The Divine Feminine

art by Sage Shakti

Lessons from Me, My Mama, and Other Wise Women in My Life


“Self care allows me to tap into my divine feminine energy. This energy is the force that connects mother nature and all souls. It is an interwoven essence that speaks to authentic power. Keyword; authentic power. As a woman, I am connected to Mother Nature. She is me and I am her. It’s the energy that is deep within me; surging. Becoming.

What does self care look like to me?

Speaking my truth. As a woman, we are told…don’t be so loud, don’t feel your feelings. Think without heart. My heart, my pain, is my power. I tap into the energy of all by allowing myself to be. To be. Repeat that, to be. Whatever that might be, I’m unapologetically myself. “

Sage Shakti


For so long, I felt uncomfortable in my body. Not exactly self-image wise, but I felt like being a girl, a woman, was a burden and that I should be something/someone else. I felt like I should hide or be ashamed for being this way. I was never taught what it meant to be a woman, or anything deeper than physically why our bodies were different from men. I was never explicitly taught how to take care of myself. I felt embarrassed to ask questions, to discuss anything out loud, and to talk about my body.

I always wondered why no one talked about anything. Why my friend group growing up never really discussed what we were going through until we were older. And why as women we are so hard on ourselves and despite belonging to that collective, we are hard on each other too. Was there a safe place I could go?

As I got more mature and more serious about myself and my body, I began searching more. Thank god for the internet because whenever I didn’t feel comfortable saying something out loud, I usually looked there in private. Beyond that, I was just learning through observation. Then I got past caring about what anyone thought and started to ask questions- talking openly with my mother and my friends about everything. I started to realize how incredibly awesome it is to be a woman and to share a space with other women. I also realized how much they had to share and how learning from them was the best way to do it. They understand because they are.

This is an ode to the village that raised me. There are parts of me that have wandered off (and still do), out of curiosity and thirst for knowledge and intellect. But there have been many who touched my soul so deeply, it’s impossible to deny. Each print on my spiritual body expanded my mind and thought process. I would not be the woman I am today without their gentle voices, their soft eyes who have lost, been disheartened, and silenced, but have chosen to share their stories and wisdom with me. It’s an ode to the knowledge I’ve picked up along my way. To all the women that taught me what taking care of myself meant beyond physical terms- I want to share their unfiltered voices with you. So all I ask is that you bask in that, open your mind to receiving the energy of these magical women.


photo by Brea Carlstrom

What is The Divine Feminine ?

Lessons from my mama;

The Divine Feminine (and feminine energy) are the heart’s love and all it encompasses; purity, nurturing, creation, allowance, compassion, caring, etc. They are the awareness and understanding that all life is sacred. And paired with The Divine Masculine, there is a powerful union and balance.

Therefore, self-care is not about cancelling out The Divine Masculine. It is not one or the other. It is both. Self-care is just accessing that feminine part of yourself and bringing it out. There may be masculinity in excess-due to the state of society or what you’re being told. The Divine Masculine is that of action and reason, but when we overdo that, we become overwhelmed because we’ve spent so much time suppressing our true nature. We neglect the part of ourselves that needs to relax and feel. Maybe because sometimes we’re told that being soft and vulnerable are bad traits. When in reality, that’s not true.

You support The Divine Feminine by being grateful (giving thanks) and expressing that- staying true to your heart. It is such an important part of us stepping into our power as women because it lives so strongly within our bodies. Love (feminine energy) reaches out its arms, embraces you, and shows you- you were born worthy. No one can confirm or give you that because it was yours all along. And that love is unlike any other. My mom compares it to that of the love from a mother to her child- that unconditional pure love. And that’s how it should be with yourself. You treat yourself with the same kind of care and gentleness that you would your own child.

“I find that regardless of what happened or what is happening at this moment, love’s purity, wisdom, protection, and power, are the simplest, easiest courses of action. Real love wants what is best for you and all that you deserve.” Love delivers peace of mind. You heal in that light. It keeps you youthful, joyous, and present. And remaining and channeling that is what can and will guide you. Self-care is inviting that kind of love in and letting it wipe away anything negative. When you’re living in the light of love, it’s hard to have anything penetrate that and knock it down. And it becomes much easier to quiet your mind’s chatter and really listen.

I have yet to come across anything stronger than the power of Divine Femininity. It’s the life force that exists the womb and surges through our veins. It’s what keeps us from breaking (even if we may feel like we are), while carrying generations and generations of weight. It’s what keeps us going when we are tired, why we continue to fight. It’s the quality of being resilient. It’s the flowers that sprout from our palms- a peace offering. It’s the healing vibration of laugher and touch. It’s the effortless beauty in every woman. It’s the reminder and knowing of the vast aptitude of our existence.

What is Self-Care ?

It’s more than just face masks and painting your nails. Although that can be where it starts- physically. I like to think that self-caring means nourishing and nurturing yourself through different means, in all aspects of your health. That being; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. At the end of the day, it boils down to the journey of self-loving and being happy- meaning you don’t have to look outwards and nothing can change it. Self-caring is learning about yourself and practicing that.

Beth Killip: I love that question! I love it because self care is such a beautiful energy that equates to not only self love, but self knowing. And that to me, is the most important piece of self care right now. I care best for myself by knowing myself. Self care is knowing some days I remember, and some days I forget, but I ALWAYS have access to listen to her, my truest self.

I know myself more and more by taking time each day to question everything; to critically think, sift through the bombardment of information, and then the most important part…feel gratitude for my life, all of it 😉. To sit quietly and listen to my soul, my expanded self- that part of me that is connected forever to the big ole’ Universe.

It is not always easy to look at and release thoughts and beliefs I’ve been programmed with my entire life; the stories I’ve created in my mind based on these programs, the agenda driven, manipulated, and infiltrated information I hear in the world- the overly positive messages swirling around. But as I do, I get quiet and let in the part of me that holds wisdom and truth and love beyond this world. It is the most self caring thing I can do.

I get guidance, I hear messages, I feel love. I remember who I am and then I can live with more lightness, more purpose, more appreciation for this fantastically beautiful Earth (and my place in it), and a boatload more joy.

So my self care advice? Listen…to…yourself…the You that is connected to All. You got this! And also I’d like to mention getting massages and belly laughing with friends- those are ranked way high up on the self care list as well.

Sonal Madhok: Self care looks different for everyone and every day it could be different. There are days where my self care is a healthy meal or a workout or a long walk. I think the common denominator is that self care is rest. It’s a rest of the mind, body, and soul. And it’s necessary so that we can become even stronger and honor ourselves.

I usually shut everything off and listen to music. Journaling is always a go-to for me. It feels good to write down what I’m feeling and what triggered it because otherwise, I’ll feel tension. And overtime, I’ll forget how it came about, and I might release it onto others or myself. By addressing it, when I feel it and accept it, I make it easier for the emotion to pass. The more I spend trying to push it away instead of accepting it, the harder it comes back to remind me that I’m hurt. So journaling helps me alleviate that.

I also like to keep affirmations around me- whether that be in reminders on my phone or on notes around my room. Sometimes, I self-care by remembering the things and/or people I’m grateful for. Recently, when I feel like I’ve been in my head too much, I remember a loved one, and I write them a letter about how I appreciate them. Then I send it to them in the mail. This has been such a powerful way for me to rejuvenate, remember that I am loved, and ground myself. It feels good to make others feel good and especially, when they are words that you say in your head and are conveying them on a random day- not only on their birthday or a ‘special’ day.

It really is such a beautiful process. So I think keeping a gratitude journal, and/or writing letters to those you’re grateful for, does wonders for your own mental health.

Julia Forsyth and her mama, Marcie Forsyth: When you’re talking about mental health, it is so okay to be selfish. You have to do the best thing for yourself in that moment. I like to take the time to figure out what I need, and sometimes all that is, is water. I struggle with keeping things in now and again, so it’s very therapeutic to communicate and talk about how I feel. Overtime I’ve learned what I need. Thankfully, I have the emotional support to lean onto, which I couldn’t survive without. Sometimes all you need is a little push. And it’s okay to ask for it.

Along with that- having a schedule, eating good, and doing things you love every day has helped me tremendously. I would tell someone who has not found inner peace yet, to never stop because you are the only thing that can give yourself happiness. It’s worth the journey. (Julia)

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Keeping everything in perspective is so important. Since I teach kids everyday, I’m always thinking about the impact I have on other people. Listening to them, giving them confidence, and making them feel good about themselves is my #1 priority. Having a schedule helps me do any day-to-day tasks, such as waking up at a consistent time, taking a shower, getting dressed, and getting ready for work. Getting outside is also very important to me. I always feel so much better after I walk. (Marcie)

CJ Howley: Self care, for me, can seem to take on various forms; from certain actions to eating exceptional foods. Practices like yoga, which in Sanskrit means “union”, have helped me throughout the years in countless ways- rehabilitating my mind, body, and spirit. Meditation taught me that I’m able to find the stillness, the acceptance, the love, that is always present among the thoughts.

Buying, growing, preparing, and eating beautiful foods, free of chemicals and poisons, has been a commitment of mine now for two decades. I feel better- my body feels lighter, more healthy, ever stronger, and I’d like to think that my impact on the Earth is a positive one.

All of this is great and has contributed to my overall wellness, but still, each of these can be singulated to be put into categories for health, but for me- there’s a bigger picture. In my humble opinion, it all boils down to one practice- one monumental thing – the ultimate self care. For me, self care is self love.

Learning to hear, then to listen, trust and follow the knowing of your heart (spirit, soul) is perhaps our greatest quest on this Earth. I know it’s mine. The desire to want to feel good is not necessarily shelving the things that you may think feel bad- but rather it’s identifying what about it that brings misery and suffering and getting curious about that.

Perhaps if we look at the things- (feelings, people, places, actions) that “scare” us, “challenge” us, “dominate” us, etc..- if we face them, get curious about them, start to understand what is going on inside of us when we are feeling scared, lonely, rejected, abandoned- maybe then we can learn to feel the discomfort, recognize it, acknowledge it, and learn from it.

Maybe the more we do this, the louder the whisper of our heart, our spirit, our soul becomes. Maybe we start to differentiate our heart’s wisdom from the voices in our heads, the opinions of societal and cultural “norms” and we begin to navigate our life on our own terms regardless of what the outside world is saying. And maybe even demanding of us.

Yes, this takes practice.
Yes, this takes fastidiousness.
And yes, we may falter along the path at times.
But this, we can do it!

And the beauty about it is; the more we listen, the more courageous we grow. The more courageous we grow, the more we may open up to greater compassion, more softness. The more softness can be found for ourselves and then authentically, we can forward it towards others.

From this place we learn to love, to truly love, the voice of our heart- the wisdom of our soul. Self Care, therefore, is an inevitable byproduct of Self Love. And thus, Self Love is Self Care.


To the people in my life who continue to raise me up, keep me in check, and show me love- the women I’ve found home in, where I can be myself, where I don’t have to apologize for being me, but instead am celebrated. Thank you.

With Love,

Us.

First Impressions

Art by Clutch Cabin

Inside the creative mind

The drive that makes itself known at some point in life is not just a simple energy.
It is the surge of legacy rippling through and unintentionally changing.
Whatever path we were on yields a new direction.
We may try to neglect that part of ourselves or run away, but
the lust and power of it always becomes too loud to ignore.
We struggle less when we let go of the resistance and understand.
The metal bars that were bolted to our heads break off.
The nails dressed as old ideas tumble down cliff sides.

We are the raindrops that race down car windows,
falling into plentiful, but dark and undiscovered oceans without fear.
We burst bubbles of knowledge and literature,
music notes and paint strokes, multimedia and cinema.
Our voices are so heavy, they vibrate our fingertips
until the prints grow their own legs and
walk off into oblivion and madness,
leaving us with the space to conceive and create for ourselves-
no identity, soulless, and empty to fill with that of choice and free will.

Devotion and impulse take the place of fatigue.
We wear our scars like jewelry and turn them into a beautiful display.
Decorations! Details! Character!
Our eyes are kaleidoscopes when we focus.
The art pours out and spirals down like ballet dancers in our skin.
We entertain our own ideas and fill every page to the brim with the products of our hearts. We go far, far away, out of touch with impersonal reality.
In a home where we can be raw, we shut everything out and
manipulate the ribbons in our brains to express emotion in iridescence,
guided with or without a muse, mystifying everything
until it becomes so bizarre and distorted that it is completely anew.

And when the reader, the listener, the watcher, the speaker is engulfed…
they can feel the pleasure and sorcery behind the work too.
It is no longer a secret. It is no longer stuck inside.
Ask us how we can turn the ordinary, the bland, unfortunate, ugly and unpleasant
into the amusing, hypnotic, inspiring, and poetic.
Things that feel so close, they could’ve been your own.
Something you did not specifically ask for, but ended up falling in love with.
Ask us how we knew it was what you needed, although its origins were for
our sanity and enjoyment.

We are circus clowns, ringmasters, magicians, and acrobats.
We are shapeshifters. We are prophets.
Perhaps we are impractical and moonstruck, but we are serious.
We are artists that have chosen to accept their craft unconditionally.
And we are constantly humbled by each other and the world around us.


The reason I created Visionary Orchid was because I wanted to cultivate a space for understanding. I chose to start my own platform instead of following a path that was preconceived and generically generated. And ever since, I’ve been sharing my own stories, trying to be as clear-cut and raw as possible.

While I struggled a lot along the way- the more I let things happen, the more like-minded people came into my life. And for that, I am immensely grateful because every day, I’m presented with new perspectives and such a love for creative passion. There should be a safe, loving community for all of us (creative beans) to share our space and ideas.

This is Visionary Orchid’s first collaborative blog post- featuring interviews with the people I am about to introduce // co-written/edited by me. Please take the time to get to know each of these wonderful artists.
Welcome 🙂


Index
Page 2: Alejandro Santiuste // Seven Days
Page 3: Christian Gabriel // The God Disk
Page 4: Dylan McLarnon
Page 5: Hamza Chaudhry // Say No Omens
Page 6: Julia Forsyth // yourfriendjuls
Page 7: Kristin Middleton
Page 8: Lucas Feola
Page 9: Mackenzie Kean // Zi
Page 10: Robert Hillmann // Clutch Cabin
Page 11: Olivia Nash
Page 12: Steven Uribe // XVNDER BLANK
Page 13: Closing- Director Cary Murnion

Intro to: First Impressions

via @issosonal

Growth, culture, and creative fire


written by sonal madhok and cowritten/edited by visionary orchid

Sonal Madhok is an ethereal soul, bursting at the seams with light. I accredit her for opening me up to a greater healing world than the one I created on my own. She instills positivity and love into the people she meets. She is compelling and intelligent. And constructs a forgiving space for all, including her friends and family to grow- to speak about the past without guilt or anger. She has taught me so much and continues to; about dealing with the thoughts in my head, diffusing the negative ones, and self-love. And has been so generous to me in sharing her culture and life. There is so much she holds within…

Sonal is Hindu Punjabi and was born in America. Unlike her parents, who are immigrants from India. Her mother originated in New Delhi, and her father, from Janakpuri. “My culture that I was given is beautiful. We would paint Mehndi (henna) on each other for holidays and dress up in vibrant colors that would match the vibrancy of the food on our plates.” When I was over her house, her mother made a traditional meal (puri cholé) for me to enjoy with them. The kitchen filled with scents of spices and warm energy as she cooked. Puri is a delicate, air filled bread. And when it’s popped, hot steam rushes out. In the hollow center, you place the cholé, an Indian chickpea curry. A wonderfully memorable meal, but her mother’s hospitality was even more so- her unwavering sweetness and treatment as if I was one of her own.

While America is supposed to be a melting pot, a gorgeous and fascinating mix of cultures and people, there are still major culture shocks on both ends. Children grow up with their own ways of being at home, but in public, and in school, are exposed to each other and their differences. The majority of the time, these differences are not treated with the love they deserve and instead are met with hate. “Kids would call me ‘shit hands’ and I’d be made fun of for having dark hair on my arms and face.” And eventually, Sonal succumbed to their beliefs about it because it made it easier to fit in. “I went on the path of pretending and made fun of the other kids that were different too.”

The suppression of her culture eventually boiled over into bitterness and shame towards her family. And even in the inner realm, “There are so many norms that they had growing up that we don’t have here or vice versa.” And dating was one of the biggest shocks for them. They had come together from an arranged marriage, so the idea of ‘dating’ was hard to grasp. When her first relationship came around, she kept it hidden for a long time. Even when it was brought up, there was a lot of dismissal and refusing to even discuss the fact. But there always comes a point when you can’t hold it in anymore. “I was the first one in my family to speak out about it.” Although it was a tough process and took a lot of explanation, communication, and compassion on both sides, it ended up helping her whole family grow together.

It took years to undo all the thought processes and coping mechanisms she took on to adjust; blending not only what she knew in her household, but also what she experienced as a kid growing up in the United States. Subsequently, she spent more time celebrating her culture, instead of rejecting it. She began Indian Bollywood dancing again and learning Kathak, a classical style. And along with it came her deep affection for the arts. “I know that the instrumentals I heard while listening to the traditional Kathak music are the reason I was drawn towards classical music and eventually playing piano.” It inspires her to compose similar sounds that soothe her and the people around her. And lately she’s been working on a 200 hour yoga teacher training program that has only strengthened her love for her culture.

Sonal and her Mama (to the left)

As a student, she leaned more towards the arts and identified as a kid that could never be good at math. She loved creative writing. It was her dream to become a writer and have a publishing company. “Maybe to become a dancer on the side and have piano concerts as well.” And before high school began, she decided she should try a new type of writing- journalism. While there were many times she regretted ever having opened this door, because it meant getting uncomfortable, facing her social anxiety and thinking objectively, it was incredibly beneficial. She was able to work as the Editor-In-Chief at her community college’s newspaper, help revive it, and witness the growth it had on campus and in the community.

I even got to accompany her on one of her missions- a Gus Dapperton concert with an opening performance by Spencer., which ended up being an awakening moment for me. We were both going through some relationship “stuff” at the time and the crowd’s energy was beautiful. We danced- felt it reach through our bones and cleanse any pain we had inside. We barely knew who either performer was, but ended up vibing really well, discovering new artists, and being completely present with the music.

She thought she was going to be an English major, but found herself questioning why she couldn’t be good at math or science. So in her high school years, she took a computer graphics course, then a computer science course. “The way my mind was challenged in problem-solving skills, and also the frustration I had with myself on why I couldn’t understand it, motivated me to keep going.” And by the end of her senior year, she was determined to major in computer science.

“Impostor syndrome wore heavy on my shoulders every day, because I knew I wasn’t a kid that grew up having a passion for computers. I was an editor of the school newspaper. I still loved my arts, but I also loved programming.” She didn’t feel deserving of being in the same classroom with people whose passions had many more years than hers. She even entertained those thoughts to the point of almost dropping out of her major in the second to last semester. Ultimately, she realized that it didn’t matter where she came from or what she did before. What mattered was what she cared for and wanted to do now.

“What was an even bigger lesson was that it is okay to change- to have differences, adversities, obstacles… Change can lead to confusion of who we are and our identity, but the confusion is temporary and necessary, and it truly is the journey that counts. I think we would rather spend our time trying everything we love and failing, rather than to limit our minds (for anything) and only follow the path that we are most comfortable on. It’s funny to look back on it now- going from arts to an English major and then somehow ending up in STEM, but I think it’s exciting to watch the growth and change of thoughts I had. I love mathematics now and I often spend time trying to relate laws in science to philosophical ideas. It’s fun for me to bridge the gap between STEM and the humanities because they are two fields that benefit when they mesh. We can learn so much from each other, truly.”

Her creative process usually starts with her feeling overwhelmed or needing time to be alone- that’s when her best work comes. Because she cares less about making things perfect and more about releasing stress. She’ll start with a small foundation of chords or a basic outline of what she wants to write. Then she’ll play around with notes or have a ‘stream of consciousness’ writing session. She has fallen in love with the progression of soft sounds that multiply and create something beautiful altogether.

Her writing is compiled of a release of the things she’s learned about herself and the morals she took from it. She journals regularly. Especially when she’s facing a problem, she’ll turn to her notebook to discuss it with herself and to look for consolation before reaching out for help. “Nine out of the ten times though, I mess up, and I’ll convince myself that I’ve ruined the whole piece, similar to what it feels like when you mess up a painting, but then I’ll work around it and eventually the one mess up usually becomes the best part of the piece.”


“I am so grateful for the past I was given and I am blessed to be at the point I am now with diverse friendships and diverse thoughts that have created a beautiful environment for me and my loved ones to blossom in. I still make a lot of mistakes, like most, and I will continue to make more, as we all will, because every day is an opportunity for us to learn and grow at any pace we feel ready to.”

With Love,

Us.

FIND HER ON-
Instagram: @sonalmadhok, @issosonal
Medium: @writecakei