QUEER HERO: HOW TO CAST A NAME SPELL

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

Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY WE ARE ALL HEALERS IN THE NOW AGE

We are all healers in the Now Age, says Nicole Adriana Casanova—and self-healing is the first step towards discovering your unique medicine for the world …

If you are being called to the healing path, recognize that this has come from deep within you. That you have stilled yourself enough to hear a voice that has always spoken. It’s not that something within you is awakening, but that your awareness is awakening to a part of you that was never not there.

Every human being on this planet is a Healer. We are all Pacha: a word that speaks to the essence of being, that is the most pure and distilled part of ourselves and unique to only us. For some of us, Pacha may express through art, through writing, our ability to connect people to other people or opportunities that benefit them; for others, Pacha manifests through music, or the way we prepare food, our ability to hold space for others, maybe even the crafts: oils, jewelry, the way that we appoint our homes, the clothing that we make or wear…

One thing is certain, when we are working with our soul, our fundamental truth, with a desire to marry our will to the divine will, our Pacha radiates through everything we touch and brings great healing to the world. To our own lives, and the lives of those around us.

What this means is, we all carry medicine. We are all healers. Just think about it for a moment. Think about the last time you really connected to the creative spark and answered that unique calling in your soul, allowing it to ignite you from within and light up what you put out there. Feel it. Feel it deep in your bones. And remember the impact that it had on your community, your home, even your own consciousness.

Remember the permission that you created for yourself and others by actually allowing yourself to embody your Soul. This is a very potent medicine. A subtle silent medicine that influences everything around you and inspires it to open.

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Expressing this is part of the grand design of our human race. We are not meant to be exactly like each other, which is why we exist as separate beings. But within this separation we are united. And if each of us were to consciously decide to live our Pacha, the world would transform. It would become much more interesting and rich. Rich with love, courage, and the fire of our innermost passion. Fire that brings transformation and clear vision, an ability to see how we are all unique and how that uniqueness is needed in order to illuminate the human experience here on Earth.

Pacha is not solely reserved for gurus or masters or teachers, it is within each and every one of us. And when we came to this life, the Earth provided everything we would need in order to thrive. All of the food, the shelter, the elements, the terrains, all of the teachings, the animals, the plants, the minerals, the vegetables, the family, the friends, the art, the songs, the medicines…

All of this is just a metaphor for how we truly need a diverse landscape in order to remember ourselves. Within the gift of this remembrance is the understanding of natural order, and how we must continue to carry our inborn essence and bring it outward to share, to provide for others, to honor the sacred traditions of the humanity, the Earth, and our Souls.

We close the circuit by being who we truly are, by accepting others as they are, and by understanding the divine order within this sublime diversity. It is an undoing of false identities that leads us to this truth.

Imagine the incredible healing that would take place on this planet if we integrated this ancient wisdom and let go of scarcity, competition, jealousy, fear, rage, comparison, separation. How would our entire experience level up if we were simply able to accept what is? Our selves, our Souls, each other.

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So, are you committed to awakening the healer in you?

Before you embark on this path, self-healing is an extraordinary and necessary part of learning how to be of service to others. Self-healing helps us strip off all the false identities, the false masks, social constructs, familial inheritances, etc., that clog our minds, hearts, bodies, and spirits from being able to truly hold and express our Pacha. Because Pacha takes space and commands a level of integrity with ourselves in order to hold it. 

Eventually, the realization dawns that our own self-healing is actually the most beneficial offering we can give to the world.

Why?

Because we are all connected. By healing ourselves, by being in truth, we become as gardeners creating a beneficial environment for everyone in our lives to also embody themselves authentically. Like the metaphor of the Earth, we begin to thrive in our interrelation and interconnection.

The seeds we plant today become the food of future generations—the systems of this planet teach us through simply being how we can regenerate as humans, and how to live in harmony. So, begin by looking at what you are taking in. What do you feed yourself, literally and figuratively? And then look at what you provide for those you love? And then look at what you feed your garden. Is it struggling? Is it thriving?

This is your Pacha. Tend to every part of it with fierce compassion, the world awaits your medicine. 

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Nicole Adriana Casanova is a student if Maestro Manuel Rufino, Taino elder and founder of Golden Drum cultural center in Brooklyn, New York. Nicole is a writer, poet, and storyteller, a 200 RYT Yoga Alliance certified, a certified Reiki Master in the Usui and Karuna Reiki Riojo, a Shamanic Practitioner, a Human Movement and Meditation teacher, and Magical Awakening Practitioner. Discover more about Nicole and her work HERE and follow her on Instagram.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: HELLO MOJO AND AN EVENING WITH THE CACAO GODDESS

Enter the 8/8 Lion’s Gate…and an encounter with the cacao goddess, a return to my mojo, and a meeting of minds with Amanda “Moon Juice” Bacon.

Just hangin’ in my hammock loving the 8/8 vibes of the Lion’s Gate

:: MONDAY ::
Happy New Year! According to the Mayans, that is, for whom 8/8 marked the planetary new year. Also the opening of the mystical “Lions gate” portal (8/8 through 8/12—a.k.a. this week), marked by the star Sirius moving closer to earth and aligning in Orion’s belt, which perfectly syncs up with the Pyramids in Giza. Linked to the numerology of 8/8, the astrological sign of Leo, and the Strength tarot card (which traditionally shows a woman holding the jaws of a Lion) the message is basically “MAJOR POWER PORTAL”! So let’s see what went down for me…

Sarah’s altar to the cacao goddess…

:: TUESDAY ::
My first cacao ceremony! Thanks to a particularly switched-on editor in the UK commissioning me to write about cacao for The Times newspaper. #progress. And as the cosmos would have it, The Alchemist’s Kitchen was hosting a ceremony tonight with Numinous contributor Sarah Eve Cardell. Sarah’s been working with the cacao goddess for about 10 years, and the first thing she advised the 60-odd people in attendance was that: “it doesn’t taste pretty.” Not your average cocoa treat, in other words.

But I actually did like the bitter chocolate taste of the thick, gloopy glassful I was instructed to drink down as fast as possible—even if made throat a little raw and my mouth go slightly numb. Since we’d already been around the circle to share our intentions for the ceremony (mine, to invite the energies of collaboration and mutual support in my current projects) now it was time to journey.

As we all found a place to lay down and zone out (or rather in, to the visions of our heart center—since cacao is known as heart medicine), I felt a little nauseous, the cacao sitting kind of queasy in my stomach. But soon I was transported to a lulling trance state on the sounds of a gong bath by Jarrod Mayer. I actually think I drifted in and out of sleep, and while I didn’t have particularly strong “visions” (like I have in, say, breathwork sessions with Erin Telford, or Deborah Hanekamp’s medicine readings), towards the end of the experience I received a kind of “pat on the back” from what felt like a loving maternal presence for the work I’m currently doing—particular my Club SÖDA NYC initiative.

“The world needs what you’ve got…so keep giving it?” was the message I shared with the group afterwards, Sarah having reminded us that whatever came through for us was also a message for everybody in the circle. And since you, dear readers, are part of my circle too, let’s take this as the message the cacao goddess also has for YOU.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Maybe it’s the Lion’s Gate, maybe it’s the cacao, and maybe it’s because Mars finally moved into Sagittarius last week (likely a combo of all three)…but today I found myself thinking: “whoa, I’ve got my mojo back!!” Like the speed at which I can feel myself processing stuff, and the energy welling in my veins again this week, has made me realize I’ve been operating on half speed or something for most of this year. And well, what can I say but bring. It. On! (And where can I get my hands on some medicinal grade cacao please?)

:: THURSDAY ::
More talk of magical medicinals, as I got to interview my friend Amanda Bacon, founder of Moon Juice, for the UK’s Red magazine today. Also more #progress, since Amanda was slammed by many in the mainstream media when a food diary she once shared with Elle re-surfaced earlier this year.

Her response to that whole situation? “Taking the harsh words away, I was interested in getting to the essence of: what are people really saying here? They’re saying that they don’t understand it. They’re saying that they’re skeptical. They may not believe in it. They’re afraid that they’re not invited or included, and it’s not for them,” she told me.

As such, it actually became an opportunity for this savvy businesswoman to find ways to refine her message—that we can all use food to heal and feel amazing—for the masses. Next up? Two new stores in LA, and her first cookbook, The Moon Juice Cookbook (above), out in November this year. 10 years ago, even green juice felt far out; 10 years from now, it’ll be Sex Dust for breakfast.

:: FRIDAY ::
Planning my own mini ritual to close the Lion’s Gate tonight. And to thank you, cosmos, for another magically mystical week.

HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL: A TOTAL GUIDE

Tap into the wisdom of the animal kingdom by learning how to work with your spirit animal, says Wolf SisterArtwork: Erin Petson

 

A spirit animal is a reflection of you, and is there to remind you of your inherent wisdom. They represent archetypal energies, typical traits that are personified by a specific creature. Acting as our allies, teachers, guides and protectors, if a spirit animal is showing up in your life, it has a message for you and wants to work with you.

Think, what are this animal’s strengths and how does it act? This is the message for you.

To work with your spirit animal is to step into the power you need most in any moment. This can help you feel more grounded, give you the confidence for a job interview, make you feel more alluring for a hot date or give you the strength to ask for help when you need it. Above all, it can help you to feel more confident, proactive and supported.

:: WHO IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL? ::

Spirit animals have an energy you will resonate with and feel drawn to, sometimes inexplicably. This doesn’t have to be specific to an animal either, it could also be a deity, super hero or even a celebrity! Yes, you could count Beyonce or Mary Magdalene as your “spirit animal.” There will be something familiar about your animal, and they’re there to teach and guide you in a direction that supports you.

Maybe you already have a strong affinity with a particular spirit animal, but if you don’t feel like have the connection yet here are some tips to help you to activate your connection.

A Vision Quest
In the morning, take some time to meditate and invoke your spirit animal to show itself. Create a presence of awareness throughout the day and look out for signs that could represent your animal. Your spirit animal is likely appear to you in a series of synchronicities, where you may literally see it everywhere—on street art, the internet, magazines, books, posters, gifts you receive from friends, dreams or even a chance encounter with the animal itself.

When your animal wants to be seen, it’ll make sure you notice it so keep your eyes wide open. Journal your encounters as these encounters are all insights into what is being revealed to you. You may come into contact with more than one animal, but the animal you see most often is the most prominent message. Think of the additional animals as the supporting acts.

Meditate
You can connect with your spirit animal through meditation, while a guided shamanic journey will lead you to your animal and hold space for you to communicate more deeply with them. There are guided meditations available online (search: “spirit animal guided meditation”) and workshops that hold space for you to meet your spirit animal. Check event listings for sessions in your area.

Dreamtime
Before you go to sleep, ask your spirit animal to reveal themselves to you in your dream. Your intention could be, ” Spirit animal, who serves my highest and best good, please come to me in my dreams tonight. I am open to your wisdom. Thank you for your protection and guidance. You will be remembered in the morning.”

Repeat this invocation as you fall asleep. Make sure that you have a pen and paper by your bed for when you wake up in the morning, and write down what you remember as soon as you wake up and the memory of the dream is still fresh.

Oracle Cards
One of the quickest ways to connect with your spirit animal is to use an animal oracle deck (we love the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck). Connect with the deck and draw a card (or a few cards) to represent what serves you. You can take guidance from the reference book that accompanies the deck but I would also recommend journalling how this card makes you feel, use your intuition to find the meaning. Meditate on the card and see what messages come through to you from the unseen realm.

If you draw an animal that makes you feel uncomfortable, brings up a phobia or a feeling of dislike, this animal can represent your shadow side. This could symbolize something in the animal’s character that you’re avoiding in your life. Take this as an opportunity to tune in to what may need healing in your life. Remember, if this animal is showing up for you, it is there to be seen, and it’s because you are ready. Even if you don’t think you are…

:: HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL ::

Act Like Your Animal
Use the animal’s instinct as a guide for what action you need to take. How does your animal think and act?

Here are a few examples: Stand strong and committed like the bear. Be sensual and independent like the cat. Do some Vinyasa yoga to connect with your flexibility like the snake. Howl at the moon to embody the wolf. Share your wisdom as a teacher like the owl. Seize an opportunity like the magpie.

Check out youtube or some David Attenborough documentaries to study the characteristics of your animal. Have fun with how you embody your animal, no-one else needs to know, and watch to see how people respond to you after you’ve been channeling the ways of your animal.

Dress Like Your Animal
Wear the colors and patterns of your animal to connect with their spirit. This can be a subtle act, for example wearing leopard print underwear to honor your inner wild cat. Let your hair loose to unleash the lion in you. Think of black as the color of mystery and transformation. If your animal is colorful then it’s a sure sign that you need to been seen.

Eat Like Your Animal
Food nourishes us and gives us energy. Animals use food to do this in the purest way, no fad-diets! They forage or hunt for what their body needs and eat specifically to adapt to their environment. Use the dietary habits of your animal as a guide for what will nourish you at the moment. If your animal is a herbivore, try a plant-based diet and see how your body feels. Birds have a very fast metabolism to enable them to stay light so that they can fly, eating little and often. Maybe the message is simply that you take time to slow down to eat.

Meditate With Your Animal
Using a guided meditation, journey to connect with your spirit animal. Ground yourself and when you’ve connected with your animal, visualize the animal’s energy merging with yours. Feel yourself integrating its strength and wisdom. Set the intention to embody the animal’s empowerment for the day ahead. Working with animals is very grounding, so know that your energy will be protected by the animal as it serves you.

Animals are wise and gentle guides. They haven’t forgotten their connection with earth and with us, and they need our help to protect and heal our planet. As always, the healing journey begins with us. This is an invitation to call on your natural superpowers and work with animal instinct to create the change in your life that you’ve been waiting for.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: HOW TO USE THE RETROGRADES FOR HEALING

With Pluto, Saturn and Mars all retrograde, there’s rich opportunity now to transcend deep-seated patterns and re-vamp your sense of purpose. This week showed me how to use the retrogrades for healing…

Sub Rosa’s Michael Ventura

:: MONDAY (-WEDNESDAY) ::
A healing session with Michael Ventura, who also happens to be CEO of design and branding agency Sub Rosa, which also happens to be the venue for some of NYC’s most high-vibe happenings (including our Club SÖDA NYC event in April with Biet Simkin). This is what I love about New York—everybody has a side project that’s at least as interesting as their day job. In Michael’s case, 10 years spent studying everything from Traditional Chinese Medicine to Native American shamanic healing (with Yogi Bhajan’s personal healer, no less).

“These retrogrades have stirred up all kinds of funky stuff,” I told him. “You know, like ‘who am I?’ and ‘how can my voice have real impact in the world?'” (um, anybody else feeling the existential crunch right now?) My treatment was a combination of hands-on healing and pressure-point release, with some crystals and some burning herbs, after which I practically levitated off the table, leaving with the instructions to send an update by email after two sleeps. By which time I was actually experiencing a disquieting sense of wanting to completely re-evaluate my message and my mission, in line with my personal needs.

And since I know I’m not alone in this right now, I share with you here Michael’s beautiful response:

“We all too often think of our lives across two spectrums—positive and negative. However, there is a third and powerful force—neutrality—which can serve you well in these times of reflection and integration. You don’t need to have the plan. At the same time, you don’t need to get down on yourself for not having a plan. Simply un-attaching and not identifying with an outcome will let things happen at their own pace. A flower doesn’t bloom by trying to bloom. It simply allows.”

:: WEDNESDAY NIGHT ::
So I allowed the unease (WTF am I doing with my life? How is what I’m doing actually of service in the world?) to just be there. And now enter my third sleep of the week, during which I experienced the most incredible healing dream—facilitated (in my dream) by wonderful Alexandra Derby, who appeared in my mind’s eye and told me it was time to perform a ritual.

This involved an astral visitation with my ex—a man to whom I utterly subjugated my sense of self during my late teens and early twenties. Confronted with his same old, patronizing ways, I felt his words and gross, overbearing sexual energy bounce off me, like I’d developed a cosmic force-field. “You are an insect on the sole of my shoe, and I am more powerful than you will even know,” was basically the over-riding vibe. At which point I came semi-conscious to the sound of a series of “clicks” in my brain—as if a piece of code in my internal operating system had been re-written. By morning, I awoke feeling newly and fully empowered on my path. Existential crisis averted!

So…I’ve gone into way more detail here than I usually would in this column, but my this week has been an amazing opportunity to work with the current retrogrades for healing. Pluto and Saturn, in particular, are opening up deep karmic wounds, and since everywhere I look it seems people are experiencing a similar sense of having outgrown their own skin, or are having conflicting thoughts and feelings about where they’re “at” and what they really want, it felt appropriate to share.

And so, I believe this is a perfect time to:

– Seek assistance bringing any funky energy that’s being stirred up to the surface—ideally a session with a trusted energy worker (think reiki, acupuncture, sound healing—whatever works for you).
– Allow all the weird shit you might be thinking and feeling to just be there. Don’t over-analyse it—just allow it move through you. Trust that it will find its own way out—in a dream like mine, perhaps.
– Feel it to heal it. Which means resisting the temptation to numb out from it with drink, drugs, drama, shopping (*insert your preferred method of numbing here*).
– Journal. I actually wrote a poem the morning after my healing dream, my favorite new way to purge the numinous un-namables that are screeching to be let out. Try it—I bet you like it!

:: THURSDAY ::
Mainly processing the above. While also finally finishing my book manuscript (TF!)

:: FRIDAY ::
A beautiful astanga class with Makeesha Hill of the Urban Yogis—a grass roots initiative bringing the tools of yoga and meditation to NYCs inner city communities, that we’re supporting with sales of our Designer Yogis sweatshirt collection. A fitting end to this week of self-enquiry, as one of the things that’s coming through loud and clear for me right now is that if my work (like, this platform) isn’t actively in service of helping people be happier humans, in a healthier, more harmonious society…then really, what’s the point? As the Yogis themselves would say: #peaceisalifestyle!

The Urban Yogis: a.k.a. (l-r) Raheem Lewis, Tyrell Carter, Jaytaun McMillan, Makeesha Hill, and Juquille Johnston

TRIMARAN BOTANICALS: SKINCARE BLESSED BY A SHAMAN

Mimi Young, founder of Shamanic skincare line Trimaran Botanicals, shares her journey and her process…

Occasionally, a brand appears on the horizon that just vibrates authenticity – and Trimaran Botanicals, a skincare line out of Vancouver, is one such offering.

Created by modern shamanic practitioner Mimi Young, it’s no surprise to learn that each and every product is interwoven with the energetic imprint of the spirit realm – to create a line that nurtures the beauty of the user, inside and out.

It’s been an honor to collaborate with Mimi on this piece, in which she discusses her connection to the spirits (“No different than a friend texting you – those little communications just happen…”) her products, and her process…

The Numinous: How did you originally connect with your plant spirits?
Mimi Young: It happened by accident, really. For almost two decades I had been psychically smelling plants – smelling fragrances of plants (and other substances) that are not physically in my surroundings, and it took me a long while to realize that this was the spirits calling to me for recognition, to be heard.

I then realized I had the gift of communicating with these spirits when I was in Mexico. There was a tropical house plant where were staying – the leaves resembled a peace lily, although to this day I am not certain what species it was. I was in the bathroom, and I quite clearly heard the voice of the plant, “It would be so nice to experience this Mexican sunshine!”

So right away, I picked her up and put her on the deck, and it was crazy because then I kept hearing, “Thank you, thank you.” When I returned home, one of my house plants – a peace lily that had not flowered for years – was blooming with radiance. I interpret that as a beautiful token of gratitude from the spirit.

I can hear plants, animals, and crystals – and, as mentioned, experience clairscent-based communication from those realms; I perceive scents beyond the limitations of physical space and time. This morning I was talking to fern, dragon, the wolves… I wasn’t asking for this, I just held the space and it happened.

Cellulite Oil, $138

TN: And when did the idea for Trimaran Botanicals come up?
MY: Pun intended, it happened “organically”! I was searching for a product to assist with reducing cellulite after having a child, and so I made myself a body oil. To add to its benefits, I blessed it to ensure not only its physical efficaciousness but its emotional and spiritual effects as well.

The Numinous: How do you create your products now? What’s the process?
MY: I work with the spirits. I am physically the only human being when I am making the products, but I truly see it as a collaborative effort.

As a shamanic practitioner, I live my human life but the door to the spiritual realm, and to the plants, is always open. And the plant spirits (or animal, or crystals) will come to me and tell me things throughout the day. No different than a friend texting you – those little communications just happen. I mean it’s spectacular and beautiful, but it’s so much a part of my everyday that it’s normal for me now. A great example is that the plants just told me the other day to add to our current AURA COLLECTION, explained to me the functions of each new product, and even the ingredients I should be using!

In terms of filling orders, my process is both orderly and intuitive:

– I examine each order as if it’s a medical chart, as I allow myself to tune in to that customer’s order.

– I ask my plants what this person might need, be it an item from the line or a custom order.

– I always hold the product in my hand and bless it with that person’s name so it becomes “for” that person, but also adding that it’s also “for anyone else that might receive this product,” in case it ends up being passed forward – as a gift, in sharing, etc.

– I will also add to my blessing a mantra, an invitation for something like security, groundedness, self-compassion, etc. Sometimes I even write it down on my founder’s card to be placed in the shipment.

– Before it’s shipped, the order is placed in a nook in my studio – a space set up for my assembled inventory, surrounded with crystals and plants – to be charged with more intention, solfeggio music, sacred plants diffused in the air.

– Once it’s been charged, I pack it and anoint the package with sacred sage, asking that the order be delivered swiftly and without damage. So even the shipping process is energetically blessed. And I kid you not, all my orders end up being delivered far faster than expected!

Good Vibes Elixirs, $44

TN: Do you take the same care sourcing your suppliers?
MY: I have multiple suppliers. My requirements are their integrity as artisanal suppliers of the finest pure, wildcrafted, organic, botanical ingredients such as cold-pressed plant oils and first-distillation, solvent-free essential oils, but I the energy with the people themselves also has to feel right. All of my suppliers believe what I believe – I can quickly pass on any messages from my plant spirit to them, and it’s like everyday coffee break conversation!

I didn’t set out looking for shamanic suppliers, it just turned out that I attracted a network of suppliers who work the way I do: they speak with the plants, they too fulfill my orders with loving intention and anoint my shipments with sage for protection. They understand my process and share the same values. As such, my raw ingredients are always handled with love, and have not been sitting in a stale, cold, business as usual factory/storage space.

TN: How long have you been practicing shamanism – and what was your initiation into the tradition?
MY: Becoming a shaman isn’t like choosing to become one and taking a course (although I understand that there are courses out there), it is a spiritual inheritance, and it is through my work with a seasoned shamanic practitioner that I have honed my abilities to connect in an ongoing way with the spirit realm. What I have learned cannot be learned in the Western definition of learning, it’s been through spiritual experience and touch.

My shamanic practitioner did give me the formal tools and language for me to remove my “self” from my “ego,” however. In doing so, my ability to honor my “unknowing” and to ask for guidance from the spirit world has given me the ability to go deeper into my journeys and collaborations with spirits, and to bring back into the physical world a deepened intuition, and heightened senses.

Ultimately, my “knowledge” come from the messages I receive in my journeying, and with the plants – being a shaman means listening first.

Sacred Smudge Mist, $46

TN: What will women gain by approaching beauty from a shamanic perspective?
MY: My hope is that the experience of using Trimaran Botanicals will bring a person’s inner beauty to the surface, as that is the purpose of the brand: alignment of deep inner beauty with the outer.

I also hope that Trimaran Botanicals is something that people can use to continue their own practice of connecting with themselves, of coming home to themselves, and of acknowledging that the plant world is interconnected with ours, so that they can truly connect with the outside world from a “whole” and holistic place.

TN: What’s your definition of beauty for the now age?
MY:
I often question why we need to define beauty. For example, the lightness we experience when we are one with nature cannot be experienced through a facial or fitting into a pair of skinny jeans.

That said, beauty to me speaks of internal balance. It’s being happy with yourself, where you fit in the world, and where you fit in your own skin. When we can nurture this and cradle ourselves, is when I think we can begin to understand that we are really, truly beautiful.

Discover more about Trimaran Botanicals on Instagram or shop the brand at Trimaranbotanicals.com

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: YOGI SWEATS, AND A SHAMANIC CLOSET CLEAR OUT

Time for another shamanic closet clear out – PLUS sound baths, breathwork, and the latest in the plant-based revolution…

 

:: MONDAY ::
Skype date with beautiful yogini Shona Virtue (above) – a.k.a. one of the main reasons we are RE-LAUNCHING OUR YOGI SWEATSHIRT LINE! Shona picked up a couple of the original (v v limited edition, pretty much sold to friends-and-family only) sweats, and has been on at us to make more ever since. So we listened. And they’re going on sale reeeeeealy soon! The pic is a behind-the-scenes peak from our photo-shoot this week. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when they go on sale – and maybe win one too!

:: TUESDAY ::
I hadn’t actually planned anything special for Eclipse night, and so I figured a last minute invite to a sound bath meditation hosted by Well+Good co-founder Melisse Gelula and her friend Summer Rayne (real name) sounded just about perfect. Plus the sound bath itself was being performed by Sara Auster – whose name had literally crossed my radar three times in the past week. It was beautiful, and a precursor to further group meditations in Summer Rayne’s Brooklyn apartment. So let’s just talk about the apartment for a moment…The girl is plant CRAZY, and has created an actual. Freaking. Urban jungle in her home. Full story (on her basically teaching me how to cure my “black thumb” – since I seem to kill anything green that enters my auric field) + pics to follow in a future post…

Sound bath good to go

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Psychic closet clear-out! I first enlisted the help of a psychic to help me to an energetic blitz on my closet a couple of years ago, and having moved twice since then things had been getting kind of messy again. Enter Colleen McCann, a stylist-turned-shaman, who essentially does this FOR A LIVING. To kick our session off she read my crystals (yes this is a thing), and used my birth chart details to map my Ba Gua – kind of feng-shui-meets-human-design (I know!!) to map the power places in my apartment / wardrobe. Then we hit the rails. Not enough red (my power color), and everything needs to be reorganized by clothes for my behind-the-scenes vs. front-of-camera life (to invite more “front of camera” opportunities in). To finish, Colleen ran her hands over every piece – and anything holding any extra dense energy had to go, to create space for more high-vibe alternatives. Including a pair of McQueen stilettos, beautiful but wicked painful relics from my “old life” (and which are currently sitting in the Eleven Consignment boutique on NYC’s First Avenue, just FYI).

VERY SPECIAL CRYSTALS in Colleen’s Shamanic “mesa” (medicine bag) + neon pink nails #materialgirlmysticalworld

:: THURSDAY ::
JUST YES RAVI DEROSSI – the vegan restaurateur dedicated to bringing plant-based eating to the hipster masses. Like in his East Village tiki bar Mother Of Pearl, where vegan chef Daphne Cheng has just launched an entirely meat-free menu of bar snacks and small plates. I met Daphne there today to talk future Numinous projects (she also hosts supper clubs at her space Exhibit C – sign up for info about what we’ve got planned) and got to sample a ridiculous Edemame Spring Rolls and King Trumpet Mushroom Crudo. #plantpower #futuroffood

:: FRIDAY ::
Date-night with Erin Telford – because, Breathwork. I’ve written many times about how much I love this incredibly healing, vibe-raising, multiple-crygasm inducing pranayama workshop, but it’s not something I do on the regular. Rather, my body will just be like “GO. NOW” whenever some stuff has come up that needs to be breathed out. Like, y’know, the Friday night following a FULL ON Pisces New Moon Solar Eclipse…Click the pic below for Erin’s upcoming Breathwork schedule 

 

PSYCHIC AWAKENING: FROM FASHIONISTA TO SHAMANISTA

Fashion stylist Colleen McCann knew something had to give when people started shouting “witch!” at her in the street. Here’s how she went from fashionista to shamanista, and found a way to merge both her worlds…

Shit got real when I heard my first “voice” in the Bodega on South 4th Street and Bedford Avenue over a fight about bananas – and I haven’t looked back. Okay, let me rewind a bit first.

My name is Colleen McCann and up until six years ago I was a typical Brooklyn girl. I lived in Williamsburg, I rode the J-train to the city every day. I brunched at Five Leaves, I threw elbows at sample sales and I had a successful 15-year career in the fashion industry as a designer, stylist, brand consultant and serial entrepreneur.

So what happens when you add “hearing voices” to your repertoire? Well, you start hearing more voices and rubbing elbows with the spiritual renegades that roam the streets of the city.

During the next fashion week, a gypsy woman approached me and wanted to further examine my vibrant green aura at her psychic salon. I darted away and she kept calling “Wait, this is really important come back!”

Quickly followed by my encounter with Joe of the Marcy Street subway platform, who came up to me and said: “Don’t worry about him” and proceeded to read every single thought I had on my mind about my then recent breakup with my boyfriend. I said to Joe “Wait, what did you say you did for a living?” He was a mattress salesman. We enter a long pause together, and he then says: “But I’m really into Astrology.” He winked at me and got off at the next stop.

The real icing on the cake came when this crazy lady on 33rd Street started screaming violently: “witch, witch, witch!” I turned around to see who crazy pants was aiming her opinions at, and unfortunately it was me. Run! I thought…but was I running from the eccentric pupu platter of NYC street weirdos, or was I running from my newly found freakish self?

Colleen’s old life involved a lot of shoes

Okay Universe, I hear you loud and clear. Time to get a second opinion – and maybe not at the psych ward.

So where do you turn in a situation like this? I was scared, embarrassed, uneducated on all subjects of mystical matters. Also, just plain fucking freaked out. But as luck would have it a random girl, now one of my best friends, came up to me in the hallway at my client’s office in midtown and randomly (or not so randomly) asked if I believe in psychics.

“Ummmm, I guess so?” I said, thinking: “Oh god she knows! She sees something is happening to me!” She proceeded to direct me to a psychic who had his mystical lair in the back of a 2nd floor botanical emporium in the flower district.

Following my nose, I soon found myself walking up a set of rickety, shabby chic stairs and swatting cherry blossoms and orchids out of my face to get to the unmarked door of my future destiny. I felt like I was headed for the latest speakeasy – one that was not yet reviewed on Yelp.

Walking in, I was greeted by a man I don’t even think remembered my name. But his black eyes locked with mine and he ran over and grabbed my hands and said: “Oh, honey you’re not crazy, you’re psychic! Sit down and let’s discuss.”

I stood, frozen, and as if watching a movie montage I flashed back through all the “WTF” moments I actually experienced since childhood. Do you remember those grade school contests where you had to guess the number of jelly beans in the jar? Well, I would guess the exact amount every time.

There was the time my little sister was playing tea party with her two imaginary friends, Dan and Carl, and I sat in silence thinking: but I see them, what’s she talking about?

Well – I may have been a weirdo, but at least I now knew what kind of weirdo I was, and I embarked on a mission to figure it all out. Which meant I did what any brazen New York girl would have done…I traded my high-heels for hiking boots and decided to get educated on all things mystical.

Shamanista boot camp…

I attended Shaman school in the wilds of the Chilean outback and against the desert back drop of Joshua Tree. As part of my training, I traveling the unpaved paths of Mount Shasta, Hudson Valley, Big Sur, Kauai, and any other energetically charged hot spot I could get to between days on set.

I have studied Peruvian Shamanism with the Four Winds Society where I learned how to do hands on healing with the chakra system and how to connect with my spirit guides. I also learned the art of channeling in the Nordic and Celtic traditions and regularly attend sessions with a group of Curanderas where I learn about plant medicine and tinctures.

In my free time? You can generally find me in a crystal shop in the back woods of Chinatown, where I learn about gems, mediation, astrology, auras, Feng Shui and medicinal teas from a group of women I affectionately call “The Chinese Crystal Mafia”.

I really put myself through the mystical wringer in an effort to work with my inner freak, but in the process I found I had manifested a whole new calling out of this adventure to reclaim my sanity. So now what?

As I continued my trip down the crystal-laden rabbit hole I started feeling a lot of internal moral conflict, not to mention external physical exhaustion, with the double life I was living. Arriving on set, it would be impossible to ignore the toxic side of the fashion industry: greed, vanity, ego, drug addiction, workaholism, alongside a whopping dose of eating disorders. Did I really want to subject myself to this any longer?

Being a fashion stylist is back breaking work. The hours are long and the work very physical. There are always a plethora of personalities to juggle in the room, and not to mention the constant jet-lag. So what’s a girl to do? I had been maneuvering this double life for six years straight, and I needed to make a shift. So instead of turning my back on the industry that had embraced me for so long, I decided to take my lemonade…and make a lemonade stand!

It was simple: my fashion clients have become my healing clients. These days, I address the underlying issues in my well-dressed community, as who better than me to truly understand the unique brand of pressure and stress they experience day-to-day.

Truth be told I was a little nervous to start telling my crew what I had been up to in my free time. Would I be socially ostracized? Would I lose my clients? As I started confessing my weekend whereabouts, people would stare in silence for a minute and then say something: “Ohhhhh, that explains a few things. When can I get a session?!”

Eureka! There was room in my life for my passions to coexist. I did however have to make a few changes to accommodate my morals, schedule, energy level and a budding new business.

Since coming out of the Shamanic closet, I started a business called Style Rituals. I use my fashionista roots AND my spiritual know-how to realign the energetic body with the physical body. I may still clean out someone’s closet, but we are removing low vibrational clothing, along with a hands on healing, manifestation techniques, altar building and a discussion with their spirit guides.

And while the majority of my work now is healing-based, I also made a conscious decision to do fashion projects with people I enjoy being around, or who’s projects are doing good in our society.

Next up? I’ll be taking my place as resident Shaman with LA-based Daily Bliss Yoga Retreats when we head to Thailand in March. And I’m creating an online webinar to help women who are spiritually blasting wide open and have no idea what’s happening to them work out the, ummm, “kinks” shall we say.

Having been there and done that, I’m honored to be able to help others that are going through exactly what I did. To help them remember who they really are, and re-gain their sovereignty – while navigating modern life in the modern world.

Find out more about Colleen and her work at Stylerituals.com

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: SOME EARLY VALENTINES SELF-LOVE, AND CHELSEA DOES DRUGS

Haute Chocolate and some new lingerie on the path to self-love, and thank you Chelsea Does Drugs for a grown-up conversation about humans and the quest for altered states of consciousness…

Pandora’s Box, $30, Haute Chocolate Brooklyn

:: MONDAY ::
Early Valentine’s #1. So when the founder of a local fine chocolate company reaches out to ask if you’d like to sample her wares, you do not say no, despite the fact that a couple of weeks back you vowed to get off the sweet stuff “again” having got back on it in a pretty major way over the holidays. But wait! The mouthwatering treats at Haute Chocolate that arrived today are all organic,organic, vegan, and bittersweet, and billed as “virtuous hedonism.” Yay party in my mouth.

:: TUESDAY ::
Early Valentine’s #2. When my friend Sophie alerted me to new lingerie site True&Co I had to check it out, since treating myself to good underwear has become an ongoing self-love practice of mine. Not least since writing my book means I barely wear “outside” clothes these days, and a nice piece of lace is like literally the only thing standing between me and all out pyjama-geddon. The most fun thing? As a new customer you get to do a quiz that helps work out what items on the site will fit you best – kind of like…brastrology! And yay, when my pieces arrived in the mail today they fit like a dream.

Lovestories Nightrider bralette, $64, True&Co

:: WEDNESDAY ::
MUST MUST MUST watch TV alert!!! Chelsea Does Drugs. A.k.a. Chelsea Handler going to Peru to do ayahuasca as part of her new “Chelsea Does…” series for Netflix. Chelsea has always been a guilty pleasure of mine – I know she rubs some people the wrong way, but I just love her realness. Which comes across in every frame of this segment – in which she also gets high with friends at a pot-themed dinner party, smokes a joint with Willie Nelson, gets monitored by a doctor while on Adderal and then Ambien (+ vodka), and visits a shaman to try and access a non-drug induced trance state. She also interviews recovering drug addicts and experts, and if the aya scenes, which show every step of her ceremony, steal the show, honestly it was just so refreshing to see an honest and non-sensationalist discussion IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA about humans and drug use. How grown up! As for why Chelsea likes to access altered states? Of course I had to Google her birth chart right after – and with a Pisces Sun and Leo Moon…well, say no more.

:: THURSDAY ::
Major kudos to my friend Robyn, who launched her book Go with Your Gut with a party in NYC tonight – and 9 months pregnant too! I didn’t make the event since I’ve been feeling totally wiped out this week (like the majority of people I’ve spoken to actually, what-up cosmos?!), but I’ve got my copy on order – mainly since Robyn’s theory that not only good physical health but our mental and spiritual wellbeing is directly related to our gut health is a pet subject of mine. In fact, here’s a great story we posted on this subject a while back.


:: FRIDAY ::
Had a “material girl” moment interviewing J Crew president Jenna Lyons today – what a woman! I’ll post a link when my interview comes out – it was for a Red magazine in the UK – but for today, I’m still mainly obsessing over her office, which is about the size of most NYC apartments and stacked to the rafters with 25 years worth of books, pictures, trinkets and momentos (including a MAJOR Citrine crystal cluster she picked up in Marfa, TX). To me, she’s living, divinely feminine proof that you can be a real person and totally rock it in the corporate world, having risen to the top by simply doing 100% Jenna. An inspiration fo sho.

MEDITATION ARTIST: AN INTERVIEW WITH BIET SIMKIN

The girl making meditation the new nightlife, Biet Simkin shares her spiritual practices and how her higher self embraces the shocks of life with Kiran Gill

Artist: Viki Forshee

The Numinous: You’ve experienced a lot of loss in your life, including the death of your parents and daughter, and you describe these events as shocks that have connected you to your higher self. How have these shocks aided you in your spiritual journey? What advice would you offer someone going through a similar experience?
Biet Simkin:
Life is beautiful, but it wasn’t created to be a whole experience. It was broken into millions of shattered parts for our exploration. This is why we sometimes see the beauty in the shattered glass, and at other times the grief and rage. My advice for anyone at any time is to listen, listen to that inner voice and stay close to it. “This too shall pass,” is what they say. And eventually it does, and you will realize it was all worth it. In my life I actually remember experiencing ecstasy around these shocks. My higher self does not want a boring life. Only my mechanics or what some people call “ego” wants it all to be easy. My soul is interested in challenge and loss. My soul is interested in heartache and fear. Get interested in what is breaking you, look closely, it is in the center of these things that your grace can be found.

TN: Your father was a shaman/psychotherapist from Russia. How did his work and beliefs influence you as a child? In your present work, how do your father’s beliefs influence you?
BS: As a child, his influence aided me in being lazy, poetic and curious. He always insisted that I do whatever I want. Being the sad and confused child that I was, having just lost my mother, I didn’t want to do much but sit around, make art, eat snacks and cry sometimes. Eventually, this lack of structure led to rock and roll, drug use, world travel and many lovers. And finally, his passing eight years ago led to a complete shift in being, rendering me a most disciplined and focused entrepreneur in a healthy relationship, with a healthy diet, sober life and perpetual tangos with joy. I am his daughter; I continue his legacy of mixing fun with art and spirituality. The real icing on the cake of his legacy was laughter, and I carry that on.

TN: You have previously described yourself as having a “strong sensual energy.” How have you cultivated this part of your identity in a society that frequently represses and condemns female sexuality?
BS: I do not pay attention to that stuff and consider myself rather masculine, actually. I never really bought into the whole gender thing, it seems kind of silly to me. There are so many feminine men and masculine women….what is gender anyway? I am sexual because sex energy is the highest energy we have on Earth. It is love energy and it is the force with which we create. I consider myself a creator, and to me that is about the sexiest thing a person can remind themselves to be. I think all people want to create, so when they see someone doing it they get excited!

Artist: Frej Hedenberg

TN: You advocate for a more emotional meditative experience that encompasses beauty and gratitude. Why is that? How does this differ from more traditional meditative practices?
BS: My work is more than that of just a meditation teacher. I am an artist who realized that utilizing meditation and space (artistic space or otherwise) could transmute the state of a human being, so the next obvious action was getting human beings into beautiful spaces where I could assist them in transmuting their state! Everything about my work differs from anything else out there because it is an experience created from my inner world. Just like a Kubrick film is different from a Spielberg film. In my film, my work is about exploring the emotional center in a super intellectual way. I like to marry these two, and I do it well. People often comment in their testimonials that there is wit in my work. I believe that part of what makes my meditation experiences so emotional is that I laugh a lot and don’t take life too seriously.

TN: Likewise, you speak of cultivating “divided attention” throughout your day. What is “divided attention” and how does one master it?
BS: Divided attention simply means placing your attention on many things at the same time. So, one would experience the music in the room, their hand on the tea, the tea itself, and perhaps the people around them, and do that all at the same time. This helps slow down time. As it is a difficult practice, it is the ultimate practice. It’s easiest learned in a group or from a teacher, but it must be done out in the world.

TN: What are some of your greatest tools in your spiritual tool kit? Do you have a daily spiritual practice/ritual? What is it?
BS: Listen to your inner voice. It is telling you what to do and you do not listen. When you listen, you will hear it give you clear direction. My daily practice is obedience to this voice. Come hell or high water I will pursue what serves this voice within me. This means I do all the things you would imagine someone does who guards their higher state: I meditate daily, I work out, I pray, I journal, I see friends, I help people, I laugh a lot, I make love, I eat sustainable healthy food, I sleep well…It sounds kind of boring I guess, but it actually sheer ecstasy! Also, I practice gratitude as a way of “being” not “doing.” It is in being in a state of gratitude all day that everything I experience gets transmuted into food for my higher self.

To learn more about Biet and her work visit BietSimkin.com, and follower her on Instagram @guidedbybiet. Biet will be one of the featured instructors at SoulLOVEFest in September.

ADORN YOURSELF: 10 HIGH VIBE TALISMANS WE LOVE

Jewelry designer Kirstie Gibbs explains the importance of finding a piece that speaks to your path. PLUS 10 high-vibe talismans we love! Main images: Jacquie Aiche Holiday ’15 campaign

Several years ago, in my role as jewelry buyer for Harrods department store in London, I was introduced to the idea of worn treasures being used for a higher purpose and energetic attraction.

It was around this time a friend gave me a symbolic ring and told me confidently it would bring me love. Having just come through a challenging personal period, I thought ‘why not give it a try?’ and wore the ring every day.

The year that followed was filled with bad dates and disappointments, but what never failed was my deep belief that when the time was right I would find love, because every morning when I slipped that ring on, it uplifted me and gave me new hope. I realized this was my modern day, rose gold and white diamond talisman.

By definition, a talisman is a physical object that is thought to possess certain magical properties and can provide positive and protective energy to the person who wears it. They are generally made of crystals and gemstones, and commonly worn as a necklace or other piece of jewelry.

Throughout history it was the role of the alchemists, shamans, witches and priests to create and provide these magical objects. Talismans ranged in value, material and craftsmanship, but were worn to protect against violence, illness and bad luck – the sorts of human problems that are still rife and troubling to this day.

And so it’s fair to say that talismans are still needed and embraced in our modern society. In fact, in our world of over-stimulation I believe it’s even more important that we awakening women stay tuned in to our own purpose and carry a personal, sacred object of our choosing.

Everyone from Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, Heidi Klum and Rhianna have been spotted wearing the Hand of Fatima/Hamsa – an ancient symbol of luck and protection – so it seems that even these seemingly blessed individuals are still looking for an extra bit of magic in their lives.

And as more and more of us remember who we are and return to a spiritual way of living, we want to celebrate and support our commitment to this connection. When a woman wears her own talisman she charges herself with the energy of what she wants to attract and/or harness, be that protection, a successful Tinder date or a flow of creative ideas in her work life.

And while our core values and fears may not have changed much in thousands of years, our style certainly has. Recognizing this, is a new breed of jewelry designers are creating beautiful and meaningful pieces to take you from the juice bar to dancing on tables.

This was the inspiration behind my brand, The Alkemistry. Recognizing the desire among spiritually minded women for meaningful objects, I created a powerful online tool that harnesses the power of astrology and numerology to match-make women with the finest gemstone jewelry.

It is my hope and wish that all women can find the right talisman to help them manifest their desired intentions, just like the ring I wore for love. It might have taken a year, but once I slowed down, took a step back from dating and allowed myself to just receive, eventually love found me.

Thealkemistry.com

Orion bracelet, $600, The Alkemistry

 

 

 

Lone Star ring, $1080, Rock & Raw

 

Multi-coin necklace, $490, Laura Lee

 

Journey Shield ring, $1025, Communion by Joy

 

Blesslev keychain, $245, Jacquie Aiche

 

Heart Chakra fragrance pendulum necklace, from $325, Unearthen

 

Snake totem ring, $1320, Logan Hollowell

 

Moon seal necklace, from $665, Jessica De Lotz x Louise Androlia

 

Eye of Protection ring, $49, Satya Jewelry

 

Amethyst pendant, $185, Pound Jewelry

COMING OUT OF THE SPIRITUAL CLOSET

Sushma Sagar pursued a high powered career in fashion, but always practiced reiki on the side. She shares how she finally found herself coming out of the spiritual closet at work.

 

“I’m a closet hippie” I used to jest to my close friends. “She’s doing her witchy stuff again” they would say, all tongue in cheek, making a silly joke. It was no joke.

I’ve been practicing reiki healing on the sly for around 16 years, and only now do I feel like I can admit it freely. It’s not the middle ages, I’m not going to get burned at the stake, so why has it taken so long to come out?

Of course you must always look back to look forward. As a kid, I played with the other children and got along just okay, but was always a bit on the outside. A little misfit who would hang around with other misfits to fit in. Fitting in, being what you thought others wanted, was what you did. A child of Indian doctor immigrants, with success and achievement drilled into us from an early age, assimilation was the most important thing.

Childhood passions were quashed one by one – dance, theatre, art, textiles- and I grew up to find myself working in marketing for well-known fashion brands like Diesel, Ted Baker and Ben Sherman. It was fiercely competitive, and as for fitting in…well that goes without saying. I was so desperate to prove myself and to get along, shape shifting became natural.

But quietly, outside of work, I was developing other interests. The catalyst of heartbreak saw me visit a healer who used acupuncture and reiki to calm my heart and make me smile, when I believed I could not. Astonished and intrigued, before I knew it I had done a course and had been initiated into this, then secret, world.

And as anyone who’s experienced their reiki initiation will know, once on the path, it slowly changes you; your trajectory shifts and, whether you want to or not, you move towards your personal truth. As did I…but on the weekends only!

So my double life continued. By day, corporate world, shallow dreams, and fickle desires. On evenings and weekends, I was back to my private world, filled with magic, loving energy, and heart opening activities. As far as I was concerned these worlds were mutually exclusive, and I felt more comfortable keeping them that way too.

But then holistic therapies began to gain interest; LA’s healthy living and New Age thinking was becoming popular in London. Celebrities and their holistic entourage were being reported in the press, spa and yoga retreats were all the rage. I ploughed on, reading and practicing until I finally completed my master reiki training. Simultaneously, my corporate life was also going from strength to strength.

And all around me, I could feel attitudes changing, judgments becoming less harsh, and ideas about “alternative” healing finally entering the mainstream. By now I had also joined a wonderful fashion brand, that celebrated interesting women. And yet still I didn’t let on to anyone about my “interesting” side.

But then, heartbreak yet again, and some serious healing was needed. I called in the big guns and found a shamanic practitioner in London. Together we journeyed back in time, healed some karmic contracts and made my soul whole again. Delighted, I trained with him to learn these skills for myself. As a result, I now felt so fully and completely me, that hiding “myself” seemed impossible.

Life was improving fast now on every level. My heart was healing after all I’d come through romantically, and I felt whole, settled and happy in my skin. I got promoted at work, felt inspired again, and began working on all the creative side projects I’d been afraid of starting.

The last piece of the puzzle was to find a way to bring my two separate worlds together. To cause a synthesis of my spiritual self and my life in the fashion world – something I’d never felt a need to do until now.

Then, when I was invited to give reiki taster sessions to professional women on a retreat hosted by a friend, the fact I understood their life turned out to be an empathetic advantage. I realized you can have one foot in the material and one in the spiritual!

Monday morning at the office following the retreat, the conversation began as usual: “so what did you do last night?” asked my boss. Me: “OH, I did a healing exchange, I gave a friend some reiki and he did some energy work on my knee.” “You do reiki?” she cried, “That’s amazing, you never said.” Me: “Didn’t I? I’ve been doing it for years, I must have mentioned it. Anyway about that budget…”

And just like that, I came out the spiritual closet. I haven’t looked back.

To book a shamanic reiki session with Sushma contact [email protected]

How did you come out of the spiritual closet? Share in the comments below!

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: MAGIC MONDAYS AT THE ASTROLOUNGE

Check out the Selfridges Astrolounge, and join The Numinous for our Magic Mondays workshop series…

So this week in London has ALL been about the opening of the Selfridges Astrolounge, a magical Christmas grotto in the Oxford Street flagship I’ve been working on with the Selfridges team all year. The space is open until December 24 and is basically The Numinous, in a store! All themed around astrology and mysticism, I helped curate the product offer – think alchemical beauty offerings, astro-themed accessories and jewelry, mind-expanding books, and all kinds of cosmic gifts.

And of course, it’s also where you can get one of our custom birth chart t-shirts, which are printed to order in store. If you can’t get down there to check it out IRL, you can browse the full Astrolounge selection online – and even go on a mystical journey and do all your Christmas shopping by star sign! What can I say, DREAM PROJECT. And the final piece of the puzzle is a series of workshops The Numinous is also hosting in the space.

Taking place each Monday evening from Oct 26 – Dec 7, the series is titled – yep – Magic Mondays, and I’ve invited some of my favorite modern mystics down to do their thing. Full listings and links to book are below. Hope to see you there!

MONDAY OCT 26 :: ANGELIC BREATH HEALING WITH MADELINE GILES

Madeline is the founder of Angelic Breath Healing, which is a non-denominational tool for healing and receiving clear divine guidance from the Angels. During the session, Madeline will share teachings about connecting with your guardian angel, who can assist each person to experience greater levels of peace, health and happiness. Then, she will lead participants through an active breathing meditation set to music to help connect with your guardian angel’s guidance, facilitating a healing shift in attitudes and emotions around asking and receiving help.

MONDAY NOV 2 :: HAPPY HEALTHY HOLIDAY SEASON WITH BETHANY HARPER WALSH

Join The Sup Luv founder Bethany Harper Walsh for an interactive talk about staying healthy and vibrant during the holiday season, as well as tips for how to start your New Year off on the right nutritional foot. Topics covered will include top holiday fails when it comes to wellness and optimal health; hangovers, overeating, cravings, and coping with stress and digestion. We’ll also discuss how to capitalize on nourishing traditional Christmas foods that are often overlooked, with an emphasis on supplementing smartly, lifestyle factors and functional nourishment.To finish, raw vegan chef Chelsea Parsons of Well+Happy will demonstrate a fun and healthy holiday treat alternative, followed by an audience Q&A.

MONDAY NOVEMBER 9 & 23 :: SPIRIT ANIMAL MEDITATION WITH MARIKA MESSAGER

Join modern shamanic practitioner Marika Messager for a guided meditation to meet your Spirit Animal. In shamanic tradition, we are all connected to guides from the animal realm, whose special strengths we can draw on to support and comfort us in times of need. During the session, Marika will offer a brief introduction on how to work with Spirit Animals, while there will be an opportunity to discuss the different animals and their meanings after the meditation itself.

MONDAY NOVEMBER 16 :: MAKE YOUR OWN DREAMCATCHER WITH SHE’S LOST CONTROL

Join Jill Urwin and Cheryl Eltringham, the creative due behind She’s Lost Control, for a workshop to make your own contemporary Dreamcatcher. In Native American tradition, Dreamcatchers are hung above the bed to aid good dreams in making their way into the consciousness of the sleeper – while keeping nightmares at bay. During the session, Jill will give a brief introduction to Dreamcatchers, before leading the group in a practical workshop to create their own piece to take home. Materials will be included in the ticket price.

MONDAY NOV 30 :: YOGIC BEAUTY SECRETS WITH GURU JAGAT

Join LA wellness and lifestyle tastemaker Guru Jagat, founder of the groundbreaking Ra Ma Institute in Venice Beach and Boulder Colorado and a leading light in the contemporary Kundalini Yoga community, for an evening of Yogic Beauty Secrets. During the session, Guru Jagat will lead a short Kundalini Kriya (sequence) to attune the energy of the group, before sharing some ancient and unusual yogic wisdom for looking and feeling your best for the Christmas party season. Guru Jagat’s new book, A No-Nonsense Guide to Having More Energy, Feeling Better, and Being More Inspired with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, will be published by HarperElixir in October 2016.

MONDAY DECEMBER 7 :: MAKE A POWER FLOWER CROWN WITH LOUISE ANDROLIA

LA-based artist, life coach and intuitive Louise Androlia leads a workshop to create your own sumptuous winter flower crown. Working with seasonal faux blooms to capture the spirit of Christmas, participants will also be guided by Louise to create mantras infused with positive intentions to be incorporated into their creation. All materials are included, and you will take home your own beautiful, high-vibrational accessory, to amplify your look and your life this party season.

Selfridges.com/astrolounge #DestinationChristmas

TARYN TOOMEY: MOVE YOUR BODY TO HEAL YOUR SOUL

Taryn Toomey has built a cult following for her Shamanic-inspired workout, the class. She explains how it’s all been part of her own healing journey. Video and portrait: Jennifer Medina

You have to have the courage to let it all go.

THE FEAR.

I have had a very long, sticky road these past few years. Hell, let’s call it like it is – the past 36 years. From the outside it could look all rosy but, like our lives on social media, there’s always something deeper, truer.

I grew up in a very complicated family (didn’t we all in some way?) but as a child, I absorbed a lot of those unsupportive patterns and continued to think: “it always has to be this way.” I called myself names, believed them, hated myself, was embarrassed to live in my body. I didn’t trust those around me; I questioned everything; it seemed like everyone was “out to get me.”

I didn’t want it to feel that way, but I was so fearful of letting it go, because it was what I knew.

These past few years have been about breaking that cycle. For my children, for the forward of my family, and, once and for all, for me. I decided that the history I lived doesn’t need to be part of the future I continue to create. It happened. Let’s move on. Right? I wish! It wasn’t that EASY.

Over the years I worked with psychologists, analysts, plant medicines, shamans, Eastern doctors, invested in good old fashioned friendships and more. But, in the end, I realized I didn’t need to talk about it anymore; I had TO MOVE IT. But I also had to keep it simple and do it BEAT BY BEAT.

And so came ‘the class.’ I knew I would need fire, heart and soul to get this story up and out of my DNA. I needed shaking, contraction, sound, release,intention, forgiveness and stillness. And music, to help me take it beat by beat, breath by breath.

In the world of fitness I have heard way too many things pushed into people’s psyches that are FEAR based, stemming from the “guru’s” own fears, ego, and the need to make others live in fear with them.

“Don’t do THIS it will bulk you, don’t do THAT you’ll ruin your body!”

But we aren’t all made the same, and these “theories” don’t apply to us as a whole.

How about…

Move how you NEED TO.
Move so you can FEEL GOOD.
Move to CREATE NEW SPACE for YOU TO LIVE IN.
Move to wake up, be alive, present, engaged, and to come UNSTUCK from the past.
Move to get out of the EGO – the one that makes you stare at yourself and size up every last centimeter of your body, gripping the mirror with your eyes, criticizing, loving and over dramatizing the things that don’t matter.

At the end of the day, if you don’t work on the parts of you that no one can see, you can change the shape of your body all you want, but living inside of it wont be pretty. It’s time to close your eyes and go INSIDE. The body you’re looking for is not out there. IT’S IN YOU.

Set’s move, people. Not in the “right” way, not in the “pretty” way, but in the way that you need to release the fear. Let’s gather the courage to let it all go. Moving this way is what’s saved my life, the future lives of my children, their children, and hopefully a whole lot of others.

When you move, summon the courage to let it all go. And take it beat, by beat, by beat…

ONWARD.

Follow the link to book and experience the class with Taryn Toomey for yourself.

Have you experienced healing working out? Connect with us and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

HOW TO FIND THE HEALING PATH FOR YOU

Ready to explore your awakening, but unsure where to start? Hairdresser-turned-Shamanic-practitioner Wolf Sister shares a simple formula to start you on your healing path…Images: Johnny Abegg

*Are you at a point in your life where you want to instigate some positive change?
*Are your usual pastimes or achievements feeling a bit lacklustre?
*Do you keep finding yourself back in a perpetuating rut?
*Are you curious enough to dip your toe in the pool of awakening, but not quite sure if you’re ready to dive fully in…yet?

Maybe the thought of making changes in your life seems overwhelming, and you feel like you don’t know where to start.

It’s likely you find yourself looking at others, and comparing your journey to theirs. But everyone’s path is unique, and it’s so important to find what feels right for YOU. This way, you can have what you think ‘they have’ and MORE.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned on my healing journey so far has been to break it all down into bite-sized goals. Think; what can you do NOW? How can you make yourself feel better today?

So write down some simple steps, and then play pick and mix, choosing one or two to start off with. Focus on what feels good for you, and at the same time be brave enough to step just outside of your comfort zone (this is usually where the juiciest life results occur).

Making significant life changes requires a certain amount of tenacity, surrender, and commitment, as well as a whole lotta self-love – these are the key ingredients for positive transformation. There follows below a simple formula to get you started…

:: READ ::
There’s a plethora of self-development books out there to help you find the healing path that’s right for you. I’ve noticed that the books we need will often find their way to us. Either by a friend’s recommendation, as a gift, the fact they appear in recurring adverts, or maybe simply by catching our eye in the book store. Books are a great and portable way of absorbing new information, and getting inspired about new ways of living.

:: MEDITATE ::
Have you been feeling anxious and overwhelmed? The quickest fix is to stop, drop (sit or lie down) …and meditate! Just a few minutes of regular meditation can help you develop more clarity and balance in times of stress and chaos. Meditation isn’t just for gurus and ‘enlightened’ beings. You can do it too, and you don’t have to sit in silence for hours to get the benefits.

:: EXERCISE ::
It’s time to get moving. If you’ve been feeling sluggish and stuck mentally and emotionally, physical activity will boosts those feel good vibes – a.k.a. endorphins. Exercise is also a great way of practising active meditation, encouraging you to focus on a single task and bringing your consciousness nicely into the present moment. Regular exercise can result in increased self-confidence, improved sleep, increased energy, and life vitality.

:: EAT RIGHT ::
What we put in our body has a great impact on how we feel. With processed food, the sugar high or full feeling wears off quickly, and will leave you feeling sluggish and low. If the old saying goes – ‘you are what you eat’ – what do you want to be? Colorful and radiating high vibrations, or over-processed and beige? You don’t have to become vegan overnight or suddenly break up with all of the sweet treats you love. Just start by adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to your diet and drinking more water. Now see how you feel and go from there.

:: SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX ::
There’s almost no avoiding our social media feeds, but is what you’re following inspiring you or weighing you down? Focus on finding feeds that light you up and inspire you and only then click ‘follow/like.’ This way you can make sure that when you’re having a bad day or just killing time, you’ve got an online treasure trove of good vibes to pick you up and keep you going.

:: HOLISTIC HEALING ::
Working with a therapist, in whatever modality you are drawn to (Counselling, Psychotherapy, Shamanic healing, Reiki, Crystal Healing, Tarot, Light Grids etc) will help you tap into unseen layers of yourself. With the awareness of your emotional/mental/energetic blocks these modalities bring, you will be better equipped to dissipate any restrictions that may have been influencing your life until now.

Having regular sessions with a healer encourages you to make time for yourself, escape from your everyday routine, and step into your soul-journey. How to find the right therapist for you? It’s easy healers on the Internet now, and lots also work via Skype, so you aren’t limited to people working in your locale. When choosing a healer or therapist, they should be someone that resonates with you. It’s VERY important that you feel comfortable with your choice, and there needs to be a strong sense of trust – so really listen to your gut.

:: WORKSHOPS/TALKS/RETREATS::
Time to find your tribe! At group gatherings such as workshops and talks, you are creating an opportunity to meet like-minded souls and honouring your journey by taking time out of your ‘real’ life to learn about more about the subjects that truly ignite your spirit. Your friends may not be on the same journey as you at the moment, but don’t let that hold you back. Be bold enough to go on your own – and be open to making some new friends!

As you embrace where your spiritual journey wants to take you, it’s likely you’ll begin to feel happier, and so the world around you will begin to vibrate on the same frequency. This is when the law of attraction kicks into action, and more magic starts heading straight for you! So make sure you surround yourself with all the things that inspire you, and people that support your healing journey. Don’t forget…THE UNIVERSE IS SUPPORTING YOU, EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!

What was the gateway to your healing journey? Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and share your story!