7 REASONS I’M TAKING A NUMINOUS SABBATICAL

I’m taking a Numinous sabbatical, to recharge my creative batteries—and also to review, refresh, and rethink what this platform stands for. Here are 7 reasons why …

As of 7/7/19 I’m on a Numinous sabbatical—the dictionary definition for which is: “a period of paid leave granted to a university teacher or other worker for study or travel, traditionally one year for every seven years worked.”

Okay, I’m not a university teacher … but The Numinous is a place of learning. I’m not being paid to take this break … but this time-out is partly so I can focus on creating financial stability in my life. There will be travel, and there will be study. And while this platform was created seven years ago, I don’t yet know how long this sabbatical will last. Two months minimum … and maybe (although probably not) even as long as a year.

This means I am taking a break from updating the site, posting on Instagram, sending out newsletters, and producing The Now Age podcast. It also means no weekly horoscopes, Tarotscopes, and astro mantras from us. And since (hello, eclipse season!) this is coming somewhat out of the blue, I figured I would share my reasons for this below (all of which, coincidentally, begin with the letter M):

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1. Mercury Retrograde
Because what better time to take a step back and review, rethink, and refresh what The Numinous stands for, and the content I want to use this platform to contribute. For one more mother*cking time: MERCURY RETROGRADE is not anything to fear. In an always-on, progress-obsessed society, it is an invitation into a very necessary moment of pause, to reflect, refuel, and regroup. Join me?

2. Mission Accomplished
When the idea for The Numinous lit a fire in my belly in 2011, it was because I wanted to make astrology, the Tarot, and other mystical practices more accessible to the masses. I was also pissed that people who “believed” in these ancient human technologies were routinely ridiculed and written off as deluded. So, I made it my mission to make is cool + smart #af to introduce yourself as “Aries Sun, Cancer Moon, Sag Rising.” Back then, all we had was Susan Miller and the Astro Twins. Fast forward to 2019, and the New York Times is writing articles about venture capital eyeing “big astrology” as the next boom industry. I’m like, job done: so, what next?

3. Meme Accounts
And also, a lot of the astrology content that has sprung up to feed the rampant appetite of a freshly mysicisized public, makes me die a little bit inside. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good astro meme as much as the next narcissistic human looking for a quick hit of validation or “feeling seen.” AND a lot of this content reinforces really unhelpful stereotypes (something, hands up, that this platform has also been guilty of). But what the world does not need right now is more and more lowest-common-denominator astro content. It might get the most “likes,” and for a while I got sucked into playing the numbers game (ahhh, the delicious irony that I’m “quitting” IG the week I hit 100K followers)—but it’s not doing perceptions of the practice any favors. My goal for The Numinous has evolved from wanting to help popularize astrology, to wanting to help people use it as a tool for REAL emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. This is why I made The Numinous Astro Deck.

4. Making it Sustainable
I’ve never really felt “okay” about businesses (mine included) relying on unpaid interns (which I have had to at times), but I realized recently that creating and maintaining a FREE weekly content platform has been like interning for myself the past seven years. Yes, The Numinous has brought me tons of “experience” and “contacts,” which in turn have led to me getting book deals, events, retreats, and other bits and pieces of income over the years. But most of what I earn “on the side” goes back into maintaining this platform, which is just not sustainable. I want to write more books. I want to help other people write books. I want to do more consultancy + coaching. I want to volunteer for organizations and causes that I care about. I want to craft and lead more life-changing IRL experiences. And to do all of this, I need to reclaim the roughly 70% of my unpaid time and creative juice that currently goes into … The Numinous.

5. Mental Health
“Burnout” became an official “syndrome,” as recognized by the World Health Organization, on May 28 this year. Symptoms include: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy. Um, this is me, me, and me. Looking at the work-life culture that social media + the gig-economy has created, no wonder it is also us, us, and us. Spoiler alert: I’m going to be writing about this in my next book, and so my Numinous sabbatical (question: what happens when we opt-out of being always-on? Quit basing the value of ourselves and our work on follows and likes?) is also research for that.

6. My Big Mission
I recently wrote another book, Sober Curious, about how the past seven years have also been the backdrop to a total 180 in my relationship to alcohol, to the point I no longer drink or have any desire to drink. I did this by bringing a questioning, beginner’s mind to all my interactions with booze, a process I called getting “Sober Curious.” Coupled with the emotional + spiritual healing I’ve experienced from embracing all things Numinous, the result is that I no longer “need” alcohol to either numb out, or fake feeling more confident. As I write this, the term “sober curious” is snowballing into what is becoming a global trend, and when I pitched the book, I knew it would reach a wayyyy wider demographic than my first, Material Girl, Mystical World. I also hoped this would make it a vehicle for mysicisizing wayyy more people—and in doing so, help normalize the many different paths to mental, emotional + spiritual wellbeing. Which is exactly what is happening, and which is something I need and want to focus on more fully.

7. Marianne
As in, Marianne Williamson’s 2020 Presidential bid. Were you as mad as me at the media reaction to her appearance in the Miami democratic debates? Instead of reporting on any of the very intelligent points she made (not least the one about the current president not winning in 2016 on policy points, but on emotion—by harnessing FEAR for political gain), we got a good old #witchhunt, with Marianne and her work being being belittled and branded a laughing stock. UGH. My blood boiled! Over the past year, I’ve committed more and more to talking about how we can look beyond our personal healing paths to ways we can help heal the world, with my interviews for The Now Age podcast in particular. Marianne has being doing this her whole career, from creating soup kitchens for HIV patients in the 1990s, to more recently enacting mass apologies for institutionalized racism in the US.

Why is her bid another reason for my Numinous sabbatical? Because 2020 is gonna be a s*it-show of opinions and fear-mongering, and never has Marianne’s mission to activate love, compassion, and, above all, HOPE, in the face of this been more important. I want to ensure that whatever I put out there contributes to this, whether or not she lands a candidacy—and, again, I need a break from churning out endless content to feed Mark Zukerburg’s algorithm to focus on how to do this.

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So there you have it, my reasons for my Numinous sabbatical. Whether you’ve been a reader from the beginning, or are brand new, thank you for being here. I hope our work has been of benefit to you—and that you, too, are feeling ready to pay any healing and transformations you’ve experienced as a result of your own mystical explorations forward in 2020 and beyond. See you on the other side!

While we’re broke up, you can still follow me on IG @rubywarrington, and catch up all back episodes of The Now Age and Sober Curious podcasts. You can follow @sandysitron and @bessmatassa for Numinous astro insights, and @thebrandonalter for your Numinous tarotscopes fix. And you can learn astrology as a tool for personal healing and growth with The Numinous Astro Deck.

You can also stay subscribed to our newsletter to be the first to hear about what’s next from us, and email any feedback and suggestions to [email protected]

WHY IS MAINSTREAM ASTROLOGY SO WHITE?

When Adama Sesay of Lilith Astrology enquired about writing for The Numinous, she also came with this question: so we asked her to share her views on why mainstream astrology is so white …

Photo: Alice Pollet

I’ve asked myself this question since I’ve started working professionally in this esoteric community. Why are there so few people of color in the mainstream new age movement? And not just in the astrological space—this is a conversation that’s being had across various modalities; most notably in Yoga. And while things are getting better, I believe we still have work to do.

After graduating college, I began working for beauty brands managing digital marketing in New York City. Having loved astrology since a young age, this affinity with all things cosmic intensified during my Saturn Return, and led me to shift gears. Wanted to get out of the city and experience the west coast, I moved to Portland, Oregon and begin working for a well-known Astrology and Tarot website. Looking back, I can see now that what felt like a career curveball was the Universe’s way of introducing me my life path. After all, I didn’t grow up thinking that astrology was something I would do professionally.

Inspired by my time working for this site, I felt a calling to continue my studies, so I enrolled in a series of astrology classes to solidify my knowledge. Fast-forward to today, I founded Lilith Astrology in January 2019.

I see astrology as a way to empower my clients. Understanding your birth chart means unlocking the keys to your life and why you were put on this earth. Based back in New York City, I work specifically with womxn as I feel that all feminine identifying individuals need whatever additional validation we can get in a society still doesn’t see us as equal to men. I also happen to be a 1st house Lilith in Leo—my self-expression ruled by the disruptive and unapologetic divine feminine archetype in the zodiac. But it was when I began to look for opportunities to contribute astrological content to media outlets and I noticed a trend—a consistent lack of diversity and representation.

Which lead me to my question: why is mainstream astrology so white?

I don’t believe the answer lies in pointing blame, or saying it’s racism or discrimination. To me, it points to a lack of awareness. Throughout my career in corporate, I noticed that managers tended to hire people they could relate to, or who they knew through external connections. Most of the time, these networks were comprised of the same ethnicity or race. Entire brand departments would therefore lean more towards one ethnicity, and, as a result, the marketing campaigns and creative they produced would also mainly feature one race.

This is nothing new in America! But, as astrology becomes more mainstream, I see a similar thing happening with what is supposed to be a spiritual and inclusive modality. A practice that helps us see beyond the external and foster an understanding of who we are at soul level. The majority of mainstream outlets (not all) feature mainly white astrologers, while the few “ethnic” verticals include astrologers of color.

As a Scorpio Sun, Mercury and Pluto, I see it as part of my mission to transform this pattern of separation and segregation, and bring visibility to the eclectic mix of astrologers that are flying under the mainstream radar. I believe that the best way to ensure the growth of diversity in astrology (and in the larger world) is through talking about this issue, creating opportunities for astrologers of color, and encouraging mindful inclusion in mainstream media outlets.

YouTube (of course) has helped me discover a plethora of diverse astrologers, practicing both Western to Vedic astrology. Some I have been particularly inspired by include, The Peace Dealer whose Lilith series was one of the inspirations for the name of my own astrology brand. True Brilliance is sheer genius in the way she incorporates mythology into her interpretations. KRSChannel is a widely followed Vedic astrologer who makes the topic easy to digest, dynamic and extremely interesting.

Adama Sesay of Lilith Astrology

My favorite though is the lovely Nadiya Shah. As a seasoned cosmic veteran, she remembers a time when it was only her and black astrologer Samuel Reynolds representing diversity at the NORWAC conference (one of the biggest meetups for professional astrologers). When we spoke, she told me that attending in 2019 as a speaker, she found it extremely refreshing to see a more diverse group than usual, comprised mostly of millennials.

She believes this is partly because younger generations have grown up with a more diverse outlook, so as more millennials and Gen Z’s discover astrology for themselves, we will naturally see an increase in diversity in the space. Nadiya told me, “The world is diverse! I believe that the more individuals who do what is true for them, the more it gives others permission to do that as well. You can’t have Astrology without the Astrologer—and so it’s important to have a diversity of voices and backgrounds represented.”

This has a lot to do with the Pluto in Scorpio generation, born November 1983 – November 1995, coming of age. We have been put on this earth to deconstruct, remove and transform the current systems and structures in our current society. With Pluto in its home sign, we are an extremely powerful group—the first generation with this placement in our charts in over 200 years! Millennials are now just coming into astrological adulthood (post-Saturn return) so now we will begin to see how this energy will manifest.

There are a couple more Pluto in Scorpio Astrologers of color that I love and also want to mention. I recently discovered Corey Randle, a.k.a. The Water Bearer’s Tea. He adds dash of sass and humor to his spiritual enlightenment and guidance that brings me so much joy. The lovely Mecca Woods also brightens up my Instagram feed with her fun-filled and playful take on Astrology.

My goal with speaking out on this issue is to raise awareness and encourage the inclusion of more astrologers of color. To challenge the mainstream media outlets to become more mindful in their discovery and inclusion of more diverse and alternative astrologers. And, not least because the practice of readers of different ethnicities, races, and expressions of gender and sexuality, will have been shaped by their often-marginalized experiences of being human—helping to create a more inclusive, and healing, astrological landscape overall.

Discover more about Adama Sesay and her work at LilithAstrology.com or follow her on Instagram @LilithAstrology