NEW JACK WITCH: 4 MAGIC WORKOUTS FOR FALL

Lost both your mystical practice and your fitness routine in a sea of BBQs and long-weekends away? In the inaugural installment of his Fitness Witch column, Russ Marshalek shares 4 on-the-go magic workouts for fall, that will fast track you back towards body alchemy.

Image: “Sigil for Strong Bones” by Jon Iñaki

:: A Life on the Road: Taco Bell & Alchemy :: 
After having steeped myself in my practice to cope with a remarkably terrible 2016, full of betrayals and trauma, magic had become literally just one more thing to cross off on a daily list of to-dos. Not coincidentally, I’d also had a falling off in my personal fitness practice.

As I embarked on a two-week tour this summer with my band, a place both wonderful and strangeI realized I’d come to an impasse in my personal practice as a self-trained fitness witch.

As we set out, I had fully resigned myself to embracing a traditional “dude on the road with his band” approach to physical and spiritual wellness: Taco Bell, drinking heavily, occasional substance consumption, Applebees, gas station fountain drinks, sleeping in every morning until the last possible second.

At the last minute, I threw a kettlebell and a shitty yoga mat in the trunk as an attempt to appease my own ever-dwindling sense of self-care. This worked out fairly well for me for a few days, and I blocked out the existence of my body while subsisting solely on bottles of Chardonnay and vegan-friendly trash food (and some pretty trashy non-vegan, food too).

Then, one morning I woke up sobbing and in that hilarious and terrifying way people discuss Ayahuasca trips, I had a 6-hour chat with myself in the back seat of the car and came to a few fundamental truths:

That I simply wasn’t drinking enough water. That performing every night both deserved and required a spiritual and physical groundedness and presence that I had been outright ignoring. And that I was a fucking lucky duck; I had the opportunity to travel for work and get paid for creating art, every night, with two of my best friends.

In short, I owed it to everyone involved, myself included, to actually show up for it.

From that day forward, I was never without a bottle of water, I started performing simple offerings to local spirits in each town we visited, and I developed a simple on-the-road exercise routine coupled with daily rituals.

Within two days of kicking my own ass into realizing that my body was unwell because my spirit was unwell, and vice versa, I was happier, more energized, and the shows that ended the tour were the best we’d ever done.

It took me being hundreds of miles away from home for me to be reminded that the true meaning of “self-care” isn’t “tuck inside a brownie and a blanket” but rather “make sure you’re as well as you can be in body and spirit.” And the true meaning of “giving a good performance” is basically the same.

Whether you’re literally on-the-go, or just feeling far from home, here are 4 magic workouts for fall to up your mystical body mojo …

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1/ Get Out 
Regardless of where you are and what the situation is, there’s comfort and solace to be found in exploring local nature. It’s where we came from, and it’s where we are going. 

Fitness: Get up as early as makes sense, lace up your sneakers, find a park or path, and go for a 20 minute jog or brisk walk. Recognize and acknowledge the foliage, the rocks, the ways in which nature finds a way.

Magic: On your journey into nature, find a patch of green that’s particularly appealing to you, and make an offering to local spirits. Alternate between drinking water from your water bottle, ideally filled with water from a local source, and pouring it on the ground as you recite the following:

Spirits of this place in which I dwell/Please accept this offering/May it multiply to the 10 directions and take the form that is most pleasing to you/Take your fill and maintain peace between me and thee/So shall it be
*Drafted by Vanessa Irena and inspired by the writings of Jason Miller

Feel at peace in your surroundings.

Music: a place both wonderful and strange, “W*tch

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2// Peace In Discomfort 
The assimilation/accommodation process is an incredibly valuable and powerful one when in any type of new environment, and particularly so when you’re away from your literal home or just out of your comfort zone. Learn how to be at peace with the discomfort of the unfamiliar. 

Fitness: This is a modified version of a routine I developed myself for use on the road, and requires nothing more than a yoga mat and a kettle bell.

Experiment with using just a little more weight than you’re comfortable with (safely of course). If you don’t have a kettle bell, find a heavy thing–other free weights/hand weights, phone books, flanks of meat, a cat. If you don’t have a yoga mat, just make sure the surface you’re on is soft enough to not destroy your knees and tailbone. Grass is a wonderful substitute.

20 kettle bell squats/20 kettle bell swings/20 Russian twists/Plank for 30 seconds/Repeat 3x. **If this is too easy and you want to really shake yourself up, feel free to add more reps or sets. I do 5 sets of 30, with a 90 second plank in each. 

Magic: A simple mind-clearing ritual to help achieve calmness and clarity. It’s best to perform this at an open window or outside. Light a yellow candle, face towards the open window, close your eyes, and recite:

I call upon the power of Air/To clear the mind of confusion/To focus my thinking/And blow away the clutter/That keeps me from making good choices/Blow in the winds of clarity/And help me to think rationally and clearly/So Mote It Be  *Adapted from Witches of the Craft

Imagine any internal strife quieting. Take three slow, deep breaths. Open your eyes. Leave the yellow candle burning as long as possible.

Music: Zola Jesus, “Avalanche (slow)

Russ on the road with his band

3// Mother Night
We owe a debt of gratitude to the Moon and as such, it’s only fitting that we get outside and both observe and pay tribute to her.

Fitness: Under the cover of night, find a space that’s safe, that’s just yours, and take your clothes off. The freeing feeling of being naked, at night, and sweating, is an unbelievable, freeing high like no other. Do any routine that feels good and challenging to you. If you’re stumped, repeat the routine from #1, noticing how different your body feels.

Magic: Ideally, you’d be performing this simple blessing honoring the Moon after having just completed the workout above, and would still be nude. Sit crosslegged, with your palms resting on your knees facing up, in view of the Moon. Take a moment to ponder it in whatever form it’s presenting on this night. Unlike most rituals, don’t close your eyes–continue staring at the Moon, and allow its magic to dance in your mind. Repeat the following:

Mother Moon/I am restored by you/I am divinely protected by you/Help me feel your strength/Help me feel your power

Music: knifesex, “Mother

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4// Sleep Well, Beast
When in unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory, our inner life can turn to a raging beast that causes us to sacrifice our own sense of well-being. For many, myself included, the first thing that that gets thrown out the window is a good night’s sleep. When I don’t sleep well, I have maybe about a day’s reserve of top-level adult functionality before I begin to get angry, withdrawn, and paranoid. In those situations, sleep is quite literally the only cure. 

Fitness: There’s literally nothing like bedtime yoga to help with sleep. This Popsugar routine helped me find a good night’s sleep on the road.

Magic: Sit crosslegged in a quiet, dark, cool spot. Close your eyes. Feel your breathing as you breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. Become aware of your breath and your body.

Inhale through the nose for a count of six/Hold for 3 seconds/Exhale through the nose for a count of six/Hold again for 3 seconds/Repeat this series four more times.

Imagine your body as a slowly glowing, calming blue light, originating at your heart and slowly spreading to the rest of your body. Feel gratitude for yourself, your body, and your accomplishments of the day.

Music: Sky Ferreira, “Night Time is My Time (a place both wonderful and strange remix)

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Russ Marshalek is the founder of the occult electronic music project a place both wonderful and strange, a personal trainer, and the co-founder of the witchcraft collective New Jack Witch.

HOLY F*CK: LIVE AT THE MOTHERSHIP FESTIVAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

THE SOFTER IMAGE: HIGH VIBE NYC DANCE PARTY

The Softer Image is a new NYC nightlife experiment from hip healer & mystic Luke Simon. On a mission to help folks “get turnt while staying woke,” we needed to know more…

 

The Softer Image is an exploration of new ways to party. Imagine, nightlife that expands your consciousness and improves your health. Let’s get wild without getting sick. Let’s get turnt up while staying woke. Let’s get psychic not blacked out. People want to let go and feel the Spirit so they turn to spirits. Our pop up party uses healing and holistic cocktails to open the human energy field to fun on a cosmic level.

THE NUMINOUS: What was the idea behind A Softer Image? Why do we need a party like this?!
LUKE SIMON: I wanted to start hosting a high vibe party because so many people in the city now are doing healing work and are no longer drinking. Or maybe just don’t like the spooky energy at bars, but still want to go out, dress up, dance and basically celebrate life.

We have so many amazing workshops, sessions and classes now, but there was this reservoir of vibes building up in me that just wanted to be free and have fun! Spirituality doesn’t have to be about serious self-cultivation and restraint. My higher self constantly urges me to DANCE through life. But when I try to do that at a club in NYC, it doesn’t even really start ’til 1am, and then I have to take off the next day of two to recover my sleep. Not to mention if there are drink and drugs involved.

TN: What’s your vision for the night?
LS: As I’ve honed my vibrational sensitivity, I’ve been dreaming of people hanging out in a beautiful space with great music and an elixir bar. The idea of Portals fascinates me—they say Stone Henge was one, and many cultures have used physical spaces and group energy to open up to the Universe. I was also intrigued by the idea of group trance, rituals and spells in the context of a party. Because a party basically is a ritual—the intention is FUN, and everyone brings their energy to the ritual in their own way. Partying is sacred!

TN: As you know, with our Club SÖDA NYC events we’re encouraging people to get high on their own supply. But nightclubs still feel flat to me without alcohol! Is it really possible to go wild on the dancefloor totally sober? 
LS: The Softer Image comes after a lot of personal experimenting with how to feel good in a healthy way. It’s a gathering for people to explore this question for themselves: can they have fun without alcohol? And also, what are the other, softer substances that can also help us let go of our inhibitions and have fun?

Softening has been a huge theme on my personal journey: softening the mind and trusting the flow. But also, letting go of the aggressive reaching for things that make me feel tense. Yoga has taught me about “arriving” to every moment, and “abiding” in my body and in my heart. The deeper healing I have done in the past years is all about softening the edges and releasing all that still tries to leave this moment—which alcohol, ultimately, facilitates.

TN: What’s the music policy? Have you got a theme song for the night?
LS: The song “Now that we’ve found Love what are we gonna do with it?” keeps coming to mind! I am so amazed by all the spiritual energy in the air and how much people are transforming. But I feel there is still this seriousness and strictness that we can integrate with a little celebration and release. What do you do with the Love and the Freedom once you get it?! You want to celebrate, but where? The Softer Image will be popping up around cities to give people a place to be their high vibe self and have fun in a beautiful, playful, temporary zone.

TN: So what can we expect on the night?
LS: Kate Falcone is creating a beautiful pink tinted interior, and the first gathering features Shauna Cummins leading us into a group trance to manifest our desires. She calls the work “Wish Craft”! Light being and wellness coach Sah D’Simone is manifesting the high vibe bar with balancing and softly altering herbal tonics, superfood snacks and juice blends. And I will DJ, along with Bryce Hackford.

The Softer Image is happening October 20 2016 from 8pm at a private location in lower Manhattan (TBA to ticket holders). Entry is $20—but Numinous readers get $5 off with the code “NUMI” Click here to get your ticket and follow @thesofterimage on Insta for more info.

10 WAYS TO CLEAR YOUR THROAT CHAKRA

Heal the instrument of your voice to not only speak but also live in your truth, says Emma Whitehair… Artwork: Dr Steve Hinkey 

The throat is a physical bridge between our body and mind, while its chakra governs our communication and search for truth. It’s the most powerful but also the most vulnerable of all seven chakras, and with so many of us struggling express our true needs, a blocked throat chakra is more common than a cold these days (even if the “symptoms” could feel the same).

If this chakra does not have a healthy flow, not only will your relationships with others be difficult but you will not be receiving clear guidance from your intuition. On the other hand, however, once beautifully balanced, negative experiences are transformed into wisdom and ultimately you are open to a higher level of consciousness.

My business is PR and writing, and no one who knows me would think I had any blocks in the area of communication. However, what can’t be seen is that I’ve had a pretty much permanent, choked up feeling for, I don’t know, months, years…lifetimes! It’s hard to tell as I only properly noticed it early this year, when I started to really get tuned in to Self.

At its most intense, it’s an energetic constriction like a noose around my neck, but mostly it’s a lump in my throat, like I’m on the brink of tears—even when there’s no apparent reason for it.

After googling ‘throat cancer’ and ‘thyroid problems’ then giving myself the all-clear (with a deep sense of relief!), I found myself drawn to a chakra workshop with James French advertised at the Yoga Loft in London—I was ready to find out if this throat funk was a spiritual malady.

On this two-day course, I discovered that Vishuddha (the Sanskrit name for the throat chakra) has a developmental age of 7 to12. Probably no coincidence that this was when my parents divorced and I was packed off to a strange boarding school. I also learnt that the corresponding sense of this fifth chakra is hearing, giving me the excuse I was looking for to connect with sound healing practitioner, Ashera Hart, who I had met a few days before.

Ashera had hosted an incredibly powerful sonic breath + gong bath event, that had been listed by The Numinous, which had helped open my throat and started to stir things up in that area. Wondering if my unbalanced Vishuddha could be realigned further with the power of sound, I made the most of the opportunity to have a one-to-one session with Ashera in my home, while she was in London (rather than her usual base of Bali).

After this session, I met up with my healer, psychotherapist Fiona Arrigo to help me process what my body had shown me. She explained that traumas to the throat chakra are often connected to early childhood issues; when, if we experience emotional pain, we encounter separation. She commented that my adult vocal personality—which “on the surface is ballsy, clear and wise” is in juxtaposition to the inner child—who swallowed down her tears, and never expressed how she felt.

I asked by subconscious to say out loud the stories I may have been holding onto, and one resonated deeply: “no one is taking care of me…I’m alone.” And with that tears of relief fell down my cheeks. It all suddenly made sense—that part of me, the child, who had swallowed her sadness, was physically manifested like a bitter pill, stuck in my throat for over 30 years.

Fiona reminded me “to meet the understanding that we ARE alone in this life.” She also explained that the feeling I encountered during the sound healing, of being held, was the Universal holding, and in that moment, I had flipped my scratched record. Rather than archived pain, I had experienced something way more profound—a spiritual embrace so meaningful it had helped heal that source fracture.

My journey with this continues. Read on for 10 STEPS I’ve investigated to help with starting to CLEAR YOUR THROAT CHAKRA.

:: STEP BACK IN TIME ::
What unexpressed emotion or story are you holding on to? Once that’s understood, then it’s important to try and change the record, in order to free yourself. Byron Katie’s The Work might do it for you. Alternatively, perhaps you story is more complex—could it be from a pre-verbal era, or another life?

I spoke to Sue Minns, who’s book ‘Bodies & Souls’ touches on the throat chakra (as well as the others) and she explained the following to me:

“Chakras are like micro-chips of soul information that are links to our past experiences on earth, and connection to where we came from. The throat chakra, if holding negative memories, will become a bottleneck, a block to our true Self expression. Many of us (especially as women) have had gruesome deaths as a result of speaking out, spreading the word, saying the spells.

The throat is the chakra of secrets and lies, whispers and screams—and of speaking your truth without fear. A historical ‘block’ will obstruct cosmic, divine energy coming through the Crown and Third Eye to reach the Heart. It will short circuit at the throat if it cannot pass through. The central column (Sushumna) needs to be an open conduit between heaven and earth so that we can remember both our source and our purpose on this earth.”

:: SOUL MANTRA ::
“The 1st Law of Healing—all disease is inhibited Soul Life. The job of the healer is to lift the downcast eyes upward unto the Soul, and the Soul does the work” – Dr Steve Hinkey

So how do we allow the soul to work its magic? Mantras should allow the soul to take position naturally and Steve gave me these to use to unblock the throat chakra:

Because ‘I am…’ is so powerful, and soul infusion the ultimate achievement: “I am the soul infused throat”.

To use if starting to experience, or resist tension in the throat: “I am wanting to know my soul’s process, as it expresses itself through my throat chakra”

As no-one evolves without loving what they have, including dis-ease, this as a good all-rounder:

“I love myself as I am”

:: SOUND HEALING ::
Ashera Hart hosts The Frequency Shift solfeggio journeys, which encourage a Theta brainwave state, through healing vibrations, helping you access intuition, transform limiting beliefs and most especially—clear energy blockages.

I attended one of her ‘Sonic Immersion’ events (at Kind Yoga in London) which was a blissfully relaxing 90-minute experience. With the Zobet (solfeggio) healing frequencies along with sounds of the ocean, the cosmos and nature, Ashera accompanied this with an ethereal vocal invocation, tuning forks, chimes, shamanic drum and percussion.

We were told we may have dreams that night, that might reveal what is unresolved and one of mine was quite interesting. The throat chakra’s traumas can include alcoholism and yelling—both themes which were visited while in an abstract and gentle dream featuring my much loved childhood pet dog…

:: CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION ::
Which means honoring your feelings, understanding your needs and kindly requesting that they are met. With authentic expression however, comes responsibility. There’s also a delicate balance between being honest and tactful, and on some occasions silence is golden.

Voicing irritations and raising one’s voice, for example, can pollute the throat chakra, as can gossiping, blaming, criticizing, or any other type of negative communication. If you start thinking in these terms, try to raise the vibration before saying anything. Also use this checklist:

  1. Is what you are about to say true?
  2. If so, is it necessary to be said, and does it need to be said by you?
  3. If the answer is yes, ask yourself if what you are about to say is kind/compassionate/loving.

Hearing is the fifth chakra’s sense and therefore listening is one of its most important realms of communication. That means listening to both your inner voice, and the voice of others. I think I may have an overactive Vishuddha, as I speak super fast (often with no filter) and sometimes feel impatient while listening.

With this in mind, I have made a conscious effort to start listening more intently, giving the other person my full undivided attention, putting away any devices and waiting (patiently!) to hear the them out completely before jumping in. This helps me to read between the lines and decipher others’ real needs, in order to respond in the right way.

:: THE AH MANTRA ::
To cleanse and purify any impure energy of speech, let the “AH” sound fill your throat for a few minutes.

One of the most powerful mantras on the planet, this sound is found in the name of most deities: Tara, Buddha, Krishna, Yah, Yeheshua, Saraswati, Wakantanka, Quan Yin, etc., along with many of the sacred words (Amen, Alleluia, AUM).

‘AH’ is also a sound related to the throat chakra, so it’s no coincidence that ‘AH HEM’—is the sound unconsciously made when a person clears his/her throat. While on a more conscious level, the Buddhist mantra ‘OM AH HUM’ is explained by my yoga guru Cat as “translating to body, speech and mind—speech being an integral part of having a harmonious co-existence with all living beings and speaking up for those who may lack a ‘voice’.”

:: USE YOUR VOICE ::
As long as the intention is pure, ANY way that you use your voice will help draw fresh energy through your throat chakra. I touch on the benefits of singing in this story and you can also hum, whistle, groan, sigh—ask your body what sounds need to be released, and just go for it, dialing up the volume if need be.

:: TEAR JERKERS ::
The throat is where I store my tears, and those that came with discovering my stuck story were beautifully cathartic. And as I know there are more to come, as part of my healing I chose my moments to indulge in deliberately triggering a little cry, with film.

When we watch weepies, it releases not only emotion, but also oxytocin, aka the love or cuddle hormone, which also regulates crying. A boost of oxytocin gives feelings of bonding, empathy, trust and maternal behavior, and it can’t differentiate between actual human beings and flickering images of them. If, like me, you have stuck emotion to release, this 10-minute supercut of tear jerking movie moments should have you sobbing in no time, letting those loving feelings wash over you. You’re welcome!

:: MUSIC ::
As sound is Vishuddha’s sense, music can also be a powerful activator. Partly down to some of the lyrics, melody, story or my personal associations, these tracks seem to resonate with the emotions stored within my throat chakra, allowing me to feel and heal.

What would be on on your Vishuddha playlist?

:: YOGA ::
Correcting one’s posture is key when re-aligning chakra’s, and these two yoga asanas, should help open up and/or activate the throat:

Fish (Matsyasana): Not only does this stretch the neck, it also strengthens the neck muscles needed to balance and stimulate the throat chakra.

Shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana): considered the Queen of all yoga poses, because of its amazing healing abilities. Doing shoulder stands regularly is an excellent way to keep your thyroid healthy and helps sufferers of asthma (like me).

Two Pranayama exercises that also bring heat and stimulate the throat chakra are the Ujjayi and lion’s breath.

:: HEALING ROCKS ::
You can re-balance Vishuddha by stimulating its reflex points in the feet and hands: the connection point of the big toe with the feet, and halfway down the thumb. I’m taking this a step further by wearing a memento mori, which I had made by Zoe & Morgan, that hits this point of my left thumb. A gold ring depicting a skull with diamond eyes on angel wings. A little reminder of both my mortal and immortal self—to help me be more conscious and stop sweating the small stuff!

Zoe & Morgan have also created this beautiful throat chakra ring. Featuring Aquamarine, the stone of the sea, which helps the throat chakra to open, and communication to flow like water.

Other stones that are good for rebalancing the throat chakra include: lapis lazuli, blue topaz, turquoise, chrysocolla, sodalite and my favourite—sapphires, which I wear on a necklace and ring. Try wearing these stones so they sit on your throat chakra for the full healing benefit.

:: TRUE BLUE BABY I LOVE YOU ::
Considered a hue for health, blue’s calming effect helps restore balance to the throat chakra, and for me, my blue healing comes from connecting with the ocean. My happy is getting out under blue skies (ether—the throat’s element) whenever I can, and in the sea at least every few months. However, when that’s not possible a pool also does the trick. So treat yourself to a spa day, and the immersion in water as a kind of soul soothing, spiritual cleansing.

A SENSORY EXPLORATION OF LEO SEASON

Leo season is an invitation to shimmy onto the dancefloor and unleash your realness, say Cara George & Bess Matassa of Mojave Rising

Kali Uchis

Leo season grabs us by both hands and pulls us onto the dance floor to shake and shimmy with the sweet sensation that all we have to do is become more of what we already are. Yet the fluorescent feline’s secret jewel box lies buried within the deliciously difficult feeling that when we show up as ourselves, absolutely and completely, sometimes we dance alone, lit only by the fire of our realest, most generously unapologetic essence.

We’re not for everyone—but we cannot be for anyone if we’re not for ourselves. So turn it on, turn it up, and shine your light as you step into the strobe-lit center of your own incandescent value, powered by the sheer deliciousness of being. The message, glamourama glitter kittens, is that it’s alright to trust this life, even when it leaves us to bask alone in our own glow. Because we’ve got to let it show and it’s time for the world to know.

The keyword: Realness

The song lyrics: “What you find/What you feel/What you know now/To be real”—Cheryl Lynn, To Be Real. And check out our Leo season playlist, complete with bubblegum pop, heart-on-sleeve anthems, and glittering grooves.

Leo lady Cara Delevigne

The color palette: Fully saturated jewel tones and glowy, sun-kissed shades—think gold lamé, mouthwatering magentas, and torrid corals.

The style: Lisa Frank and a Vegas showgirl vacation in the tropics—think over-the-top sparkles, shine, fluff, bronzer, silliness, sex and, of course, rainbow leopard print.

The scents and flavors: Sunbaked and succulent—think juicy tomatoes, citrus collisions, tropical infusions, and ice cream dreams. Think coconut La Croix, gourmand scents, Caprese salad, and creamsicles.

The healing: It’s glamorously direct and deliciously simple—go for rollerskating, drugstore makeovers, beachfront carnivals, shared popsicles, or anything that offers full, earnest immersion in the precious present.

SENSUOUS INVITATION OF THE MONTH :: UN-GUILTY PLEASURES (by sign, below)

With this month’s pack of Leo planets beckoning us to become more completely ourselves than ever before, and Mars finally out of retrograde and moving from Scorpio into Sagittarius, we’re being asked to recommit to what turns us on and lights us up, even when our pleasures might be perceived as “uncool.”

This month, we invite you to abandon “good” taste and strip the supposedly guilty of its guilt as you dive heart first into the gaudy, tacky, sentimental, and over-the-top. Start with the suggestions below and then let your imagination run absolutely wild into pure, guileless pleasure, no matter its reputation.

Nicki Minaj

::  ARIES ::
Leo season invites you to infuse your stripped down, embattled spirit with some larger-than-life glamorama and tenderized sweetness. Un-guilty Pleasure: Talk about love and feel it all with Celine Dion’s heart-wrenching, vocal acrobatics.

:: TAURUS ::
Leo season invites you to savor ephemeral pleasures that can’t be tied down or objectified, and to trust so deeply into your worth that you have nothing to lose. Un-guilty Pleasure: Divine the cosmic messages in lottery tickets, happy meal prizes, and boardwalk palm readers just like you would a serious tarot session with a seasoned professional.

:: GEMINI ::
Leo season invites you to utilize your endless penchant for information gathering to playfully and emotionally relate to others’ stories. Un-guilty Pleasure: Old-school slumber parties complete with Cosmo quizzes and rounds of “Never Have I Ever.”

:: CANCER ::
Leo season invites you to own your need for retreat and not wait for permission to feed the secret parts of your soul. Un-guilty Pleasure: Slip away and tuck yourself in with a solo Snuggie and Yankee candle.

:: LEO ::
Leo season invites you to glow, glam, and shine without worrying about who’s watching. Un-guilty Pleasure: Break out the bedazzler and blue eyeshadow and take yourself out for a romantic Olive Garden pasta dinner for one.

:: VIRGO ::
Leo season invites you to step into the scorching-hot spotlight as you rightfully claim full credit for your behind-the-scenes labors. Un-guilty Pleasure: Karaoke lounge night without opting for the private room; think ABBA, Barry Manilow, and beyond.  

:: LIBRA ::
Leo season invites you to trade the shoulds for the wants as you release into multiple versions of the ideal. Un-guilty Pleasure: Challenge your sense of acceptable aesthetics as you celebrate inspirational kitten and sunset photos, colored bras under white shirts, or even toe rings.

:: SCORPIO ::
Leo season invites you to find the juicy humor in your emotional intensity without having to scale it back one single bit. Un-guilty Pleasure: Binge on soap operas and reality shows where the drama runs high; think Melrose, The O.C., and The Real Housewives.

:: SAGITTARIUS ::
Leo season invites you to relax fully in the present moment of courageous creation without having to imbue it with philosophical meaning or needing to sniff out what may be next in line. Un-guilty Pleasure: Get wild and weird with jazzercise, prancercise, square dancing, or line dancing.

:: CAPRICORN ::
Leo season invites you to suspend some of your hard-earned perspective for the deliciously innocent belief that you’re worthy of being adored without having to exercise any effort. Un-guilty Pleasure: Adorn your living space with some Liberace-style “palatial kitsch”: gold- plated picture frames, red velvet lamps, and pink cherubic statues.

:: AQUARIUS ::
Leo season invites you to feel fully into the arduous heat of passionate attachments and let them burn and burn. Un-guilty Pleasure: Start a Nicholas Sparks’ book club and cry your damn eyes out with the ephemeral human beauty of it all.

:: PISCES ::
Leo season invites you to assert yourself completely without needing to ask permission. Un-guilty Pleasure: Clear the dance floor with a show-stopping boogie down to the smooth, mellow sounds of Michael McDonald’s yacht rock.

COSMIC FASHION + BEAUTY NEWS: JULY 2016

Material girl, mystical world indeed—Gabriela Herstik rounds up all that’s cosmic in fashion and beauty for July 2016. 

 

Rihanna in Rick Owens
In RiRi’s latest music video, “Sledgehammer,” we’re taken on a journey to a distant planet somewhere far away in the cosmos—where eyebrows are optional and Rick Owens is a necessity. Rihanna dons a burnt orange, draped Rick Owens masterpiece, face tattoos, textured silver cuffs and a matching choker, and the perfect black lips (which you can copy with this Kat Von Dee lipstick.) Who knew, but if anyone can play up the role of galactic fashion alien goddess, it’s Rihanna—proving this Pisces babe to be a truly mystical mama (who’d look perfect on a Starchild Tarot card).

Vivienne Westwood MAN SS17
Aries powerhouse and activist Dame Vivienne Westwood has done it again, creating a genderfluid collection for MAN Spring/Summer 2017. In true Westwood fashion, there were drop crotch velvet trousers in plush scarlet, reworked netted blouses, heart chakra cut-outs, with plenty of layering in the house’s signature stripes. Westwood has always been on the forefront of what’s political in fashion—hello, mother of punk—and, of course, the runway show started with a video message in support of Julian Assange, as he begins his fifth year in unlawful confinement. Who says fashion is all fluff, anyway?

Willow Smith for Chanel
Willow Smith, alien enthusiast and soon-to-be power woman, has been named face of Chanel for the brand’s Fall 2016 eyewear campaign. Smith looks exquisite in the campaign (below) in Chanel shades, an evil eye chain (with plenty of diamonds) and a septum piercing. High fashion is still (!!!) finding its way to being truly inclusive, so signing Smith is a statement to say the least. Last time dreads were featured in a Chanel campaign, it was on a white woman.

SWETE
Is a new leisurewear label from Parsons-trained, London-based, Aussie designer Emily Nam. Easy-to-wear pieces include t-shirts, sweaters, sweatpants, dresses and skirts, inspired by 1990s street culture and woven with a social mission to boot. All cotton is Australian certified organic, which means grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, while Nam only works with suppliers who pay their employees a fair wage. And with a campaign featuring British artist Phoebe Collings-James (above), what’s not to love?

Concrete Minerals Black Magic Collection
100% cruelty-free, vegan and American made, Concrete Minerals has us under their spell—especially since their “Black Magic” collection, which features names like Séance, Bitches Brew and Arsenic, is a everything a witchy woman could want in a mineral eyeshadow. The iridescent shades in hues of cranberry, rose and violet, are super pigmented and made without any preservatives, and are begging to be worn with your layered quartz necklace and cat eye. Bonus—stare into the pots of for long enough and it’s like looking at an ethereal planet somewhere in a galaxy far away…

 

Jeffree Star Cosmetics
The next frontier for celebrity makeup artist and all around bad bitch Jeffree Star is…makeup. Namely his line of cruelty free, Los Angeles-made eye, lip and face products, which are almost consistently sold out already. Perhaps the most noteworthy of his products is his Velour Liquid Lipstick, with names such as Scorpio (a muted lavender/violet), Gemini (a soft brick red) and Dominatrix (a deep chocolate brown). And for a truly otherworldly glow, check out Skin Frost—a highlighter that provides the perfect pixie/ mermaid/alien sheen. On it.

 

COSMIC CULTURE FOR JUNE

All that’s Nu in music, movies, books, and film: read on for Amelia Quint‘s round-up of cosmic culture for June…

Virgo Florence Welch at Glastonbury

:: MUSIC ::

It’s music festival season! Time to adorn yourself with sigils, pack your sage smudges, wear your favorite talismans, and get going. Here’s your mystical guide to the best music festivals happening this month, and the lowdown on which one will give your soul the nourishment it’s craving.

Gentle reminder: have fun, and while you’re there, please practice proper safety. Love and respect the place you’re in, love and respect yourself and those around you, and all will be chill.

GLASTONBURY

June 22 – 26, Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, UK

The ladies rule Glastonbury this year, just as Morgan le Fay once did. Go for what’s sure to be a stunning performance from the high priestess of all festival stages, Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine. Stay for Adele’s ferocious pipes, the PJ Harvey’s uncompromising artistry, and up-and-comer Låpsley’s dream-pop. If there’s time, let Unknown Mortal Orchestra sweep you off your feet with their cinematic brand of rock. Also, word on the street is that there’s a secret set from Radiohead in the works, so be ready to drop everything and Thom Yorke dance at any moment.

THIS FESTIVAL IS FOR: Lunar goddesses. Water sign people who want to touch the sublime parts of life through music.

BONNAROO

June 9 – 12, Great Stage Park, Manchester, TN, USA

Bonnaroo may have the most universally appealing lineup out of this year’s festival set, with an undeniably danceable blend of crowd pleasers. There are your typical festival darlings like Tame Impala, Haim, and Blood Orange, supplemented by a few nostalgia acts (Third Eye Blind) and hot young things (Sunflower Bean). Still, for a festival that has a history of catering to a niche crowd, this year’s list refreshing! Hip-hop lovers, put Bryson Tiller and J. Cole at the top of your list. Fans of The Weekend and Kanye West circa Late Registration will definitely approve.

THIS FESTIVAL IS FOR: Magpie Air sign people who want a little bit of everything.

Gemini Fetty Wap at Electric Forest

ELECTRIC FOREST

June 23-26, Double JJ Resort, Grand Township, MI, USA

This gathering is unique in every way, from its eclectic lineup to its singular location. Set in the heart of the Double JJ Resort’s beautiful ranch property, the forest provides the perfect environment for people to release the wildness within their souls. The lineup consists primarily of electronic dance music mainstays, including Bassnectar, Bonobo, and Disco Biscuits—the kind of music that will keep you dancing into the wee hours. Club favorites like Fetty Wap and DJ Mustard (Needed Me, Or Nah) are also on the bill, so there’s something here for everyone’s inner maenad.

THIS FESTIVAL IS FOR: Fire sign people looking for an ecstatic route to enlightenment.

MOUNTAIN JAM

June 2-5, Hunter Mountain, NY, USA

If you’re looking for a festival where you can kick back, relax, and let me music move you—this one’s tailored to you. Top billing goes to Beck, Wilco, and The Avett Brothers, with support from Brandi Carlile and high vibe favorite Michael Franti & Spearhead. He’s so loved by those of our ilk that you can even take a yoga class while he serenades you through sun salutations! If you can deal with the fact that Train will be covering Led Zeppelin II in its entirety, this is a show you won’t want to miss.

THIS FESTIVAL IS FOR: Grounded Earth sign people who want to reconnect with their roots.

:: FILM ::

THE NEON DEMON

In this Valley of the Dolls-style thriller, Nicolas Winding Refn of Drive acclaim follows an aspiring model’s descent into the fashion industry’s dark underworld. Elle Fanning stars,and it’s rumored to have been inspired by Venus-in-Leo-gone-wrong, Elizabeth Báthory, who allegedly bathed in the blood of virgins to preserve her own youth. Will the film be a successful indictment of youth worship, or will its model-filled scenes prove otherwise? Reviews so far are mixed, so you’ll have to decide for yourself. If nothing else, it will be beautiful.

THE NEON DEMON premieres June 24 in the United States.

TIME TO CHOOSE

In the new documentary by the Academy Award winning director of Inside Job, Charles Ferguson explores solutions to the climate change crisis. He interviews experts in the energy field, including politicians, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, innovators, and individuals already directly experiencing the catastrophic effects of climate change. Come to help save Mother Gaia, stay for the narration by your internet BF, Oscar Isaac.

TIME TO CHOOSE premieres June 3 in the United States.

:: TELEVISION ::

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

Surprise—Orange is the New Black may be the most woke show on television! Last season’s brave exploration of faith and miracles was, in many ways, a depiction of what we’ve all experienced in our respective journeys. Watching the Litchfield women do full moon rituals, gather kitchen supplies for spells, fear judgment for their beliefs, and grapple with doubt was, for me, a deeply humbling experience. I don’t want to spoil anything, so suffice to say that let’s hope they continue that narrative in the forthcoming season. We need it.

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK premieres on June 17 on Netflix.

AQUARIUS

If you’re experiencing The X-Files withdrawals, this could be your fix. Set in the psychedelic 1960s, David Duchovny goes undercover to investigate Charles Manson’s infamous cult. It’s not an mystical show per se, but his descent into the Manson family’s world illustrates how Aquarian age concepts go wrong when lower Neptune urges (think sex, drugs, rock and roll, and madness) distort the original message. Aquarius is worth watching as a modern mystic.

AQUARIUS premieres June 16 on NBC.

:: BOOKS ::

THE PAST LIFE PERSPECTIVE

Curious about who you may have been in a past life? In this book, licensed therapist Ann Barham opens the doors of her office for a revealing look at what actually happens in past life regressions, including her own experiences and those of many clients. She explores the potential of regression as an aid for personal healing, spiritual inquiry, and discovering your true nature across multiple lifetimes.

The Past Life Perspective will be available June 7 from Atria/Enliven (Simon & Schuster).

THE GAIAN TAROT

After a long hiatus, this beloved tarot deck from Joanna Powell Colbert will be back in print with an updated guidebook and illustrations. The art is a mix of animals and people living in wild nature, and the deck’s comforting energy is grounded and relatable. As an owner of the deck, I can say that it provides incredibly accurate readings, especially for personal journaling and spiritual practice. Get your hands on this quickly, because copies will go fast!

Gaian Tarot will be available June 28 from Schiffer Publishing.

COSMIC CULTURE FOR MAY 2016

Check out Amelia Quint’s round-up of cosmic culture for May 2016, bringing you the most mystical new releases in music, film, and literature…

Queen Bey

:: MUSIC :: 

BEYONCÉ

If you haven’t watched or listened to Lemonade yet, you’re missing out on one of the most powerful musical events of our generation. More than an album or documentary alone, Lemonade is a work of feminist, activist art. Fueled by the blues and righteous anger, Queen Bey’s Moon – Uranus – Lilith in Scorpio conjunction roars louder than ever. Lucky Jupiter is transiting her Virgo sun in the selfless twelfth house, immaculate timing for her to give the world such an amazing gift.

Lemonade is available now on iTunes, Amazon, and Tidal.

PEACHES

Peaches

Already a mainstay in the electronic music world, Maya Jane Cole’s NSFW brand of genderfluid, sexually charged charisma has her poised for mainstream success. Peaches’ new album, Rub Remixed, was created entirely by female and female-identifying producers – how’s that for divine feminine? Her Sun, Moon, Venus, and Neptune are aligned in magnetic Scorpio, and she has Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, a placement known both for its poetic potential and ability to shock.

Rub Remixed is set for release on May 27.

:: TELEVISION ::

Prince

Don’t waste your precious energy on TV this month, as May is heartbreakingly devoid of any high-vibe premieres. Instead, take the time you’d spend binge-watching Netflix and pay respects to the incredible artists that have recently passed beyond the veil.

David Bowie

Watch Prince as he debuts his signature purple style and Jimi Hendrix worthy guitar riffs in Purple Rain, or David Bowie in his iconic turn as the Goblin King in Labyrinth. Light a candle, listen to their music, or perhaps write something of your own. Ask yourself: “What legacy do I want to leave behind in this world when I move on to the next?”

:: FILM ::

HIGH RISE

High Rise

An adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s critically acclaimed novel, this dystopian thriller follows the tenants of a luxury high-rise apartment building as they descend into Lord of the Flies-esque tribalism. The novel is a cutting critique of materialism and excess in modern society – must know themes for any modern mystic. If the Kubrick inspired poster is any indication (A Clockwork Orange, anyone?), this is going to be good.

High Rise is scheduled for US release on May 13.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

Alice Through the Looking Glass

What witch can resist the charms of Lewis Carroll? In this sequel to the live-action 2010 film, wild card Gemini Johnny Depp reprises his role as the Mad Hatter, along with many other original cast members including Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway. In keeping with the ancestors theme, Alan Rickman is featured here as the voice of the Blue Caterpillar. Go for the memories of Professor Snape, stay for what’s sure to be an magical escape.

Alice Through the Looking Glass is scheduled for US release on May 27.

THE WITCH

You can read our full review of The Witch in last month’s Cosmic Culture post, but great news…

The Witch will be available on DVD on May 17. Yes, please!

:: BOOKS ::

THE INNER FIX: BE STRONGER, HAPPIER AND BRAVER

Addictive Daughter

In the first book from Persia Lawson and Joey Bradford, the YouTube self-help divas known collectively as Addictive Daughter share their personal strategies for navigating life in an overstimulating world. With practical videos like “The Trick to Manifesting Your Ideal Lover”, “Why It’s Okay to Be Jealous of Your Friends”, and “How to Stop Anxiety & Panic Attacks in an Instant,” their written advice is sure to be as entertaining as it is enlightening.

The Inner Fix will be available on May 19 via Yellow Kite Books.

365 TAROT SPELLS: CREATING THE MAGIC IN EACH DAY

365 Tarot Spells

Are you a tarot lover who wants to learn magick? This book is for you! In Sasha Graham’s follow-up to 365 Tarot Spreads, she offers a spell for every day of the year based on the archetypes of the tarot. According to the book description, each spell has a list of ingredients, visualization, meditation, affirmation, and card layout — oh my! With enchantments for money, career, creativity, love, and more, Graham definitely has your magical needs covered.

365 Tarot Spells will be available May 8 via Llewellyn Worldwide.

COSMIC CULTURE FOR APRIL

Check out Amelia Quint’s round-up of cosmic culture for April, bringing you the most mystical new releases in music, film, and literature…

Chelsea Wolfe

:: MUSIC ::

CHELSEA WOLFE

If you’re experiencing an inner underworld journey, channel Ishtar and listen to Chelsea Wolfe’s Abyss. According to Consequence of Sound, the album is a metaphor for descending into the subconscious. It’s also inspired by her experience with sleep paralysis – a condition that causes vivid, disturbing hallucinations on a nightly basis. That sense of the numinous comes across in her stark black and white artwork, ethereal personal style, and fuzz-driven music.

Chelsea Wolfe kicks off her tour in Las Vegas on April 24 with dates across the United States through June 7.

DESERT MOUNTAIN TRIBE 

It’s Aries season, which means it’s the perfect time to roll down the windows, turn up the music, and take a ride. That’s what you’ll want to do when you hear Desert Mountain Tribe’s feisty, psychedelic brand of rock and roll. With titles like “Interstellar,” “Heaven and Hell,” “Leave It Behind,” and “Feel The Light,” it’s definitely cosmic in scope.

Their new album, Either That Or The Moon, is set to release April 3, and the band is touring the United States all month.

Desert Mountain Tribe

:: TELEVISION ::

THE PATH

Hulu’s new character drama, starring Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame, follows a husband and wife’s relationship as they are seduced into a fictional upstate New York cult. Trigger warning: the show’s tagline, “to belong you must believe,” may feel eerily familiar to those who have had negative experiences with organized religion or exclusionary spiritualities; however, it poses important questions that we, as mystics, need to address.

The Path debuts on Hulu March 30.

The Path

THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT

If you’re looking for high vibe Netflix bender material, look no further. Relentlessly optimistic, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is the ultimate in positive entertainment. If you’ve been living in a bunker for the last year, the show follows Kimmy as she navigates life in New York after escaping a doomsday cult. Her unflappable spirit in the face of trauma – and everyday disappointments – will inspire you to keep going. The completely on-point social commentary and hilarious banter are the icing on the cake.

Season 2 premieres on Netflix April 15.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

:: FILM ::

THE REVENANT

Put away your Gilbert Grape memes – Leo finally got his Oscar (with additional thanks to the moon and Mars in his sign of Scorpio on the big night). The intense Scorpio energy of his chart also helped him pull off a gripping performance as frontiersman Hugh Glass in 2015’s award season sweetheart, The Revenant. In the film, DiCaprio as Glass faces down a grizzly bear and, ultimately, nature itself. Is it allegory or coincidence? You decide.

The Revenant will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 19.

The Revenant

THE WITCH

I’d be in remiss if I didn’t recommend Robert Eggers’s The Witch, a stunning (and disturbing) depiction of a Puritan family who become cursed by a witch living in a nearby wood. It’s certainly not perfect, but the film is rich in folklore and got a surprising amount right about modern witchcraft – including psychic attacks, wild nature, and sacred sex. You can read my full review here.

The Witch was released on February 19, but is still in many theaters due to popular demand.

The Witch

:: BOOKS ::

#HIGHERSELFIE

Can spirituality and social media coexist? In their new book, #HIGHERSELFIE, UK life coaches Lucy Sheridan and Jo Westwood say yes! Together they investigate why astrology, tarot, crystals and everything Now Age is taking over the blogosphere. Billed as a spiritual manifesto for Gen Y, the authors also offer up straightforward advice on how to avoid the “compare and despair” trap, let sh*t go, and generally stay on your ultralight beam.

#HIGHERSELFIE will be released via Hay House UK on April 5.

#HigherSelfie

BECOMING WISE

In Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, Krista Tippett mines her experience as host of NPR’s On Being for spiritual lessons on the nature of existence. Her list of awards and credentials are impressive, but what’s even more so is the philosophical conversation she’s distilled into this book. She gathers powerful teachings from “across disciplines and denominations” into a 21st-century meditation on truth, beauty, and love.

Becoming Wise will be released via Penguin Press on April 5.

Krista Tippett

UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA: INSIDE THE MIND OF THAT SPIRITUAL DUDE

Because we never feature enough Numi dudes! Gabriela Herstik gets Unknown Mortal Orchestra front man Ruban Neilson’s take on love, the Universe, and everything. Image: Dusdin Condren

Best known for being the third eye of psychedelic pop rock band Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ruban Nielson has more to offer the world than just some groovy tunes. Ruban’s experience grounding his soulful nature in day-to-day life has shaped many things, including his relationships – UMO’s latest full length, “Multi-Love,” is a synthy trip about his experiments with polyamory. We talked to the man himself about his constant commitment to channelling something beyond himself – and how it helps make some good dancin’ music.

On Spirituality
“I don’t really worry about whether I’m spiritual or not because it’s a mysterious part of life and categories mess it up for me. Music is my concrete connection to forces outside myself, whether this means community, history, spirit, the subconscious, or some concept of God – that isn’t my place to define. But through music I know there’s more than my ‘self’ because I get gifts from that place in the form of songs, or the ability to perform beyond what I thought I could.”

On Astrology
“I’m a Pisces, but the first day so I’m a cusper with Aquarius. I’m also a Cancer Moon. I feel like a pretty typical Pisces. Astrology is fun. I like talking about it with people and trying to find patterns. But I take it with a grain of salt like most things.”

On Love
“Being in love is so important to me. I spend most of my time thinking about love, although I’ll never know anything about it. I’m always just drowning and I prefer it that way.”

On Culture
“I have my own personal ideas about being Hawaiian. Most people don’t know what a Polynesian is and that’s both frustrating and useful. I think my genetics shape my music quite a bit. I think my music puts my heart on display, and Hawaiians are known to be very hot-headed and deeply emotional.”

On Yurts
“The shape of a yurt is beautiful and living in a yurt was cool. It was a certain time in my life. I miss it sometimes but my life doesn’t fit in a yurt any more, haha.”

On The Unknown
“Aliens of all kinds definitely exist. You can ask any mathematician. Magick is real too. It’s all around us in the form of branding; symbols and suggestions used to manipulate reality. It’s a pity it’s come to that. As for spirit guides and ghosts, I’m not going to try to categorize things that no-one really understands. There are a lot of levels to reality though, I’m certain of that.”

On Wearing Mala Beads
“I guess I do.”

Rockin’ some Mala beads 12 weeks ago on Instagram

On Mantras
“I do work with mantras. They change a lot.”

On Inner Peace and Zen
“I play music. I’m always looking to be possessed by this very happy and invincible version of myself.”

On Living Your Truth

“I’m really lucky. These days I’m really able to pursue my music and live the way I want to live. I don’t sleep much but I get to be the person I dreamed I could be and I get to be moving and creating all the time. That’s the way I want to be.”

Get tour dates and more for Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Unknownmortalorchestra.com

LIKE A VIRGIN: HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST TIME AT BURNING MAN

Into the final prep for your first time at Burning Man? Look no further than our total guide to life on the Playa…Words and illustrations: Dani Katz. Photography: Soul on Fire series by Victor Habchy via Behance.net

You’ve been wanting to go for years. Your biggest regret is not having gone back in ‘97, when those two surfer dudes offered you a free ticket and a ride in their VW bus. You almost went in 2003, but ended up at an Iyengar retreat on Maui instead. Whatever. No one cares. You’re a newbie, a Playa virgin, and you’re (finally) heading to Black Rock City to party like a fifth dimensional rock star, and see what all the fuss is about. And you only kinda, sorta know what you’re doing.

Not to worry, dear Burner-to-Be. I am a seasoned Playa veteran, and I have some tips for you:

MAKE ACTUAL CAMP
While paying to crash at an established camp with showers and a meal plan and maybe even hot Tantric hookers seems to be all the rage these days, if this is your first Burn, please, please, please resist the urge to go the princess route. Burning Man isn’t just a ritual, it is an initiation, and there is something to be said for driving yourself to Gerlach with a carful of water, kale chips and camping gear, and finding yourself a spot. Hammering rebar into the hard desert earth, pitching your tent, and fashioning your shade structure. Spending the week getting dirty and staying dirty, and being responsible for keeping your nest clean and safe and welcoming.

It’s grounding, the act of making/maintaining your own camp, and it connects you to the Playa and to the festival in ways you’ll otherwise miss if you pay someone else to do it for you. Radical self-reliance (a foundational Burning Man tenet) doesn’t actually mean: Pay people to do shit you can’t be bothered to do yourself. Just sayin’…

DO THE GIFTING THING
For starters, Burning Man is a gifting economy, so be sure to bring offerings for your fellow Burners – the heartfelt kind that make people smile, and laugh, and feel delightful. Gifts are a great way to break the ice with strangers, as well as to seed the Playa with your energy. So, make sure your offerings are thoughtful, and high-vibing –handmade key chains, gluten-free hash brownies, extemporaneous odes to noteworthy brow arches – that sort of thing.

HYDRATE
The desert has an unquenchable lust for moisture, and thus spends her time sucking every possible drop out of your system. Dehydration can sneak up on you if you’re not paying attention, and slurping steadily. Plus, you have to factor in the toll the drugs and the alcohol are taking on your system, as well as the exertion from so many cross-town bike rides. Commit yourself to following the cardinal rule of hydration: if you’re not peeing A LOT, you’re not drinking enough. Period.

BRING A BIKE
And lock it – even if you think you’re only darting into Center Camp for a quick chai. Time isn’t ever linear, but it’s especially un-so at Burning Man, where fourth dimensional synchronicities trump your iCal…and some people just suck. Oh, and be sure to put something glowy and instantly recognizable on it so that you can find it in the dark, while tripping your face off.

CLEAN UP YOUR S***
Literally. Take pride in helping to keep the Port-a-Potties clean, and don’t throw shit down the hole that didn’t come out of your body, or isn’t toilet paper. If you sprinkle and splatter, clean it up. Don’t squat on the seat with your Playa filthy shoes and not wipe it down after. Think of the person stepping in after you. Are you leaving the port-a-pottie cleaner than you found it? If not, what can you do to tidy up? This is your festival, Black Rock City is your town. Show some pride. Participate in its maintenance. Lead by example.

CARRY SUPPLIES
Carry a bag with you at all times. Put these things in it:

Water
Sunscreen
Lip balm (with sunscreen)
Electrolytes
Aromatherapy spray (You. Are. Welcome.)
Offerings for others
Snacks
A ziploc bag for trash
Enough drugs to share with those in your immediate vicinity
Goggles
Scarf or hankerchief

BE A DUSTBUSTER
Prepare for Playa dust. It is everywhere and unavoidable, and will turn anything and everything white, including your hair and your car. This is what the goggles and the scarf/hankie are for – to cover your face during those impromptu dust storms that blind you in an instant. It is also why you must tie down everything in your that could possibly blow away. It is your responsibility to keep the Playa pristine. It is your responsibility to keep your fellow Burners safe from flying water bottles and feather boas.

WARDROBE
Nights get cold. Wear layers. And shoes you can easily/comfortably dance/ride/leap/skip/run/dance/dance/dance in.

HAIR AND MAKE-UP
Don’t even try to brush your hair. It will dread, and be disgusting. Sunscreen is your friend, as are wide-brimmed hats and daytime sleeves. I know plenty of gals like to go the naked/lingerie-clad route, and that’s just dandy, but do be mindful of the intensity of the sunlight on your skin, and take the necessary precautions.

Slather your feet in Dr. Bronners every morning to stave off the dreaded Playa Foot, and don’t even think about walking barefoot on the earth. Playa Foot is essentially a chemical burn caused by the very alkaline dust that comprises the hard, crackly desert floor. It hurts, and is gross; and you, my friend, want nothing to do with it. Trust me.

Bring biodegradable baby wipes with which to bathe yourself. Use them daily. Share them freely. Bring more than you think you need. Abundance rocks.

THIRD BASE ONLY
Even if you’re sure he’s your soul mate (or at the very least your twin flame) and every cell in your body is screaming Put it in!!!, you are still wise to avoid penetration during the festival. Even if you’re sharing a tent with your husband, and you’re both totally in the mood, you’ll still probably want to avoid penetration, because Playa dust mixed with sex goo is just straight up gross. Stick with foreplay. Plus, it’ll make the sex you have once you’re back in civilization all the better.

 

SEE THE SIGHTS
Spend some quality time with The Man, The Temple, and the art. Traditionally, we give The Man those energies, patterns and thought forms we are ready to release. Keep this in mind while paying him a visit. Carve out some time to acknowledge the things, people and energies that are no longer serving you, and offer them up; that’s what he’s there for. The Temple is a deeply mystical, feminine structure in which we honor our friends, colleagues and loved ones who have passed on from this realm. Do participate in these rituals. They are real. They are meaningful. They are the energetic architecture of the entire Burning Man experience. And the art? Well, the art is just rad. I mean, where else can you engage (i.e. poke, lick, caress, climb) a giant, flaming animatronic snake skeleton underneath a starry, full moon-lit sky?

DON’T JUDGE
Watch your judgments. Look at your contractions. Commit to assuming the best and focusing on the wonderful. Your every thought, gesture and comment absolutely shape the collective experience. So be your best. Radiate that stuff far and wide.

BE AUTONOMOUS
As long as we’re on the topic, if you happen to be going to Burning Man with your lover, do not stay glued together at the hip the whole time. Make proper Playa dates instead. Also, create clear agreements as to what sort of extra-relational canoodling is fair game. Arm yourself with emotional/relational tools to deal with what comes up. Jealousy happens, but it certainly doesn’t have to ruin your Burn.

LOSE YOUR CREW
Be sure to have some solo adventures – this will open you to experiences you might not otherwise attract/brave in an insulated communal cluster. Wander into the deep Playa by yourself. As well, take some quiet time to yourself each day. Allow yourself to receive and to integrate the magic you are co-creating. Rest. Replenish. Nourish.

BE YOURSELF
Finally, remember that what makes Burning Man so amazing is that it is a safe and expansive playground in which you get to be you. Your favorite you. Your most open, authentic, real-deal you. Remember that this is who you really are – always – and that you don’t need to wait for a week-long freak fest in the desert to be it. So commit take this you home with you, and amplify it out into the world where it inspires others to be their own best, most authentic thems, as well. In the name of planetary service ‘n all.

I think that about covers it. Godspeed, my friend. Here’s to your best Burn ever!

What advice have you got for a first time Burner? Connect with us and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

 

NOTES FROM THE NUMIVERSE: 26 LIFE LESSONS MY BURNING MAN EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME

Confession: My Burning Man Experience was too full-on to be called fun, says Ruby Warrington. But when it comes to life lessons, a week on the Playa delivered pure gold.

So I wasn’t planning to write about my Burning Man Experience (BME). And not because ‘what-happens-on-the-Playa-stays-on-the-Playa,’ but because I have been embarrassed to admit that I didn’t have THE MOST AWESOME TIME OF MY LIFE. I feel like this is the response my friends all were all expecting when they asked, with the utmost and cutest enthusiasm, to hear my tales; ‘OMG how was it?!?!?!?!’ Because ‘I had the time of my life,’ is pretty much the standard response when you ask people about their BME.

But Burning Man is HARD. It forces to you face yourself in ways we have devised so very many modern distractions (television, the internet, flushing toilets, retail therapy) to avoid. It is also a hot, horny, fear-and-loathing-inducing humdinger of a festival, and considering the only way I could ever do Glastonbury was by staying in a local B & B where the owners gave us a glass of chilled Chablis before we headed into the fray each day, I should perhaps have guessed that my BME would kind of be a challenge.

But if I’ve learned ANYTHING this year (thanks to this lady in particular), it’s that challenges are what we human beings are here for! And that a fully textured life is always about the road less travelled. So friends, followers, here are the vital and sometimes evolutionary lessons my BME taught me:

We are hopelessly addicted to stuff: Witness hundreds of Burners buying up literally the entire contents of Walmart in Reno in preparation for a week of ‘radical self-reliance’ in the desert. Next year (oh yes, there will be a ‘next year’) I pledge to make ‘minimalism’ my motto.

Enforced fun can still be fun: We’d been on the road for pretty much 40 hours straight (give or take a whiskey-infused power nap) by the time my friend Sophie and I made it through the gates to hunt down our fellow campers – leaving my husband Simon in what was shaping up to be an 8-hour wait in ‘will call’ for his ticket. As a BM ‘virgin’ it was the greeters’ job to make me lie down on the Playa and make a ‘dust-angel’ to mark my entry. I was not in the mood, but getting to lie down for a minute did put a smile on my face.

Anticipation is the mother of the anti-climax: Even if you haven’t been to BM, you know what BM looks like, right? This is because we live in the information age, goddamnit, and sites (like this one) won’t stop publishing pictures of Black Rock City and its freaky-deeky population. I actually kind of hated myself for not being ‘in awe’ of what I saw out on the Playa my first day. Was I that jaded? But I basically saw exactly what I saw in the images and YouTube clips I’d GORGED on before the event. In fact, if you haven’t been to BM and you think you might go at some point in the future, maybe stop reading now. The joy of discovery is a beautiful thing.

Just follow the signs…

But nothing can prepare you for the TRIP that is your first night on the Playa: Thankfully you can’t photograph a feeling, and here’s a sensation you’ve never got to experience before and will never experience anywhere else. It’s just you, your bike and a sea of LEDs. No roads, no rules, no edge separating Earth from the rest of the Universe.

Being an Aries with Sag rising and Cancer Moon makes for a very conflicted camper (see above re. Glastonbury): The Aries and the Sag want PARTIES, PEOPLE, ADVENTURE! The Cancer needs ALL MY CREATURE COMFORTS, INCLUDING LOTS OF PRIVACY, ALL THE TIME. Yikes.

And…if you have a Water Moon, try to camp with at least one other Water Moon: My gift to my beautiful fellow campers was a personal astro reading, so I had all their chart information ahead of time. And wouldn’t you know, I was headed into a desert storm of pure Fire and Earth. Which of course made for the most incredible camp set-up (fully functioning kitchen, hand-washing station, outdoor shower – with curtain, evaporation pool for our grey water) and a consistent party vibe (mushrooms for breakfast, a carefully calculated six cans of beer per person, per day, plus a seemingly limitless supply of spirits). But my goodness, the outpouring of emotions when I finally managed to track down my friend Tali, and her blessed Scorpio Moon.

I am a total music snob: Tali says it’s because I’m an Aries, who she always admires for our “discernment” (erm, I believe “arrogance” is another adjective associated with my sign). But I also blame (again) my Cancer Moon. To make me move, music has to have soul. Worse, anything that can be loosely categorised as dubstep, breakbeat, trap, minimal techno, EDM or drum ‘n’ bass actually causes a physical reaction in my body that feels a lot like anger. WFT? Even if I’ve taken really amazing drugs (not that I necessarily think drugs are amazing, see below). Unfortunately, these seem to be the preferred genres of most DJs manning the art cars and sound systems at BM, providing a 24-7 soundtrack to life on the Playa straight out of my worst musical nightmare. But thank f*** for a camp called Basshenge!!! Pumping out a soulful, heartbeat bassline that kept me dancing in the dust ‘til dawn, I <3 Basshenge.

Sound clash is sleep deprivation for the soul: The only thing worse than waking up to a full on trap set happening right next to your RV at 9am, is a full on drum ‘n’ bass set happening 10 feet away at the same time. Note to organisers: my friend Gina had a lovely idea – “an hour of silence” every day. (Note to self: add a set of noise cancelling headphones to the minimal ‘must-haves’ list for next year)

“Love is Love”, especially in the desert

“No critters live in the desert”: How cool is this – apparently there’s a special camp in BRC for people to drop off random animals and bugs they find in their camp. This is because, seeing as the desert conditions are too harsh for any living thing to survive (erm, no shit), any “critters” have to have travelled in with you. Even better, there’s some kind of Dr Doolittle animal sanctuary outside the Playa where they all get deposited after the event. What a fun time we had imagining how that little man-made ecosystem is progressing year-on-year!

But BRC is actually a very safe place for humans to live: Discussing the medical room stats listed in the Black Rock Gazette one morning, our camp-mate Bryan (a professional anaesthetist – which, yes, makes for some very interesting conversations about recreational use of ketamine) was able to confirm that the incidence of accident and injury is way lower than the average American metropolis. Despite the lack of rules and policing, and the disproportionately high incidence of all-day intoxication in BRC.

A mini torch makes the best MOOP: Okay, I might have fallen off my bike riding over it out in the deep Playa, but having a mini torch to strap to my Vega Jewelry crystal necklace was a revelation – literally! Mainly down to no more hold-your-breath-and-guess moments in the porta-potties in the dead of night. Yay PERSONAL ILLUMINATION!

The Playa is not a beach: It is a beautiful, uncompromising, arid, dust-bowl. Not to be confused with somewhere to kick back, relax and sink a few cold ones before cooling off in the surf.

Hedonism is one of the deepest expressions of human spirituality: Since when did hedonism get such a bad name anyway?? In the dictionary, it’s defined as – the belief that pleasure or happiness is the most important goal in life. The fact that people will go to so much effort in the pursuit of this ideal, suggests to me a serious pleasure/happiness-unbalance in our daily lives. And being happy means being better equipped to want to contribute to other people’s happiness. This is one of the best BM lessons of all.

Men, even gay men, think very long, wavy hair is sexy. Even if it’s green: I have never received more compliments from the opposite sex than the night I donned this wig. This must be why women get addicted to hair extensions. And doesn’t it say something interesting about gender representation? No matter how progressive the humans, the Disney Princess vision of female beauty still holds sway.

“Radical self-expression” = a lot of costume clichés: See top hats, striped meggings, faux-fur moon boots, leather bras…and green wigs. Turns out most of us humans actually prefer to conform, and a couple of days into the 80kg dressing up box of sequins, wigs and fake tattoos I’d lugged from Brooklyn, I too became acutely aware that I was actually putting together a series of ‘Burning Man outfits’ that were less about an expression of my own personal style than a desire to fit in. I worked in fashion for a long time, I know what that is. Next year I’m just gonna pack a bikini, some Teeki yoga pants, and my boiler suit (below), which is what I ended up feeling most ‘me’ in.

Basically, the best boiler suit ever

I might have had my Burning Man moment a decade (and a half) ago in Ibiza: Between the ages of 24 and 32, I made a twice-yearly pilgrimage to the ‘spiritual’ party island of Ibiza. And daytime dancing at Distrikt, downing shots of Whisky with old gay dudes in leather skirts, riding out at night into a sea of LEDs, allowing myself to merge with the Cosmos out on the edge of the Playa…was basically flashback central to then. What I got from ‘the Ibiza years’ was a sense of connection to a tribe of likeminded hedonists, a deep respect for the numinous beauty of nature and a lot of dancing in the sand beneath the stars. Sound familiar? So now I know I’ve ‘been there, done that’, time to set some new intentions for my BM experience next year.

The best Bloody Mary’s are frozen Bloody Mary’s: But what you don’t get in Ibiza, is some dude named Dave serving up the most incredible frozen Bloody Mary’s (just freeze the mix and stir in lashings of vodka as it melts) in exchange for a sweaty hug. In Ibiza the Bloody Marys will set you back $25.

In no way, shape or form do drug highs measure up to spiritual highs: I first took E when I was 14, and it helped me understand a whole other plane of human existence (not to mention get out of facing my feelings about my parent’s divorce). It took about 20 years for me to realize that seeing as that veil had already been lifted, I would never experience the same sense of ‘enlightenment’ from drugs again – and that in fact, taking drugs is kind of like opening the door to your soul to an unknown entity and handing over the controls (which is why a lot of drug highs feel so scary). There are lots of drugs at BM, and part of my brain (the drunk part) still believes in those kind of highs. But experience – mainly experiences of the numinous variety – has shown me that when your soul is allowed to navigate its own route to bliss, there is no fear, there is no comedown and there is UNLIMITED POTENTIAL FOR PERSONAL GROWTH.

But take enough and you might experience time travel: So my friend-who-shall-remain-nameless met a ‘medicine woman’ dancing at Robot Heart, and asked; ‘what can I learn from you?’ They spent the next 24 hours together out in the deep Playa, during which time the medicine woman gave my friend ‘more drugs than I’ve taken in my life – cocaine, LSD, mushrooms, molly’, and my friend claims she experienced time travel and understood that immortality is entirely possible. Those are the kind of drug experiences I guess I would like to have, but am basically scared s***less of.

Even in the deepest of Playa, where you literally feel like you are on the edge of the Cosmos, a tweaking raver from Liverpool will hunt you down and try to fill your head with her relationship problems: Know that you do not have to let this totally kill your mushroom buzz, and that it is always within your power to simply stand up, kiss her goodnight and ride away.

Sunset: navigating the duality of night and day

Life is an exercise in duality: Clean, dirty; give, receive; high, low; hot, cold. All of which it feels like BM is set up to make ABUNDANTLY CLEAR.

Whiskey Flats RV park (Hawthorn, NV) is the Park Hyatt of RV parks: Okay maybe our perspective was somewhat skewed…but man, I could have kissed the pristine, floral-scented toilet when we stopped off here on our way back to Vegas to clean our RV and empty the putrid ‘black water’ tank. Oh and they also have free coffee and a Laundromat!! I’ve always loved doing laundry. Doing it here was like doing laundry on ecstasy. This is the website in case you need it for next year.

Digital cold turkey isn’t difficult: I’m addicted as the best of us, but I can honestly say I didn’t miss social media or email ONCE during my BME. I even found it hard to let it back into my life, like I’d got a newfound respect for exactly how DICTATOR-LIKE it is. The sense of serenity that comes from being offline is blissful, and observing my online life from the other side I was able to witness the physical, emotional and intellectual hold technology has on us. But, you know, now I’m fully back on the juice and loving it.

I am actually obsessed with the Body’s Ability To Bounce Back (BABB): Okay it’s taken a week to muster the brain cells and the discipline to get this post together, but that’s a lot to do with the fact I’ve also spent a lot of time marvelling at how GOOD IT FEELS to inch my way back into the healthful, spiritually aligned, fully embodied state I usually seek to maintain (a.k.a. get over the comedown). Bryan (the anaesthetist) said he still marvels daily at the BABB, how our organism is consistently seeking to bring itself into balance. Seriously, gotta love the BABB.

Even in the most Mystical of Worlds, I am very much a Material Girl: But I’ve always been pretty upfront about that one, hey.

My life is really freaking awesome: Since my return to the ‘default’ world, I’ve been feeling THE IMMENSEST AMMOUNT OF GRATITUDE FOR – in no particular order of wonderfulness – being clean, fresh water and the sewage system, work that brings me so much satisfaction and helps me define my ‘edges’, electricity, the bond I share with my beautiful husband, groceries, my cat purring, blowdries, the Internet. And an event like Burning Man, for helping me TRULY appreciate the fact.

Burningman.com

SXSW SPIRIT GUIDE: 36-HOURS IN AUSTIN

Yee-haw, here comes the annual music and culture mash-up that is Austin’s SXSW festival. But there’s a whole other side to the town that’s more hippie than hipster (in a good way). Here’s our recipe for a weekend of self-discovery  and spiritual hi-jinx in the Portland of the South…

SATURDAY

9AM BLACK SWAN YOGA

The girls who run this donation based studio ($10-$15 suggested, $7 minimum) made a grainy, black and white freaking yogic music video as the intro to their website. All classes – Beginner, Power, Sweaty and Flow – take place in a 90-degree heated room, and if you can’t get to one of the four Austin locations there are even online classes to do. We suggest kicking off your Austin tour with the 9am Power class taught by Adam M at the Downtown studio. Set to a soundtrack of hip-hop, reggae, and, um, tango; “The idea is that we’re working ‘towards’ being the best version of ourselves and having some fun doing it,” he says.

Blackswanyoga.com

11AM JUICELAND

Now it’s obviously juice o’clock, and with seven locations dotted throughout Austin this is the place to get your greens on. We say go straight for the hard stuff and make your selection from the “Next Level” menu. How about a Cold Shower (cucumber, parsley, mint, watermelon, lime, salt) to cool you down after that hot yoga session? Or if you really need waking up, the Xtra Holla Pain Yo! (jalepeno, garlic, carrot, orange, cilantro, lime, salt) should do the trick. They also do smoothies and soups, and there’s a vegan, gluten free “Functionally Good Food” menu too.

Juiceland.com

12 NOON THE HERB BAR

You’re invited to switch off your mobile phone before you enter this magical mystery emporium, which, open since 1986, looks like Bilbo Baggins hobbit cave with its little red door almost buried behind the ivy bush that covers the front of the building. Inside, you’ll find everything from herbal tea blends and massage oils to locally produced natural beauty products and remedies, astro paraphernalia, crystals, prayer flags and wind chimes, all served up by super-friendly owner Twila Dawn Willis. Yep, it’s basically Numi retail heaven.

Theherbbar.com

1PM UNCOMMON OBJECTS

 

 

There’s plenty more magic to be found at this Austin stalwart, but rather than try to describe the kind of treasures a root around this sprawling space might uncover, we repeat for you their manifesto; “We relish the time worn and well loved. We are crazy about genuine patina. We cherish folk arts and parlor crafts from around the world. We reflect the melting pot that is the American experience. We adore ingenious repair. We honor beauty found in unexpected places. We are inspired by the joy found in serendipity.” And seriously, where else are you going to find a skate board that doubles up as a ouija?

Uncommonobjects.com

2PM MR NATURAL

There’s A LOT of amazing vegetarian food in Austin, but we’re sending you to this meat-free take on a traditional Tex Mex joint for a couple of reasons. 1) It comes highly recommended from Twila at the Herb Bar. 2) They do an ENTIRE GLUTEN FREE MENU. 3) There’s an yoga studio attached where they offer a ‘spiritual Hatha’ practise. And, maybe most importantly, 4) They produce a huge assortment of insane wheat / sugar / dairy / etc free cakes and pastries out of the on-site bakery.

MrNatural-austin.com

5PM SPARTAN

This ridiculously hip lifestyle boutique is essentially what the Numinous would be if we had a store (now there’s an idea…) Owner Currie Person has curated THE chicest collection of spiritually aware fashion, jewellery and homewares, while some new arrivals for spring include a crazy cool tie-dye leather bag from Creatures of Comfort, a selection of vintage Andean blanket rugs, this set of Bing Bang skull studs and the great felt hat by Janessa Leone pictured here.

Spartan-shop.com 

8PM CHEER-UP CHARLIE’S

With kombucha on tap and the MOST delicious vegan food truck parked out back, this indoor-outdoor bar / live music venue is a one-stop healthy hedonism shop. They also serve fresh pressed juice cocktails, while a parachute canopy covering the patio creates an other-worldly, that-bar-from-Star Wars kinda vibe. Oh, and check out the rad décor on the dance floor! Who needs ‘shrooms with all this trippy black light s*** going on?

Cheerupcharlies.com

12.30AM STARRY EYES

If you can drag yourself away from the fun times at Charlie’s (see above), Starry Eyes – described as “an occult tale of ambition, possession and the true cost of fame,” is being screened as part of the official SXSW schedule. Following the (mis)fortunes of a wannabe actress in Hollywood, after a series of strange auditions she lands the lead in a new film from a mysterious production company. “But with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically…” Yikes!

SXSW.com

SUNDAY

10AM BARTON SPRINGS POOL

This man-made pool in Austin’s Zilker Park is filled from the water of the Main Barton Spring, the fourth largest natural spring in Texas. Open for year ‘round outdoor swimming, long before the pool was built the springs were considered sacred and were used for purification rituals by tribesmen of the local Tonkawa tribe. So where better to refresh your Sunday morning head?

Austintex.gov

11am JYOTISH ASTROLOGY WITH ANNE BEVERSDORF 

This renowned Austin astrologer goes back and forth between traditional Western and Vedic astrological systems during a reading, cross-checking information to give a totally in-depth, 360-reading. Coming to astrology as a healing modality, “My goal is to open doors for a deep flowering of your innermost Self in relation to the world. My peace is in hearing that YOU have found meaning in both joys and sorrows,” she says.

Stariel.com

1PM WHOLE FOODS RAW VEGAN FOOD BAR

Not only does Austin have one of the biggest Whole Foods in the world (or at least what feels like it, this is the home of their HQ after all), there’s also a WHOLE counter of the infamous salad bar dedicated to vegan (and mainly raw) cuisine. Well, hello broccoli cashew crunch, chickpea chix salad, pumpkin seed cheese, and raw German chocolate cake. Oh, or how about a raw flax seed tortilla was topped with kale and avocado, spicy cashew cheese, mock sour cream, cilantro and pico de gallo? Yes please.

Wholefoodsmarket.com

3PM GARDEN OF THE ANCIENTS

A 15-minute drive out of town, this “herb emporium and nursery” carries over 300 medicinal and culinary herbs, while the store itself is set among the creeping vines of a sprawling working herb and vegetable garden. They also grown a large selection of “ethnobotanical”, or medicinal, plants, including Daturas and Morning Glories, Wild Dagga, Baby Hawaiian Woodrose, Wormwood, Skullcap, Wild Lettuce, Wild Tobacco and the legendary San Pedro cactus. Properly witchy stuff.

Gardenoftheancients.com

5PM CUSTOM CRYSTAL DESIGN SESSION WITH FORREST LEE

Fort Worth native Forrest Lee has been creating his beautiful Healing Vortex Crystal Wraps since 2009, when he was gifted his first crystal – “with intense compassion from a dear brother in a hard time” – with life changing results. Now, “my goal is to spread healing and compassion by igniting that heart flame in each human. The crystals help remind us of our divinity,” he says, and a custom design session with Forrest is the best way to find the crystal that will work the hardest for YOU.

Facebook.com/healingvortex.crystalwraps

7PM BANGERS

Time to balance today’s air and water energy activities with some low down and earthy SAUSAGE. Bangers is Austin’s famous “sausage house & beer garden” – and, yes, their veggie options (beet and goat cheese or veggie BLT) get a huge thumbs up from us. The veggie ranchero brunch and sides (jalepeno cream corn with onion gratin anyone?) are also ridiculous, and all washed down with libations from the gluten free beer menu (yep, you read that right!)

Bangersaustin.com

9PM SOUND HEALING WITH TINA RODRIGUEZ

This incredible local healing artist, who works with crystal bowls as well as the sound of her own sweet voice, hosts regular group sessions and is available for one-to-one healing. As the rest of the SXSW revellers rock out to the closing sets of the festival, send your spirit soaring high on her beautiful cosmic vibes.

Facebook.com/tinalasirena

For full listings of what’s up at SXSW go to the festival website.

@SXSW

With thanks to Caleb Campaigne.

M.I.A. MATANGI: “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU THINK”

“We all tweet incessantly the way parrots in the jungle do; we never consider how far the smallest idea can travel and how it can affect the people it reaches.” M.I.A. (a.k.a. Matangi)

Music with a message has always been M.I.A.’s MO. As global consciousness expands, her latest release, Matangi, is like a missive from another realm on the the power of our thoughts. If there has been a theme to 2013, our first year on post-Mayan planet Earth, then isn’t that exactly it? We are what we think.

With this understanding comes an awesome responsibility – because, oh s***, now the ball is in our court. For M.I.A. Matangi is here to remind us all that we better beware of our thoughts, and that we better back that up by speaking (not to mention tweeting) our truth.

Everybody’s favorite rap-tivist explains the story behind it all.

WHO IS MATANGI?
Matangi is a 5000-year-old concept of a Goddess who fought to keep thought and information pure. She sits on a gem-studded throne with a sitar. In Hinduism, the Goddesses have different life roles, and when Matangi is in a tranquil, meditative state, she plays the sitar.  Her instrument symbolises each part of the human experience…the consciousness, the breath, the heart, the body…and she plays to keep the universe and the people in harmony.

WHAT’S THE MESSAGE IN HER MUSIC?
She’s here to remind us that information needs to be spoken from the heart. If it’s not it’s false, and she defends that and fights for that. She fights the pollution of frequencies – which is all to do with words and how they come out, the articulation of inner thought to outward expression – which can happen through music, or any of the 64 ways to express your inner thoughts.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU KNOW ABOUT HER?
She’s the ninth of the ten Goddesses that Shiva’s wife splits into when he’s at work – because when she’s not being Shiva’s wife, she’s got s*** to do! His wife is called Parvati – and Wikipedia says she’s also the Goddess of power, because if Shiva is the god of destruction, you can’t destroy without power. In Hinduism it’s all about couples – and while the men are alright they’re not the main thing, which is really cool.

WHY DOES MATANGI’S STORY RESONATE WITH YOU?
I found about about her because my birth name is Mathangi, and how funny that her mantra is “aim” – which is M.I.A. backwards. But right now you can apply her myth to what’s happening in the world. Matangi also carries a parrot – she’s got her sitar and she has a sword in one hand and a parrot in the other, which represents the nature of humans.

WHAT PART OF HUMAN NATURE?
It’s an intelligent bird because it can repeat words, but it doesn’t have the consciousness to understand what it’s saying – and how funny, today we have a thing called “Twitter” – where we tweet, and then we re-tweet! And we’re judged on how many re-tweets we get. Not by the one intelligent thing we said that no-body re-tweeted, but because we said something stupid like; “I’m having a cheeseburger” and 1000 people re-tweeted it. Hinduism works in symbols, and the parrot means nothing in itself. It’s there to remind us to be conscious of what we say.

Matangi by M.I.A. is out now.
@MIAuniverse

MORNING GLORY: I went to a rave at 7am…and I liked it

A new booze-free club morning in London is all about creating a high-vibe start to your day. Louise Androlia dons her dancing shoes with her PJs…

Was it coincidence that as my Tarot reader was suggesting I start my mornings off dancing, I received a text from my friend Nico inviting me to his new ‘pre work’ rave, Morning Glory? I don’t think so. Fast-forward a couple of weeks to a 6.30am start to go raving.

Morning Glory is the new clubbing experience from events producer Samantha Moyo and bodywork therapist Nico Thoemmes. The event is held slap bang in the middle of Shoreditch, London, at The Village Underground and currently runs once a month on a Wednesday, from 6.30 until 10.30am. The idea is that you ‘rave your way into the day’ in a positive way, so that, fuelled by a good dance and maybe a pre-work massage you can head to work energised and uplifted.

The idea of going raving is usually my worst nightmare. I rarely drink and let’s just I’m more of a kale than a ketamine kind of girl. So although I loved the premise of the event, as I walked into the Village Underground and heard music, loud loud music, I was a little nervous.

But within moments it was very obvious this would be different. The room was alive, but in totally the right way. There’s a cloakroom so you can arrive in whatever clothing you like (pyjamas encouraged) and then get ready for the office before you leave. By 7.30am I was clearly a late comer, the club was completely full. I was immediately in my people-watching element, as all around me people danced in business suits, gym clothes and nightwear, as well as plenty of festival gear – fancy dress, wigs and sequins.

No alcohol is served, this is a Wednesday morning after all, and it’s definitely not about staying up all night and ending up here. But there is a coffee cart, if you need your morning fix, as well as a detox enhancing smoothie bar and four massage therapists on hand to stretch you out before work. There’s also a space at the back of the room with yoga mats for you to practise your own morning routine. I lay down for a perfect ten-minute back massage with Gulie Ismail…and then I went and danced.

The atmosphere on the dance floor was welcoming, with no chance of anyone describing this scene as pretentious. I can’t help thinking that of course it’s going to become a dating hot spot, and it’s certainly a healthy place to meet someone. I came alone and so many people made conversation with me. Instead of a very often awkward sober social scene, people were chatting freely.

As I write this I still think…but I hate ‘clubbing’. The thing is though, it was so, well, nice.  Everyone was smiling, EVERYONE was smiling. The club was fully lit, so as I looked around I could see all the familiar sights, the wallflowers dancing in the corner, the extroverts on the stage, the couples in their own world, the socialites skipping round the venue. But there was no one crying, no fights, no one puking in the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom, there was even a ‘Refresh Station’ table with Tea Tree body wipes, rose water and shea butter samples. No stinky clubbing toilets at this rave.

It felt like being at a really great house party when someone puts on Dancing in the Dark and it’s the best moment of your life, except with no hangover ahead. Pretty damn high vibe.

I caught up with Nico to hear more about his idea:

I have to dive in with this, because my first thought was WOW this is so a new dating scene. Have their been any ‘Morning Glory’ romances yet?
“Possibly! Probably! MG would be the perfect place to find a mate. One sober person resonating with another. Too often people meet in clubs when they are inebriated in one form or another. At morning glory you are ‘you’, not you + booze/drugs.”

Currently this is a monthly event, what are your plans for the future?
“Well we’re going to experiment with bi monthly events in London and then over the next six months expand into Brighton and Bristol, as well as taking Morning Glory into business conferences and seminars. Next year we want to fill Trafalgar Square or Battersea Power Station. We’re thinking big!”

I really felt a positive energy at the event (I can say that as an Energy Healer right!) Tell me some of your favourite moments so far?
“Morning Glory’s success is built on the unbelievable positive energy that manifests in the room. It’s so electric and has to be experienced to be believed. Our best moment was listening to a guest who told she had jaw ache from grinning so much.”

The next Morning Glory event will be held on September 25th. Tickets cost £10 and are available here. You can find out more about the event at their website, on twitter and on Facebook.

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