Practicing Being Present

As long-time followers of The Numinous will know, this platform has been in a period of profound transition since summer 2019. If you’re new, you can find a series of posts HERE that explain the reasons for this. Now, as our global community moves through its own period of retreat in response to the coronavirus pandemic, I will be taking this time to focus even more deeply on laying the foundations for what comes next. Much continues to shift, and service will resume in due course. The following writing is an invitation to use this period of enforced exile from everyday life to become equally present to what is unfolding for you at the deepest level. It is also a reminder that self-isolation isn’t selfish—and that learning to be fully with yourself is perhaps the greatest gift that you can bring to the collective in these times.

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“Present.”

Whenever somebody has asked me how I’m feeling lately (like they really mean it, as is our new normal) this has been the word that most sums up my current state of mind.

I am present with my anxiety. I am present with my not knowing. I am present with my wellbeing in this moment. I am present with my gratitude for all the little things, and I am present with my privileged, survivor’s guilt for all the big things I am able to take for granted. I am present with the reality that should either of my elderly parents in the UK contract Covid-19, I may never see them again. I am present with it all. Because there is nowhere else to be.

There’s a saying in yoga circles: “hold the pose.” And this has been the mantra flashing in neon in my mind as our world has contracted, feeling simultaneously more connected and more isolating with each passing day. A directive levied at students struggling with the discomfort of maintaining a posture, the challenge is to remain still, balanced, and focused, even as muscles burn, everything shakes, and the mind screams for release.

What we are cultivating when we hold the pose, is patience, resilience, and steadfastness. A core of inner durability that becomes impervious to the shocks and triggers of the external world. Not that we don’t feel them, and not that our material safety is not compromised. But through it all, we are able to depend on ourselves to remain resourceful and intact. In turn, our energetic frequency becomes an unspoken signal to others that they can depend on us. In the words of my friend Worthy, this is how we let others know: I safe you.

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In the days of coronavirus, holding the pose for me has meant resisting the urge to play out worst case scenarios on a loop. It has meant steering clear of the noise and clamor and opinions of social media and instead committing to one carefully timed dose of “real news” per day. It has meant noticing my addiction to busyness creep in as a trauma response and disrupting this with pockets of time to just be still and to feel.

It has also meant being okay with thinking I’m not doing enough to “help.”

Because the instinct, in times of crisis, is to ask: what can I do? Especially as a healthy, relatively wealthy, low-risk individual currently residing in the city (NYC) with the highest infection “attack rate” in the United States. This question has tormented me for the past two weeks, listening to the subway trains rumble past on the Williamsburg bridge, carrying already overworked and underpaid service workers and medical staff to their jobs on the front lines of the outbreak.

It has stalked me as I have intuitively closed off from my social media “community,” even as I have watched friends and colleagues issue forth endless online offerings and missives of support. It has weighed heavy on me, as I have succumbed to my instinct to retreat even deeper into my already introverted shell, to a space inside where I now realize I have found comfort in self-isolation my whole life.

The irony being that to stop the spread the virus, the first and most “helpful” course of action—in order to prevent more deaths, and to help the economy recover as quickly as possible (although it is likely that the ways we work, live, and support one another will be forever changed)—is doing nothing, being nowhere, and retreating within.

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Yes, we need to pressure our governments to step in with unprecedented aid. Yes, we can also donate whatever financial resources we have to spare. No, it is not our individual responsibility to fret over the wellbeing of each and every person being affected. And, yes, while we need each other more than ever, we also need time and space and peace and quiet, to process and assimilate our individual feelings about what my mother (a psychotherapist) reminded me is: “a sudden and extreme demolition of life as we have known it.”

One which we have had no psychological preparation for, leaving us “stunned,” she went on in an email to me last night. “Withdrawal in an attempt to assimilate an understanding of circumstances beyond our control and which up until now have been unthinkable,” being another necessary next “action.” The same way that animals, in times of distress, retreat from the world as a form of self-protection, “we must conserve our own energy to make sense of and process what has come about.”

Processing our emotions is a silent, felt, bodily, and highly individual thing. No listicle with “tips for successful self-isolation” can tell you how to do it. No online seminar with this or that thought leader will give you the playbook on what you, and you alone, need right now. If anything, over-consumption of external “advice” (no matter how well meaning) can become a distraction from this process and course of anxiety. What’s needed is the space to conduct an internal process of self-soothing, of grieving, and, ultimately, of acceptance.

The message? Please give yourself permission to be feeling whatever you are feeling, and to need whatever you need. Please do not feel pressured to “join in” with online activities and gatherings if you feel it may be a drain on your inner resources. Please do reach out to the people in your life who feel safe, and stay in regular contact with them, ideally with voice calls. Please let others know you are here for them if needed. And please wait to be asked for help, before rushing in to offer assistance before you have steadied yourself.

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Which brings me back to the practice of presence.

Learning to be present, with ourselves and with all that makes up our inner and outer worlds, is a foundational principal of the spiritual human experience. It’s why “holding the pose.” It’s why meditation. It’s why ritual and sacrifice. It’s why vipassana. It’s why the Buddhist “dark retreat,” a 30-day period of total self-isolation in a space completely absent of light, is considered the ultimate preparation for navigating the “bardo”—the liminal space between life, death, and rebirth, and a space we are moving through as a collective right now.

It’s also why Sober Curious. So much of my own ability to be present has come from the process of removing alcohol from my life. From opting out of a substance and a drinking culture that offers a seductive and highly-glamorized escape from reality, to learning to stay with each and every one of the uncomfortable feelings I used booze to numb out from. What I have learned, more than anything, is that time will always take its own time. And that all we can do when we are in it is breathe and hold the pose.

I’ve also learned that, in times of discomfort, asking questions and listening deeply to our own inner knowing, is often more helpful than looking for answers on the outside. Some questions to ask of ourselves in these days, and to discuss among those we hold dear, might be:

-What is this enforced putting down of “stuff” making space for in our lives?

-Who and what is truly important to us?

-What gifts do we now have the opportunity to give oxygen to and allow to flourish?

-What does it mean to mourn and how can we support each other in our grief?

-What kind of a world do we want to be part of when we emerge from this into the What Now Age?

The truth, in a sea of experts, is that only nature has the answers to how this crisis will unfold. That only history will show us the deeper meaning of this pandemic, and its role in our collective evolution. In the meantime, it is our job to practice being present with what is. And to trust that without “doing” anything at all, we are already playing our part.

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Meditation: Get an accountability buddy (game-changer) and text each other each time you complete your daily sit.

Book: Tribe by Sebastian Junger. A reminder that not only are humans built to thrive in times of adversity, but that throughout history global catastrophes have brought us closer together.

People: Find your “pod.” Think of the 3-5 people you feel you can trust the most, and maintain regular, offline, contact with them through text and voice calls. Prioritize these connections over wider social media communities.

Therapy: Open Path Collective is a non-profit offering affordable ($30-$80 per session) online therapy for people of all races, religions, sexual orientations, genders and gender expressions, countries of origin, ethnicities, and abilities.

Food: Soup. Meditative to make, easy to digest, and a great way to use up random refrigerator leftovers.

Watch: The sky, the birds, the trees. Nature documentaries. Anything that makes you laugh.

Listen: My Sober Curious podcast with Toko-pa Turner on Practicing Belonging—a timely conversation for how to be with and come home to our whole selves.

When in shock or panic: Put your hands on your body and sit quietly until you feel yourself come back. Practice deep, even breaths, by imagining you are blowing bubbles.

If you want to support those who are being immediately affected by the coronavirus pandemic you can donate to the Global Giving Coronavirus Relief Fund HERE. As well as sending doctors, nurses, and other frontline responders to communities in need, your donation will help the most vulnerable members of society, including those with pre-existing medical conditions, older adults, individuals experiencing homelessness, refugees and migrants, wage workers, and those with inflexible jobs.

WISDOM FROM A 350-YEAR-OLD TREE (AKA THE FUTURE OF THE NUMINOUS PART #3)

Last week I had the honor of an audience with a 350-year-old tree. Anchoring the island of Vieques to the ragged, rustic Puerto Rican coastline, the landmark Ceiba tree (or Tree of Life) stands solid as a rock, its elephantine grey trunk rooted as firmly into the earth as Everest. Since reading Richard Powers’ The Overstory, I’ve developed a newfound understanding of trees as living beings, possessing perhaps unsurpassed wisdom on what it means to sustain oneself over decades, if not centuries, of evolutionary change. And this majestic, great, great, great, great, great, great Grandmother Ceiba (below), is no exception.

It wasn’t like I came to her with a bunch of questions. Rather, sat in the circle of her presence, the gentle Caribbean trade-winds lapping at our skin, a few drops of rain curling my hair into salty tendrils in the cool, quiet shade of her branches, she took the lead and spoke to me. And this is what she said: “Slow down, my love, and look at me. This is how you do it. You focus on doing ONE THING and doing it really well.”

Wow. First of all, could she get any more Capricorn season?! It was as if the tree had looked the all-knowing part of my own being in the eye and delivered the one piece of advice I needed to wrap up what has been a year of intense anxiety, instability, procrastination, and self-doubt.

As I wrote here, 2019 was the year I crashed and burned, right where my type-A personality collided with an increasingly frantic media landscape, leading to me taking a four-month Numinous “sabbatical” over the summer. I followed up with this post, detailing what had been going on behind the scenes: writing, publishing, and promoting three books in as many years, launching two podcasts, coming to terms with my discomfort with being a “public figure,” while simultaneously trying, and failing, multiple times, to turn The Numinous into a sustainable (meaning rent-paying) business.

And what follows here—thanks to the wisdom of a 350-year-old tree, some Capricorn New Moon Eclipse clarity, and a dose of end-of-decade reflection—can be read as the culmination of what, it turns out, has been a year-long process of reconnecting with why I’m here.

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The last time I experienced this level of burnout—the kind that grabs you mid-stride, pins you to the wall, and forces you to drop everything you’re doing “or else”—was in 2007. Which, incidentally, was also the last time Jupiter was in Sagittarius and transiting my ascendant. I was working for a free daily newspaper at the time (these were the days before all media was free, more on which in a bit), and had four pages per day to fill with “copy” to balance out the ads. Since the paper relied solely on advertising for revenue, our journalistic integrity was also severely compromised—and soon I’d coined a new term for this constant churn of throwaway content: churnalism.

This was also the last time I threw my hands in the air, dramatically stated something along the lines of “I CAN’T FUCKING DO THIS ANY MORE!”, quit my job, and took a summer off (which this time also included taking a break from my marriage). I had no backup plan, no family money or savings to fall back on, and my decision defied all logic. But as it turned out, that was the point. My leap into the unknown led to the luckiest and least foreseeable opportunities of my career to date. Within months, I was being paid fat wads of cash to edit the coolest magazine in Ibiza—a gig which also led, in a roundabout way, to me landing a job as Features Editor at the UK Sunday Times Style magazine.

My disillusionment with writing for fashion magazines is well-documented in my first book, Material Girl, Mystical World. But what had not registered fully with me until this year, is that the vast majority of what we used to call journalism has, in fact, morphed into churnalism. Since all media outlets now operate primarily on the advertising-as-revenue model, including and in fact precipitated by the advent of social media, a constant stream of throwaway content is now required to balance out the ads. Enter the era of click-bait, listicles, and bait-and-switch newsletter subject lines, all of which are designed to grab your attention for long enough for somebody to sell you something.

Which has got what, exactly, to do with what the 350-year-old tree told me about reconnecting with my life purpose?

Here’s the thing. I went into journalism because I love to write. Meaning, writing gives me more satisfaction per minute of effort expended than anything else. But there’s a big difference between the kind of writing I love—the kind where I get to make meaning out of the world I see and, hopefully, provide insight and inspiration for others with my words—and … the constant churn of throwaway content that’s become a requirement of running an online platform. Which, if I am going to take the Ceiba tree’s advice, means focusing on writing going forward, and taking a step back from making content for content’s sake.

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When I launched The Numinous in 2012, it was because I wanted my own “magazine” where I could write about the things I really cared about.

My readership grew organically, and somewhere along the way (possibly during my brief friendship with Gabby Bernstein) I absorbed the idea that I should start sending out a regular newsletter as this would become my “most valuable audience” (meaning, the readers most likely to buy stuff from me). Instagram also took off, and I learned that posting “the kind of content your readers love” (note: this is not the same as “the content I love making”) a minimum of three times per day was how I’d grow my following there. The implication this time being that these “followers” would make my platform more appealing to advertisers, who would then pay for whatever scraps of your attention I could use my words to wangle their way.

Not that I ever capitalized on these audiences (meaning: your attention) in a meaningful way, as it turns out that I have absolutely zero interest in or aptitude for what is essentially network marketing (as detailed, again, here). Granted, the content-for-content’s sake has been part of the “platform building” that helped me land my first and subsequent book deals (oh, I also have many thoughts on the fact that you have to have a platform to get a book deal these days, too. I’ll expand on them another time). But in terms of actual “capital” (i.e. rent money) we were wayyyy off the fabled and much lauded “six-figure salary” promised by the digital marketing gurus.

And in the meantime, it turns out I only have so many words in me per day. Which meant all the words I now found myself churning out for the newsletter and the socials, were eating into the supply I needed to write about the things I really cared about. To the point, right before my sabbatical, where every time I sat down to write a post or a caption or an event description or even an email, it felt like I was scraping the dregs of my soul. Like I was literally spent, done, ALL THE FUCK OUT, when it came to words.

For somebody who has always written for a living, this was devastating. Maybe I wasn’t really a writer after all; or was just a dried-up old ink-well who couldn’t keep the pace with changes in digital media. Maybe I’d simply reached the bottom of my “good ideas” barrel, and it was time to reconsider the second career as an author I’d thought was only just taking off.

Or … perhaps it was time to LISTEN TO THE TREE and apply the age-old (for a good fucking reason) adage of quality over quantity, take a long hard look at all the places I was leaking my writerly energy, and make some adjustments accordingly. I’m going to go with the latter.

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Sadly, in the first instance, this means cancelling the Numinous subscription I launched JUST LAST MONTH. Oh man, I’m so embarrassed about this! The idea was that I’d get enough subscribers to cover paying a social media manager, freeing me up to focus on … writing. But just 45 (beautiful, generous) humans signed up (and if you were one of these 45, know that I praised the Goddess and sent multiple blessings of thanks to each and every subscriber)—roughly one fifth of the number I needed to make it work.

Which is where I could beat myself up, again, for my lack of marketing savvy, and let my self-esteem get eaten away by doubts about my “likeability,” and the quality of my content. But what this experiment has actually shown / confirmed for me, is that … running an online business is … just not for me! Is NOT the “one thing” the Ceiba tree was telling me to focus on, and to focus on doing really well, if I want to create lasting security for myself going forward.

Because that one thing is writing. And not just any writing, but the kind of writing that requires lengthy periods of contemplation. That is is the result of weeks, if not months, of reading and research, and the assimilation of multiple ideas, instinctual hits, and incidental discoveries. The kind that keeps me semi-awake at night, searching my subconscious for just the right sentences to make sense of whatever Big Idea is currently romancing me. None of which is possible when I am churning out words to keep algorithms, and advertisers, and subscribers, happy.

For example, this post took me a good six hours to write. Plus editing time. Six hours which have also been preceded by several weeks, if not months, of reading, thinking, noticing, and mental-note-taking on the subject of “why the fuck am I so burned out.”

Which means this post is also the result of applying the insights of Jaron Lanier’s 10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now to my own life; of finding, and reading, Gail Sheehey’s 1992 book on menopause, the emphasis being on pause, on the beach in Vieques; of listening to Lisa Taddeo describe the 8-year process of writing her book Three Women on Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail podcast; of an hour-long phone-call discussing the kind of careers we want by the time we’re in our seventies with Alexandra Roxo; of the lasting imprint of a passing comment from a coaching client on how “not everybody who wants to be an entrepreneur also wants to run a business”; of noticing the panic / disgust I felt on discovering Gary Vee’s post on How to Create 64 Pieces of Content in A Day; and of paying actual attention to the teeny nips of tension that grip my shoulders each time I sit down to compile another newsletter or Instagram post.

The kind of focus it takes to put all of that into a post like this, is the kind of focus I think the Ceiba tree was talking about. It’s the kind of focus it takes to write books (and to help other people write theirs with my “book doula” work). The kind of focus that digital media is the thief of, and which it takes practice and patience and quiet and resistance to cultivate.

Alllll of which is to say, I will still be creating “content” on The Numinous … just maybe 3 or 4 times a year. And that this content will look more like books, and promo for books, mine and other peoples, as THIS is the one thing I’ll be focussing on going forward. Turns out my 2020 intention is to be more like the tree (and Lisa Taddeo), in the name of my own majesty, and ultimate sustainability.

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For more information about my book doula work and publishing with The Numinous contact [email protected]

HOUSES OF THE ZODIAC: WHAT THEY MEAN

Learning to read your own Birth Chart is a practice of self-discovery. It unlocks a whole language with which to describe the numinous parts of the human experience—and understanding the meanings of the different Houses of the Zodiac is an important piece of the puzzle.

The Houses represent the different areas of life that we move through in our lives, and show where the planets in our individual charts are doing their most powerful work with us. The Numinous Astro Deck is a tool to help you fully understand this interplay of energies, but you can find a brief overview of each House and its area of influence here. ***The journal prompts are from the Astro Deck.

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FIRST HOUSE: Personality, Ego, Physical Appearance.

Journal prompt: Write down 10 words to describe yourself and 10 words for the way you think people see you. What steps can you take to align the two lists?

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SECOND HOUSE: Assets, Material Values, the 5 Senses.

Journal prompt: “My idea of luxury is …”

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THIRD HOUSE: Thoughts, Ideas, Communication.

Journal prompt: List your favorite ways to distract yourself and post it somewhere to remind you not to engage with them.

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FOURTH HOUSE: Home, Family, Roots.

Journal prompt: Create a written vision board of your dream sanctuary space. Think ideal fabrics, scents, music, lighting, locale.

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FIFTH HOUSE: Passion, Creativity, Play.

Journal prompt: List things you loved to do when you were five years old and what the adult version would be.

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SIXTH HOUSE: Craft, Contribution, Wellbeing.

Journal prompt: A shopping list of “ingredients” (movement, media, food) that can support your body today.

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SEVENTH HOUSE: Relating, Partnerships, Others.

Journal prompt: The qualities of the people you connect best with are …

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EIGHTH HOUSE: Intimacy, Investments, The Occult.

Journal prompt: Write down everything (facts and feelings) about a situation you are currently obsessed with and then burn the paper.

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NINTH HOUSE: Seeking, Travel, Higher Learning.

Journal prompt: Write about the teacher you have learned the most from and how you are embodying their wisdom.

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TENTH HOUSE: Reputation, Career, Legacy.

Journal prompt: Write a list of guidelines and best practices for Brand Me.

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ELEVENTH HOUSE: Community, Revolution, the Future.

Journal prompt: List 5 things you could do completely differently today. Think reading, route to work, dinner plans, and exercise regime.

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TWELFTH HOUSE: Surrender, Healing, Spirituality.

Journal prompt: A list of all the things in your life you can and cannot control …

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For a full description of each House of the Zodiac check out The Numinous Astro Deck, which is an illustrated tool for learning the art of birth chart interpretation. You can also learn all about your individual house placements in a 1-2-1 Astro Coaching session with Numinous Founder Ruby Warrington. Book your session HERE.

WEEKLY ASTRO ORACLE: NOVEMBER 26 2019

In her new weekly ASTRO ORACLE videos, Ruby Warrington pulls a card from the Numinous Astro Deck to deliver a group reading for the Numinous community. The series kicks off the week of the November 26 Sagittarius New Moon—which the North Node card tells us is a time to course correct and get back on track with fulfilling our karmic destiny.

Where have you been playing small this year? Afraid to take a risk on living your biggest, most fully expressed life? As we close out the year, let’s give ourselves permission to get messy and get real in the name of exponential growth!

Love this video? Subscribe to The Numinous at patreon.com/thenuminous and get a weekly ASTRO ORACLE + ASTRO MANTRA for your sun and rising signs direct to your inbox. PLUS discounts, exclusive content, and more!

TAURUS FULL MOON RITUAL TO QUIT FAKING

The Scorpio / Taurus axis invites us to embody our wholeness—which is only ever possible when we quit faking it …

Photo: Pawel Szvmanski

Nobody wants to be a faker—but we do it all the time. The fake smiles, the fake “I’m fine’s,” the faking we’re holding it all together, when inside it feels like part of us is dying. This Taurus Full Moon, can we please make a pact to quit with the faking already, and embody those parts back to life? (If you’re just here for the ritual, it’s at the end of the post. Clue: you’ll need one of these).

Scorpio season is a time for getting REAL. For confronting the raw truths of existence, and the shadow parts we usually work so hard to conceal. When the moon becomes full in the opposite sign of Taurus, it’s shining a torch under the dusty sofa of our psyche. A chance to clean out some of the cobwebs and to prove there are no monsters hiding out there after all, what we find are just the damaged, and therefore “unlovable” parts, we have shamefully been clamoring not to reveal.

Ugh, it’s exhausting, isn’t it? The faking?

I dusted out some of my cobweb/monsters last week, when I wrote about the truth of running a (spiritual) online business (a.k.a. all the ways I’ve tried to monetize The Numinous and failed). It felt risky and whiney and ugly to put it out there, but it had gotten so very heavy I had to get it out of my body. The response, OF COURSE, was a massive out-breath from my readers who are done pretending too (which I’m also guessing is you).

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I’m writing this from Women’s Week at Kriplau. My first time attending a retreat here, having been a presenter many times, I opted into a workshop titled The Alchemy of Writing. Sat on my backjack in this morning’s session, knees hugged tight to my chest, I had been longing for this this moment. A much-needed refilling of an inner cup that, in the past 12 months especially, has given so, so much.

Why was it then, that the expectant camaraderie encircling the other women in the room did not feel like it extended to me? How could it be that I felt this insecure as part of the group, opposed to the times I was leading it. Why, having spent the past two years confronting my fear of public speaking head-on, did my heart begin to pummel the interior of my ribcage at the mere idea of raising my hand to speak?

How fitting that our first writing prompt in today’s session was: “A time when I felt one way and acted another.” Holy mama. Also fitting for Scorpio season, here are the first few lines that stumbled out of me in response:

“I knew I was supposed to say ‘yes,’ and so that’s what I told him. ‘Did you come?’ He needed to know for his pride. We were in his parents’ house, chintzy covers on the bed, the reek of skunk weed clinging to the curtains and the shag-pile carpet. There was no doubt in my mind that he’d been picturing this moment—my deflowering—from the moment that we met.”

And so began a six-year stint (the first six years of my sexually active life) when lying on behalf of my body became my basic MO. Looking back, how could this NOT have led to issues with me “using my voice” in other areas of my life (given the fact that our vocal chords and our vaginas are also intimately connected)? Or me feeling like faking it (including the smiles, the ‘I’m fines’, the pretending I’m not hurting inside) was the proper thing to do?

As with my struggles to ask for what my work is worth, I suspect I am not alone in this one. When I recently interviewed sober sexpert Tawny Lara for my Sober Curious podcast about why she quit faking orgasms in sobriety, she explained that quitting drinking had led her down a path of radical, Scorpionic, honesty. Feeling your emotions in the raw, day-in-day-out, will do that to a girl. In a post on the same subject on The Temper, she wrote: “This honesty eventually crept into the bedroom. I was done adding a performative element to sex. The thought of tightening my pelvic floor while gyrating my hips and moaning in pseudo-pleasure just seemed like too much work.”

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Because the truth is, faking it is the fastest way to drain us of our precious life force energy. In fact, the effort it takes to maintain even the smallest “white lie” could be used to power whole movements; write books; launch and fuel game-changing enterprises; and radically transform lives. Which means, whatever you’ve got squished under your soul-sofa, know that it is sapping you of your very aliveness. But will you have the courage to shine a torch under there and chase it out for good?

You can practice with the small stuff. No more fake smiles. No more ‘I’m fines.’ Notice, as you shun the fake comfort of “fitting in” in favor of a vulnerable just being, how much more deeply you belong to your body temple, like it was waiting for you to inhabit it fully all along.

More, much more, on the energetic invitations of the Scorpio-Taurus axis, with advice and insights from myself, Betsy LeFae, and Bess Matassa, in this month’s subscribers’ only edition of the Now Age podcast.

And as for your Taurus Full Moon ritual? Simple. Put on some smooth tunes, pull out your crystal dildo, and invite your whole, perfectly imperfect self, to COME HARD back into your body. As you commit to never, ever, faking it again.

THE TRUTH ABOUT RUNNING A (SPIRITUAL) ONLINE BUSINESS

What’s next for The Numinous, and the long-winded, behind-the-scenes, real-deal process of how I arrived at this decision (plus some thoughts on running a spiritual online business in the Now Age and the future, or not, of capitalism)

Photo: Ruvan Wijesooriya

Warning: this post is long, messy, and rambling. A bit like my decision-making process for what’s next with The Numinous. I hesitated about posting it, but in the end I needed to write it for me—and, if you’re running an online business, are a spiritual solopreneur, or are overall just sick of selling and being sold to, I suspect there will also be plenty in here for YOU …

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In the weeks leading up to my Numinous sabbatical I’d been gearing up for exactly the opposite: I was preparing to launch The Numinous Astrology School (a.k.a. NAS—kinda like NASA, but without the Astronauts part. Lol). But as I went about putting all the pieces together, the anxiety knitting my shoulders to the back of my skull was a signal that something was off.

On the one hand, I was nervous about the financial investment. Between the artwork, tech build, marketing funnels, and promo materials, it would cost me at least $10K to get it off the ground. That’s not factoring in the countless hours of my own time spent on content creation. And while I’d seen some of my peers make a mint with their digital products, I knew others who’d been burned when the supposedly magical “launch formula” peddled by the likes of Marie Forleo, didn’t work out so magic for them.

It was after I spent $1600 on a 3-minute promo video that looked like something a 5-year-old could have made on an iPhone, that the house of cards came tumbling down, scenes of past launch “failures” flashing before my third eye.

The time I spent thousands on the Numinous sweatshirt line my readers had been so excited for … which only a handful of people actually bought (it took two years to just about break even, and I wound up donating the leftover sweats to the Bowery Mission two Thanksgivings ago). The digital Numiversity courses I created with my then-resident astrologers Bess Matassa and Sandy Sitron, of which we sold about 30 for a total of less than $1K. Divided three ways, my split didn’t even cover one month’s medical insurance.

Why should this time would be any different? I was banking on at least 1000 sign-ups to cover my costs and (finally) generate a sustainable income to offset the hours (years) I have put into building this platform. To foot the bill of maintaining this platform going forward. This represented just 1% of my Instagram following. But based on past experience and given my miserably low IG engagement at the time (due partly, no doubt, to my growing resentment at IG for stealing our attention and creativity to profit an increasingly ethically challenged Zuckerberg empire), even this moderate goal suddenly seemed totally pie in the sky.

And so I quit. Not only did I not proceed with launching the course, I decided to press pause on everything Numinous while I took a big old breath. Created some space for myself to feel into what exactly did want to come next.

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I’m sharing these details because I know I’m not alone in my attempts and my failures to “successfully” launch. Meaning, to create an income from my work that at least covers my rent and basic living costs (in NYC, this totals roughly an eye-watering $7K a month). In the age of side hustles and spiritual solopreneurship, “how to monetize my passion project / healing gifts” has got to be one of the crunchiest conundrums of the Now Age; we want to create a business and a life that serves others as it serves us … and the capitalist systems we are expected to fall into line with in order to do this are often totally at odds with who we are as creators, and what we believe as spiritual beings. Not to mention the basic root of all inequality and exploitation on the planet.

The “create a digital course” model is typically pitched as a way to generate a “passive income,” leaving you free to pursue what you really came here to do—but not only does it often entail subtle manipulation of your intended customer base, it seems more to me like it becomes your full-time job. And what if posting the recommended 25-30 IG stories per day, managing assistants and affiliates, and writing copy for marketing funnels, feels about as far removed as it gets from what your soul incarnated to contribute to the collective in this one wild and precious life?

Which is not to say there aren’t some beautiful, soulful, and generous digital courses out there. If you’ve created a course and / or a library of digital products that deeply serves you and others, fantastic! Some of us have an innate gift for community building that translates perfectly to authentic and heartfelt network marketing.

If anything, my “failure” to turn The Numinous into a one-stop online astrology shop (what well-meaning advisors have been telling me to do with this platform since before it even launched) has forced me to look more deeply at why this hasn’t worked FOR ME. To consider the value of what I actually DO feel called to create—and of MY unique gifts. And, in doing so, to trust fall back into walking my own messy, intuitive, utterly un-formulaic patchwork of a path.

-This has meant looking at what has worked, what space I was creating from when it did, and working out how I can do more of that.

-It’s meant reminding myself, as a writer in a world where “content” often only exists to sell a product, that my words have value in and of themselves. That my words are my product.

-It’s meant a deeper dive into my own lack of worthiness, the ancestral roots of this, and a look at what we value as a society (where we literally put our $$$) and why.

This is a process that remains ongoing, which is pretty much forming the basis of my next book (how to earn a living, or not, as an author: whole other subject!), and which has resulted in me creating a suite of personal services—from book doula’ing, to personal brand consulting, to astrology coaching 1-2-1s—that I’ll be offering going forward. You can learn more about them HERE.

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But what of The Numinous? If you’re reading this, I hope it’s because you’ve found value in this platform over the years. Maybe you’ve missed our mystical missives, and you’re wondering when we’ll be back. And well the truth is, The Numinous cannot continue to exist until it can earn its own keep.

When I launched the site, it was because I’d always wanted my own magazine. My own space to create and commission content that meant something to me, and that I felt contributed something of value in the wider world. And off I went. I didn’t charge a subscription fee (who paid for online media?), and as well as my own writing, I relied on unpaid contributions from writers keen to promote their own offerings to fill in the gaps.

Within two years, in late 2014, I’d been approached by HarperCollins about doing a book, for which I received a $50K advance. Result! This felt like payment for the work I’d put into the platform to date. Five years down the line, I have yet to earn any royalties from Material Girl, Mystical World (and given that only 30% of authors “earn out” their book advances, it’s unlikely that I will)—and I’ve had to find revenue from other streams to support the site and its growth.

Freelance journalism, hosting events and retreats, the occasional paid partnership. More books, some affiliate sales of other people’s digital courses. There were also my Moon Club earnings, the biz I co-founded with Alexandra Roxo, which I exited in Jan this year. I scraped a decent living keeping these plates spinning, until I hit a wall. Here I was, age 43, super “accomplished” by any external measure, and working all the hours—yet eaten up with constant anxiety about where my next rent check was coming from.

The other reason I “quit” The Numinous this summer? Having finally hired a book-keeper, there was no more ignoring the fact that the majority of my earnings were going straight back into this platform—despite it not actually generating any revenue. Sure, it was what had led to my book deals, and what supported the income streams listed above, etc. But when I weighed the time and energy that was going into maintaining it against what I was getting out of it, the scales were waaaaaaay off.

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Shit … is this coming off as some privileged white girl sob story?! I am mega aware that having a publishing deal land in my lap, for example, is a HUGE opportunity, for which I am extremely grateful. I also acknowledge that my previous career in journalism has opened many doors for me. That being straight and white and thin, it has been easier to risk “using my voice” without underlying fears for my safety. And that having husband who (until this summer) brought home a corporate salary also provided a financial buffer over the years.

And I also I know that my story mirrors many of our stories, regardless of our identities and external circumstances. Whether you’re creating a personal brand or are in any way pursuing a more creative career, the sheer volume of work that has to happen behind the scenes to generate even a moderate income, can be overwhelming. And if you don’t have a natural aptitude for IG stories, it can be even more draining. If this is you, I FEEL YOU. (And, going forward, I also want this to be a space for us to talk about the reality of running a digital business in the Now Age.)

Of course, the “smart” thing to do, as may others have advised me over the years, would be to seek VC investment. Use it to hire a team. Build an app. MAKE A FUCKING COURSE ALREADY. Put a bunch of money into Facebook ads, and get with the 21ST century!

But … that just doesn’t feel (as if you couldn’t guess by now) very “me.” It’s also playing by those same old capitalist rules again, and honestly, isn’t it time for something better? Elizabeth Warren might be promising to “remake capitalism” as part of her 2020 election manifesto, but I am leery of Big Politics ability to affect real change (given its affiliation with Big Business).

For now, here we are, lots of little, individual, human-run businesses, just making it up as we go along. And so long as the rules for how to make it work are still being written, here are some ideas that get a vote from me (*lifted pretty much verbatim from my proposal for book #3):

-We measure the “success” of a business by the positive impact it has on others.

-We buy less “stuff” and we invest more in each other.

-We revalue feelings, ideas, and relationships as our most valuable “assets.”

-We enact a more “matriarchal” business model, by pooling and sharing our resources equally.

-We embrace rest, resourcefulness, and wanting less, as vital elements of our planetary healing process.

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… which is a very, very, long-winded of way of informing you that, going forward, The Numinous will be switching to a subscription model. I’ll still be posting select astro content and lengthy rants on Instagram. You’ll find the odd missive from a guest writer on this site. There will still be one free newsletter per month with info about upcoming events and retreats, details of any other stuff I’m promoting, and the astro mantras you love so much.

But the JUICE. The really GOOD STUFF. The writings and the teachings that reflect the contents of my heart, the ponderings of my mind, and the yearnings of my soul. These will be delivered as a monthly content drop to subscribers via my new Patreon page—which is still in the process of being set up, and which I’ll be sharing links to in the coming weeks.

So, there you have it. The full story and the real, behind-the-scenes deal. If you have any thoughts, feedback, or feelings about this post to share, I’d love to hear from you at [email protected] <3

MATERIAL GIRL MYSTICAL WORLD CHANGED ME: THAT WAS THE POINT

A lot has changed since the original publication of Material Girl, Mystical World in May 2017 … which was kind of the point.

When I began writing Material Girl, Mystical World in early 2015, I didn’t realize it would be a book about a personal transformation—a transformation that has been unfolding ever since. I was a different woman when it was commissioned, by the time I had finished writing it, and when it was finally published in May 2017. Once you stop resisting their tug, this is how transformations go, continually unfolding until life becomes unrecognizable.

When they told me the paperback would be published this fall, I questioned whether it still felt like my story (which of course it is, and always will be). I had continued to change and evolve, as the work I chronicled in the original manuscript continued to do its work on me. And world events were also reshaping the world around us in unprecedented ways—did any of us think, and act, and see anything the same these days?

Reflecting on these shifts, I asked my publisher if I could write a new conclusion for the paperback, and they agreed. The resulting essay is published below. I invite original readers to reflect on how they have continued to evolve as a result of awakening to a more numinous outlook, and for anybody new here to consider what this might mean for you.

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New York City. November 11, 2016

Two days after the 2016 US presidential election I hosted a gathering titled “Thank Goddess.” It was a launch event for fellow author Rebecca Campbell’s new book, Rise Sister Rise. When we came up with the name, we, like liberal-leaning “feminists” everywhere, were pretty certain we would also be celebrating the election of the first female president of the United States.

I had envisioned us referencing this as yet more evidence of the rise of the Divine Feminine (the subject of Rebecca’s book), as we high-fived a collective WIN for the sisterhood. Instead, forty women filed into the yoga studio on the Lower East Side with faces drained of color. A haunted silence hung over our circle. It felt important to be together, but, still barely able to process the news, nobody really knew what to say.

Rebecca and I were cohosting with our mutual friend, Madeline Giles, who ended the session with a signature Angelic Breathwork healing session. Along with the rest of the group, I lay down on my yoga mat and began to engage the stimulating three-part breath. But this time, when the tears came, there was no cathartic release. Instead, I sat up afterwards feeling disembodied and even more confused. Struggling to address the group to close, the lump in my throat was like a hot coal, my whole body reverberating with the static of our collective anxiety.

What the actual fuck was happening? And where on Earth did we go from here?

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The hardcover edition of Material Girl, Mystical World was released six months later, and in the original conclusion I wrote about all the ways in which my life and my world were transforming as a result of the tools, philosophies, and practices I’ve covered in its pages. How my periods had regulated for the first time in my life, and how I’d healed my persistent IBS (having finally addressed the emotional issues that had been gnawing at my gut for years). I also shared how I viewed myself as a “recovering fashion industry victim,” and now bought 90 percent of my clothes second hand—the ultimate “sustainable” fashion!

I also mentioned that these external changes were really just the fluff since I could see how adopting a more numinous outlook was also making me kinder, more compassionate, more giving, and less self-absorbed. How it had completely transformed my relationship with my mum. And how seeking to truly know, accept, and forgive myself—how to unconditionally love myself—meant I no longer felt the need to accumulate stuff to make me feel good—as what was beginning to feel really GREAT was the idea that, in some way, whatever I did with my days was contributing to the greater good.

And, almost three years on from that Thank Goddess event, it is clearly evident that my own healing path reflects a collective awakening of sorts. That my confronting my personal demons has been part of a larger unmasking of “evil” forces operating behind the scenes—from political corruption, to the roots of the institutionalized racism that remain embedded decades on from the civil rights movement, and the largely unchecked exploitation of the natural world. My friend, Sushma Sagar, a former Marketing Director for Kate Spade turned energy healer, once described her own healing as a process of “un-brainwashing” herself, meaning it entailed confronting whatever subconscious beliefs and associated behaviors had been keeping her locked in cycles of pain. Pain that she, like myself and so many of us, self-medicated with cocktails, fancy clothes, drama-filled relationships, and an endless quest for career status.

Would our world look any different today had we elected a female president in 2016? If anything, without the collective wake-up call/“un-brainwashing” that has accompanied the Trump presidency, it seems as though the aforementioned societal woes would have been left to fester in the darkness even longer. And, as painful and confronting as this process has proven for many, I believe it has also been part of an overall raising of consciousness that began with the new age movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and which has sped up and gone viral thanks to our twenty-first century technologies.

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The term “new age” was coined with reference to the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, a 2000-year-plus astrological era we began transitioning into globally in the middle of the last century. Moving us out of the preceding Age of Pisces, an era in which religious fear-mongering and hierarchical power structures reigned supreme, this new age heralds the rise of “Aquarian” values such as humanitarian efforts, power to the individual, freedom of information, and rebellion against the status quo.

I coined the term Now Age because, well, this new Aquarian age is happening NOW! Which also means anybody born between the 1950s and the 2050s are what I call the generational “pattern breakers” karmically tasked with ushering in this new evolutionary paradigm. Yes, that likely means you. And yes, that means that part of your purpose here on Earth is to help birth a more open-minded, less dogmatic, and overall more equally opportunistic Aquarian era.

And you thought my book was going to tell you all about what crystals to buy, and where to get the best tarot readings. Sorry! I kinda tricked you there with the hot pink cover and all the talk about “high vibes.” I have been known to refer to The Numinous as a “Trojan My Little Pony”—all rainbows and sparkles on the outside, concealing an army of freedom fighters within. As we witness the outdated systems of the Piscean Age begin to topple and fall, what will be your contribution to bringing the Now Age into being?

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In Material Girl, Mystical World, I describe the shamanic view of humankind as “a giant people patchwork, with each and every one of us a vital stitch helping keep it all together.” Well, this is when you get to weave your story into the mix. What this means is, I hope you will feel inspired by this book to begin, in earnest, the thorough and searching process of un-brainwashing yourself, and a simultaneous investigation into your truth and your path. Meaning the path of your ultimate freedom, fulfillment, and empowerment, and, as a result, the path of your dharma.

You can begin by getting to know your birth chart (using The Numinous Astro Deck if it speaks to you). Of all the tools mentioned in these pages, astrology remains my preferred method of recognizing my inherited and/or subconscious patterning, behaviors, and beliefs—all the better to rewrite the script! And of course, do the yoga, the meditation, and the green juice (yada yada), but THEN pay attention to the wider changes you will very likely find yourself feeling called to implement as a result.

I often describe the practices and healing modalities covered on The Numinous as “the missing piece in the wellness puzzle”—because, guess what? In my experience, when you clean up your diet and begin to take better care of the physical, you will automatically be asked (by the Universe, Source, your higher Self, etc.) to pay more attention to your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and to make any necessary adjustments to your priorities accordingly. And I guarantee that any discomfort you experience initially will be offset by a level of fulfillment, a depth of intimacy in your relationships, and a sense of meaning and purpose for your life that you may never have known.

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Eddie Stern, my philosopher friend whom I introduce in the chapter on yoga, wrote a piece for The Numinous about the Hindu concepts of sakala, the reality we experience “with form,” and nishkala, the reality that is “without form.” In other words, our outer, quantifiable world (body, possessions, money, social media, even the Universe) and our inner, unquantifiable realms (knowledge, love, compassion, dreams, hopes, and potential). The Material and the Mystical. The here and now and . . . the numinous. “In yoga,” he wrote, “knowing who we are is the solution to all misery. For when we don’t know who we are, we are limited by the external things we measure ourselves against (sakala). We measure, we compare, and we are miserable in doing so, because we always come up short. Yoga teaches that when we truly know who we are, we are immeasurable, pure consciousness (nishkala).”

In other words, it is in seeking to know the unknowable, to connect to the truth of our numinous nature, where our unlimited potential— and our true freedom—lies. And if I could wish anything for you, me, and (why not?) for all humanity, it is for us to be free.

The paperback edition of Material Girl, Mystical World is out now with HarperOne books.

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]

THE 2019 CANCER NEW MOON SOLAR ECLIPSE WANTS YOU TO FEEL

The 2019 Cancer New Moon Solar Eclipse is a chance to press reset on old emotional patterns, by bringing the light of awareness, says Sandy Sitron

Photo: Caique Silva

New Moon Solar Eclipse // July 2 2019 // 3:16pm ET // 10 degrees Cancer

Deep below the surface of the water, tiny fins catch the light. A school of fish darts through a coral reef. Instinct guides their synchronized moves. Tuesday’s Cancer New Moon Solar Eclipse at might amplify your instinctual reactions as well. Emotions zigzag the same way the fish change directions. Do you know how to swim with your emotions?

Cancer is the sign of emotional intelligence and nurturance. A new moon solar eclipse is a chance to reset. A new pattern is forming around how you deal with your feelings, how you know that you are loved, how you relate to your family, and how you feel at home.

This is a moment to clear the residue and begin a new pattern. It is time to rewrite your reactions.

To do this, you need to shine conscious light on deeply subconscious patterns. But the fish are down near the ocean floor. The Sun is dark, blocked by the shadow of the Moon. The Moon is also dark, too close to the Sun to reflect light. So where do you find consciousness? How do you see what is really going on?

Know that the waters are choppy. Emotions are flowing, and ties to the past, instinct and gut reactions may be forming a rip-tide. You may feel as if you are being pulled into an ancient and familiar dance. But if you pay attention, you can interrupt the pattern. Do this by naming your emotions one by one as they flicker by. You can breathe into them. You can explore them with words. 

This Cancer New Moon Solar Eclipse can break up the old dance. Your words and your breath and your attention can change the patterns. A square between Mercury and Uranus brings insight and surprises. Open up to unexpected solutions. Things really are changing, even if it feels like you are circling back to the past. This current moment is brand new, and it’s filled with potential. You could be the lone fish that jets off in a brand new direction.

Whatever you do, don’t try to get out of the water. If you avoid your feelings, your little fins will dry out. Just try to be an observer. Try to be the fish that’s swimming instinctively, as well as the person who is watching the fish swim. Think about what you are feeling and what you need. What do the other people around you feel and need?

Narrate your feelings and notice how these feelings loop in a pattern, probably connecting back to childhood. When was the first time you felt this feeling? Where is it located in your body?

Stay with the feelings even when it feels overwhelming. Do it by becoming the mom and dad to your sweet inner-child. Give yourself a hug and a kind word. Slather on the support you always needed. Show up for yourself now and this will become a pattern that repeats throughout the year.

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Sun and Moon conjunct North Node and opposite Saturn
Walking through wet sand.

At this time you are keen to make a path in the sand and move forward. But it feels like you’re getting pulled back toward the past. Can you really move forward when you are sinking? 

An eclipse happens with the Sun and Moon get very close to the Nodal axis, as they are now. An eclipse helps you reset patterns. At any moment the ocean waves will come through and wash away your tracks. 

Throw Saturn in the mix and the desire to succeed becomes serious.  This eclipse is a conflicting combination of trying to make progress, feeling like you are pulled toward the past, while all the while starting over. 

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Sun and Moon trine Neptune
A seashell forms a spiral.

Seashells and spiral shaped plants, weather patterns and spiral shaped galaxies. All of them connected in form. You can change your perspective and realize that you are connected to everything. Nothing is better or worse. Everything is made up of the same stuff.

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Sun and Moon sextile Uranus
Mushroom releases spores into the wind.

The less you try to anticipate or control, the more productive you’ll be. Find a gust of wind and follow it. The surprises that come your way have a lot to offer you. Assume that the current is taking you to new places. 

NUMINOUS WEEKLY HOROSCOPES: JULY 1—7

Our Numinous Weekly Horoscopes from Sandy Sitron have a reading + cosmic symbol for your sign. Read for your Sun and Rising signs to get the full picture …

Photo: Irina Iriser

Cancer or Cancer Rising
Bullseye.
Try to zero in on what really matters. All sorts of thoughts, feelings and emotions may be flying. Give yourself the truth you need to hear. If it’s difficult to access the truth, try a new approach. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself circle aimlessly. Zoom straight into the heart of what is important to you now. The result will be clarity and alignment.

Leo or Leo Rising
Holding onto a balloon and floating away.
You don’t have to work so hard. You don’t have to push yourself. Let yourself be carried. What would it feel like to stop straining and clawing? What if you could trust that your throne is secure? Did you ever learn to go with the flow? Teach yourself now. Trust yourself and find the current that can carry you toward your dreams.

Virgo or Virgo Rising
Expertly playing a piano.
Years of practice have added up. You are finding your groove. Now where will you take your craft? Often we feel was if there is so much more to learn, so much more to refine. Let go of perfection and bring your ideas, talents and skills to a larger audience. Allow yourself to feel inspired by other peoples’ input. It’s time to go public.

Libra or Libra Rising
You’re a jockey riding a racehorse.
After being pelted with wind and mud, you may feel like giving up. Instead, get into the sport of what you are doing in your career. You’re in the homestretch and the rules of the race may change before it’s finished. So keep riding and let yourself be surprised by the outcome. You can’t control everything, but you can choose a lane and stay on track.

Scorpio or Scorpio Rising
Working on a Rubik’s cube.
You know how to dedicate yourself to something. Stay engaged. Keep chipping away at the issue even if you’re not sure how committed you feel. The most important thing is that you feel aligned with your values. If you do, you’ll find the stamina that you need. If you don’t, make minor adjustments.

Sagittarius or Sagittarius Rising
Geese fly in a V-shape.
The thing to remember is that you are never alone. Start trusting that you are included. You don’t have to prove anything. Maybe it’s true that you’ve been denied or let down in the past. But right now you have a chance to start over emotionally and heal. It will take a load off your mind to trust your place in the world.

Capricorn or Capricorn Rising
Sleeping in a cloud.
“A cloud” symbolizes water (emotion) that is held up in air (communication). “Sleeping” symbolically represents relaxation and restoration. This week the energy shows up in your relationship area. In relationship you need to relax so that you can find the right words to express your emotions. This communication will help you start fresh.

Aquarius or Aquarius Rising
Making a collage.
You can fit the pieces together. Take a surprising new approach as you plan your day. It’s time to change things up when it comes to your daily chores, tasks, productivity and health. Add in new and unlikely elements to your schedule so that you create a whole new vision for your life. The magic is in the details.

Pisces or Pisces Rising
Playing in the sand.
It’s time to get messy and make masterful creations. This isn’t about perfection, the water will come and wash it all away. This is about being spontaneous. Being led by fun. Being instinctive. Begin to play and be surprised by your results. Take this approach with any issue you’re having, or in any area of life.

Aries or Aries Rising
A motorboat bounces against the waves.
Speed will help you get over and around any emotional swells. You may feel rather slow and sluggish. Do something quickly to snap yourself out of it. Once you’ve remembered how spontaneous you can be, you can return to your emotions and sit with them. Be very tender and gentle with yourself.

Taurus or Taurus Rising
A hamster in a wheel.
Your mind is racing. Make sure it’s gong somewhere. You can spin in circles or you can engage mentally in a way that feels curious, inspiring and invigorating. Mindfulness is key. Meditate to practice awareness. Follow your curiosity in a way that feels engaging instead of compulsive. And most of all, connect with friends.

Gemini or Gemini Rising
Gazing out over your vast empire.
Do you feel connected with what you are building? Find creative way to assess your resources and remember your successes. They are there. You do have them. Knowing that you have them will support you mentally. Connect to nature and get grounded. When you feel grounded and resourceful your self-worth amplifies.

Want more wisdom? Book a reading with Sandy here or follow her on Instagram.

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

NUMINOUS WEEKLY HOROSCOPES: JUNE 24—30

Our Numinous Weekly Horoscopes have the first cosmic symbol and reading for your sun and rising signs for Cancer Season 2019 from Sandy Sitron

Photo: Omair Khan

Cancer or Cancer Rising
Swimming laps with determination.
Slice through your emotions like a long distance swimmer. Feelings are not always easy. Swim in them with determination and you’ll find that you can make progress forward. This is not about bypassing your emotions, it’s about going through them. After awhile, this lap swim becomes very easy. Be bold.

Leo or Leo Rising
Jumping on a trampline.
Get out of your head and into your imagination. When you are on the ground, you are stuck in reality. When you leap you have entered a world where anything is possible. This symbol helps you remember to dream and play. You yearn to shake things up, so now is your chance. Begin in your imagination and soon reality will follow.

Virgo or Virgo Rising
A golden figure on a golden throne.
What is distracting you from your own worth and power? You are truly vibrant, but you might be noticing that quality in others instead of yourself. See yourself as a generous being who occupies a golden throne. You are magnanimous. Now get out of your own way and explore how you can be of service to the world.

Libra or Libra Rising
The eagle flies high above and sees everything.
Oh, the places you’ll go! It’s time for a little perspective to lift you up out of the drudgery. Use your resources to help you fashion your future. Tantalize yourself with dreams of what could be. Notice what boundaries you need to set as you journey toward your future self. Your goals and future visions can break you out of sadness, so look further afield.

Scorpio or Scorpio Rising
A rabbit searching for home.
Your home is close by. You may have forgotten your way temporarily, but you on track. To find your way home, think about your problem differently. Try to relax. Look for inspiration. Stay on task. Follow your heart and your instincts. Keep exploring. Use these guidelines for any problem you are encountering in your life.

Sagittarius or Sagittarius Rising
Marshland at midnight.
Go out into the foggy bog, where life is amphibious. Nothing is certain. Your feelings are changeable. Your reality is unstable. But in this dreary in-between world you can get used to uncertainty. And when you are okay with the outside world being uncertain, you create a solid sense of self-worth.

Capricorn or Capricorn Rising
Giraffes eat from the tree tops.
If what you really want is peace, then you need to stretch. Reach out farther than you usually do. Use your most creative thinking to find compromise that works for everyone. Sometimes you need to be more gentle. Sometimes you need to adapt and reach for higher ground. You can do this if you feel strong, and if you’re certain that compromise is appropriate.

Aquarius or Aquarius Rising
Wallpaper patterns.
If you were like a wallpaper pattern, you would need to be orderly, organized and balanced. You would need to trust that small shapes make up the design of the whole. Is there some mundane life area that is asking for your attention? Maybe digestion or organization? With tenderness, make adjustments that help your overall life pattern feel more orderly.

Pisces or Pisces Rising
Monkeys playing in the trees.
Now is not the time for confusion or too many insecurities. There is a part of you that’s ready to play. There’s a part of you that can leave fear behind. Leap into the trees. Jump across seemingly impossible distances with ease. Let go of your fears and swing into fun. Joy, self-expression and community are themes to explore.

Aries or Aries Rising
Shells on the shore.
Shells are residue. They tell a story of a life lived. But they can also offer a home to new life. It’s time to reflect on the past and let it go. Look for security deep within yourself. You are ready for something new. Fresh ideas are forming under the surface of your experience. Release your grip on the past and float toward new shores.

Taurus or Taurus Rising
A player piano.
Mechanically play your song. A player piano is basically a computer that performs without anxiety, love or practice. Similarly, you can also methodically create, teach, write, talk and share. The more that you express, the easier it will be to understand what you need to learn. Get all of your ideas out there without overthinking it. Then you’ll know what to do next.

Gemini or Gemini Rising
Handfuls of candy.
No matter what else is going on, you can still contact sweetness. The way to do it is to remember gratitude. Use movement, breathing, music or aroma to connect body, mind and spirit. Then start your gratitude list. Give thanks to anything and everything. Feeling grateful is sweet like candy.

Want more wisdom? Book a reading with Sandy here or follow her on Instagram.