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Here at Sanctuary we’re huge fans of The Numinous, the spirituality site loved by the fashion set and founded by journalist Ruby Warrington. This month, Warrington released Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High Vibe Life. The tome is a practical guide to the ins and outs of modern spirituality (from “inner beauty vs. botox” to “confessions of a reluctant yogi”) that will feel familiar to anyone who has ever had to plan their evening meditation group around SoulCycle. We sat down with Warrington to talk about dharma, witchcraft, and how to love your “higher selfie.”  

SANCTUARY: The book seems to be coming out at the exact time everyone is waking up to the idea of modern spirituality.

RUBY: Exactly. My journey in the spiritual scene almost feels like it’s a reflection and microcosm of the experience that our whole society has been going through over the past couple of years. So many of my friends and family and acquaintances going through similar kind of transitions and awakening and transformation. I mean, the intro to the book is called “coming out of the spiritual closet,” and I feel that’s exactly what we’re going through.

SANCTUARY: What do you think it is about the world now that makes it so conducive to opening up our mystical selves?

RUBY: Well, the mystical answer is that we obviously have been transitioning into the Age of  Aquarius­—a very rapid period of technological advances, futuristic mindsets, dissemination of information among the masses, and dismantling traditional hierarchical structures. I also think that the financial crash of 2008 was actually a huge turning point in terms of redefining what success means. I think subconsciously people began to really question whether striving to achieve external marks of success (like a high salary, clothes, car) would actually the path to personal happiness and would really serve the planet and humanity. People started asking, “How can I begin living in a way that’s truly bringing kind of your value to the world?” And “how can I stay sane and grounded within this rapid, rapid change that we’re experiencing?”

SANCTUARY: It seems like that journey of redefining success starts with knowing yourself.

RUBY: That’s a big part of it as well.  I just find that true self-love is really about self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. We need to take all of those parts of ourselves that we might judge ourselves for, because they’re not attractive or acceptable by society at large…and thank them for making us who we are and look for ways become united with those elements that are maybe more difficult. That’s where astrology comes into play.

SANCTUARY: You describe astrology as a “tool for personal development, with which to interpret what, why, how and when certain events, emotional states and evolutionary processes are presenting in our lives.” So, you’re obviously a huge proponent!

RUBY: I would describe myself as a lifelong student of astrology because I know that I will be learning more and discovering more about astrology until the day I die. It’s a whole other language.

SANCTUARY: The book features the term “higher selfie,” which is sort of exemplary of the idea that you can be a spiritual person but still be connected to the world.

RUBY: That’s a big part of the message. I think the common misconception is that in order to be a truly spiritual person, you need to cut yourself off from the rest of society and go on some Eat, Pray, Love style quest around the world. I kind of joke that this book is like Sex and the City meets Eat, Pray, Love because I moved to New York, which is the most fast-paced and glamorous city in the world, and I had my spiritual awakening here. We’re all spiritual beings, which means that we’re all connected to each other by the spirits that we embody, and therefore we must put all of our responsibility and our duty to show up and help each other also and contribute to society. If someone says that in order to do that you have to give up everything and leave your creature comforts behind and completely change your sense of style, you’ll never get the message.

SANCTUARY: One of the big concepts in the book is the idea of doing your dharma, or duty.

RUBY: That’s the thing that people have really connected most with so far. By fulfilling your purpose, you’re automatically in some way of service and it just kind of brings the heat, this layer of meaning, to your work and your self expression. It’s almost like all of these tools…again, they are helping to find your authentic self so that you can identify and step into the path of your dharma.

SANCTUARY: You’ve written and spoken a lot about how sobriety interacts with your spirituality.

RUBY: Once I started using these practices to connect with myself (like my high self or my spirit self) on a more regular basis, it became glaringly obvious that alcohol was actually getting in the way of what was happening.  But alcohol is one of the major blocks that we all use. So many people just drink because people drink and never really question it. And I personally discovered that for me, it’s actually a huge barrier to feeling fully connected to myself and my purpose.

SANCTUARY: In the chapter “Finding My Divine Feminine,” there’s a section called “Enter the witch.” What does witchcraft mean to you?

RUBY: Connecting to the occult has all sort of demonic overtones for most. But the occult is just connecting to the unseen world, which is also how I might describe the numinous world—or you could even just say “the world of our emotions” or “our spiritual life.” Practicing witchcraft is just about connecting to that private life. It’s feminine in a sense that the feminine is used to describe our emotional life. I think that one of the reasons men are taught not to show their emotions is because it’s seen as weak, but our emotional life is what drives every single action. I think that admitting our vulnerability when it comes to our emotional life is incredibly healing. It’s a very important part of coming into wholeness as human being and a very important holistic human experience. It’s just that a lot of those negative “emotions” might be the ones that are telling us, “No, this isn’t the person you are meant to be living with. No, this isn’t the job you are supposed to be pursuing…”

SANCTUARY: Change is one of the hardest things in life…but it’s constantly reflected in nature, where so many spiritual lessons come from.

RUBY: Sometimes listening to those most difficult or challenging emotions are going to be the ones that shake us up and put us in a position of instability or change, but as you rightly said, change is our natural state.  If you think about any living thing, it comes from being in a constant stage of evolution.

SANCTUARY: You worked on the book for over two years. Is there anything in particular you’re taking away from the experience?

RUBY: The one thing I learned about myself is that, as a journalist, I really shy away from the idea of being a teacher. But now I’m increasingly being asked to speak and teach workshops and I’m slowly realizing perhaps I do have something to teach, which is kind of interesting to me. It’s a bit of a “leveling up” and comes with a sense of, “Okay, because this is not comfortable to me and I feel very afraid, I think it’s going to be another challenge if that continues to happen.” I’m enjoying it all. I’m very happy to think that might help people to work that out and get on the path of their dharma.

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