SEX DRIVE: A JOURNEY TO THE CLITORIS OF AMERICA

In an excerpt from her new book, Sex Drive: On the Road to a Pleasure Revolution, which chronicles her cross country search for a lost libido, Stephanie Theobald embarks on an “ecosexual” nature walk led by porn star-turned-performance artist Annie Sprinkle

Photo: Jan Phoenix

Annie Sprinkle christened San Francisco’s Bernal Park hill “the clitoris of America.” Researching my new book, Sex Drive, I knew I had to visit for myself, and so Sprinkle and I met in a local diner for breakfast. After demonstrating her ability to have an “energy orgasm” on the spot (think Meg Ryan’s infamous turn in When Harry Met Sally, but for real), she promised to take me on a Bernal Park “ecosexual” nature walk, where she would show me how to do it too …

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An X-rated nature walk 
By this time, I’m quite keen to get up onto the Clitoris of America and try it all out myself. So off we set on a climb up the hill to Bernal Park and an X-rated nature walk begins. It’s not X-rated because Annie’s going to take her clothes off. The plants are going to be doing much filthier things. “Look at that,” she says, stopping in front of a cherry tree in full bloom. “Flowers are tree genitals. Basically, you’re looking at porn.”

We walk on until the siren call of another tree brings Annie to a halt. “Look at this trunk, it’s like a big penis. Isn’t it beautiful?

Hockey pitch nature walks with Miss Corbett at the convent were never like this. Annie says that I need to find my “E-Spot,” her ecosexy take on G-Spot. (She’s great at coming up with new words). I’m drawn to an exuberant hibiscus flower. “Oh yeah!” she says approvingly in her raunchy porn voice. “Hibiscus stamens!”

I wonder if David Attenborough shows ever give her that Deep Throat feeling. We approach the hibiscus and she says, “You can smell it casually. Or you can imagine this plant is a lover and it wants to give you a gift.”

She smells her new lover, pulls off one of its genitals and sticks it on her third eye. She sticks one on me too. None of this strikes me as stupid or odd. Cornwall isn’t a million miles away from California in terms of country weirdness. My eco or “E-Spot” as she calls it, kicks into action as I notice that a tree we’re passing looks a bit droopy.

“Don’t you think this tree looks a bit sad?” I say.

“It is a little heavy, isn’t it?” she nods.

She knows immediately what to do. “You just need a hug,” she tells the tree enfolding it in a bosomy embrace.  “Oh, love you.” I participate in the love-in, realizing only afterwards that I have just hugged a tree in California. This is the sort of thing that people make fun of back at home, but American Stephanie doesn’t care. Annie looks wistfully at the tree then mumbles something about, “I may be projecting…” She slaps the tree’s butt. “You’ll be OK,” she cracks. “Hang on in there.”

It’s fun going on a nature walk with an ex-porn star. She’s not great on the names of flora and fauna, but she does things like saying hi to her favorite Eucalyptus tree. She plucks a leaf, thrusts it under my nose and chuckles, “Sniff that pantie!”

The sap must be rising from the ecosexy nature walk because I soon have a sort of sexual panic attack. I start gabbling about how I want to check out some seedy places in San Francisco and how I really want to get laid and, “you know that feeling when you want to have sex and you’re not having sex and…”

“Stay in the moment,” she puffs as we carry on up the steep road. They’re magic words and I immediately calm down. I think back to my interview with Barbara Carrellas back in New York a month ago. I arrived too early for the interview and the prospect of writing a book about masturbation suddenly overwhelmed me. What the hell was I thinking of?! I wasn’t even sure what I meant! So I just experimented with letting go: dropping into my body, unsticking from the world so that for a few moments I was just snow and boots and crunch. When I came ‘back’ a few seconds later, it felt like a shot of a week of the best sleep ever.

The author heads into the wild …

And then suddenly Annie announces that we’ve reached “the urethral sponge” i.e. we’re in Bernal Park but not quite on the clit. My main feeling is that the Clitoris of America has had a bit of a bikini wax. Its green pubic hair is a bit patchy. There’s a lot of uncovered soil. Maybe the dog walkers nobbled it. There are a lot of them. Annie says it’s the drought. It’s been a serious problem in San Francisco. Annie has actually married the main culprit along with a group of ecosexy friends.

“If you think about it, right now the sun is penetrating your pores,” she says in her incantatory broad-from-the-1950s voice. “They’re fucking your whole body.”

When I ask her how she knew the sun wanted to get married, she says, “We can only assume that things respond well to love and appreciation. Like, if you cruise a bunch of girls or guys, you’ll get the message who’s available.”

She and Beth have also married the mountains, the snow, coal and the ocean. I try and impress her by saying, “My favourite drugs are sugar and the sun.” She enthuses, “Oh, I love sugar too,” but adds that she has to lose weight for the filming of her and Beth’s upcoming ecosexy tour. “Saying it’s OK to be fat, it’s the one thing about feminism I don’t agree with.”

By now we’re sitting on the very top of the park, a bumpy grassy area that slopes down with massive views over the city on every side. Looking at the view, it suddenly strikes her that, “Maybe the earth is the clitoris of the universe.” She laughs. “Betty would say, ‘Oh that’s bullshit!’” She tells me that we’ll do the energy orgasm right here.

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Meditation + masturbation
She describes the technique as similar to something she used to call “medabation,” meaning a combination of masturbation and meditation. But mainly, she says, it’s like learning tennis because, “It’s a technique and at first it’s confusing and you’re like, ‘Woah! How do I hit it and how hard?’” She confides that it took her three years to learn how to do it properly.

I realize that this “energy orgasm” is her take on the heart wank that Barbara Carrellas told me about back in New York. Annie explains that the idea came about when she and Carrellas were investigating more spiritual ideas about orgasm during the AIDS years. “All of us had lovers who got HIV, so we had to figure out how to have safe sex.” They adapted the breath technique from a method taught by a Native American called Harley Swiftdeer. He calls it “Firebreath Orgasm,” but Annie doesn’t “because I didn’t take the very expensive training that initiates you.”

And so my tennis lesson begins. She starts by telling me to, “Say, ‘Yes’ to erotic energy. You have to allow it because it’s there just for the asking.” She points to the tree in the near distance and says that the ideal would be to, “Start feeling sexy and then direct your energy to the tree and see what happens.” She tells me to do some kegels (clenching of the vagina as if you want to stop a stream of pee) and undulating movements of the pelvis. “That’ll stoke the furnace.” After that comes the most important thing of all: the breath.

“You’re really sucking the inhale and relaxing the exhale.” She advises to make noises because that helps shift energy in the body. “The idea is to bring in energy through the feet and end up shooting it out of the top of the head. Fake it til you make it,” she quips in what she tells me is jargon from the porn world.

Annie Sprinkle on the path to “the clitoris of America”

It’s a great lesson. It reminds me of the Transformational Breathing technique I tried out in my hippie journalism phase with the British teacher Alan Dolan. Basically you breathe quickly in and out, taking in more than usual amounts of oxygen until a wave of euphoria hits you.

And then there I am, lying on a hillside in San Francisco as the woman once dubbed “The Golden Girl of Porn” makes sounds ranging from deep Witches’ Sabbath to mid-range horny-bitch-on-heat to high-pitched damsel-in-distress to glass-shattering Kate Bush on the moors. “Wooo! Woo!”

Listening to the tape afterwards, I do sound a bit stuck in Witches’ Sabbath mode. Clearly I need to work on moving my energy up to more damsel-in-distress mode. Meanwhile, I am in the ludicrous position of lying with my feet towards the top of the hill and my head towards the bottom because I want to face the sun. But something is definitely happening. I get to the state where I forget to worry about what the dog walkers must be thinking of us.

I have a flash of some of the boring-looking dog walkers I’ve seen in Presidio Heights. I want to unzip them and show them some love. Tell them it’s OK. Occasionally I get distracted by the fact that I’m not feeling anything remotely like an orgasm although Annie is now sobbing. Wailing almost. We get in breathing synch. I try and keep up with her her “Ah! Ah!”s until finally she makes a prolonged, “Oh yeeeeeeah!” presumably when the energy passes out of the top of her head.

I open my eyes and the sky is indeed bluer. There is also dog shit on the bottom of my right boot. I think I won’t say this to Annie. She’s clearly having a moment.

“When I masturbate like this, I feel the pain of the world, I really do. The Boko Haram, The Charlie Hebdo shootings. The animals, everything.  I become a channel sometimes. I just need to release the pain. It’s like truly connecting. It sounds really strange.”

“No, it doesn’t sound strange …” She’s right that the concept of words becomes shaky after this kind of tennis. I struggle to speak.

“We can’t really experience pleasure on a really grand scale unless we can feel the suffering and the blocks and the disconnect somehow.”

Watching Annie with tears streaming down her face, it strikes me that this is what a modern-day nun looks like. Sending an orgasm to promote peace in Nigeria and Paris isn’t that weird. Christians and Buddhists send off distilled thoughts known as “prayers” to try and alleviate world suffering every day. Yet the kind of energy generated during orgasm is jet fuel compared to the economy petrol that comes from a morning at mass.

Stephanie Theobald’s Sex Drive: On The Road To A Pleasure Revolution is out now. Join Stephanie in LA for the launch party on December 7th from 6-9pm at The Pikey 7617 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and check out mysexdrive.org  for more details. **And discover more about Annie Sprinkle’s SexEcology HERE!

HOLY F*CK: HOW TO CREATE HEALING AS ART

Forget plasticky mats and badly lit yoga studios. Writer, director, artist, and transformational coach, Alexandra Roxo, tells you how to make sacred sexy, and create healing as art …

Photo: Keith Carlsen

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Magic feasts & dark chocolate canoodles …
I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life working as a writer, director, and artist. At age 21, I created an immersive theatre experience, where the music, the aromas, and colors allowed people to be completely lost in the moment, forgetting who they were. 

For a New Year’s Soiree in Portland, OR, in 2007, I hand dyed invites with beet juice. I instructed everyone to arrive in white. I decorated the house with vintage candlesticks. Made little tents out of sheets for couples to canoodle in, with books of erotica and dark chocolate. Throughout the night there were surprise musical acts. Everyone dancing! And in the morning there was a feast around a long table, where declarations were spoken. It was 48 hours of Magic. A retreat into Love. And this way of crafting experiences has continued with me.

Birthday parties, events, rituals. I can “direct” and make art out of any part of my life. And my healing work is no different. I see healing as art.

Photo: Alexandra Herstik

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Full body healing & healing as art …
When I think of healing spaces and rooms, I often think of bad lighting. Sagging couches. Yoga studios with plastic mats and water bottles and the same Kunda tunes on repeat. And as a healer and a director, I want nothing more than to make the healing experience a full body, full sensory experience of art, delight and great pleasure!  

I’ve had practice crafting this in our Moon Club meetups. Just last month, myself, Gaby Herstik and Kaitlyn Kaerheart— the LA pillars of Moon Club— crafted an evening of healing as living art, the whole night directed by me, like a Mistress of Ceremonies and a High Priestess extraordinaire!

We titled the event “There is a Light that Never Goes Out,” after The Smiths song. People arrived to candlelight. Wearing black. I opened with a monologue and setting of the space, an incantation, a dropping in. We were serenaded by Kaitlyn’s sweet voice. Like an angel! Then we shared stories in the dark. We received a magical Gong Bath from North and Nomad, and hands-on healings and oils from Kaitlyn, Gaby and I. The night was a piece of theatre. A true ritual, with every detail intact. No small talk. No chatter. No same-old Trader Joe’s snacks!

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Mix your sacred with your gorgeous …
This is how I will be crafting ALL my healing experiences from now on. Healing is getting a new look. Sex. Art. Fashion. Theatre. No more yoga studios and therapy rooms. I’ll be leading healing work on beaches. In gorgeous living rooms. In the forest. Sacred acts, dedicated to the Divine! A celebration of human existence. A return to the way we once healed and worshipped. Before the puritans took the fun out of it!

And you can DIY mini experiences for yourself and your friends anytime! No more pot luck dinner dates. How about hosting something fabulous and fun and experimental? It takes less efforts than you’d think to turn a night with friends into something magical and memorable.

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Here’s how to create your own artistic healing soirée … 
1// Create your event around a theme. This could be in line with the Moon. An Equinox. A certain ritual you’ve read about and feel inspired to lead. Or your own Solar Return!

2// Art direct the shit out of it! Make Pinterest boards. Choose colors. Start to envision and most importantly to feel the world you want to create.

3// Create a run-of-play. Do you want to put love notes in secret spots for people? Create a hot seat for Compliment Showers? Put sexy questions into a hat for people to answer? Invite a musician to stop by? Have someone lay down and get an 8-hand massage? Get creative and map out a time-line. Imagine the colors. The smells. No hummus and chips and no Pandora on shuffle! Get specific.

4// Ask for help. Get a friend on board to help you execute. This is your Assistant Director. Love them and have fun together. Send them a gift after!

5// Send those invites and test it out. The first one may be clunky. Maybe the music didn’t come on at the right moment. Someone got the dress code wrong. But have faith! Things will get more clean and clear as your faith in your ability to direct gets stronger. When you commit to bringing YOUR presence is when you’ll inspire others to elevate into their own greatness, too. I promise!

Photo: Alexandra Herstik

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In 2018, I’ll be creating my most ambitious healing as art experience to date—leading a Transformational Healing Journey for six women. And I have two spots left! It begins February 1 and will entail a RADICAL six-month healing journey of magic and art and sexiness. A true return to healing and transformation as your own greatest art form!

Our journey will include SIX fully art-directed, 2-day retreats, which I’ll be co-leading with some of the most incredible practitioners from my own healing journey—many of whom I’ve written about for this column. We’ll be dancing with serpents. Suspended by ropes. Sitting in sacred tea ceremony. Diving into the wisdom of plant medicine. Taking cedar baths in the desert. Doing heart-opening work with the Divine Masculine (in divine man form!) And so much more.

Email Alexandra at [email protected] to receive all info and an application! Program begins 2/1.  First retreat is 2/10-2/11.

YOGI SAYS: “IS THE ENTREPRENEUR LIFE FOR ME?”

“Is the entrepreneur life for me?” Resident Yogi and philosopher Eddie Stern responds… Artwork: Francesco Clemente

“After years of working for other people and putting all my creative energy into their dreams, I finally decided to do my own thing a couple of years back. I have worked on various projects since, some more successful than others—and while I try to always learn from the lessons of my ‘failures’ it can be hard not to focus on things that have gone wrong, and blame myself. Lately this has made me fearful about continuing on the entrepreneurial path and I’ve been fantasizing about the ‘easy life’—i.e. working for somebody else again—even though I know in my heart this would make me depressed and leave me craving my freedom again. How can I get past my mistakes and remain confident about pursuing my own dreams?”

Dear Dreamer,

Almost everyone sometimes feels trapped between two worlds; one world we know, the other we don’t really know…but we have some ideas. One world is exhilarating and free, and the other is safe, but is a prison. The world of safety, as you pointed out, can often be boring, unfulfilling, and limiting, while the world of the unknown—where our hidden, unlimited potential lies—is scary. Until we jump in, that is.

These two realities are spoken of in Hindu philosophy. There is the reality that can be measured, is logical, has size, shape and weight—and the reality that cannot: thoughts, emotions, inspiration, potential and creativity. We can measure our bodies, possessions, money, buildings, cars, cities, even the Universe, but we cannot measure that things that inhabit these spaces: knowledge, love, compassion, empathy, dreams, ambitions, hopes, desires, potential and friendship.

The reality that can be measured is called sakala, “with form,” and the reality that cannot is called nishkala, “without form.” However, they are both real—they both exist! The realm of man is the sakala realm, and the realm of the Gods—as well as our hopes, dreams, potential and feelings—is nishkala.

We get stuck in the world of quantification, of measurement, because that is what our world demands of us. How many followers do we have on IG? How much money do I have in the bank? Do I have six packs in my abs, or only one and a half? We measure, we compare, and we are miserable in doing so, because we always come up short. And we measure because we don’t know who we are.

In Yoga, this knowing who we are is the solution to all misery. It is the plug that let’s all the dirty, stinky water down the drain. For when we truly know who we are, we are immeasurable, pure consciousness. When we don’t know who we are, we are limited by the things we measure ourselves against.

When we don’t know who we are, we imitate those who project the kind of confidence and knowledge, or beauty or wit, that we wished we had. We give up the struggle of discovering who we are, by playing it safe, and taking on someone else’s self-expression. But in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna, “It’s better to do your own dharma poorly, then to do the dharma of another well”, meaning, it’s better to do your own thing and fail, rather than do someone else’s thing and succeed.

Why? Because you’ll never be happy and never find fulfillment with someone else’s purpose, only with your own. And it’s only you who can discover what that is. When you do, is when freedom begins. It’s how you access the realm of nishkala, and bring it forward, actively, into your life.

In the Tarot, a card which seems to accurately represent the dilemma that you are in right now, is the Two of Wands. The image on the card is of a person standing between two upright wands; he is holding onto one of the wands with his left hand, and in his right, he is holding a globe, or, the world, as he gazes off towards the distance.

The meanings of the card can relate to decision making; you have reached a fork in the road, so to speak, and there are two directions you can go. One direction will lead you towards freedom and abundance, and the other towards safety, which is binding, and will be fraught with self-doubt. The card symbolizes independence and boldness on the one hand, and fear of failure, and dependence on others, on the other.

Being bold is an expression of personal power, which is simply another terms for your unique potential and creativity. Now may be the time for you to own that originality within you, and be bold enough to express it in the world. You may have had some failures, and you will definitely have fears to face head on, but in the end, regardless of success or failure, you will have the inner satisfaction of knowing that you were brave enough to listen.

The important thing is to keep at your work. Your creativity will continue to grow as you feed it. It will continue to grow as you use if for work that aligns with your own vision.

There are three key words I’ve seen associated with the Two of Wands: personal power (which I read as infinite potential channeled through us each as unique individuals); boldness; and originality. Your potential will become clearer the more you exercise it; your boldness will increase when you face your fears directly and don’t let them rule you; and last, connecting with your own work, and your own originality, will lead you towards personal fulfillment, which is true success.

But the Two of Wands reminds us of one other thing: we do not own our creativity, or our potential, or power. These are channeled through us, and if we are lucky, we can tap into them and express them through our actions and attitudes. We should remain humble knowing that we are not the authors of our creativity or power, that we are conduits, and that when creativity flows through us, all goes well. But when we try to control it, or think that we are special because of it, things will eventually go south. Be bold, but be humble. Be fearless, but also, be grateful.

A yogic practice you can try to balance out the two realities that we all live in is alternate nostril breathing. It’s fairly simple, is calming, and balances both hemispheres of the brain.

  1. Begin by sitting comfortably in a chair, or cross-legged on the floor.
  1. With your right hand, you make the Vishnu Mudra, which looks like this.
  1. Place your right thumb against your right nostril, inhale and exhale 3-5 times through your left nostril. Your breathing should be smooth and even, not too long, and not too short. Usually a 3-4 second inhale and exhale is a good place to start.
  1. After 3-5 breaths, close your left nostril with your right ring finger, and breath the same amount of times through the right nostril. Your breathing should be smooth and even, with the same length of breath that you used on the left side (3-4 seconds inhale, 3-4 seconds exhale).
  1. After 4 breaths through the right side, place your right hand back into your lap or on to your knee, and take 3-5 slow deep breaths.

You can do this once or twice a day—morning and evening, and before having food, are optimal times to try it. There are many variations of alternate nostril breathing, that overall have some of the same effects. This one in particular is single nostril, or unilateral, breathing, and has been show to have positive effects on both spatial awareness (knowing where you are in space, and where things are in relation to you), and improving cognitive abilities. I think the two wands in the Two of Wands card are reminiscent of the nostrils, and the subtle energy channels that are attached to them! Try it, and see if it helps.

Yours,
Eddie

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

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

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

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

Sarah’s altar to the cacao goddess…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HONOR + PROTECT: A READING FOR THE 2016 CAPRICORN FULL MOON

The message of the Capricorn Full Moon is to create structures that allow you to honor and protect your most emotional self, says Sandra Sitron.

We experience a Capricorn Full Moon on July 19th at 6:57pm EDT.

THE MOON AND ITS MESSAGE
“We can be parents to ourselves by adoring and providing for our own Inner Child. Let’s figure it out. Let’s help ourselves grow.”

A Full Moon always creates awareness between two opposite energies. And since it requires a lot of energy to expand into greater awareness, Full Moon vibes are always active, outward, and high-intensity.

The opposite energies involved in this Full Moon are: Sun in Cancer and Moon in Capricorn.

The ancient archetype of Cancer is Mother. Cancer teaches us to actively nurture. Cancer is focused on the personal and the private. Emotions, home and family.

The ancient archetype of Capricorn is Father. Capricorn shows us the importance of building structures and organizations that can function efficiently. This energy teaches how to prioritize what is important to us. Capricorn is focused on the formal and public. Career, institutions, society.

And so the polarities of this Capricorn Full Moon have to do with home vs. professional life, and emotion vs. rationality.

When I did a journey to understand the energy of this Full Moon more clearly, the symbol that came through was: A lizard half submerged in water.

The lizard reminds us to slip down into our emotional waters. To center ourselves in our inner truth, yet adapt to our environment. To find a way to be fluid in where there is structure. To become so efficient and effective that we can remain emotionally robust.

And so any time your actions out in the world feel at odds with your emotional needs during this Moon phase, lean in to what feels self-supportive instead. For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed remember you can always soothe yourself with empathetic words.

To find balance in the beam of this Capricorn Full Moon, call in archetypical Mother and Father energy.

Father: (Capricorn)
Protect yourself. Create structure in your life. Make sure you are safe and provided for.
Mother: (Cancer)
It’s all about nurture and love. Show yourself how cherished you are. Give yourself unconditional love.

***

URANUS IN ARIES
“We are training the vine in a new direction. We are wild, free and autonomous. We take bold action in service of our growth.

The Capricorn Full Moon also forms part of a T-square, with Uranus in Aries as the focal planet. The symbol that came through for this t-square aspect was: A duel in the wild west.

The Sun and Moon are in the signs that manage the emotional and the vocational. They are trying to reconcile with each other and are simultaneously in a tense aspect to Uranus in Aries—the planet of change in the sign of leadership. The energy of this moment is fraught. This intensity can feel like it leaves us with no option but to make hard and fast decisions, simply for the sake of survival. Impatience, and a desire to take action are running the show.

This aspect can feel like who you are and what you do are being questioned. It can feel like shifts need to be made immediately. Freedom becomes of utmost importance. I call this “eject button” energy. Something’s got to give and it’s got to happen now!

But whenever there is a T-square (which looks like an arrow in the sky, and holds both motivating and challenging energy) we can look to the sign that is unactivated to find resolution—the logic being that if three signs are activated, it’s like a table that has three legs and is missing the fourth. Thing’s are a little wobbly.

The signs that are activated right now are Cancer, Capricorn and Aries—while the unactivated sign (or missing table leg) is Libra.

Libra reminds us that relational skills are needed now. So to work with this Capricorn Full Moon, try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Veer toward compassion. Communicate with diplomacy. If you get angry, go slow. Allow the adrenaline to subside before you speak. Unless you are facing a true emergency, know that you have time to breathe and decide rationally how to set a boundary.

***

MARS SEXTILE THE MOON
“We are comfortable with our light and our shadow. We support ourselves by allowing our emotions to flow.”

Action planet Mars is another supportive force for this Capricorn Full Moon. He makes a tender trine aspect to the Sun and a harmonious sextile to the Moon.

Mars is currently in Scorpio, reminding us that all the answers we are looking for are available when we dig deep. Go inward. Find the places in our body where old emotions have been stored. Mars in Scorpio gives us permission to let go. To cry. To go all the way down into our center, to where we feel feel grounded.

Feeling all the things we never let ourselves feel before actually helps us feel safe. To feel whole. It shows us that we are complete. This cathartic process of grieving and letting go is how we can mother ourselves through any conflicting emotions the Capricorn Full Moon may bring up at this time. Your job is to simply allow.

The symbol that came through for Mars sextile the Moon was: A magical cloak that can transport us to faraway lands.

Maybe there is some tool or technique you can use to heighten your experience in this world. Look around. Is there something you can utilize that’s actually right next to you? Something that can help you better navigate your emotional state? It may be a mindset, a meditation, a favorite healer, yoga practice or book. Open you eyes, your heart and your mind, and it will be be easy to find and emotionally supportive.

The symbol that came through for Mars Trine the Sun was: A very young tree growing straight toward the Sun.

This image helps us remember that we find true alignment in striving for our essential truth and nourishing our root system. If you are looking for motivation, pay attention to your emotions. Make peace with limiting beliefs around your family and ancestral system, where you came from. Make sure that you are tenderly telling yourself the whole truth about how you feel.

***

IN SUMMARY
During this Capricorn Full Moon phase, which will color the two weeks ahead of the August 1 Leo New Moon, make unconditional self-love your guiding principal—and choose your actions accordingly!

Protect and nurture yourself. Be loving toward yourself and create efficient structures designed to make you feel supported. Break free where you need to, but not at the cost of what you have so carefully built. Give yourself time. Through bravely investigating your emotions you will find relief and understanding. You will find your truth and discover new ways to protect it.

To book a private readig with Sandra email her at [email protected] or visit www.strongeyeastrology.com

BACK TO NATURE: LESSONS IN LOVE WITH PLANT MAKEUP

Connect with mother nature, and recognize your own true beauty. Gabriela Herstik interviews Jess Morgan, the owner of Good4You Plant Makeup

 

Can speaking the language of plants help you become more beautiful? Jess Morgan, owner of Good4You Plant Makeup thinks the answer is a deep, resounding YES. Finding time to appreciate the natural world and to listen to the voice of nature can have a profound effect, one that makes you feel the love of the Universe. And she believes that in honoring this cosmic connection with Gaia we can find beauty in the world around us, AND ourselves.

Plant Makeup is a makeup and skincare company that’s all about this numinous approach to beauty, by crafting products from locally grown/foraged or certified organic flowers and herbs. Here, Jess shares her special brand of plant-based wisdom…

THE NUMINOUS: First and foremost, Good4You started in 2004 in a medical herb greenhouse. Can you tell us more about this experience?
JESS MORGAN: Yes, it’s been a 12-year journey of learning about plants—and wanting to work for them! In my late teens I was searching for the answer to life’s meaning. A major quest—and I found that answer in plants. When I walked into the green house on that special awakening day, I was able to feel this great love in my heart coming from all the green friends that surrounded me. Further, I felt plants wanted me to ‘work for them’ in a way. As humans, we are from the Earth too, but I feel we are becoming disconnected from this. So Plant Makeup is to help people remember.

TN: You also told me you “felt called upon to be a voice for nature in our modern era.” What’s the message they want you want to send?
JM: The highest goal nature has for us is to help us see all the beauty on Earth, and so the message is really for everyone to get outside! As well as to inspire generations to come to be continual care takers of the Earth. I hope everyone can find the inspiration to do more Earth work, as on a deeper level I feel like this can help align everyone more with their true purpose—which is to find a way to live harmoniously with nature, a situation which is out of control right now.

My work is also my own small contribution to awakening people to the fact plants and nature are talking to us at all times, trying to communicate with us through the heart, so they can explore their own connection and further be inspired to take action for the overall good of the planet.

TN: How has this mission cultivated more compassion for you in the way you live and interact with nature personally?
JM: My work has taught me that what we put in and on our bodies is definitely a way of interacting with nature. For example, the more fruits and vegetables we eat, the better we can operate as bio-machines of the Earth. Our minds become clearer and our bodies feel better! For this reason, I personally love a diet (when I can) of fresh juices, rice and beans with steamed vegetables, salads, and lots of kale (I know, such a cliché—LOL).

TN: What’s your advice to someone looking to lead a more natural life?
JM: It’s is hard to do everything sustainably, but it is important to do whatever we can. Investing in a reusable water bottle for example, or riding your bike or walking instead of driving a car. In my experience, making eco-conscious decisions becomes very fulfilling, almost freeing the ego since these choices are connected to a deeper idea about what it means to be a human here on planet Earth. Any anyway, eventually we won’t have a choice about these things.

TN: So how does honoring the earth change the way makeup affects you, if at all?
JM: In using Plant Makeup, we can enhance and honor the cosmic force that we truly are. Since all the products I make are 100% natural, the way I see it there’s nothing in them to block our natural beauty being able to emanate from within.

TN: How do you communicate and honor the plants you work with? Can anybody do this?
JM: Plants and animals communicate through the heart and, yes, everyone can do this— if we keep an open mind. Not that it’s impossible, it’s just not something we’re consciously trained to do in our society. The best way to practice is to just sit quietly outdoors where you can be undisturbed, and invite a quiet mind so that the miracles of nature can be awakened in you. For example, when people talk about finding inspiration when they take a walk in the woods, I believe this is nature calling to us to live our purpose.

I also love to honor the plants I work with by offering bird seed, always composting, and giving thanks for their gifts. When I collect a plant from the earth, in the case of foraging, I ask for permission first. Most of the time the plants say: “Yes, please use me!” They want to share their gifts. But sometimes they say no. Most of the time I am actually “called” to certain patches or led places to discover a specific medicine for someone, a new plant that wants me to learn about them, or simply a secret the Earth wants to share with me to help me admire its beauty.

TN: What’s the most notable thing you’ve learned throughout your journey making plant based makeup?
JM: Be yourself. We have to really stick to our vision in life, which can so easily get toned down by all the distractions around us; technology, our current job, family, world affairs, etc. It might be harder but it’s more rewarding to follow your own dream. It also might not be possible immediately, but any time we step out into nature and think “wow, what a beautiful day,” we are taking a step in the right direction. Overall, Plant Makeup is the manifestation of my own never ending fountain of nature-based inspiration. A reminder to live your art, to be your dreams.

Discover more at Plantmakeup.com

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: A YOGIC IMMERSION, AND A POET WHO DIDN’T KNOW IT

An Immersion with my yoga preachers, an animal spirit out of balance, and an epic journey of self-discovery…

New pals! @welltodomag @thevoguetrip and @mind_body_bowl

:: MONDAY & TUESDAY ::
I’m dedicating some extra space today to THE most incredible weekend with my friends at lululemon. “The Immersion” was a four-day experience in Austin, TX, hosted by lulu ambassadors Gabrielle Bernstein and Baron Baptiste—creator of mega transformational practice, Baptiste Yoga. And it came at the perfect time for me, since 2016 has been the year I’ve finally found a dedicated yoga routine, but have found myself yearning for ways to tap the spiritual side of the practice. As in, use it as a way to commune with the Universal oneness, y’all!

Well of course this is Gabby’s whole jam with her Kundalini practice, which she described to us (50 of the most switched-on, diverse and interesting disrupter-entrepreneur types I’ve had the privilege of spending some dedicated hang-time with—and what an HONOR to be numbered among them!) as bringing “physicality to my spiritual practice.” A long-time meditator, “I was always like, ‘how do I get my body involved?'” And I may not be the most dedicated K-head (“K” as in Kundalini, obvs), but every time I do practice I can be guaranteed some pretty out-there downloads from the energy I call “spirit.”

Gabs getting her Kundalini on

And then there was Baron, a prime example of a breed I’ve named the “yoga preachers.” Not in the sense that he’s preaching a certain way to be or dogma to believe. If anything, his philosophy centers around the concept of “santosha”—sanskrit for something like: “satisfaction with the status quo…tinged with curiosity for where this could go.” But he’s one of those teachers with a sixth sense about precisely the right words to deliver at precisely the right moment in the practice to unlock the door to the divine. That is, to an understanding of your Self as a limitless being of pure light consciousness. Hallelujah!

Baron Baptiste: the preacher man himself

:: WEDNESDAY ::
A also brought along my new Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck, a.k.a. my favorite new toy. The card I pulled for guidance about my time at The Immersion? The Firefly—a flighty, creative energy that burns super-bright, but can easily burn out. Which sounds exactly like me—a major introvert—in full-on retreat mode. The suggestion to bring this energy into balance? “Write a poem.” Which I’ve actually never done before, but which has rapidly become my favorite thing! Kim Krans’s practical tips are one of the best things about the deck. Have you been using yours yet? I’d love to hear what you think.

:: THURSDAY ::
So Ellen Degeneres is a secret Numi. Um, going through the research for a recent interview I did with her uncovered the following evidence: she came out after a trip to spiritual development center Esalen, where, “What came up was: ‘would they still love me if I was gay?’ It made me feel ashamed that I was pretending to be something else, just to make people like me”; she’s a long-time advocate of Transcendental Meditation – “when your computer goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is for me”; AND in 2010 she founded a record company called eleveneleven. #materialgirlmysticalworld

…oh and she’s 99% #vegan

:: FRIDAY ::
You guys—I’m so so close to handing in the final manuscript for my book! And writing it has been the most epic journey of self-discovery, something I was reminded of today when I re-worked the intro I wrote as part of my original proposal waaaay back in early 2015. From the overall tone, to my knowledge and understanding of all things numinous, the process crystalized exactly how much I’ve grown in the past 18 months—not least as a result of me literally living what I’ve been writing about. Which bodes well for the impact the finished result could have on YOUR lives, dear potential readers! Safe to say I’m fully psyched to share my baby with y’all next year.

REDEMPTION SONG: READING FOR THE PISCES NEW MOON SOLAR ECLIPSE

Use your imagination and go with the flow of the Universe – it is a Pisces New Moon, after all, says Hannah Ariel.

“You must conceive of possibilities beyond your present state if you are to be able to find the capacity to reach toward them” – Idries Shah

The Pisces New Moon of March 8 is not simply opening a door for our intentions – it will be a New Moon Solar Eclipse; a powerful moment of accelerated evolution. This one lands us in the deep deep sea of 19 degrees Pisces, just a few degrees away from the South Node at 21 degrees, also in Pisces. In Astrology, Eclipses always take place near the nodes of the moon – the elliptical plane where past and future storylines collide.

During a South Node Solar Eclipse, the moon meets up with the south node and experiences its lunar energy in reception to solar energy. From planet Earth, we experience this exchange as a powerful portal that transcends linear time, and orbits us right into our future potential – the story we long to step into.

A Solar eclipse is a magnificent and mysterious phenomenon that opens our psyche to a whole new paradigm. A solar eclipse in Pisces? This is an act of redemption.

Pisces is represented by two fish ever moving between worlds in an infinite conception of possibility. Yes, they go with the flow; yes, they fluidly embrace wherever the tide may take them. But the energy of Pisces can bring forth huge waves of creative potential from the depths of our unconscious experience.

Pisces season is always a time to take notice of what wordlessly surfaces from within you. What waves of consciousness are crashing now? What reality have you been subconsciously merged with for so long that you are finally swimming out of it? How are you becoming more aware of your own intuitive understanding of your life story, as if for the first time in ages?

Pisces is a compassionate ocean of deep revelation, and it is only by diving deep into its mysteries that we can know our own instinctual capacity to fully get in touch with the parts of us we long to know better.

During this Pisces New Moon Eclipse, we are karmically being called forth to release and work with what has been building up inside our psyche for goodness knows how long. It’s a portal for stepping boldly into the immensity of our imaginations; to see through the stories of the past that no longer feel right; to reflect, and then recreate our vision for the next six months. There will be a peculiar mysticism to the way this unfolds though, as Pisces ruling planet is Neptune.

It is Neptune’s job to reveal the reality behind the reality; it is dissolution; it is our own subjective processing of our experiences that is veiled even to ourselves. It is the experience we don’t realize we are experiencing until the curtain drops. For the next six months, life will have funny ways of revealing the waves we’ve been subconsciously riding, and how they are actually bringing us to where we need to be.

Jupiter, still in Virgo, will be opposite this moon reminding us that everything is manageable. We expand by taking things one day, one step at a time. The shadow side of Jupiter though can be blowing things out of proportion, so take care to cultivate compassion as you are finding your way. This is not the time to fall victim to circumstance or judge yourself or others for what they believe.

This IS a time to trust that there is a positive and practical way for you to take your experiences, and roll with their teachings in a way that makes sense to you. It may also be a time where we are tempted to self-sabotage – as the South Node can sometimes find us falling into old patterns. In Pisces, this would be old patterns of escaping reality – opposed to working with the deep swells of energy that are being subjectively experienced

Also on the south side of things, is Chiron. Astrologically, Chiron points to where we may feel like we don’t know what we’re doing. It is how we misjudge ourselves, believing we are in some way wounded – that we don’t have what it takes, or we don’t have “enough” in some areas of our lives. We believe – and fall victim to this belief – that we are at a disadvantage somehow.

In Pisces, this may lead us to feel that we are disconnected from the path of our spirit, due to a mistaken belief we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The greatest shadow of this energy is thinking that we have no true purpose, are forever lost in an abyss of puzzling storylines we just can’t make sense of. So if you feel like you are just slipping through a foggy unreality, hold on!

For Chiron also shows us how we can effectively work to heal ourselves and others – by directly engaging with the very thing that we’re afraid will fail us in some way. So the more we work with what’s coming up, the more we take that positive and practical Jupiter energy and apply it, we have an opportunity to heal our lives beyond recognition. The reality of this Pisces New Moon Solar Eclipse is that we have so much divine experience, having swum through these waters for lifetimes, that we have all the information we need to imagine a way through.

And this Pisces New Moon Eclipse is just the beginning of learning how to use it. So, allow yourself to step into what is coming up at this time in your life, no matter how foreign it feels, no matter how confused you think you are – and use your imagination. Let go of your fear, and like a fish kept safe in water, feel your way into a future storyline with a deep rolling wave of universal trust. Step into this beginning with the sense that everything is unfolding with perfect timing.

To book a personal reading with Hannah contact: [email protected]

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: LOVING OUR LOUNIVERSE, AND TALKING TM ON TV!

A very special crystal, calling in my taxi angels…and I how I found myself talking about TM on national TV

Just a little bit excited to be talking TM on national TV on Friday…

 

 

:: MONDAY ::
WOW. We miss her too, and we felt so much love for our Louniverse (Tarotscopes queen Louise Androlia) when everybody was asking where her weekly video went this week! The official word is that beautiful Lou is taking a mind, body, spirit healing break (i.e. taking some of her own magical advice) and so will be on haitus from Tarot duties for the month of March. In the meantime, we’ve lined up a super talented guest contributor to fill in – who’s first video will be up Monday, with the monthly reading for March. Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss them – and please send Lou all LIGHT & LOVE as she navigates this portal in her healing journey <3 <3 <3

We love you Louniverse!

:: TUESDAY ::
So innovation + inspiration planet Uranus has been transiting Aries (my sun sign) since March 2011 (uuuum right about the time I had the idea for the Numinous) – a transit that lights a fire, opens doors…and then shoves you through them. LOVING EVERY MINUTE. And now is when things get super juiced, since today it hit 18 degrees of Aries – and will be RIGHT ON my natal sun until March 13. I’m buckling up for a wild ride – and also planning to hand in my book manuscript, launch our e-commerce platform, and start coaching with incredible Cherie Healey during this exact window. Gulp. And p.s. How do I know exactly where Uranus at? Thanks to my favorite new toy – Planetwatcher.com – which allows you to track the moves of the celestial bodies day-by-day. You’re welcome.

 

:: WEDNESDAY ::
When I love my job the most is when I get to meet incredible healers like Kallisa Augustine, who I saw today for her signature Crystal Bed Therapy session. Kallisa had been recommended me by three of my favorite women (independently, in the space of three weeks) so obviously I was super intrigued – and with everything that’s going on right now (see “Tuesday”, and then there’s all the internal behind-the-scenes stuff too lol) the timing felt perfect. The session itself fused sound and energy healing, a badass Marcel Vogel crystal (see below – and read about these very special babies at the link) – as well as the crystal bed itself. Most of all I fell in love with magical Kallisa herself, who I could have talked all things spirit with for hours. Which I know we will, so expect more from her on here for sure.

:: THURSDAY ::
Last week (that crazy Friday when I got about five texts asking wtf was up with the astrology?) I missed a flight for the first time ever. And I’d even got to the airport early. And today…it almost happened again! First the car I booked didn’t show up (but told me 25 minutes after they were scheduled to arrive), and then it was nose-to-tail all the way to JFK. So as I was running into the street / RAIN to find a yellow cab (anybody who’s tried this in the rain in rush hour in Brooklyn knows my state of mind) I decided to ask my taxi angels for some help. Within SECONDS they’d sent me Michael Chan…amazing Michael Chan, who’s been driving a yellow cab in NYC for 30 years, knows ALL the shortcuts, and got me to my gate literally as they were calling final boarding #thankyouangels

:: FRIDAY ::
As you know I recently learned TM (transcendental meditation) – and today I got to go on national TV and talk about my experience on The Doctors! One of the hosts Jennifer Ashton also studied with Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation, and has had such a positive experience she wanted to get the message out. So me and Bob (my new most favorite person and the BEST advertisement for what 47 years of regular meditation can do for a person’s attitude) hopped over to LA to get our preach on. The segment with us talking about TM will air in April – keep reading for updates!

A NEW ADVENTURE: READING FOR THE FULL MOON IN GEMINI

The Full Moon in Gemini is an invitation to re-shape our reality and reorientate on our journey, says Hannah Ariel. PLUS Three essential questions to help each sign navigate the vibes

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.” – The Matrix

If there were ever a week to take the red pill, it’s this one. It’s high time to engage these days like a Gemini, restless in a your infinite search for more knowledge, more truth. Wanting to hear and see everything, life through Gemini eyes is like experiencing an endless discovery channel.

Gemini is MUTABLE energy. It can’t help but change course with every turn of a thought. Nothing thrills this sign more than to follow a new lead, comprehend yet another fact, connect another dot. At the Full Moon in Gemini on Wednesday November 25th we’re beginning to realize we may have to take a few twists and turns to get to where we need to be going next.

In aspect to Neptune, this may not be at all where we thought to dream before. This Full Moon in Gemini illuminates how our lives are meant to change and mutate, to the point where they are unrecognizable at times, in order for us to explore a fresh vision. Cosmically, it’s a time where life can be stranger than fiction.

The Sun has just entered Sagittarius. We have survived the depths of Scorpio, and there is an unmistakable optimism in the air. And while Gemini is busy turning corners, Sagittarius always trusts there’s going to be a good time around the bend. Although these signs oppose one another in the sky, they actually make for lively partners in crime; Gemini points the way, and Sag has the good faith to follow the signs.

It’s a divine recipe for unlimited exploration, plain and simple. However, Mercury and Saturn have also joined the Sun in Sagittarius, creating a not so simple trifecta of nature. This Gemini moon is we don’t really have a reliable map. We can’t know which way we’re pointing without also investigating what we’re looking for, in good faith of course.

Thoughts and beliefs born of our experiences are our only reality right now. We can’t simply believe what we would prefer to anymore. Saturn in Sagittarius sees to this, as our beliefs will materialize opportunities in time and space faster than you can say Abracadabra. If you aren’t excited by the opportunities being presented to you in your life currently, check in with your third eye and ask: what do I envision for myself?

Reality is fundamentally mutable as this Full Moon in Gemini directly activates the first of three Saturn in Sagittarius/Neptune in Pisces squares – the first one on Thanksgiving Day, November 26th. When two slow moving outer planets square off it triggers shifts in consciousness that don’t come around very often. These heavy-hitters want to improve our circumstances, dissolving one boundary to re-create the next. We’re breaking through illusions we were unwittingly supporting while totally re-identifying with a new ride. Expect whatever vision you channel now to form and expand your reality.

When we look around we may be mistaken into thinking nothing makes sense right now; relationships are dissolving, re-locations are taking place, responsibilities are shape shifting, our identities and professions are being re-invented. With Neptune in the mix: surrender. Surrender to this Full Moon in Gemini. If what you thought was going to happen doesn’t, don’t flip out! Reweave the story. See to it that something else unfolds in its place.

As long as we keep the energy moving, the right situation will manifest at the right time, bringing treasures we did not know we were looking for. There’s so much we can’t possibly understand completely right now – the least we can do is open up to the journey. Surrender and feel free to experience a radiant sense of adventure in searching for where you’re headed. And above all, know you are not alone.

This Full Moon in Gemini will also reflect a particular paradigm-shift, based on your individual chart. Here are three essential questions to ask yourself, based on your Sun or Rising sign, to guide you through this Saturn/Neptune square – especially if at this Full Moon in Gemini you are struggling to make sense of what’s happening:

Aries :: Aries rising
Where is your community? How do you connect? Is there a spiritual purpose at work?

Taurus :: Taurus rising
Who are you really? What do you want more of? How can you expand your influence?

Gemini :: Gemini
How are you feeling? How are you healing? Who are you exploring with?

Cancer :: Cancer rising
Where do you fear? How do you experience peace of mind? When does it feel good to be in your body?

Leo :: Leo rising
Who do you inspire? How do you show love? What can you let go of?

Virgo :: Virgo rising
How many roles are you playing? Where are your roots? How can you see yourself more clearly?

Libra :: Libra rising
Do you see a big picture coming together? Which ideas fire you up? How can you put them into practice?

Scorpio :: Scorpio rising
Are you open to what is possible? How good does it feel to be you? Where do you experience love in your heart?

Sagittarius :: Sagittarius rising
What relationships are you attracting? Do you believe in yourself? How can you feel more at home wherever you go?

Capricorn :: Capricorn rising
What projects are you working on? Do you feel spirit supporting you? Which conversations inspire you?

Aquarius :: Aquarius rising
Are you having fun? Do you have an audience? What are you holding on to?

Pisces :: Pisces rising
What is privately coming to life for you? Where do you experience recognition? Do you feel your affect on others?

For a private reading with Hannah Ariel contact: [email protected]

LIGHT WORKER: THE HEALING JOURNEY OF JODY SHIELD

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

HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR SPIRITUAL ROADMAP

Hit a bump in the road? Never fear, says Shaheen Miro. Your soul created a spiritual roadmap for you to follow in this life, here’s how to navigate yours…Images: Benoit Paillé via Behance.net

Life is filled with twists and turns, some that take us deeper into our soul journey, others that lead us off-track for a while. I have found on my own path that we are never truly lost, but that there will be moments of feeling like we’re in the dark. Usually this happens when we’re ignoring our intuition, and not honoring our spirit.

But before you came to this wild and crazy world, you created a map for yourself – a charted path your soul is here to live out. Nope, this doesn’t mean that everything in your life is set in stone. Rather, your spiritual map is a blueprint that guides you towards opportunities for growth, and chances to explore the deeper regions of your soul.

These key co-ordinates on your map are points of power that help to ignite your spiritual fire, so you can paint the world with all your unique colors. To experience your own divinity, and to live out your creative purpose.

Bumps in the road
Your map is filled with lessons and sacred moments. These may manifest as physical obstacles, dealing with health, safety, and security. You will also encounter moments of darkness, and depression. Maybe you will battle addiction, challenging relationships, a questioning of beliefs, upheavals, or fear.

At times you will even question your own soul purpose, and ask why the hell you embarked on this journey in the first place! But rest assured, you are here for a reason…and that reason is to simply dance, flow, and slow grind with the Universe.

Your map is also filled with strategically placed people, places and events. And like all geographic maps, you have created exit points, and alternate routes to help traverse any bumps in the road.

Now you’re probably thinking…damn, why would I make things so hard for myself? But you aren’t meant to struggle, simply to learn. The truth is you probably forgot you’re a total badass filled with enough light to outshine any darkness. Moments of opposition are here to remind you that you are living, learning, and that you are in control!

Navigating the Map
The fastest way to get back on track if you feel you’ve veered off course, is usually to literally stopping what you are doing with your life, and move in a completely different direction. This will invariably activate your spirit and lead you closer to a feeling of wholeness.

I know there is at least one area of your life that could use a good change. So how about you override your current plan, chose to link into your spirit, and experience something else? Ask yourself this:

Does this current path feed or deplete my spirit?

Hmm, now this can be a tough question. You may need to meditate on it for awhile, so talk to Spirit, connect with your guides, and carve out some time for stillness.

What to Do When You are Lost
Navigating back onto your soul path all starts with one small step in the right direction, but you must take action. Don’t just say: “I wish I could…” Begin to do it!

Fear is often the only hurdle. Fear that you will fail. Fear that you won’t be good enough. Fear that you might lose everything. Fear that you might actually succeed. Let me tell you a secret: fear is usually an indicator that you are getting close to something good.

So make love to your fear. Test your fear. Punch your fear in the face if you need to. The most brilliant adventures usually start off down a dark, ominous, strangely intimidating path. So take a few steps forward and see what happens. At which point feel free to say, “Hey Universe, give me a damn sign so I know where to go next!” – and just witness what shows up.

Know that it’s also okay to make a U-Turn. Maybe you went for something that felt right. Now it doesn’t. Say thank you for the experience, and move on.

Look for markers along your journey. Is there anyone, or anything that stands out on your adventure? Reoccurring events all bear significance…good and bad. Chronic situations are indicators that you aren’t paying attention. Anything that sends a tingle up your spine is an invitation to honor your spiritual artist.

How to Refuel on Your Adventure
Being low on fuel feels like depression, opposition and discomfort. You will feel drained, mentally, emotionally, spiritually…and most often physically. So how do we refuel?

Stillness. Prayer. Meditation. Creativity. Spiritual Cleansing. At our core we are all sensitive, fluid beings, and being inundated with the chaotic voices of the outside world will drown out your own navigation system, and lead you further and further from your destination.

Commit to a daily meditation practice of at least 10 minutes. Learn to listen to your breath, as this is the beat of your soul. When you follow the rhythm of your breathing you release toxins, and purge the “ish,” so you can see more clearly.

Prayer is a way to express to the Universe and your own spirit what you want and need in life. Prayer is also a sacred moment to give gratitude for the things you have. Gratitude that will active good energy, and allow you to flow with your highest good.

Creativity isn’t just painting a picture, or singing a song. Creativity is about all kinds of expression. So ask: what does your inner artist want to experience? What form of expression makes you feel alive?

Spiritual cleansing is the literal act of clearing away the debris from your Aura. Using sacred ceremony to release these stuck energies will allow you to glide forward, unencumbered by the weight of any unnecessary baggage. Burn sage. Take a sea salt bath. Use the Gypsy’s Aura Elixir!

Off-Road Adventures
If you take anything from this, let it be the affirmation that this is YOUR life, YOUR map, and YOUR adventure! Be a bitch if you have to. Say “no” to the things that wear you down. Say “no” to the relationships that are limiting you. Say “no” to the job that’s depleting you. Say “no” to the friends who aren’t vibing with you.

And then take this adventure off road. The destination isn’t the point, it’s all about the journey your spiritual map has in store for you.

Shaheen Miro is an Intuitive Consultant, Energy Worker, Artist, and Spiritual Nomad. Find out more about his work at ShaheenMiroInsights.com and @ShaheenMiro

PIECES OF ME: WHAT IS A SOUL RETRIEVAL CEREMONY?

Maggie Harrsen of Puakai Healing explains how our soul can become fragmented when we experience trauma, an what exactly happens in a Soul Retrieval ceremony. Images: Prince Lauder

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SOUL NEEDS RETRIEVING?
To first understand if a Soul Retrieval Ceremony may be beneficial for you, it is important to know the signs of Soul Loss (see below). During Soul Loss a piece of our soul, our light essence, flees the body in order to survive a traumatic or shocking experience. Examples of situations that may cause Soul Loss are: all forms of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual), death of a loved one, divorce, separation, natural disasters, accidents, surgery and any distress during rites of passage.

THAT SOUNDS PAINFUL…SO WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SOUL LOSS?

Soul Loss could manifest in any of the below:
A feeling of being lost or incomplete
Chronic depression, anxiety or grief
Feeling disconnected from all of life
Feeling “out of body”
The sense that you haven’t been “the same” after a certain event
Chronic illness and ongoing misfortune
Blocked memory
Lack of joy
An inability to make decisions
Addictive behavior patterns
Being disconnected from your intuition
A loss of energy

IF OUR SOUL FRAGMENTS WHEN WE EXPERIENCE TRAUMA, WHERE DOES IT GO TO RETREAT?
According to the Qero paq’os (healers) of the Andean mystical tradition, when a soul part flees our body it goes to the Ukhu Pacha, the place of the underworld where Pachamama, our Cosmic Mother lives. Being our Earth Mother, she is able to keep these parts of our soul safe until we’re ready to receive them back. It is my belief that in order to fulfil our soul’s particular mission on Earth, we need all of our soul parts restored and within us!

It is also interesting to note that in indigenous cultures, if a little one falls and breaks a limb or witnesses the death of an elder, the healer will perform a ceremony on their behalf right away. In Western culture, the understanding of our energetic body and the spiritual causes of illness are not so recognised or well understood, so restoring all the parts of our soul can often mean going back decades.

HOW SHOULD YOU PREPARE FOR A SOUL RETRIEVAL CEREMONY?
In the Soul Retrieval Ceremony we are working within the luminous energy field (the energy bubble that surrounds and informs the physical body) so the only preparation is in our intention, as this is what drives energy. And in a Soul Retrieval Ceremony our intention is simple – we are calling back any lost soul parts that are ready and willing to return to the individual right now.

When we create sacred space and have an openness and willingness for healing to occur, it simply happens. My role in ceremony is holding this space for individuals to heal themselves. The most important element for me is trust – to build trust with my client and create a space in which they feel safe to completely open, like a blossoming flower. It is through our own courage and will that we are able to heal ourselves and, in turn, heal the Earth.

WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS IN THE CEREMONY?
The ceremony takes place either inside a space or outside in nature. The client will lay comfortably on the ground with blankets and pillows and I will sit at their side. I will begin by preparing sacred space, using the smoke of the Palo Santo wood and other various rituals, and then I will gently guide the client into a relaxed place of stillness. They will remain laying down – resting and focusing on their breath for the duration of the ceremony.

Together we will set our intention and go into an altered state of consciousness through the sound of various instruments, including a rattle, drum and bells. As the healer, I journey outside of time and space to my guiding spirits who assist me in locating and understanding why these light essences, or soul parts, originally left.

They are then brought back and restored to the individual through my breath, as I blow them into their heart center and crown of the head. We then move into the transmutation sequence of the ceremony, where the client absorbs the light of their soul into every cell of their being. During this time, I play various high vibrational instruments and music. To complete the ceremony, the client gently sits up, sipping a glass of water and I share my healing story, focusing on the gifts that were restored. The client may also share any visions, sensations or experiences they had during their ceremony.

AND HOW DO PEOPLE FEEL AFTERWARDS?
Since we are all unique as human beings, everyone feels differently after a Soul Retrieval Ceremony. Some individuals may feel sleepy and some are buzzing with energy. Some feel emotional. Some feel a shift in physical sensation and perception. Some feel nothing. Many feel deep peace and relaxation, and most individuals report a sense of being grounded and “in their body”. Individuals often express they feel at home again. In the days and months after a Soul Retrieval Ceremony most individuals report significant life changes.

SUCH AS…
I have heard people report all of the following:
A sense of spiritual harmony
Greater wellbeing and vitality
Healing of physical dis-ease
Clarity/remembering of the soul path
Unconditional love for the self
Restoration of individual gifts
Depression replaced with joy
Renewed relationships
An ability to be their authentic self
Courage to follow their dreams
A deeper connection to the natural world

Find out more about Maggie Harrsen and Puakai Healing here, and check out the details of her upcoming Hamptons retreat, which takes place July 27 and 28 2015

MAGIC MUSHROOMS AS COUPLES THERAPY. SERIOUSLY.

In the latest instalment of Now Age relationship column Yogi Vegan Lez, Alexandra Roxo and her GF experiment with magic mushrooms as a form of couples therapy…

Alexandra and Orion get intimate with the contents of each other’s head…

What do people usually do when they leave yoga class. Drink some water? Go for an egg white omelette? Take a shower? Well, on that Sunday morning my iCal sent me a post-Vinyasa reminder: “Spiritual Awakening. a.k.a. Magic Mushroom Journey!” complete with a mushroom emoji and a smiley face. And so walking home through Williamsburg’s leafy McCarren Park, my girlfriend Orian and I whipped out our ‘shrooms and ate them right there and then. At 10am.

We had both wanted to do something special for our anniversary, and after a friend mentioned a beautiful afternoon she and her hubby had with some mushies, I was inspired! JUST WHAT I NEEDED. If women are scheduling their births these days, why can’t I schedule my DIY spiritual awakening? Plus, magic mushrooms are cheaper than a yoga retreat upstate and can be delivered directly to your house, so there’s really no excuse to not take them, right?

After sharing a vegan club sandwich on GF Rye, we sat and watched the dogs in the park for a moment. Then I was like “Umm, we should walk towards our house. Like Now.” Orian had never been on this kind of ‘journey’ so I also wanted to make sure she didn’t start tripping out while staring in the face of a Frenchie or…um, just crossing the street. Cos that could be dangerous.

I felt sort of like the person guiding the ship, the unofficial road woman or gatekeeper. When she kept saying things like: “When I do drugs I usually need a lot of water…” and “drugs make me feel…” I kept trying to tell her, “THIS IS NOT DRUGS. YOU ARE ON A PLANT MEDICINE ODYSSEY.” She finally succumbed to my benevolent dictatorship, and seemed to accept that a mushroom journey isn’t like a molly trip or a cocaine high.

As for me, this was the first time I’d done mushrooms completely sober of any alcohol and cigarettes. Not the first time I’d attempted an afternoon of mushroom-induced couples therapy though. The last time I tried bonding with my lover this way, we were holed-up in a dreamy Silver Lake cottage where got into a fight, I had a vision of an energetic cut between us where I saw our stars zooming off in opposite directions, realized quite viscerally we were poison for each other, starting having a panic attack, and didn’t sleep for two days.

So gee whiz, why wouldn’t I want to open this door with my new girlfriend of one year, on our anniversary, after an emotional month of me cleansing, quitting smoking, and doing all sorts of energy work?

But we had actually both been sober and clean and totally vegan for over two weeks, and I knew this quiet energetic state was essential to our ‘shrooming success. We continued wandering back towards our house as was the original plan: take a little bit, take a walk, just be together. I soon had to pee though, and we stopped in a cafe to use the loo. The bathroom walls were covered in a magazine collage. Who does that? And then the bathroom started to cave in on me.

I shut my eyes, ran out past the innocent bystanders (i.e. brunch crowd of people not on mushrooms) and what ensued was the most glorious and intense bonding session known to woman.

Magical Mushroom by Kaitlyn Fister via Behance.net

We held crystals (and FYI, holding crystals while on mushrooms is like holding an elephant or the sun or rain). We opened a book and could only look at one painting and then close the book. Then we had this realization that if we each balanced our Yin and Yang energies, we wouldn’t be searching for balance outside of ourselves. For someone who is bisexual and constantly trying to balance out masculine and feminine vibes I realized that seeking Yang outside of myself wasn’t necessary. I can align with someone else who has balanced energies and then we are each neutral!

This was our tripped out realization. Maybe we would all become androgynous beings again one day! Beyond gender! (I think I actually read that in some article about the next evolution of humans from a channeled entity…) Over the course of six hours, we laughed, we cried, we had profound healing conversations about life and death, and took quiet time alone.

The different phases of the trip were not too unlike my journeys with ayuhasca and peyote. There was a time of feeling physically unstable or unwell. Then there was some euphoria, the feeling of oneness. Then some darker challenges that came our way. That’s the ‘work’ part. The medicine comes in and gets shit done.

The result was what felt like a month of traditional couples therapy in one afternoon. There were no distractions. Except I kept wanting to eat dates and nuts because I felt I needed to ground myself, but was also afraid I might choke. But besides that it was cell phones off and in a drawer. Computers closed. It was magical.

Like everything in life, relationships take maintenance. As we change as individuals, we are altered as a couple. And sometimes these changes can cause a rift, a damn, a chasm, an avalanche, tidal wave. So if you’re tired of the traditional approach to processing your differences, here are our tips for a successful, and magical, couples bonding day on mushrooms:

PLAN AHEAD. The last thing you want is for your landlord to show up to fix your toilet or to have to take your dog out. If you’re opting to do the work at home, make sure your roomie isn’t planning to bake cookies to house music. If you can get away, get away. But why not try and tune into your own world instead of fleeing it?

UNPLUG. Turn off TV, computers, and cell phones. It’s unlikely you’ll even remember what Instagram is during your therapy session, but if you do find yourself tempted to check it – don’t. Just don’t. In your vulnerable state, do you really want to see a photo of Angelina Jolie’s chicken pox? You do not.

BE PRESENT. When you feel overwhelmed, listen to yourself. And if something comes up, share it with your partner. This is the whole deal with the ‘couples therapy’ thing. I asked Orian a few times: “What’s wrong?” She replied: “Oh, I don’t want to get sad or cry.” And I was like, “You can’t fight it! The whole point is to feel what you feel!” And so we were honest when things came up like, “Oh I was just thinking about when you die.” Instead of running from these things, remember you’re here to learn from them.

THE AFTERMATH. Plan to do something gentle afterwards. Light some candles. Have some soup. A bath perhaps. And WRITE IT DOWN. These lessons are invaluable, and it’s likely you will have been flooded with knowledge and wisdom so make sure you keep track.

And most of all, have fun and enjoy being together! And make your next Couple’s Bonding Day one that includes pizza in bed and SNL re-runs, cuz it’s all about the balance.

xx @Yogi_Vegan_Lez

Have you had a healing experience on ‘shrooms? Connect with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and share your story…

THIS ONE TIME, WHEN I WENT TO SHAMAN SCHOOL…

Tamara, a.k.a. Wolf Sister, shares how she followed her heart from hairdressing to healing…via a visit to shaman school. Images: Burn It All by Karolina Daria Flora.

I would describe myself as empathic and creative, so in a lot of ways it was natural for me to fall into hairdressing when I was 16. It was never my first choice – I had aspirations of being a fashion journalist – but choosing to pursue it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. Fourteen years later, this seemingly humble path has enabled me to fulfil some of my biggest dreams, mainly because one of the beautiful things about hairdressing is that it’s a portable trade. I can cut hair anywhere in the world, meaning I’ve been able to earn a living in the unlikeliest of places.

The last six years in particular, I have truly followed my wanderlust. Like many on a similar path, I travelled to ‘find’ myself, having experienced a strong disconnection with life in my hometown. Despite having a large group of friends, I’d never really felt as if I fully fit in or belonged, as if I was always holding part of myself back. So I went to work in Ibiza for the summer, in search of adventure and hoping to break free from the things I thought were holding me back. I then bought a round the world ticket to the Southern Hemisphere for a winter in Asia and Australia, bringing me back to Ibiza, and chasing the dream of a never-ending summer.

On my travels I met many kindred spirits, and collected experiences and memories like treasure. Island hopping and hitchhiking around Hawaii, sleeping under the stars in Australia, and making friends with liberated souls as we took sanctuary from the dust storms on the Playa at Burning Man. Living like this, I could be who I wanted without any attachment to my past. I was free from old thought processes that had held me back, and I found friends who seemed to be on a similar path, all in search of ‘something more’. My loved ones back home all seemed to want different things in life to me, and I think a lot of my anxieties came from trying to fit in.

But beyond the hedonism, I never felt any closer to finding myself. No matter how far I travelled or how long I stayed away, my shadow self was never far behind, and I realised I was trying to run away from rather than towards my true self. My epiphany came when I was recovering from a break up that had seemed to consume me. The experience led me to turn inward, and I realised that I needed learn to be happy in myself, wherever I was in the world. Home or away.

People would describe me as bubbly and outgoing, but I have actually suffered from anxiety and depression most of my adult life. Until I connected with my spiritual path, that is. When I went to see my doctor about my epiphany (a.k.a break down) it was recommended I go on antidepressants. Of course, this didn’t resonate with me, and so began my mission to heal myself holistically. It began with yoga, and practising meditation regularly, finding tiny glimpses of inner peace that over time became a lasting sense of calm and clarity.

In my meditations, animals kept showing up for me, regularly enough that I began looking up the meanings of these beasts. A Wolf appeared most frequently in my visions, the message being that I was in the process of spiritual development, and developing my self-esteem and inner knowing. The Wolf was there (and still is today) to remind me that I was being protected. I discovered that the animals were my spirit guides, and their messages were so relevant that I couldn’t ignore their calling. So I began using these messages to guide me on my healing path – my first indication that I had an affinity with Shamanism.

The deeper into my spiritual journey I went, I experienced a conflict between my work commitments and my spiritual life. I was eager to learn more about healing, which manifested in a desire to help others with what I was learning, but I also needed to support myself financially. In the end, I decided to take the plunge and booked a two-month sabbatical from the salon I was working in at the time and travel to Bali. Being half Indonesian, it was one pilgrimage that I had always wanted to take. Now it was really happening, and for the right reasons.

I began to research my trip, my main priority to find a way to fully immerse myself in my spiritual development. I looked up retreats, workshops, yoga centres and healers, and emailed different leads to find out what my options were. A few websites caught my eye, but after quite a few unanswered enquiries, the search engines kept drawing me back to a Shaman called White Star. I took this as another sign, and connected with her on email – which resulted in her offering me a place on her apprenticeship programme. I was going to be a Shaman’s apprentice!

I arrived in Bali two months later, and noticed that my energy instantly felt lighter, as if some kind of a shift had already occurred in me. I spent my first few days exploring my new surroundings, acquainting myself with the local customs, and trying to prepare myself for my first meeting with White Star. But how do you prepare to meet a Shaman? And one who is going to teach you her secrets?

When we finally did meet, I was full of excitement and anticipation. I had a preconceived idea that my new teacher would have an air of authority about her but when I met White Star, I was in awe. With all of her power and wisdom she is a humble woman with an unassuming presence. But it was also as if she had an ethereal radiance about her. I remember thinking she was at least 10 years younger than what she said she was – apparently there’s a healer in Bali who specialises in ‘spiritual Botox’, but I also think she’s living proof that living magically keeps you younger.

I had booked 40 hours of one-to-one lessons with White Star that were stretched out over 4 weeks, and I felt so blessed to have the time to immerse myself so deeply in my new education. I had expected to pay up front, but she was trusting and happy for me to pay cash as we went along. Our lessons took place at her home in the jungle, and were filled with practical experiences of Shamanic healing techniques, spiritual development exercises, meditations, wisdom and musings. White Star also taught me how to expand my consciousness using Shamanic journeying to tune into the spirit realms and earth elements.

Most magically of all, the more time I spent with White Star, I found that not only was I learning how to heal others, I was healing myself. I gained new insights into my past, which helped me make sense of what I always thought had been holding me back. I believe you need to learn how to understand your past and its purpose so that you can fully release it, allow you to move forward and heal. I gained a new sense of confidence and purpose, and felt myself surrendered to being my authentic self, releasing my attachment to needing to fit in.

Every day, I would walk past waterfalls on my way to my meetings with White Star, feeling that I needed to pinch myself, to check it wasn’t all a dream. It was as if my soul had found its home, and that all the life choices I’d made (including the ones I thought I regretted) had brought me here. This was real.

In my Bali bubble, it felt so natural be fully conscious in the present moment. All my anxieties dissipated, as I learned to simply go with the flow. Time expanded as I took each moment as it came, learning to really trust my intuition. Synchronicities were a regular occurrence in my Bali life, because I took time to notice them. I felt I was constantly surrounded by magic.

Shamanism teaches us that there is a spiritual component in everything; that everything around us has a spirit, and that everything is connected. Flowers, trees, water, stones, animals, and humans. A Shaman walks the path between the seen and the unseen worlds, using altered states of consciousness to connect to what can’t be seen in our ordinary reality.

When we are disconnected from spirit, we fall out of alignment with our highest good. We experience states of negativity which can lead to anxiety, depression and other emotional and physical symptoms of imbalance. With Spiritual healing and Shamanic medicine, we are able to reconnect with our highest self, or soul, bringing us back into balance. Feeling calmer and happier, life becomes easy again. When we are spiritually aligned, we feel are able live from the heart; detaching from our ego, we are confident to follow our life’s purpose. Feeling empowered, there is no room for fear.

I returned from my Bali trip a little over a year ago, with none of the same ‘homecoming anxieties’ I used to feel, because I brought my Bali bubble home with me. Since then, my Shamanic alter ego Wolf Sister has been born, and I have been building my own healing practice, alongside working as a hairdresser. And the two actually go hand-in-hand.

When I am working with my hairdressing clients, I enable them to feel better about themselves on an external level. I still enjoy my work at the salon, but my true passion is to help people heal on a Soul level, helping them empower themselves. I feel that I’m able to do this more effectively through Spiritual healing than I am by styling hair, but still I infuse my Shamanic teachings into every moment of my ‘everyday’ life. Knowing always that my Bali bubble is there to be tuned into when I need it.

Where has your healing journey taken you? Connect with us and share your story on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Tamara is an Intuitive healer, Supernatural Potion Maker, Crystal enthusiast and Tarot reader. Find out more at Wolfsister.com