ANDRE J ON SELF-EXPRESSION AS A SELF-LOVE PRACTICE

A-gender trendsetter and spiritual mentor Andre J shares how a lifetime of fearless self-expression has been the ultimate self-love practice …

Andre J self-love The Numinous

I was raised by a single parent in the Projects of Newark, New Jersey. Our building was a shambles and the hallways had a foul odor, but the interior of my apartment was always spotless. I was a late baby, my mother was in her forties when she had me, so I was truly conceived out of love. However, I’m also an incest survivor, molested repeatedly by my older male cousin for years.

Raised by my mother I had feminine tendencies, and growing up I was called a fag and a sissy. When you live in the Projects, it’s easy to become engulfed by this air of unhappiness. People are always nipping and pulling things apart, because unhappiness only breeds more unhappiness, or hopelessness. But that was not my story.

I didn’t see people the way that they saw me. I only saw them through the eyes of love, because that’s what I received at home, despite the abuse I suffered from my cousin.

It was aged around 10 that I remember catching sight of my reflection in the bathroom mirror, and the words just fell from my mouth, effortlessly: ‘Andre, I love you.’ In that moment that I understood the importance of loving myself.

It was almost like the Universe was saying to me, ‘Baby, you have a choice. Either you will be an evil man, probably a pedophile yourself, a repeat offender. Or you are going to find an inner peace within yourself, and you are going to take this journey, and you are going to live your best life.”

Andre J self-love NYC The Numinous

I always had great style, even as a kid. My first job was in corporate America, and I would wear a twill blazer that fit really well, with high-waisted pants and snakeskin shoes. An ascot around my neck. But it was working at Patricia Field, in sales and then as the PR director, that Andre J came about, with the facial hair and the women’s garments.

It’s what the Native Americans call “two spirits,” to identify beings that embody a balance of masculine and feminine. It’s only Western culture that tells us that these things are taboo, that gives us these labels and names.

There was one point in my life where there was no one, in New York City or in the world, who actually looked like me. I had created a whole new idea of beauty. The British stylist Joe McKenna saw me and put me in V magazine. Then I was cast by Bruce Weber for the cover of French Vogue.

But I wasn’t trying to get on the cover of a magazine. Dressing the way I do is truly just about me expressing myself. And what I have found, is that to stick out like a sore thumb no matter where you are, walking down the street, or taking the subway to the airport, takes courage. It takes strength, it takes tenacity, and it really takes self-love.

You don’t really notice how many people are on the street, until all eyes are on you, yelling at you from a taxi cab, coming at you from every angle. ‘The fuck?’ ‘Oh my God.’ ‘Faggot.’ ‘Sissy.’ ‘Your father must hate you.’ ‘You must have disappointed your mother.’

To still walk with dignity, peace, and courage, and kindness—instead of building thick skin, it actually really softened me, because it taught me how to love others. It was because I was so happy and so free, that BS coming from some strangers didn’t matter.

And I began to realize, not only are you not free, you’re a hater, and I feel like I really just need to give you a hug! I saw that the fear was not of me, it was of whatever was going on within themselves. As I learned in the projects, if someone is unhappy, they want you to be unhappy too.

Andre J self-love NYC The Numinous

My journey has led to me working with LGBTQ youth, who are not getting acceptance from their families. A lot of them cannot look at themselves in the mirror. When they do, often they will sob, to the point where they have no control. And if there are eight kids in the room, and that one child is crying, we rise and we console this individual, and build a community around them. Because schools are not teaching how to build community.

To see everyone console this young lady or this gentleman who is going through this emotional imbalance, not only is it teaching them how to share their pain in community, but it is also teaching them how to feel empathy for someone else. An understanding of what compassion is.

My work is to have them look in the mirror, and actually acknowledge themselves for the first time as an individual, as an adult, as a person taking responsibility for their own life. To say to them, ‘Too many times we seek love outside of ourselves, and well guess what. If your parent hasn’t told you or if you haven’t heard it from anybody else, today you are going to give love to yourself.”

Most of them are closed, and frigid. The only emotion they have is anger. Anger, anger, anger. And I want these kids to understand that the anger is not going to get you anywhere. The anger is only going to kill you. That you cannot receive anything if you are closed. I want for them to understand that they can feel love.

Andre J self-love NYC The Numinous

For me, this work is helping to transmute all the name calling, and the incest from my past. It is dissolving. I have been able to show these kids that I am as loving as I am, BECAUSE I know what it feels like to be hurt. To be ridiculed, and to be truly counted out. To be disregarded, as if you are nothing. And that when you learn how to shift it, it is possible to realize that this has never been about me. This has been about what everybody else is going through.

The message I am passing on to them, is that my job is to focus on my journey. That my job is to focus on my path, and to focus on what my purpose is. And that not only do I need to focus on it, I need to live it. And not only do I need to live it, I need exude it from every crack and crevice of who Andre J is. I choose to give this service back to those that do not know. And I sleep very well at night.

Andre J will be speaking as part of a Numinous panel discussion on “Inner vs. Outer Beauty” at Soho House NY on December 4 2017 (members only, 7pm). Discover more about Andre and his work @andrejworldwide

HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU’VE FOUND YOUR SPIRITUAL TEACHER

How to know when you’ve found your Spiritual Teacher? They will help you step more fully into your own power, says Ruby Warrington. PLUS our New Year, Nu You co-presenters share how they met the Spiritual Teacher that changed their life …

Ruby Warrington The Numinous Caitlin Mitchell Material Girl, Mystical World
Ruby Warrington shot by Caitlin Mitchell for A Wild Dove

I’ve always got a little envious when people start talking about their “teacher.” Not the one in school, who helped them find their confidence as a fifth grader, or showed them a new way to read Macbeth that finally made sense. I’m talking Spiritual Teachers.

For the majority of people I know who are either working in the mystical or healing space, or who simply identify as being “on the path” (OTP, as my friend Elyssa puts it), there has been a Yoda figure in the background, guiding them on. It could literally be the person who taught them their craft. Or the one who helped them find their way through a Dark Night of the Soul. Maybe it’s the business coach who put a structure around their brand, a speaking or writing guru, or even the yoga teacher who helped heal their body image issues.

These mentor figures often play a vital role in an individual’s personal and professional development in the spiritual world—and being told that I have even been that person for some, has been the most surprising and fulfilling outcome of launching this platform.

And yet I’ve always struggled finding a teacher of my own. I’ve worked with so many amazing practitioners and learned so much, many of whom I introduce in my book. The issue has been with finding a mentor figure to take me under their wing. For starters, I don’t take instruction that easily. But I’ve also felt “let down” by many I’ve opened to, and some mentors I’ve worked with have become “envious” of my success.

Yeah, this has some things to do with the gnarly Saturn-Chiron square in my birth chart. My self-directed Aries Sun. My absent father and Grandparents. There’s also the fact that when I was a kid, the first spiritual teacher I encountered, an Ayurvedic practitioner named Shayam Singha, was as scary as they come.

My mom had got reeeeeealy involved with Shayam and his community, and we’d spend weekends as his retreat center, Suryodaya, out in the UK countryside. A proper old-school “guru,” I was petrified of his fierce, commanding presence, and also mistrusting of the cultish atmosphere. A fear that got triggered last week, when I found myself interviewing Maestro Manuel Rufino, a recognized elder in the Taino tradition, and founder of the Golden Drum intentional community in Greenpoint.

Preparing to enter the live-in spiritual community, I was transported right back to those days at Suryodaya, a trembling eight-year-old, scared to say the wrong thing, and unsure of my role in the group. But instead, Maestro Manuel was gentle and wise, and his students as welcoming as could be. A piece of my personal history was healed that night, and it has felt like a pivotal moment in my journey to find my teacher.

Because looking back, this year they HAVE been showing up. My book editor, Libby Edelson, who became more like a therapist as we worked on the more personal chapters in Material Girl, Mystical World. My astrology mentor Rebecca Gordon, who infuses our lessons with a deep interest in my personal journey. My incredible Moon Club co-founder Alexandra Roxo, who has taught me enough about communication and collaboration to last a lifetime.

And when I look at the line-up I’ve created for our New Year, Nu You retreat at Kripalu, I realize I’ve selected the co-presenters who have personally taught ME the most, and truly been there as mentors, guides, and constant cheerleaders on my own path. How do I know them as my Spiritual Teachers? My relationship with each and every one of them has helped my grow more fully into my own power. 

Below, they share how they found their own spiritual teachers. If you’re interested in spending a week in the presence of these incredible humans, you can learn more about our Jan 1—5 2018 retreat and sign up HERE.

The Numinous Kripalu New Year Nu You retreat Ruby Warrington Alexandra Roxo Lindsay Mack Sah D'Simone Betsy LeFae

//ALEXANDRA ROXO//
“Over the course of my spiritual path I have had multiple life-changing teachers. My first I discovered at age 12 with my mom. His name was Bobby Drinnon, and he had long white hair and lived on a farm in Tennessee called “Rainbow Crest.” He taught me about my aura and chakras and called me an ‘open-minded extremist.’ He had a wait list two years long, but would always squeeze in a call for me, and I would see him yearly. Those meetings changed my life, and formed me in such deep ways. When he passed when I was 30 I felt like I lost a father.

I met my first female teacher, Deborah Kampmeier, when I was 18 and studying at NYU. She called me out on spiritual bypassing, introduced me to Snake medicine, Moon rituals, the work of David Deida, sacred sex practices, and taught me things that come up often. She is an artist and professor, and not a spiritual teacher by trade. But she initiated me into many of the practices I still use in my life.”

The Numinous Kripalu New Year Nu You retreat Ruby Warrington Alexandra Roxo Lindsay Mack Sah D'Simone Betsy LeFae

//LINDSAY MACK//
“I was struggling when I met my teacher, Michelle, working so hard to pull myself out of some really dark places, largely alone. She appeared at a literal life or death moment, recommended to me by a coach who knew I was having a hard time with my PTSD. I wasn’t looking for a teacher, and Michelle wasn’t necessarily presenting herself as one, something that I actually think is a key ingredient in meeting our soul teachers. She just showed up, open, present, and happy to support me, and everything flowed from there.

I humbly believe that we have to do our own work to the point where we can energetically call our teachers in; the deeper we work, the clearer the call. I have found that to be true on the other side now, as a teacher myself. Any truly aligned teacher is only a mirror for where the student is willing to go. I think you know when you’ve found your teacher. There is a resounding ‘yes’ in your heart, a profound knowing in your soul. It’s when you feel seen, supported, and held unconditionally, not to mention blown open by their wisdom and deeper knowing. I am still feeling that with my teacher, and it is an amazing thing.”

The Numinous Kripalu New Year Nu You retreat Ruby Warrington Alexandra Roxo Lindsay Mack Sah D'Simone Betsy LeFae

//BETSY LEFAE//
“Sometimes meeting a teacher can trigger you, and sometimes it can make you feel at home. The teachers I gravitate towards are warm, compassionate, humble, and nonjudgmental. I knew I had found my teacher when I felt like he was part of my long lost family. When I read his material before going to a weekend class, he was explicit that his goal was to teach others to fish, to cultivate their own skills, and that it was a good thing if his students didn’t need him anymore. This has always been my goal when working with people. Working with him, I felt comfortable to be me. And even better, I felt comfortable with him pushing me to be MORE ME.”

The Numinous Kripalu New Year Nu You retreat Ruby Warrington Alexandra Roxo Lindsay Mack Sah D'Simone Betsy LeFae

//SAH D’SIMONE//
“The first teacher that totally transformed my world was Venerable Joan Nicel, a Tibetan Buddhist nun from Canada. I her met in the Himalayas in India at a silent retreat. She introduced me to concepts of being inherently good, of the potential to totally transform our minds to become of benefit to all beings, and most of all she taught me the art of COMPASSION! From the moment I met her I knew she knew something that I must also know. There was a calm and radiance about her. When I had the rare opportunities for a private audience with her, I saw in way she would look at me that I too had the potential to change, that I too could become someone that added to the lives of others. I glimpsed unconditional love!”

The Numinous Kripalu New Year Nu You retreat Ruby Warrington Alexandra Roxo Lindsay Mack Sah D'Simone Betsy LeFae

WHY WE HAVE TO GET REAL ABOUT DIVERSITY IN THE WELLNESS INDUSTRY

On the brink of opening a brand new studio in Harlem, SHAKTIBARRE co-founder Corinne Wainer confronts the status quo, and shares 5 ways to get real about diversity in the wellness industry right now …

Corinne warner Shaktibarre diversity in the wellness industry

When I read that 77% of yogis are white, and that in New York roughly 44% make over $75,000 a year, I was astonished. Also, like I had been de-naïved. Seven years ago I founded a yoga and literacy non-profit for 7th-12th grade girls called YoGirls Program, but I had not assumed that the lack of access to wellness education my young students experienced would follow them into adulthood.

I started YoGirls Program because I knew the shameful feeling of being excluded from this often elitist world. Though I’m not a cultural minority, I didn’t grow up with money, and wellness education is RIDICULOUSLY expensive. And there was the one time I was told not to come back to a barre class because my shoulder injury, which necessitated modified moves, would make their sequencing “look bad.” Given this minor “image” infraction, you can imagine what other exclusionary practices exist.

Soon, I began to realize that theses issues needed to be tackled in the wider world. At first, I pitched articles to wellness editors along the lines of: “Hey, I see you have many articles written about elitism in the wellness industry but none that really discuss how to solve the problem … can I write about that?” My “idea” became SHAKTIBARRE, the yoga-barre studio and community space I opened with my partner in 2016.

Our mission was to actually DO SOMETHING about the aforementioned wellness injustices. So we implemented a sliding-scale pricing model, offer classes that emphasize body, cultural, and spiritual inclusivity, and dedicate 10% of net profits to YoGirls Program. As my friend Robyn from The Babe Collective says, it’s been about building a biz without becoming a superficial a**hole! This is all the more imperative because the yoga industry is 82% women. Change starts with us.

In an industry that profits from your self-doubt, any wellness initiative that supports you liking yourself is a healthy rebellion—but amazingly, we’ve gotten explicit push back for this, and been told we should just “stick to exercise and stop caring so much.” Or haven’t been invited to things where our mission wouldn’t be popular with those who are after more glitter-worthy press.

Because good intentions are one thing—making real change at a grassroots level requires GRIT. It’s not enough to hope our overall vibe and messaging would magically erase a deeply ingrained and capitalist-motivated lack of diversity in the wellness industry.

So if you too desire to create tangible change—in wellness or any industry where there is a lack of integrity and action—then read on for 5 ways we turned feel-goods into do-goods, and let the SHAKTIBARRE story be your guide …

diversity in the wellness industry shaktibarre corinne wainer ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world

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1. When we took a survey. So far we’ve had over 10,000 students and achieved a 4.9/5-star rating. Exciting. But we couldn’t help asking: “what’s up with that missing 0.1?” So we created a survey asking direct questions on everything from mat quality to cultural equality, promising to implement response-based changes within six weeks. We discovered that real empowerment comes from dynamic conversations, and thousands of our members were more than happy to share their honest insights when asked. The learning: In an industry where “exchange” has become the creepy synonym for “money,” make direct inquiries and practice active listening.

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2. When we said “no” to big opportunities that would compromise our integrity. We’ve been asked countless times to partner with corporate brands and been offered 6-12 million dollar investment deals; and it was a memorable magazine moment that taught us early on the power of staying true to our SHAKTIBARRE selves. An incredible article was written about us, but the title used a pic of a supermodel as click bait. The feedback from some new students was that they’d been afraid to visit because they felt nothing like the famous woman portrayed in the piece.

From that moment on, we’ve refused to film or do interviews with anyone unless they use inclusive pictures and dialogue. We also decided to fundraise for our second location instead of taking on investors who may prioritize financial gain over our community efforts. The learning: Always emphasize your mission over money and fame. And be honest: if your mission is money and fame, reevaluate your mission.

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3. When we got totally transparent online. Originally, we thought SHAKTIBARRE was just going to have local impact, but we realized our responsibility on-site and online. We take time each week to individually reply to reviews and Instagram comments, and pay extra special attention to tense conversations. For example, a woman recently challenged our fundraising campaign in response to a post we wrote with Alexandra Roxo, arguing that we’re “a for-profit company who can just go to the bank.”

We created a whole newsletter on it and asked for input from our community, ultimately opening our Quickbooks and telling the whole world exactly what we make, why, and how, all in the name of transparency. We even invited her to tea! The learning: Every criticism is a chance to unveil a deeper truth for both parties.

diversity in the wellness industry shaktibarre corinne wainer ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world

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4. When we empowered our OWN community. We have about 30 people on our team at any given time, and in order to help them bring their gifts to the world, we extend our services inward. This means we’ve raised salaries twice before paying ourselves more, provided free coaching when asked, generated promo codes and worked out various continuing education opportunities (marketing seminars, teacher trainings, and attending outside classes, benefits, and performances together). The learning: When your team gets to experience your mission first hand, your foundation becomes rock solid, and your impact will be true.

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5. When we became socially … awkward or awesome (you decide). We are a trendy, boutique fitness spot that also promises to create large-scale sociopsychological shifts in the way women experience wellness. That is why we sometimes post (with permission, of course) really provocative shares from teachers and students about racism, sexual assault, vaginal health, chronic illness, family dysfunction, learning disabilities … you name it. That is why we create SHAKTIPOPS (SHAKTIBARRE classes with a theme) that take deeper looks at how wellness is more specifically experienced by people of color (there’s a class coming up on December 3rd!), queer populations, Latina heritage, Judaism, morbid obesity … again you name it.

These subjects can be super triggering, and are NOT necessarily gonna get us all the likes on Instagram. But we see it as our responsibility as role models to go there. The learning: With every second you have in the limelight, say something consciously disruptive to exclusive wellness industry statistics. Want to get ridiculous right now? Post our crowdfunding link on your Instagram and start a conversation about real change through wellness.

 

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The biggest challenge you’ll face with our 5 tips? That you’ll have to let go of being accepted and step into being accountable. The greatest reward will be a loyal, lasting, and long-term impact on an industry ripe with opportunities for equal-opportunity empowerment.

As I build more and more studios over the next 5 years (where do YOU wanna see one?!),  more and more adult women will get inspired to become activists, and more young girls will have a fully-funded after school program. Meanwhile, my co-founder Shauny Lamba will continue expanding our Shakti Teacher Trainings all over the globe which is where this dream gets even more real because every year the YoGirls design a service project where they visit a city in need and learn alongside their local peers! And this all starts in our SHAKTIBARRE empowerment hub home-bases …

We entirely believe in you to make this shift and hey sister, we’re in this together. Come visit us in Brooklyn this Thursday at our benefit party (and next Spring in Harlem, which you can learn more about here) and share your stories of becoming actionable in the name of women’s wellness.

SHAMAN DUREK SAYS SPIRITUALITY IS JUST COMMON SENSE

Shaman Durek is a visionary for the Now Age. In this excerpt from a talk he gave at the Obonjan wellness festival in summer 2018, he why spirituality is simply Common Sense—and how, with loving interrogation of our darkest places, it is within all our power to heal ourselves …

Photo: Nick Hopper

The spiritual path is not how many times you go to yoga class. It’s not how many workshops you’re doing, or how many healing sessions you got. It is found in the loving interrogation of the places you are vulnerable to the dark intelligence of “the system,” and how much Love you are willing to let into your being instead. Spirituality is actually a matter of Common Sense. Of tapping into the intelligence, the common knowing, of Spirit, of all that is.

This is what makes each and every one of you a powerful pastor, a teacher, a healer, an artist, a creator, an innovator, an edge maker. Someone who’s here to bring forth something that I need to learn, that we all need to learn.

I believe that we all have power. There is no hierarchy here. I don’t believe in gurus. And one of the things I’m here on the planet to do is to educate other spiritual leaders to stop playing their power games. To start delivering the truth and the teachings that have been made available to all by Spirit. To share the knowledge about how to access and use these tools.

I’m about, “Here it is. This is it. Take what you want from it. Go ahead. All the stuff in this box from the ancestors, all those tools over there. Just take it all, and use it because you’re powerful.” Because these are not the times to be playing small. You gotta be a rebel if you’re going to survive what’s happening at this time on the planet Earth.

Building Shamanic Communities in the Now Age Shaman Durek Maestro Manuel Rufino Golden Drum NYC Ruby Warrington The Numinous
Durek will lead a special Shamanic Tongues healing session at our NYC event on 11/10. Click for info

 

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We Shamans call the Earth a “type two” planet. Meaning it’s a slave planet. That the species has been conditioned to work against itself in its own process of evolution. Has been enslaved by the idea that it needs to be validated, loved, appreciated, and seen, as its reason for functioning. Instead of knowing that it is already loved, and that the embodiment of this Love is what will drive the species forward. If we truly knew this, we would not create bombs. There would be no war. Because Common Sense tells us that this would only hurt the species.

And yet we accept this paradigm because we have been abused.

When I say this, people often reply, “but I had a perfect life, nothing ever happened to me.” Well bullshit. It did happen to you. It happened to all of us. We have all been treated like dogs and trained in the idea that if we’re not acting a certain way, passing a test, getting good grades, doing something useful, we’ll be punished. That we will not be loved. This creates the belief that there’s always something to prove. That we must become something else and that we must accumulate certain things in order to be valuable as a human being. This in itself is abuse.

And the “dark intelligence” that created this system, is smart. It knows that if it can suppress the feminine, feeling part of you, you will become disconnected, from yourself and from each other. You will become disconnected from your intuition. Disconnect from your ability to recognize yourself as a Creator. Meaning you will keep looking for validation from the outside to acknowledge your power. Keep producing, keep consuming, versus knowing that all you need is in you, always.

We’ve been programmed to believe that our safety is based on how much we collect. How much we have. How much we hold on to. But these things only tie us down you down. Because you start to believe that your personality is tied to all these things, when in fact the only thing that matters is in the way you give someone a hug. The way that you sit and look someone in the eyes and you’re there for them.

We are living in a system that did not provide us the emotional intelligence to feel safe to simply be ourselves. But we must rebel against this conditioning. Meaning we have to rebel against every single thing that we sit in judgment about.

Shaman Durek interview the numinous ruby warrington

 

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When I asked Spirit: “Why is there so much suffering and pain on our Earth?” she told me that all suffering is the result of a malfunction in thinking. I asked, “What about war?” A malfunction in thinking. “Sickness?” A malfunction in thinking.

And our whole system is built to keep our thinking, our creative energy, and our powers of manifestation, focused on the suffering of the world. So that we will keep getting more of it. And it will never stop.

For example, if you see someone who’s sick and you focus on their pain, you’re accepting this reality and you’re locking it in. It will make it harder for that person to get better. You will recognize your power when someone tells you, “my God, I’m going through such a hard time.” And you don’t go into that story with them. You choose instead to see them where they need to be. Within this simple shift, you’re pulling the negative energy out of their life. You’re doing powerful energy work on them.

You see, you think these negative thoughts are yours. They are not, but you don’t question them. Because that’s what the system wants. That’s why they tell you if you talk to yourself you’re crazy.

But when you hear a voice that tells you, “You are an idiot,” it’s your turn to ask, “Why am I an idiot?” The voice may reply: “Well, because you did this when you were at school.” And again, you can ask: “But that was a long time ago, and why does it mean I’m an idiot?” The voice will continue to try and convince you … “Well, you know, because blah blah.” But if you keep questioning it, after a while you’ll show the voice that you’re not going to accept it. Soon, the same negative voice will appear in your head, and you’ll be like, “nice try, thanks for calling. Click.”

Shaman Durek interview the numinous ruby warrington

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So start questioning. I call it loving interrogation. You lovingly interrogate yourself when confronted with that nonsense. You lovingly interrogate the voice about the lies you have been told that are limiting you from realizing your ultimate power as a Creator.

Because every time a negative thought comes into your head and you let it ride its course, you’re drinking poison. Every time a doubt enters your being and you accept it and let it affect you, you’re drinking poison. Every time you get into a negative conversation with someone and you sit there and just continue listening, you’re putting poison in. I don’t care how much green juice you drink. I don’t care if you’re meditating twice a day. As long as you’re letting negative thoughts come into your mind, it’s all cancelled out.

It’s not enough to say, “I am spiritual because I do this or that.” The very things that we don’t like, the very things that make us the most uncomfortable about ourselves, the very things we are most afraid of in the world, are the very things we must learn to interrogate with Love.

We each embody four elements—the spiritual, the mental, the emotional, and the physical. But there is a fifth element, which is Love. When all four elements are working in alignment, all your visions, your dreams, are within reach, and all that’s required to make them manifest is love. And when Love happens, oh my God, then let’s talk about power. This is what we have come here to move into. Then there will be no more playing small in your life. This is it. This is the end of it. It’s done.

Numinous founder Ruby Warrington will be in conversation with Shaman Durek and Maestro Manuel Rufino for Emergence: Building Shamanic Communities in the Now Age on November 10 2018 in NYC. Click HERE for more details + to sign up.

5 WAYS TO FACE YOUR FEARS LIKE THE BUDDHA

Want to cross the threshold into immeasurable growth? Learn how to face your fears like the Buddha, says Angel expert and inspirational speaker, Kyle Gray

Photo: Chris Ensey

Let’s begin with a story …

One day the Buddha was meditating deeply in a hillside cave with one of his devotees keeping watch outside.

Suddenly, the devotee glimpsed a demon called Mara coming up the hill. Panicked, he began trying to figure out how to keep Mara away from the Buddha, dreaming up excuses about him being out for lunch or away shopping.

Lost in thought, he felt something breathing down on him and looked up to find Mara in all his demonic glory—tongue out, blue-skinned, frightening. “I’m here to see the Buddha,” Mara said. The guard didn’t know what to say when he was interrupted by a voice inside the cave. “Let him come in,” said the Buddha.

Mara entered the cave and stood before the Buddha. “I see you, Mara,” said the Buddha.

He looked at Mara right in the eye. He acknowledged him. He conversed with him. He accepted him. He allowed him to be there and found comfort in his presence. 

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This story is a huge metaphor for Fear. You are the cave. Mara is your fear. The guard is your ego. And Buddha is the voice of your soul.

We seldom want to deal directly with our fears. But to live a life of integrity and purpose we must shed light on our own darkness, and be willing to feel exactly what we feel. Our emotions are our messengers and Fear is one of our ultimate assignments.

Here are 5 ways to face your fears like the Buddha and begin to uncover your true purpose in the process …

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1// Fear reveals what we truly value 
Our emotions are constantly communicating to us who we are and helping us discern what is important to us.

Fear often arises when we really care about something. It’s a reminder that we want to do a good job, or make a good choice, or even be a good person. Whenever Fear rises up for me, it’s because I really want to deliver my best self to the world. Whenever it arrives it’s simply my higher self, asking me “are you sure you want to be this powerful?” And the answer is simple:  “Yes, I do!”

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2// Fear is our assignment
Ultimately Fear is an assignment, and you can choose to deal directly or run. If you choose the former, you are standing on the cusp of your greatness.

When we agree to face our fears head on, we create space for the miraculous, and remove the blocks that have held us back from living a completely heart-centred life. Your Fear is giving you an opportunity to rise. It’s what I call ‘the spiritual emotional colonic’—giving you the chance to leave your shit in the past, once and for all.

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3// Fear is just another form of Love
On the surface, it may appear that these two emotions are opposites—and we often get told this. That Love is the moment we remember we are one with the Universe—when we feel completely held supported and guided. And that Fear, conversely, is the moment we feel stuck, alone, and even lost.

But in reality, Fear and Love are both the energy of the Universe expressing itself in different forms. The energy that feels heavy, intense, and restrictive—what we might call Fear—is the same energy that can be transformed directly into the feeling of connectedness, support, and abundance. Use Fear to tap into Love by shifting your perceptions and realizing their interconnectedness. Which is that the presence of Fear shows us the path to Love.

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4// Fear is an opportunity for dialogue
When the Buddha (representing our soul voice) communicates directly with Mara (the incarnation of Fear), he is able to penetrate through the Fear and see it for what it is.

When your Fear threatens to take over, you might stop and have a loving but firm conversation with it. Try the following:

Hello Fear. Thank you for being here and for reminding me how much I care about this situation. I see you, I hear you, I feel you, Mara. But today, I am choosing to believe the higher truth that I am one with the Universe. Because of this, I can let you go and surrender this whole situation. I know I am being led to where I need to be.

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5// Fear is your birthright
When your Fear appears, you are being given the invitation to be strong, powerful, and real. Claim this for yourself—it’s your birthright.

All our emotions are messengers. Your fears are assignments. And all of this is ultimately because you have chosen (consciously or unconsciously) to be the most powerful possible version of you.

Know that when the voice of Fear gets louder it’s because you are on the verge of a miracle, and that the only way to experience that miracle is to sit with the Fear, communicate with it, make friends with you. You wouldn’t be experiencing this assignment if the Universe didn’t think you were ready.

Take the opportunity to rise up. In the words of Joan of Arc, “You were born for this!”

kyle gray ruby warrington face your fears like the buddha the numinous material girl mystical world light warrior

Kyle Gray is an Angel expert and an inspirational speaker. He’s also a Lululemon yoga and meditation ambassador, and international bestselling author of 6 books including Raise Your Vibration, Angel Prayers, and the brand-new Light Warrior. 

ADORNMENT AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: COMMUNING WITH JOY SMITH

Channeling the Divine through the decadently bejeweled, artist and mystic Joy Smith is raising the mystical-material vibration ever higher with her transformational talismans.

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Sculptress and seer Joy Smith believes that adornment is an intimate conversation—between the creator, the wearer, and the Divine.

Inspired by nature’s potent mysteries, and the light of Divine beauty that resides in every being, the artist’s ethically sourced, recycled gold pieces spark an emotional exchange between the the universe and each of us.

For Smith, connection to the Divine is always available, and through our talismans we can bring our personal conversation with the heavens all the way down to Earth.

With her newly-launched Light Sessions, Smith is raising the material-mystical vibration even higher. During these custom experiences, she uses song, meditative chants, and Reiki to channel a one-of-a-kind talisman that supports your distinctive transformation and growth.

Spirit is absolutely everywhere. Why not dress her in radiant gold?

(Hint: Start decking out your Divine with some inspo from Joy’s jewel-drenched Instagram feed!)

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Ruby Warrington: What are your own personal talismans?
Joy Smith: I wear pieces according to what I need—so I can beam my light out everywhere. I have different pieces that embody different feelings for me.

For example, I have a custom piece I made for myself that’s super special. In Milan, on a retreat with Deborah Hanekamp, we hiked to a pagan ritual place, where I found what looked like a piece of a ceramic vessel glinting in the grass. I could feel that it was infused with a spirit that wanted to help me with my healing work, and so I set it into a ring, which I wear when I’m creating pieces, and during my Light Sessions.

Even talking about it takes me back to that place. In the future, I’d like to go on pilgrimages to sacred sites to source similar pieces as part of my work.

 

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My Moon, My Light Necklace

RW: Your pieces have a strong spiritual essence. What’s your relationship to organized religion?
JS: The dogma of different religions can get messy, but the essence of spirit is what’s precious to me. I connect to the idea of the Holy Spirit, which I think of as our connection to the Divine—the spirit in us. My work is about activating that in others. I’m also super interested in world religions. I see the common thread and that’s fascinating to me. All the stories are the same, just different characters.

Having grown up Catholic, I still connect deeply to the iconography. I see the etchings in my designs as radiating light, and my goal is to elicit the idea of “heaven,” which I define simply as the place where great spirit lives … bliss.

 

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Guardian Rustic Shield Ring

RW: What do you see as the intersection between spirituality, craftsmanship, and art?
JS: I never thought I’d make jewelry. I knew I loved art history, and wanted to be a painter. I also connected to artists, as I felt they were connected to something spiritual with their work. I wanted that connection to come through in my work, too. I also love fashion because I see the spirit of the designer in it. It’s like art to me.

I fell into jewelry through the sculpture of making it. I initially wanted to be a fine painter, but didn’t think I was good enough and I couldn’t relay my message effectively at that time in that medium. Now, I express myself spiritually through my pieces as they relate to how I feel on the inside. I want them to be infused with feelings of beauty and light, and for this to be reflected in how I adorn myself on the outside.

I believe God, spirit, etc., created us as an expression of the beauty of the Divine. I make it a point to meditate and pray before I make my work. When we work in this way as creators, that’s spirituality to me.

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The artist at work

RW: What do the concepts of God and the Divine mean to you?  
JS: I believe God and the Divine are forms of the highest spirit, a spirit greater than ourselves that also lives within us and is part of us. That guides and protects us and loves us unconditionally. Neither are religious terms for me- I see them as a universal Spirit.

My own spiritual breakthrough came in my early twenties, when I had a very severe panic attack, and found myself debilitated by anxiety. My first teacher asked about my spiritual practice, and she gave me my first spiritual book, Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Prayer. I still read it every day. It helped me remember how to pray—how to connect to God—in a spiritual way.

joy smith communion by joy ruby warrington numinous material girl mystical world light sessions by joy

RW: “Light Language” is such a glorious phrase—tell us about learning to speak this language, and how clients experience it during your “Light Sessions.”  
JS: “Light Language” is how I describe my conversation with the divine, something that comes out in channeled melodies, or prayer. The term came to me via my guides during an Akashic records reading—and this really is how I feel about my conversations with God. The Light Language also comes through as automatic writing, which I carve into my talismans and artwork.

I came up with the Light Sessions since my work can be very solitary and I knew I wanted to connect with people on a deeper level. And my Light Language becomes vocal, as if I’m speaking in tongues, during one-to-one with my clients. I see it as the language of love, as expressed in my creations.

The Light Sessions are about channeling creations for transformation. We talk about stones and the style of the piece, and then my clients give me their intention and lay on my table, and I’ll either sing melodies of prayer or do Reiki and channel messages that come to me.

Afterwards, we create an intention candle together and they go home with their candle to pray / meditate with their intention in mind, and I go home and channel that energy while creating the piece for transformation. The plan is to also make this available to couples as a custom ring engagement ceremony.

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RW: Who is the “Communion Woman”? 
JS: Women who wear my jewelry have a strong sense of self. The common thread is that they have a connection to spirit, and that they’re all powerful in their own right. A lot of my clients have often been through a lot emotionally.

Having experienced challenges in their lives, they have been led to work on themselves spiritually, in order to connect more deeply to themselves and to the Divine. They’ve already found this connection, and want to explore more deeply what it means for their lives. A lot of their work is in service of the greater good. They have that depth.

Discover more about Communion by Joy’s sumptuously sacred jewels HERE, and book a custom Light Session with Smith in LA. 

joy smith ruby warrington the numinous material girl mystical world communion by joy light sessions by joy

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 …

We are all healers Nicole Adriana Casanova The Numinous

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FULL. BODY. YES! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPIRITUAL SHROOMING: MY UNLIKELY AWAKENING

Strung out on repressed feelings, a health crisis and mental break became an unexpected awakening for Meg Hartley, care of some spiritual shrooming…

how i lost all my fucks meg hartley ruby warrington the numinous spiritual shrooms mushroom tripping

“During my four-day break with the mundane, I connected to a bigger part of myself, which also happened to feel like an infinitely more stable part of myself”—Meg Hartley 

When I was 19, I wasn’t in a good place. I had lost my mother to suicide four years prior, and my once-successful “smashing down” of feelings had relentlessly resurfaced into every part of my consciousness.

I usually avoided the pain by staying busy all day, then intoxicated into the evening via copious amounts of marijuana or whatever else was floating around the dorms: ‘shrooms, ecstasy, and lots and lots of cheap alcohol.

But late at night, when I’d try my hardest to sleep and fail miserably, I couldn’t hide from the pain. I had taken to scratching at my skin until it bled because it hurt less than the storm that wailed inside. It was like there was so much unprocessed pain my mind didn’t know where to start. Agonizing thoughts just whipped around in my head, out of control and going nowhere.

I’d soon learn about meditation and mindfulness, which gave me a life raft to embrace during these times. But before then, I’d go home to Alaska for summer break and have a four-day experience a psychologist called a “mental break” and a philosophy teacher called “a preview to awakening.”

But to me, it simply felt like a very long dream that showed me true happiness was a real possibility … even for me, which seemed impossible at the time. This set the scene for my subsequent spiritual exploration and gave me a reason to commit to my emotional healing.

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The year was 2002. My first year of philosophy classes in college had finally given form and texture to vague spiritual ideas I’d always had intuitive knowings about. The ideas that this life is an illusion, that humanity is currently experiencing a shift in consciousness, and that we’re each here to learn specific things, were presented by different religions and philosophers from all over the world.

This deja vu sense of remembering (that my teacher said was normal, but which sure felt like magic to me!) combined with all the partying left me ungrounded, spacey, and generally disinterested in “mundane” everyday life. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I also had a B12 deficiency that was hitting mental health symptom levels. In addition to this, there was a cyst growing on my pineal gland, which is known to augment spiritual experiences.

And so, not yet privy to the drawbacks of being ungrounded, and unaware of this explosive combination brewing in my brain, I celebrated my return home by eating yet more ‘shrooms with a dear friend.

The experience of taking psilocybin is different for everyone, but in my experimental days it was something that I regarded with reverence––like a really fun church. During every trip, the idea of “God” or a benevolent bigger something, seemed obvious and present to me. There was silliness and hilarity, but also times where I would leave my friends to go sit with my favorite tree for hours, my head filled with streaming thoughts that were ontological in nature- the answers to all of life’s big questions, more ideas I’d later study in ancient texts.

And this time, for four days after the mushroom trip ought to have ended, my thoughts remained consistently in the ontological realm––a far cry from my daily headscape at the time, which was mostly centered around losing my v-card and being “too fat.” 

In stark contrast, everything I encountered had meaning on top of meaning, and life felt so beautiful that I cried happy tears. From the inside, the experience felt like a blissful and meditative state where therapeutic dreams met real life. Colors became more vibrant as I released dark twisted pains from deep within like a long and satisfying belch.

how i lost all my fucks meg hartley ruby warrington the numinous spiritual shrooms mushroom tripping
Meg with a handmade lithograph about her experience

Of course, it’s not “normal” to weep from joy at the sight of a mountain that’s there every damn day, or to stare at everyday items babbling about “the language of the Universe” and “signs.”

Everyone in my world thought I had lost my marbles. When I finally noticed this reaction in others, I very suddenly snapped out of it, shocked at their concern and upset about making an ass of myself. That clouded my vision of the experience, as social acceptance was the form of surrender I was most familiar with at the time. But I now look back on it as being as helpful as it was hugely bizarre: the juice was totally worth the squeeze (it can be freeing sometimes to have people think you’re a little nuts, anyhoo!) 

I was immediately changed, and the depression didn’t return for many years (not until my B12 levels hit a fantastic new low and a whole new set of challenges revealed themselves). It was like I had been dusted from the inside out, I felt clear and centered in a way that I had never experienced. I carried on with the drug experimentation for a couple more years and nothing like that happened again- something that brought both great relief and a fleeting sense of disappointment.

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During my four-day break with the mundane, I connected to a bigger part of myself, which also happened to feel like an infinitely more stable part of myself.

And that connection––and many times just the memory of that connection—brought a cherished light into the darkest nights of my soul. It also provided the motivation for my subsequent spiritual and emotional journeys: remembering that mental landscape, and knowing that if I stayed on the spiritual path then that sense of peace and connectedness would eventually feel like home.

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Meg Hartley is an Alaskan artist and writer happily replanted in wonderfully weird Portland, Oregon. She loves really great trees, cashew ice “cream”, mysticism, and is totally obsessed with mindfulness. Her new book is called How I Lost All My Fucksa one-month experience that will have you losing all yours! Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

HOW CAT MARNELL COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN ME

Magazine career, eating disorder, bad boyfriends, addiction. In another life, could Cat Marnell have been me, asks Ruby Warrington?

Cat Marnell

What I like best about Cat Marnell’s car crash autobiography How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir is that she makes absolutely zero apologies for who she is. Yeah there’s a line in there about “white girl privilege” (“warning! If you’re grossed out by it (who isn’t?), you might want to bail now”), but otherwise Cat tells her story with an utter lack of self-judgement and the kind of honesty that is a direct channel from the heart. Fuck yeah!

For the uninitiated, Cat Marnell rose to notoriety earlier this decade as the openly drug-addicted beauty editor for titles Lucky, Vice and xojane.com. Her drug of choice was Adderall (with pretty much everything else layered on top), her stories (GONNA WASH THAT ANGEL DUST RIGHT OUTTA MY HAIR: “Miracle” (Uh-Huh) Treatments To Help You Pass Those Follicle Drug Tests, Naughty Nancys!) written on no sleep “in an amphetamine spell.”

How To Murder Your Life reads like a Bret Easton Ellis novel (except it’s real life) and is the story of the ghouls behind the gloss. In Cat’s own words: “AUUUUGHHH!” But what struck me while I was reading it, was that served a different set of life circumstances, Cat Marnell could easily have been me.

Let’s examine the evidence…

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She was a teenage magazine addict. Like Cat, when I first discovered magazines at around age 12, it was like being given an instruction manual on how to be a woman (read: look good so I’d fit in and boys would like me). Like Cat, I gravitated towards a career in magazines—when she moved to New York, she became hell bent on scoring a role at Conde Nast.

Unlike Cat, when I moved to New York I began work on the Numinous, and immersed myself in exploring all the other very, very important things it means to be a human. Not to mention began to see the glossy magazine message for what it often is—a way to keep readers locked in the cycles of craving (for trends, for stuff to make us happy, for a “better” body) that fuel the capitalist machine.

She’s a perfectionist. Cat’s birthday is September 10, making her a Virgo. And if Adderall had a sign…it would so be Virgo! Total “no-sleep-until-every-last-detail-has-been-quadruple-checked” vibes. Plus Cat started taking amphetamines because “I felt like such a failure getting those terrible grades.”

My perfectionist streak comes from Mercury (Virgo’s ruler) conjunct my Sun in Aries (“must-maintain-image-I-have-it-all-together-at-all-times”). Cue teenage eating disorder (me too, Cat), and reaching for drugs (in my case booze) as a way to just chillax for a sec. These days, meditation and a whole lot of healing of my inner child is what keeps the perfectionist in its place.

Her parents are mental health professionals. Cat’s dad, a psychiatrist, was the first person to prescribe her Ritalin (and then Adderall) at the age of 16. In America, most psychiatric consultations seem to end with a prescription.

Back in the UK, my mum trained to be a psychotherapist in her late 50s, having faced her own demons with years of talk therapy. Years of therapy that have made her the kind of parent who wholly accepts me for who I am, since she accepts herself for who she is. Part of the reason I used drugs and starved myself was because I didn’t believe this. But as my own healing journey has shown me, all the years I thought my mum / society was judging me, I was judging myself.

She idolizes Marilyn Monroe and Edie Sedgwick. The damaged (and self-medicated) heroines of late 20th Century folklore! I collected Marilyn books from around age 10, and even made a magazine about her for my first big school project. And I fell in love with Sedgwick’s story when I read Edie: American Girl (the SO GOOD) biography of Andy Warhol’s muse.

As archetypes, these two women represent some of the ways our inner wild woman acts out when we get duped / spooked into playing by the rules (be beautiful, thin, submissive, SMILE!). And I no longer idolize them. I see them as a mirror for the parts of me that still don’t believe I’ll be accepted / loved unless I am beautiful, thin, submissive, and happy.

She loves fake tan. It makes you look thin and like you got enough sleep. In other words, like taking drugs, faking a tan is another way to fake feeling good about yourself. Another addiction I developed in magazine land (my friend Henry used to call me Umpa Lumpa) and one my Numinous path has not yet helped me kick.

She’s lets men use her like a sex doll because she thinks it’s normal. Some of the hardest stuff to read in Cat’s book, and one of the themes in mine. I tear up every time I re-read my chapter on the Divine Feminine, and I would love for Cat to read it sometime too. For a lot of women to, actually.

She had a lot of fun on drugs. Some might say Cat glamorizes drug use, but one dictionary definition for “glamour” is: “magic or enchantment; spell; witchery.” And if drugs do anything, it’s cast a spell, creating an illusion of happiness, connection, enlightenment, etc, making narcotics by their nature “glamorous.” I too fell under this spell coming of age in the UK’s rave culture, and I have also had some pretty “magical” experiences getting high.

Which is not to make light of addiction, which is both a killer and a tragedy. My heart wept for Cat every time she reached for the Adderall again in her book. But it’s also way too simplistic to label all drugs “bad.” And unlike Cat, as I write about in a chapter of my book called Healing is The New Nightlife, I have discovered SO many better ways to get high on my own supply.

Writing her book was a healing experience. Not least because having an 80,000-word deadline was the thing that finally made her take rehab seriously. We leave Cat listening to Louise Hay affirmations, getting eight hours sleep a night, and even praying. “Spirituality is so dope,” she writes. But best of all; “I’m supertight with my family now. Can you believe it?”

And yep, writing my book had a similar effect on me—my own 80,000-word deadline being what helped me kick booze once and for all. But living my subject matter, day-in-day-out, has also taken my relationship with my mum to a completely new level of intimacy and mutual respect. Not least because, the way I see it, as women our relationship with our mother is often a reflection of our relationship with our self.

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I loved Cat’s book so much. Yes, because I can relate (anyone?) But also because it’s a straight-up, honest-to-Goddess account of living with addiction, AND the society that feeds it. Meaning a society that medicates the fuck out of any personality type that doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter mold for “success”; that places utmost value on productivity (fuel for the capitalist model); and that celebrates thinness and the ability to dress like you swallowed a copy of Vogue as the epitome of attractiveness / worthiness in women.

And also because the lessons of my Numinous journey mean I have written something kind of like the antidote. Perhaps I should have called it How Not To Murder Your Life.

Material Girl, Mystical World is out in May 2017 on Harper Elixir. Read more and pre-order your copy here.

SHAMANIC BEAUTY SESSIONS FROM CEREMONIE MIX SKINCARE WITH SPIRITUALITY

With her Shamanic Beauty Sessions, Ceremonie founder Mimi Young is taking holistic skincare to a whole new level. Ruby Warrington journeys with her into the spirit realm…

Ceremonie shamanic beauty sessions The Numinous

The arrival of the Spring Equinox is a time of rebirth, for making soul promises to be delivered through the subsequent seasons. For Vancouver-based shamanic practitioner and spiritual beauty queen, Mimi Young, it felt like the perfect time to re-introduce her shamanic skincare line, Ceremonie.

As she announces the addition of remote Shamanic consultations, a.k.a. what she calls The Shamanic Beauty Sessions, to her offerings, we sat down to chat skincare as ritual…and quickly got into plant spirit allies, power animals, and how joy is the best beauty ingredient out there. You know, all the good stuff! (Oh, and before we get started, you may want to check out Mimi’s amazing Instagram feed!)

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Ruby Warrington: Mimi! The last time we chatted, we focused more on your product offerings of skin and aura care. Can you remind us of the ethos of Ceremonie?
Mimi Young: Indeed! Last time I was featured on The Numinous, Ceremonie (then called Trimaran Botanicals) was more product-centric in her offerings. (Yes, the company is female). I felt it was important to honor both body and spirit in our daily beauty regimen, and created a line to bridge what is so often compartmentalized. In many ancient healing modalities, including traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, wellness is linked to the understanding that we are spirit beings residing in physical bodies. Our skin, being the largest organ of the body, reveals much about our emotions, psychology, and beliefs.

RW: So it’s kind of like our skin and external beauty is a hologram of our innermost world…
MY: Exactly. Ceremonie seeks to honor the internal self with products that care for both the inner and outer bodies, resulting in a more supported and holistic way to approach beauty.

RW: How is this reflected in the products you offer?
MY: I formulate with herbs, flowers, barks, and other plant matter known in Earth-based spirituality and shamanic circles as supportive of chakra balancing, clearing and shielding energy, creating sacred space, divination, and other forms of ritual work. The selection of various plant ingredients is rooted in Earth spirituality and modern science. I love how my work is both historically informed and futuristic, and merges the spiritual with that which is conventionally seen as not—physical beauty.

Ceremonie shamanic beauty sessions The Numinous

RW: How does your work as a shamanic practitioner inform the process?
MY: All Ceremonie products are hand made (without machines) and in shamanic ritual! I follow several shamanic and Earth-based spiritual practices of clearing energy, inviting spirit allies, noting special cycles/dates, and being open to their messages.

Whatever messages are being imprinted is private (between the spirit allies and the customer), and is special because it is so customized, meaning ALL products are made to order. I merely facilitate this very beautiful, uplifting, and healing process. The power animals / plant spirit allies of my customers sometimes share with me brief messages so I can add that piece of information when I send off the orders with an accompanying handwritten note.

RW: What do you mean when you say these messages are “imprinted” on the products?
MY: It means blessing and creating a vibrational frequency (quantum physics recognizes that everything holds a specific vibration— from matter, to sound, to even emotions) that is then passed onto the products themselves. Careful attention is paid to every aspect: from the mood I’m in when I am fulfilling orders (I don’t work when I frustrated, drained, etc), to the music selected when working (solfeggio music is my favorite), and even how I ship (all parcels are anointed with sage oil and I send protective plant and animal spirits to accompany them).

This is essentially applying the discoveries made by Dr Emoto, who made breakthroughs in understanding how consciousness and intention can shape matter, to both my process and the products themselves.

Ceremonie shamanic beauty sessions The Numinous

RW: I find it so special that even the shipping process is honored this way. Can you speak a little to the concept of “intention” and how it relates to spirituality and even magic?
MY: Intention is everything in healing, magic, joy, and love. Consider this: we all know how to make soup. You take some onions, leeks, spices, and add some bones for flavor. Then you add beans, vegetables, and maybe even some olive oil for drizzle. These are standard ingredients. A restaurant can make it. You can buy it pre-made at the market. Or…you could have the soup that is lovingly made by your grandmother.

She makes it with the same ingredients as the restaurant or market, but why does hers taste better? This is what I mean by imprinting and intention. It may be invisible, but it is what makes Ceremonie products so loved by our customers. It’s why many say they experience a heightened sense of self-acceptance, self-love, liberation, and an appreciation for their place in the world. Experiencing yourself this way will naturally bring a glow to your face that no amount of “scientifically proven” skincare ingredients can, because you now have the greatest beauty ingredient of all—joy.

RW: Goosebumps! And it sounds like this goes even deeper with the new Shamanic Beauty Sessions. How is this offered? Why would someone be drawn to this?
MY: I began offering Shamanic journeying to local clients. The word spread, and the demand grew organically to nearby communities and beyond. Shamanic journeying is a sacred ritual using a rattle and drum to enter an altered state of consciousness and travel between the unseen worlds. In a shamanic and hedgewitch hybrid tradition, I travel to those realms on the client’s behalf, embarking on a sacred journey to meet plant spirit allies, power animals, mineral spirits and other benevolent spirits, ancestors, and even the elements.

I also provide a detailed written summary of my findings via email. At the time of booking the reading (before the journey), the client is welcome to present a question or concern, or I can simply intuitively explore and discover. The readings work best when the client is open to receive practical and sacred insights related to their skin or other areas of their life. An individual may feel called to receive a Shamanic reading if simply curious, or when experiencing an imbalance in physical, emotional, or etheric body. It’s designed to help anybody seeking clarity, encouragement, wisdom, and self-compassion.

Ceremonie shamanic beauty sessions The Numinous

 

RW: Soul medicine that can also give you amazing skin; so Numinous! You mentioned that you “work in the shamanic and hedgewitch traditions.” Can you elaborate?
MY: Let’s back up a bit. I also use the term “Earth-based spirituality”. When I use this term, it includes (but is not limited to): shamanism, paganism, Wicca, I Ching, Tarot, tea leaf divination, and many other practices from around the world. Practices that were originally designed to forecast weather, invite hunting and gathering, honor the seasons and cycles, and bring discovery, insight, and healing to individuals, tribes, and the Earth.

I work in the shamanic and hedgewitch traditions, which means I incorporate plants and spirit beings (plants, animals, mineral spirits) in my creative and work process. As a modern woman, I also stay current in quantum physics, which lends an updated language to what has been known in metaphysics and spirituality for centuries. I am also aromatherapy trained. Above all, I really enjoy this personalized process. Getting to know my clients and their needs, emotional and physical, better, has brought a new layer of meaning to my work.

Personalized Shamanic Beauty Sessions with Mimi Young and Ceremonie can cover a wide variety of services, including:

– Making contact with Guides and Spirits (power animals and other animal totems, plant spirit allies, and mineral allies (crystals and metals)
– Divination
– Soul development and life purpose work
– Past life healing
– Healing the ancestral line

Discover more online, and book directly via [email protected], including SHAMANIC READING in the subject line. Mimi offers a limited number of readings per month—so book ahead!

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

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

alexandra Roxo holy Fuck The Numinous sexual power

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

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

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

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

Because this includes LOVE and SEX.

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THE SEXUAL LANDSCAPE YOU WERE BORN INTO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SO, HOW THE HELL DO WE MOVE BEYOND THIS?

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

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

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

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

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

alexandra Roxo holy Fuck The Numinous sexual power

HOW TO LITERALLY RECLAIM YOUR SEXUAL POWER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RE-WRITE THE SEX SCRIPT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOLY F*CK: IN CONVERSATION WITH DANIEL PINCHBECK

Alexandra Roxo meets radical thought leader Daniel Pinchbeck, to talk spiritual materialism, future planetary solutions, and the rise of the extreme right…

Alexandra Roxo Holy Fuck Daniel Pinchbeck How Soon Is Now The Numinous Moon Club
Photo: Alexandra Herstik

Daniel Pinchbeck is a writer, thought leader, speaker, and one of few modern radical voices that come from a grounded, realistic, and holistic perspective. Today we are in dire need of leaders and thinkers who can articulate and envision a path towards union and healing that includes our political, environmental, cultural, AND our spiritual state. Daniel speaks of the whole picture, with a balance of right/left, masculine/feminine, science/art.

His new book How Soon is Now REALLY resonated with feelings I’ve been having for years about the nature of the world we live in, which I have explored in my own writing here on The Numinous and in some of my films. This includes the need to make a shift from focusing on the personal, to focusing on the global. To overcoming spiritual materialism. To escaping hyper-individualism and coming together.

Also, how plants may be aiding in our evolution on multiple levels. How our approach to love and sex is so heavily politically guided and conditioned. The need for rites of passage and the need for ecstatic connections to the cosmos and to each other, through experiences like Burning Man, with psychedelic experiences, and a reconnection to the Earth.

Beyond all this, Daniel’s book reveals to us how we can engage with the planetary shift and initiation that we all know at soul level is in progress, and in doing so be a part of the healing of our planet.

Even better, Daniel is going to be LIVE with us for Moon Club this Sunday Feb 5, which means you can join and ask him questions too! Click here to sign up.

I sat down with him for a little prelude to Sunday’s talk…

ALEXANDRA ROXO: So you’re an author, a TED speaker, a radical thinker, a writer. You wear a lot of hats in terms of your work. What’s the common thread?
DANIEL PINCHBECK: I think that the core of my work is a philosophical quest for the nature of reality.

AR: Word. Was there was a clear point at which this search began?
DP: I had a major spiritual crisis in my mid to late 20’s. I’d been writing for magazines, and it just began to feel very nihilistic. I felt this kind of total emptiness. I also realized ultimately that when people believe conscientiousness is only based in the physical hardware of the brain, then life has no particular meaning. I was like, ‘okay, how can I actually inquire into this?’ I remembered my psychedelic experiences in college as having suggested that there were these other layers of psychic reality that I didn’t really understand.

So I went back to them and went to West Africa, to do Iboga and I went to the Amazon to work with a tribe in Ecuador with ayuasca and so on. These travels informed my first book Breaking Open the Head, and then new questions kept opening up—because these experiences had completely transformed my world view.

AR: The subtitle of How Soon Is Now? is: “From personal initiation to global transformation.” To me it feels like that is what we’re all being called to now, on a micro and a macro level.
DP: I came from a leftist background, and I always had this uneasy feeling about our culture and the direction our society was headed. And then when I looked more into the ecological disaster that we’ve constructed and the amount of poverty and inequality that the system creates, I also saw this whole “new age” spirituality thing, with the meditation and the yoga, as kind of like a trap—because I felt that people were using it as just another distraction, getting so obsessed with their own little healing journeys.

Daniel Pinchbeck How Soon Is Now? Moon Club The Numinous

AR: There is definitely the idea of: “I’m entitled to my healing and my enlightenment and I gotta just focus on that.” Healing individually is very necessary too—but how do you see us then finding a way to integrate this into healing the Earth?
DP: It would require for those of us who’ve been on this evolutionary initiation path to reach another level of our capacity to…hold a new frequency, to express it to people who are out of the loop. One thing that really began to upset me overtime was Burning Man. When I first went I was like ‘oh of course, this is the model for this new society. The point is to now bring this out into the world.’ But overtime I saw it become more like another entertainment complex. I saw the people who run Burning Man being really kind of pleased with themselves because all these rich people wanted to hang out with them.

But I think a shift is actually happening, because of this geopolitical emergency that we’ve unleashed. For example, I saw a really good thing on Facebook—this guy wrote that he used to have three different groups of friends that didn’t really integrate very well. One was artists, one was meditators, and the other was activists, and he was, like, thanking Donald Trump because now they’re all in the same group. We’re basically confronting a very, very severe existential emergency with this situation, that I think people are beginning to comprehend in kind of waves.

AR: In the book you use Burning Man as an example to show how if society praises you for good behavior, like cleaning up your own trash for example, and if we praise each other for good behavior, we can start to rewire the conditioning that says it’s somebody else’s responsibility to ‘do the right thing.’
DP: I feel that what Burning Man reveals and why it was such an ‘aha’ moment for me is that our social nature is extremely malleable and changeable, and humans will conform like putty to whatever reward system presents itself. So, say you get laid by becoming a Neo-Nazi and hating on the Jews, a bunch of people will do that. If you have lots of lovers or one lover or whatever you need, as a result of being generous, altruistic, and sharing your gifts open heartedly, you’ll do more of that that.

AR: So how did things tilt so far to the extreme right?
DP: Unfortunately, the extreme right has managed to marshal a lot of collective intelligence by expert use the media system, whereas the progressive community has been much more slow and much less strategic and tactical.

There’s actually been a phenomenon of people on the coasts in LA and New York having greater freedoms, better lives, more opportunities, but we haven’t really taken care to transmit these benefits to the rest of society. And, rightfully in a sense, the rest of society realized they were just being shafted and got extremely angry. I think that theoretically, the more conscious we are of this, we have to bear the blame when things go this wrong.

AR: That’s a tough wake up call for people. If you’re living in light and love all the time, you don’t want to hear “hey, this is your fault, take responsibility, step up to the plate.”
DP: But this awareness is spreading rapidly right now. In a sense, what I am trying to show with the book is that the progressive mystical counter culture hasn’t done a good job of articulating the world that we want to bring into manifestation, beyond our individual process.

For example, let’s take The Beatles at their word: “All you need is love.” But how do you actually create a society centered around altruism and sharing and empathy, what does that look like? In the book I am pretty rigorous looking at this in terms of love and relationships, in terms of monetary systems, even questioning whether private property is good for us. I’m sure many people will disagree with some or many of my conclusions but that’s good. At least we have something to disagree about, which can lead to debate and innovation.

AR: I write about sexual healing quite a bit and you share an anecdote about the community, Tamera, in Portugal, that’s so moving—how a young man’s first lovemaking happens with all the group gathered around the house, celebrating and holding space for him. I cried. There is so much internalized sexual shame in our society. I grew up in Georgia in a very, very Christian space and I was totally shamed from a very young age. When I heard that story, I was able to envision people not “losing” their virginity, but embracing this as a rite of passage—leading to us totally flipping the way that we approach love and sex.
DP: One of the founders of Tamera in Portugal said that sexuality is a superpower that radiates throughout all different facets of society, and we can totally see that with this last election. We saw it with Trump and the grabbing of the pussy, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Roger Ailes who was the Fox News head who was taken down in a big sex scandal, and all of their connection to Jeffrey Epstein, the pedophile…

In a system where sexuality is oppressed, alpha male types seek power and wealth (versus creating a system that spreads wealth evenly) so they can have sexual access, you know? Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, society is more open about sexuality, but it’s actually been reintegrated into a system of domination and control. So it becomes MTV Spring Break or Sex in The City, that type of vibe.

AR: Yes, those pop culture markers reveal that on one level we can “have sex” and “be sexy” but on another level it’s absolutely not okay as a culture to accept our sexual nature. 
DP: Rupert Sheldrake writes about the idea of “morphogenic fields” or “morphic resonance”—that actually, when a small number of a species is able to fully discover or integrate something new it can become generally available to the collective sort of non-locally. So if there’s a small number of communities that have shifted into this different frequency of collective care and responsibility and kind of a truly liberated Eros,  or attitude to love and sexuality, then that could really propagate quite quickly. I mean Neo-Nazism didn’t seem to exist two years ago…and now it’s all over the place. Or look at something like Facebook, and how quickly everybody began using it. Ultimately, I think it’s fully possible that positive shifts towards empathic and responsible social system could also happen rapidly.

Discover more about Daniel and his work at Pinchbeck.io. His new book, How Soon is Now: From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation, is out February 20 2017.

8 WAYS TO BE A SPIRITUAL ACTIVIST IN 2017

Want to make a difference in 2017? Numinous Founder Ruby Warrington shares 8 ways to be a spiritual activist…

be a spiritual activist in 2017 Ruby Warrington The Numinous

“Are you going on the Women’s March?” It’s the question doing the rounds as we come around from the collective anesthesia of the holidays and it all comes flooding back. The Trump regime. This is happening. Time to get back to work. Considering a lot of what I talk about on this platform involves the words “spiritual activism,” it may come as a surprise to learn that the answer from me is “no.” At the time of writing this I do not have plans to join the 200,000 + protestors who will march on Washington Jan 21, the day after the inauguration.

And it’s not because I don’t think that it’s necessary to vocalize our anger with the incoming administration. It’s not because I believe that humans mobilizing en masse doesn’t have any impact—just look at Standing Rock. But just as each individual birth chart maps a unique life path—a unique dharma—it seems to me that vocal protest is but one of many, many, many small and different ways that each and every one of us is being called to be of service in 2017.

When I launched our #TuneInPeaceOut event in September last year, it was because I had identified my big message for the world as being: PLEASE CAN EVERYBODY JUST STOP FIGHTING! WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM, FFS! “I guess I’m a massive pacifist,” I told the life coach who helped me boil it down. So it makes sense that when I think about my personal contribution going forward, it’s less about fighting against the system, and more about putting all my energy and ingenuity into creating a new way of seeing and doing things. A way that works for everybody.

Read on for 8 ways to practice spiritual activism in 2017…

1. DON’T HATE, CREATE. I equate creativity with spirituality, and so for me the term “spiritual activism” speaks to action that is an expression of our desire to create—create new conversations, create conscious businesses, create works of art that shake up the status quo, create babies who will grow to be future spiritual activists!

2. COMPASSION INTO ACTION. It also means taking action from a place of compassion and empathy—knowing that we are all connected. Like I said, we’re all on the same team—meaning, as humans, we all have the exact same needs (love, material security, freedom, to be heard and understood), and the exact same fears (pain, hunger, abandonment). Yes—even the President elect. Knowing this, the more our actions are about giving each other what we need, the better.

3. TEAMWORK. So, we’re all connected. Which means that working with others who share our goals is way more impactful that going it alone—as this creates a cosmic domino effect. Marches and protests are one amazing example of this! But also look at the impact of the online group Pantsuit Nation. Who’s doing stuff you see making a positive difference? Ask how can get involved.

4. CONSCIOUS COMPUTING. The Age of Aquarius has given us this amazing tool called the internet, which means we are literally all connected. Sadly it didn’t come with any instructions for how to use it to get everybody to stop fighting. It really is on us to a) figure out ways to use this tool to create good stuff, to get educated, to learn compassion, and to give each other more of what we need, and b) not get sucked into the shadow side of online life (misinformation, fear-mongering, and comparison/separation).

5. CONSUME BETTER AND LESS. In relation to spiritual activism, the message of conscious consumption is two-fold. Firstly, yes, every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you believe in. Don’t believe in the objectification of women? Don’t buy fashion brands who objectify women in their ad campaigns! Obvious right? But we do it all the time without even thinking. Second, a lot of the times when we buy more stuff and eat and drink more stuff it’s a way to distract us from the stuff our soul came here to do. Consume less + feel more = get inspired to act (as uncomfortable as this can feel). Oh and all that money you spend on “stuff”? Could also be donated to causes and charities where it’s really needed.

6. SEE A SPIRIT FIRST. This is about seeing past what a person says and does, past what they believe, past what job they do, past what country or body they were born in, and looking for the human spirit underneath. And going from there. Also, making it your business to interact with people who are not “like you” on the outside, as a way to practice seeing the spirit on the inside.

7. RESPOND DON’T REACT. If the Donald has taught us anything, it’s how ridiculous and childish it is to go with your knee-jerk reaction to anything which could be perceived as a “threat” to you and / or your beliefs. Yoga and meditation are a physical way to build the spiritual resilience it takes to listen and digest first—making it possible to choose the right next course of action. The “right” action being the one that works for you, and for everybody else.

8. LISTEN. Everybody’s got an opinion. Everybody wants their opinion to be heard. And everybody says what they think will get the biggest reaction because everybody also wants their opinion to get liked on social media. But it can be the people with the quietest voices who need to be heard the most. Not to mention the least “likable” truths. So just be quiet and listen for a minute. Maybe ask a question, something along the lines of: what do you really need? This way, your next action can truly be of value to a fellow human spirit.

Read more about spiritual activism from our Moon Club founding members! We have curated a line-up of humans who are committed to creating good stuff for humanity, and who will be on hand to offer additional support and guidance to our members. Meet them here and read more about Moon Club and sign up here.