our very own space ship, hurling us through space—it is a living, breathing, conscious intelligence. With this in mind, I honor her as I do all living creatures. I tread lightly. I conserve resources. I respect the gifts the earth so selflessly gives us—her oxygen, her water, her plants, her sunshine, and her gravity, as well as all the other beings sharing this ride with me. We are all of us earthlings. Every. Single. One. It is through this lens that I move through this magical world, ever and always grateful for these earth gifts with which we are so, so blessed.
“I AM ABUNDANCE”
Abundance is a state of mind that draws to it like-vibrating experiences and energies. And so it is that I attune myself to the abundance that surrounds me. I root myself in gratitude for all my blessings. I give. I receive. I know my value, which colors my every exchange. I welcome free-flowing prosperity, and abundance, and enough for everyone. And so it is…
“I AM OPTIMIZED”
Despite all illusory notions of time to the contrary, life is not a linear journey. It takes flexibility to flow moment-to-moment, and to hone in on what’s appropriate for said moments. And so it is that I choose to embody my most optimized version of myself, however that looks and feels in each moment. What I love about optimizing is that it requires a deep surrender to the wisdom of forces way bigger and more intelligent than I am. It’s the opposite of micromanaging. Aaaahhhh…so much easier.
“I AM GRATITUDE”
It was Meister Eckhart who said: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Gratitude is a magical frequency that transports us to the present moment, and infuses us with graciousness and humility and appreciation. I commit to an attitude of gratitude in 2017. I choose to honor the blessings of what is, instead of lamenting all that isn’t, and all the ways I wish what is was different. And when mood, moon cycles, weather, and mercurial boyfriends threaten my peace of mind, and I stray into the dark and murky waters of fear and doubt and grief and rage, I commit to getting grateful, and to staying grateful, armed with the knowledge that I am not a victim, that there are no victims, and that everything is happening for a blessing – al(l)ways.
“I AM WE”
I commit to Unity consciousness—to moving through the world armed with the integrated and embodied knowledge of our Oneness. I know that it is impossible to hurt another without hurting myself, as there is no other, and separation is an illusion. I devote myself to acting in service to the highest good of the whole of humanity, knowing that the only way to change the world is to change myself. I take responsibility for the reflections I attract, knowing that anything and everything that triggers me is merely a messenger who exists to point my attention toward shadows inviting acknowledgement and integration. I summon the courage, the will, and the fortitude to look said shadows directly in the eye, and to integrate them, in service to us all. We. Are. One.
Dani Katz is a human being. She writes. She draws. She dances. She lives in her native Los Angeles. Yes, I Am, her transformational coloring book chock-full of interactive inspiration, encouragement, affirmations, and awesomeness, is on sale here. Nab yourself a copy immediately!
Gabriela Herstik talks magick, ritual and the numinous nature of the Cosmos with The Hoodwitch…
Bri Luna, a.k.a. The Hoodwitch, is mesmerizing. A double Taurus babe, her energy is infectious – strong, aware and unapologetic. With The Hoodwitch, a platform preaching “everyday magic for the modern mystic,” Bri has founded a channel to help us all tap into our own sacred goddess energy – and shop for some bad-ass crystals. Oh, and we’re obsessed with her latest project – a collection of pins created with one of our favorite artists, Robin Eisenberg.
In celebration of her birthday month, we sat down with Bri for the inside scoop on her magick and her mission. Read on below…
The Numinous:Okay so – can you tell us a bit about how honoring your heritage has played into your personal brand of magick? The Hoodwitch: I believe my being multiracial is strongly reflected by my approach to ritual and spell working. My approach draws on elements of both of my Mexican and African-American ancestry, and I’ve really enjoyed utilizing aspects of traditional folk healing from both, as well as working with other practices taught by others I’ve met and learned from on my path that I feel resonate with me.
TN: What’s your personal definition of a “witch”? TH: You know whenever I’m asked this question I laugh a bit, because there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. Every woman is a Witch. She may not know it, or maybe she does. But to me, being a Witch means more than spells and candles. To me, it means freedom. The power to boldly and unapologetically embrace nature, heal yourself, and heal your community. To respect the seen and unseen realms. It means the freedom to be your most authentic self. To embrace ALL aspects of whoever that may be, and fiercely. That is the Witch.
TN: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned on your journey with spirituality? TH: That we never really KNOW anything for certain. That there are galaxies upon galaxies in the Cosmos, and here we are floating on Earth thinking we have all the answers. I’m in a place spiritually where I choose to embrace the unknown by saying it’s okay to not know.
TN: What advice would you give baby bruja Bri? TH: That not everyone is going to understand you, and that’s okay. Stay true to yourself, because in another 10-20 years everyone else is just going to catch on to what you’ve been doing all along haha. Also, don’t cry over boys because it’ll give you wrinkles!
TN: What’s one thing you do every day to channel your inner goddess? TH: I like to take very long beautiful baths – my daily ritual to connects me to the Goddess within. I enjoy being surrounded by candles, while listening to soft music. Depending on the purpose of the bath, be it for attracting or self-love, aura cleansing, or just simply relaxation I’ll add in ingredients that are reflective of those purposes. Essential oils, milk, salts, or flower petals. I just enjoy the beauty of it.
Ugh – in love! Read on for more insight into the mystical world of this material girl…
:: MATERIAL GIRL ::
My label “Whatever was in your grandmother’s closet. I love vintage clothing.”
My shoes “When I wear shoes, I love my metallic Nike Cortez or Vintage Peggy Bundy fluffy heels.”
My fragrance “Byredo Casablanca Lily Oil.”
My jewels “I love adornments. Real gold jewelry and, of course, very large vintage Navajo turquoise rings and squash blossom necklaces.”
My pampering “Every two weeks I receive manicures to sharpen my signature stiletto point nails. I also enjoy massages.”
My home “My apartment in Seattle overlooks the city and I enjoy opening all of the windows to allow plenty of fresh air. I enjoy adding many earth elements, such as plants, large crystal clusters and, of course, candles.”
My food “I live for authentic Italian food! I enjoy comforting meals. I’m a Taurus, so food is a very sensual experience. It’s about indulging in all of the senses! Needless to say, I take my dining experiences very seriously. I also love fresh raw oysters!”
:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::
My awakening “I light a candle and say a prayer or affirmation of gratitude, setting intentions for the day.”
My sign “Taurus sun and moon.”
My mantra “I am grounded, content, and calm, in the arms of the Earth.”
My healer “Mother Earth. The ocean’s waves are purifying and cleansing. I enjoy doing meditations in the desert sun with a large Quartz crystal and planting my feet firmly into the soil of a forest. All of the Earth’s elements are my healers.”
Depression can be a signal of deep discontent from your soul. As tough as it is, try diving into those feelings through meditation and self-reflection to clear your psyche, says Erin Telford…
“Winter is a great time for depression,” I joked at a Breathwork group last month. I was met with some very nervous giggles. As with most things, it’s only funny because it’s uncomfortably true.
All humor aside, I got really depressed last winter.
It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling. The first time I remember feeling depressed was when I was about 14 years old. It felt like being trapped in a glass, banging on the walls with no one listening, fatigue and a vague sense of loss and hazy unmet needs.
When I started to sink down and enter that deep gray landscape, I just felt tired and defeated. You again? After all this work?
I was involved in a group-coaching program at the time. I was honest with everyone about the despair I was feeling. They came full force with the positivity. You got this! You just need a spa day! Self-care! Find your gratitude!
“Seriously?” I thought. I was surprised by how fiercely irritated I was with their advice. And it hit me. I did not want to be cheerled out of this. I wanted to go down into the dungeon of my psyche and find some f*cking answers.
My response to feeling depressed in the past was to wait until it was over. Back pedal out of the icky feelings. Utilize the usual anesthetics. Self-medication. Self-isolation. Online shopping. Staying busy. Hitting the crack pipe rabbit hole of social media.
This time needed to be different. I’m not a confused teenage girl anymore. I’ve been waking up for a long time and I have an arsenal of tools in my bag, perfect for this emotional renovation. So I made a commitment to going down and in – and not coming back out until I found what I was looking for.
So what did that look like in real life? I turned my phone off. I sat in my favorite spot in my apartment, this little nook with a bunch of plants, great light, and a big window, and I checked in. I sat with myself. I did some writing. I asked many times and in as many ways as I could, “what is underneath all of this pain?”
I was really gentle with myself. This line of inquiry did not involve self-criticism, curse words, belittling myself or my process or any feeling of needing to hurry up and get back to “normal” life. I did not take time off but I did give myself all of the time that I had and needed.
What I found was a deep well of sweetness for myself.
The supposed truth that had taken me down to these depths was uncovered as just another clever way that I had fooled myself into believing that I was separate, that I was unloved, that I was unsupported. I discovered that I had the power inside to be able to break a life long pattern by looking at my wounds with tender curiosity rather than frustration or disdain.
Depression is often framed as something that just happens to us like getting a cold or a bummer draw of a genetic card. While environment, brain chemistry, and family lineage can be part of long-standing major depression; many of us experience it simply as a response to what’s going on in our lives.
We sell ourselves short by saying, “I’m just depressed.” As if it has nothing to do with the emotional pain that we’ve endured, the unattended wounds, the countless hours spent confused and alone or in groups of people who fail to see or help our hurt. The real life existential crisis that is: “I was told this would make me happy and I’m not. That must mean something is wrong with me. “
Very few of us have been taught any kind of practical way to channel and work with emotional pain. Most likely the instruction we covertly receive is to tuck away the unlovable, messy parts of ourselves. Shove them way, way, way into the back of the closet so we never have to look at the shame or hurt or confusion we feel. Or, let anyone else see it!
There is a single seed of discontent within you that is begging to be acknowledged.
Only you know, and facing it down is what I call Constructive Depression. It will require your participation. It will require fierce internal responsibility. And it is your job and your job alone, since no-one else can connect to your deepest parts but you.
The longer you’ve been feeling this way, the more wildly uncomfortable you may be with the truth that is banging on the door of your heart, begging for bread and water. How honest are you willing to be with yourself when your wellbeing is on the line?
So how to you do this?
You can think of Constructive Depression as a soul expedition. So what do you need for an internal journey? Nutritious snacks, great music, paints, journals, talismans, crystals, instruments, quiet, something to burn away the energy. Gather all of your supportive resources.
This is not an intellectual exercise. This is a reckoning. You with you.
This is a slow immersive dip into your soul. A psychic cleansing. Mental decongestion. Moving toward rather than away. Your resistance to this idea is equal to your commitment that all of this is due to the outside rather than inside forces. You ARE up to the task.
We experience the full range of human emotions for a reason. We feel sad because something is breaking our heart. We feel angry because something isn’t right and it needs to change. We feel fear because we are threatened or being asked to expand.
Depression is an opportunity for internal exploration. You are not depressed because you are a bad person or you skipped too many days of yoga or gratitude journaling.
You are depressed because something is not working for you. There is a yearning. An emotional chasm. Something that is crying out to be witnessed and seen like it’s never been seen before. Our wounds are rarely greeted with the exact kind of care and response that we are craving. When we accumulate a lifetime of hurts that have gone unnoticed or unattended to by others, the responsibility falls back to us to determine what we need.
So meet yourself with all of the tenderness, all of the sweetness, the hugs, the love, and the acceptance that you hold within you. Go inside, find your golden nugget of truth, and only come back out when you are ready – holding your treasure high.
*Mental health can be very tenuous. If you feel like this is something you can safely undertake, please do. If it feels like too much, please seek professional support for this internal exploration.
The girl making meditation the new nightlife, Biet Simkin shares her spiritual practices and how her higher self embraces the shocks of life with Kiran Gill…
The Numinous: You’ve experienced a lot of loss in your life, including the death of your parents and daughter, and you describe these events as shocks that have connected you to your higher self. How have these shocks aided you in your spiritual journey? What advice would you offer someone going through a similar experience? Biet Simkin: Life is beautiful, but it wasn’t created to be a whole experience. It was broken into millions of shattered parts for our exploration. This is why we sometimes see the beauty in the shattered glass, and at other times the grief and rage. My advice for anyone at any time is to listen, listen to that inner voice and stay close to it. “This too shall pass,” is what they say. And eventually it does, and you will realize it was all worth it. In my life I actually remember experiencing ecstasy around these shocks. My higher self does not want a boring life. Only my mechanics or what some people call “ego” wants it all to be easy. My soul is interested in challenge and loss. My soul is interested in heartache and fear. Get interested in what is breaking you, look closely, it is in the center of these things that your grace can be found.
TN: Your father was a shaman/psychotherapist from Russia. How did his work and beliefs influence you as a child? In your present work, how do your father’s beliefs influence you? BS: As a child, his influence aided me in being lazy, poetic and curious. He always insisted that I do whatever I want. Being the sad and confused child that I was, having just lost my mother, I didn’t want to do much but sit around, make art, eat snacks and cry sometimes. Eventually, this lack of structure led to rock and roll, drug use, world travel and many lovers. And finally, his passing eight years ago led to a complete shift in being, rendering me a most disciplined and focused entrepreneur in a healthy relationship, with a healthy diet, sober life and perpetual tangos with joy. I am his daughter; I continue his legacy of mixing fun with art and spirituality. The real icing on the cake of his legacy was laughter, and I carry that on.
TN: You have previously described yourself as having a “strong sensual energy.” How have you cultivated this part of your identity in a society that frequently represses and condemns female sexuality? BS: I do not pay attention to that stuff and consider myself rather masculine, actually. I never really bought into the whole gender thing, it seems kind of silly to me. There are so many feminine men and masculine women….what is gender anyway? I am sexual because sex energy is the highest energy we have on Earth. It is love energy and it is the force with which we create. I consider myself a creator, and to me that is about the sexiest thing a person can remind themselves to be. I think all people want to create, so when they see someone doing it they get excited!
TN: You advocate for a more emotional meditative experience that encompasses beauty and gratitude. Why is that? How does this differ from more traditional meditative practices? BS: My work is more than that of just a meditation teacher. I am an artist who realized that utilizing meditation and space (artistic space or otherwise) could transmute the state of a human being, so the next obvious action was getting human beings into beautiful spaces where I could assist them in transmuting their state! Everything about my work differs from anything else out there because it is an experience created from my inner world. Just like a Kubrick film is different from a Spielberg film. In my film, my work is about exploring the emotional center in a super intellectual way. I like to marry these two, and I do it well. People often comment in their testimonials that there is wit in my work. I believe that part of what makes my meditation experiences so emotional is that I laugh a lot and don’t take life too seriously.
TN: Likewise, you speak of cultivating “divided attention” throughout your day. What is “divided attention” and how does one master it? BS: Divided attention simply means placing your attention on many things at the same time. So, one would experience the music in the room, their hand on the tea, the tea itself, and perhaps the people around them, and do that all at the same time. This helps slow down time. As it is a difficult practice, it is the ultimate practice. It’s easiest learned in a group or from a teacher, but it must be done out in the world.
TN: What are some of your greatest tools in your spiritual tool kit? Do you have a daily spiritual practice/ritual? What is it? BS: Listen to your inner voice. It is telling you what to do and you do not listen. When you listen, you will hear it give you clear direction. My daily practice is obedience to this voice. Come hell or high water I will pursue what serves this voice within me. This means I do all the things you would imagine someone does who guards their higher state: I meditate daily, I work out, I pray, I journal, I see friends, I help people, I laugh a lot, I make love, I eat sustainable healthy food, I sleep well…It sounds kind of boring I guess, but it actually sheer ecstasy! Also, I practice gratitude as a way of “being” not “doing.” It is in being in a state of gratitude all day that everything I experience gets transmuted into food for my higher self.
The story behind our new event series – Story Medicine…
A couple of months back, Aly Derby and I hosted a Meditation for Peace at Maha Rose in Greenpoint, as part of a global synchronized meditation for the International Day of Peace. It began with Aly leading a guided meditation to tap us into the oneness energy of the event, and afterwards we both shared some stories around what had come up for us. And then so did everybody else in the group, and the conversation flowed, and the stories became more personal. We all left feeling connected and uplifted, and with the glow of having been heard.
This event was the inspiration for Story Medicine, the monthly gathering Aly and I will be hosting at Hub 17, a beautiful and expansive community space below the new lululemon flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. As Aly wrote beautifully in the blurb for the event:
“When we come together we create community; and when communities share our stories with each other we weave unity. In every experience we share, there is a valuable lesson for someone. And listening in itself is a gift – it’s when our stories are heard that we become healed. In this simple yet profound exchange we find ourselves uplifted, connected and more inspired by our own lives than ever before.”
As a “reserved” Brit, when I first started attending Moon rituals, and healing workshops and events I used to silently dread the “sharing” segment – when we’d go around the circle, and participants would be asked to talk a little about where they were at, and their intentions. Not least because I would often get so emotional! But if I’ve learned anything on my numinous journey, it’s that often when I cry is when I know it’s working. The healing that is.
So with Story Medicine we’re making the sharing the main event. Each month will have a different theme, and as with the Meditation for Peace we’ll kick off with a guided meditation from Aly. Then, each person in the circle will be invited to share a story related to our theme – which could be a story from your own life, a story you heard which has inspired you, or even just the story of what happened to you today.
Our first Story Medicine event will take place December 3, and you can get more details and sign up here. Since it’s right after Thanksgiving, we’ve chosen GRATITUDE as our theme. So, what does being thankful really mean for you?
As Neptune goes direct and the Sun moves into Sagittarius, it’s the perfect time to instigate a conversation with the divine. And your journal is the place to start, says Katie Simpson.
Almost 18 years ago, I bought my first journal. It was a small back hardbound book covered in pictures of Mickey Mouse designs. I’ve since journaled for self-care, self-expression, and so much more.
In the past year, my journal has provided a surprising new benefit: it’s become the space where I have dialogues with the Divine. This began on more intense days, such as in the build up to a New or Full Moon ritual. But now I can have these conversations during lunch breaks, late nights, or days when I am sick.
To be clear, these conversations don’t require any mind-altering substances. The most I have in my system may be a cigarette or a glass or two of wine. And my most profound conversations with the divine occur when I’m completely sober.
Journaling and talking to God both happen in my journal but look very different. When I’m journaling, I write my thoughts down as they come. With the Divine, it’s a written conversation. It sounds and looks like two different people having a discussion. I will write something, and then She responds. The best way to explain it is like the old written notes we used to pass in class. Only I am both one of the writers and the messenger.
These dialogues are a gift, but not one that’s unique to me. I believe that with a little time and effort, you can have these kinds of conversations as well. Here are a few practices that have helped me commune with the Divine through the written word.
:: The faces of God :: As a religious studies major in college, I learned a lot about the different faces of God. For example, in Hinduism, you could see Kali, Goddess of destruction, and Sarasvati, Goddess of wisdom, as two separate entities. Or they could represent two different aspects of the same Divine Feminine.
So often in the Judaea-Christian West, we focus on God as a judge, ruler, or father figure. But for many women, it’s difficult to connect with this. Personally, I connect best with Jewish idea of the Shechina. She is the feminine, the maternal presence, that I see when I reach out to God. And as such, she is the one who communicates with me on the page.
To begin a dialogue with anybody, you need to feel a connection with them. It’s the same with the Divine. Perhaps you need God to be a fierce warrior. Or perhaps you prefer the idea of God as Sophia, or wisdom. There’s no wrong answer. So think back to which icons, saints or experiences really made the divine manifest for you. Is there a pattern? What images and ideas do you gravitate towards now? Exploring this is a great start to feeling a connection with the Divine.
:: The inner God block :: For me, God has never just picked up the pen on her own and started writing: she writes through me. Which means that before the Divine can show up on the page, I have to make space for her – space beyond the doubt, the criticism and the disbelief around God, that so many of us have developed.
To give her space, a free-writing practice is critical. Each morning, I sit down and write three pages, either typed on my computer, or in a hardbound journal. No editing, no second guessing, just writing. Have I perfected this practice? No, but showing up helps me be honest on the page. This way, when the Divine does decide it’s time for a chat, I don’t fight it. I just keep writing.
This practice does take time: I’ve been doing it for over two years now. A couple glasses of wine could be a faster way to muting the inner critic. However, drugs are only a quick fix. Taking the time to show up and write will prepare you to have a dialogue with God, whether it’s 8am or 8pm.
:: Just ask :: My dialogues with the Divine don’t start off in a complicated way. In fact, they usually begin with a vulnerable honesty.
“I’m so scared of telling him, what will happen?”
“I’m feeling so tired today, I just want to rest in your arms.”
I don’t believe there’s one right way to start chatting with God. For me, it’s about being simple and direct. My dialogues began by me being honest about where I was and what I needed – while the maternal Shechinah simply listened, and held me.
It’s very rare that God reaches out to me or begins the dialogue. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have had any dialogues with God if I hadn’t started the conversations. Why? I wouldn’t have even known I was hearing the Divine.
And what YOU need when chatting with God could look and sound completely different. However, it is up to you to show up. It’s up to you to say you want the conversation, and in fact it’s critical that you ASK for it. The Divine is all around us, waiting. It’s up to us to show we’re ready for a deeper connection.
:: Say Thanks :: I’ve seen it time and again in human relationships. Want to mess something up? Take a person for granted. Believe that your employee will simply continue producing great work and never leave – and just watch that relationship ferment into a bitter and moldy fruit.
The Divine doesn’t need gratitude. However, simply assuming that you can continue to have dialogues with God won’t do, since becoming proud and assuming of this connection is a surefire way to destroy the dialogue.
Being in the presence of the Divine should always feel like a gift. As such, showing good manners and saying even a quick thank you after the fact can help. There are other ways to show your appreciation: donate money to your favorite charity; give a loved one a call and tell them you love them; pick up some trash from your park.
Divine dialogue has become a gift that helps me be the best version of myself, for others and for myself. Whether you find God on the blank page or in the woods, know that it is your birth right to have time and space directly with her. But taking time to discover what aspects of the Divine resonate with you, and then actually asking for that relationship, are fundamental to creating and sustaining this connection for the long haul.
In which I get prescribed a 30-day “self-pleasure diet”…
Confession. There has been a sad lack of the above (laughter) in my life lately, and this is a shout out, please, for some inspiration when it comes to the pleasure principle. Don’t get me wrong, life is pretty freaking amazing right now. I have somehow made manifest a career that reflects all the things I care about, and allows me total creative expression on a daily basis. I’m writing a book. I just launched the most incredible project with an iconic London department store, and moved into a super-cool new apartment in NYC. I’m in a loving relationship, I have a beautiful new nephew (okay thank you for indulging me in a much-needed gratitude list).
But still, and it’s written into very the DNA of entrepreneurship, life has been feeling very much all-work-and-no-play lately (I haven’t, actually, taken a day off this year I don’t think). And as was discussed with my friend Lucy in London last week, co-creator of spirituality un-conference Higher Selfie, what’s the point of dedicating yourself to your passion and your purpose, if your passion and your purpose then turns around and tries to make you its bitch?
The subject came up when I went to see Sandra Lanshin Chiu for acupuncture last night. She said she could tell from the way my tissue was “clinging” to my bones how hard I’ve been working, and how little room for pleasure, laughter, and FUN, this had left. “You’re all in your masculine energy, and that’s great for getting stuff done. But you’re a woman and you have a yin body, you need to create some space for flow,” she explained (kind of nailing it). Okay so her prescription? “A 30-day self-pleasure diet.”
As in, exactly what you think! Whether or not I decide to take up the challenge and schedule a 20-minute masturbation break into my daily routine isn’t something I’m gonna discuss here, but I will say this is by no means the first time the conversation has come up lately. According to Sandra, “self-pleasure is one of the jewels in a woman’s self-care toolbox.” Another friend in London is writing a book on the topic, while a self-administered orgasm had been suggested to somebody else I spoke to recently as a “grounding” practice.
But yeah, any other suggestions for bringing the joy balance back into my life would also be very welcome. In the meantime, you will mainly find me trying to carve out some good old fashion vacay days and keeping busy with my gratitude practice.
Or maybe the answer is meditation? This week I’m also giving a shout out to Numinous contributor Ellie Burrows, who opened her dedicated meditation studio, MNDFL, in Manhattan last night. Okay, wow, we first chatted about this project in the spring (I remember cos it was the first day she’d worn open-toe shoes this year), and six short months later, enter a beautiful, chic and cosy space in the Village offering a “space to breathe” seven days a week. (Although how much space to breathe this project will allow Ellie while it gets up and running remains to be seen – see above! And enter my acupuncturist’s other suggestion – “a slow-entrepreneurship movement.”)
Most classes are 30-45 minutes, with a few juicy two-hour workshops thrown in (like the one on Love & Justice next Thursday) – and are categorized along the themes in the image below. Read the MNDFL manifesto and check out the full class schedule here. Ellie Burrows, we love you!
The Indian festival of Navaratri begins today, and is a nine-day opportunity to work with the Goddess Energy of the Divine Feminine to amplify your personal power. Anita Kaushal explains how…
Autumn signals colder, darker nights and this can leave many of us feeling physically and emotionally fatigued. At times of weakness we need to summon strength and this can take many forms. So it’s fortunate that Tuesday 13th October signals the start of Navaratri – the nine-day Indian festival devoted to Durga – the Goddess of Shakti, or power and strength.
Nava-ratri translates to ‘nav’ meaning nine, ‘ra’ meaning night and ‘tri’ meaning the three aspects of mind, body and soul. This festival happens twice a year – in spring to celebrate sowing seeds, and autumn, when we reap the harvest. The exact dates are determined by the lunar calendar and the celebrations pay homage to the three aspects of Goddess Durga – as Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Together the three aspects of Durga represent the Divine Feminine energy that creates all that is. Here we share with you how you can tap into the Divine at this sacred time, and in doing so supercharge your inner strength to bring you greater fulfillment and peace.
:: October 13-15 :: For the first three nights of Navaratri, meditate on the destructive aspect of Durga as Kali – a symbol of change, power, creation, preservation and back to destruction. Here we see Kali as the destroyer of ego, the mind-made personality that cultivates fear based thinking, leading to anger, greed and hatred. However, this is not a time to deny these aspects of your personality, as to deny is to strengthen. Instead use this time to reach a greater understanding of when and where these mind-made habits took form and how they are triggered in the present.
Cultivate the understanding that you are not these labels, and allow the feelings to come and then go. Thank these feelings for bringing you closer to the aspects you wish to cultivate, which represent your true nature. Let Kali guide you to turn anger into patience, greed into trust and hatred into love. Above all this is a time to simply surrender, knowing that nothing is permanent. Kali is often depicted with her tongue hanging out and you may know this stance from yoga – you exhale the negative and let it go.
:: October 16-18 :: Spend the next three nights meditating upon the Divine Mother as Lakshmi – the Goddess of Abundance. Depicted with four arms, sitting resplendent on a full-bloomed lotus with gold coins cascading from her hands, Lakshmi represents the beauty and bounty of nature. Her four arms represent the four ends of human life: “dharma” or righteousness, “kama” or desire, “artha” or wealth, and “moksha” or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. This is the perfect time to connect to your heart space and get clear on what abundance means to you.
Trust that the abundance meant for you cannot be taken away, and is simply waiting until you are ready to receive the download and that can only happen when you get clear and free from free of fear. During these three days, give freely of all you would love to receive. Nurture yourself by creating sacred space for beautifying, balancing rituals, buy yourself something special and then wear it – special occasion or not! Savor good food, give compliments and be open to receiving them too – this is the time to feel abundant with all your being. And if you don’t do it already, now is the time to start a gratitude journal – fill it with all you already feel grateful for and watch it multiply.
:: October 19-21 :: On the final three nights, meditate upon the Divine Feminine as the wisdom-bestowing aspect known as Saraswati. The Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and wisdom, Saraswati brings the joy of learning and of self-realisation. This is an excellent time to sign up for a course, read inspiring articles, read a translated version of the Gayatri Mantra to further deepen your knowledge and create a mediate practice.
Equally, it is a time to create a ‘to don’t list’! Learning should be fun and if you have a long list that is not getting done, ask yourself if you ever really wanted to do it in the first place? Why set yourself up to fail? Who are you proving things to and for? Use this time to truly connect to what you want and give up everything else. Think about all the lessons you have learnt and give thanks for growing wisdom.
Throughout the nine days of Navaratri, focus on breathing as an opportunity to inhale the qualities you wish to nurture and exhale the qualities that no longer serve you. Traditionally, the 10th day concludes by offering nine girls from the local neighbourhood treats of some kind, be it sweets and clothing – to symbolize an offering to the Divine Goddesses. We offer gratitude to the Divine Mother and celebrate in a state of sat-chit-ananda, or truth-consciousness-bliss, and conclude with Vijayadasami (Vijay – victory, and dasami – tenth day), symbolizing the victory of the Goddess over all demonic forces. Think about the small but significiant victories you have made as you have focused on Durga, and give thanks for how far you have come.
Anita Kaushal is the founder of Ayurveda-inspired natural beauty line Mauli Rituals. Find out more about her and her journey at the link, and follow her @mauli_rituals.
Want to align yourself with every phase of mother Moon? Gabriela Herstik has a lesson in New Moon magick just for you…
If you’ve ever wondered how you can use the energy of mother Moon to manifest or discard that which may or may not serve you, you’ve entered the realm of what’s known as ”Sympathetic Magick”.
Don’t let this menacing term fool you, it’s really not as scary as it sounds! To put it simply, it means working with the waxing and waning of the Moon, as it gains and loses light, to reflect what you would like more or less of in your life.
Here’s the lowdown on New Moon magick, to help you channel your inner witchy mamma…
What is it “Sympathetic Magick” works on the assumption that there’s a secret sympathy that connects all energies. We may not be able to see this, but we feel and understand it. This concept can be broken down into two parts; The Law of Similarity and The Law of Contact.
The Law of Similarity The Law of Similarity is the most relevant when it comes to working with the Moon. This Law states that magick works because like attracts like (as both the Buddha, and The Secret have taught us), and so in imitating the result you desire, you will cause it to happen by attracting it to you. This is also called The Law of Attraction.
The Law of Contact The Law of Contact works with the idea that the energy of two objects continues to act on one another even after they’re separated. Voodoo dolls are a good representation of this Law! By hurting a certain part of the doll you’re following the Law of Similarity – by using some actual hair, or a piece of clothing belonging to the person the doll represents, you’re following The Law of Contact. (Don’t worry – we’re not suggesting you use Sympathetic Magick to hurt anyone, but this is the easiest way to explain the difference between the two Laws.)
How This Relates to the Moon Okay, so some basic astronomy- when the Moon is dark it’s called the New Moon. As it then becomes more light it’s called a Waxing Moon. After the time of the Full Moon, it starts to lose light, known as the Waning Moon. The easiest way to remember this? Wax on, Wane off. In relation to Sympathetic Magick – as the Moon’s light grows, or waxes, you tap the Law of Similarity and perform some New Moon magick for what you want more of. When the Moon’s light shrinks, or wanes, you use the same law to perform magick for what you want to let go of.
When the Moon is Waxing As the Moon grows in size and gains both strength and light, focus on what it is you want to grow and manifest! In the two weeks from when the Moon is black, up until it’s full, there’s a really strong window of opportunity to attract more of anything you want an abundance of. The waxing Moon is a perfect time to think about (and perform magick for) communication, financial and legal matters, healing and health. For example, you could do this money spell. Think about what you want to increase and go for it.
When the Moon is Waning In the time between the Full Moon to the Black Moon, or New Moon, there’s a strong window of opportunity to let go. This is a time to analyze what no longer serves you and to rid yourself of it, a great time to break old habits, relationships and addictions. The waning Moon is a time of release. Take some time to tune in to what speaks to your soul – if it isn’t letting you rise to your highest possible potential, is it necessary? If not then let it go, let it go.
When the Moon is New Of all the Moon phases, the New Moon and Full Moon are the most potent. When the moon is completely dark, it’s a really strong time to work your New Moon magick and get rid of what you don’t want. It’s a good idea to retreat from the world, focus and think of what really does and doesn’t serve you. The energy of the New Moon occurs the day it’s marked on the calendar, as well as the day before and after. PS – If you need some ideas of ways to celebrate with more New Moon magick, we got you.
When the Moon is Full Meanwhile, the Full Moon is a time of celebration! The divine feminine is amped, and it’s a good time to gather up your tribe and give gratitude. The Full Moon speaks of commitment, psychic ability and magickal acts of all kinds. Spells are especially strong on this day (as well as three days before or three days after) and you can tailor your spell to fit the coming New Moon, too. If you want to manifest, think of the Full Moon as the apex of this energy. If you want to perform a spell to let go, tailor it to the fact that every day after the Full Moon will assist in shrinking whatever it is.
Other Tools If you really want to use Sympathetic Magick to its full advantage during each Moon phase, don’t forget about the other tools at your disposal. Affirmations, crystals, flowers, herbs, incense, trees… go crazy! The more ways you can state your intended desire to the Universe, the stronger the magick will be. Beyond anything else – believe in what you do whole heartedly, Magick flows the best when you completely surrender to it!
One of the first things people want to know about magic is whether they can use it to cast a money spell. The answer is YES, but this requires a deeper understanding of what money is, says Nabeel Afasr
In our culture, we treat money as an object to possess, opposed to an energy that is shared. From the mystic’s perspective, money—like everything else—represents a process, and not a finite substance. We’re encouraged to indulge in anxiety about having enough money, and we connect our bank statement to our value as human beings. Unfortunately, this can make money an endless source of anxiety.
When we realize that money is simply energy, then we can really start working our magic – and the best and simplest money magic spell is generosity. The act of sharing what you have—especially when you have little—will generate financial energy that must karmically return to you. The sages teach that there is no separation between yourself and others, that we are all one, different fingers on the same hand. Seen this way, giving to another is the same as giving to yourself, not because of a future karmic reward, but because giver and receiver are one.
Something as small as offering a homeless person change, or handsomely tipping the cab driver. These small acts inform the Universe that you are a giver, an active participant in the circle of sharing, so the Universe will continue to share with you. Remember that the Universe is a mirror, so if you are fearful there’s not enough in spite of all the abundance in the world, if you indulge in worrying about money, then your world will reflect anxiety back to you, impoverishing you endlessly.
So start by being more generous – but to do this wholeheartedly, you’ll have to also cultivate gratitude. Give what you give to whomever you want as an offering of gratitude to the forces that have birthed and sustained you thus far. If you’re feeling poor, broke and abandoned by the money gods, remember all the free air you’ve breathed your whole life, the free sunshine that fills the sky every morning, the free water that falls from the sky. Remember and feel some gratitude. The more gratitude you cultivate, the more your world will give you blessings to be grateful for.
But sometimes you need to bring out the big guns! Whether foreclosure is looming, job prospects are dim, or credit card debt is piling up, sometimes you need some divine intervention. There are two ways magic can help.
First, you perform a simple spell, ceremony or ritual intended to make you more charming, articulate and commanding, in order to land a new job or client. To do this, simply write a description of your ideal self, ie: “I am charming, articulate and commanding, and my talents are highly valued”. Now light a green candle, feel into the physical sensations of landing you dream job, and then burn your note.
Second, you can consider casting a spell meant to affect the outer world and bring you more wealth – but you should only try this approach if working on yourself hasn’t solved the problem!
– Go for a walk in a busy area—ideally a place of commerce—and collect 13 lucky pennies. A lucky penny is any penny you find that’s facing up. Any pennies you find facing down, you should turn over and leave for someone else. In a pinch, you can use dimes, nickels or quarters, but whatever you choose, you should not mix and match. You might need to take several walks!
– Put the lucky coins in a suitable container like a glass mason jar, and fill it with water. You can dress it by adding a combination of these common household herbs: cinnamon, thyme, basil, cloves and ginger. You can pick a few or just one, whatever you have to hand.
– Seal the jar by screwing the lid on tight and burning a green candle atop it. Meditate as you do so, visualizing yourself enjoying the wealth you’re about to receive.
– On the night of the Full Moon, bury the container in the earth in a place it won’t be disturbed. On the dirt above it, draw a pentagram with the top pointing West.
If you can’t get out into nature to bury your spell properly, here’s an alternative method:
Instead of filling the jar of pennies with water, fill it with dirt. You can collect the dirt from outside or use a small packet of soil. You could also use sand from the beach or fill it up with rocks. Dress the dirt with the same herbs mentioned above. Seal the jar with a green candle, do your meditation, and then you can leave the spell on your altar.
When the spell is no longer relevant, you should still take it out somewhere in nature and bury it, drawing a westward facing pentagram on the soil above. This act seals your spell, planting a seed of wealth that will grow over time. Generally, you don’t really want to dispose of the spell by emptying the contents of the jar, as that might adversely affect your future finances.
Try this money spell to boost your finances, level up your career, or to bail you out in tough times – but remember to start by first casting the twin spells of gratitude and generosity. Then attempt spells directed at improving yourself and enhancing your innate talents. Only reach to the Money Jar spell when nothing else does seems to be doing the trick.
This article originally appeared on the blog for The House of Intuition, a metaphysical shop dedicated to helping people achieve healing, transformation, empowerment and personal growth in Silverlake, LA.
Did you know, the color of your wallet can also affect your finances? Find out more about how to make your wallet a money magnet here!
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