The 2018 Sagittarius New Moon is an opportunity for inspired curiosity, as we set off in search of our “why” and recover our very reason to live, says Sandy Sitron …
New Moon :: December 7 2018 :: 2:21 am EST :: 15 degrees Sagittarius
An explosion of light as two worlds collide and a portal opens.
A portal is opening and that’s important. But let’s begin by understanding this symbolic explosion of light. In TV shows and movies there’s usually a flash of light when a portal opens up. Insight! Illumination! You see more clearly. There’s more to reality than one singular dimension.
On Friday, December 7th, there’s a New Moon in fiery Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the sign of truth-seeking. Bam! The centaur shoots a fire arrow to illuminate the target of truth. Yes, you are getting a flash of clarity. But it’s a little more complicated than that. This New Moon is a truth-seeking arrow that dissolves against the disappearing body of Mars and Neptune’s Cheshire cat.
Just like the mischievous and confusing Cheshire Cat, your clarity won’t take the form of answer. It takes the form of a question instead. You need to delineate a question and it has something to do with your values. Once you find your question, you can treat it like an egg in a nest. Just sit on it. Tend to it. Keep it warm and away from predators. Treat the question with the honor and respect that it deserves.
One thing that’s become clear during this year of many retrogrades: rushing forward because of emotional discomfort doesn’t get you anywhere. You can’t race through this process of sitting with the question.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be passionate, purposeful and exuberant while you hunt down your answers. You can. Raise your energetic vibration purposefully so that when you encounter the answer to your treasured embryonic question, you’ll be a vibrational match for the answer.
How do you change your vibration purposefully? Use your imagination. With Mars and Neptune square this Sagittarius New Moon, your imagination will take you to your target. Imagine a special control room in your mind that has a panel of dials. Visualize or notice a larger dial in the middle of the panel that says “Vibration.” Notice what level it is at now and ask your imagination if you need to turn up the dial. Then adjust it to the correct setting and remember you can always come back in the future and make more adjustments.
The Sagittarius New Moon is an opportunity to align yourself with the big question you need to be asking. When you have the right questions, then you can begin the wild hunt for the answers. When you are driven to understand “why” or “how,” you can raise your vibration up into a new dimension.
Sagittarius the explorer wants to find new worlds. Instead of being stuck in the pattern that already exists, you get above it to see the bigger picture. You can experience the “bam!” of illumination as you journey out of this world and into a mirror-image dimension.
The other dimension through the portal is exactly the same as this dimension, except for one thing; while our world is currently fueled by scarcity mentality, which causes greed and oppression, the driving force there is optimism and abundance.
If you can get through the portal, the mindset shift becomes: “There is enough, so what do I want teach, learn, explore? Not because I have to to survive, but because I am curious and alive.”
New Moon conjunct Jupiter A car covered in flowers. Imagine that you try to get into your car and it’s completely covered with loads of flowers! Not flower petals- entire flowers! It’s so much beauty and joy that the abundance almost becomes inconvenient. You would have to laugh and admire all the beauty while trying to clean off your car.
So much goodness. But is it in the right place? It all depends on how you look at the situation. Remember your gratitude practice and you’ll be able to accept the unexpected gifts that come your way.
New moon square Mars and Neptune The Cheshire Cat. This Cat has places to go and battles to disrupt. Along the way it creates quite the commotion. The world is confusing but we have try to go after what we want anyway. You have two choices with this aspect, Alice. Moon about in confusion and ask all the wrong people for advice. Or actively try to lift your vibration to experience your own unique sense of faith, purpose, and soul-level interconnectedness.
Want to discover exactly why you are here and what you’re here to do? The Japanese art of “Ikigai” can lead you closer to your soul purpose, says Sushma Sagar. Main Image: Samantha Wills Foundation
Why are you here? What is your reason for being? This is THE critical question of human existence and many of us spend our whole lives seeking to address …
The simple Japanese concept of soul purpose, or “Ikigai,” is designed to help you begin to uncover the answers by exploring the intersection between what you can be paid to do, what you love to do, what the world needs, and what you are truly good at.
All it takes is a pen, some paper, and a sprinkle of curiosity …
:: THE FOUR CIRCLES ::
Draw a venn diagram with four empty circles that intersect in the middle, one for each of the elements below, and write your thoughts in the corresponding section.
CIRCLE 1 – PROFESSION Inside this circle ask yourself: What are you doing that pays the bills and are there any parts of your job that you particularly enjoy?
Your profession is what you are paid to do. It could be something you always wanted to do, or something that you were encouraged to do. It may have evolved from a subject you studied. Or perhaps you just fell into it.
You may be one of the lucky ones who loves their job, but if you still feel like something is lacking, you’re not alone! I began my studies in textile design but ended up in fashion brand marketing because textile design opportunities were scarce. While marketing kept me in the industry I loved, it always felt like a compromise …
CIRCLE 2 – PASSION Inside this circle ask yourself: When do you feel you are totally in the “zone” and time stands still? Are there any activities that you become so engrossed in that mean you don’t reach for your phone?
Your passion is the thing you love, regardless of whether or not it has a commercial end. Passions excite us. They make us feel whole and consume our attention. Perhaps it’s something you used to do as a child but let fall by the wayside. As a child, I was obsessed with art and legos, and had a very specific vision for “weird” color combinations. Sadly, as my corporate life continued, these creative outlets eroded. Returning to our former hobbies can often shed light on our true passions.
CIRCLE 3 – MISSION Inside this circle, ask yourself: How do you want to be remembered? What do you feel is your duty to the earth or mankind? What do you want to contribute to the world?
Your mission may feel more serious and involves the legacy you want to leave that inspires you to act. A mission doesn’t have to mean becoming a peace envoy or starting a charity! It could be that your mission is as simple as caring for your own family and friends. As a sensitive and quiet child growing up in a loud Indian household, I often took on the role of the diplomat. As an adult, I continue to strive to keep things peaceful and this mission has become the backbone of the healing work I have gone on to do since leaving my corporate career behind.
CIRCLE 4 – VOCATION Inside this circle ask yourself : What aspect of your life, or things that you do, will be there no matter what? What thoughts or actions will you never tire of? What activity would you get metaphorically tattooed on your skin?
Your vocation is a calling—something that you feel deeply compelled to do AND are suited for, and it’s often connected to your mission. Maybe you can get paid to do it, but money is not your motivation. Your vocation is not a fad. It is not something you try and then leave. It is something that is deeply embedded in your sense of self. It’s a bit like that favorite jacket you’ve had for years and you will always wear because it really suits you.
When I discovered that energy healing was my vocation, it felt like a soul calling—a commitment I had unconsciously made. The innate empathy and sensitivity that were less useful to me as a child, and in my former profession, finally had a raison d’etre. My desire to keep the calm now had a methology.
:: THE CENTER OF THE CIRCLE—YOUR IKIGAI ::
As you look at the contents of the 4 circles you’ve sketched, ask yourself … Are there any threads that link all four parts of your life? What common themes or activities come up? Could there be something that connects them together? Something that simultaneously gives you joy, satisfaction, life purpose, and reward? This could be your Ikigai.
Don’t worry if nothing comes up, or if you find that you’ve found some intersection but it’s not perfect.My Ikigai is only just starting to emerge after A LOT of soul searching and some recent alignments in the stars. Over many years, my quietly growing healing practice has gone from a vocation to a passion to a mission … that has now also become a profession. Aha, Ikigai!
The journey to Ikigai is the ultimate in self-realization; it involves experience, analysis, and a life lived. And always remember, the journey itself is also part of your Ikigai …
Sushma Sagar is a reiki master and teacher, and founder of The Calmery—an energy healing practice based in London. Follow her on Instagram for more magic!
Numinous founder Ruby Warrington introduces a very special Moon Magic Retreat with her and Alexandra Roxo—a weekend deep dive to get aligned with your soul purpose (for real!)
Last year, Alexandra Roxo, Elyssa Jakim and I teamed up with Maha Rose North to host our very first Numinous retreat—a weekend deep dive into our love stories, and a celebration of sacred sisterhood. This year, Alexandra and I are back July 21—23 with a very special MOON MAGIC RETREAT: A DEEP DIVE TO DISCOVER YOUR SOUL PURPOSE.
To say last year’s weekend upstate was life-changing is an understatement, as that weekend kicked off a year of the most profound growth for me. In the following months, I collaborated with Alexandra to create Moon Club; I have overcome my fear of public speaking; I published my first book (!); and I have got clearer than ever about my unique gifts and contribution to humanity.
Most recently (and most importantly, actually) I received an email from my mom telling me how she believes the work I’m doing with my life now is healing the “mother and woman” wounds for the females in my family lineage. This note came from out of the blue, and I know in my heart, soul, and bones, that it was our retreat that fully aligned me with this very personal mission. (You can read more about how and why I know this here.)
Never before have I experienced such spiritual alchemy. Sure, Alexandra, Elyssa and I were the anointed “leaders” of the experience, but the circle of love, support and growth we created with our retreat sisters affected me to my CORE. It also made me understand how any time a group comes together with the intention to truly create a shift, we are all equal participants in the process. We each have a unique and vital role to play.
And this year, Alexandra and I have set the stage for a weekend that takes this theme even DEEPER. The big important message of my book, is that the time has arrived in human history for us to become equal participants in healing the mother & woman wounds of our Mama Earth. And that this mission, should you choose to accept it, will bring you more purpose, more fulfillment, more abundance, and more ADVENTURE than in your wildest dreams!
So, are you with us?
The full itinerary for this year’s retreat is below, with pricing options and details of a special FULL MOON DISCOUNT that’s valid through midnight Friday June 16!
FRIDAY NIGHT—Opening Ceremony: FINDING YOUR SOUL PURPOSE. Ritual with Alexandra and Ruby to open the container for a weekend spent deepening your relationship to your purpose and your mission with ritualized intention. Set your intention for the weekend and drill down into your Soul Purpose, with a group ritual and 1-2-1 coaching.
SATURDAY MORNING—MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: ASTRO 101 with Ruby Learn how to open up astrology as a tool for aligning with your Soul Purpose, using your birth chart as a blueprint to tap your unique mission in this incarnation! Ruby will also share insights from her own journey of marrying of the material and mystical, and living a life of total alignment.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON—HUSTLE & FLOW WORKSHOP with Alexandra How to do your Spiritual Hustle while keeping the Mystical Flow alive! Alexandra will share her medicine on helping you align with you Soul Purpose through partner work, writing work, and some deep investigation of your path. We’ll finish with a Shamanic Journey that takes the work offline and majorly deep. Some things we will touch on: How to Run a Spiritual Business, How to Deal with “Haters,” How to Keep it Mystical in a non-mystical workplace, and all kinds of other goodies!
SATURDAY EVENING—NEW MOON FEAST + FIRE RITUAL. Ritualized plant-based feast to celebrate the Leo New Moon! We will break out into groups to do some deeper work on our Soul intentions, finishing with a Moon Fire Ritual to anchor in what energy has moved and what we need to release moving forward. After dinner we will do a potent releasing ritual with an outdoor fire.
SUNDAY MORNING—STORY MEDICINE: TIME FOR A NEW STORY. Share your story. We want to hear from your heart. You blocks. Who you wanna be. Who you’ve been. Throughout the weekend you’ll have found the story you want to share today. Could be letting go of an old one or calling in a new one. Ritualized, intentional story-telling is both a cathartic release and an opportunity to feel connected to others by our shared human experiences. Let’s close our experience using the power of words as spells, to create the lives we want to live.
CLOSING BRUNCH. A final festive feast to fill our cups and share about the weekend before we return home ready to shine bright like a DIAMOND.
:: EXCHANGE :: GET 20% WITH THE CODE “MOONMAGIC20” THROUGH MIDNIGHT FRIDAY JUNE 16th! Payment plans are also available. Contact [email protected] for details.
$750 for workshops + food + lodging. ($600 WITH DISCOUNT)
$650 for workshops + food + camping. ($520 WITH DISCOUNT)
Hitting the crystal ball so hard you can’t make a move without psychic intervention? Sounds like you’re future tripping, says Victoria Cox…
I still recall my first psychic reading with incredible clarity. At first, I was skeptical. I held my cards close to my chest and answered any leading questions as briefly as possible.
But within minutes, goosebumps covered my entire body as she informed me that my beloved grandmother had come in from the ether to say hello and was looking after our cherished family dog. The psychic even nailed the name and breed!
I was hooked. And so over the years, I found myself going back for more. And more …
My psychic gave me the courage to follow my soul mission as a writer and to make some pretty drastic changes in my life, all with the confidence that I had the support of the Universe behind me. This was all good stuff. The problem was, eventually, there was a gaping chasm between my dreams and my reality. To get from one to the other required action, yet I was paralyzed and fretting over a life I had yet to create. I was focusing on the future at the expense of the present.In short, I was future-tripping.
Have you found yourself getting swept up by the romanticism or sheer excitement of discovering what lies ahead? Use the 10 signs below to diagnose whether you’re seeing a psychic for the right reasons, or are simply future tripping on your own destiny …
1/REGULARITY: How often do you get a reading? Generally speaking, as long as you aren’t becoming dependent on intuitive advice, one or two readings a year should suffice. Any more than that and it’s time to start asking whether you are using psychic guidance as a crutch, and thus disempowering your own free will.
2/REPETITION: Are you asking endless questions about the same topic? We all have times of uncertainty in our lives and it is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of scheduling multiple readings until you get what you deem a satisfactory answer. Instead, remember that a good psychic reading takes time to unfold and let yourself sit with the answers from one reading for a while.
3/REASSURANCE: Seeking out psychic guidance in the hopes of reassurance is never a good idea. Especially when the search for reassurance comes in the form of asking when Lady Luck will start smiling on you again. Ultimately, this takes you out of your own personal power and leaves you sitting around waiting for life to get better instead of making things better for yourself.
4/REASONS: The reasons you’re getting psychic advice are often more important than how often you are getting it. What are you really seeking from a reading? Is this just a thinly disguised attempt to control everything by knowing everything?
5/RIGIDITY: If your sole intention in a psychic session is to receive that defining answer to a specific question, disappointment will surely follow. If a psychic is legit, the information communicated doesn’t come from them, it comes through them, and they have virtually no control over what they’re being spiritually guided to convey. You’ll receive what you need, not what you want. Two very different things.
6/REVEALING: Much like a first date, revealing too much too soon can be a recipe for disaster. Remember that you’re paying a professional for their time. Allow them space to do their job and lead the discussion where it needs to go so that it may serve your highest good. If in doubt, ask the psychic if you may elaborate to underscore a certain point.
7/EMPOWERMENT: Remember that the true purpose of a psychic is to help guide you through a life issue, and to empower you to make your own choices as a result of this guidance. It is most definitely NOT a comfort blanket to protect against future fears. Ask yourself whether you are seeking constructive advice on an important life question, or simply seeking a salve for your anxiety.
8/PSYCHIC-SHOPPING: Much like seeking out a therapist, when you find an intuitive that you connect with try to stick with them for a while. Developing a working relationship with one psychic helps you to build on what you’ve already discussed, digging a little deeper each time. If you find yourself hopping from one to the other in search of new material, you’ll likely end up running in circles and driving yourself insane!
9/MAKING IT FIT: Predictions can feel wondrous (if they come true), but they can also be a minefield of epic mind-fuckery. No one can really know what will happen, even those who tap into their intuition as their professional calling. The danger lies in trying to make your life work around a prediction. Trying to force a certain situation to play out any differently than it is meant to runs contrary to the natural laws of the universe and should be avoided at all costs.
10/EASY ANSWERS: The best intuitive should provide the caveat that they can’t see everything. If you find yourself being told what you should do, run for the hills. True professionals will help you find your own inner truth and offer deeper perspective on it. It’s not their job to hand you easy answers. The point is to learn to rely on your own intuition and inner wisdom.
As we try and quell our anxiety about what happens next, the most important thing to remember is that we are masters of our own destiny. Life is really about every single one of us evolving our souls through the experiences that we uncover along the way. Whether or not we choose to seek psychic guidance about these experiences is entirely up to us!
Victoria Cox currently resides in NYC. She has written for Amanda de Cadenet’s “The Conversation,” Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal, LifeHack, The Lady Project, Dumb Little Man, Sivana Spirit, and The Numinous. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or via her website.
The Capricorn New Moon is here to fuel our resolutions for the coming year, and she wants you to succeed in all your goals, says Sandra Sitron…
New Moon :: December 29th 2016 :: 1:54am EST :: 8 degrees Capricorn
A New Moon is a time for fresh intentions. An old cycle has ended, and a new one begins. Imagine that you are planting seeds at this time. Over the course of the next two weeks the seeds will grow to full bloom. What seeds will you plant?
The Capricorn New Moon is achingly practical. She wants you to grow to your full potential. She wants you to use all of your skills, be responsible, be productive and be your own authority. This Moon reminds of the cold hard truth—if the foundation isn’t strong, there will be problems later on. And yet, the Capricorn New Moon message is empowering—make a good plan, cover all your bases and believe in your own ability to succeed. You can show up for this challenge by deciding what you want and making choices that align with your desires.
The Capricorn New Moon happens annually around the time of the New Year. As you set your 2017 resolutions, you are actually crafting a good old-fashioned Capricorn plan! Capricorn helps us structure and produce. So get out your calendar and start sketching out some goals. What will your focus be for each quarter over the next year? What will your focus be each month? Start with the big projects and break it down from there.
The Capricorn New Moon whispers in our ear with a firm and steady voice. She takes a serious tone, but know that she wants the world for us. She wants us to feel the satisfaction of achievement. She says, “I want the best for you. I want you to build something good. You have to do it on your own, but I am supporting you. So show up. Be consistent. Take responsibility. Shoulder the burden. Choose which mountain you are going to climb and then begin. Be determined and diligent. Integrity, responsibility and authority will help you climb your mountain.”
The Moon and it’s message Exploring underground caves.
You’re a spelunker. You are moving through caves because it is time for you to examine the architecture of your life. This adventure requires bravery and diligence. As you assess the caverns, you must determine if they are stable before you venture in. The symbolic message of the caves is twofold; first, that you must make space for your deepest emotions. Without processing your deepest emotions, you won’t be able to make a conscious plan. Your choices will be too clouded by subconscious fear or anger. Second, that you are revisiting your past. You have to backtrack and rethink past decisions. New information will be revealed during this time. You will make discoveries that inspire you to form a new approach.
Moon Conjunct Mercury (Retrograde) The rules of the game. The tendency is to be very exact. To know the rules of the game. By all means play by the rules, but leave a little room for adjustment, when necessary. It will soothe your mind to have some kind of “rule book” that you are abiding by. Structure is your friend. Just be careful not to be too rigid.
Moon Conjunct Pluto The phoenix rises. You are ready to be born anew. An old cycle is ending. You must let go. You must let everything burn away. This requires bravery and trust. Let something die to make room for the new. Acknowledge the emotions that come up and give yourself empathy. Help the old pain heal.
Moon Sextile Mars and Neptune The boomerang comes back. You are able to move forward and backward through time. What is time? Does it even exist? Return in your memory to your child self at different ages and shower them with unconditional love. This is a way to begin to heal yourself. Find ways to venture through “the veil” between the the physical and non-physical realms. Deepen your meditation practice. Practice shamanic journeying. Create art or music. In your daily life, take action only when you’re inspired. All of these practices will support your ability to be productive and help you meet your goals.
Summary: Although this moon is highly practical, there is a strong emotional tone to it as well. The message is to keep looking at any old fears objectively and see what you are ready to let go of now. Notice what you’re ready to set a new intention around. Be an architect. Re-design your life, based on your desires and not your fear, or what you believe is expected of you. You’re in charge now. You’re the grown-up.
The following suggestions for self-inquiry by sign are designed to help you get deeper into your Capricorn New Moon ruminations. You can get a more accurate insight by checking where 8 degrees Capricorn falls in your birth chart, and also reading for that house.
Aries or 10th house What in your career is ready to shift? Spend some time journaling about your vision for your career, and list all the steps it will take to get there.
Taurus or 9th house How can you actively inspire yourself? What practical things will help expand your sense of wonder about the world?
Gemini or 8th house In what area of your life are you ready to let go of control? If you did so, how might that feel? What hidden desires rise to the surface?
Cancer or 7th house What relationship patterns are you aware of? When you’re in this pattern how does it feel? How would you like to feel instead? Can you lean into this feeling?
Leo or 6th house What healthy habits will you prioritize this month? In what ways might this inspire you to also be of service?
Virgo or 5th house How would you like to expand your creativity? What idea has been on the back-burner that you are ready to begin work on now?
Libra or 4th house How can you make your home more graceful and elegant? How would this affect your mood? And your productivity?
Scorpio or 3rd house If you were going to take a class or attend a workshop, what would it be about? Is it possible to make that happen?
Sagittarius or 2nd house What is blocking you from realizing your self worth? What limiting beliefs are behind any instances of poverty consciousness (“I am not enough / There is never enough”?)
Capricorn or 1st house What is blocking you from saying “yes”? What is blocking you from saying “no”? List the thoughts or emotions that comes up, and then ask yourself, “is that actually true?”
Aquarius or 12th house What is the dominant feeling surfacing for you right now? What’s it like to feel this way? Journal on this feeling and then ask yourself: What can I let go of in order to heal?
Pisces or 11th house Which part of your life are you ready to share with the world? How have your unique experiences equipped you with the insight to make a real difference?
Want more wisdom? Book a reading with Sandra Sitronhere or follow her on Instagram. PLUS get a PDF workbook with coaching exercises for each week of the coming moon phase when you sign up for Moon Club! Discover more at Moonclub.co
With Pluto, Saturn and Mars all retrograde, there’s rich opportunity now to transcend deep-seated patterns and re-vamp your sense of purpose. This week showed me how to use the retrogrades for healing…
:: MONDAY (-WEDNESDAY) :: A healing session with Michael Ventura, who also happens to be CEO of design and branding agency Sub Rosa, which also happens to be the venue for some of NYC’s most high-vibe happenings (including our Club SÖDA NYC event in April with Biet Simkin). This is what I love about New York—everybody has a side project that’s at least as interesting as their day job. In Michael’s case, 10 years spent studying everything from Traditional Chinese Medicine to Native American shamanic healing (with Yogi Bhajan’s personal healer, no less).
“These retrogrades have stirred up all kinds of funky stuff,” I told him. “You know, like ‘who am I?’ and ‘how can my voice have real impact in the world?'” (um, anybody else feeling the existential crunch right now?) My treatment was a combination of hands-on healing and pressure-point release, with some crystals and some burning herbs, after which I practically levitated off the table, leaving with the instructions to send an update by email after two sleeps. By which time I was actually experiencing a disquieting sense of wanting to completely re-evaluate my message and my mission, in line with my personal needs.
And since I know I’m not alone in this right now, I share with you here Michael’s beautiful response:
“We all too often think of our lives across two spectrums—positive and negative. However, there is a third and powerful force—neutrality—which can serve you well in these times of reflection and integration. You don’t need to have the plan. At the same time, you don’t need to get down on yourself for not having a plan. Simply un-attaching and not identifying with an outcome will let things happen at their own pace. A flower doesn’t bloom by trying to bloom. It simply allows.”
:: WEDNESDAY NIGHT :: So I allowed the unease (WTF am I doing with my life? How is what I’m doing actually of service in the world?) to just be there. And now enter my third sleep of the week, during which I experienced the most incredible healing dream—facilitated (in my dream) by wonderful Alexandra Derby, who appeared in my mind’s eye and told me it was time to perform a ritual.
This involved an astral visitation with my ex—a man to whom I utterly subjugated my sense of self during my late teens and early twenties. Confronted with his same old, patronizing ways, I felt his words and gross, overbearing sexual energy bounce off me, like I’d developed a cosmic force-field. “You are an insect on the sole of my shoe, and I am more powerful than you will even know,” was basically the over-riding vibe. At which point I came semi-conscious to the sound of a series of “clicks” in my brain—as if a piece of code in my internal operating system had been re-written. By morning, I awoke feeling newly and fully empowered on my path. Existential crisis averted!
So…I’ve gone into way more detail here than I usually would in this column, but my this week has been an amazing opportunity to work with the current retrogrades for healing. Pluto and Saturn, in particular, are opening up deep karmic wounds, and since everywhere I look it seems people are experiencing a similar sense of having outgrown their own skin, or are having conflicting thoughts and feelings about where they’re “at” and what they really want, it felt appropriate to share.
And so, I believe this is a perfect time to:
– Seek assistance bringing any funky energy that’s being stirred up to the surface—ideally a session with a trusted energy worker (think reiki, acupuncture, sound healing—whatever works for you). – Allow all the weird shit you might be thinking and feeling to just be there. Don’t over-analyse it—just allow it move through you. Trust that it will find its own way out—in a dream like mine, perhaps. – Feel it to heal it. Which means resisting the temptation to numb out from it with drink, drugs, drama, shopping (*insert your preferred method of numbing here*). – Journal. I actually wrote a poem the morning after my healing dream, my favorite new way to purge the numinous un-namables that are screeching to be let out. Try it—I bet you like it!
:: THURSDAY :: Mainly processing the above. While also finally finishing my book manuscript (TF!)
:: FRIDAY :: A beautiful astanga class with Makeesha Hill of the Urban Yogis—a grass roots initiative bringing the tools of yoga and meditation to NYCs inner city communities, that we’re supporting with sales of our Designer Yogis sweatshirt collection. A fitting end to this week of self-enquiry, as one of the things that’s coming through loud and clear for me right now is that if my work (like, this platform) isn’t actively in service of helping people be happier humans, in a healthier, more harmonious society…then really, what’s the point? As the Yogis themselves would say: #peaceisalifestyle!
Yumi Sakugawa’s cute illustrated books bring life’s big questions down to earth. But mastering them herself will always be a work in progress, she tells Gabriela Herstik.
If there’s one thing Yumi Sakugawa thinks you should every day, it’s meditate. And with her sweetly illustrated books, the Los Angeles based comic book artist and illustrator is on a mission – to teach the world that there’s no right way to meditate, and you should do it anyway. In fact, Yumi is leading a shift in how we approach our relationship to our consciousness – and her childlike curiosity on her everlasting search of ways to connect to the cosmos is creating some truly spectacular magic.
The Numinous: There’s an almost childlike innocence in the way you present very important spiritual and Universal truths. How do you think this helps get your message across? Yumi Sakugawa: I want to believe that core spiritual and universal truths can be distilled to simple and profound messages that can be easily understood by everybody regardless of religious background, spiritual training or level of education / life experience. Also, I don’t think illustrated books should be limited to just children.
TN: One of the points you emphasize is that we ARE one – with each other and the Universe. How do you think living in this truth can change your life, and how has it impacted your own? YS: This is a principle I illustrate a lot, but one I have the hardest time practicing for myself. I want to believe that in embodying this truth, we collectively awaken to the idea that other people’s suffering is our own suffering, to help remind us of our innate nature to take care of our communities and the planet as a whole.
I do feel ready, more than I’ve ever been, to really ask myself what cosmic interconnectedness means and how I can embody this more in my life and my work. Self-care and self-love must come first before extending that love to the community at large. Meditating on this truth gives me a greater sense of responsibility and purpose in the art I create and share with the world.
TN: How and why did you decide to tackle such a heavy (and worthy!) concept like oneness? YS: Again, I think I am drawn to this principle of oneness because I have the hardest time fully practicing it – even though I know on some primal, deep level that this is something the survival of our humanity and goodness depends upon. I spend a lot of time alone working on my artwork, which makes it easy for me to have an isolated and self-centered worldview. I am in awe of friends and colleagues who are really out there in the world interacting with more people from all walks of life every single day in very difficult, challenging situations – whether they are teachers, doctors, community activists, or work in the non-profit sector.
But at the same time I feel very lucky that my artwork has found an audience out there, and it’s so humbling to know that the work I create to ease my own mental health issues and insecurities can also help complete strangers from all walks of life, in all parts of the world. That, to me, brings a beautiful and profound sense of interconnectedness, that so many people may be experiencing the same shades of suffering, but can also experience the same spiritual relief by unshackling their minds from their own self-inflicted and self-limiting beliefs. I am reminded often that my artwork cannot exist in a vacuum and it must be seen by other people in order for the process of creation to be complete.
TN: What’s on the horizon for you in the upcoming Year of the Monkey? YS: I do hope to further extend my involvement with the world in 2016, though I am not sure yet what that would look like. In addition to continuing to create more artwork and comics relating to mindfulness, perhaps I will be doing more workshops and guided meditations IRL? To be continued! (Ed. Let’s talk Yumi, we’d love to create a Numinous Presents event with you!)
TN:What’s your process like for creating your art? Is there a special space that you tune into? YS: Especially with my books about meditation and mindfulness, it’s important for me to be in an intuitive flow state where I am feeling clearheaded and not overthinking things. This is why it is so important for me to meditate first thing in the morning. Having meditated for seven years now, I cannot imagine doing my creative work without a daily meditation practice, which creates the best mental space for me to pay attention to my inner guide – the voice that tells me when something is authentic or not. It is in this space where the best creative decisions are made, and the artwork that needs to be created unfolds with the ease of a flower opening its petals to the sun.
TN: What is the one message you hope to get across to all humans who read your books? YS: Pay attention, listen and celebrate.
A.k.a. Lady Lu of The Wolves, Pretty Little Liars actress, storyteller, and interior designer Lulu Brud is the most mystical of material girls. Here’s a peek into her world…Portraits: Taren Maroun
WE’RE STARTING A NEW EVENT SERIES CALLED “STORY MEDICINE.” AS A TELLER OF STORIES YOURSELF, WHAT DO YOU FIND HEALING ABOUT STORYTELLING? Stories are mirrors, reflectors of humanity that can reveal the great archetypes throughout history. They can awaken a connection to seemingly far away lands, spirits, and forgotten or imagined times. Stories are teachers and invokers. They lend us the words when we have gone silent or inspire empathy where perhaps before there was none.
WHERE DID THE NAME OF YOUR BRAND – “OF THE WOLVES” – COME FROM? I dated a man a long time ago who gave me this book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. It was as if he had been sent just to give me this important thing, because I never really heard from him again after that! Later that year, for my 25th birthday, my best friend gave me a Wolf Ring that has become a talisman in my life. I joined Instagram the same week I got the ring, and as I was searching for my moniker, the name just sort of came to me. I didn’t go out looking for the wolves, the wolves came looking for me.
AS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER, WHAT MAKES A HOME A SANCTUARY? We spend a lot of our lives out in the world, sharing space and entangling ourselves with the energy of strangers. It’s important to have a home to return to that feels like a calm and grounded sanctuary of our own making. My personal approach to interior spaces is inspired by natural and warm elements like plants, crystals and wood, different patterns and colors in textiles and tiles, and up-cycled/repurposed pieces. I love bringing inside living, outside, and outside living, inside…in other words, I don’t like such hard defined lines between the inside of one’s home and the wild outdoors.
WE LOVE THE SOUND OF YOUR “PICNICS OF THE WOLVES” GATHERINGS! WHAT INSPIRED THIS IDEA AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? I love gathering with women (and sometimes men too!) over food, drinks and chats doing crafts and/or at lectures. Working with our hands, healing through laughter and shared stories, that’s what it’s about. I’ve done a few of my own gatherings now, and they are organically growing into something really special. There will be several coming up in 2016 – Lindsay Mack of Wild Soul Healing will be in LA in May for a Tarot focused Picnic, and I’m hoping to get a Cob Oven building workshop on the books too, things like that. The sign-ups will be listed on my website as they become available!
ACTORS ARE EMPATHETIC SOULS BY NATURE – HOW DOES ONE KEEP YOUR ENERGY FIELD CLEAN OPERATING IN A CUT-THROAT ENVIRONMENT LIKE HOLLYWOOD? To be honest, I struggle with it a lot, but Of the Wolves has saved me in many ways. My days are filled with storytelling in many forms, and I go to bed feeling creatively fulfilled at night. I have had the opportunity to work more this year than I ever have before, with a small arc on Pretty Little Liars and an appearance on Ray Donovan, but for now, it’s all quiet again on the acting front.
The ups can be really exciting and thrilling, the downs can be pretty heavy and dark, and rejection is an everyday occurrence. The trick, for me at least, is staying balanced and grounded through it all, keeping my hands busy, telling good stories, and not pausing for too long to dwell on things that are so out of my control. At the end of the day, it’s just a job. It’s hard not to compare my path with that of those around me, but I just can’t do it…their story isn’t my story and my story isn’t theirs.
:: MATERIAL GIRL ::
My label // Reformation or vintage finds from old closets.
My shoes // Black vintage lace up Justin boots (that I’ve had resoled 5 times), PFKaufman Mules, Minnetonka Moccassins.
My fragrance // Jiva Apoha 1967 Body Oil or if I’m feeling fancy D. S. & Durga Freetrapper.
My jewels // Alkiemie Wolf Ring, Communion by Joy Eye of the Warrior Ring, my wedding ring with a family crest that my husband and I designed together, and Native American vintage turquoise pieces
My pampering // A quiet solo night at home with a good playlist, candles, bath time, and a glass of wine.
My home // Rustic + Bohemian + Cabin feels nestled into a hillside on the east-side of LA.
My food // I love cooking any foods with good people and high-vibing ingredients
:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::
My awakening // Waking up slowly and cuddling my husband and our eight-year-old tea cup poodle. Then lighting candles in our meditation room, burning Juniper Ridge incense, and sipping coffee until I need to face the music and get the day started.
My transformation // When I stopped limiting myself to just being a storyteller through acting, and opened myself up to all of the other ways I tell stories – home designing, sharing stories on my blog, making goods, and curating my online shop.
My mission // To awaken and connect people back to one another and their wild sides, and to instill a new paradigm of protectors for the sustainability of this planet.
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!