Friday, July 31, 2015

SPIRITUAL SMACK: MAMA MOON GATHERING


This is another guest post in the Mama Moon series by the lighthouse Desirée Pais, founder + beauty alchemist behind Benshen, who gathers women under the light of mama moon to ignite an equally bright light within their own beings. I felt the sparks of these souls in their New York gathering + wanted to fling that to a platform that would raise the consciousness beyond those physical borders. Desirée has kindly agreed to share her deep wisdom from her gathering + on tonight's incredibly potent Blue Moon with us. This Blue Moon has not occured since twenty twelve and brings in a long-awaited breath of release into expansion. Welcome in Desirée's radiance for a fuller experience of the magic tonight . . . 


O N C E   I N   A   B L U E   M O O N  |  F U L L   M O O N   I N   A Q U A R I U S 


July seems to have been the most intense moon cycles by far.The Capricorn/Cancer/Aquarius triad has brought to surface many deeply rooted fears and (keyword) perceived limitations about ourselves and the world around us. These limitations live in the subconscious mind, which rules approximately 95% of our being, and is the driving force of our conscious mind and actions.

As everything is vibrating matter, the frequencies of the moon actually affects the subtle frequencies of our subconscious mind, which is why we have worked with the moon cycles in ceremony for thousands of years. On the Full Moon, our subconscious fears, doubts, insecurities, and imprints rise up to the surface, heightening them, leaving us with a choice: release them or be imprisoned by them, again and again.

The Full Moon on July 31st is incredibly special as it’s the second Full Moon of the Month, the mystical Blue Moon in Aquarius. The old saying, “once in a blue moon” has high meaning, especially now with the Aquarius energy which opens our eyes to see that it’s now or never. All the lessons we have been learning over the last few years, all the challenges, all the struggles were NOT for nothing: they are the highest teachings and our greatest tools for awakening.

A few weeks ago, I was watching Hector and the Search for Happiness in bed one evening with my boyfriend. Without ruining the movie, there was one scene on an airplane where one of the passengers had a tumor in her brain, causing her immense pain in the high altitude. Hector rushed from first class to help her, eventually getting the pilots to lower the plane to release pressure on her brain. He kindly too her to first class and consoled her the entire flight. She asked him in her own way if she was going to die. Yes, he had to confirm, she would. While deep, it was incredibly sweet and immensely loving as he held this strangers hand while she reclined in his seat.

I found myself crying. Here I was, diagnosed with auto-immune in 2012, diagnosed with PCOS in 2014, and still working on following the healing protocols I have been given. I realized, there was absolutely no one in the way of my healing and my power except for myself, another lesson this Aquarian Full Moon moon is teaching us. I got out of bed and walked to the bathroom so my boyfriend wouldn't see the tears rolling down my face. As I pressed the towel into my eyes, the lesson flashed across my mind with such a clarity that it was as if someone else had just whispered it into my ear: if you didn't take the route you took, you would have never learned as much as you have, and you would never have been able to help as many people as you have, and you would have never cultivated the amount of compassion you have.

Over the last few years, I have gone down a long and winding rabbit hole of knowledge in order to seek out answers to the experiences I was riding through. I have studied and continue to study with some of the most incredible and powerful beings on this planet. I have met an amazing community who support me and I support them. I launched a line of essential oil alchemies, birthed out of a struggle with cystic acne. I now lead moon gatherings, guided meditations, and work with clients, helping them to see the beauty in the challenges and become victorious over our own self-imposed suffering. And that is the energy of this Blue Moon in Aquarius: to use the struggles as blessings in disguise, to see that you and only you have the power to make the changes, and that you and only you are your highest teacher, more powerful than you understand right now.

Here are three ritual tools to use on the evening of the Blue Moon to release patterns . . .

s o u n d   c u r r e n t

one of my favorite sound currents around the Moon is Ajai Alai by Ajeet Kaur. It activates the Radiant body, giving us courage, confidence, and strength to charge on through the changes we wish to make and to let go of that which has grips on us. Play it constantly for the three days before and three days after the Full Moon.
m e d i t a t i o n

Moon cycles are a great time to start a meditation practice. Find one that works for you (there are so many traditions!) and try it for the next forty days. I also offer sessions to help you find the right meditation for you to help give you the energy and power to move through the current challenges arising in your life.
a l c h e m y

Using essential oils are wonderful ways to work with the energies of the moon. Here is a blend I have created for the Full Moon to help build internal courage, raise the spirits, and uplift myself during challenging times:

F U L L  M O O N   I N   A Q U A R I U S   A L C H E M Y 
0.5 oz sweet almond oil
1 drop rose
2 drops lemon
2 drops clary sage
1 drop yarrow

Thursday, July 30, 2015

BEAUTY BITES: CHILLED AVOCADO SOUP + CULTURED BEET CREAM


I might have a beet obsession. It's not enough that I always have an endless supply of my mother's lacto-fermented beets steeping in its scarlet juice. I blend, chop, + macerate beets into infinite combinations. Always on a fermentation kick, I have taken my obsession onto higher healing planes by fermenting it into a dreamy raw vegan cream. This is the ultimate liver + toxin detoxifier, ridding our bodies of accumulated substances + energies that clog our skin, organs, + our hearts. Here's to bodies that work synergistically in a clean space fueled with love as red as beets . . .


B E A U T Y   B I T E S : C H I L L E D   A V O C A D O   S O U P  +  C U L T  U R E D   B E E T  C R E AM
vegan | raw | paleo 

I N G R E D I E N T S
Please source these organic + local if possible as some of these ingredients contain the highest amount of pesticides when grown conventionally

c h i l l e d   a v o c a d o   s o u p
1 organic cucumber  
3 cups of romaine lettuce
1 avocado
1 lime, juiced
A pinch of quantum salt or pink salt
A bunch of cilantro / around a quarter cup | can swap for fresh mint 
1 clove of garlic / fermented black garlic if available for increased benefits
1/4 teaspoon chlorella | optional

c u l t u r e d   b e e t   c r e a m
A handful of raw brazil nuts
High quality probiotic | capsule or powder
A pinch of quantum salt or pink salt
Half a steamed or raw beet, pureed

D I R E C T I O N S | The cultured beet cream involves more work, so prepare it first. Soak the handful of brazil nuts overnight with a dash of salt to activate them. In the morning, drain them of their water, swish them in pure water, then blend them dry. It should result in a creamy consistency. Pour this into a glass bowl with half a teaspoon or one capsule of 15-20 billion of probiotics. Cover with a cheesecloth and leave it out in room temperature, away from direct light for around 24-48 hours depending on the temperature of your home. Once tangy, blend with another pinch of quantum salt and half a small, steamed or raw puréed beet. You can add some lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar to the cream for a tangier or ore liquid consistency!

The soup is simply chopping up the ingredients and plopping them in for a little dance in the blender. Blend + pour! Drizzle with the cultured beet cream + top with fresh herbs to serve!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FARMACY: GOLDEN SUN SOAK


When I came across Kumari Luxury's velvety oils + salts, I was immediately drawn to its golden + earthen hues. Aarti concocts these products with motherly + nostalgic vibrations infusing out of her fingers + into my cells. I soak in bliss.

The recent SUN + DAY post by the enlightening Poppy & Seed and the equally vibrant Melissa's seaweed bath reminded me of my proclaimed sun soaks. I often speak endlessly about the lunar cycle—it's no surprise that my roots are of the crescent moon + star. As deeply affected as I am by the moon, however, the sun's energy drips into and revives my soul. Going to school in New England stripped me to the bones, I'm now building my skin up with silken oils. Kumari has been enveloping me like a Greek goddess. So has been my re-incoporation of sun soaks. Here is my guide to bathing in healing salts, golden oils, clean waters, + sun-drenched crystals. 


S  U N   S O A K S

Taking a bath with crystals is one of the most potent ways to infuse in their energies. It's pure revitalisation that can be felt cellularly once you attune yourself to the silence that the bathing time you've lovingly drawn for yourself deserves. This is a time to commune with your crystals and develop a sensitivity not only towards them but to your own vibrations. We so often draw ourselves in to muddy waters like the dark skies that the moon floats in. Taking a sun soak allows you to see the dot of milky light within clouded seas and the sunny vibrancy within yourself. 

To draw yourself a sun soak, fill your tub up + combine salt, bath oil [I love this oil and salt combination with sandalwood + magnolia from Kumari], and crystals of your preference. I also have always adored Living Libations just like Poppy & Seed—they have such high integrity products. I mean, chocolate body oil?! I'll cannonball into that . . .

Salts cleanse our aura, but be gentle with how much you put in here as some crystals are sensitive to it. Feel free to add flower petals or even seaweed as Melissa did. I often like to tune into the energies of one stone as multiple different ones with various properties can be too overwhelming. I have spent many sleepless nights from such crazed combinations. 

The important part of the sun soak is charging your crystal in the sun rather than in the moon. This infuses the crystal with light energy that you will feel and be recharged with in your bath. This sun soak is a great bath to draw as a mid-day treat when your energy runs low and you need some time away. The sun's energy will activate your energy reserves and call in abundance. Be mindful also of the solar cycles, such as the summer solstice's power in drawing in wealth + the spring equinox's energy for growth. Different parts of the cycle have different energies. Choose + charge to your needs. Draw the bath curtains, step in . . .

C H O O S I N G   Y O U R   C R Y S T A L S

My favourite ones have always been any quartz, amethyst, and tiger eye. Amethyst is one of the most powerful stones for protection + finding the calm centre within all—ourselves and in external situations. It also aids in healing pain such as headaches and within joints, so it's extremely useful for chronic disease or autoimmune issues. Don't leave amethyst out in the sunlight for too long, though, as it can cause fading. 

Rose quartz is a stone that I believe can assist everyone as we all are deficient in and working on loving ourselves + others. It's an incredible heart-opener for difficult situations, mender of a broken heart, and allows us to receive love openly. 

Onyx is a great stone for protection + grounding the bodily energies to the earthly ones. As a black stone, it's also a great detoxifier and aids the body in eliminating the environmental, emotional, and energetic toxins we accumulate. 

Be careful with halite, desert rose selenite, angelite, zurite, calcite, and most other stones that end in -ite—do not place these in your bath as they are too sensitive. Also be cautious of stones with copper or lead as they will be toxic in a bath. I suggest you search the crystal before placing it in your bath if you are unsure.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

THE GUIDE: TAROT


I first came across tarot reading over wine-fueled prophecies with friends. I came to realise quickly, however, its seriously beautiful potency, especially through Elena Brower's beautiful messages, Starchild Tarot, + the Wild Unknown. Today, I'm sharing with you this magical + sacred practise through the incredibly wise lightworker Tamara of Wolf Sister. Expand your vision in the now to see the then . . .

 T H E   T A R O T
B Y   T A M A R A   /  W O L F   S I S T E R

The Tarot is a famed fortune telling tool, used for divination it conjures up old visions of mystical gypsies having their palms crossed with silver, in return for sharing glimpses into your future....

Nowadays the Tarot is a well respected therapy for self­-reflection and transformation. It's no longer about projecting your energy towards an undetermined future (truth bomb: the future is yours to create!!!). Insights from the Tarot can encourage and inspire you in all the right places. Calling back your power when life feels like it's spiraling out of control, inspiring you when you feel blocked and switching those lights back on when you're feeling alone in the dark. The magic of the Tarot will mirror your subconscious, shining light where it feels darkest to illuminate the path ahead for you. Guiding you to empowerment in the present moment. The Tarot isn't for predicting the future or for telling you what to do. The Tarot is for guiding you towards the future you want to consciously manifest.

Most Tarot decks consist of 78 cards ­ 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana cards that are divided into 4 suits ( the pentacles, wands, chalices and swords). The Major Arcana cards are devoted to the Heroes journey and represent archetypal energies and stages that we encounter on our journey through life. The Minor Arcana cards indicate the energy around us in our day-­to-­day life. Tarot cards all have esoteric references and are also influenced by Numerology and Astrology.

H O W   T O   C H O O S E   A   D E C K 

If your spirit is calling you towards the Tarot then it may be time to get your very own deck! I've heard people say that you're first deck should be gifted to you but you might end up waiting a while for that to happen. I believe in empowerment so if you want your own deck then it's up to you to get it (or ask someone nicely to gift one to you). If the Tarot seems daunting to you, there are Oracle decks that may resonate with you more. You can find Tarot and Oracle decks in your local metaphysical store and some bookstores stock them too. Alternatively there's a plethora of beautiful decks that you can purchase on­line.

 C A R E 

Keep your deck in a safe place or have them by your altar. You can purchase a pouch or box to keep your cards in. Cleanse with sage regularly to clear the energy of your deck. You can also use a clear quartz crystal to protect and cleanse.

R E A D I N G   T H E   C A R D S

In a Tarot spread, the reading will depict the energy around you, addressing your strengths and weaknesses to give you clarity and insights into your current life situation. A reading can address general topics and areas in your life to give you inspiration and direction. You can prepare yourself energetically before a reading by meditating or simply in taking a few cleansing breaths. Clearing yourself from the energy of the day so far and what's ahead to centre yourself fully in the present moment. Take a moment to focus your intention on the cards, expanding your energy to the wisdom of the Tarot. Ask for guidance and say a prayer, if it feels appropriate for you. Each card you pull will mirror what you are seeking guidance for. Take time to note any intuitive insights that come up for you, trust the feeling that the cards share with you.

s u g g e s t i o n s
One card ­ You can simply pull a single card to give you guidance, this card can be kept on your altar to help channel the energy of the card appropriately.


t h r e e   c a r d s
PAST |­ PRESENT |­ FUTURE
MIND | ­BODY ­| SPIRIT
DREAMS ­ | CHALLENGES |­ ADVICE
WEAKNESS ­ | STRENGTH |­ ADVICE

T A R O T   T H E R A P I S T 

Sometimes it's hard to be objective when you are reading for yourself. It can really help to hear someone else's spin on things. With a talented Tarot therapist you will be guided with a fresh perspective to fully connecting back to yourself. Helping you bust through some of your blocks and using your challenges as transformative opportunities.

When developing your relationship with the Tarot it's important to work with it intuitively. Discarding your ego and stepping fully into what feels true for you. Each card has so many facets to it so just looking up the meaning online or in a reference book may not suffice. Take the time to tune into each card's energy and symbolism. What inspiration does the Tarot have to share with you?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SPIRITUAL SMACK: THE F WORD


< I   F O R G I V E ,  H E A L  ,   +   R E A L E A S E   A N Y T H I N G   T H A T   C O N S C I O U S L Y   
O R   U N C O N S C I O U S L Y    C O U L D   D E L A Y   O R   B L O C K   
T H E   E V O L U T I O N   O F   M Y   B E I N G >
— M A R I O   L I A N I


Forgiveness—an act that has become as foreign + concealed as "the f word" yet a word that is rarely uttered as often as the inappropriate word is. Instead, forgiveness is suppressed as a gateway to vulnerability + a blow to the ego. How dare that lover who broke your heart, that father who abandoned you, or even that man who cut across you in the grocery line ask for your forgiveness? 

Forgiveness is the "fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it"; it is the ability to see through compassion. Our inability to do so becomes a blackened cauldron in which we simmer then burn away in our anger. Unspoken words tie our throat into knots, shackling us to a state unforgiving of our own emotional needs and freedom of choice. Forgiveness is a choice—we are free to either succumb to the acts of others upon us and hate them or surrender to the path those acts take us on and free ourselves. The world or people do not come at us when we recognise that our world comes from within us + our perceptions. 

These perceptions ebb and flow like waves, coming in as storms to overcome our egotistical tendencies or in epiphanic little moments. Forgiveness is an algebra; sometimes, it's as simple as two plus two and a formulaic labyrinth in others. Nonetheless, we sit and solve . . . and we slowly unlock the shackles that we have placed on our own limbs. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

FARMACY: PERFORMING A PUJA


Whatever drop of sun I'm swirling in or waves I'm tousled amidst, I begin + end my days connecting to spirit. To me, this means kundalini yoga, prayer, meditation [my favourites include Harshada Wagner + Art of Attention by Elena Brower], or tending to my plants. Such times are elevated by sitting by my sacred space. This space takes on different meanings, looks, + are composed of different objects for different people. In the Hindu tradition, this can involve the basic five steps of the Panchopachara or the more intricate sixteen step Shodashopachara. My outline below is based upon the five step puja and can be adapted to your own spiritual or religious or universal beliefs, as I have adapted it to mine. Here is how you can set up your altar or perform a puja. Welcome to a multi-sensory cosmic experience . . .

F A R M A C Y :  P E R F O R M I N G  A  P U J A


C O L O U R |  I  am deeply moved by colour + my changing preferences delicately  suggest to me the specific chakra r energetic work I need to focus on. Self-love has always been a topic tender to my heart + have been drawn to pink [as well as purple] lately. So, my current puja is adorned with fuschia flowers, a bright little pink gratitude journal, pink crystals, pink galore—think pink! Choose a colour or colours that ground or elevate you, whatever sensation your being needs.

P H O T O G R A P H S | I always have a photograph of Yogi Bhajan on my altar along with some small black + white tattered photographs of my family members. I bathe these photos with light + embellish them with japa mala beads that a friend kindly brought over from India. I also have a small Ganesh to remove obstacles and ayat al-kursi + hamsa with an evil eye for protection.  Place whatever photographs of loved ones, spiritual or inspirational quotes, prayers, or symbols that resonate with you.

S C E N T | Dhoop sticks are a puja staple but I also love the scent of rose oil that I had purchased when I saw Amma last summer—its divine scent brings me back to her warm embrace. You can light any favourite incense, palo santo, sandal paste, or sage bundle; just take the smells in + drench your cells in the aromatherapeutic cleanse . . .

O F F E R I N G | I place a clear cup of alkaline water to sip on, an offering of a piece of fresh local fruit [naivedhya]—I love figs to call in feminine energy + my Turkish roots—as well as grass-fed ghee + rice mixed with some turmeric [akshat]. 

L I G H T | Light [diya] is offered + waved around to bask the photographs—you can use a small lamp or a beautiful non-toxic beeswax candle

F L O R A | I picked the beauty on my current altar  from the garden + thanked the tree for sharing its sweetness with me. My other recent puja focused on purple hues, which contained fresh + dried lavender blossoms. Place your favourite flower [pushpa] on your altar to blossom our heart . . .

C H A N T | I pray [recently a dear prayer 19 times] + softly sing Kundalini chants by my altar. You can do whatever grounds you + connects you to the waves of sound. Even just repeating thank you can be profoundly powerful

May this process allow you to realise that the Divine resides within you, that you are the prayer, you are the chant, + part of the Supreme. Your puja is a step in recognising that universal Truth within yourself .  . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

BEAUTY BITES: BEET BUTTER


Eating the rainbow flushes our cells with enzyme-rich + bioavailable nutrients, but it does not stop there. Flashes of deep-hued vegetables + vibrant dishes also chemically re-wire our system. The colour of our food has a deep therapeutic effect on our brain waves, elevating them to higher vibrations. This sprightly beet recipe can function as a buttery spread or a creamy dressing. Blood-building, kidney-supporting , + stamina-enhancing fat fuel . . .


B E A U T Y   B I T E S : B E E T  B U T T E R
vegan | raw | paleo 

I N G R E D I E N T S
3 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
4 tablespoons raw organic coconut oil
1/2 cup beets | fermented, picked, raw, or steamed

D I R E C T I O N S | This recipe is so incredibly versatile + easy. Here, I used 1/2 cup of beets that I had lacto-fermented, but feel free to use any form of beets you'd like. First blend the hemp seeds + coconut oil together to form a buttery spread. Then add in the beets + couple of splashes of its juice [if available] or alkaline water. Raw apple cider vinegar would also provide for a tangy kick of probiotics + enzymes here. Dance it up in the blender + zing up your brain cells!

Friday, July 10, 2015

SPIRITUAL SMACK: COURAGE IN LE CŒUR


C O U R A G E   I N   L E  C Œ U R
I have been deeply stirred by the colour purple as of late. It has ben bringing me a deep level of grounding through colour + crystal therapy. Hunks of amethysts galore . . .

This attraction is not incidental to me because I have been struggling to locate courage in my heart: 
Courage / cœur / age . . . fearlessness + wisdom  to sit within our hearts, to live as one, in a time that expands into now + here

This weekend, let's unearth the courage to walk towards the unknown by kneeling at its feet. Smell the sweetness of the flowers that its feet may have crushed in its past treading + welcome in the grace of the future . . .



C H A T T R  C H A K K R  V A R T I
Here is a Kundalini mantra I have been chanting to dispel fear of the unknown, instill courage, + command

Chattr chakkr vartee 
Chattr chakkr bhugatay 
Suyumphay suphang sarab daa sarab jugtay 
Dukaalang pranaasee dayaalang saroopay 
Sadaa ung sungay aphangang biphootay

TRANSLATION 
Thou art pervading in all the four directions, the Enjoyer in all the four directions
Thou art self-illuminated + united with all
Destroyer of bad times, embodiment of mercy
Thou art ever within us
Thou are the everlasting giver of un-destroyable power 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

BEAUTY BITES: MULBERRY TART + ORANGE BLOSSOM COMPOTE



This is a spin on the Mizuba matcha green tea tart that I had whipped up a while back. Summer days spent picking mulberries called for a tart honouring my Turkish roots, where buds of mulberries abundantly dot trees. I serve it with a dollop of orange blossom compote for floral notes + sunny citrus scents . . . 


B E A U T Y   B I T E S : M U L B E R R Y   T A R T   +   O R A N G E   B L O S S O M   C O M P O T E
vegan | raw | paleo



I N G R E D I E N T S
C R U S T
1 1/2 tablespoons raw organic coconut oil
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon homemade coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple or coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon quantum salt

F I L L L I N G
l teaspoon homemade coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple or coconut sugar | optional, for a sweeter version
2 tablespoons raw organic coconut butter
1/2 cup mulberries | I love picking them locally under the sun or getting them organic at the market
C O M P O T E
2 cara cara oranges
Zest of one lemon
1/2 tablespoon raw wild rose or orange blossom honey
1/4 teaspoon orange blossom water

D I R E C T I O N S | This is an incredibly easy little tart! Before you begin to make it, combine the compote ingredients to meld the flavours together, preferably overnight. Slice the cara cara oranges + mix with rest of the ingredients in a glass bowl. Refrigerate overnight.

Mix the crust ingredients, making sure that the coconut oil + milk are at room temperature. It may look crumbly but incorporate the ingredients into a dough as much as you can before moulding it into a small pie pan. You can also mould it by hand into a rustic shape like I had to when I realised that my pan was nowhere to be found . . . Chill the crust while you invite the filling ingredients into a quick dance with the food processor. Pour into the chilled crust + chill in the freezer again until it hardens, which will be around half an hour or so. Take it out out the freezer + for a twirl once the time is up!