HOLY F*CK: LIVE AT THE MOTHERSHIP FESTIVAL

Ahead of her appearance at the MOTHERSHIP festival in Joshua Tree, Alexandra Roxo chats to founder Laura Wise about feminism, kundalini, and kink…

High vibe festivals are everywhere. From Wanderlust to Symbiosis to Spirit Weavers—there’s a festival for ever breed of seeker. Or is there? MOTHERSHIP—happening November 4-6th in Desert Hot Springs, CA—is unique in that it’s feminist AND queer AND spiritual. You can do yoga , celebrate sacred adornments, and then go to a Kink workshop. Amazing, right?

I sat down with the founder (who is also an activist and therapist) Laura Wise to get the deets.

ALEXANDRA ROXO: What can we really expect at a festival like MOTHERSHIP?
LAURA WISE: Women are so typically the caretakers. It is engrained in us to be sweet/kind/giving and that is why self-care is so important. Mothership is full of healing elements and ways to explore your spiritual side. Sierra Dowd is running a “Circle of Release” exercise in which participants can work to release negative aspects of their lives. We have reiki healers, chakra aligning yoga, punk rock yoga, meditation, nature hikes, stargazing (there will actually be a meteor shower during this time!) and lot’s more…

AR: How did the idea for Mothership emerge?
LW: MOTHERSHIP is the event I’ve always wanted to attend. After visiting some pretty magical festivals and gatherings and learning that the pool of women’s festivals is teeny-tiny and nearly extinct, I knew that this was a need I wanted to meet. Women thrive when we unite and work together. We learn from each other and we empower one another. I knew that if I created something fun—with a side of empowerment—there would be an audience for that. This is the era of a fresher, more inclusionary feminism, and I really want to have a hand in building that.

AR: How is it different from other female-focussed festivals or retreats?
LW: One thing I knew was crucial in the creation of MOTHERSHIP was that it was trans and gender-queer inclusive. If you take a look back at the history of women’s festivals—the most established being the Michigan Womyn’s Festival which ended several years ago—there was a clash in new and old thinking. They didn’t allow trans women to attend and the younger generation wasn’t okay with that. We wanted to correct that and update the idea of a women’s festival.

AR: What kinda gal is your typical attendee?
LW: She doesn’t exist! The MOTHERSHIP crowd is  diverse and forward-thinking. But our participants all have an appreciation for idea exchange, art and letting loose. We have a lot of interesting, smart women involved and the thing I’m most excited about is seeing all of these great minds culminate & celebrate!

AR: What are your wildest hopes for the weekend?
LW: My personal goal is that everyone leaves with a little less shame and self-doubt, and a little more personal pride. I hope that MOTHERSHIP can serve as a reminder to us all to celebrate & empower the women around us. I hope that the gal who thought the event sounded fun, and didn’t know much about feminism, leaves saying “yeah I’m a feminist and I have every right to be proud of that.”

AR: Any must-see workshops?
LW: Gosh I really want to brag about everyone involved, I am stunned at the level of awesome-ness!  We have a lot of unique workshops happening, including a self-adornment area with tons of free costumes, accessories and body paint/glitter etc. paired with a Self-Love Photographer, to help you get just the right photo to document your experience. There’s also an intro to kink and BDSM sex workshop, which I know a lot of people are curious about. Late-night we will be having a silent disco…and then there’s the musical lineup—which is also pretty epic!

 

PLUS our very own Numi Alexandra Roxo will be speaking on Saturday night at the HER Talk: Women’s Sexuality in the Media panel. Get your tickets at this link—Numinous readers get 10% off with the code “MOON”!

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE ROAD

From Austin, TX, to the West Coast…it’s been a week of life lessons from the road.

:: MONDAY—WEDNESDAY::
Anybody who follows my Instagram feed will know the Pisces and I have been on a road-trip the past two weeks. Schedule: Austin—Marfa—Santa Fe—Sedona—Grand Canyon—Vegas—Palm Springs—Joshua Tree—LA. And it has been a TRIP—meaning the daily checking off of bucket list items, AND the deep and thorough examination of the contents of my head / current situation.

As I’m back in NY for a few days this week (yep there’s more to come!), I wanted to take the opportunity to record a few spiritual lessons from the road. Here goes:

Even your soul project / true calling / dharma work can become a ball and chain if you let it. In fact, there’s perhaps an even stronger likelihood of it taking over your entire life than a “regular” job where you clock in and out every day, since it’s what you were “born to do.” Like breathing. And so it feels natural to do it ALL THE TIME. Getting away from my desk and onto the open road gave me some invaluable perspective on how, with so many projects bubbling (book, sweatshirt line, live events, Club SÖDA NYC, etc!) I have allowed The Numinous to become my everything this year, to the point that there was no space in my life for…ME. Let alone for it to still feel like fun. This realization hit has I found myself trying to get a WiFi signal hiking somewhere in the Sedona red rocks, and suffering extreme bouts of anxiety at the number of unread emails that were building up while I “wasted time” checking out the Grand Canyon. I mean WT actual F?

A road trip is the perfect crucible from some honest self-reflection. Since your driving buddy essentially acts as a giant mirror for all your shit—kind of like your higher self observes your ego mind running rings around itself in meditation. In my case, the Pisces was the voice of my higher self—my fretting over where to do the conference call I had scheduled in TWO DAYS TIME, my fearful monkey mind trying to stay in “control” as my external environment shifted on an hourly basis. “You don’t have to do any of it if you don’t want to,” he reminded me. “You chose all this.” And what a fucking privilege too! The key insight being, that if I chose this work, then it is absolutely in my power to un-choose any bits that are no longer working for me. Like responding to every email I get within the hour. And same goes for all of us, in ANY situation, actually. YOU get to chose where your energy goes.

I do not need any more crystals, animal totems, oracle decks, or bunches of sage. A.k.a. all the trappings of “spiritual materialism”—a term that’s come up a few times lately, and so obviously was asking to be pondered. Not to mention my go-to on every stop of our trip being to seek out the best esoteric book store in town—which began to feel a bit like bypassing the art and going straight to the museum shop. As you can imagine, my house is FULL of spiritual paraphernalia—a Ganesh here, a clutch of crystals there. And it’s all very pretty. But I can’t honestly say I feel a true connection to most of it. And what become so clear on my trip was that all that “stuff,” for me, is simply a collection of talismans for the real spiritual work (the “art,” if you like) that’s happening on the inside. What I would define as the honest self-inquiry into WHO I AM and WHAT I NEED be the most fully me—as in, the truest expression of my spiritual self. Example: a healer I worked with recently told me a could use some Malachite in my life. But as I found myself returning lump after lump of the pretty green rock to its shelf in various esoteric stores along our route, I was also coming to the realization that what I truly need to develop spiritually is less time responding to emails, and more discernment on where I’m placing my energy (see points no. 1 & 2).

My email / work addiction is way worse than my alcohol addiction. As I explained when I wrote out my sober curious story a couple of weeks ago, my path to a more sober life over the past few years has meant a lot of sober firsts. And besides a few beers at the Austin City Limits festival on the first night of our trip, this has been my first ever (well, since the age of 15 or so I guess) sober vacation. “Holiday drinking” had always been my sobriety hall-pass (“I’ll only drink on holiday”), and so stepping outside of this has allowed for plenty of opportunity to witness my alcohol cravings and where they come from. And—ta-da!—the majority of the time I find myself fantasizing about a cocktail, it’s to flick the switch from work to play mode. Or rather, numb out the constant desire to…numb out with work and email! Being off my laptop has meant being fully present with my (not always exactly carefree, vacay-ready) self—showing me the extent to which I use work / being productive and busy, as a way to NOT just be with me. Which is what vacations are all about…which is why I now see I always held booze (believing it to be the most effective off-switch from work) as a vacay staple.

Hugging trees is the best. The hippies knew it, and every time I remember to do it I’m reminded how good and grounding, how calm, regenerative, and holy it feels to put your arms around a tree and really squeeze. Cut to Joshua Tree, where I found myself doing some filming with my boo Alexandra Roxo for a VERY EXCITING PROJECT (yes, another one!!) we’re launching on your asses next month. At one point, Roxo whips off her shirt and grabs the nearest trunk—the naked part not so natural for me, but my own tree-hug just as heartfelt. Our mutual friend Madeline has got into it lately too, “and she says it’s like doing a drug deal,” Alexandra joked. “In the city, you have to look in all directions and then go for it while you’re sure no-body’s watching.” Well, I say screw that! Who cares if they see? Tree-hugger and proud. A part of me I’ve been happy to re-connect with on the road.

Scenes from The Softer Image. Behind me, there was wild dancing and kava shots…

:: THURSDAY ::
I have to make some space here for beautiful Luke Simon’s nightlife experiment The Softer Image, a substance-free “high-vibe lounge” that debuted in NYC tonight. So happy I was back in town for this!! Said vibey “highs” were supplied by the equally divine Sah D’Simone‘s alchemical elixirs and tonics, a group trance to kick the evening off by talented hypnotherapist Shauna Cummins, and THE BEST old school housey soundtrack from DJ Bryce Hackford. There were hugs, wild dancing, impromptu reiki sessions, and my clock read 11.11pm before I knew it. Held in a Chinatown loft, maybe it was the kava shots, but the feel I kept getting was 4am-loved-up-after-party—only it all ended by midnight and everybody was completely sober. Thank you, Universe (and Luke), for hearing my pleas—and delivering a new way to switch off from work and have FUN. No alcohol required!

:: FRIDAY ::
I hate the rain. But today I love the rain. Since I’m my own boss, I shall be choosing to mainly work from underneath my duvet. Which will mostly mean reading the early proofs of Guru Jagat’s new book Invincible Living, ahead of my live Q&A with her at tomorrow’s Numinous Presents event in Brooklyn. I bet she has a thing or two to say about email addiction…since Kundalini yoga was developed by Yogi Bhajan as an antidote to what he saw (way back in the sixties) as the onset of “technology sickness.” Intrigued? There a still a few spots left—click here to discover more and sign up. 

 

SAT NAM FEST: 5 FEMALE KUNDALINI SINGERS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Check out Alexandra Roxo’s recommendations for some high vibrational sound currents whether you want to drop into a deep meditative state or throw a dance party…

Workin’ that post kundalini glow in Joshua Tree.

I think spiritual music can sometimes get a bad rap. (No I don’t mean spiritual rap. Though that’s also a thing apparently.) I mean more on the kirtan/chill vibes spiritual music. Like when you wanna open your heart and commune kinda music. I usually keep this for my solo time and don’t go around town asking friends: “Did you hear the latest Ong Namo?”

I mean how often do you put on a little “Om Kali” at a dinner party? I save that for when I’m journaling or getting ready to meditate. Or with one or two besties. But I got to thinking… Why not put that on at a dinner too?

I’ve been listening to Krishna Das for years. And Bhagavan Das. Probably while reading Ram Das. Basically got the Das’s on lock. I’ve gone to their concerts, sat on the floor and chanted “Om Namah Shiva” at the top of my lungs with the best of them (including my Mom). I also re-fell in love with Tom Kenyon recently. His tone can throw you into a meditative state immediately where you feel like you’ve ascended into Lemuria and are literally a star. Sigh. For deep and soulful man vibes these dudes have got us covered. But where my ladies at?

I hadn’t heard many female voices until I came across Snatam Kaur, one of the most well-known chantresses in the scene. And she was the gateway drug for me into the world of angelic-women-dressed-in-white-singing-Kundalini-mantras-long-hair-flowing-in-the-breeze artists. Maybe long dress flowing in the breeze rather than hair, since most of these ladies wear turbans.

So I went to Sat Nam Fest in Joshua Tree to check out some of the best ladies in the Spiritual Music scene! I’m not really a festival kinda gal. (YET!)  Big groups and pack-mentality freak me out, and as far as turbans go, well I had a turban phase at age 19 when I was first “waking” up but haven’t worn one since.  Turban or no turban Sat Nam Fest was really great.  I bought the most amazing raw chocolates from a glowing 13-year-old boy and bought some white linen cause, well, linen is classic. (Kundalini wear by morning/Goddess garb by night!)  After that I listened to some amazing music. 

The ladies of kundalini are all an instant mood lifter.  Angel/Fairy vibes abound. They are all love and light.  When you’ve stored a day’s amount of anxiety in your chest and you need some light and love vibes call upon these women.

Here are some of my faves…

Ashana

:: Ashana ::

Pure angel. Her rendition of Ave Maria blew me away, and when my yoga teacher plays her song “Into My Arms” I immediately go into child’s pose for a cry searching for some arms to leap into. And I fell asleep watching this video recently which seems like a stoner moment but it was just a trippy amazing life moment to dream with this in my face.

Aykanna

:: Aykanna ::

Okay watch this and skip to 00:53 in. YES PLEASE. This couple and their baby and their whole vibe is well, amazing. Imma put them on my “Sacred Partnership” vision board ASAP. Swoon.

Snatam Kaur

:: Snatam Kaur ::

The most famous lady Kundalini singer, mentioned above, and her rendition of May the Long Time Sun has gotten me through many a tough time. Like deep hard times. She and Ashana have your back.

Simrit

:: Simrit Kaur ::

I had never heard of her ‘til Sat Nam Fest and her voice is gentle with a little folk in it. Plus her videos are really beautiful, and she does these cute Youtube videos called The Simrit Sessions – and I love this one on the power of cold showers!

Ajeet Kaur
 
:: Ajeet Kaur ::
She may be the youngest of these ladies but her voice is quite powerful.  I’m not sure if a fan made this video or what but it has some of my fave things in it:  merkabas, Ganesha, octopi, matrix light fields…Psychedelic meets kundalini is an instant yes for me!
I was quite inspired by the way these ladies work with their beloveds. Ashana’s husband was on stage with her and he played the bowls with her and I watched them.  Simrit and Jai Dev slay with their joint devotion.  Spiritual J and Bey vibes all around. I’m not saying we should all start bands with our lovers, but these ladies are onto something.Beyond the beautiful music, all these artists are major healers. Tune in any time you’re going through a transition. A breakup. Want to dip into the heart space. While in a bath. In traffic. Or at a dinner party with your most cynical, non-spiritual friends. Look, anytime. It’s medicine.