GETTING IN TOUCH WITH YOUR INTUITION
Many of my friends and colleagues are in a situation similar to mine. We’ve worked hard to be where we are, we have our families, our friends, our careers, passions and hobbies. But there’s still a nagging and loud void and we want more (!) — but none us seem to be able to put our thumb on the missing link. I battle between wondering if I haven’t achieved inner peace and need to focus more on gratitude and less on feeding an insatiable A-type appetite — or if my situation of wanting more in the sense of a spiritual and material quest is a healthy place to reside. The questions my friends and I have been asking are how can you step into abundance (with respect to all senses of the word) and how can you get in touch with your intuition. We’re all in search of wellness and well being.
I am one who embraces spirituality and self-love, meditation and massage, intuition and instinct. I’m a spiritual seeker figuring out my inner self — and I’m a huge believer that we’re a universal one. (All of this, by the way, has been enhanced since the passing of my father.)
However, I also come from a linear world, a corporate world, a childhood path filled with formal education and higher degrees. An educational background and career that has always required physical proof and rational thinking. There has always been an aim and struggle to balance the two sides of me — but both sides beg the question that there has to be more.
Even with my exploration and curiosity in the ethereal and spiritual realm, I still cock my head like a confused cocker spaniel when a friend tells me their day has been crappy because mercury is in retrograde. I still have no idea what that means — and I tell them that their day has been crappy because it’s a Monday, there is traffic, and they got in a car accident because they were swiping left and swerving right. Mercury is not in retrograde, sista. You were just irresponsible and hungover from a late night binge.
Plain and simple, I flip flop.
So it was restorative and helpful to learn that my curiosity and confusion between the two opposing (or symbiotic) realms (however, you may look at it) is A-OK — and is in fact, encouraged. I had a beautiful chat with the master of the mystical, the mother of the metaphysical, DR. ATHENA PERRAKIS aka THE SAGE GODDESS.
For those who don’t know her, DR. ATHENA is the founder and CEO of SAGE GODDESS, the largest source of sacred tools and metaphysical education. She holds a Ph.D. from USC in educational leadership — and (in her earlier years) has traveled the world working with our world’s top CEOs and execs from Fortune 50 companies.
She has since transitioned out of that corporate career — and has now dedicated her life to her own entrepreneurial baby, her holistic spiritual practice. DR. ATHENA has shifted her aim in life to advise and facilitate her every client and customer to truly find themselves. While she worked with executives in the corporate world bringing companies out of the red and into the black — she now works at the individual and spiritual level bringing humans out of the dark and into the light. Throughout the years in her spiritual practice and by her conscious living over her years (she is 44 today!), DR. ATHENA has seen that all people are accountable for their actions and interactions. Today, she gets to live her life for the greater good – as she guides her clients toward a long and fulfilling life experience.
As you can imagine, I had so many questions for her. I confessed to her that I am curious and confused; I am a believer and a disbeliever, a learner and a questioner. This realm has fascinated me — but has always intimidated me too. But, of course, as I should have expected, DR. ATHENA was so welcoming and not critical at all.
She spoke pragmatically to me in a language I could understand — and analogized the metaphysical world to the physical one so I could comprehend her message. It is rare to find this blend and ability in one human body.
I told DR. ATHENA that I’m unfamiliar (but curious) in what she does and what experts like her (who engage in all the practicing tools (gems, crystals, stones)) do. It was the greatest honor to have a beautiful and connected dialogue with her. For all of you who are reaching for abundance and wanting to get in touch with your intuition – or for all the skeptics, let’s take a look at our conversation.
DR, ATHENA, I’m very excited for this conversation and it’s such an honor to have you here. I know you have a Ph.D from USC and you came from the corporate world. What I first want to know is what led you down this journey — how did you get out of the corporate world and into this spiritual / business venture? I’ve always been fascinated by this metaphysical realm and all of the practitioners — but intimidation always has taken over.
You know what? It intimidates me too. I think if we’re not a little in awe of nature, then we’re not in that place of holy reverence. Until we really understand the brain and human life, the mechanics and the science (and I talk a lot about quantum physics in my practice), it’s a mystery and we’re all daunted by it. It’s easier to not look at it and to come up with rational and logical explanations or pseudo scientific ones for the things we experience. But I am one who craves constant intellectual and spiritual stimulation. And so the mystery has kept my attention for the better part of 25 years and I’m still learning. I’ve opened some doors but I am nowhere near mastery.
And tracing back to the process of how is an interesting one and I know you’ve also made a transition from one world into another. Many of us have done that — shape-shifted from one core identity which we have cultivated and honed over time. We are seeking deep authenticity. And I laugh when saying this. But I turn 44 today, and it makes the Millennials laugh, but I’m really excited to find out who I am!
Also, I am very curious about language. I have a background in literature and linguistics — and I’m always curious about the words that people use to describe themselves. And how they came to their own definition for their own understanding. And for me, what the corporate world meant was that I had to have all the answers and I had to have them on the spot. And if I didn’t, then I better come up with something that sounded pretty convincing.
But that persona of going out in the world and saying I knew everything wasn’t accurate for me. It didn’t capture fully who I was as a person. And so, what I love about the work I do now, is that I can get up in front of thousands of people (and we have over half a million people on Facebook) — and say, “I’m not sure but here is my best guess.” I’ve had 25 year of conscious and active research and I can say “I’m not sure.” And that’s a huge breath of fresh air and a relief.
You and I and everyone around us are seeking fulfillment in terms of love, self-love, career, mental and physical health family, etc. This is a very loaded question but if there was a SAGE GODDESS starter kit, what would you initially recommend to someone who is trying to embark on that journey of a more fulfilling and happy life?
It’s much like medicine.
When you go to a doctor and you tell them what’s going on, what the doctor is doing is listening for are your chief complaints. They’re listening for how you’re presenting yourself. Does your ear hurt? Leg hurt? What brought you into the office today?
And the core piece of that is that we are all the heroes in our own journey. No one is coming to save you. You are saving you.
And I love that metaphor because that’s what I’m trying to do too. When people come to see me, and they say, “I just turned 40. This can’t be it. I’m married, I’m successful, I have kids. But I still feel empty inside. And to be honest, I don’t know who I am. I just want to be happy. Can you help me be happy?”
People want to look behind the curtain and have an affirmation that magic is real. So my job is to tell people that indeed it is real. And the core piece of that is that we are all the heroes in our own journey. No one is coming to save you. You are saving you.
And there are very specific ways that these tools can support you. Things that crystals can do, things aromatherapy can help do. But all these tools are ways into this greater mystery. They are little keys that unlock doors that take you to your own authenticity.
The number one thing is people need to define their terms. Do you want to be happy? What is happy? We need accuracy in our terms and then from there find out energetic tools to get us there.
If I was to say, happiness to me is being in a state of calm and acceptance – while continuing to persevere to reach my dreams — while also maintaining the ability to embrace gratitude. Are there specific gems or crystals that would be specific to me? How do you prescribe one to one person versus one to another?
To me, less is more.
When people come to me, especially if they haven’t worked with me before, they come to me with a handful of crystals that they thought were pretty. It’s like a candy store for grown ups. My job is to take them all out of your hand and limit them down to one or two crystals.
Like in medicine, if you’re going to take 20 different pills for your headache, you won’t know which one was effective for you. A lot of them have a placebo effect and then you’re not going to go back and try them again.
I start with one crystal — and the number one crystal I recommend people to start with is quartz. Quartz is silicon dioxide and is the most common and readily available mineral on the planet. It grows on every continent. It’s accessible, it’s affordable and is the number one stone for raising energetic vibration which is kind of where everyone needs to start.
Because all of us are energy. But vibration shifts over time; our own moods affect vibrations, our social, political climate affects it. I am a vibration manager – so I collect vibrations – and then I check in with theirs and I calibrate and see where I need to raise vibrations. And quartz is the number one tool to do that.
What would you say to the skeptic who is very physical proof and science based?
Absolutely. What’s interesting is that science is catching up. When we talk about the vibrational field, that is actually quantum mechanics, physics. So what’s beautiful is that there is now a connection for those of us in this field with physicists who are acknowledging the existence of a quantum field.
And we’re part of that. Pop culture has given us a lot of vernacular to use. When we talk about The Matrix, it’s not just a movie. It’s a living a vibrational field that we are all a part of — and crystals allow us to move in that field and calibrate because crystals have their own vibrational field. Some crystals vibrate at a higher energetic rate than others. That’s how we use specific crystals to calibrate up or calibrate down.
Mood and perspective and your own intention all affect that. Your own intentions have to be magnified in order to reach the level of vibration that will, in the world, allow something to come and connect with that. Vibrations are like a freeway with cars. You send out your intentions and it needs a vibration in the broader fields that are similar to it and then it comes back to you in a similar form. So that’s kind of how you put your intention out there — and when it comes back to you, it’s because you sent that car out there and now it’s coming back to you with added energy.
And we experience it every day.
When I say a prayer for someone who isn’t feeling well, and I share that out into the world with other people praying too — all the prayers come together and support that person. This helps people see that this is no longer airy fairy. We’re dealing in the realm of particles and physics.
That’s so interesting. There was a time 2 years prior to my father’s passing that he almost passed. He had a cardiac arrest and was without oxygen to his brain for over an hour. We had prayer groups and texts going with friends and their friends — and the doctors swore to us that if he came out of his coma, he would be brain dead and blind at best. The head of cardiology at the hospital pulled us outside with her entire team telling us that there was no way he would make it. I told her that that was impossible and not an option and he will survive anything. She shook her head in pity and scoffed at my naivete.
Miracles were bestowed, and my dad made a full recovery. All the doctors were shocked and said they had never seen anything like that and that that was just what you call a miracle. They called him “The Miracle Man.”
Yes, it was the doctors monitoring his every move and trying everything they had under their belt — but I really do think a huge component was everything you were saying about vibrations and creating a spiritual community. We played music for my dad, spoke to my dad, played videos for him – and when he became conscious, he remembered it all. The doctors would watch us from the window outside with tears in their eyes because we were a relentless family. They told us to go home and go to sleep because my dad didn’t even know we were there.
What’s so interesting is that I talk to doctors who are seeing things happen, doctors who are acknowledging that the soul leaves the body at the point of death. It’s fascinating because — and I love living on this edge of science and metaphysics — it tests that boundary of belief. And in some ways, you do have to suspend judgment at times, but at other times, you don’t. It’s real enough that you can feel it on the basis of all senses.
I think we’re teaching people to have those experiences but I think it’s OK to dance on that edge of science and metaphysics.
I wanted to ask you about getting in touch with your intuition. I always feared my father in law driving my girls. I had visualizations in my head that he would be a car accident from a heart attack and my girls would be in the car. I never wanted my girls in the car with him. Then last October, my father passed away in a car accident which was triggered by a fatal heart attack. I have these visualizations and these instincts. I wanted to know how to separate intuition from coincidence — and how can you become more intuitive about things in both your physical (through your tools) and spiritual practice (meditation).
This is a fantastic question and probably the number one question that people ask me and I’ll share with you what I shared with them. And by the way, what a powerful validation of your own intuition.
What’s difficult about your circumstance is the extent to which people believe you. That can create conflict or people may have taken offense but then, in the end, you had incredible validation.
The greatest thing that will help people understand or parse out the nuance of what they think is their own mind and what is actually an experience of hearing spirit guides – is experience. The more you meditate, the more you connect and are able to assess the nuance between what is your monkey mind, your mind’s own desire to create. Your mind operates quite independently from you — and if you are not following your soul path and not assessing your purpose, then it’s almost like you’ll have these thoughts that will shape your reality.
Because you’re here for a reason — and you’re either walking that path or resisting that path. And The Universe moves you along.
I think we’re teaching people to have those experiences but I think it’s OK to dance on that edge of science and metaphysics.
The other thing I tell people is you really have to practice mindfulness. You have to be able to clear your mind of the chatter, the constant inner monologue of the inner critic, your task master voice. You have to find a path of clarity. Because that inner sanctuary, that quiet place is the place your spirit guide can come and connect with you, the place your ancestors can quietly guide you.
The way into that is consciously creating that space. And it’s a practice, a discipline. And that’s true in everything I do. Manifestation is a discipline. It’s holding a sacred intention without wavering in your space. If this was easy, everyone would do it. Everyone would be a lawyer, everyone would get a Ph.D. It’ s a physical process because it requires sustained belief.
I’m also a skeptic. My background is based on a scientific method – I want data. It’s hard for me to even to overcome my own resistance.
Who or what are your biggest inspirations? Who/What has influenced you the most to be where you are today?
A lot of my inspirations have been academic. I’m influenced mostly by mythology and history and literature and psychology. Because that’s my background. One of the best books I’ve ever read was by Joseph Campbell and he talks about the “Hero’s Journey.” He tells us there are various phases we go through before we reach enlightenment — and that journey is the basis of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings – and every major narrative. The Iliad and the Odyssey. Every good story is about the Hero’s Journey.
Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung have been great influences in terms of helping me understand consciousness and the shadows. Understanding the parts of yourself that are sticky and tricky — and learning how to integrate all those parts into a clear vision of who you are.
And in our culture today, my influences would be Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Richard Branson. These are people whose leadership inspires me. And it’s an example of conscious leadership.
I look for people who aren’t creating a distinction between spirituality and their life. For me, there is no distinction.
This is who I am, what I do. In every moment of what I do.
I don’t have a lot of female role models. And I think in my search for that, I’ve manifested it in myself.
I think people need to read more. They need to go back to history and mythology and literature because there is so much richness there. There is so much information there for understanding the human psyche.
If I was to go on a beach vacation and choose two books from your shelf, what would they be?
“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
This book has shaped how I deal with people, what my expectations are of people, and what I want people to remember about me.
Not taking things personally and honoring the integrity of your word are two of the Agreements and they are so important to me. One of the things that disrupts spirituality for me is when there is a distinction between the way people show themselves to me and then when they turn out to be.
“The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell.
What’s interesting is that there is no current self-help or magical book that I’d recommend; once you have conversations over these deeper concepts, the rest of it falls into place.
What is on your altar now and what would you recommend for someone like me?
I was teaching a class online last night — and I said altars are like bunnies in my world. They just reproduce. You have four bunnies and then you end up with eight. And then you have twenty bunnies.
On my personal altar, I have essential oils blend that I use every morning. It’s a blend of jasmine, palo santo and patchouli. And to clear my own energetic space, there’s a small crystal called double terminated and it’s a smoky quartz. And I use that on my primary altar because smoky quartz rids any energy that doesn’t serve you. If someone comes into my office and they’re upset, it will transmute that to a higher vibration. If they come in and they’re happy, it will support the happiness. And a candle. Those are the basics.
What’s the difference between putting it on your altar and holding it in the palm of your hand?
Crystals want to be with you, they don’t want to be in a drawer. And that’s why I’m constantly telling people that less is more. Because if I give you one crystal today, I know you will really work with that one crystal. But if I give you 20, you will put 19 in the drawers. Crystals are all about relationships with their owners. If you want to sleep with it, hold it, or just enjoy the beauty of it on your altar, that is fine too. They, too, are art pieces, they are installations.
Being able to curate an altar is relaxing and a form of meditation and a form of connection with God. I always have something alive on my altar as well – whether it’s a living plant or water. Something that represents life.
If I was to buy my first quartz from the SAGE GODDESS shop, which should it be?
There are a lot of different ways stones present themselves. It can be a sphere which is a round crystal or a Generator crystal which is flat bottomed with a pointed top.
I actually find that working with spheres is helpful to those beginning their journey. Spheres radiate energy in all directions, where as a pointed top only points energy up. When people are brand new, I will have them do a quartz sphere or a rose quartz sphere — which is still quartz but it is for love. Most people come to me after some sort of heart break.
What is the spiritual significance and divine message behind our upcoming August 21 solar eclipse?
Eclipses are very special astronomical phenomena, when you think about it – the sun, moon, and earth have to line up so precisely to create this one magical moment. They also defy logic – two planets of different size canceling each other out for a few minutes every 18 months. Why? We have been puzzled by this for thousands of years, and made meaning in an attempt to understand the importance of these rare moments.
Spiritually, eclipses are points of transformation. They signal the end of a cycle, usually an 18-month cycle that occurs between eclipse periods, known as bookends. They offer insight into your shadow self since shadows are the currency of an eclipse. Your shadow self is the part(s) of you that you deny or repress, that cause you fear and anxiety. But your shadow self is also often your most creative, exciting, and limitless self. Eclipses urge you to mine those shadows for depth and possibility. Eclipses also ‘communicate’ with each other, so to fully understand the current eclipse meaning, you have to look back at the last solar eclipse (March 2016) and ask yourself what was happening then, what the connection to now looks like, and what themes characterize this important period in your life. Eclipses always close the door on old phase or cycle and open the door to a new one.
Anything we should be wary of or look forward to?
This solar eclipse, just like all solar eclipses, occurs at the new moon – and this new moon is in Leo. That means for Leos, the August 21st eclipse will be particularly impactful. Leo is a fixed sign, as opposed to mutable or cardinal, so they resist change in general. This eclipse asks Leo to look at what is happening in their lives that isn’t supporting their highest good. It’s time to shift old paradigms and soften a little bit. Change will do you good, Leo!
What physical or spiritual practices do you recommend for us?
This is an important time of reflection. The new moon is a dark slate, clean of influence and imprint, open for interpretation and ripe with energies of creation. Set an intention for this new cycle! What is ready to be birthed through you? What new questions await you and what new answers will you offer to the challenges in your life? We are here to love and to grow – as simple and as complex as that. Right now, during an Eclipse window, love and growth look like change, transformation, and revelation. Eclipses always reveal something that has been hidden. Receive this glimpse of clarity and know that it is meant to help you make steady progress, release fear, and become a fuller and more authentic version of you.
Also, if your readers are interested, I will be holding a live, free online ritual for this new moon and solar eclipse on August 21.
What do you hope your clients and your students receive from you? How will you know that you can send them on their path?
One of my favorite quotes is “We’re all just walking each other home.” And I really believe that.
If I do my job well, what I give my community is a sense that they’re not walking home alone. We’re not spiritual latchkey kids. We are here to love and support each other through the most difficult of things and the most beautiful of things. And we only see the significance of the gorgeous moments by comparing it to the pain of the other moments.
I can say they want peace, happiness, better sex, more money — but I think what people really want is to remember that they’re not alone.
++ Happy Birthday, Dr. Athena! Thank you so much for your deep guidance and eternal optimism. You’re a treasure and I’m so glad to have come across you and your work. Thank you for walking us home. ++
++ READERS: Don’t forget to tune in for a free online SAGE GODDESS event for the new moon and solar eclipse on August 21.