Why is LA all Namaste?

I just started watching the fascinating documentary “Wild Wild Country” on Netflix and remembered one of my favorite stories I worked on this year: a big story about LA’s spirituality (for the February issue of Gloria Glam).  When I moved to Los Angeles I was amazed to discover that everyone there seems to practice yoga, has an acupuncturist and a reiki healer, an astrologist and a crystal healer. It is normal for people to bring bundles of sage (instead of soap) to your new home and gift you treatments with their shamans for your birthday. Psychic readers have shops at every corner, and so do yoga studios. This is the city of Moon Juice and its “Sex Dust” and “Brain Dust”, sound baths, yoga on the beach, in the park, on the water, or smoked up.

I though that it was the hippies who brought spirituality to LA in the ‘60’s, but I learned that this La attracted spiritual people since its very beginnings: the Theosophist Society found its home here in 1914, as did the Foursquare Church. Angelinos went so cuckoo for spiritualism that in 1920’s LAPD had a special task force dealing with crimes connected with the occult. This was the time when gurus from India arrived to the West coast where they were given big pieces of land by their rich followers to built magnificent temples such as the Self-realization Fellowship. Did you know Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe practiced yoga? During the 1960’s 140 followers (all dressed in white!) of the Source Family cult lived (and meditated, went into trance, had sex, had babies and recorded rock albums) in a mansion in Beverly Hills. Their leader Father Yod was driving around LA in a white Rolls Royce and opened the first macrobiotic restaurant on Sunset, just a stone drop from the legendary hotel Château Marmont. The restaurant soon became frequented by young Hollywood stars like Diane Keaton and Woody Allen (do watch the great documentary on The Source Family!).

Today the spiritual became mainstream. Partially thanks to the stars: we all know about Madonna and Kabbalah, Goldie Hawn and meditation, Justin Bieber and his priest, Gwyneth and her vaginal steaming, Sting and yoga, Katie Hudson and crystals. Why this is so I asked some amazing ladies: lovely Melinda Lee Holm, who reads tarot cards and creates jewelry to support her client in whatever they are facing. Wonderful Ambi Kavanaugh who coaches her clients through astrology and reiki but also does amazing sound baths. Angie Banicki, tarot reader to the stars; Katie Menzella, a crystal healer; Robin who owns Robinarium, the legendary West Hollywood crystal store to rich and famous. And they all told me the same thing: it’s the powerful energetic vortexes that Los Angeles is situated on that make life in LA very intense and force us to turn not only inwards but also towards the “higher powers”. It definitely is a very intense city.  Namaste.

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