In an era of alternative facts, Girlboss.com editorial director and Moon Club member Jerico Mandybur is committed to making real news, and giving every voice an equal platform to be heard. Just like the righteous “witchy bitch” she is …
Banging on the system … Women and femmes have so much knowledge, centuries of wisdom, and life experiences that have yet to really be accepted widely, let alone embraced. So I’m all for banging on the system to make that happen in whatever way I can.
I’m a firm believer in amplifying the voices of ‘othered’ people in media, rather than speaking on behalf of anyone. I hope to contribute to making that the norm. Rather than the prevailing cultural norm that a straight white male TV presenter is the only arbiter of objective discussion and ‘rational debate,’ I hope to cultivate spaces for marginalized voices online and make those voices the norm.
Speak for yourself … My best advice for anyone looking to use their voice? To quote Nike (lol), ‘Just do it.’
Ignore your fear, allow yourself to be uncomfortable, always question your own assumptions, and don’t speak on behalf of anyone whose experience you haven’t lived.
Be yourself. And to quote the Gumbainggir activist and academic Gary Foley, remember that, ‘The battle begins at home.’
Key issues rocking our world … Consumerism has an amazing way of co-opting countercultural sentiments and protest movements into a system of domination, by using them to sell us more ‘stuff’ and/or distraction. This is the greatest challenge for new age and spiritual movements too, and I’m not sure it’s one that can be overcome while capitalism is still a thing. At least until something catastrophic happens …
Suffice it to say, the extent of humans’ environmental destruction is becoming more and more apparent. This is one area (of so many) where Indigenous people’s knowledge of— and relationship with—the land is something all of humanity needs to learn from and respect right now.
Spiritual activism is bigger than we think … Spirituality means you have an understanding of what you’re defending that’s ‘bigger’ than you, and your lifetime. It connects you with people, and with life, in a way that goes beyond what you can see and touch.
Also, you can’t call yourself a spiritual person if you turn a blind eye to other’s suffering. That’s not a thing! But I also really believe you have to heal yourself before—or, as—you heal other people.
Moon Club is a sisterhood of witchy bitches … Moon Club is my way of bringing more structure to my spirituality. It gives me that extra nudge to maintain a deep relationship with the Moon. I really enjoy feeling part of a sisterhood of witchy bitches, who have each other’s backs, even if they live on opposite sides of the planet.
It has inspired me to give less fucks about being my bizarre, woo woo self publically.
I used to be nervous about telling people I read tarot cards and studied astrology, at work, or online. It was my last frontier of authenticity. Now I don’t shut up about it. And that’s pretty powerful!
Jerico Mandybur is a Sydney-born, LA-based writer, and the editorial director of girlboss.com. She’s previously been an editor for sites like Mashable, MTV and Oyster Magazine. She’s a passionate tarot reader and astrology student who takes inspiration from her Egyptian heritage and queer feminist identity, and a trauma survivor who sees nature worship and spirituality as a key to healing, separate from the confines of western pathology.
**Want to start your own revolution? Sign up for Moon Club and join our tribe of cosmic change makers at Moonclub.co.
Skip to Wednesday if you want this week’s BIG MESSAGE about self-care with mainstream media. Clue: please practice extreme caution…
:: MONDAY :: Moon Club launch day! If you didn’t read about it already, this post explains everything you need to know about the new mentoring + coaching program from me and Alexandra Roxo, which we announced tonight on our online ritual for the Taurus Full Moon supermoon. We’d actually put the launch date off several times, and hadn’t really paid too much attention to the fact we would be going live with the project right after the election—but following the events of the last week, our message—which is all about inspiring and activating a new generation of spiritual activists—feels more relevant now than ever.
I was also feeling confident about the potential of this project, thanks to an akashic records reading with amazing Andrea Frade the day right after the election (which will forever be remembered as 11/9, in a bizarre—or not—twist of numerological irony). When I asked my guides, teary-eyed, how the work I am doing with the Numinous could have more impact, and reach the people who need it most, the answer was pretty direct: gather large groups of people, women in particular, and share the tools and wisdom I have learned to help mobilize individuals to act. Which is the mission of Moon Club to a tee. Discover more about Andrea and her work at Andreafrade.com. To learn more about Moon Club and sign up, go to Moonclub.co
:: TUESDAY :: In times of trauma and overwhelm (anybody?!), while some may turn to Xanax, my first port of call is always Kerri Aab—a.k.a. my flower lady. Which sounds pretty fluffy, ha, I know, but seriously—Kerri’s custom flower remedies have got me through pretty much every major “push” of the past few years. The effect, which builds over a course of weeks, is subtle—kind of like the self-affirming boost you get from a great conversation with a mentor or trusted friend. I wrote in more detail about this here. And after our session today, I also had Kerri write this beautiful piece about how being of service has helped her through the darkest of times. Discover more about Kerri and her work at Seedtoblossom.com
:: WEDNESDAY :: A long talk with amazing Betsy LeFae—a professional intuitive coach, whose mission is to teach people how to trust our own inner knowing. The main topic of conversation? How it is of utmost importance right now to practice self-care and extreme caution when consuming mainstream media reports on the events that are unfolding post 11/9. YES we need to be informed. But what we really, really, really don’t need is to overdose on sensationalist headlines to the point of paralysis.
Think about the root of that word: sensationalist. As a journalist with almost 20 years working in the mainstream media, the most “successful” stories (the ones which keep readers coming back for more, and advertisers paying big bucks to reach those readers) are the ones that make us feel something (cause a physical “sensation” in our body). And the feeling that will keep people utterly hooked on the content you’re putting out is FEAR.
Get your readers afraid, and the adrenalin spike will trigger the “fight or flight” response, utterly drowning out our connection to the steady and calm inner voice that ALWAYS knows what is best for us. The result? You keep looking for “answers” (those headlines again) from the place which is actually keeping you trapped in fear. And so the cycle continues.
Worse, like the proverbial deer in the headlights, this cycle is also what prevents us from getting OUT OF THE FUCKING WAY of oncoming disaster—versus choosing the next right actions to steer ourselves and our loved-ones (as in like, the whole of humanity) to safety.
But also, we need to be informed. If you have found a credible, reliable news source that sticks to the facts (tricky, since it also feels pretty much like political quicksand out there right now) and presents them in a calm, helpful way, then please comment below! I’m doing my research on this too and will be sharing on our social media channels.
:: THURSDAY :: Re. above, a word on “fear,” the big, bad wolf of the “spiritual” community. I actually believe that fear is a healthy and useful human emotion like any other. Without fear, we’d likely take all kinds of risks that could prove very detrimental to our wellbeing! But Betsy had another great point, which I was reminded of today when I had my first meeting post 11/9 out in “corporate America”—and witnessed first hand how fearful the majority of the population is right now!
There’s a difference between fear of an actual, physical, threat, and fear of a perceived danger up ahead.
Yes, there appear to be many, MANY, dangerous potential outcomes to the current political situation. But while we wait for the zombies to emerge from the swamp in all their gory glory, let’s do what we can (breath, keep taking the Rescue Remedy, stay away from adrenalin / fear exacerbating substances like coffee and alcohol, disengage as much as possible from sensationalist mainstream media), and keep focussed on the daily actions that our inner knowing knows is best for us and for our communities.
:: FRIDAY :: Like…practicing utmost vigilance in making consumer choices that are good for us and for the planet, maybe? At the very heart of the current situation, Mother Earth is potentially the biggest loser of all—while we, as her children, will suffer to the extent that she does. Corrupt polititians included!! I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the struggles at Standing Rock have provided a constant backdrop to this entire presidential season—acting as both a mirror and a metaphor for the REAL issues at stake. Corporate greed, embodied, quite literally, by you-know-who, versus the rights of ALL PEOPLE to share in the abundance of Earth (all our home, y’all!)
This weekend I’ll be staked out at Ethikal—an “all good” holiday pop-up market from 1 Hotels, selling our Numinous sweatshirts—of which 10% of sales go to the Urban Yogis (also our partners for our #TuneInPeaceOut event back in September). Today this all feels like a drop in the ocean, considering the potential of what lies ahead. But the way I see it, step-by-step is the only way forward. And it’s when we ALL feel empowered to take the next right steps, that we will make progress together.
Harper Cowan and Jessica Eve Wakins are Anima Rising, and together they’re committed to making content to raise consciousness – starting with their documentary, Ways of Living. In this rad interview, they share an uplifting call to action and an inspiring vision for humanity.
YOU MET WORKING AS INTERNS AT NYLON. DO YOU STILL READ MAINSTREAM FASHION MAGAZINES OR DO THINK THE CONVERSATION HAS MOVED ON WITHOUT THEM? Harper: I don’t read mainstream fashion magazines any more, they don’t feel relevant to me and the world that I am trying to create. It feels like two different paradigms, I think there’s the potential for them to be a great thing if they’re inspiring and empowering people, but for the most part the messages they seem to be trying to send are not ones I am interested in receiving anymore.
Jess: I haven’t bought a fashion magazine in a couple of years. When I read them I end up wishing I was more sexy and less human than I am in reality. I love style and contemporary culture, I adore clothes and getting dressed, but I don’t appreciate the message that fashion and make-up are the be-all-end-all of Goddesshood. It makes me uneasy and angry, because I bought into it myself for a decade. It’s a tiny percentage of the bigger picture of what it means to be a woman, and unfortunately it’s the portion that gets 95% of the shelf space. If there isn’t enough heart involved it makes me bored.
HOW DO YOU THINK MAGAZINES AND THE MEDIA IN GENERAL COULD BE DOING MORE TO RAISE CONSCIOUSNESS? Harper: Jess happened to watch some TV at a friend’s house the other day, and when she came back we were talking about how very strange it is to see TV now. Media and magazines could be helping to wake people up, to empower them, enlighten them, connect them to each other, teach them better ways to live and communicate, and giving us more powerful tools to interpret our lives. A lot of mainstream media feels to me like it’s trying to keep us either scared or placated, and it’s just not the way I see the world.
Jess: TV today completely depletes me of creativity and connection energy. It’s dangerous – it’s sucking the raw life force out of us all, and should be mostly avoided in my eyes! I remember reading this Eckhart Tolle quote about the powerhouse that television is, and how it’s such a shame we don’t put it to better use, because we could be blasting every household with messages of pure love, every evening. But the media seems so dumbed down, so patronizing to the complexity of the human spirit. It’s 2014: we can handle a bit more soul than a close up of sizzling meat, a fast car, and a sexed up woman, can’t we?!
I don’t want to buy in to an industry that promotes perfectionism. For me this year has been about trying to tear my own perfectionism down, and embrace the human. I think humaneness inspires us because it’s real, and it’s time to start promoting our vulnerabilities, our flaws, and weaknesses in the media. Promoting our inter-connectedness with one another and the universe. Reassuring each other that we are powerful creators, we have so much potential and mightiness in our bodies and bones and blood. I wish the whole industry would try a hell of a lot harder, right now it’s irresponsible.
HOW DID YOU BOTH GET SO INTERESTED IN ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF LIVING, AND WHAT’S YOUR CURRENT LIVING SITUATION? Harper: Right now we’re doing an artist residency at an amazing communal farm in North Carolina. We live in a beautiful, small, cold barn on 60 acres with lots of amazing artists and kind people and animals. I feel so grateful to be here, surrounded by such beautiful nature and open hearts. I think part of my interest in alternative ways of living came from realizing I wasn’t going to just grow up and pick a job and do it.
I haven’t taken a linear path to where I am, my parents haven’t taken a linear path, nor have my role models… I’ve always had a sense that there was more potential for magic out there than we were being led to believe. I know there are other ways of living, and it’s been incredible to get to unfold a few of them.
Also, when I became vegetarian in 2008, I realized I had been doing a lot of things unconsciously for a lot of my life, and I suddenly wanted to wake up and investigate them, to make sure I was making intentional choices – my love of animals extended to the environment, and to people, the way I hope to treat others and myself, and all living things.
Jess: My parents are artists, and always taught me to think outside the box. There was no pressure to be conventional. I grew up scrutinizing books about bohemian culture – The Razor’s Edge, Trout Fishing in America, On the Road, The Diaries of Anais Nin, The Teachings of Don Juan, Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. Such rocket fuel to a dreamy teenager’s mind!
What we’re doing feels contemporary and responsible (there’s that unsexy word again) to me, more than alternative. I hope one day it’ll be the mainstream, to be submersed in nature, playing tunes by a wood-burner, meditating on hills, sharing meals, opening hearts to strangers, creating art, singing, crying with the plants, heeding the moon cycle. It gets difficult when I start to realize I’m not rooting anywhere, and suddenly friends are buying houses or earning a bunch of money. I get jealous sometimes.
IF 2014 HAS BEEN A LOT ABOUT “SURRENDER” FOR THE PEOPLE I KNOW, “VULNERABILITY” FEELS LIKE A FITTING THEME FOR 2015. IN WHAT WAYS ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR DOCUMENTARY MAKING THEMSELVES VULNERABLE? Jess: It’s vulnerable to follow your heart. It’s vulnerable to say ‘no’ to leading the life you’re ‘supposed’ to. It’s vulnerable to stand in front of the world and tell them you believe in something different than they do. It’s vulnerable to tell someone you love them to their face, or that they are hurting you. It’s vulnerable to let yourself wake up spiritually. It’s vulnerable to trust in goodness – everyone we film does all these things, just by believing this world is worth fighting for.
They speak loudly by living from their hearts. When I stop feeling vulnerable I stop believing in my art, and stop making it, too. It’s like a disconnect, where I’ll suddenly feel all what’s the point? We have to stay present with ourselves to let the fragility in, because it’s the essence of humanity, and it’s what connects us all to a higher source.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU MADE IN YOUR LIVES THAT HAVE BEEN HELPING YOU “WAKE UP”? Harper : We’re so thoughtful, it’s almost silly. Mindfulness is a big, big part of waking up. It’s just about paying attention, trying to be and stay present. I think everything is a choice, we are always making choices – from how we let someone make us feel, to what food we choose to eat, where we spend our money, etc. I think being honest and communicating honestly is a radical change. Recognizing the power of manifesting, and the power that we have over what happens to us – if you expect something to go badly, or go swimmingly, you’re making it much more likely that it will.
It kind of means taking a step back from being so easily swayed by emotion or first instinct, and when you do step back, like you do when you’re meditating and watching your thoughts float through your head, you can be more objective and realize, okay, this is energy that’s coming up in my body right now, and it will come and go and it only has as much control over me as I let it. Trying to love yourself more, and give and make and offer and expect more love – that can’t hurt!
Jess: The first step that I significantly noticed happened when I read ‘A New Earth‘, after a very unconscious period in my life. I had fallen out irreconcilably with a best friend, and I was like a lost scrap of fabric blowing around without purpose. That book opened a gateway somewhere in me. The second lesson came when I completed Reiki level 1, and some parts of my life that weren’t healthy started to drop away.
Then the steps started coming thicker and faster, because I recognized what they looked like. I’m starting to see I have the power to wake myself up now, and Anima Rising has been rooted in that thought. Meditation is key, that’s for certain. Time alone. Woman power! Speaking your truth, even when your voice is shaking. There is nothing more important than your own spiritual path, even though it fucking hurts sometimes.
YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELVES AS SOUL MATES – WHAT DID YOU FIRST CONNECT OVER? Harper : A cucaracha! The first time we ever spoke it was because Jess had seen a cockroach for the first time in her life! I’m SO grateful to that cockroach!!
Jess: I freaked out at the size of it, and ran right into Harper in the Nylon offices. After bonding for a few weeks over The Kings of Leon and photo-booths, I flew back to the UK. She followed soon after, and stayed with me and my then-boyfriend, Jake. She lived on our sofa. She helped us put on an experimental play written by my brother. She made us mix CDs. I made her cheese on toast when we were ‘drungry’. We went out every night and had so much silly fun. There was a weird unspoken knowing that we had found a kindred spirit, a soul mate.
Harper: I knew very quickly that I wanted Jess in my life, I was immediately inspired by her in many ways, and she has only continued to impress me in the eight years since. Now she’s a spirit-sister that I just wouldn’t want to imagine my life without! The first things we connected over were music – Bob Dylan – an interest in travel, in creativity and joy. It was definitely written in our stars to meet each other, and because it changed our lives so much I owe so much of my growth and gratitude to our friendship.
WHAT’S THE ONE MESSAGE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPREAD AMONG YOUR PEERS ABOUT CREATING A HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, MORE CONSCIOUS FUTURE FOR HUMAN BEINGS AND THE PLANET WE INHABIT? Harper: Choose role models that inspire you to be good. I’m excited to be good! So let’s all be good together – good to each other, good to ourselves. Enough with hatred, insecurity, shyness, let’s all just be really sweet and kind and listen to our hearts and to nature and do good things!
My high school boyfriend’s mom told him before he left the house every day – ‘Make good choices!’ So let’s also make good choices, let’s help each other make good choices and work together to take care of us and our world. We’re in a really exciting place right now. I feel the world’s at a tipping point and we have the opportunity to influence which way it goes, there’s all this potential, and I trust that humans are good and we can and will do good things, the best things, together!
Jess: Love is always the appropriate reaction. Loving fully extends to yourself, your friends, family, lovers. It extends to ambivalent relationships and difficult relationships. Love the environment and spaces around you. Love animals. Love trees and the moon and the Cosmos. Love it all, because you’re a part of it and it’s unspeakably magical. When you’re damaging any part of it you’re hurting yourself because we’re all connected. And then don’t beat yourself up when you’re not perfectly loving. That’s okay too, we’re all learning!