WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF MASCULINITY?

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

aaron rose conscious masculinity ruby warrington the numinous the future of masculinity material girl mystical world aziz acharki
Photo: Aziz Acharki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo: Sir Moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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aaron rose ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world conscious masculinity with aaron rose the future of masculinity

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

HOLY F*CK: A DARK MOON PRACTICE TO LIBERATE YOUR SPIRITUAL ESSENCE

Stuck under layers of conditioning and aching to break free? Alexandra Roxo shares 5 ways to liberate your spiritual essence …

alexandra roxo ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world moon club holy fuck holy f*ck spiritual striptease
Photo: Caitlin Mitchell

I’ve been doing stripteases since I was 12. In 1996, in Marietta, Georgia, my friends and I dressed in Victoria’s Secret matching leopard-print bra and panties sets, and knew all the moves to Elizabeth Berkley’s routines from Showgirls.

But the striptease I wanna share with you here is FAR sexier. FAR juicier. FAR edgier. It’s one that will have your heart racing. Your panties wet. Your knees trembling.

Because it’s time for us to bring it back to basics and get spiritually NAKED. We live in “apart”ments. We stare at screens most of the day. The way we eat, shit, talk, walk, dress are all programmed for us by the dominant schema that we are born into. A return to our spiritual essence is a deep call for each of us. One that could possibly change the course of history. Of Mother Nature’s well-being. Our grandchildren’s lives. The health of the ocean. The future of fashion magazines. Of culture. Of REALITY as we perceive it.

This means peeling away, layer by layer, of all the baggage we have inherited. The stories. The conditioning. The things that weigh on us everyday. Stripping this away and getting down to our spiritual essence is part of our individual and collective awakening.

You began taking on your family’s shit in utero. Your mom’s anxiety. Depression. Her busyness. The way her heart sank when your dad didn’t come home til late or just flipped the TV on after work. The pain at seeing her old body slip away. The abuse she endured perhaps. Or her mom’s or her grandma’s. From the moment you were the size of a pea in the womb you began to be clothed in layers. Your spiritual essence began to be shrouded.

When popped out you inherited a specific culture. The pressure to look a certain way, talk a certain way,  dress a certain way. Coats and veils of other people’s ideas and customs and ways of being.

As a teen, this led you to feel confused about your body. Why did it not look the way it was supposed to? People were mean at school. Boys touched you. You weren’t allowed to be gay or queer. So you put on some more layers. You hid yourself. You were too weird. Too much. Too sexy. Too fat. If people didn’t notice you they couldn’t hurt you.

Perhaps there were traumas. Date rape. An eating disorder. Abandonment. Neglect. Health issues. Things that forced you deeper into hiding. Further masked your wild, loving, utterly unique spiritual essence.

And now here you are today—wearing enough layers to survive an antarctic freeze of the soul! True healing? The ultimate liberation? Learning how to peel them back, one by one, until you are bare. Naked. Vulnerable and WHOLE.

Below are my tried and true tips for freeing yourself from those layers and living in alignment with your spiritual essence …

alexandra roxo ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world moon club holy fuck holy f*ck spiritual striptease
Photo: Ed Herrera

1// Learn to feel your feelings. You may think “Well of course I know how to do that!” But we all have days where we think we’re feeling but are actually THINKING, which prevents us knowing our soul’s truth. To learn to FEEL more, breathe into your belly all day. Stay soft. Pull your car over to cry when you need to. Start sentences with “I feel …” instead of “I think …”  and before you make a decision FEEL into it with all your being. Soon you will start to feel more of YOU.

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2// Begin to hunt for your true essence. Look for it in books, works of art, libraries, operas, films, museums, national parks, oceans, fields, and albums. As you do these things, BREATHE into your heart and FEEL. Did that book make me wanna jump for joy? Scream? Did it feel like a wildfire broke out in your veins? Then THIS my dear that is a KEY to your TRUTH and your ESSENCE! Keep it close.

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3// Speak up when something hurts or doesn’t feel right. This may seem obvious, but it’s the microhurts that betray our soul’s essence. If someone cuts you off in line for the bathroom than say “Excuse me. I’m in line.” If you’re in a class and the teacher says something inappropriate, stand up and say, “Excuse me. That didn’t feel appropriate to me.” This demand for integrity will tell your soul you are SERIOUS about your devotion to yourself. You’ll notice how often these little things happen. You think “Oh whatever. No biggie.” This puts you into complacency and is literally like an ice pack for your JUICY fire. Once you stop you doing it, you’ll begin to feel a POWER beyond words emerge from you.

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4// Dare to pave a new way. Notice how many times a day you do and say things because that’s what others do. Now try something new. If all the other wellness people on Instagram are taking photos with white backgrounds and green plants but it feels more “you” to do it in a vintage car on a deserted highway, then why not? Notice where you follow the status quo out of habit. When you feel afraid to shake it up, look to people who have not followed; Frida. Anais. Albert Einstein. There is a huge payoff for taking a risk that’s aligned with your truth.

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5// Surround yourself with Souls who are unafraid to bare their love and truth to the world. You are who surrounds you. Your community should feel like Butter Love, Fire Love, Honey Love, warm tea, firecrackers in your Soul. When you leave hangouts notice: Do you feel more YOU? More alive? More loved? If not, find the community that does make you feel this way.

**Bonus: Take this a step further with an actual striptease class or simply strip in the mirror with your sexy self. As you remove layers of clothes, imagine that you are removing “Mom’s catholic shame,” “my fear of being too big” or “society’s gender impositions” so that you’re stripping on all levels at once—multitasking your way into your Soul’s Grand Reveal to humanity.  

 

Alexandra offers one-on-one transformational coaching programs globally online, and in NYC and LA. She also is the co-founder of Moon Club where she guides group coaching, leadership training, and mystical moon school.  Find her @alexandraroxo and alexandraroxo.com

HOLY F*CK: LIVING FROM THE SEAT OF YOUR SEXUAL POWER

How can embracing your deepest sexy unleash your creative force? In her latest column, Alexandra Roxo shows us that diving into our full sexual power is the key to world domination …

alexandra roxo ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world holy fuck holy f*ck sexual power

Owning my sexual and creative power, and letting it inform my life and creativity and work, has been revolutionary and radical …  despite how much society had told me I’m too loud or too sexual or too freaky or kinky or messy or whatever.

Here are a few of my tried and true techniques for owning your sexual power, your guts, your voice, and your gifts to the world … 

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FIRST: A little visualization for your viewing pleasure … 

Imagine you are a house. Perhaps 5 stories high. Castlelike. Grand. Tall. Well crafted. And each floor and each room is decorated beautifully. Lamps and lights and candles. Beautiful art. Cultivated space. But the first floor, the foundation, is dark, full of cobwebs. Closets locked. Perhaps a corner here and there with a little light that is only turned on “sometimes”—on a special occasion …

Now imagine this floor is your sexual energy. Your life force. Your creative power that is waiting to be stirred deep inside you.

Does it only get stirred in a bed in the dark? Between sheets? With your partner? Or a vibrator? What if you ran through that first floor, saged it out, turned on all the lights, decorated it—made it come to life?

We live in a world of compartmentalization. We shit in another room with a locked door. We carry our money in locked safes and little wallets held close to our bodies. We have sex in a bed in the dark.

When I was younger, my menstrual cycle was WAY off. After some soul searching, I realized that it was most off during the times that I was suppressing my power. Now, if my cycle is late, I look at how I’ve been holding back and “keeping it together?” How can I EMBODY my power, my vision, and my voice more boldly?

Sexual power IS creative power! And it does not work when controlled or locked away. In fact, this is hurting many of us. Disrupting our menstrual flows. Our skin. Causing diseases. Depression … the list goes on.

How might your life change if your sexual energy was present in every moment, every business deal, every Pilates class? Here’s how to awaken your deep sexy and use it to power your mission … 

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STEP 1// DEFINE YOUR “DEEP SEXY” 
Sexual energy does NOT have to be defined or encapsulated in the “sexy” of black lingerie. Or being coy, Or performing “sexy.” Or having skinny thighs. Or whispering fantasies at dinner. I LOVE all that but that is JUST one layer.

Deep Sexy to ME is sexual energy as POWER. Holding the key to all creation between your legs. The womb being an infinite pool of ideas and visions of growth. Orgasms healing the world.

A portal to the Divine that you are I are both gifted with.

We begin breaking the compartmentalization of sex as penetration, locked doors, and quiet moments in the dark, by practicing turning it on. No need to stroke a clit. No need to stick it in. Just breathe into that flow. give it space, connect to its depths.

This can be literally visualizing sexual energy as a certain color running through your body. Or connecting it to a scent. Or a song. Find a VISCERAL and SENSORIAL “IN,” and go with it.

That is what lights up the house. Increases financial flow. Health. Radiance. Love. Business growth. The whole house is illuminated.

OKAY NOW YOU GO! Write your own list. What is sexy to YOU?

alexandra roxo ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world holy fuck holy f*ck sexual power

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STEP 2// BELLY BREATH VS. CHEST BREATH
This is how you start to see and FEEL your sexuality. Meditate into your pelvis, your guts. Give your whole lower body as much importance as you do your mind, remembering every day about the portal to source energy that lives in there.

This can be practiced through dancing in your undies. Doing deep belly breathing at home in the mirror or with a book on your stomach while watching TV. Or picking points in your day by putting an alert in your cal that says “Am I breathing into my GUTS? My deep BELLY?”

And notice if you’re sucking it in. Let your belly hang out as much as possible, even though it may feel kinda weird! Breathe it open with deep belly breaths instead of shallow chest ones.

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STEP 3// WHAT IF YOUR BRILLIANT IDEAS CAME ALL THE WAY FROM DOWN BELOW? 
Ask yourself “Did I just make this business decision from my mind? My heart? My womb? My balls?”

Regardless of your genitalia or gender identification, let your ideas brew from your depths, the roots, the intimate parts of you. Not the surface layers of your mind.

One way to check if you are truly dropping into your sexual power and living from THERE instead of the mind is to see how much you can FEEL in the moment you are making that decision. Can you feel your clit? Your cervix? Your kundalini vibes? Your balls? Your anus? (Not by literal touching, just the vibes and energy!)

And if you’re not feeling it, THAT’S OK! Try using a Chakrub, doing some PC muscle clenching, or literally start talking to your body and trying to put into words what that part of you is feeling today.

It may sound LOL, but unless you can really identify what your root is feeling, you definitely can’t find your gut intuition or make decisions from there.

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STEP 4// GET MESSY AND WILD  
Look to the most genius creator for wisdom—MOTHER NATURE! She is wild! Messy! Disgusting! Ravenous! Beautiful! Sensual! Vicious! 

Messy for me can mean taking a day to hike, laying in a field, walking barefoot, wearing no makeup, peeing outside.

But what does it mean to you? This may mean vision boarding on the floor of bedroom and making a mad genius mess of old magazines. It may mean a week you play with letting your hair be wild and free. Or only wearing long flowy dresses.

Write down 5 things that feel “messy,” aka “outside the box,” to you. One day a week take a “IMA B MESSY AND NOT GIVE A FUCK” practice. So. Fun.

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STEP 5// MAKE CONTAINERS FOR YOUR FLOW TO FLOW IN!
As you unlock your flow, don’t be afraid to have structures. A set time to meditate. Time to stare into space. Time to journal. To masturbate. Time to roll around on the floor sobbing.

Because when you start to open that flow of energy stored in your pelvis you will feel A LOT. The power can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid. Stay close to friends. Nurture yourself. And most of all … HAVE FUN!

We are deep in the collective process of healing through hundreds of years of collective trauma towards women, towards sexuality, towards, well, A LOT. We will not stay quiet, hating ourselves, being ashamed of being sexual, powerful beings. Let’s do this. TOGETHER.

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In Moon Club, our online mentoring program and growth accelerator for your Spirit and Business, you can get help finding your power and voice, and sharing it with the world.  Join our “New Moon Ritual Intentions Setting Journey” on April 15th with something to let go of! Last month people were loving it so much that we heard it was “orgasmic” and “completely life changing.” Attend your first New Moon Ritual for FREE by emailing [email protected]. We would love to have you!

QUEER HERO: HOW TO CAST A NAME SPELL

In the first official installment of his monthly column, Queer Hero, Danny Brave shares his journey to discover the name that reflected his true identity. PLUS how you can cast your own name spell …

danny brave ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world queer hero name spell tommy venus gilded lily jewelry
Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

Over the course of my journey as not only a transgender man, but also as a shamanic healer, I’ve discovered the power of our own names (both given and chosen).

I lived most of my life being called Katie Greene, moving through several different iterations and identity crises, only to discover, or rather re-member, that I am Danny Brave. Now when I say “re-member,” what I actually mean is the opposite of dis-member: to put myself back together, to become more whole.

Read on to discover my name changing story, and discover how you can cast a name spell on your own life …

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Releasing my ancestral line
In the Fall of 2015, “Katie,” first started to feel like it was not really me any more. After remembering the sexual assault I experienced as a child (read more about my sexual reclamation after incest HERE), the name was feeling more and more like a fake smile—something that I did often when I was living that identity. If you say “Katie” out loud, you’ll notice your mouth even takes the shape of a smile at the “ie” part.

After remembering what had actually happened to me as a kid, there was, not surprisingly, no more fake smiles left in me, and my full birth name “Kaitlin” began to feel more appropriate. This name felt darker, more serious, and more powerful—a reflection of my energy at the time. This was the name I was called when the abuse happened to me, and it facilitated me in re-membering and reclaiming some of the darkest moments of my life.

With “Kaitlin” in place, I started to search for a replacement for “Greene,” a name that belonged to my father and his father—a name that to me denoted false Irish family pride, toxic Catholicism, and all of the lies and abuse that had been passed down my ancestral line. This line would decidedly end with me, and it would end via the ritual of literally releasing this last name and claiming a new one for myself. This change-of-name spell happened gradually over a long period of time …

danny brave ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world queer hero name spell tommy venus gilded lily jewelry
Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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Was I “Brave” enough?
“Brave,” first came to me in December 2015 at the Barnes and Noble in the town where I grew up, where one fateful night I noticed a little green book with the gold shiny words titled “Brave Enough” by Cheryl Strayed winking at me from the shelves.

Strayed’s memoir “Wild” had come to me a few months prior, shortly after the volcanic repressed memory eruption and was like a little twinkling ray of hope from God, a love letter to my soul. It was a story that had a lot of trauma, death, and addiction—that was totally true, and often brutally honest. In her memoir, Cheryl literally gives herself the last name “Strayed” and changes it legally to reflect more honestly whom she knew she really was. Someone who had, in more ways than one, strayed.

I opened “Brave Enough” and read: “Hello, fear. Thank you for being here. You’re my indication that I’m doing what I need to do.” I wasn’t leaving without the store without it.

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Dancing in my own words …
“Brave Enough” came with me in my bag to India a month later, where I was attending a women’s dance-healing retreat, and a self-imposed writer’s retreat.

Every morning I would dance for 2-3 hours with a beautiful group of women, and every afternoon I would write alone, mostly poetry, and sometimes for hours and hours. It seemed like the energy of “Brave” had already started working on me, giving me the courage to re-claim my authentic voice, and I wrote and wrote about everything as honestly as I could handle at that time. I transmuted abuse memories that spontaneously arrived in the morning dance class, channeling those feelings and vibrations into words, vomiting the poison out of my system.

During my time in India, without thinking much about it, I switched my email address to reflect the last name “Brave.” My old last name just kind of slipped off—like the wind blowing a piece of fabric off of a rock. It was just so ridiculously obvious that “Brave” was my name, and that it now belonged to me.

As I prepared for the journey back to the States, I realized I could never go back to my parents’ home. No longer sharing a last name with any family member, “Brave” carried me onward, forcing me to individuate myself from my family and preparing me to stand on my own two feet.

danny brave ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world queer hero name spell tommy venus gilded lily jewelry
Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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Becoming Danny Brave
When I started to realize that I was a guy (which is really a whole other story), I was initially so uncomfortable with myself and scared that I wanted to die. At the same time, there was an immediate ease with which my first name arrived—it was Danny. I just kind of knew, it was a lightning bolt that zapped the crown of my head in meditation.

But the name and my body and life at that time felt too at odds, and I was living too far away from where I knew I could  feel supported enough to transition. Desperate for some sort of change, but not yet able to feel safe enough to fully step into Danny, I switched my first name again, this time to “Kate.”

I took a part-time gig as an assistant to a jewelry designer. “Ooo, I love your last name … I think that ‘brave’ means a female warrior” the woman I worked for told me. I Googled it and discovered that it in fact meant MALE warrior. “Oh dear god,” I thought with terror. I was being called out, pushed out of the closet, by my own last name! As I started to prepare myself to face the fact that I was not, and never have been, a woman, I knew that “Kate,” a female name and the one my dad would use whenever he yelled at me, would have to go.

When I showed up to my first trans-masculine support group, late and shaking, I simply said “I’m Brave.” As I would to the random barista, just to practice having a different name with no clear gender. Just to have to say it out loud to remember I was courageous, to cling to the one true part of me over which I had ownership.

The affirmation of my last name would eventually lead me to admitting to the real first one, Danny, a month or so later in my support group.

The vibration of Danny has lead me home to my ultimate truth: that of a flamboyant little gay boy who loved to play dress up, loved watching figure skating, loved to paint, draw, and dance. The real me, only now a man. Sometimes the most loveable parts of ourselves are the most hard-won.

I was recently joking with a new friend, saying to her that I gave myself the last name of “Brave” so that I would constantly have to strive to live up to it. “I don’t think that’s true,” she said. “Names are spells. You don’t even have to try, it’s just you now, and it’s how your life will unfold.” Looking back on this story, I can see that she was right.

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Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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How to cast your own name spell
Your name(s) (past and present) carry a meaning and vibration that is worth exploring! Being curious about what is underneath your name may lead you to a deeper understanding of your family dynamic, about what remains to be healed within you, and about your life path and purpose.

The following exercises are for you to explore your true feelings about your name(s) so that you can either reclaim it with your own meaning, intention, or vibration, or maybe even choose a new one for yourself!

1// Call your own name
Start with either your first or last name—whichever one you want to explore and play with first. Then, if you wish, you can follow up with your second name:

Close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart. Take a few deep breaths. Say your first name three times. What do you feel? Does this name feel like you? What do you feel in your body when you say it? What comes up for you? Honor whatever it is and trust your feelings. Know that if your name doesn’t feel like a match for the real you, there is one that is.

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2// Free associate  
You can do this with your current name, or play with a different one that you have in mind.

Take out a piece of paper and a pen. At the top, make two columns if you don’t have a middle name, and three if you do. Under each column, without thinking, write stream-of-consciousness based off of each of your names (if you are trans-identified, I recommend you do this with both your birth name and your chosen one).  Then, take a moment to read your associations. Our names carry so much energy, don’t they?!

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3// Take an inner child name inventory
You may want to use a pen and piece of paper for this one as well:

Consider or write down answers to the following: Was there a name that you really loved as a kid? Is there a name that you really love now? What did you name your pets, your dogs, your dolls when you were little? Is there a celebrity or friend whose name you admire? Is there a name you have always loved and wish that you had? What would happen if you tried it on for a minute, like trying on a new dress or shirt?

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4// Play with your gender identity
Don’t take this one too seriously or freak yourself out—try to have fun and maintain an attitude of light playfulness! Now, let’s do some name-drag:

If you identify as a woman, imagine for a moment that you are a man. What would your name be? If you are a man, imagine for a moment that you are a woman. What would your name be? What does it feel like to call yourself by this pretend name? What spell would this name cast on your life?

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5// Know that you are worthy of your real name 
In the USA (in the larger cities in particular), we are so privileged to live at a time where we can exercise our free will to become more of the person that we really are. Know that if you are unhappy with your current name, or if you don’t feel like it is truly yours, you can, in fact, change it. The same goes for your life!  If you don’t like it, you do, in fact, have the power to change it.

Beyond gender identity, I hope that you feel you are worthy of the real you. You deserve to love your name, which is to say, you deserve to love yourself. I know that if you follow your heart and trust your gut, you will find (or re-member) your real name.

**If you are a transgender individual living in the U.S., please visit my list of resources for trans individuals HERE

Danny Brave is a shamanic healer, writer, public speaker, and artist. In his private practice, he specializes in helping women and individuals assigned female at birth overcome the affects of sexual trauma. He conducts monthly LGBTQIA Shamanic Healing Circles at Brooklyn’s Maha Rose (sign up for the next one HERE) with the intention of creating safe, sober spaces for queer people to heal, and to amplify marginalized voices. He loves to paint, dance, and spend time in nature.

SPREAD ‘EM: SEX TAROT 101

Looking to add some spice to your divination practice? Alessandra Calderin gives us a crash course in Sex Tarot 101, and uncovers how you can start casting cards between the sheets …

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Art: Serpentfire Tarot

The Tarot is a mirror and a tool that reflects archetypal imagery that spans the spirals of the human experience. It allows us to connect to ourselves (and our Selves) because we intuitively understand these images. Sexuality is as primal and instinctual in us as the need to eat, sleep and breathe, and so the cards can reflect the ways in which our power, intuition, and connection manifest through our sexuality.

So WTF is a “sex tarot” reading?? There are so many ways to draw cards and create spreads to explore sex and desire! Here are 4 ways to get started …

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Art: She Wolfe Tarot

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1// Pull a “desire” spread. Pull cards asking what your subconscious desires are, what might be blocking them, and how to work through that block. The possibilities are endless!

Start with a simple 6 card spread:

Card 1: What is my heart’s desire?
Card 2: What is blocking me from fulfilling it?
Card 3: What is my deeper unconscious desire?
Card 4: What is preventing me from seeing this?
Card 5: How can I balance and integrate these desires?
Card 6: What can I shed to make space for their fulfillment?

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Art: She Wolfe Tarot

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2// Do a sacral chakra reading. Explore the seat of your sexuality by diving into the 4 “sides” of this chakra. The more you look at the pelvis and your desire as linked to your creativity, the more you start feeling how they ebb and flow together, and the more tools you have to work through both.

Card 1: Front of the sacral chakra. How does your sexuality appear to others? What is your exhibition style?
Card 2: Right side. How do you manifest sexuality and creativity in the world?
Card 3: Back. What experience of your sexuality do you hold onto?
Card 4: Left side. How do you receive creative inspiration, the desire of others, and pleasure?

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Art: Serpentfire Tarot

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3// Masturbate with the Majors. You can also use Tarot for masturbation and sex magic practices by meditating on the archetypes of the Major Arcana or court cards.

Choose whatever cards are ruled by planets or signs that show up strongly in your birth chart, where the Moon is hanging out, what astro season we’re in, or just pull a Major and start working with it at random. You might even choose one you have trouble with (like when I pulled Justice- I was bummed by how unsexy that card might be on the surface, but there was powerful medicine in that feeling and the resulting meditation!)

Most recently, for the Super Blue Blood Moon in Leo on 1/31 during Aquarius season, I meditated on Strength (because Leo rules it) and The Star (because Aquarius rules). I let those two figures guide me as I touched, explored, played with my hands and my favorite toy (Njoy Pure Wand). As I was getting ready to orgasm, these two images reassured me that my sexuality and desire were a gift, and sacred sources of feminine power.

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Art: She Wolfe Tarot

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4// And channel the deck’s sexiest cards to unlock pure magic! I could probably make an argument for the sexual energy of every card, but this is a good place to start. Explore how you feel about these cards and the kind of pleasure they channel, or isolate the pack and draw one as your teacher of the moment.

*She/He pronouns refer to the archetypal genders of masculine and feminine energy. These figures are figuratively gendered, but anatomically genderless.

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:: Strength :: In the Thoth, Strength is actually called Lust. Some interpretations say it’s the taming of desire, but I would say it’s more like mastery over desire. Taming connotes that there is too much desire and you need to control it. In this context, I see her as the master of her desire in a world that denies her that power. Your desire becomes sacred fuel the moment you master it.

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:: The Empress :: The Empress is receptive. She is how I learned to receive pleasure without having to think about reciprocating in that moment. She allows herself to be fully nourished, filled to the brim with love, pleasure, and affection, but she also rides and caresses like a goddess. She bestows the gift of her mouth upon you and it’s like drinking an unearthly elixir with her kisses and nibbles and expertly executed oral.

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:: The Emperor :: The Emperor might be a surprise for this, but as the Empress’s counterpart, he allows her to unleash. He’s like a very good Dom, providing the container for every expression of kink you might wish to explore safely. You want to be tied up, spanked, penetrated in out of the ordinary ways? He reads your body language, pushes the edges, and knows your limits before you even need to utter a safe word. The master of boundaries, he’s here to teach you how to consent so enthusiastically you forget what ambiguity feels like.

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:: The Moon :: The Moon represents the wild woman running naked in the woods and howling at the Moon- the deep waters of sexuality and mystery. She is a shapeshifter. A wolf. A mountain lion. She visits you in the dead of night and brings your to orgasm in the dream realm, and when you wake up the memory is hazy but you know something powerful has been touched inside you. She breathes underwater and is as mysterious as the bottom of the sea. You know her without words.

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:: The Devil :: The Devil can sometimes deal with a repression of desire, and to me has always had a BDSM vibe to it. I think this one depends on your relationship to that kind of imagery and sexual practice, but as a Capricorn (The Devil is ruled by Capricorn), and a big fan of power play, The Devil can sometimes be a freeing card. Reclaiming the divinity and balance of the shadow, of words like slut, whore, bitch, freak, breaks the chains that bind us to our own fear and repression. It’s a balancing act. The Devil reminds us that there are more layers and sides to it.

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:: The Lovers :: The Lovers feels like an obvious one because you have to love all the sides of yourself like a lover before you can love anyone else. Getting there is anything but obvious or easy, though. Use a mirror. Look at yourself. This is the real shit. The deep work. It takes a lot of unraveling and excavation to be able to love your body and yourself just as you are. Your best Lover will look back at you eventually.

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Art: She Wolfe Tarot

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:: Queen of Pentacles :: Queen of Pentacles is the master of the home and body. An independent woman, she knows what she likes and moves through the material world with the grace of an angelic ballerina. Queen of Wands is known to be the most sexual queen in the deck, but Queen of Pentacles knows pleasure like no one else. Part earth angel, part water nymph, she creates the primordial mud that those Dead Sea masks get their magic from.

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:: Knight of Cups :: Knight of Cups will go down on you first without being asked. Inviting this kind of energy into your bedroom, the person who will massage and caress you slowly, who dreams of drinking you like you’re water in the desert, is clutch in truly sinking into pleasure. Find you a man (or woman or non-binary) who can give it to you good.

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:: Page of Wands :: Page of Wands is bursting with potential energy, often creative and sexual. She’s ready and willing to try new toys and discover what she likes. She’s the teen who just discovered her clitoris and hasn’t been told there is something wrong with the amazing feeling that swims through her body when she touches it. She just got her period and is ready to finger paint with her blood. She will make out behind the bleachers and let herself love completely. She writes love songs and sings them without the slightest bit of embarrassment.

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:: Ace of Cups :: Ace of Cups is a pure gift of water, love, communication, and intuition. I often see it as an invitation to masturbate with more loving intention. To swim in your waters and to practice accepting the water gifts from elsewhere.

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:: 10 of Cups :: 10 of Cups is a literal orgasm. It could be something that feels as good as an orgasm, a self pleasure practice that’s out of this world, or a partner that takes you to the places of rainforest waterfalls and fireworks.

Alessandra is an intuitive healing facilitator, tarot practitioner, yoga teacher, writer, poet, comedienne and performer based in New York. She will be teaching her Tarot Immersive later this month and currently teaches yoga at Three Jewels, focusing her attention on energetic sensitivity and the pelvic floor. Explore her offerings at Boneseed, and follow her on Instagram.

WHAT CAN GODDESS APHRODITE TEACH YOU ABOUT LOVE?

As Pisces season brings on the deep emo vibes, George Lizos tells us how the Goddess Aphrodite can help us start calling in the flavor of love we need right now …

Photo: Joanna Nix

Meeting Aphrodite … 
Growing up in Cyprus, the island where Aphrodite was reputedly born, my childhood was saturated with the art, stories, and myths surrounding the Goddess of Love. Everywhere you looked she was there, posing in her seductive nakedness in statues and paintings.

As an adult, dissatisfied with my love life and drained of feminine energy, I travelled back to my homeland with a single desire in mind: I wanted to know love more deeply, more fully. 

I drove to Aphrodite’s Rock, the beach where, according to Hesiod’s myth, the Goddess was born of the sea foam and washed upon the shore. And as I walked into the calm, cool water of the Mediterranean Sea, I felt layers upon layers of sexual shame, limiting beliefs around love, past hurts and resentments, all washing off of my body.

Right then and there, I met Aphrodite. And love finally made sense, for the first time.

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What can the Goddess Aphrodite teach you right now? 
Embodying Aphrodite invites us to accept and honor romantic love in all its meanings and layers. The four ancient epithets she’s been given mix the sea (sensual love), land (erotic love), and sky (spiritual love) energies. Read on to discover which of the four qualities of Goddess Aphrodite is currently missing from your life … 

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Photo: Zara Walker

1// Ourania (Sky element; Spiritual love): This is the spiritual, romantic essence of love, that’s best experienced when a couple is “in love” with each other. The experience of falling in love transcends the ego’s perception of love, helping us realize that in spiritual truth, that all is love. Call upon Ourania Aphrodite if you’re having trouble committing to, or falling in love with, a partner.

*How to Call Her In: Mentally place a pink rose within your heart. Visualize the rose blooming slowly and radiating pink light, allowing the energy of Ourania Aphrodite to replace any blocks you have around being vulnerable and opening your heart.

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2// Chrusee (Sea element; Sensual love): This is the love towards oneself that’s fundamental for healthy romantic relationships. It also includes the act of adorning your body with beautiful clothes, jewelry, oils, and perfume. Call upon Chrusee Aphrodite if you’re struggling with low self-esteem, lack of self-love, and body confidence.

*How to Call Her In: An unorthodox yet powerful way to embody Chrusee Aphrodite is by taking away all external body adornment props (i.e. jewelry, clothes, perfume), and facing yourself naked in the mirror. Closing your eyes, visualize your body emanating a bright golden light that reflects its inner, perfect beauty. Open your eyes and accept this new perspective as your truth.

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Photo: Hal Gatewood

3// Peitho (Land element; Persuasive Love): Playfulness, flirting, teasing, and being able to seduce a partner into meaningful romantic and sexual experiences. Call upon Peitho Aphrodite to attract vitality if your love life is feeling dull and stagnant.

*How to Call Her In: Buy or create a blend of rose, frankincense and myrrh essential oils. Add three drops in your palms, rub them together, and then use your hands to clear and energize your aura. These three oils were traditionally used for seduction by Aphrodite’s priestesses; instilling your aura with them will give you the inspiration you need to spice up your love life.

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4// Philommeides (Land element; Erotic love): The love of bodily pleasures and intimate sexual connection between lovers. Call upon Philommeides Aphrodite if you have a low sexual drive, have trouble enjoying sex, or lack sexual chemistry with your partner/s.

*How to Call Her In: Just as the name suggests, to embody Philommeides Aphrodite you need to learn to love and accept your genitalia. Spend time observing, exploring, and pleasuring yourself. Educate yourself in your own sexual rhythms, needs, and desires. Make peace with them, accept them without judgment, and let them guide the way in your sexual encounters.

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Photo: Michael Paz

Once you’ve channeled your personal Aphrodite, amp up the vibes with a beach ritual to honor romantic love in all its expressions. **And you can download the Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite HERE to infuse your ritual with even more magic!

-Sit or stand on the shoreline, at the point where the waves crash on the sand, and close your eyes. If you don’t have access to the sea, just visualize yourself there and you’ll still benefit from the meditation.

-Breathing in and out, ground yourself and allow your body to adjust to the fluid energy of this in-between place. Reflect on what it means to be at the meeting point of sea, land, and sky, which captures Aphrodite’s multi-layered essence.

-Either mentally or verbally say, “I am Aphrodite,” over and over again. The ‘I am’ statement invites the essence of Aphrodite into your present moment.

-When you establish a connection with the goddess, spend some time reflecting on your willingness to honor both earthly and heavenly love. Do you reject one or the other? Do you feel guilty about either? Are you willing to accept both in your life?

-With eyes closed, open your arms wide and receive the Aphrodite qualities you need in your life right now. As the hymn ends, hug the energy into your heart by gradually bringing your arms and hands to your chest.

-End the meditation by thanking Aphrodite for her continued presence in your life, and ask her to keep guiding you in embodying romantic love to its fullness.

George Lizos is a spiritual teacher, author of Be The Guru, and the creator of the Mermaid Bootcamp. He works with the angelic and elemental realms helping lightworkers find, follow, and fulfill their life purpose. To learn more about George visit georgelizos.com, and follow him on Instagram.

THE YEAR I UN-BRAINWASHED MYSELF

After a lifetime of swallowing the societal pills of so-called security, 2017 was the year Sushma Sagar officially “un-brainwashed” herself and began living straight from her radical core …

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Sushma starts to see the light

It was pretty much drilled into my generation that the path to success and happiness was getting a secure job, getting married, and having kids. For a long time, it didn’t even occur to me that there was an alternative way to live. But when I found myself coming out of the spiritual closet in my corporate career, it started a chain reaction that led to me starting a full-time healing business last year.

And beyond my working life, reassessing my professional priorities also found me re-thinking my personal goals. Did I need to be married with a family to be happy? Did the people “in charge” know what was best for me? Do I want to be motivated by fear, as at seems some of our leaders would prefer? What do I actually think, need, dream of, once familial, societal and social conditioning is removed?

Seeking to learn the answers made 2017 the year I officially un-brainwashed myself … 

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I began to think about the karmic consequences of our decisions … 

I attended a private girl’s school in the 80s, whose mission was to prepare their students to be strong independent females who would make it in a man’s world. We were educated to be career motivated, and highly successful, be it in law, finance, medicine etc. As I was a daughter in a high achieving Indian family, it was an ethos that was also echoed at home.

It was a challenge for somebody creative like me, as I didn’t see where I “fit” into this model. And anyone who didn’t fit was very much on their own. 

I found a way to smooth the edges of my artistic leanings, studying textiles instead of dance and fine art, for example. Then working in marketing instead of designing. My need for approval and acceptance was so strong, that I gradually convinced myself to become someone else entirely. Eventually, I forgot who I was underneath.

For years, I remained blissfully ignorant. But in 2016, with the country divide on Brexit, I was galvanised to think about politics and how it affected our everyday lives. I began to think about the karmic consequences of our decisions. I began questioning what I was being told in the media. I became aware of a world order at play, and found myself dismayed by the lies and corruption being unveiled.

This “awakening” spilled into my own life, as I began questioning if I was living my truth. Was I living with integrity for myself? 

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I felt the very fabric of my existence unravelling … 

Our education system drills us to follow those in charge, and not question authority. But when it becomes clear that those who lead us often don’t have the answers themselves, it’s like realizing that your parents are only humans after all. A sign of maturity, that brings with it the freedom and the duty of taking responsibility for your own choices.

At times this transition felt good, my creative juices started flowing after so many years of being frozen. But at other times it was disorientating and extremely uncomfortable. The eggs had been broken, but the omelette wasn’t quite coming together yet—as I felt the very fabric of my existence unravelling.  

The biggest belief to crumble, was do with identity and purpose, and my definition of “success.”

If I’m not a superwoman in a highflying career, married with four adorable children, then who am I? What am I? Why am I here? What will my legacy be? My self-worth was tied up with a traditional viewpoint, but I felt alienated from the values I’d grown up with. It was on me to rewrite a definition of success that felt congruent with my inner knowing. 

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There were two milestones along the way … 

In 2012 I fell head over heels for someone who was everything I ever dreamed of. Handsome, intelligent, devastatingly charming. Finally marriage, children, and the life I hoped for seemed to be rolling out just like in the story books. Then after a close death in the family, the relationship deteriorated, and I fell into a grief spiral. The dream plan went awry. 

A few years later, I found myself working as a resident healer at the Obonjan festival, doing intensive healing sessions in a pine forest. During one session, I had an incredible spiritual experience where, among other things, the trees began communicating with me. It broke me down and I found myself weeping tears of joy. Life suddenly felt very different, and I was aware of my soul evolving. I had tasted something profound that my current existence had not been giving me. I suddenly understood that success to me involved service and connection.

I have continued with this very deep, personal healing work. Shamanism, sound healing, meditations, acupuncture, family constellations, womb work, goddess work, inner child … you name it, I’ve done it! The need to connect with Spirit became all consuming, leading me to live a higher vibrational lifestyle. 

I became very sensitive to the things that affected my connection, such as meat and alcohol, and naturally reduced them. Of course, my own reiki practice has supported me from the beginning, and I’ve used this to navigate life and heal.

I’m lucky in that my family and friends have always been supportive of my healing work, in spite of them never fully understanding what I do. However, the more work I do on myself, the more I am able to understand what makes us all tick, and the more my relationships with others have improved.

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How to undertake your own “un-brainwashing” … 

In order to unlearn deeply ingrained patters, I believe you have to:

1// Examine your beliefs. 
Identify and becomes aware of your beliefs about key areas of life. For example: self, love, sex, family, religion, faith, society, culture, right and wrong, how life and the universe actually work etc.

Then go back and consider how you learned that belief, where it originated from. Was it from a teacher at school, or a family member for example?

Now ask yourself: if that origin were removed, and there was no judgement from anywhere, would you still feel the same way? Consider whether the belief makes you feel happy or obligated. 

Physical sensations will often occur when an idea resonates with you: goosebumps, chills or even a prickly feeling. Your body knows what is true for you and what is not, so look for the signs. How do different concepts, and beliefs about how to live your life, make you feel?

For example, after the breakdown of my relationship, I realized that part of my grief was to do with the loss of a life path I thought I wanted. I had blindly trusted that I needed to be married with children to be happy. However, under deep scrutiny, I realized this idea originated from my culture and society in general, and I hadn’t really thought about my needs as an individual and a healer.

I concluded that being a parent might bring satisfaction, but may not actually make me “happier.” Besides, wallowing in mother-fomo was bringing me down. So I determined that it wasn’t going to be a deal-breaker and have felt a lot better since.

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2// Find new teachers.  
Trying to unlearn everything, pick it all apart and work out who I was under all the conditioning, has been incredibly challenging. Listening to teachers, in particular Shaman Durek, has helped and continues to help me navigate this process.

However, my biggest teachers have actually been my personal spirit guides, accessed through deep Shamanic work. I learn and continue to learn more from them more than anyone else, and they have helped me to discern what “I” think and want.

Finding your teachers is about using your intuition. Ask around for recommendations, Google subjects of interest, and see what authors you’re attracted to. Be guided by synchronicity. Whose face, voice and attitude resonates with you, or charges you up? Find people who challenge your status quo and make you think twice. 

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3// Honor your natural talents.
You were given your talents for a reason, and it’s your duty to nurture them—and, when you have mastered them, to share them with others. In the sentiment of Oprah Winfrey, speaking and living your truth is the most important thing you can do!

I launched my own healing brand, The Calmery, so that I could create something in my own vision, and not be answerable to anyone, but I’m still sometimes plagued with a “be nice, be liked, head down” corporate hangover.

There is certainly more work for me to do, to be living in my full wattage power. But my un-brainwashing is well underway, and I’ll get there soon enough.

 

Sushma Sagar is a former global fashion brand director turned Reiki Master Teacher, and is the founder of London based healing practice The Calmery. She offers private reiki sessions, tuition, and workshops by appointment. Join her for Reiki Level One Training on Sunday, February 18th in London. 

HOLY F*CK: VALENTINE’S DAY EDITION

In a special Valentine’s Day Edition of her monthly column, Holy F*ck, Alexandra Roxo tells us how reclaiming your “single” status can lead to the greatest love of all.

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Portrait by Caitlin Mitchell Studio

From “intimacy grad school to solo initiation 
From age 21 to 32, I was in “Intimacy Grad School,” aka back-to-back relationships without breaks. Yet there were certain parts of myself I was not integrating. I always had trouble staying dedicated to my spiritual practice with someone traipsing around the bedroom while I was mid-meditation. I also hid some of my weirdness and wildness in certain moments. But more than anything, I hid my mystical.

But for the past two and a half years, I have been single and working on myself deeply, alone. I needed to be by myself to REALLY vow that I would never abandon my practice for anyone, ever again. And I also know that the subsequent career growth, shamanic initiation, and unfolding of myself, had to happen solo so I could define myself as ME and not as WE.

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What are you really in love with?  
In these years, I have gone deep into both the pains and joys of being “single.” And part of this process has been about realizing that the word “single” is problematic to begin with. The word implies a LACK of something. And it implies that if you aren’t in a partnership, you aren’t whole in some way. Cause let’s face it- knowing if someone is “single” or not ties into old school traditional ways of viewing relationships and love and sex.

What if instead of saying “I’m single,” we said “I’m currently in love with my book writing!” Or “I’m loving my besties so hard right now!” Or “I’m doing some major healing work.” Because chances are you are deeply loving and in partnership with MANY things in your life, with or without a romantic love.

When we define ourselves based on LACK we set ourselves up for suffering, pain, anxiety, depression. When we define ourselves based on what excites us, makes us feel alive, connected, sexy and real—then we reprogram ourselves for success!

Now, that doesnt mean it’s not okay to want Love, or partnership, or a family. Allow that yearning. Always! But there is a difference between wanting something from a strong grounded place versus wanting something from a desparate clingy place outside of ourselves. One feels REALLY good to claim. The other feels like anxiety in the body.

Read on for 5 ways to swap your “single” status for “in love with so many other things” … 

ruby warrington alexandra roxo holy fuck the numinous material girl mystical world valentine's day edition
Portrait by Caitlin Mitchell Studio

1// Stay connected to your heart. There is no better time to get to know the deepest of your Heart’s desires than when you have time and space. Get to know your blocks. Your barriers to Love. Your yearning. Your longing. How can you ask another to enter your Heart if you don’t know your own Heart? DO your work. Now is the time

*Easy ways to begin: Journal and/or meditate daily. Make a Pinterest boards of “What Makes you feel Alive” or “What Turns you On” and most of all BREATHE. Learn to let your belly hang loose and let breath travel through your body for a hugely more connected experience of living.

2// Change your words, change your realityChange your WHOLE vocab around dating, sex and love. No more “Honestly there are just no good men in X (swap X for your city).” Or, “Gosh dating in LA is so hard!” New Yorkers say the same. Small towners say the same. Your language CREATES your reality.

*Easy ways to begin: Try focusing on the good stuff—”Wow! I met two amazing, conscious men last week.” Sounds cheesy but it will reframe your experience! When someone does something kind for you, like opens a door or offers to help you at the store, take notice. And say it aloud: “Wow so sweet this guy carried my groceries!” It’s a SIMPLE practice but it can move mountains.

3// Reclaim your solo sex practice. This one can get super hard. But if you’re walking around horny all the time and unfulfilled, you will be like a starving animal on the prowl.

Take back your sexual power instead of waiting for someone to enter your life and get you off. Yes, it’s not the same. But you are going to feel so yummy and juicy if you start this process. Folks are gonna tooooootally look at you differently in Whole Foods. Trust me.

*Easy ways to begin: Take your masturbation practice up a notch. No more lazy vibrator in sweats to an old porn nights. Put on lingerie. Burn a candle. Buy some new toys. Explore something new on your own. Buy some erotica to read in the tub. Go to a ropes class.

4// Get clear about your REAL values. Many times we “think” we know and then someone comes and we’re all googoo gaga for them and wake up 6 months later like “whoops, our values are not aligned” because we didn’t define and clarify what we wanted. So take this time to dial in your business and get clear on your desires.

*Easy ways to begin: Get to know yourself—not the you from last year. What are you into right now, what do you want more of in your life, what are your hard Yeses and hard Nos in love and sex and relating?

5// See the whole world as your soul mate.  This is *advanced* spiritual practice my Loves!  But you can let love flow through you ALL the time. In every old man’s smile. Each caress of wind on your cheek. You see, there is no separation between the Beloved and You and your Whole Life. This is the shit the mystics talk about. Rumi. Hafiz. This is real deal work, and focusing on this will let your Heart be met ALL THE TIME.

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Alexandra Roxo works with clients one-on-one, both in person and online, and focuses on sexual healing, sensual embodiment and empowerment! *Parts of this piece were edited from Alexandra’s “Sex Goddess” monthly column on Horoscope.com—check out her other work HERE.

HOLY F*CK: HOW TO REALIGN SEXUALITY AND SPIRITUALITY

Tired of disembodied meditation and higher chakra holiness? Alexandra Roxo tells us it’s time to get down and dirty with our healing, and realign sexuality and spirituality …

sexuality back in spirituality holy fuck holy f*ck alexandra roxo ruby warrington caitlin mitchell the numinous moon club material girl mystical world
Photo by Caitlin Mitchell

How many times have you walked into a yoga class and had the teacher speak to your womb or your balls or your anus?

While you can find cute articles about sacred sexuality, breathing with your partner, and yoni eggs, the nitty gritty WHOLE body is largely left out of the modern spirituality and wellness conversation. And of our healing journeys as a result …

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:: Sacral Shutdown ::
Right now, many of us are caught in a cycle of closing our “lower” chakras (a.k.a. our connection to Mama Earth and the body), as we focus on higher ones. This cycle often looks like:

PHASE 1: Make unconscious choices around sex, the body, and pleasure for a certain period of our lives (i.e. eating unconsciously, using sex for self worth). This phase is often impacted by everything from sexual trauma to eating disorders, which affect our ability to receive joy and pleasure.

PHASE 2: We find comfort as we begin our spiritual paths, manifesting in attempts to “transcend” the body with meditation, mantras, and other external spiritual tools (astrology, tarot etc.)

PHASE 3: Once “woke,” we wonder, why do I still not feel whole? Why am still not able to experience pleasure, and feel JOY on a regular basis?

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:: Returning to the Raw ::
With millions of women coming forward as sexual abuse survivors through #metoo, many of us are more painfully aware than ever that trauma and shame live in the BODY, not just the mind. This means that more than ever, we have to figure out how to include sexual healing and a return to bodily pleasure in our modern spiritual journeys.

But this integration can’t come in a neat and fragrant package; we need to welcome the body and sexuality to the door in all its messiness—raw and bloodied, awkward, weird, and slightly unsettling. Because the conversation around sexual healing IS unsettling. IS raw. IS painful.  

How do we start bridging this gap? I’m not suggesting you start masturbating on the meditation cushion (through you can if you want … I have!) But we do need to get more fearless and more courageous in our conversations about the body, sex, pleasure, and pain, and in the way we heal.

Here are 4 ways to start integrating your sexual story with your spiritual one, right now …

sexuality back in spirituality holy fuck holy f*ck alexandra roxo ruby warrington caitlin mitchell the numinous moon club material girl mystical world
Photo by Caitlin Mitchell

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1// Woo your body back from numbness. If you spend 90% of your time on the computer and the rest in a seated meditation practice, most of your life is disembodied. I prescribe the Sofia Loren/ Italian housewife style of medicine, where you eat and dance and dress and fuck with such joy, that your pleasure begins to heal the Earth—because she’s so happy you’re enjoying her gifts!!  

Practice: Make a Pinterest Board with your fave women who embody RAW pleasure. I love Penelope Cruz in Almodovar’s films, Brigitte Bardot, and Sofia Loren. Eat food as if it’s your LAST meal! Feel how amazing it can taste when you slow down and savor every bite.

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2// Explore. Last month I lead a retreat in Los Angeles that combined Japanese rope bondage and sexual healing (more on that here). And if you follow my work you know I dance with snakes too which awakened my sexy like WHOA.

While ropes and snakes may not be your thing (my Mars is in Scorpio, what can I say), find ways ways that feel safe and good for YOU to reclaim and LOVE your sexy side. Does taking a floor dance class sound fun and healing? Or learning how to make your body an offering to a lover with a sexy lap dance? Get curious! 

Practice: There are conscious kink classes in major cities (Babeland in NYC has rad classes!) I also highly rec reading erotic books, and exploring practices and women integral to this movement like Vanessa Cuccia of Chakrubs, Cycles and Sex, and Kimberly Johnson, aka The Vaginapratcor. 

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3// Talk. Hold an intentional sharing circle for sexual stories, embarrassing stories, and erotic tales. Implement a timed sharing policy with no cross talking so people can share their stories without needing validation, approval, or advice. Or hold a dinner party themed around fun and sexy talk, and draw anonymous questions from a hat.

Practice: Here’s a sexy Moon ritual and an erotic recharge activation that can be used anytime AND done in a group!

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4// Bring your shame and pain to the table. One barrier to embodied healing is compartmentalization. Often, we don’t think it’s possible to feel JOY while also experiencing PAIN. Or you may start an excited conversation about your new crystal dildo but also feel ashamed. Remember, your body knows that it’s possible for multiple feelings to exist at the same time—hold space for all of them, express them, and don’t shoo them away. 

Practice: When navigating shame, I choose my 3 go-to shamanic tools—BREATHE, SOUND, MOVEMENT. Lay on the floor, breathe into your belly like you’re pregnant with air, and make sounds while moving your spine. Breathe the shame, sound it out with a HA, a growl, a moan. Cry in your car. In the tub. And then put on a song and dance!

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Bottom line is, the sexual and body healing that is necessary on this planet in our times is not going to happen from the MIND. 

It will only happen when we begin to integrate and come home to the body. Seek pleasure. Make space for joy. Sensation. Rage. Crying. Screaming. Cumming. As we come back to the body, and release old programming about it being shameful and dirty, we will come home to Mama Earth and her environment, which has been abused for far too long.  

*I am taking on 5 clients from February 2018 to July 2018 for a 6 Month Transformational Healing Experience around sexual healing, expression, and embodiment. It’s going to be a radical return to the body, pleasure, love, sexuality, and healing. For more info, please email [email protected]

HOW I AM COMMITTING TO RAISING A CONSCIOUS MAN

In a climate of deeply wounded masculinity, Nina Endrst was dismayed to discover she was having a boy. But she soon realized this was a calling to declare her credo for raising a conscious man …

nina endrst ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world dru nadler conscious man
Photo by Dru Nadler

I consider myself pretty intuitive. It’s been my work, especially in recent years, to release doubt and follow my heart in whatever direction I’m led.

Shortly after I became pregnant, I felt I “knew” I was going to have a little girl. I felt it in my bones. Saw visions of her during deep meditation and healing sessions. We were going to raise a little feminist.

Wrong. Well, sort of. My 22-week ultrasound revealed that I was in fact having a boy. A BOY?! Of course my only hope is and was to have a healthy baby—but I’ll admit I was knocked off my intuitive pedestal in that moment.

When we got in the car, I looked at my husband and said, “UGH! He is going to watch porn?!” I was totally freaked out for a good few minutes, going over all the things he definitely couldn’t do or be.

How the hell am I going to raise a man? Despite having strong relationships with good men, something about being responsible for ensuring that mine wouldn’t grow up to be a chauvinist asshole was daunting. It is impossible for me not to be enraged daily by the toxic masculinity that exists in our society, and around the world.

As I pondered what it would meant to raise a conscious man, I asked myself, where do I begin?

Then, I remembered a dream I’d had about an old boss (privileged, white, good looking by most people’s standards, probably rarely hears or understands the word “no”). This dream triggered a real memory of the sexual harassment I experienced while I was an employee and had “forgotten” about.

Because I, like most women, experience sexual harassment ALL the time. Many of us have also been victims of assault (I was age 9, and wrote about it here). The recent #Metoo shed some light on the epidemic, but this is not and cannot be perceived as “normal.”

So how do we heal such a deep and devastating wound? The conversation feels bigger than I can possibly wrap my head and heart around. And it raises serious doubts about how I will raise a conscious, sensitive, compassionate, FEMINIST man today.

Below is my individual process to tending to this wound daily—for myself, my son, and the whole. It’s where I am beginning my commitment to raise a conscious man …

nina endrst matthew johnson ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world conscious man
Photo by Matthew Johnson

1// I commit to regularly sharing with the men in my life how I am and have been mistreated as a woman.
Practice: I will not assume that everyone is awake, watching, and listening. This does not mean I will excuse sexist behavior or abuse—this means I will educate men around me through my personal experience. I will share how it made me feel when I was cat-called earlier that day, when I do feel safe, and discuss the long-lasting emotional and energetic damage that I and most women have to continually work to undo.

2// I commit to teaching my son that women are not things to be “had.” We are human beings to be respected.
Practice: I will surround him with strong females, both in real life as well as through literature and media. From the time he is born, I will introduce him to men that speak to and about women with love and respect, and will continue to work with my husband to show him what a healthy and equal partnership looks like.

3// I commit to helping my son understand that silence is unacceptable.
Practice: I will speak up in his presence and explain to him that with privilege comes responsibility. That we are put on this earth to protect each other and it is not OK to sit quietly on the sidelines if and when we witness injustice or abuse.

4// I commit to speaking honestly to my son about dangerous and unhealthy body standards placed on women.
Practice: I’ll raise him to look for intelligence, kindness, and humor in women, and people in general, before beauty. I will show him that beauty exists in many forms and do my best to limit his exposure to messaging that is damaging to women.

5// I commit to teaching my son how to show emotion—that sensitivity and compassion are part of what make him “a man.”
Practice: I will ask him how he feels and listen to him with an open heart. I will allow him to express himself and his emotions fully and praise him for it.

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My son will be born in a few weeks. I feel mostly at peace and a little clueless and naive. I do not know how our lives will unfold from here, and am very aware that much of it is out of my control. But I do know that I will try every day to be the strongest, softest, version of myself, both for my son, and for our collective healing of the wounded masculine as it unfolds.

Nina lives her yoga and is inspired by traveling to places outside her comfort zone, both physically and emotionally. Currently based in Hudson, NY, she leads retreats around the world and welcomes students of all levels. Connect with her at ninaendrstyoga.com and on Instagram.

WHAT YOUR PERIOD BLOOD IS TRYING TO TELL YOU

When energy psychologist Alexia Traverse-Healy started her cycle one night, a flood of emotions came with it. She soon discovered what her period blood was actually trying to tell her …

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Photo: Christal Yuen

Feeling a movement, a shift of tides, I tense a little and then spring up from the bed. My partner looks bewildered. Mid gallop to the bathroom I shout over my shoulder: “I’m bleeding.” He relaxes. Her period.

I run to the bathroom but we are out of loo paper upstairs. I turn back on my self to head to the downstairs bathroom, covering the light switch in menstrual blood as I flick it on, having tried to hold the blood in with my hand. I won’t make it down and back.

“I’ll get it,”says my boyfriend, coming from the bedroom. Gratefully, I sit on the loo upstairs, door open. And just as I am pulling my Mooncup out of my vagina, full of not just free-flowing red blood, but also strings of mucous and matter, he bounds back up and freezes for a moment. Hand outstretched but face away, he mutters something about “mystery” and walks off.

I recognise the wounded feeling straight away. Mystery? I know what he means. He means how I ask him not to poop with the door open or fart in our bed. “I know it’s not the same,”he has already muttered as he heads off back down the corridor, in preparation no doubt for what happens next. He knows me well.

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Because it IS my mystery … 
Then comes my Leonine anger. The years of hearing “Are you having your period?” when I am fired up and passionate. I want him to understand what rages through me when my blood is denied or demands to be hidden, to be cleaner, to be prettier.

Because, to me, it IS my mystery. It is my essence and my strength, my sexiness, my womanhood, my core. The smell. The blood. The mess. It is me. And to be turned off by it, turned away from it, is painful and personal.

I didn’t always feel this way. After growing up learning to conceal and apologize for it, it has taken me until 38 years old to be proud of it. The Mooncup has been a big part of the transition. Now I handle my blood. There’s no hiding with a Mooncup.

I cut back to this moment and tune into the love I feel for this man.

His reaction is to the sight of the blood all over my hands, down the inside of my thighs, dripping from my vagina into the loo, pouring from the full Mooncup into the sink. It is slightly shocking, if it’s not yours. If it’s not beloved to you.

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When your daughter wants to paint with it … 
But I want him to be fascinated by it. I want him to come over with wonder and be interested and slightly awed. Like my five-year-old daughter is: “Mummy can you not take your Mooncup out until I get back from school? I want to see.”

At first, her deep, deep interest freaked me out. What? Really? Is that even appropriate parenting? But she was insistent and so purely intrigued. It was her right, as a woman in the making. I’ve been raising her to question, to take interest, to be fearless – so why not here too? With minimal fuss or pomp, I showed her this everyday occurrence infused with a little wonderment. And she was joyful. Fascinated.

I wanted to give her the choice of always being easy with her body. A wild, artistic child, she’d ask if she could paint with it. Even I have my limits, but god I love her for wanting to.

alexia traverse healy ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world period blood

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I will continue to worship my blood … 
My boyfriend is in the kitchen making us Sunday breakfast. And as I come down off my adrenaline high, I see what he means when he compares seeing me in full flow to farting in bed. Though to me, it’s not the same. With the blood of my monthly moon comes the possibilities of life and death, the magic of future and past, and I doubt anyone can say that about a fart.

But what he means is that, to him, it is a bodily function, and he sees them all the same. In a way, it may be his version of equality.

As I drop down from my orbit of emotions, I remember him falling asleep last night, with his cool hand on my too-hot belly, holding the pain for me and with me, asking me if I wanted an ice pack from the kitchen. And I feel grateful. I breathe. I’m here

If he holds me through the pain of my bleeding, then maybe for now I am happy to leave the blood paintings, the roars of grace and gut, the dancing and the revelry, to my sisters, my daughters, and to the mothers.

Every time we are triggered, it is an invitation to learn and to go deeper. To peel off an onion layer. I love that this morning’s little wounding helped me to deepen my trust for my partner, helped me to articulate silent shadow feelings that I’d never even thought to express.

I will continue to worship my blood, to feel proud and stand strong in my SHEness – but I won’t blame my man for running from it. It is powerful after all.

He asks me, before I send this in, to change “he bolts” to “he heads off down the corridor.” “I know it doesn’t sound as good,” he says, “but it’s more like what happened.”

I concede, erase, replace, and eat my delicious breakfast, bleeding quietly.

Alexia Traverse-Healy is a London-based energy psychologist who works with clients on anxiety, stress, phobias, sexual issues, relationship crisis, family, fertility, finances, patterns of stuck behavior, and existential questions. To book a free 20 minute phone consultation go to www.sheworkswellness.com, where you can also find a free SHEness Audio visualisation.

 

 

HOLY F*CK: DATE NIGHT AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

While our solo work is oh so vital, Alexandra Roxo tells us that colliding with another can take us even further. Date night can even become your soul’s mirror …

alexandra roxo date night the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world holy fuck moon club

Whether you’re in partnership or single, when you’re able to clean the dirt of old stories and receive your truth, you can let your relationships be a clear mirror for your soul.

And a date is a perfect way to see where you are on your journey on any given day, in any given moment …

It can be with your husband. A stranger. A boyfriend or girlfriend. If you walk in with intention and clarity, you can see how much you are accepting all of yourself: where you are tight and holding, where you are closed, where you have grown. Treat it like a ritual. A ceremony.

Whatever stories cloud your mirror, here’s how to start to scrubbing and seeing yourself without the scar tissue, warning labels, and caution signs …

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3 DATES + A HOMECOMING 
After some soul searching and radical up-leveling at Burning Man, I returned to L.A. and decided to hop back into the dating scene to see what I attracted …

Date 1: Sacred Sluts & Shadow Work
My first mirror was a director, Reiki healer, and angel speaker, who told me stories of BDSM clubs in Europe, had erotic poetry on the walls, was kinda Goth, had been to Burning Man, and fed me banana pudding.

I was staring at a mirror of an old version of self, the hipster meets healer meets artist who likes to party but talks to Angels. But the difference was that this man was accepting ALL these parts of himself, especially his kinky side. Though I am happy the “hipster me” was put to rest, colliding with him made me realize that I was still struggling to mix my BDSM side with my Mother Mary side, my Goth side with my sacred side.

I left the date, cried for two days, and never heard from him again.

But what I’d learned was that it was time to accept and love my Sacred Slut, Radical Queer, Kinky Freak … who is also creative, deeply spiritual, pious, artistic, and a Spiritual Teacher.

I felt like a part of me had come home out of the shadows … 

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Date 2: Wood Chopping & Clear Channel Intensity
I arrived at a beautiful house, and a man began to chop wood and made a fire for us in a ceramic fire pit.

As he then lead us through breathwork and we journeyed through the elements, I wondered if he’d Googled me. Did he know I loved to practice ritual?! It didn’t matter. It felt good nonetheless.

As we laid on an oriental rug by the fire, turned on our sides and gazed into each other’s eyes, my body shivered and shook. And then we danced. We prayed. We sang. We painted.

WOW. This is how I LIVE. Ceremony, ritual, intensity, intention. And because my mirror had been foggy and not reflecting out my whole self, I had rarely been met by the people I dated in that fullness.

Seeing the beauty of my life reflected in this person was moment was a gift and a miracle for myself. My fave books on his shelf, my anthem “Higher Love” playing, an arrow tattoo on both of our left ribs.

I understood that I wasn’t seeing my wounds anymore because I was accepting myself. With all my flaws and stories. And so he was able to be a clear mirror for me.

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Date 3: A Man Named “God” 
I didn’t think my new picture of myself could get any sharper. But as we change, our mirror changes too. After doing a 3-day intimacy intensive, something shifted in me, and my capacity and definition of intimacy and love expanded even further.

During the following week I met three men whose names meant “Who is Like God,” and decided to go on a date with one of them. 

This person was consciously devoted to spiritual practice, and our date became a moving meditation of connection, not even a date at all. Few words were needed. Clothes stayed on. But we went into ecstatic states.

He saw where I was holding back and invited me to share my Fullness. I saw where he wasn’t trusting himself and I helped him to trust.

We spent our time in a fluid dance together, a type of date I never thought was possible! Putting it into words seems silly. Like describing the shape of raindrops. Or trying to gift someone a jar of laughter.

And this is where my soul is now. 

alexandra roxo date night the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world holy fuck moon club

4 STEPS TO TURN YOUR OWN DATE NIGHT INTO SOUL WORK 

STEP 1. Work on radical self-acceptance. This means stop trying to change and fix yourself. Be willing to see yourself fully so you can be met in your Wholeness. With all the mess.  All the trauma. Cellulite. Credit card debt.

Write the Mess a Letter: What do you HATE about yourself? What is hiding in the shadows that you think isn’t socially acceptable? Bring it all up to the surface and then LOVE it so so so hard. Write it love letters. Affirmations. Make it an altar. Buy it an outfit. Treat that part of you like a Queen.

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STEP 2. Resource yourself. If you’re single, get clear about what is of value to you and bring it to yourself until you are completely “resourced.”

Fill Your Own Cup: You want safety? Make a list of what makes you feel safe and do those things. You want someone who texts back? Start being more consistent with your own communication skills. You want more sexy fun? Bring it to your SELF. Fill your own cup.

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STEP 3. Be clear about what you want. Own it. Claim it. And be ready to attract a few “Mirror Cleaners” —a.k.a. free teachers! Just be safe and take care.

Say it Out loud: Clear shame about what you want by telling yourself aloud. You want your hubby to role play doctor with you? Or your date to meditate with you? GREAT. Get comfortable with it by writing it down, saying it aloud to yourself, and lastly, sharing with friends—but only when it feels solid for you.

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STEP 4. Be ready to step into practice. When you are on “the path” EVERYTHING is practice. This doesn’t just happen in yoga or kundalini class or meditation time. LIFE becomes your daily yoga.

Gauge Your Presence Level: Start giving yourself a 1 to 10 in terms of Presence Level on every coffee date, work meeting etc. Then at the end of the day ask yourself “How could I have gotten more present?” Did I need to scream, nap, dance, cry? Bring more rage? More warrior vibes?  Start practicing.

And most of all, remember that “the work” of being fully met doesn’t have to be laborious (and it doesn’t have to conform in the least bit to society’s ideas about partnerships or an outcome driven process—years of birthdays and cuddling and make outs and camping trips are all extra).

The GIFT is being met in a moment. And then being able to see the reflection of how far you have come.

Alexandra is a writer and spiritual teacher who works with clients one-on-one in person and remotely. Join her in LA next week on 10/11 at Free People Santa Monica for a Practical Love Magic Workshop, and on 10/14 at Saje Wellness for Love, Sex, and Other Things (use CODE Alexandra for $10 off!)

10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SOBER DATING

Leo season means the romance AND the party vibes are in full force. How to navigate the love landscape sans booze? Caitlin Cecil shares 10 things you need to know about sober dating …

Sober dating The Numinous Club Soda NYC
Photo: JD Mason

Once upon a time, my favorite part of dating was getting ready for the date: mixing myself a rum and Coke to take the edge off, jamming to some Blink 182, choosing my outfit and make up, and sipping on my beverage to alleviate the first date jitters. Even if the date turned out to be a bust, I really enjoyed having a drink with myself in anticipation of a night out …

Two years ago, alcohol having wrecked havoc on my health through migraines, anxiety, and the occasional total melt down, I chose to go booze free. But I’m certainly still dating. And as a 29-year-old single woman in Texas, the constant go to when I’m asked out is, “Do you want to grab a drink?”

How to navigate this new terrain? Whether you’re sober or just sober curious, here are 10 things you need to know when it comes to sober dating …

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1// Know what you want. Whether you want to date a fellow non-drinker or don’t mind dating someone who drinks, make a clear decision. This takes some research. Go on some dates and see where you fall on the spectrum. I’ve done both and discovered that while I don’t need to date someone who’s also sober and can handle a partner who enjoys a drink, dates who get blasted over and over again are certainly not for me.

2// Reveal only as much as you want. Decide ahead of time how much you want to give away. When I first quit drinking, I was still a little embarrassed to tell people I didn’t drink. In a dimly lit bar with an attractive man, I’d feel silly saying, “Oh this? It’s a Shirley Temple.” It’s your call if you want to obscure the truth while you get to know somebody. Or if you’re totally vibing with the person and want to reveal your alcohol free lifestyle, go for it … any judgement is on their part.

3// Know your secret drinks. The magic concoction that got me through the early stages of my new life was a little drink called bitters and Coke. Bitters has an orange flavor to it, most people do not know what it is, a lot of my dates just assumed it was a type of alcohol, and bartenders would never charge me much for it. The truth is, it has a teeeeny bit of alcohol in, it but not enough to cause any sort of difference in your BAC. And the more comfortable I got, the more I was able to move away from dependence on sugary sodas.

Sober dating The Numinous Club Soda NYC
Photo: Matthew Henry

4//Take the lead suggesting date ideas. If you have a date coming up and he or she asks you if you have any ideas about what to do, suggest something that doesn’t involve alcohol. Coffee, bowling, hiking, dog walking … one time I even visited a wolf sanctuary! Once you open your mind to what a date “should” look like, the possibilities are endless. Check your local listings and start exploring.

5// Find your time zone. I used to say yes to dates at 8 or 830pm. Now? Heck no! Too close to my sober life bed time. If someone wants to take me out, they’re going to get my best self earlier in the day. Let your date know your best time zone, give them some options, and don’t be afraid to suggest earlier times if your alcohol free lifestyle has your schedule shifting.

6// Do NOT feel pressured. A big part of dating alcohol free is remembering that you are a ROCK STAR for choosing to live the way you want to live in the face of social pressures. You are making a choice that goes against the grain and yes, many people will be confused. I recently went on a bowling date and ordered a beer for my date, but he felt really uncomfortable because I wasn’t drinking too. I assured him that I wanted him to enjoy himself and that my not drinking was a choice I made for me—nothing to do me with judging him.

7// Craft your answers. When people have serious addiction problems and enter into AA or other treatment programs, others seldom ask why. But choosing to be alcohol free for other reasons often leaves others confused and asking a lot of questions. Never feel pressured to respond in a certain way. Sometimes, I reveal medical information and talk about my migraines. But other times, I choose to keep it short and simple. You can simply say “I’m doing a cleanse,” or “I’m alcohol free to support others who cannot drink.” Say what you want to and what feels right, and remember that if somebody’s weirded out, they’re probably not for you.

8// Feel for real connections. Dating is a two way street and sober or not, you have to actually get along. When you’re sober and really connecting with someone, you’ll have even MORE amazing conversations about the universe, TV shows, animals, political drama … and guess what? You’ll actually remember them the next day!!

9// Irish goodbye if you need to. The Irish goodbye stems from the idea of an Irish person being so drunk they just leave a social event without saying goodbye, but in this case it’s a reverse Irish goodbye. While this may seem like regular dating ed 101, for the newly alcohol free it may be harder to do. If your date is drunk or you are uncomfortable for any reason, Irish goodbye on out of there.

10// HAVE FUN! Do not let the disappearance of alcohol hold you back from meeting people, discovering fun activities in your city, and trying new things. Remember, being booze free and feeling healthy will actually liven you up—not the opposite!

Caitlin Cecil is a Houston-based wellness coach who focuses on helping people with stress, burn out, anxiety, and finding balance. She has a degree in Rtvf, a NESTA wellness coaching certification, teaches barre, and loves coaching women to their highest potential. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram, sign up for her newsletter HERE, and check out her “Cruise from Booze” wellness program. 

HOLY F*CK: WHY WOMEN TRIGGER EACH OTHER & HOW TO DEAL

From public shaming to private comparison—enough is enough, says Alexandra Roxo. It’s time to figure out why women trigger each other, stop throwing shade, and turn those triggers to gold …

alexandra roxo holy fuck ruby warrington the numinous women trigger
Photo: Alexandra Herstik

As women, we have been taught to compare ourselves to others women from the day we were born …

We’ve been presented with images of people we’re supposed to look like, dress like, love like, and work like. We’ve talked shit about other women and not only has it been acceptable, it has gained us allies.

And then we reach a certain age where we hold the shit talk in, because it doesn’t make us look good … but the shit is still shit. And it stinks.

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WHEN JUST BEING IS BEING “TOO MUCH” 

I’ve been triggering people since I was young. I was 12 when people started calling me “Slut” and “Whore.” Though I hadn’t so much as seen a penis at that time, I was expressing as a feminine being, and people were pissed. I eventually saw that the way I expressed myself made people uncomfortable, and so I stopped eating, changed my hair, and did just about everything I could to attempt to deflect the hatred and jealousy of other women.

But as hard as I tried to squash down my power, it always leaked out. I’d piss someone off and they would tell me I was “too much” or call me “Slut” again. Thankfully, at age 33, I have had enough therapy, sat in enough plant medicine ceremonies, and done enough inner work in general to know that it’s safe to reclaim and express the power I attempted to shove down for so many years. But it’s always a work in progress.

As an adult, I’ve split with business partners and besties because of triggering behavior—and received death and gang rape threats because of the creative work I do.

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WHEN WE DO OUR WORK, NOTHING REMAINS UNSEEN 

But now, because I’m more aware of EVERY fiber of my energetic alignment, when something even just feels slightly off, I can tell.

When we develop our witchy and magical powers and do our own work, nothing remains unseen. And negative thoughts or jealousy towards another person creates a hook or cord. An energetic connection. Now, more than ever, I can tell when I am triggering other women, and they are triggering me.

I can see the look in their eyes when I’ve said something too bold or too big or too sexy or too powerful. I know when I don’t hear from them for a while and they aren’t speaking up, that I’ve triggered the part of them that wishes they could. I used to avoid those looks in people’s eyes. They hurt too much. But now I won’t sacrifice myself at the altar of someone else’s shit.

And I know when I’m triggered too. When the tall skinny blonde women in my life bring up my own body issues from the past. Ones I thought I was over (ish). It’s like being an alcoholic and walking into a bar. Why do it? But I can’t just get rid of the beautiful blondes in my life because they unknowingly trigger me! So I keep working through it … 

alexandra roxo ruby warrington the numinous holy fuck women trigger
Photo: Alexandra Herstik, Dress: Forgotten Feather Vintage, Styling: Haley Francise

FROM PUBLIC SHAME TO PRIVATE COMPARISON  

As adult women most of us no longer publicly shame each other. Instead, we compare quietly behind closed doors. Remember when we had private eating disorders and hated our bodies? Anybody? Now many of us are all talking about that, thank Goddess! But we still aren’t talking about the fact that we’re quietly judging each other all the time …  

It’s a wild world out there ladies and I know that the endless sea of triggers is never gonna end. But we CAN own up to our triggers, speak honestly with one another, and start CLEANING UP OUR SHIT!  

Digging in to why women trigger each other and what we can do about it, here’s what I propose …

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DO honestly challenge yourself to come clean. Pretending will get you nowhere! Recently, I felt very triggered after hanging with a friend. At first I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t hang with her!” But I challenged myself to come clean. The next time I saw her, I spoke directly: “I felt very challenged the last time I hung out with you. It triggered the part of me that thinks I must hustle to be successful. I know this is all mine and it was a beautiful and painful process for me.” She received my words and it was so loving, and there was nothing ANYONE did wrong. FUCK YEAH.

DON’T lash out and say “You trigger me! Every time you complain about your weight and you wear a size 2, I feel awful that I’m a size 6 and I want to kill you. Fuck you!”

DO take space. When you need to, step aside, take a moment, breathe. Journal. And come back to the situation when you are grounded and in a productive place rather than a REACTIVE one.

DON’T use excuses about taking space to avoid necessary confrontations. Ask yourself, “Am I just running?” While I’m definitely not suggesting that you contact everyone in your life who’s triggering you, notice when you can’t ignore that heavy feeling inside. Instead of ignoring that text, DM, or email, craft an honest reply.

DO start taking responsibility for throwing internet shade. If you’re sending jealous, envious, or angry vibes, sometimes to complete strangers, it’s time to come clean. If it’s a trigger you can confront, then DO that. But if it’s not, unfollow, block, and stop engaging. If Kim K triggers you and you keep thinking hateful things about her bod, then stop looking at photos of it. When we start to learn energy work and ritual, we must take responsibility for EVERY little bit of our energy that gets thrown around. Whatever you send—even unconsciously—is going to come back to you three-fold.

DON’T try and “fix.” As women we LOVE to sit and “fix” each other. When you share a trigger with someone, or someone shares one with you, let it hang loose and messy and bloody for a moment instead of trying to solve it and make it neat and pretty and clean. For example, after hearing the statement “I am triggered by the fact you have more followers than me,” just sit and hold that energy instead of suggesting your fave social media strategist and marketing plan and sending 10 helpful emails. Feel the feelings together about what was said. Holding the words and trying to fix are two different things.

DON’T throw out a good friendship just because the person triggered you a few times. In the past year, I’ve been in multiple situations with women where our friendships have ended because we haven’t chosen to just sit and talk and face the triggers together. Instead of giving it time and space and facing the dark depths together, we have both run for the hills!

DO look at the why. “Were they intentionally hurtful? Or is them being them just triggering for me?” If you find the fact your new friend can walk into any bar or yoga class and turn all the heads in the room incredibly triggering, look at the part of you that desperately wants to be seen. Instead of thinking about her—spend some time on YOU. Work on how you can begin to turn heads.

DON’T let it eat you alive. If we walk away from friendships, and block people on socials again and again because we are triggered, we are walking away from incredibly valuable lessons about ourselves. But if we stick it out without acknowledging the facts, it will become an elephant in the room that becomes cannibalistic and eats the friendships. Usually in an epic and mythical way that warrants trips to psychics and energy clearings to clean up the mess! We don’t want that either.

What we need, if we want to revolutionize this reality, is a new era where vulnerability and truth have real value. It starts with us.

Want to make sure you move towards your fullest expression and don’t get lost in a sea of triggers? Join me in Moon Club for powerful communion and mentorship. 

5 WAYS TO FIND YOUR OWN CRYSTAL MEANINGS

Think you have to endlessly study your crystal bible to tap into your stones’ powers? Leave the bible behind, take your rocks out on a date, and find your own crystal meanings says Wolf Sister.  Main Image: Beth Hoeckel 

find your own crystal meanings wolf sister beth hoeckel ruby warrington the numinous

The meanings of crystals aren’t literally set in stone. Despite what the dusty description from your local crystal dealer says, the medicine doesn’t end there …

Crystals are formed from of the deepest parts of Mother Earth, so of course there’s so much more meaning to them than just inviting love into your life, warding off anxiety, protection from some less than desirable energies, or waking up your third eye.

Here’s how to start finding your own crystal meanings …

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1/Discover Your Crystal’s Personality (Yes, Your Crystal Has a Theme Song!)
Just like Tinder dates, crystals are individuals with their own personalities that go WAY beyond the profile pic. Instead of playing out the relationship in your mind before you’ve even met them, go out on a few dates with your crystal.

Keep the crystal’s bio info in mind and the reason you initially choose it, but then take the time to listen …. Even holding a crystal in your hand for a few moments in silence with your eyes closed can reveal its personality. So how does it make you feel? Stay open to any ideas and epiphanies that download in your mind at that moment.

The first time that I initiated myself with Rose Quartz, Florence + The Machine’s version of “You’ve Got the Love” drifted into my consciousness. This had nothing to do with the crystal bible’s traditional meanings of romantic love or fertility. Instead, through the lyrics, Rose Quartz was showing me that I had all the support that I needed to get through a project when I’d lost my confidence.

Now every time I hear that song, it’s as if Rose Quartz is talking to me.

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2/Open Your Full Body to the Magic
When you’re getting to know your crystal, actions speak louder than words. Your crystal won’t do all the work—you need to play your part in this deal and put some muscle in! 

For example, if you buy Citrine because you wanna get on with your dharma, then you need to start taking physical action towards it. Instead of endlessly researching courses and workshops about your chosen field while secretly hoping that the Citrine in your pocket is listening, it’s time to actually book the course and do the homework!

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3/See Life Through a “Crystallized Lens”
Seeing your day through your crystal’s eyes can help guide you towards innovation when you’re feeling stuck.

This kind of experience comes from actively imagining, “If I was this crystal, what would I do?” Rather than just keeping it by your bed or at the bottom of your make-up bag, imagine, for example, that you’ve teamed up with Smokey Quartz and can fully step into your power and take up all the space that you deserve!

If you were the actual embodiment of your crystal, how could your perspective radically change?

Society 6 Crystal Phone Case

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4/ Supercharge your Meditation with Crystals
During your meditation practice (if you’re new to meditation, just find a quiet space and focus on your breath!), you can choose to place your crystal on your third eye, somewhere in the space, or in your left (receiving) hand.

Imagine the energy and colors of your crystal infusing and permeating throughout your body. Invite the crystal to recalibrate any distracting energies so that you’re recharged and nourished. Take as long as you like in this crystalline space that you’ve created to integrate these new frequencies. When you’re ready, ground yourself back into the here and now. Again, ask how the crystal you’re using has made you feel, and what new perspective it’s granted you.

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5/Spark a Conversation With Your Crystals  
The best way to find out what your crystals really mean is to start asking questions!

Why did you ask for this crystal to come into your life? What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel? Why did you choose this one instead of the others? What action can you take to bring it to life? 

Keep your crystal with you and free-write the answers to these questions in a journal. If you have Tarot or oracle cards, ask the crystal to communicate with you through the cards. Think of what you’d like guidance with, or use the questions from above as you pull the cards.

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We’re here to create our own experience. Guides are a wonderful starting point, but the only way to find out what your crystal means is to get to know them personally. Be curious so you can work with them, and you’ll soon realize what it wants to guide you towards!

Starting this Friday, June 9th, join Wolf Sister for Get Your Rocks Out—a free online crystal healing workshop where you’ll learn to listen to what your crystals want to say!