WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF MASCULINITY?

The “divine feminine” is often invoked as a Now Age ideal for our gender evolution. But how to really dismantle systems of patriarchal oppression? Trans man and diversity and inclusion activist, Aaron Rose, shares his vision for the future of masculinity …

Photo: Aziz Acharki

From Parasitic Patriarchy to Abundant Symbiosis 
When Now Age mystics speak of “divine masculinity,” what they are describing is simply: masculinity. Exalted qualities of heart-centered action, fierce loyalty, innovative logic, and earthly strength are what masculinity truly is. Everything else is an aberration, a mistaken idea, and a misuse of energy.

The divine masculine is complemented by the divine feminine archetype: the universal energy of intuition, receptivity, nurturance, creation, and collaboration. These energies are not inherently gendered. They flow within all of us.

So how do we reclaim healthy or conscious masculinity? How do we end our crisis of sexual violence? How do we build a world with true gender equality?

In the #metoo era, it can sometimes feel like the goal is total eradication of an inherently “toxic masculinity,” an embrace of androgyny, or an exclusive exaltation of the feminine. But the destination of our evolution is not about erasing our differences or course correcting from toxicity to divinity; it’s about reclaiming gendered archetypes while embracing an even wider spectrum of expression.

Patriarchy is the collectively held (and externally manifested) idea that men are superior to people of other genders, that there are right and wrong ways to be men and women, and that there are rewards for reinforcing these ideas, and penalties for violating them.

And if patriarchy is a result and a manifestation of parasitic scarcity consciousness, then we’re more than ready for abundant symbiosis.

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A Different Way to Be Human
When I first began my transition from female to male, I was terrified of becoming a man. It was who I was – a person who had been female-assigned at birth and who felt called to a male identity and masculine embodiment – and yet, I could not have been more scared.

As a woman, I had lived a life defined and constrained by male violence – from the abuse of family members, to the harassment of strangers on the subway, and the subtle discrimination at work. The manhood I saw around me did not represent the kind of person I wanted to be. And the people I loved were quick to reinforce this idea: You’ll become a tool of the patriarchy, they said. The world doesn’t need another MAN.

On a physiological level, I knew that taking testosterone (in the form of hormone replacement therapy) was right for me. My body needed it, hungered for it like a too-late dinner after a long day. But on an emotional level, I was paralyzed, wracked by immobilizing guilt.

I was afraid of losing the part of myself that cries at Pixar movies and gathers my friends into huge hugs and composes love letters to my beloveds. The part who really, really listens to my people when they’re hurting. I was afraid of embodying toxic masculinity. I was afraid of becoming (even more of) a stranger to myself.

This deterministic model of gender is one we’re all used to. We’ve all heard “that’s just how men are” and any number of absolutist statements that divide the population squarely down the middle, into two prescribed boxes: man and woman. I was just as trapped as anyone.

But equally, in making the choice to transition I knew I was signing up for a lifetime commitment to proving the idea that there was another way to be a man than what I had been shown. That ultimately, there was a different way to be a human altogether.

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Dismantling the Deal with the Devil
This commitment, this faith in the future of masculinity, has fueled my decade’s plus of evolving work in diversity and inclusion—a key part of which is leading conscious masculinity workshops in which men and masculine people of all genders have an opportunity to take themselves off of cultural autopilot and reclaim healthy masculinity.

Patriarchy invites men to make a deal with the devil: trade your eternal wholeness and humanity, in exchange for earthly and temporal power.

Time and again, I witness men become emotional in my workshops when we talk about gender equality and allyship. When I ask why, they say things like: “I feel like I don’t have anything else to offer,” or “What more do you want from me?,” or “Not everyone gets to be treated so nicely, you know.”

As the conversations unfold, we identify, again and again, that they are fundamentally bewildered about why or how they should be giving something to someone else that they do not feel they have themselves: gentleness, a reason to truly accept themselves, a full range of self-expression, emotional presence.

⁣⁣In my workshops, we inventory our masculinity stories, going all the way back to our first memories. And themes emerge, like the first moment of shame, often attached to a memory of playing with feminine clothing, hugging other boys, or crying when we were sad. We bring loving witness to these wounds, and then we choose again.

If the story was: “when I am emotional, the people I love reject me”—we elect to write a new story: “my vulnerability brings me closer to the people I care about.”

Photo: Sir Moon

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What is your role in this process? Here are 4 ways we can all help bring about the future of masculinity … 

1// Separate masculinity + femininity from gender identity and sex assigned at birth.
“Sex assigned at birth” is the label you were assigned at birth based on the external anatomy your doctor observed. Gender identity is your innate, internal, sense of your gender.

Within our current western gender model, which has its origins in European colonization and white supremacist social control, sex assigned at birth, gender, and gendered energy are all conflated. If you are male assigned at birth, it is assumed you will be a man, and that you will behave in a masculine way. This deterministic model belies the truth of our experience — the truth that indigenous people of many cultures have always embraced — that there are as many possible genders and gendered experiences as there are people.

For example, I currently have a pretty masculine embodiment – short hair, muscles, a deep voice, a flat chest, traditionally male clothing. However, my energy is a blend of masculine and feminine – I am a go-getter who is often charging forward on the next big idea AND I create space for the people I love to be vulnerable, where I too surrender into vulnerability with them.

We all contain both masculinity and femininity. The unique mix and balance of this energy within us is as essential as the flow of oxygen into our lungs and bloodstream.

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2// Conduct a patriarchal thought detox.
What are the stories you’re telling yourself about men and masculinity, and about gender overall? Do an inventory of your beliefs about masculinity and men, and choose some different stories.

Some of our big collective stories that you may have running on cruise control include: men should not be emotional, women are more emotional and nurturing than men, there are only two genders, men are just like that, what your body looks like determines your gender, and more.

Set a timer for 10 minutes, write these old stories out, and then decide what you want to replace them with. Write down your new narratives and reread them out loud every day for 21 days.

One my biggest autopilot scripts was that conscious men are few and far between, and that if I was really myself and spoke about gender the way I do, then I would have few connections with men, personally and professionally. I’m choosing to tell a different story now, to affirm that conscious stewards of masculine energy are all around me. And you know what? Bit by bit that community is emerging.

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3// Understand that this work is not just for “bad guys.”
When I discuss my conscious masculinity work, I often witness men immediately deciding that it’s not for them. Or women deciding that it’s not for their husband or their brother or their friend. Because they’re already “good.” They haven’t assaulted anyone recently. They don’t make gross jokes.

⁣We have this mainstream idea that there are “those guys,” those really bad guys, who have really messed up, who really need to get their act together. They’re the problem. They’re the patriarchy. They’re the ones who need an intensive on conscious masculinity. ⁣But the truth is that this work is for ALL of us. We all have an opportunity and a responsibility to become stewards of a new era of masculinity, of gender, of humanity.

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4// Embrace and reclaim the masculinity within yourself.
No matter your gender, you contain an alchemical blend of both masculinity and femininity within yourself. How does your masculinity manifest? In the clothes you wear? In the role you play in your relationships? In the way you tackle a project or negotiate a deal? In the fictional characters you identify with and seek to emulate? How conscious is your masculinity? How much have you chosen it, rather than operating it on autopilot? What do you love about your masculinity? How does it symbiotically complement and amplify your femininity? What do you wish others could see about it?

Write a love letter to your masculinity. Honor what you learn about yourself in the process.

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5// Practice inviting others into this conversation.
Where do you see others running on autopilot about masculinity and femininity? Maybe you’re a mom and you see how other parents assume so much about their children based on their sex assigned at birth. Assuming how their child’s body looks determines what their gender will be. Assuming boys will be tough and girls will like pink. Assuming girls will be nurturing and boys will be adventurous.

Just the other day I spoke with a mother who was grappling to understand why her 8-year-old son had been described by a teacher as “sensitive” and “safe” for the other kids to play with, because of how gentle and unaggressive he was. “I would have no problem seeing my daughter this way,” she said. “But it’s hard to compute how a boy could be described like that. It’s not how I see him.”

Maybe you’re a man and you are aware of how conditioned you are to not call out other men when they say something sexist, or to shame each other for expressing emotion. Maybe you’re a woman who feels super supported by your community of women, but feels like your male partner, family member, or friend, isn’t conscious of his masculinity and how it impacts you.

It’s okay to call the people into your life into greater accountability and connection. To do this, get honest about what your unique role is, however uncomfortable or scary it might feel. Whoever you are, your voice matters, and others will resonate with it.

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A Manifesto for Conscious Masculinity 
The work of remaking our relationship to masculinity and femininity is, like all other fundamentally spiritual work, ultimately about restoring our capacity to self-determine our identity, to trust our intuition, and to unconditionally love ourselves.

We are the generational clean-up crew, taking ourselves off of the autopilot our ancestors ran for centuries, mending the wounds they did not know how to tend. As we emerge from the shadow, it is our birthright to embody unprecedented levels of self expression, connection, and ease. It is the work of a lifetime, but it’s why we’re here. And we don’t have to do it alone.

The future of masculinity is not an erasure of the traditional masculine archetype (ie strong, rugged, powerful, action-oriented), but a conscious release of the shadow sides of these traits (domination, control, emotional suppression, violence) and a conscious choosing of what our masculinity means to us. ⁣⁣

The future of masculinity is the reclamation of this true divine masculine archetype, by whoever resonates most deeply with that energy.

The future of masculinity is amends and repair for generations of harm done, the honest reckoning of personal and collective shame and grief for violence committed, or violence not stopped.

The future of masculinity is an embrace of action without aggression, of leadership without dominance, of impetus and initiation without steamrolling, of grace without repression.

The future of masculinity is creation without collateral damage, strength without silencing, devotion without obsession, responsibility without control, power with rather then power over.

The future of masculinity is the intentional embrace of intuition, rather than the unconscious whim of instinct.

In short, it is a human life, fully and bravely lived, with self-love and connection with a Universal intelligence at its core, with nothing to prove and everything to share.

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Ready for more support reclaiming a positive masculine archetype, for yourself, or someone else in your life? Registration is open for my online Conscious Masculinity Intensive. Use code NUMINOUS for 20% off all ticket levels through next Tuesday, November 20th. It’s open to men, masculine people of all genders, and allies; we even have a few parents of male-assigned-at-birth kids joining too! Join us in co-creating the future of gender, together.

THE 2018 CANCER WANING MOON WANTS YOU TO FIGHT FOR YOUR FEELINGS

As Venus prepares to travel retrograde, the 2018 Cancer Waning Moon marks a powerful moment to integrate our feminine and masculine, and embrace the fierceness in putting our feelings first, says Jennifer Racioppi
Photo: Timothy Paul Smith

Waning Quarter Moon / October 2 2018 / 5:45am EST / 9 degrees Cancer

The 2018 Cancer Waning Moon invites a poignant pause. With Venus moving towards her retrograde station and descent into the darkness, the Cancer Waning Moon asks everyone, regardless of their gender orientation, to adopt the feminine qualities within.

This can be an aggressive position for Venus when she embraces her warrior aspects, and this Moon’s relationship to Venus profoundly amplifies our powers of intuition, empathy, and feminine moxy. As we prepare for her retrograde journey by surrendering what is no longer aligned, feminine values and voices will rise … 

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//The Cycle//
The Waning Quarter Moon falls at the halfway point between the recent Harvest Aries Full Moon and the upcoming Libra New Moon. This halfway point asks us to actively release our blocks to success. What’s standing between you and the fruition of your most heartfelt intentions and goals? Consider what you can let go of, and burn it, baby.

From a long-term perspective, this Waning Quarter Moon brings intentions set with the Cancer New Moon on July 4, 2016, to fruition. What are you cultivating in your life now that relates to what you hoped and prayed for on the New Moon in July 2016?

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//The Transits//
This Moon occurs just three days before Venus, the planet of love and beauty, stations retrograde. Venus will travel retrograde from October 5th- November 16th. Unlike Mercury, who goes retrograde 2-4 times per year, Venus only travels retrograde once every 18 months. As one of the most potent transits of 2018, this brings with it strong and necessary medicine. Her retrograde periods support realignment with feminine values.

This Waning Cancer Moon forms a perfect manifestation trine to Venus at the degree of her station, 10 degrees of Scorpio. The water trine deepens emotional introspection, and supports inner alignment in preparation for the upcoming retrograde cycle. And with Mars simultaneously clearing his retrograde shadow (finally) at 6 degrees of Aquarius, he makes an air trine to the Libra Sun.

This combination offers us profound resources that we can use to harmonize the masculine and feminine, both within ourselves and for the collective. 

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//The Square//
This cardinal square between the Libra Sun and Cancer Moon instigates an in-depth look at personal values. Fairness (Libra) squares safety and security (Cancer). As you prep for both the Venus retrograde station, and October 8th’s Libra New Moon, let the cardinal focus empower you to stand strong in your values. Now is not the time to let old limiting beliefs and insecurities stand in your way.

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//The Opportunity//
This Waning Quarter Moon amplifies feminine prowess. The Sun in Libra, who is ruled by Venus, prepares us for Venus’ descent into her underworld. Venus, who represents love and beauty has two sides— she the goddess of love and the goddess of war. The feminine, after all, protects what she loves.

We can expect this lunar moment to elicit deep emotional connection. Use it to your advantage. Prepare yourself for the upcoming Venus station and Libra New Moon by standing up and fighting for what YOU believe!

For more Moon wisdom, or to book a coaching session with Jennifer visit Jenniferracioppi.com.

HOW TO BE A TIDE: A MESSAGE FOR CANCER SEASON

In the thick of Cancer season’s deepest feels, spoken word artist and Moon Club founding member Lisa Luxx’s exclusive new poem, “How To Be A Tide,” reminds us that our most tempestuous emotions are our beautiful birthright …

How To Be A Tide is a poem about the movement and motion of being woman. It’s a dialogue about finding our most supreme beauty in that familiar expansion and contraction. About how much can be gained from seeing ourselves as individual waves in the ocean of sisterhood.

One great purpose of poetry is to turn familiar aches into unfamiliar blessings; to subvert moaning into marvelling. The instability of a hormonal body could drive a person mad if they’re pressurising themselves to maintain a static constant. So for me, as an incredibly tempestuous person, I traversed this tidal metaphor as a bid for freedom.

I’ve been philosophically exploring the nature of beauty for the past year or so – what it is, what it does and why that might be – writing out my revelations and dreams. This piece is about taking ownership of one’s own beauty. When you no longer have the resources to flow outwards, that means your beauty – enriched now – is coming back home to you. – Lisa Luxx 

How To Be A Tide will be published in Luxx’s upcoming collection Breastmilk Martini, which is out later this year with New River Press.

NON-BINARY BEAUTY FOR GEMINI SEASON

Treat yourself to the full Gemini season rainbow with Eunice Lucero‘s non-binary beauty picks …

Photo: Rawpixel

Thankfully, we’ve begun to embrace that gender is anything but a binary concept—it’s not black and white, or worse, pink versus blue—and Gemini season is prime time to embrace the full spectrum of the rainbow. No shade to feminine frills, but this month we’re feeling sleek, minimalistic buys that are as sassy as they are inclusive.

We’ve listed our selections for each Gemini placement, but these products truly are for everyone. Curious about what Gemini rules in your chart? You can do you birth chart HERE for free. Oh and bonus, we also put the spotlight on product pairs and groups—as Geminis know, twinning is twice the fun …

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1// Sun in Gemini: Panacea The Aegis Daily Facial Moisturizer, $46 for 50ml, and The Aegis Daily Facial SPF, $38. Named after the Greek word for “all-healing,” you love witty products that talk the talk, but that have integrity too. This line is made of premium ingredients all in a straightforward, easy-to-use formulation—appealing to your smart, ingredient-based approach to skincare. The moisturizer’s potent yet streamlined cocktail (hyaluronic acid, Japanese seaweed, fig extract) delivers lightweight nourishment and syncs up with your penchant for thoughtful content; the SPF is scentless and non-greasy, allowing you some hassle-free fun in the sun, as you can’t let UV rays cramp your networking steez. Best yet? They’re both TSA-friendly, because, of course, you’re all about leaning into that natural wanderlust.

Panacea Moisturizer & SPF

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2// Moon in Gemini: Meant The Absolute Balm, $45 and The Wonder Polish, $43. Multitasking is the name of the game for this delightfully chic line, which totally simplifies your shower routine—and gives mood-groomers like you a break from overthinking! Your decisions, particularly with beauty indulgences, are as mercurial as your mile-a-minute convo skills, so dual-purpose winners take the anxiety out of choosing between style and substance. Prep with the polish, which is an organic body scrub and an in-shower moisturizer (it has coffee, sugar and avocado—basically brekkie for your bod), then indulge in the anti-oxidant-filled balm, whose soft formula doubles as a sexy, cozy salve that treats and soothes.

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3// Ascendant in Gemini: Schwarzkopf Professionals BlondMe® Instant Blush Blonde Beautifier in Steel Blue and Strawberry, $22 each. Your youthful looks and charming open-mindedness give you the moxie for the latest trends; you’re not afraid to try new things, which is why you were probably first on the candy-hair bandwagon when it hit the scene years ago. Prolong those rainbow-unicorn vibes while giving your look a current spin with a pair of non-committal pastel sprays specifically formulated for lightened or blonde locks. Spray and comb through for a fest-best ’do, or even use the light blue shade to help tone that on-trend dusky platinum when it turns brassy. The colors last up to five washes—enough time to stay breezily on-point for your next soirée.

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4// Mercury in Gemini: Cydney Mar Wellness Energetic Body & Mind Adrenal Support, $38, and Jecca Correct & Conceal Palette in Medium, $21.80. A ball of restless energy, you’re undoubtedly at home in an intellectually stimulating environment. Eclectic, versatile and super quick on the uptake, life can definitely burn you out if you’re not careful! A supplement that gives a gentle energy boost via rhodiola, a.k.a. nature’s secret weapon against fatigue and mental burnout, is great for nervous types. Fun fact: Rhodiola also helps improve allergy resistance, which is clutch for you Mercs in Gemini who are so plugged into their social surroundings. Once you’re set on the inside, fine-tune any remaining imperfections with a concealer palette that impeccably neutralizes, because as you’ll learn time and again, life is nothing but a play on balance.

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5// Venus in Gemini: Pinrose Pillowtalk Poet Eau de Parfum, $65 for 50ml, and Bite Beauty Limited Edition Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Gemini, $26. Words are the way to your heart; lively, sparkling conversation is what you consider the biggest turn-on. Communication is also the main vehicle for your charms, making you an expert in the art of smooth-talking and flirty conversation, not to mention that perfectly placed double entendre. Maintain this seductive signature with a perfume that’s made for morning-after banter—a powdery, fresh-laundry scent evokes a light, gender-neutral vibe—and seal the deal with a two-in-one (!) lippie, in shades that mirror both sides of that quirky Gem personality.

Pinrose “Pillowtalk Poet” Parfum

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6// Mars in Gemini: Context Nude Balm in Heartbreaker, $20, and dōTERRA Basil Oil, $26.67. Gentle reminder to all you Mars in Gemini firecrackers: The pen is mightier than the sword, particularly where you’re concerned. An impassioned orator and writer, you are SO not one to shy away from a healthy debate to get your point across—so perhaps a muted, non-threatening lip balm can help soften those blows (also try and keep your convo nasty-free, just like the balm’s formula). For that changeable energy though, go for an oil blend that heightens focus and keeps your social ADHD from going haywire. Tip: Rub on your pulse points and inhale with three deep breaths, especially when you start feeling fidgety.

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7// Jupiter in Gemini: Non Gender Specific Everything Serum, $65, The Art of Shaving Engraved 3 Blade Razor, $175. You’re genuinely curious and outgoing, leaving you with no shortage of friends, and perhaps even a handful of admirers who enjoy your “the more, the merrier” approach in social situations. Your magnanimous vibe is echoed in your choice of self-care too: You love starting with a positive, clean slate, and a clean shave, with a quality razor, is as tabula rasa as it gets! Follow up with an equally high-minded serum that’s not afraid to go big: As the name suggests, this optimistic formula targets nearly all major skin issues, from lines to pores to hyperpigmentation, with a lovely, all-folks-welcome smile on its face.

Non Gender Specific Everything Serum

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8// Saturn in Gemini: KNIGHT CO. Exfoliating Face Scrub, $30, and Complete Moisturizer, $30. Crisp and simple, yet with an exacting attention to detail, it’s no surprise that you resonate with expertly curated products that don’t waste time on frivolities. Not only is this no-nasty exfoliant too chic not to flaunt on your shelf (you’re all about understated, almost curt-like quality), it’s also made with natural and organic ingredients. Same with the moisturizer, which wears so light on skin and imparts a soft matte glow, which people know is a hallmark of your cool confident look.

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9// Uranus in Gemini: Herbivore Botanicals Travel Set for Combination/Oily Skin Types, $48. A bit dry one day, crazy-oily the next? Sometimes travel can wreak havoc on a complexion, as changes in temps and hormonal levels can be zany AF. Thankfully you’re no stranger to unpredictability (and frequent flyer miles!), and even welcome both with a gregarious, offbeat spirit. Thank your innate good-naturedness, or, you know, having a handy, backpack-friendly, beat-anything set of natural face and body boosters in tow. Just saying.

Herbivore Botanicals Travel Set

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10// Neptune in Gemini: Fluide Blue Trio (liquid lipstick, glitter and nail polish), on sale for $35. This wonderfully inclusive brand’s lip, nail and glitter set is made for nebulous Neptune Gems, who practically embody sparkle in thought and deed. For this wildly imaginative lot, communication is more intuitive and facts are more like suggestions anyway, right? And besides, anyone who doesn’t get your big-picture mentality can immediately be waved off, stat, with a perfectly pigmented, 7-free vegan mani and matching pout.

 

Fluide Blue

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11/ Pluto in Gemini: Context White Charcoal Detox Mask, $45, and Absorb Skin Care The Face Oil, $110. Detoxing, whether physically, mentally or energetically, is a requisite in this day and age, and Pluto Geminis embrace this purge like a fish to water. Keeping things fresh and cutting edge highlights your love of renewal and change, and a luxe charcoal mask, followed by a refreshing serum made of all of nature’s best stuff (organic pomegranate and other omegas and antioxidants) is all the doctor ordered to kick-start your skin—and psyche—into gear.

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12// Chiron in Gemini: MMXV Infinitude Universal Facial Treatment, $225, and The Better Skin Co. Zit No More Acne Treatment, $18. Maybe you never got over that niggling middle-school bout of insecurity keeping you from speaking your truth; maybe it’s just a paralyzing self-doubt of not being articulate or well-versed enough, or being the subject of other people’s toxic gossip. Squash all these irrational bad news bears and start building your confidence from the outside in, with a skin saver that gives you one less thing to feel anxious about. Follow it up with a game-changing miracle cream that also tackles seven main concerns, literally making your glam as foolproof as can be.

HOW TO BALANCE YOUR HUSTLE AND FLOW

As we emerge from our wintry cocoon and head toward the Spring Equinox, how do we keep worldly ambitions aligned with our intuition? Greta Solomon shows us exactly how to support our soul goals by balancing hustle and flow …

Greta gets her hustle on

There’s never been a better time to be a self-driven woman with big dreams, and a big heart. In the past, we were taught to err on the side of caution when it came to career. When I left my full-time gig to go freelance in 2002, I was warned not to leave gaps in my resumé.

Now, taking a year out is seen as decidedly grown-up. It’s all about the side hustles, taking big leaps, and embracing the highs and lows of being your own boss.

But to truly succeed on your own path, is about more than simply “making it happen.” It also means being in the creative flow. Without mastering this, it’s easy to feel stifled and frustrated, as you try to muscle through inevitable blocks.

In the corporate world, we’re taught to operate in fight or flight mode. Success often means “putting out fires” and dealing with crises. Many of us have absorbed this mentality. That work is all about pushing, striving and achieving linear goals. That it requires stress and strain.

But to get your own business off the ground—and see it thrive—we need to exist in an Alpha brain state. The state of being alert yet relaxed, this is where you can access your intuition, and write, think and speak most freely.

Read on for my tips for dipping into your Alpha, and using your flow to fuel a successful business …

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1// Schedule flow time in your diary
Meaning blocks of time where you deliberately do activities that create flow—ESPECIALLY when you have deadlines and tons on your “to-do” list. You could have a head-clearing walk, do a workout, or chop some veggies to make a big salad. Cooking, driving, running and showering help you get out of your mind and into your body. Listening to music at 60 beats per minute can also get you in an Alpha state, priming you to do your best work. Find what works for you.

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2// Make important decisions when you’re in your flow
Five years ago, most of my writing skills training clients were sales teams in the corporate world. So, a coach advised me to call myself a “sales expert” and totally ignore the fact that I taught writing. This was VERY, VERY wrong advice, that led me away from my true path. At the time, I was juggling a new baby and a newly-published book. I was frazzled and couldn’t think straight. I recommend using your flow time to carefully consider your big career choices.

Greta in full flow

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3// Know your personality type, so you can do things YOUR way
Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type (you can take a free version HERE)? Having this info means you’re less likely to second guess yourself when it comes to the BIG decisions. For example, I’m an “INFP” type, which means I’m introverted, sensitive and rely on intuition to make choices. I’m unconventional and enjoy working alone, but my empathic nature means I also connect very well with people. Knowing my type has helped me to feel confident about building a business based on writing, speaking and coaching.

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4// Plan and plan some more—because creativity also needs a container
But don’t just sit at a computer and make spreadsheets. Go on quarterly or yearly planning retreats, where you switch off from everything and map out your vision in both pictures and words. Creativity is truly your secret weapon when it comes to business success. After all, there are no new ideas, products or services—it’s all about your unique spin on things.

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5// Sometimes you just need to hustle hard
It’s fine to hustle when you need to—when the deadlines are stacked up, opportunities are popping, and there are bills to pay. But do it consciously and mindfully. Keep your time in the Beta energy zone to a minimum. Then schedule plenty of time to rest and recover afterwards—as well as some space to just go with the flow!

Ultimately, there is no short cut to building your own business. But knowing exactly where you’re putting your energy and why, will help to prevent burnout. It’s about learning to protect your sacred creative
time, so you can hustle with heart, and create a business that lasts.

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Greta Solomon is an author, creative writing coach, business writing trainer and former journalist for British newspapers and magazines. She is the author of “Just Write It! How to Develop Top-Class University Writing Skills” (McGraw-Hill, 2013) and the forthcoming book “Heart, Soul & Sass: Write Your Way to a Fully-Expressed Life” (pre-order it HERE from April 15th for fab bonuses). She lives in South West London with her husband and daughter, runs creative writing workshops for bloggers and the business world, and coaches people to bring their own books to life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

ASK A SPIRITUAL CEO: 8 REASONS TO CHARGE YOUR WORTH

Caught up in feelings of guilt about “for-profit” spirituality? Spiritual CEO, Maha Rose founder Lisa Levine, tells you how to lose your money-making shame and charge your worth …

Lisa Levine, embracing her worthiness

Q: “I would love advice on making money in a spiritual marketplace. How do you make money when a majority of spiritual people that you know and talk with (aka your audience) are against spirituality-for-profit? Like, what if my audience expects me to do things like tarot readings for free because … well … they’re spiritual in nature.”

Lisa Levine: Why should we charge for our spiritual work? This is a tough one, but totally necessary to confront if we want to fully embrace our calling.

Here are my top reasons for trusting in the value of exchange and getting comfortable with charging your worth  … 

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#1  This is the work that God/Universe/Goddess has called us to do. If it’s a part time, just for fun, thing then yes, let it be a hobby and keep your day job. But, if the Universe is calling, really calling you to do this as your full time, overtime, everyday gig then it’s necessary to be paid for it. Simply for practical reasons. The Universe doesn’t want us to suffer in exchange for doing what we are called here to do.

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#2  It’s all about exchange. If we don’t receive something for our work then there is an imbalance in the Universe. The person who received a reading or session from us will be indebted to us in some way. This is not a good situation to be in. We want freedom and we don’t want anybody to owe us anything! It doesn’t have to be money. It could be an amazing meal, painting your house, watching your dog … get creative. But receive.

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#3  Charging money teaches us how to receive. My first massage teacher, Elaine Marie, told our class, “You’re all going to have to get used to charging money for love.” As healers, we love to give. And it’s much more comfortable, as when we are giving we are also in the position of power. To receive, we actually have to be vulnerable to allow the money, love, meal, house painting in. This can be more challenging. But this is part of our work as spiritual healers, and mastering it we can teach others how to do the same.

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#4  If we don’t receive, we will burn out. Then we can’t do our work in the world. How do we know when we are burnt out? The two biggest signs are that we feel tired and / or angry. If we want to do this work we must learn to receive: financially and energetically. If we don’t allow others to support us, we will get depleted.

Lisa’s money musings

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#5  People value things they pay for. Especially in the western world. We receive more when we pay more. Sometimes, if we receive something for free we don’t value it. I was seeing an acupuncturist for some time who cost $300 a session. You can be sure I did every piece of homework he gave me and took responsibility for my part in the healing process.

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#6  Money asks us to balance our feminine and masculine. I have found that most men find it a lot easier to charge for their services than most women. The feminine aspect loves to give and love and nurture, so it can feel awkward to charge for something that just flows through us naturally. But the masculine understands the business side of life and work. If you are using your time and skills, you charge for them. Period. Access your masculine business side for the business side of your business. Then, in session, access your feminine flow. We all have both. Let them marry to make a strong spiritual business.

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#7  We want to do this work for a long time. There’s a lot of work to do, and the Universe needs us to be in this for the long haul and for us to be supported in building our career. Look at what stories you may have about needing to struggle or work inordinately hard to achieve success or stability. Rewrite those stories!

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#8 Growing your business is part of your spiritual work. The more you practice your skill (Tarot, Reiki, etc.) the better a practitioner you will be. And through this practice, you will also learn about all the other energetics surrounding spiritual work. There are times when you can give your gifts freely and there are times it is important to charge. Pay attention to your intuition. Most spiritual work requires us to be in business for ourselves, which opens up a whole other Universe of opportunity to grow and evolve. Keep up with your own spiritual work. This will feed you the most, allowing for clarity and and awareness to grow.

Got a question for Lisa’s monthly “Ask a Spiritual CEO” column? Email [email protected] with the subject line: “Spiritpreneur Questions”

WHY FEBRUARY IS THE MOST FEMINIST MONTH

It’s time to upgrade your normative notions of Valentine’s Day date nights. Lucy North tells us why why February is the most feminist month … Art: Naro Pinosa 

Art: Naro Pinosa

It may still feel cold outside—but Spring is coming! And this precious period of in-between is actually a key time of year to tap into the Divine Feminine through the ancient practice of co-creating with Gaia, the seasons, and nature.

While many of us have sold ourselves to the Monday-Friday lifestyle, the origins of these days actually connect us to Divine Feminine energy. After all, Monday is actually “Moonday” and Friday is dedicated to the Goddess Freyja. The Divine Feminine is both the beginning and the end, and a reminder of our power to break free and make time be whatever we want.

In response to the seven-day week of patriarchal DOING, here are seven reasons to reclaim February as the most powerfully feminist month …

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1// V.Day Actually Celebrates Your Erotic Sovereignty 
Before it was renamed by the Roman Catholic Church, Valentine’s Day was originally known as “Freyja’s Day.” Freyja was the Pagan Goddess not of romantic, but of erotic love, and on February 14th women would hand out cards to as many men as they desired.

Transcending the gender stereotypes of today, women were seen not only the gateway to new life, they were considered at one with the desire, love, and sexual energy that runs through nature. Reclaiming this celebration of women as desire itself (rather than objects), realigns us with our ability to create anything we want.

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2// 28 Days Means Lunar Power
Before being scrapped by the Church, the year adhered to the Goddess calendar—meaning there were 13 months and not 12, which reflected the 28 day cycle of both the Moon and womb.

Being only 28 days long, February is the only month of the year that still respects the Goddess calendar, and honors how the seasons and year really flow. This month, treat your womb like a second heart (whether or not you have a literal or metaphorical space there). Listen … what does it want to birth?

Art: Naro Pinosa

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3// Imbolc Challenges the Madonna-Whore Complex
The pagan calendar marks February 1st as Imbolc—an important step towards March’s Spring Equinox. This is the time to release some of our 9-to-5 programming in favor of a kind of “land feminism” that lets us co-create with the upcoming Equinox’s tantric energy.

The Celtic Triple Goddess Brigid, synonymous with this day, is the Queen of the Underworld, the Mother of all beings, and the Mistress of the Elements. Whether it’s the sacred prostitute, the Divine Mother or the snake in the garden of Eden, the Divine Feminine holds and honors it all. Think of February as a time to break free from the pain of having to be “one type of woman”—and to exchange archetypal constraints for a wildish knowing.

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4// Pisces Season Wants You to Wombifest  
As the Sun enters the final zodiac sign of Pisces on February 19th, right before the birth of the new astrological year, it’s time to create a nourishing, protective womb that will enable you to tap into the oceanic source of all life.

This means retreating from the “busy-ness” of everyday life, and setting some boundaries to re-connect with your soul. Just like a mother that needs to retreat for the last month of pregnancy, create a safe space for you as Divine Mother to meditate, breathe, make love, self pleasure, journal, paint, sing, do yoga, and eat well. Rest in the womb and let your Divine Child emerge!

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5// Saturn in Capricorn Spells Sacred Union Time 
2018’s sees the Goddess month of February with Saturn in the sign of Capricorn, spelling out the start of something huge for the Divine Feminine. Capricorn is technically a “yin,” or feminine sign, but it’s also cardinal, with a mountain-building, masculine energy that asks us to blend action and intuitive knowing.

The Divine Masculine can only come THROUGH the Divine Feminine. It will only come through an open heart and the womb of collective feeling—and, yes, as with any birth, through pain. Women and those who embrace the Divine Feminine have been socially okay’ed to feel more of this, so we must lead the way. This integration asks us to do what we love by taking action, and watch the fear fly away.

Art: Naro Pinosa

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6// The Aquarius New Moon Catapults Us Into Fairy Territory
When people are told they’re “away with the fairies,” it’s almost a derogatory comment. We say it’s time to celebrate our visits with the fairy realm!

With a New Moon in Aquarius on February 15th, it’s time for the Divine Feminine to swoop high, dream big—and to astro travel our dreams into the 3rd dimension. This New Moon also ends the longest complete lunar month of 2018 (the last New Moon was on January 16th, giving us 29 days, 18 hours, and 48 minutes). Mama Moon is giving you extra time to push on through, with a clear focus on new beginnings.

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7// Mama’s Wide Open During Eclipse Season
With January 31st’s Super-Blue-Blood Lunar Eclipse bonanza, and the upcoming Solar Eclipse on February 15th, the first two weeks of Feb see us in the middle of two incredibly catalytic aspects. It’s like the universe has its legs wide open in breach position providing a gateway though which we can birth projects, artistic endeavors, networks, and relationships that reflect our divine purpose.

Goddesses: F is for February, F is for Fertility, F is for the future. Reclaiming feminist February means pretty much get it on with the universe!

Lucy North is a writer, healer, and artist. She will be running a Goddess Healing Circle in honor of Freyja this Tuesday, February 13th, at The Alchemist’s Kitchen in New York. Click HERE to reserve your spot. She will also be holding an “I’m Every Woman” Goddess Circle at RA MA New York on Sunday, 25th February. Find out more and reserve your space HERE

10 WAYS TO BE A UNICORN

Bring forth the most authentic you and basically BE a Unicorn, says George Lizos

“They said I could be anything, so I became a unicorn!”

What if I told you this popular Unicorn quote actually has a literal meaning, and your fascination with Unicorns is your subconscious way of expressing that?

The Unicorn represents happiness, fulfillment, and abundance—and paradoxically, the Unicorn’s strength, purity, and poise are also qualities we possess already, and through which our talents, abilities, and personality are expressed.

Elsewhere in our world, the Unicorn is said to refer to something that’s different and unique. Yet, different and unique are not the same as authentic. And it is authenticity that leads to happiness, abundance and fulfillment, not uniqueness. Uniqueness needs to be manufactured. Authenticity comes naturally.

Lightworkers’ fascination with Unicorns shows that we’re finally in the process of getting this! We’re in the process of reclaiming our Unicorn souls. To complete this, we need to replace our desire to be unique, with a desire to be authentically US. Which in turn holds the key to following and fulfilling our life purpose.

Here are 10 simple ways to reclaim the authentic, awakened, balanced unicorn you really are:

  1. Wear your imaginary alicorn: The alicorn, or Unicorn’s horn, symbolizes awakened intuition. By visualizing yourself wearing an imaginary alicorn, you work with the Unicorn energy to clear and empower your third-eye chakra. This is the portal through which spirit flows, to guide you in taking a balanced approach.
  2. Breathe into your heart: Your heart is where your Unicorn soul resides. Found between your masculine lower-body and feminine upper-body chakras, your heart chakra acts like a control centre, monitoring the information emitted by your other chakras and feeding it to your Unicorn soul, to help it provide accurate guidance. Consciously breathing into your heart clears blockages here, and helps facilitate this process.
  3. Allow yourself to be vulnerable: Vulnerability breaks down walls of pretense, and allows your authentic self to surface. Have weekly vulnerability dates where you consciously encourage yourself to get real with what’s going on in your life, express suppressed emotions, and allow yourself to feel them fully.
  4. Shower yourself in rainbow light: Rainbow light contains all the colors of your seven chakras, thus showering yourself in rainbow light is a quick and easy way to clear both your masculine and feminine chakras, to find balance. Do this while literally in the shower, and use the flow of water symbolically to empower your visualization.
  5. Schedule blank space: Most people are imbalanced towards their masculine side. We’re all about going for it, working it, making it happen, and have forgotten how to chill out, take it easy, and trust the Universe to take care of things. To rebuild your feminine energies, consciously schedule time in your day, week, month, and year, to mindfully plan yin activities (i.e. “do” less and “be” more) to cultivate more balance.
  6. Take uneasy action: If you’re imbalanced towards your feminine side and tend to procrastinate a lot, schedule time to take uneasy action towards your life purpose. This is action that is attainable but feels uncomfortable, meaning you must push yourself to grow.
  7. Dance: Don’t let the simplicity of this one mask its effectiveness in reclaiming your Unicorn soul! Your body is a physical extension of your Unicorn soul, and by shifting your attention out of your mind and into your body through dance, you encourage the flow of your soul’s energy, letting it move you into a balanced state.
  8. Drink alicorn water: In the Middle Ages, the Unicorn’s horn was believed to help neutralize poisons and purify water to create antidotes to most ailments. While wearing your imaginary alicorn, use it to channel sparkling white light into a glass of natural mineral water. Drinking this alicorn-infused water will infuse your body with Unicorn energy, allowing your balanced Unicorn soul to rise naturally.
  9. Do authenticity checks: To check if you’re faking uniqueness or being authentic on a particular decision, check in with your heart. Visualize yourself following through with a decision while having your hand on your heart. If your heart expands in agreement, you’re being authentic. If it contracts in disapproval, you’re faking uniqueness and need to take a more authentic approach.
  10. Create a unicorn altar: Honour your newfound perspective of Unicorns by instilling it in your everyday space. Having a physical reminder of your Unicorn soul in your house is a powerful way to train your subconscious to living the Unicorn way. Use Unicorn statues, flower essences, and candles to add texture in your altar, and celebrate finally capturing your Unicorn self!

George Lizos is a Spiritual Life Coach, the author of Be The Guru and the creator of Unicorn Bootcamp: Find Balance, Discover Your Gifts, and Fulfil Your Life Purpose. George empowers people to stop idolising spiritual teachers and become their own gurus. To learn more visit www.georgelizos.com 

TEMPLE OF VENUS: BEAUTY IMAGE BEAUTIFUL

In her latest Temple of Venus column, Elyssa Jakim discovers that even among spiritual circles, body image issues persist…Images: Karis Wakeling-Farren 

Beauty. Isn’t that a gorgeous word? Look at how it sits on the page: regal with all those vowels. I’ve always adored words with lots of vowels: elegant, exquisite, gorgeous, pleasing. Beauty is such an angel word.

Recently in a meditation, I heard the message: “You are more beautiful than you think you are.” This message struck me—it brought a sad little pang to my heart. When I thought more about it, I realized I’ve been experiencing one of those periods where I look in the mirror and think I look weird. Where I’m breaking out more than usual, where I don’t feel particularly connected to my sensual side, where, I don’t know, I just don’t “feel beautiful,” you know?

And I know what it’s about, really, this denial of beauty. I’ve been dancing with body image issues since I was thirteen. There was something wrong with my belly! Why did it stick out from my body like that? Why was I the only one with a strange belly like this? At 17, when other stresses kicked in, I acted on these thoughts and began dieting. I struggled from compulsive dieting for the next eight years.

I had grown up wanting to be an actress, famously a profession of body image perfectionism. When I was 19, I spent my summer as an apprentice at a theatre festival. I recall hanging out in a circle of about 10 women, and the conversation turned to food and dieting. It became clear to me that all these young women who wanted to be actresses had struggled with or were struggling with eating disorder.

All these gorgeous women who I knew as gorgeous because of their insides, their passionate outlook and fearlessness on stage, were folding themselves in one way or another in order to feel included in an exclusive industry: in order to feel included in their own dreams. It was the first time I realized how much I wasn’t alone in this “bad body image” compulsion. And, of course, it’s not just actresses who go through this. It’s all of us.

As years have passed, I feel better about me. A lot. I’m no longer dieting, and I feel I can accept whatever it is I have chosen to eat. However, I now find myself in many other women’s circles that mirror the above one. Healing circle. Meditation Circle. Brunch table. And to tell you the truth, even though these are circles of loving, empowered people, I’m often still worrying about the size of my belly.

The tendency toward self-blame is always there lingering in the background—and I’d like to posit that it is for many of us. It’s an elephant in our yoga studios and sound baths. We’ve had so much programming about how we’re supposed to look for our whole lives, that body anxiety just feels like a channel many of us have been set to. Especially if you live in a trendy city, and the street suggests fashion putting your body on show.

In groups and even just among friends, I’ve started paying attention to when my body image insecurity comes up. I get in touch with my inner knowing and I ask, “Is this mine?” Often, I hear “no.” It belongs to a peer. It belongs to a friend. Doing this has helped me understand, once again, that I am truly not alone in my insecurity. That it is SO MANY OF US who feel not right in ourselves.

Everyone, everyone has that something: “I’ve got a great body, but my skin sucks.” “I love my hips but my eyes kind of cross sometimes and I think I look messed up.” “My face is weird.” “I should look more masculine.” “I should look more feminine.” We compartmentalize ourselves and obsess over our “wrong” thing. So of course, even if the thought is usually not mine, it IS mine too. It’s all of ours. And we “empath” it back and forth to one another.

At this point, I’d like to bring up that this is the ego’s favorite myth, that: “There is something wrong with me.” Psychologist Tara Brach brilliantly describes this concept in her book Radical Acceptance:

[T]he universal sense that “something is wrong” easily solidifies into “something is wrong with me.” When I look into my own feelings of unworthiness, sometimes I can’t point to any significant way I’m actually falling short. Yet just this feeling of being a self, separate from others, brings up a fundamental assumption that I am not okay…Believing that we are separate, incomplete, and therefore at risk, is not some malfunction of nature. Rather, this perception is an intrinsic part of our human experience—indeed of all life.

Brach makes it clear: it’s our sense of alone-ness that makes us feel wrong. The great irony of course is that we’re all together in feeling separate. And there is nothing wrong with you or me or us. There may, however, be something wrong with the society we live in (“The universal sense that something is wrong…”). There may be something wrong with the messages that we ingest and unknowingly propagate.

The author today

But what is the gift of these insane societal standards? What is the gift of the insecurity?

Disagreeing with the ego’s unloving ideas strengthens the mind and soul. When you choose to say “no” to this habit of self-attack, when you choose love in favor of compulsion, you are growing. You are claiming your worth. You are getting stronger each time. Whenever we actively proclaim the Truth to the unloving self, we are paving the way for freedom.

Choose an affirmation today for your unloving habit and resolve to challenge it in order to gain freedom. Mine is: “I know that these fears about my body are untrue. I know I am so much more than this body. I surrender these fears to love.” This can, of course, be applied to any flavor of compulsion, not just body perfectionism. And of course, whenever we free ourselves, we free our sisters and brothers, too. The grip of group insecurity relaxes, we’re all getting spiritually lighter together. Which, in my humble opinion, is way more important than physical lightness. This is a spiritual workout!

These hurts also build empathy and compassion. How could I, Elyssa, help others love their bodies if I hadn’t run the whole gamut of fear and love in my own thinking? Thus our misfortunes become our miracles.

I told a friend about my meditation, the one in which I heard, “You are more beautiful than you think you are.”

“What do you mean by that?” He asked. “Physically?”

“Yes, physically.”

“Go to your heart,” he said. “Go to your heart. That’s where beauty lives. Focus on the feelings inside your heart and you will know you’re beautiful. Then your whole self responds.”

I love this. And, it is true. And when I talked to Venus, Venus told me: “You are all beautiful. You are all divine. You are all so much more radiant than you know.” Go to your heart. Find the beauty and resilience there. “Heart.” That’s got a nice vowel assortment too.

PS: This post marks my one-year anniversary of writing for the Numinous! From Spring to Spring, I am grateful for all of the gifts.

Need more Venus inspiration? Check out Elyssa’s last Temple of Venus column on the practice of receiving.

WHY ARE ALL THE LIGHTWORKERS MOVING TO LA?

Check out all the lightworkers moving to LA! Fern Olivia breaks down why life on the Left Coast is calling…Photography: Nicolas Jandrain

 

So what’s the real reason behind the mass exodus from cities like NYC to LA? You’ve noticed it, right? How the lightworker tribe are all feeling the call?

Well, it’s no coincidence that people are packing up their overpriced apartments, saying farewell to the brutal winters, and moving to the magical City of Angels. In fact, many of the Numinati made the move years ago, and now more of our tribe are arriving in waves.

When I heard the call of my soul to move to Los Angeles, I had no idea that I would be part of a major movement. I was not consciously aware that there was a deep reason for the work I was being called to do here, nor did I understand the energetic force by which it happened at this particular time in space.

It all makes sense to me now. If you, too, have been feeling a voice inside calling you West, what I’ve learned since my move may explain why – and in a radical way.

In April 2015, I was visiting my girlfriends in Malibu and I remember the precise moment, sitting on the beach, my soul clearly demanded: “Come home.” I had never lived in California, nor had I ever heard a voice inside as strong as this.

But I was not afraid. I listened.

The voice continued: “Move to Venice in the Fall.” So specific and commanding, right? I dared not question it, even though I had only been to Venice a few times for Kundalini classes at Ra Ma Institute with Guru Jagat, and for nourishment at Moon Juice and Cafe Gratitude.

But over the past several years, I have recognized my intuitive gifts and learned that in order to stay in alignment, I MUST TRUST this deep knowing.

And something inside me insisted that this was exactly where I needed to be. So I set about transitioning all my yoga classes and clients in New York, seamlessly found a friend to take over my lease, and effortlessly slipped out of my old life to plant myself in Venice Beach – the epicenter of the Now Age. And now that I’m here, I feel grounded and aligned.

So, back to why are we being called to LA, why should we trust the pull, and what’s next for us fearless souls who have listened to our spirit’s deepest longing.

Here are FOUR reasons that may help it all make it crystal clear.

1. We are being called to return to our Aphrodite – our pure, liberated Feminine.

New York City is literally on a grid – when you see the city from the air, the avenues and streets are angular and the buildings are close together. It’s tough to see the wide open sky unless you’re at the top of a skyscraper or in the middle of Central Park. We pound our feet on concrete and have little connection to the bare, soft, fertile earth. For most of the year, our feminine form is bundled in layers, and the sun has only a small window to kiss our bare skin.

Living in any city, we’re disconnected from the Earth, Air, Moon and tides – which in turn influence our moon cycles, our creativity, and manifestation capabilities.

When our creative expression is stifled, we become tight, rigid, stressed, and stagnation takes over our physical bodies. Living this way demands we’re dominated by our masculine energy – and it’s hard to keep up. Our adrenals burn out. We grow tired of being Wonder Woman – one of Dana James’ female archetypes – in the city that never sleeps. Rather, our hearts are longing to dance under the moonlight. We know we will rise in our true power when we feel grounded with the earth under our bare feet.

2. We got chewed up and spat out, and now our souls are strong enough to handle the work ahead.

Our souls brought us to cities like New York to do some major work on our karmic path. Our soul contracts had very specific lessons and experiences to learn in order to do the light work we were born in this incarnation to deliver.

New Yorkers have grit. New Yorkers are tough. We had to be, to get through the brutal winters, hurricanes, floods, terrorism, city noise, and commutes. And our souls had to practice becoming strong enough to do the major work that we are about to do in LA – influencing some of the brightest, most powerful, creative, receptive people in the world to step up to change the future of our planet.

So what is this work? Our world is suffering from the bankruptcy of love – we are living in a time of immense poverty, suffering, terrorism, abuse, and fear. It is our work to bring light to this planet through our creative leadership. We must be strong and clear in our own bodies otherwise, this difficult work can leave us feeling hopeless and depleted.

But first, we need some time to play. To retreat. To rest, rejuvenate, and restore. Once we have brought ourselves back into balance, we will have the clarity and vitality to do some major work as the next generation of visionaries on this planet.

3. We’re feeling the pull of the 33rd parallel (Allow me to explain…)

In heeding the call to LA, lightworkers are being called to congregate around the 33rd parallel – an energy vortex which happens to run through Venice Beach. You may know that in numerology, 33 is considered a Master Number and symbolizes the Christ Consciousness. The 33rd degree is highest publicly known degree for Freemasonry, and some say it signifies illumination and freedom from religious dogma. In Hinduism, Yoga Sutra 3:33 states: “Through keenly developed intuition, everything can be known.” And the Tibetan Book of the Dead speaks of the thirty-three heavens ruled over by Indra, and the thirty-three ruled over by Mara.

Furthermore, the latitude of the 33rd degree is shared with the ancient city of Babylon and by modern day Baghdad. The longest continually inhabited city in the world, Damascus, in Syria, is also on this line. The site of the first atomic bombing during WWII, in Nagasaki, Japan, also resides on the 33 parallel, and coincidently, so does the White Sands Testing Range in New Mexico, where the atom bomb was first tested. This geo-latitudinal line also passes through what is known as the “Bermuda Triangle” in the Atlantic Ocean.

So, clearly, there is something very powerful about the energy vortex around the 33rd parallel! And in essence, the quality of the 33rd parallel is that it shifts our energy more effectively and quickly. But looking at the history, it’s also clear that this has been utilized by some pretty dark forces – and now the lightworkers are moving to readdress the balance.

4. Our soul family is waiting for us.

To do the work we were born to, we need the support of our tribe. I’ve found there’s nothing more influential than a community of brilliant, grounded, strong, connected souls – our “soul clusters” as my dear friend Aimee Follette, chef and founder of Sun in Bloom, so perfectly calls it.

You know that feeling when you meet someone for the first time, but something inside you remembers them, as if you’ve known each other before? That feeling is real. Our souls have contracts with other souls – and we have these soul contracts with all the people we walk with, our parents, friends, business partners, lovers, and children.

The soul contracts of my New York life, including a controlling six-year relationship, showed me the work I needed to do: to heal deep-rooted karmic patterns of insecurity, self-doubt, and the inability to speak my truth. Many of us in New York experienced a similar struggle, freeing ourselves from lineages of insecurity, scarcity mindset, and fear of abandonment.

And having learned the lessons of city life, a tribe of stronger, fierce, liberated souls are reuniting together in Los Angeles.

Not feeling the call to move? That’s okay!

As explained by my teacher Harmonjot Kaur at Ra Ma Institute in Venice, it is important to understand that YOUR soul family will be found wherever you open your soul. “We are moving into a time where we stop looking outside for answers. Moving to LA to find one’s soul family simply because one identifies as a “lightworker” is a recipe for heartbreak I feel. Because wherever one is, that is where the soul family will show itself. And when we make expensive moves looking to satisfy from the outside what can only be satisfied from the inside, we really set ourselves up for great disappointment.”

There’s also a critical need for lightworkers to remain in New York City – since NYC is on an energetic grid that’s very powerful, meaning there’s an opportunity to amplify light work in the city.

And the truth is, we’re all designed to be more energized by different locations, explains Light Maker Cassandra Bodzak. “There are people whose energy field is actually more primed for NYC than LA, or vice versa, or for a different location such as Austin, Miami, or Boulder. You can even get a special astrology chart reading to determine which places on the earth will optimize your energy or deplete you.”

Another disclaimer from Harmonjot: The move to LA alone does not equal automatic self-discovery! “I’m reticent about encouraging people to move to Los Angeles because it’s touted as some kind of promised land. But many people have the illusion that their problems will be solved by coming out here. They likely won’t. Deep spiritual practice is what allows one to find the next step and the next place.”

So, my dears, wherever you feel the call, trust it. Trust your soul. Your soul family. Just as your future self is trusting YOU to heed the call. When you are living in alignment with your soul, you’ll feel home wherever you are. You’ll be in harmony with your body, and from this space of feeling healthy and in the flow, you will be your most creative self, and able to fully show up to do the work you were born to do.

UNDER THE ARMOUR: WHY MEN FIND IT HARD TO FEEL

Why men find it hard to feel is a case of nature and nurture. But when the new empowered masculine is invited to express himself, relationships become a catalyst for healing, says Darren Austin Hall. Images: HANs via Behance.net

“The rule of patriarchy demands that men armor themselves, not only to impose force upon the world, but to resist the Feminine externally, and deny or conceal its presence internally, in themselves. On the path of the hero…the genuine hero is a man who develops his power against patriarchy, rather than in support of it. He overcomes armor in the cause of amore.” – John Lamb Lash

I once had an insightful conversation with a female friend about her romantic struggles with men who perpetually shut down emotionally, a common dynamic in many relationships. I’ve also seen this complaint broached in neo-feminist articles online, often reading something along the lines of: “If you haven’t got your emotional shit together you don’t deserve me,” OR “I’m a queen and if you can’t handle intense communication then hit the road.

Firstly, I want to affirm that the kind of Kali fury women feel when their male intimate won’t communicate with them and/or shirks emotional connection altogether is totally valid – and can, when appropriately utilized, actually compel a lazy King out of his benumbed emotional doldrums into attractive action.

But what many women don’t understand is WHY men shut down, and how they can support us with compassion when we do.

I’ve been interested in developing the “healthy masculine” ever since a life-changing trip to India, where I met a beautiful soul brother who introduced me to several inspiring texts on the subject. The insights of the King, Warrior, Magician, Lover series by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, and the raw, brutal truths of Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly, shone a light on the struggles facing men in the modern world. Things I had always vaguely felt, but never knew how to express – due in part to my own emotional dullness.

And as I delved into these studies deeper, I began to feel a tremendous sense of compassion for my brothers and myself.

Foremost, men are conditioned to shut down emotionally by society itself. Men are taught that to express emotions is “unsafe,” because it makes our masculinity appear weak and soft. For so long, we’ve been taught that to be masculine is to be “hard.” And if you’ve ever given a modern man a massage, you’ll know this hardness is tangible, our emotional armoring manifesting as layers upon layers of muscular tension.

Here’s a massive truth that I want us all to pause for a moment and reflect upon: that hardness in the body is actually layers of ice-cold frozen tears.

My own inner-work has been about reimagining my masculinity in a patriarchal world which conditions an immature and dysfunctional masculine identity that doesn’t know how to feel. Along the way, I have been shocked at how reading about the pain of male warriors going to war for corrupt political aims provokes massive grief in me.

And also how reflecting on this subject awoke the realization in me that every time I got my heart broken, I did my best to bury the wounds so deep that only through psychic scuba-diving in my meditation practice years later would I be able to excavate and process them.

It soon became clear that I’d been carrying around a hospice of old wounds, waiting to be healed and transmuted into wisdom – since every feeling I liberated held its own insights and revelations. One reason I’ve come to believe women, as I’ll explain, often seem wiser than men.

Women are at advantage in the emotions department for a couple of reasons. One, women are encouraged to be emotional. As a result, while many women still struggle with how to process emotions skilfully and use them as tools for alchemical transformation, they are usually more comfortable than men in this realm.

Secondly, diverse ancient traditions purport that women are at an advantage to men spiritually. I didn’t really understand the rationale behind this until I studied Chinese Medicine, and realized some important facts about our physical differences.

In Chinese Medicine, a person’s shen, or spirit, expresses itself as our sense of conscious awareness. It is said that this spiritual force is housed in the Heart and travels in the blood. And when women have their menstrual cycle and bleed they are actually cleansing this shen; their spirit!

Furthermore, I was taught by Native American elders that the sweat lodge was actually created to help men cleanse in a similar way, to help them keep spiritual pace with women! Totally mind-blowing.

Could this be why men are more vulnerable to being murky of spirit and emotional awareness than women? If women’s blood, or spirit, runs more clear, it comes as no surprise to me that women are able to feel more clearly and thus exhibit more emotional wisdom than men – for as I’ve learned, feelings are the catalyst for spiritual revelation.

Moreover, menstrual cycles mean women are energetically connected to cycles of the Moon, which in turn is energetically linked to our unconscious. This is why the cycles of the moon can inspire utter wildness of feeling in women! The moon is literally prodding their unconscious to come to the surface to be integrated into the light of consciousness.

A final stunning detail on this note: I was told by another wise teacher that women traditionally would intention their menses to cleanse not only themselves but the spiritual nature of the world at large, using their moontime to help bring the unconscious of the collective into the light of consciousness to be integrated. It’s no wonder women can feel so heavily burdened during their moontimes: they are cleansing so much more than themselves!

In saying all this, I’m not trying to excuse men who refuse or don’t know how to acknowledge their emotions. I know first hand from my own relationships how difficult for women this can be. My intention is simply to create a space for compassionate understanding of our differences, helping us pave the way for better relations in the future.

Ultimately, when it’s understood that women are by nature (and nurture) better feelers than men, this can be integrated into not only romantic but all relations between men and women, as well as utilized as a dynamic tool for healing.

In the past, I used to fear the way women seemed to know my pain even if I didn’t express it. Now I understand that female intuition is a great power that needs to be honored – but that we also need to honor how scary it can be for a man that she can usually tell when something is up no matter how hard he tries to hide it, for fear of appearing weak.

In the ancient romantic culture of the Troubadours, there’s an old adage: amore over armor. Men are constantly armoring themselves to fit an outmoded idea of masculinity, and while some protection is useful to buffer us against the trials of the world, most men are carrying way too much (which actually goes for women too, as we’ve all been conditioned by the patriarchy).

So the next time a man, either your partner or a friend, exhibits this kind of emotional armoring, instead of falling into frustration and even anger, choose compassion. Allow space. Ask tender, loving questions. Use touch and the beautiful arts of seductive love to tease out the truths from his tense body in a safe space that welcomes vulnerability.

Women’s gifts of sensuality and feminine beauty can entice the masculine to drop its defenses and open its overly guarded heart. In the ancient romantic traditions, this was seen as one of the great powers of women: to disarm men and invite their innermost essence to be expressed. Imagine if the women of the world used this power against all the war-mongering tyrants, to draw out the wounds that are at the root of so much violence!

When a man starts to feel openly, sharing his tender truths with women, then intimacy can blossom exponentially. Women will see, perhaps for the first time, the beautiful innocence that men hide in our hearts, and have been too afraid to show to a world they felt would demean them for it.

Further, perhaps we’ll realize that there’s a profound context in all romantic relationships for cultivating the balance between the masculine and feminine; for these two cosmic polarities to dance finally and ultimately in unison, fusing in the beauty of the divine.

Darren Austin Hall is a sacred musician, sound healer and spiritual teacher. His empowering music entails diverse, salving instrumentation, across crystal singing bowls, Indian tanpura, mystical guitar and shamanic singing. His new album, The Tantra of Truth, is a collection of ecstatic songs inspiring the evolution of consciousness and deep transformation, and he is one of the headlining musicians for The Yoga Conference in Toronto. He is also trained in Chinese Medicine and shamanic healing and is a gifted teacher and facilitator of a wide array of workshops on new paradigms of spirituality and healing. His writing appears on the blog The Druid, and is published online on sites such as Elephant Journal. Darren also co-facilitates a men’s group in Toronto devoted to raising the consciousness of the masculine and is a devotee of the wisdom of nature. Darrenaustinhall.com

BOYS TO MEN: A NEW VISION FOR EMPOWERED MASCULINITY

In the age of the Divine Feminine…what about our men? On the eve of the publication of his new book on the subject, Ruby Warrington talks to David Harshada Wagner about his vision for empowered masculinity. Images: Rainbow Gathering by Benoit Paille via Behance.net

“It’s like a guidebook for men to be more happy and free, but in a way that’s still masculine. And part of it is by owning their role as a male.”

When did you decide to make men and spirituality a focus?
I’ve been totally steeped in the Eastern spirituality thing for decades, but the men’s work was always in the background. Then I got into my 40’s, went through a divorce, got into another relationship, and all of a sudden I’m having a son. And it all just came home.

How does spiritual work look different for dudes?
It’s about practicality. For most men there really needs to be some kind of pay off, where the rubber meets the road. Most men wouldn’t be caught dead in a meditation class or a retreat, unless they knew it was going to help them with their work, their relationships with their loved-ones. They just won’t even do it.

Don’t men sometimes just feel out of place? There’s so much talk about ‘divine feminine’ this, and ‘Goddess energy’ that. I kind of feel like men must be thinking, ‘okay, so are my urges and drives redundant now?’
I don’t think it’s so much that men have that whole thought, like, ‘where do I fit into this?’ I think they just think ‘this is not for me. I’m going to sit home and drink beer and watch the game while my wife goes to the yoga retreat. Because that’s just not something that would be of interest to me at all.’

So part of it is about honoring the masculine energies as sacred too. On the Eastern spirituality scene the energy is predominantly feminine. And even anti-masculine, in the sense that it’s all mostly about peace, compassion, and softness. The average person, when they hear that I’m doing a spiritual book for men, they’re like, ‘Oh, good. You’re going to teach them to open their hearts.’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to teach them to open their hearts, but the book is really about growing a backbone and balls.’

Ha! So should women be encouraging men to go on the yoga retreat with them?
I don’t think most men will necessarily get what they need from bending over in a room full of women. Of the 8% of men that will go, there’s an even a smaller percent of heterosexual men. It’s kind of like we have to go into our feminine to be able to be in that. Or at least fake it. And that’s when you get the yoga teacher who ends up in some sex scandal – because they feel like they can’t just say, ‘Hey, I think you’re really sexy, and you’re my student, but why don’t we go get a drink?’ Instead they feel they have to be like, ‘Yeah, I think you should come for a private session because I need to open your hips’ or something. You know? The heterosexual desire is made illegitimate.

So what are some spiritual exercises that you do with guys?
In my book there’s a big chapter on the ‘father wound,’ and it’s a real central thing for most men. He was my teacher on what it means to be a man, so did I learn from him? I also like to connect men to a sense of vision, because men without a vision are really lost. They need to have a mission. They need to know what they’re moving toward and be able to say, ‘Yes, I’m still moving toward it, I’m getting closer, or I’m going the wrong direction.’ So I try to help men find that. The other thing is to just get them used to being in a conversation with each other.

Without any beer. Because that’s often what it takes, right?
Exactly. And in my experience, men tend to communicate a lot better shoulder-to-shoulder than face-to-face. I had one veteran that I worked with a lot, and often times I would go sit at the bar with him, with the bartender there washing the glasses or whatever, and we’d do a session. My office, with the chairs facing each other, felt awkward – maybe too intimate.

Who are your typical clients for this kind of work?
What I get a lot is the partners of my female students, and partners of women who are already involved with spirituality. They either see my stuff as a safe way for their man to get involved in it, or sometimes they want me to fix their man. At my Kripalu weekend last year, half the men were there because their wives had given them a father’s day gift, in hopes that somehow they would get fixed.

And…what happens if the wife is part of what needs fixing?
This is actually quite typical. A man comes because his wife tells him he’s too angry, and society has told him that he has an anger issue. So he comes, thinking I’m going to teach him to breathe and not be angry. But instead I break down anger from the point of view of the Bhagavad Gita, which says anger is there when a desire is thwarted. So then I say, ‘Okay, man, you’re angry, and that’s beautiful. What are you wanting that you’re not getting? Like at a deep level.’ And I unleash them to go after what they want in their life. And sometimes that means they go home and they divorce their wives.

I know you have a theory about the difference between a boy, a guy, and a man. What’s that about?
The distinction I’m trying to make is that a man is someone who’s done some work on himself, and I think there’s definitely a sense of honor and sacrifice and strength. A man is ready to protect his world and serve his world, whereas a guy is just mostly about himself. A ‘dude’ is usually like a hipster, even more self-absorbed. Males in our society get into this really immature self-absorption thing.

How does that ‘man’ifest (ha)?
It looks like; ‘he’s not living his truths.’ He’s either living what his father wanted him to do, or he’s trying to live the opposite of that. He doesn’t really want to sit in this job and work in this job; he wants to be an entrepreneur, but he’s too scared. Or he doesn’t want to be in this marriage because he doesn’t get anything out of it, but he just doesn’t feel like he’s empowered to leave.

And so he makes excuses; ‘But I’ve got to bring home the bacon.’ Or, ‘it doesn’t matter. I’ll just watch some porn, beat off, just try to entertain myself a little bit.’ What I’m interested in is training men to be on fire with passion and vision, so they are bringing those values to their family and bringing that masculine energy to the house so that their woman can be in her feminine energy and not feel like she has to be the brains of the operation all the time.

You can be totally gluten free and only think nice thoughts, but if you’re a terrible lover or you don’t know how to make money, or you don’t know how to take care of your kids, all of that is for naught in my point of view.

What do you wish you could tell the average man in the street about spirituality, and how to tap into his spiritual power in a masculine way?
That they don’t have to do it alone. A lot of men just don’t have other quality men in their life in a quality way, and so they put all their emotional care in the hands of their women. And oftentimes they’re really isolated from other men. One of the first questions I ask any man who’s suffering, is; ‘Do you have good men in your life?’ And the answer is almost always no. Men need a network of other men that they can really talk to about their fears, but also about their strengths.

How are the men in your life getting in touch with their spirituality? Connect with us and share your stories on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Backbone: The Modern Man’s Ultimate Guide to Purpose, Passion and Power by David Harshada Wagner will be out May 5 2015. David’s next retreat at Kripalu, Wild, Deep, Masculine and Free: A Weekend for Men, will take place May 29-31 2015.