People We Know

What is a soul tattoo: And how to avoid black magic

Send Love & Light to Ashley Glynn, The Woman Who Made My Soul Tattoo

Photography by Natalie Cleveland from Wadulisiwoman.com

Photography by Natalie Cleveland from Wadulisiwoman.com

In the summer of 2017 I was magnetized by the work of Wadulisi Woman, also known as Ashley Glynn. After periodically being hypnotised by her work on Instagram, I received a medicinal soul tattoo from her.

What is a Soul Tattoo?

Ashley Glynn had been working for many years in New York, and like many of us, she had more than one job. She worked as a tarot reader professionally among other kinds of work, and she found her heart really drawn towards other forms of healing work (an interest that she had been nurturing since her childhood), as well as evolving her love for illustration.

As she worked with reiki, and embraced her intuition, she imagined something called a soul tattoo. What she imagined ran counter to the masculine-dominated machine-based tattoo culture. What she imagined involved hand-poked tattoos (an ancient medicine that has its roots in indigenous warrior cultures, including my own Filipino lineage), and the imagery of the tattoo itself as a ceremony of healing specially designed for each client. 

In our ceremony, Ashley cleansed the space, poured both of us tea, and invoked the healing Japanese technique of reiki, in which a practitioner is able to channel and direct universal life energy to move energetic, emotional and sometimes physical blockages in the client. When I received my soul tattoo, Ashley gave me tarot reading about my life path. (This is no longer part of her process.)

Her readings and relationships of the cards are intuitive, so her interpretations were incredibly unique. Her reading pointed to my desire to do more one-on-one work as a healer, and to also document that process a writer. She also shed light on some of my challenges: learning to build  confidence and get comfortable going within, being comfortable standing in my power, and learning to trust the universe enough to dismantle my existing structures in order to rebuild something that would be more in service of my soul's desires.

After the reading, Ashley sweetly told me about an image she had seen when she woke up earlier that morning. It was an eye, an eye that was connected to healing and psychic intuition. After we worked out my life path number using my birthday, (It's a 6, the sign of the harmonizer/caretaker) and the flowers I identify with most, Ashely began to draw.

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As I quietly sat, choosing what music I wanted to listen to, Ashley came up with a drawing and gently asked if I was happy with what she intuited or if I preferred doing something more collaborative. 

I was really happy with the imagery, and the power of what she intuited; being the impulsive Aries that I am, I dove right into the inking ceremony. While she worked on making sure the placement was exactly where I wanted it, I got so lost in the conversation about astrology and the body, and all of the incredible knowledge this fairy-like being held in her heart and mind that I completely lost track of time. After what felt like twenty minutes, (I am sure this was more like an hour) we were finished, and I walked out with deep confidence and elation. I felt like I had eaten a whole bar of chocolate. 

Ashley and I stayed in touch, and in the next weeks to follow, I would continue to meet others who had soul tattoos (a future reiki client), as well as find out that friends of mine had received soul tattoos (including an old friend from middle school who I reconnected with by coincidence when we both showed up to the same reiki I attunement).

Ashley is a rather wonderful manifestor. I knew she was scheduled to move soon when I emailed her, but I had no idea that I had snuck onto her books right before her waiting list would grow from 2-3 years after some beautiful articles and videos written about her on Refinery 29 and  Racked .

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I love to follow Ashley Glynn's adventures on Instagram. She is still wandering from city to city being guided by her intuition and her heart. She continues to see clients as she goes from city-to-city. Recently in her Instagram stories, I heard her beautiful feminine voice answering questions and addressing some negativity she had been receiving about her work as her practice was growing. 

Although this disheartened me, I had no doubt that she would be strong enough to stand in her power. But it did point out a pattern we often see in human behavior. When others begin to see others dreams come true, their gifts come to light, we ask Why Them and Not Me? 

This is an innocent enough question if you ask it with an open heart. With an open heart, the answer might be beautiful. The answer might be that this person is trusting the universe, working with her authentic self, making no compromises, and braving the unknown. 

When we say negative things, even negative words, it is a form of black magic. It is energetically harmful. It is akin to putting a hex on someone. We should all feel empowered to criticize systems and entities that are harmful, but to judge and criticize one another without healing, rehabilitation or better understanding in mind simply puts more black magic into the ether for all of us. Please join me in sending love and light to Ash Glynn. She 's showing all of us who dream to create our own art forms and to travel with freedom that it's totally possible if you just let go. 

Myths + Healing

The Book That Created A Sisterhood

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Last year around this time, I had a hankering to contact Sarah Gottesdiener about her ritual workbook the Many Moons Workbook. I ordered the minimum 20 books even though I had pretty bad luck selling books (which was super sad for a bibliophile and trained writer.) I didn't move any and gave the first one to a friend (Melissa of Morphologically), who in turn wanted to gift one to a friend. 

I had no idea what I had my hands on. I had no idea at the time that I had snuck in as one of the last new stockists she would take for the year or the project in general. She posted me as one of her last stockists with any books left and within five minutes I had sold out of every last copy I had. 

Several volumes later, I have found this book, created much so respect, full authenticity and little ego is really lifting up Sarah's contributors, her community and our community here in Brooklyn. The knowledge of how to work with every moon cycle helps us connect to the earth and also to the energy of the cosmos, to our subconsciouses and to each other. It begs that we ask the difficult questions.

And when I don't have time to cast a circle, I always have time to read the text, which I find to be a special kind of magic in and of itself. 

Sarah may not be making these books forever. Despite their wild popularity, and the fact that we can barely hold onto them, her ethical practices make this a labor of love, in which she breaks even. Please honor her sweet intentions and the vulnerable way in which she shares her knowledge and gifts and join us in going through this limited edition workbook or gift it to a friend. It is made of love and light and helps you make deep peace with the shadow and the dark. It is a love letter to life itself.

 

Myths + Healing

Into the Great Wide Open

The Garden. Costume design from Mistic Krewe of Comus' 1873 'Missing Links' parade. by Charles Briton. New Orleans.

The Garden. Costume design from Mistic Krewe of Comus' 1873 'Missing Links' parade. by Charles Briton. New Orleans.

 

Recently, I sent out a newsletter expressing that both my gut feeling and observational judgment tell me that shifts in retail will be so profoundly momentous that the very idea of what it means to acquire something in a commercial way will be unrecognizable in ten years.

Already the family mall crawl seems to be a dying artform. We used to get in our Sunday best and sort of slowly amble around the curated safe space of the physical suburban world that made up nearly twenty percent of my adolescent experiences: THE MALL.

While I’m acutely aware that it is our human nature to romanticize that which might be lost (in this case, a Macy’s and a food court), it still saddens me to think of the experiences we had in the analog world slowly disappearing. I think about The Wonder Years and how it would feel if on a Saturday night, all the kids got together virtually instead of at a burger spot.  This is a very long-winded way of saying, I don't think normal stores will exist for very long and I'm not interested in fighting the sort of sweeping change that reforms culture so profoundly that some jobs become extinct and others are invented.

In the last local election I voted entirely in protest of the current administration as it's quite obvious to me that unregulated development is pushing artists out of New York City. At the same time, whenever I listen to Abraham Hicks (a brilliant teacher of the law of attraction and predecessor of Louise Hay) talk about how we only manage our own realities with our thoughts and vibrations, that always feels better and truer than fighting city hall (And yet I still wonder, is what she is saying, true? Is this just escapism? Does this explain entire nations of impoverished people and natural disasters? I'm still figuring out how I can understand this.)

As you can see, I am  in touch with the macrocosm. The what if, and my place in the world at large. I am very comfortable swimming in the world of ideas. Where I have less dexterity is the physical task-oriented to world. It feels heavy and clumsy and slow, and often I wonder how long I will have to deal with people who don't believe that anything invisible exists even though they use microwaves and cell phones everyday.

What this means:  can think myself into oblivion until there's no step that I can take, and I've thought myself onto an island.

Which is recently what I have done with my business.


I am currently a scholar in the Tory Burch Foundation’s education program. The TBF Foundation is teaching us to assimilate traditional business concepts into our already-existing businesses, and we are being taught to evaluate which options will bring us revenue so we can hire, and employee beautiful people and grow and grow and grow.

And yet, everyday I listen to Abraham Hicks talk about being in alignment with you inner being: which means making decisions based on how you want to feel, always going towards what feels good. Her  teachings center around controlling your vibration by going towards joy at all times.

I see quite clearly that these two ways of looking at the world are at complete odds. And I profoundly respect both of them. I believe in the vibrational and energetic world. I also believe in having my rent paid on time and having savings.

So what is a retail store that is barely afloat with it’s affordable offerings and limited marketing budget to do?

Well, here’s what feels good and brings me joy.

Offering mini readings and providing space for incredibly talented creative healers and teachers to connect with the gorgeous community we have cultivated with the four walls of 421 Graham Avenue. (I also happen to know that there is no way this can grow my revenue in any meaningful way. )

Why am I going in all of these different directions?

I am changing inside. I don’t see my gifts in any linear way. I know that I’m really good at predicting fashion trends about a year ahead of time. I know that I am good at being incredibly honest with my clients about what is best for them. I know that I have a lot of integrity in my offerings and that I have often sacrificed my well-being to serve others (which is unhealthy patterning, and not good for anyone!) I also know that as I dig deeper into my own personal work, I am finding that I have work on the foundation of my own sense of self.

This work on myself is teaching me that I have lived my life feeling responsible for everyone else's feelings. Which led me to think everyone else was also responsible for my feelings. That if I always thought about what other's needed, they would do the same for me, and in a way, owe it to me.

Guess what! This is not only not how the universe works according to Abraham Hicks and Teal Swan, and Louise Hay, but it's also just really unhealthy.

What would I be doing if I didn't want to make sure everyone else was happy? If I didn't need them to feel that way so I could control their impression of me? If I wasn't in need of everyone's approval? I don't know. I started thinking about it when I was 31, and I'm still trying to shed the guilt of actually thinking about myself.

I am always trying to connect the dots and patterns to see the shape of what is truly emerging, but what I am finding is that in this exact moment, I need to allow myself to make more dots and worry about the picture later. That I need to trust that there is a picture I have no control over, that is much bigger than me, and that if I just follow my urge to heal myself and share my gifts in small ways, that a picture that is much bigger than me will come into being on its own, and I will find my happy corner in it.

Myths + Healing

What is Business? And the Feeling of WTF When You're Changing

Happy Full Moon in Taurus.

Plate from The Once and Future Gardener

Plate from The Once and Future Gardener

 

Happy November to all of you. Happy whatever stage and moment of life you are in right now as you are reading this. Moment of stillness. Moment of joy.

We are in a pivotal moment at Myths of Creation. We have been here for about three years and we are surviving. We are alive. By the grace of Goddess, loved ones and our customers, we exist.

What’s going on in this pivotal moment? We are discovering that the nature of the retail landscape is changing… has changed. I remember when I worked for an online magazine that had trouble gaining advertisers because advertisers couldn’t understand what online content was. Now we live in an era in which having miniature touchscreen computers in our pockets seems totally unremarkable. (I mean, honestly have you ever sat and looked at your smart phone and thought about how the screen needs to sense where your fingers are, and that the keys on your phone don’t even really exist except as programming language?)  

As technology grows in this exponential way, our behaviors evolve around it, and the way we function as humans changes neurologically. In turn, this changes our collective cultural values shift without giving us a breath to take a step back and ask ourselves “Why are we doing what we are doing? And who is it serving and does it feel good?

We are all learning about an environment that is largely unknown. Meanwhile, our collective is going through a moment of unearthing shared subconscious issues that need healing: issues of power, corruption, repression, injustice and violence. As a group we are demolishing the safety of the structures that exist because they aren’t working.

What does this have to do with Myths of Creation?

It means that the brick and mortar store model isn’t necessarily something that can thrive as is. Everyday I talk to shop owners who find the effect of rising rents and being outpriced by suppliers who are based out of lower property value locations selling online or major retailers who are moving into their neighborhoods because no one else can afford to rent there.

I built this company, this brick and mortar and this team of people who supports me based on the idea that we should all feel like we can access whatever it is that we want: that it is us who decide the value of things, not some external market force. And yet the tides of change affect me; they affect all of us.

For the last three weeks I have been part a a small business growth program and within the program we are asked to succinctly articulate what it is that we do.
At this exact moment, I don’t really know how to answer that.

I tell my colleagues that the Myths of Creation mission is to assist others in the process of figuring out who they really are and what they really want, to help them focus and expand their self perception, working with the medium of clothing and energetic objects to aid them on their journey of both discovering and expressing what they find.

I explained, “I think it’s really unhealthy for people to wear things because other people told them it was the right thing to like.”

Someone responded to that “So you’re kind of an anti-trend space?”

“NOOOO!” I said. I hadn’t articulated it well in my mind, so I couldn’t do it in real life either. So let me try again.

I don’t like things just because other people do. But I also don’t dislike things because other people do. What I am attempting to do is actually come from a place where I am discerning my likes and dislikes from within. Learning to  consciously decide what brings me joy from the inside with no regard for how I might be perceived outside.

Can I always do this? No. Not yet.  It’s really hard. But I am definitely getting better at it.

In many areas of my life I am constantly deferring authority to other people. Famous people. Magazines. Experts. Scholars. Friends. My parents. The one thing in my life that I find it natural and easy to be an authority on is how I dress myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I am definitely inspired and influenced by others. (See Bjork reference from earlier) I totally googled Emma Watson’s dress after I saw her on SNL and swooned over old photographs of Natalie Wood and all of the costumes on The Deuce. But I don’t value these things because someone else does. I receive these external  images into my mind and store them like tools in a tool bag. It means I have now added someone else’s visionary possibility into my own. But I am tapping into my own sensibility at all times. Choosing what feels good based on how I feel and nothing else.


My hope is in that by realizing you are free to choose whatever you want, in the realm of how you express yourself through your clothing, that you (and I) will realize that this power transfers and already exists within any area of your life. Whether it is financial literacy, healthy relationships, or a new language you want to learn. I am hoping we will break down the false belief that many of us have inherited from a young age: that the authority to learn how to “do things properly” is outside of us or that there are simply some things “we aren’t good at.”

 

(I had a really hard time articulating what my “business” does in the context of a business education setting. I was like… “Umm… I sell clothes and help people heal?”

 

My whole point is that I wanted to share in a transparent way that we are finding that being a clothing store isn’t enough. It’s not enough for me to be fulfilled. It’s not enough in an economy where I am competing against Chinese factories selling shoes for $13 who can now reach the customers in brooklyn using Facebook ads. It’s not enough to just try to compete with Amazon. It is not enough for me and it is not enough for you. Because I believe life can be easy and graceful and rewarding if you are willing to go towards what feels good and drop what simply doesn’t make sense anymore.

So what happens next?

We don’t know. We don’t know and it’s scary (but also exciting.)
Here is what we do now (for now.)
 

We are going to try to expand our online offerings so that those of you who have moved (and there are a lot of you), can continue to be part of our community.

 

We are going to be offering things that really help you (and me) get to know where we are and expand the ways we think about the world. We have a monthly mini astrology reading series with Courtney of Vibrant Soul Astrology on Sundays from 2-6. (The next one is this Sunday November 5th! Please message me if you want an appointment. These went really fast last time. It’s $20 for 15 minutes and you need your birthtime!)

Also we have REALLY EXCITING and amazing news. We are currently developing workshops healer and medicine maker Jordan of Ostara Apothecary. Our first workshop is next week Thursday November 9th at 7:30 PM. A topic I am deeply passionate about and feel truly in need of more education on, the first workshop is called “Your Sensitivity is Your SuperPower: An Empath Empowerment Workshop.” It’s $25 in advance and $30 day of! Space is extremely limited so please let us know if you can make it.

We will continue to be carrying beautiful tools created with your body, spirit, mind and heart’s wellness deeply infused into them. Tarot and Oracle decks from Spirit Speak, Love Letters to Earth by Nicole Adriana Casanova (an incredibly powerful and intelligent healer), Spirit Work Aura Sprays infused with crystal essences, reiki and essential oils that come with a downloadable audio file to meditate to as well as an e-book on suggested rituals.https://www.spirit-speak.com/

We have so much to share and we want to continue to share and grow in our authenticity with you. We want to learn to feed our souls, be compassionate and learn from our emotional bodies as well as actually exist with comfort on this here planet. We don’t want to feel like our spirit lives one way and our day-to-day lives in another way. We want to innovate an entirely new way of existing as a business and as human beings without jarring our past self or throwing out our present moment. And we want to do it with you. So thanks for reading and please do stay tuned in (tapped in and turned on.)

With love, warmth and fire,

Xenia,

Myths of Creation