HOLY F*CK: STYLE YOUR CROWN CHAKRA WITH A HAIR SHAMAN

The higher the hair the closer to Goddess! Alexandra Roxo chats with hair shaman Andi Scarbrough about gem combs, crown chakras, and beauty work as ministry.

 

“Your hair becomes an offering to spirit to catalyze the internal change”- Andi Scarbrough 

Hair identity is a HUGE part of our self-expression, especially for women. Our hair reflects our cultural and ethnic background, the subcultures we are a part of, and even our spiritual and political beliefs. Hair has both been part of sacred and ancient rituals, and has been used to repress and humiliate women. Through all of it, our locks have held incredible power.

But like most things sacred , hair rituals have been commodified. We see a Super Cuts on every corner and the mass homogenization of hairstyles that’s been dictated by celebrity and popular culture more than anything.

So what about reclaiming HAIR as another sacred as hell space for ritual, transformation, ceremony, tribe, and lineage? Stylist and hair magic maker Andi Scarborough is doing just that!

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I’ll admit, I was nervous (aka panicked) about letting someone cut my hair. But when I arrived at Andi’s salon, she scooped me into her chair with a quieting presence. As she began to run a rose quartz comb through my frizzed out mop, I felt myself loosen. I realized just how tight the control I had around my hair was.

As she gently asked me a few questions, I found myself revealing my whole “hair story” to her. I shared all the times I was ridiculed and the shame I still carried. All the times I had tried to tame this hair and the point when I started making my hair red.

As she counseled and intuited my hair story and my hair needs, the tears began to flow. As she snipped, she reminded me of all the old Loves, the stories, the pain, everything that was releasing with the hair falling to the ground.

I cried for the rest of the day. I was shedding. I let myself shed the old layers. I let myself release.

Post cut, I sat down with Andi to hear more about her work … 

Rose Quartz Gemcomb- to purchase your own contact [email protected]

Alexandra: How do you describe your work?

Andi: Women’s Health just quoted me saying “I believe this work is a sort of ministry.” Part of me still thinks this is hysterical! I had an experience when I was a little girl where a woman faith healer came to the church and told me that I would go into ministry. Then, I promptly left the church.

It’s funny to me how your purpose finds a way through you, no matter what you try to do instead. Your ministry is the vehicle that you use to deliver your message and in that sense, mine is a beauty ministry.

My work is about clearing out the shrapnel from the crown chakra. That clearing allows you access to the divine wisdom you already have. You don’t need a guru. You don’t need any of that. It’s about remembering the god source within.

Alexandra: That’s beautiful. I love that.

Andi: This is the part where I do feel like it becomes more of a ministry, rather than energy work.

Alexandra: After your work clears the crown chakra, how does it help align people with their soul curriculum?

Andi: I was talking with a client recently about her curly hair. She was telling me how she straightens her hair because she wants it to be more manageable. So, I asked her “What part of you feels like you’re hard to manage?”

It’s interesting because the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. The way you choose your hair color or your hair texture are all echoes of the stories that are already in place. We’re only choosing what we think is available to us.

Alexandra: I can talk about my hair without it being emotional, but the actual physicalizing of the experience brought things up that were very emotional. When you were doing my hair, I felt safe enough to share my hair stories and history- it felt like a ritual and like a therapy session.

Andi: Like ceremony. We do our hair so that we can be seen the way we think we need to be seen, and it’s the piece that we correct externally. It’s like makeup over a blemish. Rather than clearing out whatever the clog is, we wanna just sort of gloss it over and cover it up and make it look sort of nice from far away.

But our hair is actually a time capsule. You’re literally carrying around a diary of every experience, every hormone flux, everything you’ve eaten, everything you’ve not eaten, every time you were sick. It’s all physically there with you.

Alexandra:  Wow, yeah. I never thought about it quite like that.

Andi:  That’s why you get haircuts when you have big life stuff happening, or you want big life stuff to happen.

Cross culturally, the hair symbolizes so much. Whether it’s the Native Americans wearing their hair long and braided to ground them back into Mother Earth, or not cutting your hair in Kundalini so that you have a longer antennae to spirit, or in the way it’s cut in some Tibetan rituals and Hindu rituals. It’s a sacrifice. One of my favorite examples of this ritualistic aspect is when girls go to college. Often, they’ll sacrifice that high school long hair as they step into womanhood.

Your hair becomes an offering to spirit to catalyze the internal change, or to let spirit know how serious you are about the internal change.

Hair Shaman Andi Scarbrough

For appointments with Andi in LA, please call 310-751-4484 or email  [email protected]. Due to the sensitive nature of this service, online booking is not available. More information and service pricing is available at www.andiscarbrough.com. And be sure to follow @crown_works for hair rituals, treatments, and processes!

COMFORTABLY NUMB: AN AMNESTY ON COOL

Enough with the hiding your real self behind your artfully composed selfies. It’s time to call an amnesty on cool, says Comfortably Numb columnist Kate Atkinson.

 

I want to declare an amnesty on modern cool – realizing this is one of the most uncool statements I could write, and more than aware that several people will probably be cringing reading this. If you are, call me anti-millennial and grind away. But if you’d have hoped we’d left it behind in high school, it seems like “cool” is an extremely contagious epidemic no thanks to the digital revolution.

What exactly is cool anyway? It’s an intangible phenomena that you can’t really touch, a state of being that defines the way you walk and talk, what you wear, the music you listen to, where you’re eating, and whether something is on trend – that is, worthy of likes on Instagram. It’s visceral. You can just feel it. And when it comes to true self-expression, I have to say, the modern version is a straight-jacket.

I also want to preface this story with the fact that while, yes, I do have tattoos, by no means am I an expert on cool. I was on the debating team at school – enough said. But I have got up close and personal enough with this insidious contagion to know how it works, and the more I examine its motives, it’s beginning to feel like cool is the root of an identity crisis that’s plaguing our generation.

A girlfriend put it perfectly when I asked what it means to be cool: “it’s the desire to be accepted, the need for validation, the urge to seem radical, despite longing to fit in.” And so it goes. Oh, the dichotomy of being human. Our narcissistic tendencies AND our insecurities are fuelled by cool, especially at a time when platforms for inclusion and exclusion are at an all time high.

Are you aspiring to be an “influencer?” This breed is all about being seen and accepted, “liked” on the interweb. For them, Instagram is basically a digi-friendly version of the high school cheerleading team. Things are sold to us now by “seeding” them with cool people. Brands, celebrities, and destinations are made by their manufactured “cool factor.” What I want to know is, what happened to under-the-radar cool of yesteryear?

In his 2013 book “The Cool School”Glenn O’Brien talks about the new tastemakers. But his cool  “squad” were, put simply, incredibly creative weirdos. Homeless Jazz beatniks, bohos and roaming beat poets. Anyone who made people uncomfortable basically. Something tells me that they wouldn’t be invited to Kim and Kanye’s dinner party.

We live in an age of such style over substance that it’s incredibly hard to rage against the machine and do your own thing. In fact, a study commissioned by smartphone maker HTC late last year revealed that 52% of the approximately 1000 Brits surveyed admitted to posting images of possessions and items with an intention of making their “friends” jealous. What the hey?

Wasn’t this cool thing supposed to be people going against the grain? Rather than just sticking up photo-shopped images captioned: “I ate, I pooped, I wore Celine!” Now pardon my French, but WTF? If this isn’t numbing what’s going on in our down and dirty daily human reality, I don’t know what is.

Because cool these days is about hiding the “sad” half of your life and projecting the best bits. Ambivalence is also key – pretending not to care, even (especially) if you do. Which is basically saying to your soul that your true hopes and aspirations count for nothing unless they fit with whatever’s trending this month. And yet, as the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character puts it in cult classic Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

A moment please to consider this: when the cool castles in the sky come crashing down around you and you’re left with the reality of your life, who out of your carefully curated online “tribe” will actually be there to help cushion the fall? Because what you’re really doing when you shield the real you with a glossy veneer of cool, is construct a bulletproof force field that deflects true intimacy.

So beside a total social media detox and cancelling our memberships to Soho House, how can we wake up from this aspirational bullshit existence that we’re creating for ourselves? By taking the time to get conscious to how we while away our days, and creating meaning in every interaction. By walking our talk, with our roots firmly entrenched in reality.

It sounds so obvious, but social media is the great distractor when it comes to following your own expressive intuition….and it’s there for seeking approval when you do actually create something. The old greats weren’t preoccupied with showcasing their creativity, they just did it.

It’s a mythic delusion and a safety net to communicate and earn accolades in this way – as well as a way to mask what’s actually going on. Surely giving away change on the subway is also worth a few “likes” – so why aren’t we posting on Instagram about that? “Saw a nice guy dish out change today on the subway – what a dude!” Shouldn’t he be the real “influencer?”

These stories DO come up on social media – and when they do it’s meaningful, the positive slant on modern technology. But too often, they’re engulfed in a stream of exclusivity: “I ate this, my bae wears that” – with resulting countless digital high fives and @s to follow.

I know my feed rarely delves beyond the aesthetics. And yes, fashion week happens, and friends stay in epic mansions. There are days at the beach with the clearest water ever. Again, I am not counting myself out of ANY of this malarchy, I am as partial to a well-posed selfie as the rest of us. But the lack of reality is what’s wrong with this whole picture, and it’s beginning to be all I can see.

Can’t somebody invent “Unstagram” for the days you’re feeling a bit off? For when you get dumped, you spent the last two days in tracksuit from Target, or you have an embarrassing medical problem?

Because you know what’s really cool? Being real. Not some projection of me me, me, me, I’m so fabulous, watch me eat, watch me sleep! Watch me break my arm! Look at me tagging historical references to show how tapped in and culturally aware I am.

Are we really this dumb? Is there no end to our ridiculous need for validation? This is the worst kind of cool that there is, and what’s more, this culture of exclusion is not social by any means. It’s actually scientifically proven to be making people chronically depressed.

So in a recent discussion with a friend on a rather significant life choice that involved making a potentially un-cool move, when she advised me to: “Fuck cool” – I decided I whole-heartedly concur.

NOT by Ernest Hemmingway

You are not your age,

Nor the size of clothes you wear,

You are not a weight,

Or the color of your hair.

You are not your name,

Or the dimples in your cheeks,

You are all the books you read,

And all the words you speak,

You are your croaky morning voice,

And the smiles you try to hide,

You’re the sweetness in your laughter,

And every tear you’ve cried,

You’re the songs you sing so loudly,

When you know you’re all alone,

You’re the places that you’ve been to,

And the one that you call home,

You’re the things that you believe in,

And the people that you love,

You’re the photos in your bedroom,

And the future you dream of,

You’re made of so much beauty,

But it seems that you forgot,

When you decided that you were defined,

By all the things you’re not.

SACRED ADORNMENT: THE ART OF DRESSING FOR YOUR SPIRIT

Dressing for your spirit – that’s the art of sacred Adornment, says Kitty Cavalier. Photography: Anna Dabrowska // Illustration: Mara Gonzalez Telman

Adornment and ornamentation of the human body is a practice that goes back to the beginning of time. It is something we humans have used for thousands of years to express how we feel, what we think, and what we choose to honor. When you think about our ancestors showing up to a Full Moon ceremony, what do you envision them wearing? Some mud encrusted, tattered frock that’s been worn for weeks?

Perhaps. But in most cases, our ancient granddaddy’s and grandmama’s would pull out all the stops. Ceremonial beauty rituals included things like bathing for days, massaging oneself with fragranced oil and herbal salves, face painting, and ornamenting the entire body with glittering shells and earth gems. After all, when the Gods themselves are your Friday night date, you better damn well get your glow on.

Creating beauty with the human body has always been and will always be a way of expressing reverence, tribute and prayer. For example, when a person gets married, she or he will think nothing of spending a whole year focused on their appearance. We get dressed up for holidays, birthdays, graduations, job interviews, etc., all as a way of expressing our inner experience of celebration with outer beauty.

With all the pressures of fashion trends and societal beauty norms however, it is easy to fall into the trap of adorning oneself solely to please the voyeur, rather than express the spirit within. But true adornment isn’t about impressing anybody, it is about leaving a unique impression on the world.

Here are five easy, rock-solid ways you can use The Art Of Sacred Adornment to cast your unique spell…

1. Make Your Beauty Routine A Ritual
As you line your eyes or mascara your lashes, remember that you are drawing well deserved attention to the portals of your soul. When you rouge your lips, be aware that you are bringing red, the color of passion and power, to every word you speak. As you paint your fingernails, remember that every stroke of the polish is a prayer of adornment for all the magic your hands create every day.

2. Create A Sensation Based Wardrobe
Stand in the middle of your closet. As you look around, notice what catches your eye and creates the sensation of lust and desire in your body. When you put that garment on, notice how it feels. Does it make you feel delicious, sexy and turned on? Does it make you feel powerful? Does it make you feel good in your own skin? Challenge yourself to assemble your outfit without looking in the mirror once, basing every decision not on how things look, but on how things feel.

3.  Create Your Own Color Psychology
Some schools of thought teach that red is a “power color”. I say, your power color is whatever the f*ck you want it to be. For example, wearing ultramarine blue makes me feel both sexy and slightly androgynous, depending on the item. That makes me feel powerful, sometimes. Other times it is the softness of a cream lace kimono and vintage pink camisole makes me feel powerful. Maybe neon yellow is your power color, or wearing all black makes you feel romantic. However a color feels to you is how it will make you feel to the rest of the world, when you are the one that is authentically wearing it.

4. Go outside your comfort zone
A fabulous way to practice adornment as prayer is to stretch a little bit beyond your comfort zone, every day. This will be different for everyone. It could be something as simple as switching out your regular sneakers for a pair of classic, chic Chuck Taylor’s. Or if you’re a notoriously glamorous dresser, maybe your challenge is a pair of slouchy Levis. As in any area of life, the richest magic always lies just outside our comfort zone.

5. Keep It Simple, Starlet
At the end of the day, practicing adornment doesn’t mean you need to start parading the streets in a gilded carriage. (Unless ya want to – I know I do!) Sacred Adornment can be as simple as caressing every inch of your skin with warm, glistening coconut oil after a shower, or clearing off your nightstand at the end of the day to light a candle. Any time you intentionally honor all the beauty that you are, you become a living, breathing, prayer.

TO THE FUTURE: A MYSTICAL JOURNEY WITH JULES KIM

New York jewelry designer Jules Kim views the world through a unique lens, where pixie queens and pop divas wear her creations like they’re living, breathing creatures. She talks self-expression, sweating it out and the beauty of imperfection with Ruby Warrington. Photos: Annie Powers. Styling: Raquel Griffin. Hair: Sayo Takegami. Makeup: Deanna Melluso

Cut-out t-shirt, Raquel Allegra; Rings, Bijules.

The latest collection is a re-birthing of your signature pieces – when was the last time you felt re-born? Why?
It was just a few days ago in Paris. I walked from the showroom I was based in in Palais Royal to Rue de Rivoli, where I saw my pieces on display in the Louvre’s retail boutique…none of my contemporaries were there to share this moment with me – none of my family, none of my friends – it was just for me…It was an overwhelming and humble feeling to allow a success such as this radiate through me…

How did that feel, physically?
I had been running from appointment to rendezvous, so exasperated, and my heart stilled and stopped racing when I stood in front of the glass jewelry case with the Bijules pieces shining beneath it. Like little emblems of hope, I was so proud.

You must feel very connected to your creations…
Bijules has been a passion project and always will be, and I believe that to have had developed something so heart-driven means it will grow into exactly what I intend it to be.

It strikes me that you see things with different eyes to other people. How do you maintain your unique worldview?
It has something to do with being an open and honest human being with a great compassion for others, almost to a fault…

How so?
I often find myself leading others to finding something they love, be it a person, a place, or even a job. But sometimes I can give too much and not ask for anything in return, and karma is not a single player game!  As an artist, I search for and absorb beauty 24 hours a day, any place I am…and I believe humility will always enrich my view of the world and allow for my original ideas to take shape.

Blouse, YSL.

Where did you ‘learn’ this – were you the same as a kid?
I’d like to hope so. My mom showed my sister and I how real beauty is natural and cannot be preconceived. I am half Korean and not one of my childhood friends could understand that, so most of my childhood I was searching for different looking things. Knowing they were different made them akin to me.

What is perfect about imperfection to you?
Classic…I say that alllll the time! I find perfection completely unattainable, just as success is always subjective. But it is the pursuit of perfection that gives me satisfaction. Even if the end goal is constantly evolving to suit the actuality of the pursuit.

Somebody told me that in New York, no-body will take you seriously until you’ve tried and failed at something. Because real strength of character comes from picking yourself up and trying again. What have been the most useful mistakes you’ve made?
There have been a combination of repeat offences when I’ve tried to work overnight miracles for celebrities. I guess I’ve learned that unwavering honesty and real originality are what lay the groundwork for true success.

What other major life lessons have you experienced?
I was raised by a single mother who struggled to find her own happiness and I saw very clearly that life is more complicated than one might ever assume. I feel gifted and blessed to have the capacity to love and expand my own experiences into a tangible product. In that way, Bijules is actually a platform for expression and altruism.

Necklace, Bijules.

Do you have a daily spiritual practice or touchstone?
There’s no definitive deity to whom I pray, but I look deep into myself to provide as much stability and reflection as I am capable of. It is my environment and those who I choose to populate that environment who provide the most support. I also hit the gym, Russian spas and saunas for a good sweat three times a week. I’m an extreme kinda girl! (Read Jules’s report on her Icelandic sweat lodge experience here).

And what about any sacred rituals you bring to the design process?
I am a storyteller, and I use both metals and marketing to weave these faceted tales of life, love, failure, success, and happiness. But my creative process relies heavily on exchanges with my staff, production team, and clients.

But do you meditate or do anything else to bring about your best creative ideas or state of being?
I have to sketch and physically record my creative sessions. The paper trail then serves as a relic to refer to as the ideas evolve. I draw when I’m in the air, on planes. Being disconnected is true bliss.

You’ve used your own body in your designs, is this so your clients are literally wearing a piece of you?
It is. Some might perceive this as an ego driven thing but in fact, it is the exact opposite for me. My body is just a human body. We all have one. So the idea is to celebrate that by making jewelry for each and every one!

Illustration: Sian Jordan.

You design for hipsters, celebrities and…elves?
Haha, cute! Yes, when I made my gold ear tip, I decided to sell it with a little bag of gold dust. I imagined a hot ass elf chick walking into a club before exiting to the bathroom to apply her party. She opens her black box of pixie magic and inside is a golden elf ear with a bag of 3 pennyweights (jeweller’s unit of measurement) of gold fairy dust. She dips her Bijules ear tip into the gold mess and as she slips it over her own. The dust falls around her shoulders and into her hair. Now she is ready to get a drink…

So which alternate realm are you incarnated from?
I’m not sure, but I do feel like an old soul whose ideas seem to be way ahead of the curve – and I thoroughly enjoy being first.

Il futuro is….?
Il futuro is Italian for ‘the future’….and mine is paved in gemstones, semi-opaque black diamonds flipped upside down and lots of crazy pieces, made for a few good people.

www.bijulesnyc.com
@bijules