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!  

HOLY F*CK: WHY SHIBARI BONDAGE IS THE ULTIMATE SURRENDER

In search of the deepest act of spiritual surrender, Alexandra Roxo gets bound and discovers boundlessness with the ancient art of Shibari bondage …

Alexandra Roxo Ruby Warrington The Numinous Victoria Hawkins Shibari Bondage Holy Fuck

Shibari (Japanese Rope Bondage) can be erotic, intimate, loving, sexy, quiet or raucous, meditative, artistic, insightful, transformative—all depending on the people engaged and how they both feel at the moment” – Victoria Blue

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I am always on the hunt to find ways to get free, to go wild, to let loose, and to go deeper into myself. Over the last 15 years, my search to explore the depths of my sexuality and spirituality has taken me everywhere from witch camp in the woods of Oregon, to working as a dancer in a truck stop strip club in New Mexico, to banging a drum at a Rainbow Gathering in West Virginia, to an orgasmic meditation circle where I had my clit stroked by an old Indian man … and SO many other places and practices.  

Drugs. Sex. Spirit. Art. It’s been a lifetime of exploration that started the first time my mom pulled Louise Hay off the bookshelf when I was 7, and the first time I kissed a boy, and girl, at 8 … 

So for an explorer of depths who hasn’t left many stones unturned, I am always seeking something new to try and am always ready with a big fat YES! 

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WOMEN TYING WOMEN 
My next yes fell straight into my lap after my dear friend Kyp Malone (who played the “urban shaman” in my web series “Be Here Nowish,” and whom I consider a Yoda of sorts), took me to a dinner party, introduced me to a woman in the corner named Victoria Blue, and said “You two should talk.”  

It all remained a mystery until months later. I was on the bus back home from 3 days of steeping and soaking in the magical Orr Hot Springs of Northern California and I suddenly thought to myself: I want to be tied up. This was especially random after spending 3 days in a tub reading a book about Jesus’ mystical life. But the words were clear and from my heart.

I’d been tied up by lovers before and engaged in a fair amount of BDSM in sex, but I knew there was something more here that I wanted and I began to investigate the ancient form of Japanese bondage called Shibari. Whereas other types of BDSM include performed dominance or submission, or the giving and receiving of pain as practice, Shibari is a fine art. Comparing a “50 Shades” rope scene with Shibari would be like comparing an IKEA rug with one from a Moroccan souk. 

Interestingly, when I googled “Shibari LA” and the first thing to pop up was a workshop called “Women Tying Women” with none other than Kyp’s friend Victoria as teacher! The next day, the magic continued when I walked into my 5Rhythms class and a cute woman ran up to me, handed me a card, and said  “Come to ‘Women Tying Women!’ My friend Victoria Blue is teaching!“ “She has one private session left. Do you want it?’ 

FULL. BODY. YES! 

Alexandra Roxo Ruby Warrington The Numinous Victoria Hawkins Shibari Bondage Holy Fuck
Victoria in a state of calm, suspended surrender

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GOING OFF LEASH 
So why did these words spring from my soul and why did I even want to be tied? Perhaps there is some past life witch healing there. But really, I think it’s because I crave deep surrender. And I crave deep catharsis.  And I long to become art as often as possible … 

How many places in your life can you TRULY surrender in? By surrender, I mean LOSE YOUR MIND. Let go of the reins. My friend Andi calls it “going off leash.” When you go “off leash” you slip into an altered state of ecstasy and sometimes agony and the mind goes quiet. Void.

Mind-blowing, expansive sex is a place one can find surrender. Meditation can be. Some good old fashioned tequila and a night of all night dancing with some MDMA licked from a tiny plastic bag in a Brooklyn bathroom worked in my late 20s. Plant medicine ceremonies too. Dance can be ecstatic and deep. But being tied up seemed like a depth of surrender and catharsis that my soul needed now.

Even though I’d been “off leash” many times, I was still nervous before going to see Victoria. Because not only was I going to be tied, I would also be suspended. Not like suspended from school—like suspended from the ceiling off a rope. Yes, this may conjure some morbid images of hanging corpses, but I thought of it like making myself into an ornate chandelier hanging as a centerpiece.

I told Victoria I wanted to be tied in a pose of expansion—heart opening, if possible. She quietly blindfolded me … 

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BOUND & BOUNDLESS 
I closed my eyes and Victoria began to play a German instrumental album that was integral to my sexual awakening in my early 20s. Out of all the music in the world she chose the goth band that the first person who ever tied me up used to play, and whom I had learned some of the most beautiful and fun things about sex at the age of 23. This moment of kismet softened my heart like butter, and as she tied me I felt myself starting to relax after being reminded of the divinity present.  

She bound me tight, hands up and open, back arched up, heart to the sky, one leg extended, and one folded. I let the ropes hold me. They were tight. Not soft and sweet. I began to turn into pliable flesh with no other option but letting go. I was like an infant. Helpless. Paralyzed almost. But the more and more I was tied, the more and more relaxed I felt. Like someone was caring for my soul.  

Then she hoisted me up and I lay back, being held only by this rope around my waist, floating in the air. The whole of my weight resting on one piece of rope. Completely bound. Angelic even. And that’s when the full surrender and deep catharsis began … 

Tears streamed down. Then they broke into deep, deep sobs from some place inside me that I had never met before. And moans of pain mixed with joy. Of release. Of heartache and heartbreak. I hung there. The pain escalated until the discomfort quieted the mind in the most nurturing way. The only thing possible to do was breathe.

I sobbed and breathed until I reached that edge that I have loved to flirt with for so many years. I whispered to her: “I’m at my limit” with tears streaming down my face and my chest. And then, ever so gently, Victoria pulled me down. She stroked my head and told me that I stayed up there a very long time and that I was very strong. As she pulled the ropes off me, my body felt lighter and freer than it had in ages. I felt my consciousness move into every cell. I could breathe into corners where breath hadn’t touched. I felt alive.

Alexandra Roxo Ruby Warrington The Numinous Victoria Hawkins Shibari Bondage Holy Fuck
Victoria and @sophiashibari

Discover more about Victoria’s private sessions and group classes HERE, and join she and I this October for a two day overnight retreat in Topanga that will bring together Shibari, Shadow Work, Storytelling, and Sexual Healing. If you’re interested in this deep work, add your name HERE and we’ll send out applications and full retreat info in a few weeks. 

7 THINGS I LEARNED STARTING A CRYSTAL SEX TOY COMPANY

Vanessa Cuccia is the Founder of Chakrubs, The Original Crystal Sex Toy Company. Here she shares 7 deep spiritual lessons of her entrepreneurial path …

Vanessa Cuccia Chakruns crystal sex toy company the Numinous

I was in my early twenties when I realized that no one was going to hand me the life I wanted. I also began to realize how complacent I had been, especially when it came to my sex life, relationship, and career. I knew I had to make a drastic change.

I began by breaking up with my boyfriend, who had been sexually and emotionally abusing me for six years. I felt I had finally taken responsibility for myself, and it was up to me to BECOME stronger, more connected to my body, and TO acknowledge my power. I wanted to be around people who could educate me on sexuality, so I took a job at a sex toy shop and invited a spiritual teacher to come live with me. During this time, I deepened my relationship to crystals and understanding of the body’s energy system, while opening up to my own sexual identity.

One night I was visiting the home of a woman with a large crystal collection when I saw a crystal wand. I realized that with a few adjustments it could be made into a tool for pleasure. Almost instantaneously I thought of the the name “Chakrubs™” and began receiving messages guiding me to create The Original Crystal Sex Toy Company®.

I’ve grown a great deal personally, spiritually, and professionally since beginning this journey almost seven years ago. Here are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way …

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1. When you’re rooted in your pleasure, no one can harm you.

At the very beginning of Chakrubs I began my own sexual healing journey with the Black Obsidian Chakrub. I started with this one because it is known to assist in releasing emotional implants that no longer serve us. After spending six years with someone who treated my body like a sex toy, I knew I had a lot of stored negativity. The Black Obsidian helped me release a lot of shame and guilt I had been holding onto.

This, combined with placing a strong focus on pleasure while starting my business, caused me to realize how much these negative emotions were draining me and how empowered I felt when I was rooted in pleasure. Being rooted in pleasure means being sensitive to what makes you feel good and having the confidence to pursue those desires. When you connect with what brings you pleasure, it will protect you from outside judgements or criticism.

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2. “When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

This quote from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist has been proven to me time and time again. When I decided to create Chakrubs, I gave myself permission to begin saying, “I started a brand called Chakrubs” to my friends, family, and people I’d meet. Even though most of the work I’d been doing was limited to meditation, brainstorming, and research at that point, I knew that those were all valuable steps in the process. I had decided in my heart that I was going to take on this role of bringing crystal sex toys to the mainstream to open people up to crystal and sexual healing.

I won’t say that it was easy starting this business, but at every point along the way I felt assisted by a power greater than myself. Everyone I spoke to had some key to help me unlock what was being created. It was as though my steps were being illuminated and I was just following the path laid out for me. I think once we proclaim that we want something and begin to work towards it, the universe will help us obtain it. We just have to be open to receiving and working within “the language of the universe.”

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3. I’m a fucking Goddess (and so are you).

Living in the redwood forests in Santa Cruz in 2011, I lived with women who would become the first focus group of Chakrubs. We would sing songs in our house and call each other goddesses.

I feel like what prevents us from being in touch with our own divinity is this idea that seeing yourself that way makes you conceited or narcissistic. In reality, recognizing your connection to all that not only enables you to understand the power you hold but also the power of the people around you.

Living with these women who were so different from me helped me understand that through our love, recognition and appreciation of one another we could be mirrors that would reflect each other’s potential. I’ve learned that it’s more fun and useful to honor people’s sacredness and shine light on what we love about them rather than focusing on their shortcomings.

When concepting Chakrubs, we sat in circles, in teepees, out on the picnic table, dreaming of which crystals would help others, what shapes would bring the most pleasure, and what energy could be infused into the crystals to make them even more special. Chakrubs took years and so much of my own self-healing to be able to bring it to you. The history of manifesting this creation is filled with depth and many stories that I am grateful to share.

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Over the weekend I celebrated my birthday (on Earthday) with friends, family and the community that I feel is within this world of Chakrub social media. I feel eternally grateful and deeply moved by the love I felt, and I want so intensely for this love to be shared by all. Though I am older I feel like a child as I am painfully, humbly, and honored to be aware of the lessons I still have to learn on my spiritual path. I say with no hesitation that you are each great teachers to me and I am learning from you every day. I want to continue to serve you the best and most authentic way that I can. Thank you for being open to opening. Thank you for loving to love. Thank you for being connected as we all are to one another and to yourself. ✨🌏💓🙏🏼Forever yours, Vanessa Cuccia Xx photo by @aliciarabbitheart

A post shared by Chakrubs™ (@chakrubs) on

4. The more heart you put into something, the better response you’ll receive.

Whenever I find myself feeling stuck or like things aren’t flowing with my business, I remember to show more of my heart. I reach deep into the “why” of what I’ve created, tell stories to my social media followers about how this all came about, reveal what I’m growing to understand, and I give gratitude.

Conventional businesses may not want to show the vulnerability of their CEO’s, but the mission of Chakrubs is to create connection to others through connection with the self. When I express myself I am not only strengthening my own understanding of why I started this company, but helping others understand that this is isn’t just a trend—it’s a lifestyle and philosophy meant to empower us.

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5. We don’t need anything outside of ourselves to heal, but we can use tools to facilitate that healing.

I’m a firm believer that we don’t need anything outside of ourselves to heal our emotional wounds. Crystals facilitate our natural ability to heal ourselves with their perfect molecular structures, but we already have crystals within us. There are crystals in our bones called apatite(1) and we can activate them through our intentions.

I like to be able to hold a tool, a tool that will help me to tune into myself and the sexual energy of the earth. So find a tool that works for you, but don’t rely on it entirely. Know that all of the wisdom you seek is within you, just waiting to be discovered.

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6. Arousal can reacquaint you with your spiritual beliefs.

In launching Chakrubs, I created a new way for us to use crystals to benefit our spiritual growth. When we work with crystals they become imbued with our intentions and Chakrubs are no different. As you become aroused and begin your Chakrub practice, your ritual becomes a reminder of your intentions and strengthens your focus. As someone who is not necessarily religious, I value practicing your values religiously. I may not remember to meditate daily, but every time I reach for my Chakrub, I am reminded how it is benefiting me on more levels than one.

When your art inspires other art. 🙏🏼✨ by @giulianaelina

A post shared by Chakrubs™ (@chakrubs) on

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7. It’s difficult to receive love when you don’t know who you are.

Creating my brand ethos, I had to ask myself, why is self-discovery and awareness important? Who cares if I know who I am or not? My answer is this: knowing ourselves is the only way we will be able to accept the love we are given.

We won’t be able to receive love from our partners or the world if we are stuck in our egos or trying to deny aspects of who we are. Honesty is the only way to feel worthy of love, and self-awareness is the only way to be honest. If we take time for introspection and healing, we’ll be able to unveil who we are at our core. Once we really get to know ourselves it creates more compassion and empathy for others. Which is why I believe this to be true; heal yourself and you heal the world.

Learn more about Chakrubs and get rooted in a life of pleasure and creativity at Chakrubs.com

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF YOUR SUGAR ADDICTION

Can you balance unhealthy compulsions without losing your appetite for pleasure? Emma Whitehair wrestles with the demons of alcohol, love, and sugar addiction, and asks herself: “What are you really hungry for?”

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“Could I continue to sink my teeth into life with enthusiasm while learning balance around an unhealthy compulsion?”- Emma Whitehair

Ughhhh … Krispy Kremes. Never something I’d choose to put in my body. So why, when a colleague turned up with a box full of them, did my inner werewolf rear its head? A demon who was frothing at the mouth to demolish the lot, while my sensible side tried to argue the case to “go-halves” on one.

The demon won, leaving me to contend with a toxic dose of self-loathing. 

My sweet tooth kicked in with a vengeance when I quit booze over a decade ago, and I felt that this new appetite was part of my continued search for escapism and relief. Love, too, came under this dopamine-inducing umbrella. My hunger for gratification also showed up in romantic fantasies of that one magic person who’d be capable of making me happy forever after …

However, unlike sobriety, going cold turkey on sugar (and love for that matter) didn’t feel like the right approach. Isn’t fruit sugar? Not to mention nutrient rich blackstrap molasses and antibacterial raw manuka honey? Where to draw the line? I’ll admit that my justifications sounded a bit like the arguments I used to have against quitting booze. “I just want to be able to enjoy a nice glass of Rioja with tapas, or champers at a wedding.” I know where those odd glasses can lead me though—the tail end of a two-day bender.

With an addictive personality, could I become moderate in this one area? And how not to lose my wildly passionate side and my appetite for pleasure in the process? I set out to discover if I could continue to sink my teeth into life with enthusiasm while learning balance around an unhealthy compulsion …

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:: BELLY BACTERIA BALANCING ::
My first step was to go into my gut. An overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract can manifest as fatigue, a foggy head, anxiety and, most noticeably, sugar cravings. Overdoing it with alcohol, refined carbohydrates and sugary foods commonly causes this problem. Perhaps this was my werewolf’s lair?

I consulted Nutritional Therapist Claudia le Feuvre, who placed me on a course of Dida supplements and probiotics to tackle any pathogenic bacteria and to re-inoculate my gut with antimicrobials.

A few months later, I noticed my urge to bury my head in a bag of Haribo had disappeared. I now had the confidence that the issues were not tied to gut health. It was time to take my journey even deeper.

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:: IT’S ALL A METAPHOR ::
Claudia prescribed a reading list as a key part of my healing, and I consumed each title with gusto.

After living with the patriarchy for thousands of years, we’ve literally been starved of our divine feminine. The result? We’re now going wild with addictions and disorders as we fill our bellies to fill the emptiness in our hearts. Women Who Run with the Wolves and Eating in the Light of the Moon both have this concept at their core, and show how cravings can be metaphors.

The Gift of Our Compulsions inspired me to meet my compulsions with curiosity rather than resistance in order to get at what lived underneath them. By cultivating detachment from my thoughts, feelings, and sensations, I could witness my cravings.

When I declare ‘I’m hungry,’ I am identified with this experience. Whereas ‘this is hunger’ creates space for me to relate to what’s really happening, and ask if the statement is true. And in most cases, it’s not true at all. It’s more like ‘this is boredom/procrastination/loneliness,’ which I can either try to remedy or simply observe without needing to ‘fix.’

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:: A SESSION WITH THE SPIRITUAL NUTRITIONIST ::
The final part of my work with Claudia involved a 1-2-1 session where she called upon her spirit guide to help us “recode inner conflict” and used kinesiology to identify a potent mantra.

During our session, my arm suddenly gained strength from the words: “I am in tune with my body’s nutritional needs, and have no hunger for food beyond them.” This was then used as a mantra in a kind of Psych-k self-hypnosis meditation, where after about 10 minutes Claudia was shown by her guide, with a shiver through her body, that our work was done.

Although, I didn’t feel a bolt of lightning during the session, it’s like a spell has been broken. I feel relaxed around my usual triggers, and noticeably more tuned in to the intuitive whispering of my body.

Now, when I get the urge to eat when I’m not hungry, I often seem to instinctively know what tactic will help me ride it out. A few deep breaths, a drink of water, or a big stretch is usually all it takes.

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Art: Sustici

:: THE FAST OF ENLIGHTENMENT ::
My newfound gut feelings also told me that the next step in this journey was to introduce a fasting practice to help me regain a sense of the true nature of my body’s hunger. Fasting is the most natural way to rest the body, giving it the chance to do the “housework” needed to repair cells and cleanse the itself, while improving immunity.  

When I started losing my appetite for a meal in the evening, I took it as a sign that my body wanted the benefits of some regular light fasting. So from around 5pm to late morning, I often stick to water and herbal tea. And although I sometimes go to bed feeling hungry, intuition tells me my digestive system needs this rest. I’m now sleeping more deeply and I wake feeling light and much less hungry than if I have a meal the night before.

I’m also committed to fasting at least a couple of days per month, usually over the New Moon—my version of the “Lunar Diet.” Near the Full Moon I often crave extra calories because of my cycle, whereas during the New Moon I feel more like hibernating. It’s also the ideal time to go inwards and set intentions for the coming astrological season.

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:: WHAT AM I TRULY HUNGRY FOR? ::
Using tactics to pause when I’m tempted to grab a substitute for what I really need has been a total (third) eye opener!

It’s given me the sense that my appetite is primal. We’re first comforted as babies through sweet breast milk and so sweetness will always be associated with mother love. An absence of that kind of nurturing can show up in dysfunctional relationships with comforting substances like sugar, alcohol, or the dopamine hit you get with the first flush of ‘love’.

So what to do in the present about a void from the past? Some sweet ass self-loving of course! We all have the chance, right now, to be the parent we needed growing up. Allowing feelings that have been buried in the past to move through us is how we evolve …

My epiphany about my constant low-level hunger? There’s fulfillment to be found by relishing my appetite, rather than chasing gratification. It’s summed up in this quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, Take This Waltz: “Life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it like some lunatic.” I simply need to accept, and even celebrate, the fact that there will always be this hunger within me.

So when Krispy Kreme (a.k.a. my Soul Challenge on this journey) announced their new flavor (Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Crème, in case you were wondering) by sending a truckload to my office, I met my inner wolf with curiosity. I saw that she wasn’t a “demon” at all, and just a part of me wanting to be comforted. “Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance,” says Epicurus. So I enjoyed half a donut. Leaving enough room to still be able to taste the sweetness of life.

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Emma Whitehair is the founder of London based boutique lifestyle PR agency, WHITEHAIR.CO, which specialises in fashion, beauty, and wellbeing communications. 

THE TRUTH ABOUT SOULMATES

Think love should be like a screening of “The Notebook”? The truth about soulmates is dutch ovens, stretch marks, and past life pacts, says comedian and energy healer Jessica Brodkin. Main Image: Mariano Peccinetti.

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Want to learn the truth about soulmates? Then listen to a psychic healer who’s had two divorces and a broken engagement. Trust me—I’ve met a lot of soulmates. But after massive heartbreak, and seeing my own clients through theirs, the same patterns and solutions have begun to emerge.

And I’ve discovered that real soulmates aren’t like the people you see in The Notebook. They’re more like my Mom and Dad, who believe they are soulmates…and who make fun of each other. “I must have been a real jerk to your father in a past life to have to put up with him now,” my Mom frequently quips.

With Venus retrograde until April 15th, we have an opportunity to re-examine our relationship with love, and to determine what is and isn’t working for us. Here are the five things I wish I’d known about soulmates ten years ago… 

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1. Your Soulmates are Not Just Your Lovers 
I think of incarnating (being born into your current life and body) as traveling with a plane full of your friends to Cancun, with only a few vague plans. “Marissa—see you on Tuesday in Tulum. Mark—save the last night for me, we’re going dancing and I wanna make out in the sand. ”

As someone who has always believed in past lives, I was one of those creepy kids who remembered how I died. I have a strong conviction that we travel throughout our lives with some of the same people in order for our souls to grow. Your mother, your siblings, your nephews, your boss, and even your roommate can all potentially be your soulmates.

Reading List: Carolyn Myss’ Sacred Contractsand Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls. 

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2. The Person You Think is Your Soulmate is Probably Healing Your Parental Issues
If you feel that your partner is tormenting you, he or she is probably helping to heal your parental issues. According to a lot of psychological theories, we choose partners based on the hurts we either experienced or witnessed as children.

In the summer of 2015, my then husband and I were planning on having a child. Two healers had something to say about this—the first that things weren’t going to work out as planned, but I wasn’t ready to hear that my marriage was going to end soon. However, the second healer convinced me to do a detox in order to have a healthy baby and halfway through, I realized I could not have a baby with this man. His issues, and our issues, were unresolved stuff from my childhood. He was definitely one of my soulmates, if not necessarily “the one”…

Reading List: Harville Hendrix’s Getting the Love You Want

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3. Love the One You’re With
We all like to think we’re royalty, but we’re more like Princess Fiona—expecting some charming prince or princess, but falling in love with Shrek instead. While Fiona became a green ogre in order to love him, when I got married and ruined my credit rating. Which is to say, your soulmate may not come in the package you expect, and he or she may be more into dutch ovens than you’d like.

What if the imperfect partner you have right now is your soulmate, and what if soulmates didn’t have to be forever? All of our partners are teachers—and some are here to show us our shadow side. If we abandon our current partner without doing the inner work they ask, we’ll find ourselves repeating our relationship patterns over and over again.

Reading List: Deepak Chopra’s A Path to Love

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4. Love Yourself, Too

There’s nothing more important than loving yourself. Trust me—I’m trying to get a crystal sex toy company to sponsor my radio show. This isn’t about arrogance, or attention-seeking behavior. It’s about accepting yourself where you are, and seeing the perfection in your imperfection. So love yourself so a partner can meet you where you are in life—the partner in your life is always a vibrational match for how you feel about yourself right now.

Write a gratitude list of all the awesome things about you. Talk to your stretch marks and scars, and tell them that you love them. Think of all the fun you had creating them! Practice self care. What makes you feel like a queen? What brings you bliss? Follow that joy.

Reading List: Gala Darling’s Radical Self-Love and Louise Hay’s How to Love Yourself

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5. And Finally … Trust Your Intuition
I once went to a psychic who told me I had a ghost baby living inside of me…and that I needed to pay her $700 to have a ghost abortion. I told her that for $700, I was going to keep the ghost baby. When I was in the middle of my divorce, another psychic told me that a new suitor was my twin flame (a.k.a. super soulmate). After being stood up multiple times, I started to think differently.

If I could give only one message to people who feel any sort of fear or insecurity about their love lives, I would say “Don’t go to psychics!” Even though I’m also a psychic and medium, I work primarily as a healer because I want my clients to develop their own intuition instead of relying on something outside of themselves.

People usually go to psychics to calm their fears. But one of the most difficult (and beautiful) parts of being human is to embrace your life despite those fears. To live your life, and love with reckless abandon. If your heart gets broken you will survive, eventually heal, and then learn to love again!

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Jessica Brodkin is a Reiki energy healer and stand up comedian based in New York City. She is an MIT and Johns Hopkins graduate who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for 11 years, and has been featured on the cover of the New York Post, and on TruTV, AMC, and SiriusXM radio. She also has a weekly radio show on Journey Into the Light. Follow her on Instagram and discover more about her energy healing here.

A GUIDE TO VENUS RETROGRADE FOR YOUR SIGN

Does the sound of another retrograde have you reeling? Chill! Venus Retrograde 2017 is a time for rediscovering where our true love lives, says Danielle Paige … Main Image: Carlos Bongiovanni 

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Saturday, March 4th :: Venus Stations Retrograde :: 14 degrees of Aries

Sunday, April 2nd :: Venus Re-enters Pisces  

Saturday, April 15th :: Venus Goes Direct :: 26 degrees of Pisces 

Lovers. Love. Sex. Money. The Feminine. Self-worth. Intimacy. Values. Relating. Giving. Receiving. Ahhhhh yes … all of the above is up for RE-discovery, right now.

While our first reaction to the word “retrograde” might be to let out a sigh of frustration, these cycles are actually moments of deep review. Think of this as an opportunity to work with your shadow side, heal those parts that need to be integrated or purged, and upgrade your patterns.

But of course, it’s not all sweetness and light—doing shadow work prompts us to address things that have been pushed under the rug. There will be breakups and there may be confusion in your current relationships. Whether you’re pretending you have a perfect relationship when you know it’s not truly nourishing your soul, or are stuck in the same relationship patterns over and over, it’s an optimal time to get real about what’s no longer working. And with this realness, eventually comes clarity. 

Ex-lovers? Venus Retrograde energy always tends to dig up the past in order to end old cycles, so don’t be surprised if old flames pop back up. New relationships? This can definitely be a time where people enter your life for karmic work. Be aware that “karmic” doesn’t always mean roses and sunshine! These will be relationships that force you to confront parts of yourself that you’re suppressing.

However, the energy of Venus is two-fold. While she symbolizes how we connect with others, each relationship has everything to do with what we VALUE, since we often project our core desires onto others. Remember to keep this broader message of Venus Retrograde in mind. Ask, how are you working with your feminine energy? Does it need more balancing? What’s your relationship to money like? Are you having a hard time discovering your core desires and values? Now is the time to dig deep into your heart and explore all of these themes—without judgement!

And please, don’t force it. Simply remain mindful that after Venus goes direct, you may start to see things differently. Whatever happens during this time, trust that your heart always knows the way home!

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Wondering where to start? Discover your Venus sign by looking at your birth chart and following the guide below. 

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Collage: Mariano Peccinetti

:: Venus in Aries :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to reconnect with your courage and independence in a balanced way, instead of just diving in head first. You are good at pushing others to find their independence but sometimes that means you forget about yours—reconnect with your courage and your truth!

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:: Venus in Taurus :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to connect back with your own sensuality and your core values. You are good at sustaining others in love but have you forgotten to sustain yourself as well? Take your time in love—you’re meant to go at your own pace.

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:: Venus in Gemini ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to communicate your needs clearly, but to do so in a way that moves beyond the surface and gets real. It’s easy for you to skim the surface but what happens if you get a little deeper? You move beyond the shadow energy of Venus in Gemini and you may actually find something that doesn’t bore you!

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:: Venus in Cancer ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to nurture yourself as you would a child. You spend so much time taking care of others, and with this Venus energy redirected, it can help you better care for your own feelings. You are the mamma bear of love but don’t forget that mamma bears need love too.

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:: Venus in Leo ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to shine your love and light on the world in a way that motivates others, instead of only making it all about yourself. You have such an ability to show others the way—use it to serve, inspire, love, and cheer people on and raise them up! In doing so, you raise your vibration as well.

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:: Venus is in Virgo ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to clean up your diet, health, and routine so that you can be of service to yourself in a way that you haven’t before. You are dedicated with your love, so make sure you are dedicated to yourself as well.

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:: Venus in Libra ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to find the right relationship for your soul, not just any relationship. Libra enjoys partnership and can often lose themselves in one. Instead, this is a time to really get connected with what you need and desire in a divine partnership that lifts you up rather than simply fills a void.

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:: Venus in Scorpio ::Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to connect deeply with those around you. Surface relationships are not your thing so if it’s not activating your heart then it’s time to go deeper or move onto something else. Out of all the Venus placements, you know when to purge a relationship or when it’s a call for deeper intimacy—trust that you know what to do!

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:: Venus in Sagittarius :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to spread your wings! Go on adventures either with your lover or by yourself, because you never know who you might meet. This is the Venus sign that says “yes” to expansion. Have you been stuck in a rut? It’s time to explore and let your passport lead the way…

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:: Venus in Capricorn :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to find your own inner authority. You are always very good at helping others rise to the top so now take the time to plan out your next steps for inner and outer success. In your uphill climb, remember that slow and steady wins the race for you.

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:: Venus in Aquarius :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to play up your intelligence and your uniqueness. Often times, you may subconsciously hide these qualities because it challenges societal expectations, but thisVenus Retrograde is the time to tap into all that makes you, you! This is your path towards the free-spirited love you so desire.

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:: Venus in Pisces :: Venus Retrograde is encouraging you to make sure you’re seeing love clearly. Pisces energy can sometimes focus solely on the good parts and ignore the red flags in relationships. Instead of focusing so much on others, this is also good time to be sure you are seeing yourself clearly as well. Are you ignoring your own inner flags? Refocusing on your own process will help you find more clarity in love as well.

Speaking of feminine energy—is a vacation in Greece calling you? Discover more about Danielle’s upcoming Greek Goddess Island retreat (only 2 spaces left) and all her astrological services HERE

HOLY F*CK: RECLAIM YOUR SEXUAL POWER & HELP HEAL THE WORLD

Reclaiming your sexual power and potential is part of the collective awakening happening now. And it’s never too late, says Alexandra RoxoPortraits: Alexandra Herstik

alexandra Roxo holy Fuck The Numinous sexual power

I’ve taken a few months off from really diving into topics of sex, eroticism, and partnership here in my column. Why? I must admit, I’ve been distracted by politics and found myself thinking: “How can I dare talk about sex, as the world is seemingly in dire need of discourse about so many other things?!”

Well, as my passion for sharing about love and sex wandered around my brain like a disenfranchised child with no home, who else but Sigmund Freud swooped in to validate it—and shove it back into the world!

Freud said that sexual repression is the chief psychological problem of humankind, and the root of many crimes, illness, war and woe. As if I need a dead white man to remind me of something I already knew! But I did. Touché Dr Freud, touché.

And his theory reminded me that it’s okay to continue sharing about love, sex and partnerships—even in a time when ICE raids are being done to innocent people, families are being separated and deported, and the whole structure of a country that felt like it was moving towards progress is being threatened.

Because this includes LOVE and SEX.

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THE SEXUAL LANDSCAPE YOU WERE BORN INTO

Let’s take a very brief tour of history. Some say that we once lived in a “partnership” society, where people co-existed in some states of harmony. This shifted into a “dominator” society. Have you seen the movie or read the book “Mists of Avalon?” In the book there is a battle between the “old” religion—a religion honoring nature, The Goddess, the many faces of the Divine—and the “new” religion, a religion honoring ONE man.

Pantheistic to monotheistic. This shift changed everything for humanity. When the Goddess religion/pantheistic religions went out, so did our connection to nature, to ecstatic states, to sex, to the Feminine. By denying sex we denied nature! As Terrence McKenna said in his book Food of the Gods: “The dark night of the soul for planet Earth began.”

The “Wild Woman” (seen as a reflection of nature herself) was then sought to be tamed. We saw the literal possession of women. Burning of witches. Corsets. Chastity belts. Women’s rights being taken away in many many cultures. The polarization of “the virgin” and “the whore.” And this, my dears, is what YOU were born into.

Fair enough, in this country we got it about the LEAST bad—we are able to vote, get an abortion, wear what we want. BUT this also created a dichotomy that can be VERY confusing.

You were told you can speak up and be you. But you must also be sweet and pretty and skinny. You were told it was slutty to enjoy lots of sex. But you were told also “Claim your sexuality!” You were told you could wear what you want. But when you wore it you were treated differently. At least when it was scandalous to show an ankle it was very clear. ANKLE = SLUT. Now the dial is all over the place.

If you were born into any religion that is monotheistic and patriarchal then whether you want to accept it or not, you probs have internalized all kinds of sexual repression with a side of shame, and a dash of guilt on top. (If you somehow escaped all this then…GODDESS BLESS!)

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SO, HOW THE HELL DO WE MOVE BEYOND THIS?

It’s going to take a lot more work. See my piece from last year about “Sexual Healing” for a refresh and jump start.

The biggest thing we can do is keep QUESTIONING. Everything. In sex. Redefining our experiences as our own. Making our own rules. Reclaiming what is our human right.

FOR EXAMPLE. Perhaps by society’s standards it’s not acceptable to sob uncontrollably during sex. HOWEVER, the energy of sex is MAD powerful, and when used to it’s full conscious potential can be a shamanic experience. So, if you are having conscious deep deep sex, and start releasing trauma or shame or guilt from your body you will probably sob. This can cause more shame because we’ve been taught that’s not okay.

My first girlfriend was a shamanic mover of energy and she knew it. The orgasms I had with her moved massive amounts of shame I had internalized growing up in the Christian south, out of my body. She held space for me. Made me feel safe enough to completely release into my body and use the energy of sex for deep healing. Sometimes that meant opening further and further when I thought I couldn’t anymore, but she helped me keep going, much like in a plant medicine ceremony, or even running a marathon. The altered state that one enters during sex can be a place where so much work can take place.

So how do you allow yourself to let go enough to work with the energy of sex, or even love or partnership, for healing and ecstasy?

alexandra Roxo holy Fuck The Numinous sexual power

HOW TO LITERALLY RECLAIM YOUR SEXUAL POWER

Create a conscious container. By container I mean a defined space. Whether you are coming together just for sex or also for a certain amount of time weekly for sexual exploration define the rules, the terms. How long? What do we do if someone wants to scream or cry?

Communication! If you want to have a soul sob with a deep cervical orgasm you have to make sure your partner can “hold” you through it. Instead of saying, “Hey babe. What’s wrong? Don’t cry,” educate them to hold the space for you, and say instead: “I’m here. Let it out. Stay with it. I love you.”

When you release some of the pain in your body that’s hidden deep within your cervix or womb of COURSE there will be tears, shouting, laughing—ALL OF IT! But you will feel so much lighter and freer afterwards if you let those emotions come out and you don’t hold them in. Not worrying about what you may look like or sound like. Instead, being like a raging river, embodying Kali, embodying Venus, the rivers of Oshun, the energy of a storm, the energy of the ocean. She is never ashamed for her moods and needs. She just IS.

If you look at sex as expansion beyond the “get in and get off” vibe we’ve been taught by movies and TV our whole lives, you will see it has massive healing potential to clear through chakras and move blocks—while increasing your radiance and attraction levels in a major way! It’s a super power and that’s why it has been repressed and controlled for so long.

If you think back to how you “learned” sex it was probably mostly through media. Women “sound” like this or that. They make these faces during sex. They lay on the bed in this or that way. What if that was all learned behavior and in order to reclaim your full sexual potential you get to go on the journey of FINDING OUT what your natural sexual state is?

What faces you make. What sounds. Maybe you sing when you cum! Or make low guttural grunts. Maybe you sob uncontrollably for A YEAR as you release shame from your body. Does that mean something is wrong with you? NO. HELL NO. Maybe you find your fantasy and realize you like to be flogged or spanked. Does that mean something is wrong with you? NOPE.

It’s a choice. You make the choice to embody Bridget Jones. Or Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Or Carrie in Sex and the City. Or…Venus emerging from the ocean. Kali emerging from a fire. Persephone diving into the Underworld and coming back renewed. You choose.

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RE-WRITE THE SEX SCRIPT

Here are some practical ways to begin to rewrite some of your sexual programming…

– Be Curious! Read books. Listen to podcasts. Don’t be ashamed if you want to learn about polyamory. Or multiple orgasms. Or whatever the hell you’re into. Nothing is too strange. Nothing is too weird. As you begin to delve, protect your little seed of curiosity before sharing with everyone. You don’t need anyone’s opinions about your desire to learn about 1950’s Occult Sex Parties or prostate massage. It’s your exploration. Keep it sacred.

– Look at your demons. Your shadows. Your shames. Have you engaged in healing around your sexual history? Chances are your first sexual experiences were rather “unconscious,” maybe with alcohol attached and not centered around heart opening and connecting. And if not, well, kudos to you! (Mine were pretty dope with candles and a fountain and fairy lights and soft music and eye gazing even when I was a preteen cause I was #BornThisWay. But then I’ve also had about 100 that were NOT like that at all…) If you feel you have work to do around love and sex then start journaling about your programming, stories, traumas. Engage in conversations. Do the healing work with a coach or in a group.

– Create the space to explore. If you’re in partnership then consciously communicate with your partner about wanting to make the sex more conscious and expansive, and work to bust through some of the cultural norms together. Perhaps this means engaging in some connecting work before sex. Eye gazing. Doing some tantric breath. Giving each other space to hear fantasies without judgement. That means if your lover says “I’m turned on by watching horses fuck” you have to listen and hold space for that and not be like “EW!” immediately. Trust is very important when opening in this way. If you’re solo then start getting in there and doing your own exploration work with your self. Learn your fantasies. What feels good and what doesn’t.

– Be aware of your words. Stories you perpetuate with your words which can cast magical spells. Sometimes I catch myself talking like Samantha from SATC and I stop myself. Some of that languaging and programming is NOT conscious at all. Sure, it’s fun, but it’s creating a reality that I picked up from TV. Not my own heart.

– Question everything. This can be fun! “Do I actually like to wax my puss? Or do I do it cause someone told me to?” Hmm well for me honestly I think it’s the later. “Do I actually like lingerie and Agent Provocateur?” Resounding YES for me on that one! “Where is my sexuality at on the Kinsey scale?”

– Talk to your friends. THIS IS HARD. One time when I brought up the transcendental power of fisting to catapult you into an altered state in a car of women there was RADIO SILENCE. It was awkward. But without discussion things continue to be taboo Unspeakable. Hidden away in dark corners. So moving past that awkward silence with some laughter and humility is enough to open the floodgates. Before you know it someone will be sharing how they once used a cucumber as a dildo and you won’t feel alone.

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If you want to work with a group on this, I’m doing a monthly HOLY F*CK workshop starting on the New Moon of 2.26!  This is a little different than the salon I did last year as this is deeper work, and enough to keep you busy exploring and reprogramming and rewiring your sex energy until the next month’s workshop! Sign up HERE. And as always I do one on one mentorships and coaching sessions which you can book HERE.

A Self Love Prescription For V Day

Here’s to falling in love … with YOU! Tea alchemist and serial optimist Alicia Henry delivers a self love prescription for your V Day. Illustration: Soleil Ignacio

 

Valentine’s Day …  Whether you’re single or in a partnership, this commercial “holiday” can bring on a wave of negative feelings. Some of us become plagued with thoughts of loneliness, heartache, and even begin to question our self-worth. But there is hope for turning this day (and everyday) into a positive, love-filled experience. And you don’t have to search any further than yourself.

Loving yourself is the most vital action you can take towards your overall well-being and vitality in this life. Not only will you come to the realization that you are a divine being, but you’ll begin to draw others into your life who are also aligned with nourishing their souls and evolving into the best version of themselves. A beautiful ripple effect of LOVE. 

Like any new skill, self-love takes practice, determination, flexibility, and patience. It’s a practice we have to cultivate. This V Day is the perfect time to renew (or begin) your own self-love affair and I’ve concocted a self-love prescription to get you started. Here’s to falling in love with YOU!

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Photo: Danny Lane

1. Morning Gratitude + Affirmation Ritual: Our mornings can make or break the rest of our day, so upon waking, take a moment to acknowledge 10 things that you are grateful for. This could mean being thankful for your soft pillow that you lay your head upon, or your two healthy feet that work tirelessly to get you around all day long! This is the first step to simply becoming grateful for who you are.

*Pro Tip: I love to cleanse my space before beginning my morning ritual. My favorite way of doing this is to light Palo Santo—the aroma is sweet and soothing, and it opens my space for newness.

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2. Solo Date: When we’re feeling lonely, the first thing we tend to do is run away from the loneliness and fill the void with social engagements. Friends are definitely a major component to our happiness, but if we can’t be happy solo then our social circles become a mere distraction from ourselves. Try turning inwards. You may actually love what you find!

*Pro Tip: A solo date could just mean reading an empowering book, like Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ classic Women Who Run With The Wolves.

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3. Write Yourself a Love Letter: Letter writing is becoming a lost art, but that doesn’t mean romance is dead. Write yourself a love letter that you can open up any day you need it.  The letter can include recognizing your greatest strengths, honoring what you believe makes you unique, and forgiveness for any negative feelings about yourself.

*Pro Tip: Create a romantic letter writing experience by lighting candles, burning incense, and using beautiful stationery. To get your creative juices flowing, check out this beautiful poem by the Romantic poet, William Wordsworth. Wordsworth describes his beloved as “a creature not too bright or good.” Who’s perfect anyway

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4. Meditate: Our minds are constantly buzzing, and meditation is an invaluable and truly intimate practice that brings us closer to ourselves, our intuition, our truth, and what really matters in life (to us). Even if it’s 10 minutes per day, give this peaceful, quiet gift to yourself.  

*Pro Tip: If you’re new to meditation, there are some awesome apps that will help guide you!

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5. Practice Forgiveness: It’s all too easy to get caught up in the mistakes we’ve made, things we wish were different, our so-called imperfections, and other stories that we’ve created and hold against ourselves. But if it weren’t for our mishaps and wrong-turns, we would never evolve. Be tender and forgive yourself for anything that you’re holding onto that doesn’t serve your happiness.

*Pro Tip: The raspberry rose colored Rhodochrosite crystal (above) is known to activate the heart chakra, and promote self-worth and forgiveness. 

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6. Dance: Want a ticket to instant joy? Dancing is a way to connect to our essential life force. Don’t worry about what you look like—just let loose and feel the music. Whether you’re dancing with friends, or using your hairbrush as a microphone in your bedroom, never stop dancing!

*Pro Tip: Start the solo party with my three favorite tunes for dancing by myself—Pat Benatar’s  Love is a Battlefield, Banarama’s Cruel Summer and of course, Whitney’s How Will I Know.

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7. Take a Sexy Selfie: And see yourself through the eyes of lust. Sexy selfies don’t need to be sent to a lover, they can also be sent to your friends! A girlfriend of mine recently started a thread with her friends’ sexiest selfie submissions—it’s been such a beautiful, safe, body-positive experience.

*Pro Tip: The piece of lingerie I’m loving most at the moment is this black bodysuit by True&Co.

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8. Self-Care Spa: Taking the time to pamper your skin, hair, and nails is a rejuvenating self-care ritual that’ll give you that little extra pep in your step. 

*Pro Tip: In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s an easy recipe for a truly decadent body scrub: In a mason jar mix 1 cup coffee grounds (just scoop ‘em off the bottom of your french press—no waste, yay!) with ½ cup coconut oil and ¼ cup raw cane sugar. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and you’re good to scrub! I find that vanilla and/or essential rose oil are great accompaniments to the awakening coffee aroma. Keep your scrub in the refrigerator when you aren’t using it. Enjoy, beauty!

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9. Rest Sweetly: Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. When we skimp on sleep, it directly affects our mental well-being. We wake up feeling groggy, our digestive and immune systems are thrown off, and we’re easily spun into negative thinking. Create a peaceful sleeping experience for yourself with kind bedding, a dark room, and a no-electronics policy.

*Pro Tip: Whenever I have trouble falling asleep, I add some lavender infused essential oil to my third eye and lower palms. I cup my palms over my face and breathe in slowly. When you focus on your breath and begin to slow your breathing, you’ll simultaneously slow your heart rate and bring yourself to a restful place.

alicia henry self love potions naked sage tea i care deeply the numinous ruby warrington
Naked Sage Tea’s “I Care Deeply” Blend

Alicia Henry is an Herbal Alchemist  and Founder of Naked Sage Tea, an organic tea company based in Venice, CA. A serial optimist, she is aptly part of the team that achieved The International Day of Happiness, which became a resolution of the United Nations. Follow Alicia and Naked Sage Tea on Instagram for more romance, adventure, and sweet self-love. 

TEMPLE OF VENUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH THE GODDESS VENUS

Elyssa Jakim sits down with her hero, the Goddess Venus, for some lessons in love, sex, and relationships for 2017…

Elyssa Jakim interview with the Goddess Venus The Numinous
The author channeling Goddess Venus

In the spring of 2012, I took a fated voyage to Italy. I toured Rome, Florence, and Venice for two weeks by myself without knowing any Italian except different variations of ciao and grazie. I had experiences that ranged in tint from enchanting to bizarre to intense to delicious to profound.

Of course, I visited the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: the must-see museum city’s must-see museum. After rounding a nondescript corner of this monolith, I found myself face-to-face with Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. The sight was astonishing. Instantly, tears sprang to my eyes at the golden masterwork. I knew Venus. I looked like her. I was her.

Chills ran through my body. Identifying with Venus bundled me in a new layer of self-acceptance, like a warm cloak. The sight of that painting changed something in me.

This all happened before I had discovered that I was a latent medium. But, looking back on my emotional response, I believe this meeting with Venus sealed my future work with her—and my eventual ability to hear her. Since that trip, Venus (and that image of her) has entered my life in countless ways—not least with my Temple Of Venus column for The Numinous, in which I have discussed many ways to work with the energy of the Goddess Venus.

As this column prepares to transition in the New Year (stay tuned for its next incarnation), I decided that a perfect way to pay homage to our Venus would be to let her speak. 

So as we close out 2016, I sat down with the Goddess Venus to get her tips on love and romance for the year ahead. And yes, by sitting down with the Goddess, I mean I went into deep meditation and had a conversation with my hero Venus!

boticelli Goddess Venus Elyssa Jakim Temple of Venus The Numinous

VENUS GREETS US!
“Hello Universe! It is a pleasure to be heard by you. Numinous readers have deep sensitivity. I hope they can feel my vibration through these words.”

ELYSSA JAKIM: What can you tell us about relationships in the current climate, Venus?
GODDESS VENUS: Recently, I have found I want more from my lovers and my standards are elevated, which means you mortals too have been more demanding in your relationships. It’s good to have high standards. But like anything, these high expectations must be balanced. So here is my tip for relationships in 2017: look at your closest relationships, especially with those family members who you perhaps spent more time with during the holidays.

Ask yourself: are my standards fair? Am I being too hard on the people around me? How can I receive the love that they are trying to give, even if they lack the right words? How can I appreciate the effort my loved ones make, even when it doesn’t land quite right? This will free you up into compassion. 

EJ: Are the high standards also helpful?
GV: Yes! The shift into higher standards is very important for those wishing to break their relationship patterns and attract a new kind of love in the new year. If you know you are ready to change how you date and whom you date, start setting your new patterns without delay. Walk your talk. When the same type of person you always date with no positive results asks you out, decline. Cut a date short if you don’t feel honored. It is time to spend time with people who lift you up, enlighten you, who make you laugh, and who make you feel healthy. Be aware of the company you keep.

EJ: What’s your message to the world right now?
GV: Stay close to your heart. It’s easy to look outside of yourself to find the answers, and it is easy to look outside of yourself for despair too. But the thing that is truly sustaining is the energy of your own knowing. People know what is right for them so much more than they think. I see so many of you asking for advice when you don’t really need it.

Is it advice or is it permission you’re seeking? I give you permission right now to make your own decisions. Trust that you have all of the answers inside of you. Especially in this Internet age where there are so many answers. Before googling all the symptoms (physical and metaphysical) simply ask your self what you need. 

Interview with the Goddess Venus by Elyssa Jakim The Numinous
Artwork: Bea Toa

EJ: What are your tips for sensuality in 2017?
GV: Get into your body, and get truly sensual! Challenge your lingerie choices. If you always wear a bra, forget it for a day. If you’re always flying free, try something structured and see how it makes you feel. Notice your body’s sensory reaction to clothes. What makes your genitals a little excited when you think about wearing it? What are your sensual fabrics? Read a book of erotica or a book about tantra and practice by yourself. Get intimate and cozy and hot inside to offset the frost. Winter’s dark mysteries can be pretty sexy. 

EJ: Is January really a good time for a detox?
GV: We often indulge during the holidays, since emotions are running high, and being surrounded by family members can trigger this. A way to temper this is to make sure your self-care practices are also on high alert. In January, drink SOOOOO much water. Put crystals in the water to make it more fun! If you have a sweet tooth, perhaps try a spoonful of honey. It may be cold out, but fresh air will help you to re-group and re-ground.

This is not a time of denial. If you’re choosing to eat healthier in January, feel excited by this act of nourishment. Receive the sweetness you maybe crave from other things. From a warm hug. From a great wintery walk. From candles. From kisses in the snow. From romance.

EJ: You are the Goddess of romance, Venus. What does that word mean to you?
GV: It means saying your true feelings out loud. Whether this is a crush or a long-term lover, to me being bold can be really sexy. Remember when you wrote letters to people as a teen, Elyssa? I loved that! You might have been embarrassed, but I found it beautiful! Most importantly, be romantic for yourself. Light candles in your space and play music that feels sexy or heartwarming to you. Sit by the fire, take hot showers, seek heat and warmth. Put red roses or petals in your space. Write yourself a love letter. Cook yourself a nice meal. Take yourself out on your own perfect date. The ways to be romantic are limitless, it’s just important to remember to do it.

EJ: How can Numinous readers connect with you in 2017?
GV: My energy is awakening more and more on the planet right now and I invite any one reading this to spend time in meditation with me. And remember, I exist in many forms. I exist as honeybees. I am a planet, obviously. I am white buffalo calf woman. I am the earth. I am sensuality. I am the womb. I am your deep femininity. Please spend some time with me. Please put a red rose in your hair, light a white candle, wear something gold, anoint your body with oil, listen to music, sway, and think of me. I love you so much. Have fun and you will prosper!

Elyssa Jakim is available for intuitive readings that channel goddesses, guides, angels, ancestors as well as astral travel sessions, distance reiki, and more! Check out elyssajakim.com for details on how to work with her. And discover her on Instagram @temple_of_venus.

HOLY F*CK: 5 WAYS TO JUMPSTART YOUR LOVE AND SEX LIFE IN 2017

In her final Holy F*ck column of 2016, Alexandra Roxo has 5 ways to jumpstart your love and sex life in 2017…Portrait: Alexandra Herstik

Alexandra Roxo Holy Fuck The Numinous sex life in 2017

2016 has been a wild year for the planet and for America. For me it’s been a year of change and growth and reshuffling and purging and mourning and planting seeds and learning. I also hadn’t been single in 10 years, and have spent this one being VERY single. I’ve used this time to have a giant rethink of ALL my ideas, values, and beliefs about love and sex.

I’ve done some dating, sure, but I put the brakes on things in the name of some deep diving and learning and observing of myself and my clients, which is hard for a Piscean princess who loves to dive into romance. My birthday is just days from Anais Nin (if that means anything to you you’re prob my tribe!).

Last week, in search of my culminating thoughts about love and sex and spirit for the end of this year, I called my friend Gala Darling, whose latest love story is one of my faves! After a divorce, Gala met her adorable boyfriend online a little over a year ago and I’d been swooning over them via Insta for a while. I wanted to hear the dirt…Did she believe in soul mates? Manifesting the man of your dreams with spells and rituals? Making a list of important things in love and meditating on them? I had a lot of questions for her.

Gala said many things but what stuck out the most was: “Relationships are not meant to be easy. Marriage is not easy. They are not meant to be comfortable. They are meant to push you to see things about yourself that are not actualized. Having a soul mate is not a party!” This sentiment is way too overlooked in the twin flame/soul mate discourse. Where’s the footer that says “Hey BTW this shit hurts”?

Gala Darling and her boyfriend Garnett Holy Fuck The Numinous sex life in 2017
Gala Darling and her boyfriend Garnett shot by Juliane Berry

She also reminded me that there is no certainty. Like ever. In marriage. In relationships. In any of it. People who are single think “Oh when will I meet that special someone?” And then people who are in partnership may be asking “Is this right? Is it supposed to hurt this much? Be this hard? Do I still love them?” There is no certainty but our devotion to ourselves, and our practice of keeping aligned with our heart’s needs.

So in order to do just that I’ve prepared some writing exercises for this column, to help you too rethink/ rewrite / jumpstart your love and sex life in 2017…

So get out your journal. Put on a kimono. Or silk PJ’s. Select some quiet tunes. Burn some incense.  Make yourself a cozy nest. I rec bed surrounded by blankets and pillows and some rose tea and a few candles.

  1. RETHINK YOUR “LIST”

We all make these grand lists of what we want in a partnership and we often forget that the human we imagine coming into our life will also be flawed. Just like us! Do you have some list you’ve been working on for years? Fantasies in your mind about how your partner should or shouldn’t be? This can change as you grow so def revisit every six months. So use this time to make a list of HARD YES’s and HARD NO’s, and to really meditate on them.

Ask yourself big questions like: “Could you be with someone who doesn’t believe in God? Or do you absolutely need to be with someone who wants kids?”

 

  1. BROADEN YOUR IDEA OF A SOUL MATE

Do you have people in your life you have let see the whole spectrum of your madness and beauty? Your most ugly side and your most beautiful? I believe all the people who can hold all of us and push us to our edges are our soul mates. If you’ve never let your darkness come out with anyone I say deepen a friendship with someone who you can do that with. Not in an abusive way, but in a way where the connection can go deep under the surface. That will get you ready for partnership, and if you’re partnered it will keep you deep diving into yourself.

My friend Rebecca and I really did NOT like each other when we met. I thought she was a dirty hippie and she thought I was a stuck up goodie two shoes. 15 years later we are best friends. During that time we’ve hated each other. Not spoken for a year. Had the most heinous of fights.  But had the most enlightening and fun and hilarious moments together too. She knows me in a way no one else can. Our love is as deep as the ocean.

Ask yourself: “Who are my soul mates now? Who has pushed me to the edges and helped me grow? What can I learn from these relationships about myself?”

 

  1. COMMIT TO A PRACTICE AND STICK WITH IT

If you haven’t dated in a while, will you commit to a dating practice? Perhaps you and a friend can buddy up, open an online account, make a ritual of creating your profile (which Gala says is “like casting a spell!”) Practice connecting with strangers in a non-attached way. Go on coffee dates with no agenda except chatting with a stranger. Maybe 1 out of 10 will be someone you’re actually attracted to, so keep it chill. No expectations. Treat it like a morning yoga practice!

If you’re in a relationship commit to a growth practice. Is it seeing a relationship coach once a month to make sure you are growing? Does your sex life need a reboot? Can you commit to an afternoon every other week of sexual exploration time to keep expanding there? If your relationship has become too dependent can you commit to developing and nurturing solo space?

Decide what practice you want to commit to in 2017 and break it down over the months and weeks.

 

  1. GET TO KNOW YOUR LOVE STYLES

How do you like to be loved? (If you need some inspo you can do the 5 Languages of Love quiz.) I know I mostly need to be loved with touch and kind words, and if I feel I can communicate that to my next partner they don’t waste their time buying me gifts or giving me rides or cooking for me. I told Loulou (one of my besties) about this, and now we know that we both highly value a solid compliment we pay each other loving compliments regularly! It just takes knowing and asking.

Make a list of ways you like to be loved, either within a partnership or solo. Do you need more touch? Schedule a weekly massage or trade with a friend. 

 

  1. LOOK IN THE MIRROR

Don’t make me quote Michael but um…he had a point! If you were a potential partner meeting yourself for the first time what would you think? What would you want more of? Less of? This is good to look at whether you’re single or attached. Would you prefer someone who is more available? Someone who is more financially stable? Someone in better shape? Someone who meditates daily? Well, this is a great way to see where you need to make changes on yourself.

For example, I was thinking I would just love a partner who can chop wood—so fuck it, I guess I’ll learn to chop wood in 2017 too! You can also be the partner you want to your friends. I mean, don’t make out with them passionately or anything (unless that’s how you roll!) but love your friends like you wanna be loved. Cook for them. Write cute notes. Romance your friends and yourself!

Set some goals for how you can become the best partner and self and friend.

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If you want to go deeper with this work sign up for my Holy F*ck course where we will be using creative writing and storytelling to dive deep into our habits, tendencies, hopes and dreams in love and sex in a conscious way.  I also see clients one on one for six month periods of mentorship and on off coaching sessions. More info here.

Alexandra Roxo is a critically acclaimed filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur and mentor currently residing in LA. She recently co-founded Moon Club with Ruby Warrington (founder of the Numinous) and has been featured in Well + GoodNylon,  Out Magazine and more.

5 WAYS TO MAKE MERCURY RETROGRADE WORK FOR YOU

Imagine if Mercury retrograde was actually here to help? Here are 5 ways to make Mercury retrograde work for you.

Mercury Was in Fucking Retrograde slogan print by Baron Von Fancy. Click to read more!
Image: Baron Von Fancy

Mercury retrograde gets a lot of bad press. In fact it’s kind of become like the “gluten” of the Cosmic calendar—we’ve been taught we’re all allergic and that the symptoms, as my friend Michael puts it, are basically a total “cluster flux.”

But what if Mercury retrograde was actually here to help?

I mean, how often to do you get things perfect first time around? How many people do you have “unfinished business” with? And how many situations have you pretty much given up on, assuming they’ll never get resolved?

Instead of counting down the days to the messenger planet’s next retro phase in a state of alternating panic and dread—how about you make Mercury retrograde work for you, and use it to shine a light on the areas of my life that are due for a do-over.

Okay, maybe it’s not the best idea to go hunting down the ex who totally sapped you of your self-esteem and left you feeling like an empty shell—some things definitely are best left in the past. The trick is to trust that anything it’s in your best interest to revisit will present itself to you.

As the brilliant Astro Twins always put it; “Think of the prefix “re-” as a guide for a smoother Mercury retrograde: rethink, redecorate, revise, research, reunite…and so on.”

Read on for five ways to take their advice and make Mercury retrograde work for you…

The Last Romance fashion illustration by Kelly Smith. Click to read more!
Illustration: Kelly Smith

Revise a passion project
Got a blog idea, or half-finished novel sitting in a folder on your overcrowded desktop? Now’s the time to dust that puppy off and make the necessary tweaks to fine-tune your vision. Just hold off on launching your project until the retro phase has passed.

Revisit a favorite workout
If you’re stuck in a workout rut (THIS spin class because it’s convenient, that particular run on autopilot) and feeling unmotivated as a result, cast your mind back to the last time you felt really inspired by your exercise regime. Revisiting a favorite instructor or YouTube workout could re-inspire you to get your sweat on.

Reconnect with the people you love
Life gets busy, and it’s oh-so-easy for weeks (hell, months) to go by without so much as a text exchange with the people you actually hold most dear. Take the Mercury retro phase as your cue to write those email and make those calls. Your heart will be so happy you made the effort.

Realize you can’t just erase your past
That niggling health issue you kinda just put a “band-aid” on hoping it would clear up by itself? That friendship you let fall by the wayside rather than have the “honest talk” you need to clear the air? The emotional trauma you stuffed in the closet, but that’s haunting your dreams at night? Now is the time to do the deeper work to address these once and for all, and emerge from the Mercury retro phase feeling lighter and god-to-go.

Revamp your actual closet
No shopping (and especially not online, as Mercury retro will probably mean techno fails and “RE”funds), but rather a re-evaluation of the contents of your closet. Use this post on the art of the psychic closet clear out for some tips, and once you’ve got rid of what’s not working you’ll be able to see what’s missing and THEN hit the stores to re-stock.

So there you have it—five ways to make Mercury retrograde work for you, and come out the other side a shinier, happier person to boot!

Was this article useful? Moon Club is a new monthly mentoring program from The Numinous and Alexandra Roxo that combines astrology with real time coaching on love, sex, work, wellness, and spiritual activism. Read more and sign-up here

THE NUMEROLOGY OF 12/12

The numerology of 12/12 is a portal to cultivate awareness of how we show up in relationships, says Felicia BenderArtwork: Giulia Bersani

couple smoking cigarettes the numerology of 12/12 The Numinous

In Numerology, when we experience repeating number patterns it brings meaning and influence. It sets up a certain “vibe” or portal of energy from which to operate on a more evolved and optimal level.

The date 12/12 is no exception.

This combination is an intriguing mix because the energy of the 1 is focused on you—your independence and individuality. While the energy of the 2 brings in the need and desire for partnership, connection, and unity.

The numerology of 12/12 offers the energy to contemplate and make solid changes with how you show up for your relationships. And even if you’re resistant to making changes in this area, this number combination will force your hand. Often a transformation will be driven by forces you consider outside of your immediate control.

The numerology of 12/12 also offers a new start in some sort of relationship—or relationships—in your life. Business, intimate, family, or friends. 12/12 is bringing a frequency of change that focuses on relationships.

The number 1 is all about understanding your sense of yourself as an independent entity and the number 2 focuses on your relationship both with yourself and with others—so the numerology of 12/12 also has walks the path between yin and yang, masculine and feminine. And the harmonizing of the two within yourself and within your world.

So while this day offers a portal of energy encouraging dynamic transformation within one or more of your key relationships, it also reminds us to define healthy boundaries while also asking for and accepting the loving support of others. It’s a delicate balance to be sure, and yet a vital and expansive opportunity for us if we’re open to starting something new and different in the relationship realm.

:: 3 Ways to Optimize the Vibe of 12/12 ::

Get Real. As Dr. Phil might say: “And how’s that workin’ for ya’?” Ask yourself this question about your key relationships and lay yourself bare in your openness to the answer.

Take Action. The number 1 is not about contemplation, it thrives with action. Don’t think about it for too long. Forgo analysis paralysis and do what needs to be done.

Expose Your Heart. The number 2 is all about love, diplomacy, and emotional acuity. The danger is in folding yourself into others’ expectations and losing yourself in the process. So do evaluate your next move with love and compassion. Both toward yourself and toward others.

5 HIGH-VIBE DATING DEAL-BREAKERS

In a world of hookup culture, where’s the soul connection? Gabriela Herstik lays down her high-vibe dating deal-breakers…

high vibe dating gabriela herstik the numinous

Material girl, mystical world. It ain’t always easy. Take dating, where finding a partner you click with, who also shares the same values as you, can be a minefield. In a world of hookup culture, where’s the soul-connection? And you shouldn’t have to explain what the position of the moon has to do with your pressing and urgent need to sage wash your iPhone. Right?

And then there’s food. Apparently November is World Vegan Month (we were clueless too), which led some company to publish research showing 1 in 3 would NOT date a vegan. Like, even if he happened to be Liam Hemsworth! It goes without saying that having BBQ for every meal is a swipe-out in our Numiverse. Here are 5 more high-vibe dating deal-breakers…

1. Not being a feminist
Honestly ya’ll, it’s 2016. How is it that Hillary Clinton was up for president against someone with literally zero experience in any sort of government, and who is openly a racist bigot, and yet a vote for her still wasn’t a no-brainer. Intersectional feminism is vital for deconstructing patriarchal structures that affect women all over the world—from the wage gap, to war-mongers who use crimes against women as ammo, to the violence experienced by queer and trans women in the United States. So if you’re not down for feminism, I’m not down for you. Awaken or leave me be.

2. Not respecting my spiritual beliefs
You don’t have to understand why I do what I do. You don’t have to read the tarot, come to yoga or even have to believe in a higher power. But you know what you DO have to do? RESPECT MY BELIEFS. Because there’s nothing more low-vibe than judging someone for what they believe. And obviously this goes both ways, and can be an amazing way to grow together! Amelia Quint of The Midheaven sums up her high-vibe relationship perfectly: “When Zach and I met, I still kept some Christian philosophies and he was atheist. Now we’re both cosmic space children. Don’t write someone off because of their beliefs. Follow your heart and soul.” AMEN SISTER.

3. Being closed-minded
I know that the occult is not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s totally fine. I feel the same way about sports. But the sexiest thing you can wear is an open mind! This goes for any sort of relationship: them not being willing to learn or listen is a major red flag. A conscious relationship means being open to the full experience each other brings, after all. You have to be willing to taste some of the salty and sour to truly enjoy the sweet, and being open to all experiences makes life way more delicious.

Vegan = “undateable”?

4. Non-communication
As someone who has been gaslighted and manipulated by past partners for sharing my feelings and emotions, I am NOT down with non-communication. If I can try and communicate with my higher power, you can try and communicate with me! When you’re in a space of deep self-exploration, being able to talk to your partner about what you’re learning, how you’re changing, and what’s no longer working is vital. We are all mirrors for one another, after all, and as you deal with your own shit you’ll more than likely see it reflected in your partner as well. If you can’t talk to them about it—even fight about it—then the relationship has nowhere to expand.

5. Disrespecting Mother Earth
As we witness the water bearers and Native people of Standing Rock struggle against the government for basic human rights, we’re reminded of ALL our responsibilities to Gaia—our Earth. Which makes being disrespectful of our planet—whether it’s littering or having zero regard for your carbon footprint—is a total deal-breaker. Like, IF YOU CAN’T RESPECT YOUR MOTHER HOW CAN YOU RESPECT ME?? We all walk this Earth together, and it’s on us to protect her for the sake of generations to come. You don’t have to be a total hippie to get this, but if you’re not FOR the Earth, you’re against her—and that’s just not okay.

THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF CHOOSING THE RIGHT FRIENDSHIPS

What if you applied the life changing magic of Marie Kondo’s tidying methods to choosing the right friendships, asks Victoria CoxArtwork: Found on Pinterest

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Friendship is a constantly evolving thing. We have our inner circle of friends, our coven of trusted confidants. Then there is a secondary circle, comprising people we are friendly with but who are less likely to know our strange quirks and deepest desires; work colleagues, gym buddies or school friends.

Over time, lesser known friends move into the inner circle, whist others move out of the constellation entirely. The point being that our friendship circle is ever changing, as we mature and grow. It is not designed to be stagnant and fixed.

Some friendships gain strength year after year, reaching surprising levels of intimacy. Some fade away entirely either through neglect, distance or simply growing apart. Then there are others that come to an abrupt end, the flame of friendship extinguishing itself in a dramatic fashion.

I understand all of this. So why do I still find myself trying to maintain friendships that no longer serve me? The answer to this question can often be surmised in one word: obligation. After all, if we’ve spent years building up a friendship, investing our time and our hearts, it seems counter-intuitive to throw it all away.

But what if we could learn to accept that if things aren’t what they once were? Acknowledge that it’s time to move on, with no hard feelings?

After all, I’ve learned to do this is every other area of my life. I’ve walked away from dysfunctional relationships; shitty bosses and unfulfilling jobs without even looking back. Why not apply the same thought process to my friends?

And then I finally read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and a light-bulb went on in my head.

Kondo, a Japanese organizing expert, touts the virtues of tidying by asking of everything you own: “Does this spark joy?” and if not, thanking it for its service and getting rid of it. But instead of pondering whether inanimate objects in my apartment sparked joy, what if I applied this method to choosing the right friendships?

Admittedly my first thought was to question whether or not I would qualify as a sociopath in comparing my friendships to my heavily stained shower curtain.

But really, what if we were to scroll through every friend listed in our phone contacts and ask ourselves: “Does this person spark joy in my life?” I would hazard a guess there’s probably a good thirty percent of people about whom we would either answer with a long “hmmm…”—or else blurt out a “Hell No!”

And when you really think about it, why would we choose to spend our valuable time with friends that no longer spark joy in our life? It simply doesn’t make any sense. Until you factor in that godawful G word. Guilt.

So powerful is the G-word (evil twin of the that O-word again—obligation) that I recently found myself spending hours with a friend who I didn’t want to hang out with, doing things I had no interest in doing and wishing I was somewhere else. Talk about soul-destroying.

And so turned back to Kondo’s book, seeking more pearls of wisdom to apply to my friendship circle.

She also wisely counsels that nostalgia is not your friend when it comes to your closet—and it turns out it’s not much help when it comes to friends, either.

How many times had I continued to hang out with a friend based solely on memories of what fun we used to have together? As it turns out, way too many. Our conversations always took a detour back down memory lane, peppered with “Remember when’s?” rather than “I’m so excited for…”

Sadly, the past is the past and if the only connection is over what was instead of what will be, then it might be time to reassess what purpose that particular friendship is serving. Is this person invested in your future dreams? Do they relate to the person you are today, or only the person you used to be?

Friendships are unique. Unlike relationships with our family, we choose to enter into them. And unlike a marriage, there’s no piece of paper reminding us we’re obliged to try and make it work. We choose each other because the relationship means something to us, it brings us joy, makes us laugh, brings over pizza when we’re feeling down and out.

Whilst it may be incredibly sad to bid adieu to a friendship that just isn’t working for us in the same way—because we’ve changed, they’ve changed or it simply doesn’t jive the way it used to—it’s also freeing to remember that since we chose to get into it, we can also choose to get out.