Yumi Sakugawa’s cute illustrated books bring life’s big questions down to earth. But mastering them herself will always be a work in progress, she tells Gabriela Herstik.
If there’s one thing Yumi Sakugawa thinks you should every day, it’s meditate. And with her sweetly illustrated books, the Los Angeles based comic book artist and illustrator is on a mission – to teach the world that there’s no right way to meditate, and you should do it anyway. In fact, Yumi is leading a shift in how we approach our relationship to our consciousness – and her childlike curiosity on her everlasting search of ways to connect to the cosmos is creating some truly spectacular magic.
The Numinous: There’s an almost childlike innocence in the way you present very important spiritual and Universal truths. How do you think this helps get your message across? Yumi Sakugawa: I want to believe that core spiritual and universal truths can be distilled to simple and profound messages that can be easily understood by everybody regardless of religious background, spiritual training or level of education / life experience. Also, I don’t think illustrated books should be limited to just children.
TN: One of the points you emphasize is that we ARE one – with each other and the Universe. How do you think living in this truth can change your life, and how has it impacted your own? YS: This is a principle I illustrate a lot, but one I have the hardest time practicing for myself. I want to believe that in embodying this truth, we collectively awaken to the idea that other people’s suffering is our own suffering, to help remind us of our innate nature to take care of our communities and the planet as a whole.
I do feel ready, more than I’ve ever been, to really ask myself what cosmic interconnectedness means and how I can embody this more in my life and my work. Self-care and self-love must come first before extending that love to the community at large. Meditating on this truth gives me a greater sense of responsibility and purpose in the art I create and share with the world.
TN: How and why did you decide to tackle such a heavy (and worthy!) concept like oneness? YS: Again, I think I am drawn to this principle of oneness because I have the hardest time fully practicing it – even though I know on some primal, deep level that this is something the survival of our humanity and goodness depends upon. I spend a lot of time alone working on my artwork, which makes it easy for me to have an isolated and self-centered worldview. I am in awe of friends and colleagues who are really out there in the world interacting with more people from all walks of life every single day in very difficult, challenging situations – whether they are teachers, doctors, community activists, or work in the non-profit sector.
But at the same time I feel very lucky that my artwork has found an audience out there, and it’s so humbling to know that the work I create to ease my own mental health issues and insecurities can also help complete strangers from all walks of life, in all parts of the world. That, to me, brings a beautiful and profound sense of interconnectedness, that so many people may be experiencing the same shades of suffering, but can also experience the same spiritual relief by unshackling their minds from their own self-inflicted and self-limiting beliefs. I am reminded often that my artwork cannot exist in a vacuum and it must be seen by other people in order for the process of creation to be complete.
TN: What’s on the horizon for you in the upcoming Year of the Monkey? YS: I do hope to further extend my involvement with the world in 2016, though I am not sure yet what that would look like. In addition to continuing to create more artwork and comics relating to mindfulness, perhaps I will be doing more workshops and guided meditations IRL? To be continued! (Ed. Let’s talk Yumi, we’d love to create a Numinous Presents event with you!)
TN:What’s your process like for creating your art? Is there a special space that you tune into? YS: Especially with my books about meditation and mindfulness, it’s important for me to be in an intuitive flow state where I am feeling clearheaded and not overthinking things. This is why it is so important for me to meditate first thing in the morning. Having meditated for seven years now, I cannot imagine doing my creative work without a daily meditation practice, which creates the best mental space for me to pay attention to my inner guide – the voice that tells me when something is authentic or not. It is in this space where the best creative decisions are made, and the artwork that needs to be created unfolds with the ease of a flower opening its petals to the sun.
TN: What is the one message you hope to get across to all humans who read your books? YS: Pay attention, listen and celebrate.
Living in a commune reflects the humanitarian vision and values of the Aquarian Age, says Amanda Capobianco. Just no-body mention the “C” word…Homepage image:The Source Family
Just over a year ago I did something that would appear crazy to most people around me. I let go of a five room, $1600 apartment in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and traded my solo living situation for well over 20 roommates.
When I moved into to my own apartment I thought I had “finally made it.” But as I set my last moving box down and crossed the threshold, the voice of my spirit, my own higher self – or what I actually like to think of as Shiva – came through: “Don’t get attached,” it said. “Appreciate this to the fullest because it’s an illusion that won’t last forever.”
I appreciated it for over a year. Walking around naked, decorating however I wanted, all of that alone time… It was dreamy and ideal. I was proud that after years of roommates and sublets I finally had a place of my own. Not to mention the apartment was beautiful – a top floor, sunlit, spacious home, with a walk in closet to boot!
But the voice kept getting stronger. This living alone business wasn’t for me. You see, when I wasn’t alone in my apartment I was involving myself in another space just a neighborhood away in Greenpoint – an intentional community called Golden Drum.
I had been connecting with them for about four years or so, and at one point it became very clear that in order to progress on my spiritual path I would need to embrace the initiation of communal and intentional living. After all, this is the teaching of the Aquarian Age – to move out of the solo and selfish Piscean age and into the communal and humanitarian vision of the Aquarian. I knew this had to be my next step – or rather leap – into the unknown.
While it was a clear decision, it wasn’t an easy transition. I had moments where I doubted my choice, believing everyone would call me crazy, and if this new situation proved to be temporary I’d be stuck trying to find yet another home. I didn’t back out though, and I could have.
A year or so later, after some deep spiritual scrubbing, I find myself living in the most harmonious environment, and with some of the greatest people I have come to know on this path of awakening. My work has been supported as well as my health and my happiness. It was by far the hardest and yet, the best decision I have ever made.
We spoke to Amanda in more detail about her experience of living in a commune…
The Numinous: How did you first connect with Golden Drum? Amanda Capobianco: A close friend of mine had been doing some spiritual work with the community and had just come back from a week long retreat. When she spoke of her experience with the community’s spiritual teacher I knew that I had to investigate. Here I was, like so many, a yoga instructor with no real teacher to learn from or help guide me. I knew it was something I needed to feel into so I started attending events and creating relationships with the community to see what it was all about.
TN: What appealed to you about the community and their lifestyle? AC: What appealed to me most was that it was and is highly intentional, rooted in the study of sacred practices and open to all walks of life, especially to those that express a need for healing and transformation. It felt revolutionary, compassionate and also, the people were very real, very human. There was no big illusion of spiritual grandeur. You felt that everyone involved was working through their stuff and totally committed to doing so. After being a part of this myself, not only do I see my own transformation but I am a witness to those transforming around me. I can see how people have empowered themselves through their dedication to spiritual disciplines and studies.
TN: Is this something you sought out or, did it find you? AC: I feel like it found me but it was something that I had wanted all along. I loved the idea of a space that fostered community and peaceful living. I had tried living in community in some sense, renting an industrial loft and having like-minded roommates. But, without any sort of structure or discipline, it was never fully realized. We were all good people but it just never opened in the way I had envisioned. I believe now what was missing was sharing in strong spiritual practices and a commitment to serve others, as well as guidance beyond our own “inner guide”.
TN: What are the rules/codes you live by? AC: It’s not a rigid household by any means, but there is a code of conduct that helps keep the energy peaceful. Because we base our work in spiritual disciplines, it’s important that we keep the space very clean, not just physically but energetically. We are very mindful in this way. These guidelines may appear strict, but are truly set in place as an advantage to our liberation.
We are substance free, no smoking, drinking or drug use. We do not shout at each other or act in any violent capacity, if we do, we have to leave. We do not eat flesh foods including fish. We all have a service duty to help move the non for profit organizations (Golden Drum, Sacred Arts Research Foundation) along. We all pitch in to help with events and everyday household chores. We have a protocol for inviting guests over to stay. We communicate via email threads to make communal decisions and we have house meetings on a regular basis.
TN: Can you describe an average day at home? AC: We begin each day with some form of morning practice or ritual. This could be communal or individual. After which we head into our work life, studies and/or tend to the business of the community spaces. If I’m working from home there are usually, at least, two other people around, with others coming and going. There may be a music rehearsal then a private healing session, I may even be giving a yoga lesson online, it really just depends on the day.
There are usually some communal meals and if more than one of us are eating at time a good conversation about the current astrological aspects might be taking place! If we have an event in the evening we take care to organize and set up so that all is in place. We tend to our individual sacred practices before bed. There is no code of when we should sleep just an overall sense to be mindful of others if we are pulling an all-nighter.
The beauty is in the harmony of it. To be in a space where so much is happening but it is flowing peacefully is the true take away of community living. It really teaches you how to let go of all those things you think you need, like absolute quiet and for no one else to be around in order to focus. You learn how to conquer all of that and get your work done anyways. It is a true training for any spiritual practitioner.
TN: Who is your teacher/guru and how often do you see him? AC: My teacher is recognized as Taino Elder Maestro Manuel Rufino. I am eternally grateful for all that he has shared with me. I try to see him as often as possible.
TN: What are your feelings about the word ‘cult’? AC: It feels like a word rooted in the paradigm of fear.
TN: How do you explain your living situation to your family, people you’re dating etc.? AC: With transparency. Being a yoga teacher, my family is used to me being the “odd one,” but they trust how happy and healthy I am. Year after year, my spirit is in peace. While they might not share the same values they cannot deny their daughter’s happiness and contentment.
Dating is funny in the world of intentional community living though. It’s not impossible, but it will never be what it was when you lived alone. Which for me is actually a high point. You have to go really slow and gently bring that person into the fold. Otherwise, it’s just too intense for them. However, if they make it they are met with an incredible community of supporters. I’ve learned a lot about relationships being surrounded with conscious couples. It’s been a great way to undo the ideas of the past surrounding love and partnership, and it has been very healing.
TN: Do you think more people will seek this kind of living situation in the future? Why? AC: I think when people start to understand how incredibly helpful it is to live in community, they will begin to let go of the illusion of needing so much private space.
Think of all the people who are afraid to have children because they don’t have enough money or they don’t have a partner. When you live in a community like ours you have help that you can lean into. You have people that have done it before and can share knowledge with you. You also have children around you via other families, so maybe you don’t have to have a child after all. Maybe that child comes to you in another way. Again, its learning to let go of what you think you need (the societal pressures we are all subjected to) and recognizing the gifts that are already right there in front of you.
On an even more practical note, why pay $1600 a month when you can pay $800 and live just as peacefully, abundantly, and harmoniously? I guess keeping up an image can be cool, but I would much rather live simply and spend all that extra money investing in my continuing education, helping out my family or perhaps taking some time to travel.
TN: What are the difficult parts, if any? AC: Living amongst spiritual practitioners means you are stepping into a vibration that’s going to show you things about yourself that were much easier to hide from when you were living in your independence. It is a mirroring process with many mirrors! In a lot of ways, you are completely exposed, and it is up to you to own your stuff and then transcend it. Sometimes, it takes a while for this to happen.
You have to let go of judgments and allow for others and yourself to grow, which means you have to learn to forgive and practice compassion. It’s much easier to hide. It’s much easier to isolate yourself or run away. But then you aren’t really growing, and those that come to live in an intentional community are on a path that values spiritual growth. It’s not enough to just take a yoga class every once in a while and call that spiritual living. This is a clear and deep investment in your path of awakening.
TN: Do you see yourself growing old with your community? Is this your long term plan? AC: I do! I am not sure what it will look like 50 years from now and I don’t know that staying in NYC is really something that I want for the long term but staying connected to this community, our way of life, our walk and these teachings are something I hope to carry with me for as long as I possibly can.
Working with metaphysical text A Course In Miracles has helped Gingersnaps Organic founder Jamie Graber enjoy every step of her journey – anxieties and all. She shares how…Images: John von Pamer
It can sometimes feel like all roads to spiritual awakening lead back to A Course in Miracles – a channelled, self-study workbook perhaps made most famous by the likes of Marianne Williamson and Gabriel Bernstein, who both reference the teachings of ACIM heavily in their own work.
Most recently, the classic text popped up on our radar thanks to a weekly study group that meets at chic West Village juice bar Gingersnaps Organic. Inspired by founder Jamie Graber’s own journey with the teachings of ACIM, here she shares how the Course has helped her re-imagine her relationship with food and step fully into her life purpose…
The Numinous: When did you discover A Course In Miracles? Jamie Graber: I discovered ACIM three years ago through Gabby Bernstein, who I met when she used to come and get juice when Gingersnaps was in the East Village, near her apartment. I was questioning a lot of stuff in my life at the time, and the Course helped me realize I could see things a different way. In turn, this helped me see that I had power over any situation.
TN: What inspired the ACIM study group at Gingersnaps? JG: Because it was always my vision to have my restaurant be a place of community. I also noticed that the more I talked about ACIM, the better I felt, so I thought having the weekly meetings would be a beautiful way to start giving back. An amazing woman name Anne Marie Imperiale leads the class, an incredible coach who uses the Course in her work. We meet every Monday from 8-9pm, the class is free, and people come early to gather and connect. I love it.
TN: Why do you think the teachings of the Course resonate with so many people? JG: Because because they give YOU the power. It’s not about idolizing or following rules, it’s about remembering that ultimately we hold all the power over how we see things. If we accept this and choose to really live in it, we begin to see that we have the answer for everything within us. The Course really teaches how to live in love and not fear, and who doesn’t want that!
TN: Can you give an example of this from your own life? JG: My journey with Gingersnaps Organic actually began with a massive fear around food. I was extremely uncomfortable with my body, unable to embrace or love it, to the point I would actually say I say I hated my body. But out of that, I found raw food and plant based living, which in turn led me to discover my passion in life and to really be able to experience joy around food. I even married a meat-eating chef, and my favorite thing these days is to travel the world eating amazing food with him!
TN: So how has the Course helped you heal your relationship with food specifically? JG: The lessons helped me realize my illusions about food were just that: illusions. For example, the idea that eating food would automatically make me fat and grotesque to everyone around me. At the time, I was 5 7″ and 85lbs, but when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was fat. In hindsight, I can see this was insane – but at the time, the the illusion felt very real to me.
TN: What’s been your key take-away from the teachings? JG: That when I’m uncomfortable or going through something tough, I know it’s because I’m in a place of transition and that I have to make a change – and there’s an incredible sense of ease that comes along with that. Also that while often healing hurts, and feels uncomfortable at first, the more you’re willing to push through discomfort, the faster you will come out the other side to a place of joy and freedom that you didn’t even know existed.
TN: And what’s your very favorite lesson from ACIM? JG: There’s one I love so much I actually set it as a reminder on my phone every night:
“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety”
We often think we know what’s best for us, and have an idea of exactly what that should look like. We give a lot of power to this vision, and when things don’t go exactly as we “wanted,” we can lose faith and become anxious that we’re never going to get what we want. True faith believes that we are taken care of. We have to understand that we can’t always see the path ahead – but that if we have faith that everything we encounter is actually a gift, then we can enjoy every step of the journey.
Reaching the “destination” isn’t worth it for me any more if the journey is filled with anxiety and fear, so when I’m stressing about something, I will often read this lesson and mediate on it, remembering I am protected, and that everything is for my best interest. When I first opened the space in the East Village, I was a ball of fear and anxiety, so every day there was torture. I had no faith, and only frustration that things didn’t look like I thought they would.
Having Gabby and The Course in my life really took me back to my childhood, when I believed and trusted. I was the little girl waking up early before school to clear my crystals and talk to Spirit, and when I first opened up Gingersnap’s Organic, I had forgotten that. Opening up in the West Village has been completely different. I’ve done it with ease and trust, and chosen to just let things play out. Even when anxiety sets in, using my tools from ACIM, I am able to release it and actually enjoy waiting for how I want things to be.
Tarot is having a moment. And with more artists than ever bringing forth new versions of the classic Tarot, it’s never been easier to unleash your inner reader and find a deck that sings to you! Whether you’re a witchy mama looking for something a little more macabre, or a Kundalini goddess in search of some high vibes, there is a deck out there with your name on it.
To aid your search, we’ve rounded up five hot off the press tarot obsessions, kicking things off with an interview with the goddess behind The Starchild Tarot, Danielle Noel, about her special edition Akashic Records deck. By Gabriela Herstik.
The Numinous: First off, we love that you’re including the Akashic Records as a card in the major arcana of your new deck. What will the card represent? Starchild Tarot: Thank you! I have always thought of the Akashic records as a source of mystery and divine information. At first, it was a somewhat abstract concept to grasp. When I was younger and just beginning to understand its significance, I imagined ancient manuscripts containing hidden and sacred knowledge, and thought, “how can I access this?” Now I understand the ‘Akashic Records’ as an energetic source which contains various frameworks of spiritual truths, with information pertaining to yourself, your life paths, incarnations, and the Universe at large. When you work with the cards, you have access to this information too, and are essentially connecting with the endless possibilities available to you.
The Akashic Records card of this special edition comes after the traditional 21st card (The World/The Universe), as a bridge beyond this holistic key, which I think connects well with how we are evolving at this time on our planet. I truly believe that a shift is currently taking place – energies are being enhanced and polarized, insights and sacred knowledge are rising to the surface like never before, and we are being forced to really think about our own enlightenment, mortality, and collective consciousness. This card taps into the acknowledgement of yourself as more than a physical being. It encourages you to take note of your own karmic imprints, and to consider the sacred knowledge that is being offered to us all at this time.
TN: Your imagery is super feminine and dreamy. Do you think that sort of energy in a deck makes it easier for the reader to access the Akashic Records? ST: Certain sacred spaces and forms of sacred geometry are very activating, which is why I incorporate particular sites, colours, and symbols throughout this deck. This one also has a lot of pastel hues (pink and corals in particular) which connect with the heart chakra. My intention with each image is to inspire your imagination and intuition, through the layering of various visual triggers and healing modalities.
TN: Do you have a favorite card in this new deck? Why? (We won’t tell the others!) ST: I have to say I really love the “Akashic Records” card. The image seems like one of the strongest visual portals that come up, and I’m curious to see how people will respond to it. Each symbol, colour, and portion of that card plays significant role in its interpretation. I have a deep fascination and love for Thoth and the emerald tablets, as well as the history of Atlantis, so those keys are also embedded in the image.
TN: What else is different about the new deck? ST: There are a lot of new cards, which came from the desire to keep making new “gateways,” and the style for this deck is also slightly different than its predecessor. I added a lot of hand painted layers and watercolour textures, and it is much less “collage” based and more illustrative. Some of the cards from the original Starchild Tarot have remained in the Akashic edition, however, they have each been modified with painted overlays and new details.
Throughout the Major Arcana I have also added “Spiritual Keys” to help each reader along their journey into the Akashic records. These categories (Chakras, Gemstones, Guides, Symbols, Astrological/Planetary) can be used to expand your knowledge when working with a specific card, or to apply meditative and/or magical practices throughout the use of the Starchild Tarot. I have also added two new spreads in the guidebook (The Akashic Spread & Metatron Spread).
TN: Is creating collages on the cards a meditative experience for you? How does it aid your own journey with the Tarot? ST: Meditation and energy work has been a huge part of my life over these past few years, and creating the cards has gone hand in hand with these explorations. I always start with the backgrounds which are ALL familiar to me in some way or another. Many of them come from photographs from my own travels, or of sacred sites from around the globe.
Our planet has so many activation points, with many of the great monuments working as chakras within the energy grid of Gaia. To acknowledge and respect these points honors the interconnectedness of us all, as they illustrate our history and spiritual evolution. The Tarot is a simple yet complex visual representation of ancient stories and concepts, and I think about this when I am creating the images. Somehow, they act as smaller pieces to a much larger cosmic puzzle.
TN: How do you choose the incredible real-life women featured in your decks? ST: I’ve been lucky to have crossed paths with some amazing women and light workers, and when I began creating the decks, I thought that by integrating these guides, the energy of the cards would be enhanced through the powerful intention and co-creation that was put into the imagery. They are mediums, tarot readers, energy healers and others, who all share a common love for the Tarot and Magick overall.
TN: Which deck did you learn on, and what other decks are in your practice today? ST: The first deck I ever purchased was a second-hand copy of ‘The Aquarian Tarot’ – I found it at a local flea market, and strangely, it had two Ace of Swords! After that, I learned on the ‘Tarot of a Moongarden’ and the ‘Thoth’ Tarot, but there are so many decks that I now love and appreciate. I also love that more and more people are tapping into the Tarot as a tool for self-healing and learning, and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s become so popular.
I think this comes from the “waking up” process that’s happening – there is a need for more spiritual outlets, as people are recognizing the importance of introspection, and the existence of more than what we see “on the surface”. Currently, the decks I use the most are my own, The Aquarian Tarot, The Klimt Tarot, Spiritspeak Tarot, The Goddess Tarot, and the Thoth Tarot.
TN: What’s the one thing that you want people reading your cards to know? ST: There are many hidden layers and symbols in this deck. These were added as activation tools, so I am curious to see how they will be received. I have put a lot of love into this project, and hope that each person who reads the cards will be able to build their own relationship with the images and interpretations. That is my intention: I hope you feel supported and cared for when using these cards.
I would also like to point out that this new deck is not a replacement of the first, rather a special edition that opens up new insights. I am going to be re-releasing the “first edition” in the new year, so both decks will be available for sale, along with my future Moonchild Tarot, which is the shadow companion to The Starchild decks. I’m also working with a writer, and together we are creating a very special Oracle deck that I can’t wait to share in the not so distant future!
The Wild Unknown Second Edition The Wild Unknown has quickly become a cult classic and with good reason. The wilderness inspired deck speaks to our innermost existence with its beautiful imagery, so it comes as no surprise that the Universe seems to be vibin’ at a higher frequency (read major excitement) at the release of the Second Edition deck. Although most cards remain the same as in the first edition, the cards illustrator Kim Krans has chosen to revisit are absolutely stunning – and help infuse readings with a colorful new energy.
The Four of Swords is bathed in a radiant blue green aura, Temperance is complimented with a sweet rainbow background and The Lovers scream “relationship goals” now more than ever, with cotton candy colors woven behind the two geese. The icing on the cake? A new, more in depth, fold out guide to each card. Although the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” reads true most of the time, we’re happy The Wild Unknown chose to ignore it on this occasion.
The Fountain Tarot Deeply cosmic, The Fountain Tarot speaks to our unyielding need to find a deeper connection to the Universe we inhabit, and the souls who walk alongside us. The journey to this fountain of bliss starts as soon as you open the silver holographic fantasy of a box the cards reside in. From here, a greeting stating “you are the breath and voice of Universes” on the inside cover, sets the tone.
Designed and written by Jason Gruhl, Jonathan Saiz and Andi Todaro, the surreal imagery of each card allows an exploration of the sacred point where inner purpose meets outer expression. Perhaps most notably in The Fountain card itself, number “infinity,” which invites us to “surrender to that which you are, whole and perfect.” An invitation to remember that at our core, our true self is so much greater than we recognize.
Serpentfire Tarot Sixth Edition The colorful, dreamlike landscape of the Serpentfire deck by Devany Wolfe is unparalleled – and so totally Numinous. This deck is a beautiful tribute to the Goddess in us all, with an exploration of Kundalini energy woven throughout. These cards are for the dreamers, the seekers, the weavers, and those who feel an affinity to the Universe around them, even (especially) when it seems almost too big for their grasp.
Collages appear in some capacity in almost every card, from The Lovers personified as two wolves howling at a cosmic pyramid exploding with jewel-toned bliss, to The World being held over a Goddesses head with the Moon phases interlaced on top. This is no mundane magick. From the exquisite sacred geometry collage on the back of each card, to the brightly colorful, vibrantly infused and completely otherworldly art created by Wolf, this deck is truly spectacular.
Spirit Speak Tarot Deck If you’re into the more macabre, DIY, gothic look, the Spirit Speak tarot by Mary Bean Evans is right up your ally. With an alluring, sketchy quality, the illustrations for this deck resonate at their own slightly darker frequency – inviting you with a wink and a dripping dagger to step into that which is unknown. But feminist imagery, a clear love for the occult, and a really beautiful take on the Universe and the Cosmos also appears throughout.
So whether you pulling a bone hanging precariously atop a dagger to form a scale for “Justice” or a long-haired queen cradling a rune and her wand as “The Empress,” the Spirit Speak will quite literally…speak to your spirit. Let’s just say if the friendly monsters under your bed were into divination, they would have this deck on lock.
Known for her nudes, model-turned-fine-art-photographer Shae DeTar is freeing the nipple in glorious technicolor, producing large scale prints which she then adorns with oils. Here, our favorite cosmic crush shares some insight into her creative process…
Is there a female archetype you channel in your work? If so, what sort of feminine energy do you like to portray? I am looking to channel a self-confident and open-minded woman in my photographs. I prefer to photograph a woman whose concern with how she looks isn’t the driving force behind the image and who isn’t constantly wondering how she looks during the shoot. If a subject is really concerned with looking a certain way, it sort of kills the innocence, mystery and spontaneity of the shoot. That kind of energy is the opposite of what I look for. When subjects are just open to letting creativity guide us in the moment…that’s when the magic happens for me.
You see the world in technicolor – how does this inform your everyday life? I’ve got art all over my walls and I have a super colorful interior decor at home and in my closet. I love color so much, it’s my greatest muse.
In which physical state do you feel most inspired and connected to your art? The real inspiration for me happens after I’ve printed the images and begin to paint them. I start feeling inspired once I pull my paintbrushes out, put my paint on the palette and begin to mix trays of color.
What emotions do you want to evoke in others with your work? No emotion in particular. I know that everyone views art uniquely and processes it differently and that’s really cool. I love pulling images out of the books I buy at The Strand and framing them. So, if people want my images in their home, or something like that, it’s the greatest compliment, since I know how much I love having art on my walls.
Your images suggest the possibility of an intimate connection between humans and the natural world – living in a city like NYC, how do you find ways to access nature? I grew up in Pennsylvania, and I spent most of my childhood splitting time between my home and and NYC. So I have always made that hour long drive back and forth quite easily. My grandmother still lives in Pennsylvania, too, and has a lot of land, so I drive out there and enjoy the trees and mountains quite a bit. Currently, my parents live in Greenwich Village and they have a mini van that I use to pile the girls into when I do group shots in nature.
A.k.a. Lady Lu of The Wolves, Pretty Little Liars actress, storyteller, and interior designer Lulu Brud is the most mystical of material girls. Here’s a peek into her world…Portraits: Taren Maroun
WE’RE STARTING A NEW EVENT SERIES CALLED “STORY MEDICINE.” AS A TELLER OF STORIES YOURSELF, WHAT DO YOU FIND HEALING ABOUT STORYTELLING? Stories are mirrors, reflectors of humanity that can reveal the great archetypes throughout history. They can awaken a connection to seemingly far away lands, spirits, and forgotten or imagined times. Stories are teachers and invokers. They lend us the words when we have gone silent or inspire empathy where perhaps before there was none.
WHERE DID THE NAME OF YOUR BRAND – “OF THE WOLVES” – COME FROM? I dated a man a long time ago who gave me this book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. It was as if he had been sent just to give me this important thing, because I never really heard from him again after that! Later that year, for my 25th birthday, my best friend gave me a Wolf Ring that has become a talisman in my life. I joined Instagram the same week I got the ring, and as I was searching for my moniker, the name just sort of came to me. I didn’t go out looking for the wolves, the wolves came looking for me.
AS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER, WHAT MAKES A HOME A SANCTUARY? We spend a lot of our lives out in the world, sharing space and entangling ourselves with the energy of strangers. It’s important to have a home to return to that feels like a calm and grounded sanctuary of our own making. My personal approach to interior spaces is inspired by natural and warm elements like plants, crystals and wood, different patterns and colors in textiles and tiles, and up-cycled/repurposed pieces. I love bringing inside living, outside, and outside living, inside…in other words, I don’t like such hard defined lines between the inside of one’s home and the wild outdoors.
WE LOVE THE SOUND OF YOUR “PICNICS OF THE WOLVES” GATHERINGS! WHAT INSPIRED THIS IDEA AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? I love gathering with women (and sometimes men too!) over food, drinks and chats doing crafts and/or at lectures. Working with our hands, healing through laughter and shared stories, that’s what it’s about. I’ve done a few of my own gatherings now, and they are organically growing into something really special. There will be several coming up in 2016 – Lindsay Mack of Wild Soul Healing will be in LA in May for a Tarot focused Picnic, and I’m hoping to get a Cob Oven building workshop on the books too, things like that. The sign-ups will be listed on my website as they become available!
ACTORS ARE EMPATHETIC SOULS BY NATURE – HOW DOES ONE KEEP YOUR ENERGY FIELD CLEAN OPERATING IN A CUT-THROAT ENVIRONMENT LIKE HOLLYWOOD? To be honest, I struggle with it a lot, but Of the Wolves has saved me in many ways. My days are filled with storytelling in many forms, and I go to bed feeling creatively fulfilled at night. I have had the opportunity to work more this year than I ever have before, with a small arc on Pretty Little Liars and an appearance on Ray Donovan, but for now, it’s all quiet again on the acting front.
The ups can be really exciting and thrilling, the downs can be pretty heavy and dark, and rejection is an everyday occurrence. The trick, for me at least, is staying balanced and grounded through it all, keeping my hands busy, telling good stories, and not pausing for too long to dwell on things that are so out of my control. At the end of the day, it’s just a job. It’s hard not to compare my path with that of those around me, but I just can’t do it…their story isn’t my story and my story isn’t theirs.
:: MATERIAL GIRL ::
My label // Reformation or vintage finds from old closets.
My shoes // Black vintage lace up Justin boots (that I’ve had resoled 5 times), PFKaufman Mules, Minnetonka Moccassins.
My fragrance // Jiva Apoha 1967 Body Oil or if I’m feeling fancy D. S. & Durga Freetrapper.
My jewels // Alkiemie Wolf Ring, Communion by Joy Eye of the Warrior Ring, my wedding ring with a family crest that my husband and I designed together, and Native American vintage turquoise pieces
My pampering // A quiet solo night at home with a good playlist, candles, bath time, and a glass of wine.
My home // Rustic + Bohemian + Cabin feels nestled into a hillside on the east-side of LA.
My food // I love cooking any foods with good people and high-vibing ingredients
:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::
My awakening // Waking up slowly and cuddling my husband and our eight-year-old tea cup poodle. Then lighting candles in our meditation room, burning Juniper Ridge incense, and sipping coffee until I need to face the music and get the day started.
My transformation // When I stopped limiting myself to just being a storyteller through acting, and opened myself up to all of the other ways I tell stories – home designing, sharing stories on my blog, making goods, and curating my online shop.
My mission // To awaken and connect people back to one another and their wild sides, and to instill a new paradigm of protectors for the sustainability of this planet.
London-based Jody Shield has gained a reputation as the healers’ healer, and signed as a Lululemon meditation ambassador. She shares her journey with Ruby Warrington
“Quit your job.” It was back in 2013 that Jody Shield heard the voice, subtle and yet insistent. “The sensation that came with it was one of, ‘it’s fine, you’ll be supported, don’t worry, trust’,” she remembers. “But still I was like, ‘no, no…what’s going on?’ And it just kept repeating, ‘quit your job, quit your job, quit your job’…”
Until this moment it had been a regular day in the office at the London ad agency where Jody had worked since 2005, rising through the ranks to become Business Director. Sure, she’d suffered a degree of burn-out in the role, had taken a sabbatical to Peru to “find myself.”
Since her return, she’d been dabbling in alternative therapies, and quietly working to develop what she felt were her natural healing abilities. But she’d found a happy medium, or so she thought. Her newfound skills were simply tools to help her navigate the demands of her own life in the “real world.” But now it seemed as though Spirit had other plans.
“I realized I couldn’t ignore what I was hearing, and almost as if some external force was pushing me to my feet I found myself walking into my boss’s office to tell him I needed to talk. I resigned on the spot,” she remembers.
Within three months, “I had a business as a healer. People had actually already been contacting me about sessions, and I’d been seeing family and friends at weekends. Once I made the decision to focus on it fully, people just kept coming back, and I was like, ‘okay!’”
In the two years since, Jody has become one of the most sought after alternative therapists in London, also gaining a reputation as “the healers’ healer.” This fall, she was signed by Lululemon as their first ever European meditation ambassador, and with a busy public speaking schedule to boot she’s become a leading voice in the Now Age movement. For anybody seeking a similar transition to a career in healing, her journey is a lesson in surrendering to your calling.
Born in the North of England, “growing up, I always had a sense that there was something bigger out there and that I was going to be a part of it. I used to look at celebrities and think, ‘they’re no different to anybody else, they’ve just got big energy’. And I felt that way about myself, too,” she says.
As far as connecting to Spirit, “I had a sense of the different energies in our house, and would get goose bumps when I walked into certain rooms. I’d drag the dog in with me for ‘protection’,” she laughs. But like so many psychically-developed young women, “I shut it all down when I hit my teens and began to discover boys…”
The first indication that she would one day be asked to use her gifts blew into her life on the winds of tragedy – after an ex-boyfriend was brutally murdered. “I woke up in bed one night not long after it happened, and there was an outline of him next to me on the matress. I realized his soul wasn’t able to pass to the other side, and I so I just told him, ‘it’s okay, be at peace now. You don’t need to worry about anything.’ And he just left.”
Back in real life Jody was focused on climbing the corporate ladder – even if the incident with her ex had left its mark. “I was emotionally burned out, and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to the point I had to take time off work due to ‘stress’,” she says. Eventually, she set off for South America for what she thought was some much needed R & R. Instead, she found herself on an intensive plant medicine retreat.
“Nobody was talking about Ayahuasca back then, so when I heard about it in Peru I really had no idea to expect. Even on the boat to the retreat center, I remember wondering what on Earth I was doing there, and thinking I would probably just be an observer,” she says. In the event, her 12-day shamanic immersion would prove absolutely pivotal in her journey to becoming a full-time healer herself.
Not least because she was immediately confronted with a truth she’d been hiding for years, even from herself – that she was living in the grips of bulimia. “When we arrived we were asked to drink something to make us vomit and purge the toxins from our system. The potion didn’t work on me, and the facilitator told me to stick my fingers down my throat. My immediate reaction was, ‘but you can’t do that in public!’ I’d kept my eating disorder a secret for a decade.”
In ceremony, having drunk the Ayahuasca itself, “it felt like being cradled in the arms of the Mother, looking down on me and loving me, but going; ‘you’ve got something to confess, and you have to bring it up so I can help you with it.’ When I shared about this afterwards, it was the first time I’d spoken about my eating disorder to anyone.”
Jody took part in seven ceremonies over 12 days, sharing her little jungle hut with giant cockroaches and spiders, and emerging with an unshakable sense that her bulimia was behind her. “It was as if my brain had been re-wired and I couldn’t even remember the physical process of the illness. I had also made a contract with the plant to never eat meat or take drugs again.”
Further, “I had been recognized by the indigenous tribe as one of them. After one ceremony, they all made a bee-line for me, calling me “doctor, doctor, doctor.”
It’s testament to the grounded nature that makes Jody so approachable as a healer that she was able to pack this experience away with her guide books and resume her “normal” life back in London. Albeit with a desire to discover more about the healing arts, and her own abilities in this area.
It began with the study of EFT, or tapping, but it was discovering the work of Damien Wynne that tapped Jody fully into her gifts. Having developed a system for karmic, emotional and energetic “clearing” called Light Grids Therapy, “for me Damien was the whole package – a very expansive spiritual channel, yet very, very grounded in his human experience,” says Jody. She decided to travel to Germany to train with him; “My mum insisted on coming with me though, to check I wasn’t being indoctrinated into some cult,” she laughs.
“I connected to the work instantly, which centers on the mantra ‘I am that I am,’ and is essentially about allowing you to fully claim your ancestral seat in this lifetime. After five days of working intensively on healing and opening up my own emotional body, noticed quantum shifts in my perspective on my own life and purpose,” she claims.
“But I was afraid. I was like, ‘if this IS my path, how do I bring this to London, and how on Earth do I explain this to people?!” she says, echoing what must have been the thought process of so many great healers before her. But it was shortly after this that she heard The Voice, while experiencing the sensation of being fully supported by the Universe on her journey.
The rest, as they say, is history. And with with London’s creative and business leaders lining up to work with Jody, there’s a sense of her childhood awareness that “something bigger” was out there waiting for her having been fulfilled.
To find out more about Jody Shield and her work and to book a session visit Jodyshield.co.uk
Because we never feature enough Numi dudes! Gabriela Herstik gets Unknown Mortal Orchestra front man Ruban Neilson’s take on love, the Universe, and everything. Image: Dusdin Condren
Best known for being the third eye of psychedelic pop rock band Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ruban Nielson has more to offer the world than just some groovy tunes. Ruban’s experience grounding his soulful nature in day-to-day life has shaped many things, including his relationships – UMO’s latest full length, “Multi-Love,” is a synthy trip about his experiments with polyamory. We talked to the man himself about his constant commitment to channelling something beyond himself – and how it helps make some good dancin’ music.
On Spirituality “I don’t really worry about whether I’m spiritual or not because it’s a mysterious part of life and categories mess it up for me. Music is my concrete connection to forces outside myself, whether this means community, history, spirit, the subconscious, or some concept of God – that isn’t my place to define. But through music I know there’s more than my ‘self’ because I get gifts from that place in the form of songs, or the ability to perform beyond what I thought I could.”
On Astrology “I’m a Pisces, but the first day so I’m a cusper with Aquarius. I’m also a Cancer Moon. I feel like a pretty typical Pisces. Astrology is fun. I like talking about it with people and trying to find patterns. But I take it with a grain of salt like most things.”
On Love “Being in love is so important to me. I spend most of my time thinking about love, although I’ll never know anything about it. I’m always just drowning and I prefer it that way.”
On Culture “I have my own personal ideas about being Hawaiian. Most people don’t know what a Polynesian is and that’s both frustrating and useful. I think my genetics shape my music quite a bit. I think my music puts my heart on display, and Hawaiians are known to be very hot-headed and deeply emotional.”
On Yurts “The shape of a yurt is beautiful and living in a yurt was cool. It was a certain time in my life. I miss it sometimes but my life doesn’t fit in a yurt any more, haha.”
On The Unknown “Aliens of all kinds definitely exist. You can ask any mathematician. Magick is real too. It’s all around us in the form of branding; symbols and suggestions used to manipulate reality. It’s a pity it’s come to that. As for spirit guides and ghosts, I’m not going to try to categorize things that no-one really understands. There are a lot of levels to reality though, I’m certain of that.”
On Wearing Mala Beads “I guess I do.”
On Mantras “I do work with mantras. They change a lot.”
On Inner Peace and Zen “I play music. I’m always looking to be possessed by this very happy and invincible version of myself.” On Living Your Truth “I’m really lucky. These days I’m really able to pursue my music and live the way I want to live. I don’t sleep much but I get to be the person I dreamed I could be and I get to be moving and creating all the time. That’s the way I want to be.”
“Women ourselves have bought into this idea of ‘feminine’ as meaning ‘weaker’…” Jo Becker‘s Marianne Williamson interview speaks to what it means to be woman and a spiritual activist.
Marianne Williamson is a powerhouse. The fierce voice of modern spirituality shares her love-driven ideas on how to heal America far and wide: she’s written four New York Times #1 bestsellers, chats with Oprah on the regular, and even ran for Congress in 2013. To me, she embodies the future of feminine leadership and spiritual activism.
I’m inspired by her eloquent commitment to heart-centered change. Years before I read her books, I heard her life-changing statement from A Return to Love, the quotation she is now famous for:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I caught up with her at an Institute of Noetic Sciences conference. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell founded IONS back in 1973 after experiencing samadhi during the flight back to earth. Since then, IONS has been devoted to bringing together science and spirituality. I see Marianne Williamson as similarly groundbreaking in her work: she joyfully and relentlessly marries political activism with spiritual awareness.
The Dalai Lama said, “The world does not need more successful people. The world desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.” Personally, I think the world needs successful peacemakers, healers, and lovers; and numinous women like Marianne Williamson are shining examples.
A lot of people think that “spiritual activism” is a contradiction. What would you say to them? Spiritual activism is a change in thinking: from a mental filter of fear to a mental filter of love. Given that thought is the causal level of all experience, active thought and change of thought is the most powerful force in the Universe.
Earlier today, a scientist was talking about how information, as in data, is only 10% of what causes people to actually change their behavior. And we have the data. We know what climate change is doing, we know how dangerous nuclear power is. We have the data on what violence on television and video games is doing to young people’s brains, we have the data on the carcinogens that are in the air…So why is it that “knowing the data” isn’t enough to make us change?
What makes us change comes from a deeper place, and that’s what spiritual activism is. It’s when something of the spirit, of the heart, becomes active in our thinking, and our thinking gets lit up. Because the mind itself can be used for purposes of love or purposes of fear, so spiritual activism is when we seek to do whatever it is we do from a place of love and with the intention of love.
And I’m talking about the love with which the mother lion protects her cubs. The love with which the adult female [and some males] of any species that survives and thrives exhibits fierce behavior when she senses that her cubs are threatened. So the marginalization of spirituality, the minimization of love as force, is just part of the ego mind’s propaganda.
Do you resonate with what the Dalai Lama said: “the Western woman will save the world?” Of course I resonate with it, but with all due respect to the Dalai Lama, I don’t think we need any man’s verification. I have a bit of a problem with the fact that we’re quoting a man to affirm our own power. I have the same great respect and reverence for His Holiness as anyone, but come on girls! I think what’s most important is that you say it. And I say it. Because we are affirming what we are doing: that this world is changing because we say so. Because we say so.
You’re doing a lot of work right now with balancing masculine and feminine energies in women. Why is this important to you? It’s such a significant issue. I am a product of the 1970’s wave of feminism—obviously the women’s movement is a wonderful thing, obviously I consider myself a feminist. But there is what I think of as a flawed strain of feminism, through which we actually suppressed the feminine in the name of feminism. And we embodied in many cases the archetype of Athena. She goes out there, she goes into the world, she manifests, she makes things happen.
But we get to embody as many energies, i.e. goddesses, as we choose, and Aphrodite is important as well. She embodies romance and beauty and pleasure, and I think many women, myself included have had a lot of psychic scars from buying into the belief that cultivating the masculine side of ourselves was actually more important than cultivating the feminine side.
I also think a lot of women have come to a very confusing point in their lives, realizing ‘I made this happen’ or ‘I made that happen.’ ‘I had these professional goals—some of which I’ve manifested, some of which I haven’t.’ But when are the other areas of my life, which are just as important to me, going to occur? Old wise women don’t get pregnant.
I’ve seen a lot of young women particularly deeply saddened, even traumatized, by the fact that while they feel they’re on some track professionally, their relationships, and child-bearing and deeper issues of cultivation of the family and romance have become…it’s like women are standing there saying, ‘How did I become clueless in this area?’ And then not only ‘How did I become clueless?’ but ‘What are the clues?’ They’ve become lost.
Inviting in the Aphrodite energy of love, pleasure, beauty – what does that look like in a woman? The integration of the Aphrodite and the Athena in my own life has been so important. I think obviously we’re all masculine, we’re all feminine, but women are here to major in feminine. It’s part of honoring our incarnation not to sideline something so fundamental to our being. And women ourselves have bought into this idea of ‘feminine’ as meaning ‘weaker’ without knowing it. Not women as weaker, but feminine attributes as weaker. I think many of us are seeking to reclaim lost pieces of ourselves, scattered pieces of ourselves.
What advice do you have for young women? I think my biggest advice to young women would be, ‘enjoy it while you got it.’
And not try to be the ‘wise woman’ before your time? The decades of life are like different rooms in the house. I have a daughter, early childhood, junior high, tween, high school college, now she’s a woman on her own. None of those phases is more or less magnificent than any other. And being in your 20s is fantastic, so be in your 20s when you’re in your 20s. Being in your 50s is fantastic; being in your 60s is fantastic. With every phase you lose something and you gain something. Be where you are when you’re there.
Having said that, I think something good is happening among American women. We’re starting to catch up, and we need to. We’ve not been the most mature group compared to women in other societies. And we’ve acted like we’re clueless regarding the suffering of women around the world, particularly at the hands of our own government in too many cases. We decry the policies towards women of a place like Saudi Arabia and for good reason, but when we invade countries that didn’t do anything to hurt us, a lot of the people who are dying in such invasion are women and their children.
So this is not a time for women of any age to be ditzy. This is a time to be deep. But I see many women of all ages seeking greater depth and it’s inspiring.
How do you think we can start to wake up to the suffering of others without dismissing it as ‘other people’s karma’? Oh please! What a brilliant ego device that is. It might be that person’s karma to be starving, but it is my karma to give them food. Their karmic challenge might be that challenge; my karmic challenge is to help those who suffer that way. The ego is brilliant at coming up with excuses for not helping. There is no serious spiritual path, and there never has been, that gives any of us a pass at addressing the suffering of other sentient beings.
Now, get sucked in by it? Absolutely not. But there’s a difference between denial and transcendence. If you don’t even look at it, you’re not in transcendence. You’re in denial. But if you look at it and practice positive denial, which is: I deny the power of this phenomenon to continue. Why? Because I said so. Because I’m gonna do something about it. Because I know other people are gonna do something about it and we’re gonna make sure this ends. That’s positive denial.
Do you have a daily spiritual practice? I am a student of A Course in Miracles. The course is 365 days of lessons; mine today is, ‘I will be still an instant and go home.’ Yesterday was, ‘I trust my brothers who are one with me.’ It’s a specific curriculum for dismantling a thought system based on fear, and accepting instead a thought system based on love. So spiritual exercise becomes like physical exercise. You are rebuilding your body, but with spiritual exercise you are honing your attitudinal musculature, just like in yoga. You want the correct position in your attitude, just like in your body. With physical exercise, you are developing your physical muscles so you can be strong and run. In spiritual exercise you are developing your capacity to be still. Your capacity for impulse control.
What practical applications does this have? It means there is a greatly diminished probability that you will send the frickin’ text that you will regret for six months. It diminishes the possibility you will say or do something or push the send button that will so sabotage a relationship or work situation or whatever. It diminishes the possibility that you will be so distracted by the meaningless chaos of the world that you will not be able to show up fully as a fully actualized human. We wake up in the morning and we take a shower because we want yesterday’s dirt to be cleansed off our bodies, but if you don’t meditate or pray, you might not be cleaning yesterday’s dirt from your mind. So internal purification is as important as external purification.
Marianne Williamson’s The Aphrodite Training began October 23 2015 and will continue to be available via live stream through October 25 2015. Get all the details and sign up here.
Meet Shiva Rose, Earth mother and holistic creatrix, and discover the fashion and beauty finds that rock her Mystical world…
“We escaped Iran when I was ten years old, one cold winter night as the country was in the throes of a bloody revolution. We traveled to Germany, then London and finally to California, where my mother and her family is from. We settled in LA.”
So speaks actress, activist and curator Shiva Rose, whose lifestyle blog and online store The Local Rose celebrates her local community of artisan makers and mystics. And it was going from “a childhood nurtured on imagination and nature to life as a refugee,” that in fact fueled her passion for fashion and paved the way for her current incarnation as a woman dedicated to promoting a holistic, healthy and authentic lifestyle.
“I was a bit shy and awkward, and the trauma of escaping a revolution didn’t help. My refuge and escape from this reality was immersing myself in what I loved best, which was old European/Hollywood films and great books. I fell in love with story telling and being told stories,” she says. “I feel today I do this with each product I create and curate. The story behind the power of the ingredients rules me.”
Shiva Rose currently lives with her two daughters, Colette Blu, 19 and Charlotte Rumi, 10, in the Santa Monica Mountains, where the family is virtually self-sufficient. In itself an important part of her evolution as a woman.
“I feel like I have only become an adult in the last five years. There have been immense challenges and yet I have so much strength now that things that I couldn’t even dream of doing a few years ago are a welcome treat now. Things like fighting off a pack of coyotes that are trying to get my chickens by the light of the moon in my garden!”
The most vital lesson of all on her life path, however; “is that i have finally realized no one is going to make me happy unless I am happy, content and fulfilled on my own.”
Here’s a peek into the Mystical World of Shiva Rose, Earth Mama and Material Girl.
Painting rainbows, Chanel shoes and Conversations With God…Meet Hayley Starr, the high-vibe Hollywood artist on a quest to heal the world.
The woman has an extremely healthy obsession with rainbows (and we all know how I feel about rainbows) – just one reason we’re granting artist, designer and boutique owner Hayley Starr instant super-Numi status. And when she’s not creating a collection of candy-colored esoteric charms to help raise money to heal the planet, she can mainly be found party-hopping with Hollywood’s finest. Swoon.
Hayley’s boutique, The Quest, in Venice Beach has also become a hotspot for the local Now Age set, and is the venue for regular consciousness building classes, seminars and workshops (many of which you’ll find listed in our events section). Was this always her intention for the space?
“I originally opened The Quest in West Hollywood in 2004, when it was a collaborative installation space for allll kinds of artists to tell stories together through our work,” she explains. Closed in 2008, she re-opened in the current Lincoln Blvd location in 2012, where: “and it’s been a my studio and gallery, a store for my works, as well as an event space catering to all things magical…”
Beyond the rainbowtastic artwork on the walls (a visit is not complete without a trip to check out the mural in the restroom), it’s also where you’ll find Hayley’s collection of hand-made, high-vibrational dresses – including her one-of-a-kind Astral gowns (see below). Even better, all the dresses are now available for hire.
Read on for a dive into the Mystical World of a way cool Material Girl…
:: MATERIAL GIRL ::
My label If I had to choose I’d say Maiyet and Valentino. I don’t actually wear them, I just love what Maiyet stands for and I love what Valentino creates.
My shoes I don’t really have the luxury of a shoe addiction as I have a size 12 foot – my shoes come as I’m able to find them! Back in the day when my family had lots of money to spare, my parents bought me Chanel shoes, as they were one of the only brands who made my size. I supposed those are my favorite, I have pairs that are 15 years old. As a matter of fact, I’m wearing a pair now ☺
My fragrance Essential Faith Perfume Oil. Love it. Smells completely different on each person, and I love the way it melts with my pheromones.
My jewels Mostly vintage. I love searching the Rose Bowl for cool and unique items. One of my favorite searches used to be for original Eastern Star, Jobs Daughter and Rainbow Girl pieces – clubs that are the female counterparts to the Free Masons.
My pampering I love a good massage. In fact, I should be more specific and call it body work. I don’t just want to loosen muscles, I want to get my energy moving and flowing.
My home I live in Venice, California. My place is ‘tiny’, but very light, with 16-foot ceilings and a beautiful little private garden. Plantings and caring for my plants and flowers has become a favorite new pastime.
My food I’m a healthy eater, and stick to lots and lots of veggies, salads and healthy homemade snacks. My newest recipe is for onion crackers, mixed with tons of raw veggies and made in a dehydrator.
:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::
My awakening I’m assuming you mean when did I have mine? I was 17 in Paris. I’d decided I needed to get to the bottom of what I believed in, so I went to my favorite place with a bunch of books on the world’s religions and decided I was a ‘spiritual’. The book that opened my eyes was Conversation with God by Donald Walsche. What ‘God’ said in its pages rang deeply true.
My sign Capricorn sun, Capricorn moon, Taurus rising, and Venus is in Pisces.
My mantra “There are zero mistakes” – and I have a Vedic one, but I’m not ‘allowed’ to share it.
My healer Myself – and the countless healers of all kinds that I periodically see depending on my needs.
My reading One of my best friends and I recently picked up the original Tarot deck while visiting Paris, and it turns out we’re INCREDIBLE readers! We have given nearly 15 readings over the past few days to friends in cafes, and event the reluctant were floored. Dopereadings.com…I already bought the domain 😉
My transformation My Saturn return!
My mission My mission is to allow God to create through me. I create dresses to heal the feminine. I write children’s books to empower kids. I paint and draw art to share inspired spiritual understanding. I make charity charms to amplify positive intentions and raise awareness and money for charities doing awesome work. On a personal level, I have made it my mission to embody my truth, my femininity, and my happiness.
Find out more about Hayley Star and her Quest, as well as details of dress hire and the Charity Charms collection, at Hayleystarr.com
In conversation with Victoria Moran, author of The Good Karma Diet (aka the book that changed my life – this week). PLUS 4 ways to eat for better karma. By Ruby Warrington. Artwork: Raw Vegan Blonde
When I saw a flyer for a book called The Good Karma Diet, being a good Buddhist (kinda) I had to check it out. It went on to mark a turning point in my personal food history.
I’ve been “pescetarian” for six years (fish aren’t mammals, it was different I used to tell myself), and stopped eating dairy after I started breaking out in these weird eczema-like rashes after my move from London to NYC.
And if going fully vegan sounded like the logical next step – ethically, environmentally, politically, and for my health – it was also going to be really inconvenient. I mean, have you looked at a restaurant menu lately?
But then I read The Good Karma Diet, and all that fell away. Besides the very well documented health benefits, I think it was reading this that finally swung it: ”
So I reached out to the author Victoria Moran, a vegan for 25 years years and 60-something-going-on-30. Below is what she said about the karma of going vegan:
In a sentence, how is veganism a spiritual practise? Everything we know about spirituality or religion is a matter of faith or belief, except for one great certainty: kindness is divine; this is veganism.
What are 5 surprising side-effects of going vegan? – A more open heart – to both human and non-human animals. – An incredible community to be a part of – I chuckle to myself sometimes that I have so many “cool” friends of all ages, even though I wasn’t at all part of the “in crowd” back in school when that mattered so much. – There are so many aspects of vegan living to discover beyond just food. It takes some getting used to – buying mascara at the same store where you buy nutritional yeast! – but once you do, you learn that cruelty-free and toxin-free often go together. – Feeling better because you’re vegan makes you want to feel better still, so it inspires an interest in exercise and alternative healthcare and other avenues to ever greater wellbeing. – The gift of simplicity comes with a vegan lifestyle. When you know your life is dedicated to the wellbeing of others, petty stresses aren’t as stressful as they once were and it’s easier to enjoy the little things.
But wait, I live in NYC. Personally, I don’t go to a lot of “regular” restaurants since, for me, they’re not regular at all! If I go to a place that serves meat, it’s usually Indian or Italian or Mexican or Asian or Ethiopian, so there are plenty of vegan choices. If I have to order sides, I order sides. I don’t ever eat before I go out. I trust that when it’s time to eat, something appropriate will be there. I’ve never been disappointed.
And how can I be a good vegan guest? Once people understand that this is a serious choice for you, either a moral imperative or an important health decision, most are happy to accommodate, especially is you offer to bring a dish to share. Another good tip is not to get involved in detailed answers about why you’re vegan when other people are eating their non-vegan foods. Something along the lines of “I just feel better eating this way” should suffice for mealtime conversation. If someone is seriously interested, they’ll seek you out privately and you can share all you know.
What kind of good karma have you experienced since going vegan? The first thing I noticed was the lifting of a great burden that I hadn’t realized I was carrying, the burden of responsibility I bore for the suffering others had been forced to endure on my behalf. Then, on a very practical level, the extra weight I’d dealt with since early childhood, except for respites of “dieting,” came off and has stayed away. I also find I get happier as time goes by. I’m in my mid-60s and in good health, with a tremendous amount of meaning and purpose and adventure in my life.
Read on below for an excerpt from The Good Karma Diet, on 4 ways to eat for better karma.
The Whole-Foods Plant-Based Diet (WFPB) The Whole-Foods Plant-Based Diet (WFPB) is the popular term coined by nutritional biochemist T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., lead researcher of the China Study, the largest population-based nutritional study ever conducted. In The Low-Carb Fraud, Dr. Campbell and Howard Jacobson, Ph.D., define the WFPB diet as: “whole foods…as close to their natural state as possible. A wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds make up the bulk of the diet. It includes no refined products, such as white sugar or white flour; no additives, preservatives, or other chemical concoctions…no refined fat, including olive or coconut oils; and minimal – or better yet, no – consumption of animal products, perhaps 0 to 5 percent of total calories at most.”
The Starch Solution John McDougall, MD, the California internist who’s devoted his career to healing people from the chronic diseases of Western civilization, takes a very low-fat approach and celebrates the basic starches—rice, wheat, potatoes, barley, taro, and so forth—that have supported humanity for eons. Vegetables, fruits, and beans comprise the rest of the diet. He named a book for this: The Starch Solution.
The Esselstyn Approach The Cleveland Clinic research study done by Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD, showed how an oil-free, whole-foods, plant-exclusive diet with plenty of greens was capable of reversing heart disease in patients whose cardiologists could no longer help them. He expounds on his long-term study and its results in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.
His son, Rip, a handsome endurance athlete and former firefighter, takes the same approach and calls it “plant-strong” in his books, The Engine 2 Diet and My Beef With Meat. (The Campbell and Esselstyn plans are virtually identical, and the McDougall plan is very similar, all emphasizing whole, plant foods and no oil. This way of eating was showcased in the popular documentary and subsequent bestselling book, Forks Over Knives.)
The Nutritarian Diet Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of the NY Times bestseller, Eat to Live, recommends a “nutritarian” diet built primarily around vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Whole grains are allowed, but not emphasized, and moderate consumption of nuts and seeds is encouraged. He suggests getting at least ninety percent of calories from whole plant foods, leaving up to ten percent for the occasional indulgence and for animal products for those who aren’t going to part with them entirely. In my practice as a holistic health counselor and vegan lifestyle coach, I found that clients did extremely well with this approach.
Plant-Based, Lower-Carb A newer player on the vegan field is a higher-protein, higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate rendition of a way of eating that is still, by definition, high in naturally occurring carbohydrate because that is the nutritive property that predominates in most plant foods. If you’ve read a lot of diet books, this sounds bad (“The carbs are coming! Run for the hills!”) but it’s actually good. We’re designed to function on a diet that derives most of its calories from the naturally occurring carbohydrates in plant foods. Attempting to avoid all carbohydrates because refined sugar and white bread aren’t good for you would be like avoiding marriage because some men beat their wives.
Despite the profusion of laboratory and epidemiological studies supporting the efficacy of the approaches outlined earlier, some people feel that they do better with a little more protein and fat. Their predilection was given scientific backup by David J.A. Jenkins, MD, Ph.D. (he developed the concept of the glycemic index) who advocates for a plant-based diet favoring non-starchy vegetables, soy foods and mock meats, lower-carb beans (mung, great Northern, lima, fava), nuts, seeds, and avocado, and low-sugar fruits, such as berries. This diet has been called “Eco Atkins.”
Andy Puddicombe has brought meditation to the masses with his Headspace app. In an exclusive interview, the former Buddhist monk and trained circus performer tells Ruby Warrington how your practice can also boost your intuition…
I first met Andy Puddicombe five years ago, when he was on the brink of launching Headspace – a platform with a single aim: to make meditation accessible, relevant and beneficial to as many people as possible. Erm hello, honorary member of the Numinati right there…
And it’s safe to say he’s succeeded in his mission. What has become the world’s most-downloaded meditation app has since gone on to be used by over 2 million people in 150 countries worldwide – which is a whole lot of actual head space Andy’s created.
And sure we all know the benefits of a regular meditation practice. But does that make it any easier to just. Freaking. Sit? Nope. Like a 5-year-old on a sugar-high, the monkey mind is pretty much always up for a game of tag. But if you needed one more reason to exercise some discipline around your practice, here it is: meditation is a direct route to accessing a deeper relationship with your intuition.
And more open communication between you and that voice = more confidence, more flow, and more of the life you really want. It’s that simple. Read on for Andy’s insider insights…
SINCE ADOPTING A (SEMI) REGULAR MEDITATION PRACTISE, I’VE NOTICED IT’S EASIER TO TUNE INTO MY ‘GUT FEELING’ ABOUT THINGS. WHY IS THIS? When the mind is busy it’s very difficult to have any real clarity around our intuition or gut feel. I often liken it to a pool of water, with all the thoughts creating ripples on the surface. But as the mind calms down, the ripples decrease and the surface of the water becomes clear, enabling us to see what’s beneath. As a result, we find it easier to see things clearly and to hear and trust that inner voice.
IS MY INNER VOICE OR INTUITION THE SAME VOICE THAT ‘NOTICES’ WHEN MY MIND IS WANDERING WHEN I SIT IN MEDITATION? What notices is pure, naked awareness. I would differentiate this from gut feel or intuition, but at the same time it is still part of the mind, so we cannot say it is separate. I would say that the easiest way to define ‘intuition’ is as the clarity beneath all the everyday clutter. Awareness simply sees and trusts that clarity for what it is.
WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU THINK IT CAN HAVE ON SOMEBODY’S LIFE WHEN THEY ARE MAKING ALL THEIR DECISIONS ‘FROM THE GUT’ – OR RATHER, THAT PLACE OF INNER KNOWING? Well, learning to let go of discursive and unproductive thinking is the same thing as learning to listen to our gut feeling. We cannot do the latter without the former. But it is a lifelong process and something that can always be refined. To begin with it requires a little effort, but after some practice it becomes quite effortless.
In fact, as cliche as it may sound, it really becomes a way of being. With this comes a greater sense of flow, where we feel as though we are at the right point, at the right time, in every moment of every day – we are at ease with each and every moment. This is radical, revolutionary and liberating all at once.
IS THIS HOW YOU EXPERIENCE LIFE? CAN YOU GIVE ANY EXAMPLES OF HOW THIS HAS BEEN BENEFICIAL TO YOU? My own experience is not so important. I try to encourage people to examine their own lives, to apply this approach to their own lives. What’s important is letting go, and cultivating curiosity and kindness in your life. But if I have to give one big example, it would be becoming a monk.
Against all the advice, from people I loved, trusted and respected, I knew, without any hesitation and with absolute confidence, trusting an inner voice that had never been so bright and clear, that I would become a monk. So I dropped all the thinking, let it all wash over me, and simply followed that sense of clarity of knowing. It was life changing in every way.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TECHNIQUES FOR TUNING IN TO THAT INNER VOICE WHEN YOU’RE OUT AND ABOUT, OPPOSED TO SITTING IN MEDITATION? As I say, with practice this really becomes a way of being and does not require a lot of conscious intention. But if you are looking for tips, then yes, take a moment to pause when you are out and about. Whether you are standing or sitting, take a deep breath and as you breathe out, feel the mind sink down into the body as you become more aware of the physical sensations.
Repeat this a couple of times, allowing thoughts to just come and go. As you continue, you will notice that you start to feel more in tune with your surroundings, that the mind begins to calm and the inner voice becomes more apparent. But whatever you do, don’t go searching for your inner voice, this just creates more ripples on the surface of the pool. Instead, patiently allow that gut feeling to come to the surface in its own time.
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE TO DIVINE THE ‘INTUITIVE’ RESPONSE WHEN FACED WITH A DIFFICULT DECISION? I use the tools of patience and awareness. When we are aware, we are present. There is no confusion and we have clarity, with both our everyday thinking and our inner voice. But that does not mean that the answer or direction is immediately apparent.
Sometimes we have to wait patiently for it to arise. But if we are happy resting in the present, with no sense of panic, we realize that we are quite okay to rest with the mind as it is until it becomes more obvious.
Luxury and laughter are the hallmark of Taurus Anya Hindmarch. Here’s a peek into the colorful world of this week’s Material Girl…
Award for Best Fashion Marketing Campaign, In The Cosmos, Ever, goes hands down to Anya Hindmarch. Her What Planet Are You On? microsite invites consumers to enter their name and birth details, and then delivers a totally in-depth reading along with all kinds of cute details – like your birth flower, Native American Zodiac sign, celebrity birthday twins, and even the number of seconds you’re been inhabiting your current human suit.
It was actually launched last summer to promote the brand’s SS14 collection, but it’s still live and still totally addictive! And, in our eyes, it cemented Anya’s status as one of the coolest chicks in the industry. Remember, this is also the woman behind the iconic canvas ‘I Am Not A Plastic Bag’ tote, which was launched in 2007 to highlight the importance of sustainability in fashion – talk about ahead of the game!
Anya’s latest project is equally uplifting – a super cute collection of leather ‘stickers,’ which she’s produced in partnership with super stylist Charlotte Stockdale. The idea is you pick your sticker(s), and use them to ‘sticker-up’ anything you like – from your purse to your gratitude journal – while the smily face (see above) is also featured throughout the current SS15 accessories collection.
Anya, for services to astro-geeks everywhere, and for making the world of high fashion an altogether happier place, we salute you!
:: M A T E R I A L G I R L ::
My label If not vintage, and I know I’m biased, but I love the Brits! Erdem, Stella McCartney…I also have a rather brilliant blouse from House of Holland. I smile every time I see it.
My shoes Flats by Tabitha Simmons, heels by Gianvito Rossi, but ideally sneakers – Adidas Stan Smiths or Common Projects.
My fragrance A perfume from 400-year-old scent shop Madini.
My jewels My wedding ring.
My pampering Sunday mornings in my bright blue bed, with the newspapers and a big mug of tea.
My home London! With my husband and five (yes!) almost grown up kids.
My food My husband’s roast chicken.
:: M Y S T I C A L W O R L D ::
My awakening A brisk walk around Battersea Park with a girlfriend.
My sign Taurus.
My mantra Fire yourself every evening and come back the next morning as your replacement!
My healer Wine! But truly, laughter. At work we laugh every day, it’s our fuel – laughter and cake.
My reading Sadly, being truthful, my email.
My transformation I had been CEO and Creative Director of Anya Hindmarch since we started over 20 years ago, and a few years ago I fired myself as (and hired a brilliant new CEO!) so I could focus more on the creative side, which is what I love so much. I’m now Chairman and Creative Director. I’m OBSESSED with craftsmanship, and the magical process that happens behind the scenes when making beautiful things. It’s the reason I do what I do.
My mission Happy parents make for happy kids. Brilliant advice from my mother in law. And I stand by it.
“It’s like a guidebook for men to be more happy and free, but in a way that’s still masculine. And part of it is by owning their role as a male.”
When did you decide to make men and spirituality a focus? I’ve been totally steeped in the Eastern spirituality thing for decades, but the men’s work was always in the background. Then I got into my 40’s, went through a divorce, got into another relationship, and all of a sudden I’m having a son. And it all just came home.
How does spiritual work look different for dudes? It’s about practicality. For most men there really needs to be some kind of pay off, where the rubber meets the road. Most men wouldn’t be caught dead in a meditation class or a retreat, unless they knew it was going to help them with their work, their relationships with their loved-ones. They just won’t even do it.
Don’t men sometimes just feel out of place? There’s so much talk about ‘divine feminine’ this, and ‘Goddess energy’ that. I kind of feel like men must be thinking, ‘okay, so are my urges and drives redundant now?’ I don’t think it’s so much that men have that whole thought, like, ‘where do I fit into this?’ I think they just think ‘this is not for me. I’m going to sit home and drink beer and watch the game while my wife goes to the yoga retreat. Because that’s just not something that would be of interest to me at all.’
So part of it is about honoring the masculine energies as sacred too. On the Eastern spirituality scene the energy is predominantly feminine. And even anti-masculine, in the sense that it’s all mostly about peace, compassion, and softness. The average person, when they hear that I’m doing a spiritual book for men, they’re like, ‘Oh, good. You’re going to teach them to open their hearts.’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to teach them to open their hearts, but the book is really about growing a backbone and balls.’
Ha! So should women be encouraging men to go on the yoga retreat with them? I don’t think most men will necessarily get what they need from bending over in a room full of women. Of the 8% of men that will go, there’s an even a smaller percent of heterosexual men. It’s kind of like we have to go into our feminine to be able to be in that. Or at least fake it. And that’s when you get the yoga teacher who ends up in some sex scandal – because they feel like they can’t just say, ‘Hey, I think you’re really sexy, and you’re my student, but why don’t we go get a drink?’ Instead they feel they have to be like, ‘Yeah, I think you should come for a private session because I need to open your hips’ or something. You know? The heterosexual desire is made illegitimate.
So what are some spiritual exercises that you do with guys? In my book there’s a big chapter on the ‘father wound,’ and it’s a real central thing for most men. He was my teacher on what it means to be a man, so did I learn from him? I also like to connect men to a sense of vision, because men without a vision are really lost. They need to have a mission. They need to know what they’re moving toward and be able to say, ‘Yes, I’m still moving toward it, I’m getting closer, or I’m going the wrong direction.’ So I try to help men find that. The other thing is to just get them used to being in a conversation with each other.
Without any beer. Because that’s often what it takes, right? Exactly. And in my experience, men tend to communicate a lot better shoulder-to-shoulder than face-to-face. I had one veteran that I worked with a lot, and often times I would go sit at the bar with him, with the bartender there washing the glasses or whatever, and we’d do a session. My office, with the chairs facing each other, felt awkward – maybe too intimate.
Who are your typical clients for this kind of work? What I get a lot is the partners of my female students, and partners of women who are already involved with spirituality. They either see my stuff as a safe way for their man to get involved in it, or sometimes they want me to fix their man. At my Kripalu weekend last year, half the men were there because their wives had given them a father’s day gift, in hopes that somehow they would get fixed.
And…what happens if the wife is part of what needs fixing? This is actually quite typical. A man comes because his wife tells him he’s too angry, and society has told him that he has an anger issue. So he comes, thinking I’m going to teach him to breathe and not be angry. But instead I break down anger from the point of view of the Bhagavad Gita, which says anger is there when a desire is thwarted. So then I say, ‘Okay, man, you’re angry, and that’s beautiful. What are you wanting that you’re not getting? Like at a deep level.’ And I unleash them to go after what they want in their life. And sometimes that means they go home and they divorce their wives.
I know you have a theory about the difference between a boy, a guy, and a man. What’s that about? The distinction I’m trying to make is that a man is someone who’s done some work on himself, and I think there’s definitely a sense of honor and sacrifice and strength. A man is ready to protect his world and serve his world, whereas a guy is just mostly about himself. A ‘dude’ is usually like a hipster, even more self-absorbed. Males in our society get into this really immature self-absorption thing.
How does that ‘man’ifest (ha)? It looks like; ‘he’s not living his truths.’ He’s either living what his father wanted him to do, or he’s trying to live the opposite of that. He doesn’t really want to sit in this job and work in this job; he wants to be an entrepreneur, but he’s too scared. Or he doesn’t want to be in this marriage because he doesn’t get anything out of it, but he just doesn’t feel like he’s empowered to leave.
And so he makes excuses; ‘But I’ve got to bring home the bacon.’ Or, ‘it doesn’t matter. I’ll just watch some porn, beat off, just try to entertain myself a little bit.’ What I’m interested in is training men to be on fire with passion and vision, so they are bringing those values to their family and bringing that masculine energy to the house so that their woman can be in her feminine energy and not feel like she has to be the brains of the operation all the time.
You can be totally gluten free and only think nice thoughts, but if you’re a terrible lover or you don’t know how to make money, or you don’t know how to take care of your kids, all of that is for naught in my point of view.
What do you wish you could tell the average man in the street about spirituality, and how to tap into his spiritual power in a masculine way? That they don’t have to do it alone. A lot of men just don’t have other quality men in their life in a quality way, and so they put all their emotional care in the hands of their women. And oftentimes they’re really isolated from other men. One of the first questions I ask any man who’s suffering, is; ‘Do you have good men in your life?’ And the answer is almost always no. Men need a network of other men that they can really talk to about their fears, but also about their strengths.
How are the men in your life getting in touch with their spirituality? Connect with us and share your stories on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.