Fashion journalist Ruby Warrington rode the London high life, falling out of clubs yet still getting up the next day to sweat out the excesses. Now, since moving to New York in 2012, she is on a new path, one that is (almost) booze-free, but full of mystical fizz. Her new book, Material Girl, Mystical World documents her big life change. She shares with us the meaning behind the new "Now Age" and how her fitness and wellbeing have been transformed since giving up the rave. We meet her.
Hi Ruby! You’re in London to promote your new book. What do you like most about being back?
The sweet nostalgia. Having grown up in London and lived here all my life until I moved to NYC in 2012, practically every street holds memories for me and I love just walking through the city soaking up the sensation of it them all flooding over me.
Tell us about your book, Material Girl, Mystical World – what’s the top line?
The book is an introduction to all the "mystical" subjects I cover with my online magazine, The Numinous, told through the lens of my personal experience of experimenting with things like astrology, tarot, psychics, shamanism, and plant medicine. The backdrop is the inner and outer transformation this created in my life. My background is in fashion journalism, hence the "Material Girl" part of the title, and let's just say my life looks pretty different now to how it did five years ago!
Are you capturing a passing trend in spirituality, or do you believe it has longevity?
Since I launched The Numinous, mysticism and spirituality have certainly become more trendy (this was part of my goal with the site!) – but I don't believe this is a passing fad. The pace of modern life, not to mention the social, political, and environmental issues we're being faced with, have left us in dire need of tools to help us stay feeling grounded, connected, and hopeful. I believe this need will only increase as the pace of change speeds up even more – and the future becomes less and less certain as a result.
Explain the concept ‘Now Age’ to us – is it a scene?
Now Age speaks to two things. Firstly, it's an update of the 1960s "new age", which was a reference to the astrological Age of Aquarius (like the song, remember?) which the Earth and all of us began transitioning into during the last century. We're now fully living in the Age of Aquarius – and so the "new" age is "now"! The hallmarks of this astrological era are the rapid development of technology, the spreading of information among the masses, and the toppling of hierarchical structures – all of which we are also seeing come to pass, and which mean we live in an unprecedented age of instant gratification. Thanks to the Internet we can access anything and everything NOW – which can be as overwhelming as it is amazing!
You’ve been very open about your personal experiences through drugs and alcohol. Was this difficult to expose in such a public forum?
I was most concerned about my parents reading it! But I felt it was really important to be honest about all parts of my journey. My experiences are by no means out of the ordinary for people of my generation, and played a major role in making me the person I am today – to not write about this would have been dishonest. So many people struggle with drugs and alcohol, and not talking openly about these things adds to the shame and guilt that can keep people locked in negative addictive patterns. Equally, not all drug experiences are bad! I also wanted to acknowledge that many people – myself included – have experienced huge epiphanies and feelings of connectedness and / or transcendence this way.
What was your defining moment when you knew this was the right path for you?
As soon as a heard the word "Numinous"– in conversation with an astrologer friend – I pictured a magazine that covered all the esoteric topics I had always found so fascinating, but in a chic, aspirational way. There was no turning back once that seed had been planted.
How do you feel now about the book (and your life as represented in the book) as you reflect upon it now it’s published?
I feel like my path is actually a microcosm of a shift in consciousness that society at large is going through, and I feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to share what I have learned along the way. To pose what I feel are the really important questions, and offer my take on what is really a very unique moment in human history. I can also see how every experience, good and bad, has been essential in making me the person I am today, which has led to both a degree of forgiveness for my past and a willingness to thoroughly embrace whatever comes next.
In what ways have you changed the most significantly through this journey?
I've become more confident, which is a result of having learned how to recognise, accept and celebrate all the different part of myself. This has been significant in so many ways– my work, family life, relationships. I no longer feel the same degree of anxiety I used to in any of these areas, which has been incredibly freeing and energising.
None! Life's too short.
Is there anything about your old life that you miss?
Working for myself is tiring and I'm always "on." I miss that Friday feeling of knowing I get to switch off for the weekend, as I'm not very good at actively planning time to step away from my laptop (which happens far less than I would like).
Fitness has always been important to you. How has cutting back on the booze impacted on your training?
If anything, I feel physically healthier overall – and so my workouts come with less of a "should" attached, which makes them more enjoyable. I also don't have any "off" days, meaning days when I just can't be bothered to move my body as I'm glued to the sofa nursing a hangover and feeling sorry for myself.
Do you feel fitter than you did before?
Yes, 100 per cent! But it's more just a sense of increased wellbeing overall. Not drinking means I sleep deeply and soundly every night, and eating mainly plant-based (I still eat cheese and have a piece of fish from time to time), my digestion has never been better. These factors combined mean I overall have more energy and vitality and feel healthier.
In your view, does a fit body mean a healthy mind, or is it the other way around?
My view is that it's all connected! Total wellbeing is a balance of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. But generally the better I feel in my body, I notice a dramatic improvement in my mental wellbeing. I'm more optimistic, confident, and have more emotional resilience.
Does the modern mystical world and the fitness world work together? If so, in what ways?
Yes, and there's a brilliant workout called The Class in NYC that is a perfect example of this – combining yogic breathing and shamanic techniques with hardcore cardio + body conditioning. People treat it like their church.
Can meditation and spiritual wellbeing improve one’s fitness?
In the sense that meditation and other spiritual practices can help you cut through the noise and tune in to what are the right choices for you, yes. I have become so much more aware of my body and what it needs, and also much clearer about what does NOT feel good to me – be that food and drink, workouts, or even mental patterns and habits. All of which have an impact on overall "fitness" or wellbeing.
How do you let off steam now you’ve given up the rave?
Well firstly, the "steam" doesn't really build up in the same way. Without the ups and downs that come with drinking, life is on more of an even keel. But, I'm also not 100% sober... I will have a beer every now and again...
So, what’s next?
I'm feeling pretty burnt out after launching a book while simultaneously juggling my other projects (as well as The Numinous, I also run sober curious event series Club SÖDA NYC and online mentoring program Moon Club) – and so I'm actively carving out some serious down time to bring the fun back into my life. I'm also really looking forward to my Numinous takeover of Obonjan August 19-24 - a music + wellness festival in Croatia.
Material Girl, Mystical World is out now.