Sunday, June 16, 2024

How this couple used magic to build a business empire

Alex Naranjo and Marlene Vargas, founders of House of Intuition and co-authors of a new book, reveal how the secret to their success is spiritual.

The “accidental” spiritualists found each other, their paths in life, and their purpose connecting to the lives of others simply by tuning into their metaphysical powers — powers that we all have. Together they run House of Intuition in nine California locations. Now, they have written a book titled Your Intuition Led You Here: Daily Rituals For Empowerment, Inner Knowing, And Magic. The book tells the story of how they met, how they started the business, and what obstacles lay in their way and how they overcame these to the transform their lives and the lives of others, energetically.

Let’s face it: Life doesn’t seem very magical lately. In fact, it seems downright tragic at times. But Alex, 54 and transgender, and Marlene, 50, cisgender, point out that there really is no ideal time to summon your spiritual guides. In fact, it’s when times are toughest that our connection to metaphysical powers may be strongest — whether that’s a global financial crisis or a global pandemic. So we caught up with the partners and co-authors to find out a little more about what led them here.

Alex Naranjo and Marlene Vargas

When you wrote this book did you have any sense of how large the calamity of the pandemic would be? A lot of the context for it is the 2007/8 Great Recession.

Marlene: When the pandemic happened, we had to make so many changes and decisions rapidly — that was very scary. However, the energy was very familiar to the energy that we were in when building the House of Intuition back in 2010. So in regards to writing the book, it did help us tap back into how we felt during that previous period of uncertainty and pull from those emotions that we felt during the recession and the strength we learned. Alex and I thrive in situations that challenge us. Although it was a very difficult time — and continues to be challenging as we adapt to it — we have learned so much. We were also able to make many positive changes within the company, with the help of our staff, that have strengthened HOI in many ways.

How have you adapted and learned during this really difficult time? 

Marlene:  Since our stores were closed for a few months during the pandemic, we shifted focus and energy to our social media presence to remain connected to the community. As a healing center and a sacred space for many, we had to find ways to be able to communicate with our following and continue to guide others through social media outlets, in order to transcend physical limitations. So we moved our classes to zoom, demonstrated live tutorials on magic, crystals and astrology, and communicated via more emails and SMS texting. All of these advancements came out from the pandemic and we continue to do them to this day for our community.

Alex:  We learned to be fluid, move and pivoted as each challenge came.  In business you have to be ready to make any necessary changes to remain on course to your mission. We are here to serve and empower others. Our community needed us just as much as we needed them, so the more we stayed connected – the stronger we felt that we would make it through this pandemic. 

And what did you notice shifted metaphysically?  

Marlene:  When trauma, sadness or unexpected tragedies happen, people tend to lean towards their faith and are more open to trying things such as magic, tarot readings, or anything metaphysical. Because the community is currently tapping into their vulnerability and intuition, we have had increased engagement in our industry. It is less seen as taboo, unfamiliar, scary — and now more what some would call a new religion and spirituality. 

Where are you both based currently and do you feel the pandemic has changed our sense of place, the magic or certain places, or is this something that can be overcome with spiritual beliefs?

Alex:  We are in Duarte, a city right outside of Los Angeles, California. We feel that through darkness the light will eventually shine through. When the darkness comes, it is a time of change but also a chance to make things better than before. Although we all have our own personal pandemic stories of loss, we also have stories of many positive changes that have happened and are going to happen in the future from the impact of Covid. The nature of life shows us that this is temporary and things will get better. Yes, we do feel the pandemic has changed us forever, but that does not mean it is a negative change — we retain the hope that it will be a positive and expansive one. So, we are excited to see how we evolve from this challenging period together.

Marlene, in the opening story you tell of how your life fell apart through your partner’s betrayal — and that was only the beginning of several losses. For many of us, those types of traumas make it hard for us to be open and trust again. Your advice for those of us who have been deeply hurt by another?

Marlene:  My first advice would be to tell you to only trust yourself. I say that because you can only control your own behavior and not others. Don’t have an expectation that someone would not hurt or deceive you. We are all human and we sometimes make decisions that can hurt and impact others. Learn to strengthen and listen to your intuition and inner voice, so you can see and feel when something doesn’t feel right or is energetically not good for you. I also want to point out that although someone in your future may present themselves to you and betray your trust again — it is another opportunity for personal growth and to recognize a shift of perception and the power of how one can understand situations that present themselves.  

I was able to overcome my hurt by realizing that my ex gave me the opportunity to evolve and be a better version of myself. She released me from a life that was no longer serving my Highest Good. Don’t allow that experience to hold you prisoner and live in fear of being hurt. Challenge yourself and know you deserve better than your past. Your future is definitely brighter if you can embrace it and move forward.  

Do you believe in love at first sight and what is its purpose? The ping. Is it ever wrong? Can it be a red flag? What feelings should we look for in the ping?

Alex: Yes, we believe that it is possible to find love at first sight, and yes we also believe you can mistakenly feel that something is right for you that is completely wrong. However, we also feel that what we call wrong is a lesson that you needed to learn. So overall there is no solid answer that is encompassing to everyone on what the ping feels like. You have to again strengthen your intuition and know how to interpret your inner voice. So, you won’t bring forth those hard lessons by falling in love with someone that is completely wrong for you. What we have seen is there is a lot of wrong love that appears, until we have learned the lesson of what isn’t good for us – to prepare for the one that is.  Life is all about learning and growth in all aspects of ourselves. So love and a partner is no exception.   

Alex, can you elaborate a little on why you think transgender and gender non-conforming people might have a unique insight into the metaphysical?

Alex: believe that there is a parallel ideology between transgender/gender non-conforming and the metaphysical/spirituality wherein one has to learn to let go. It is a method of releasing ourselves from damaging religious and gender norms along with the institutional expectations that bind us and restrict us from being free. Spirituality frequently entails the process and practice of letting go of misconceptions about God, the Bible, church, family, sexuality, and our own bodies. In my opinion, honoring and understanding that our personal experiences and our intuition are sources of revelation, and can be trusted to guide us to the Divine is a highly significant aspect of any spiritual practice. 

We have discussed the recent upheaval and let’s hope it is coming to an end and we are able to travel. Do you both believe in magical places and if so, what are some of the regions or cities that you believe have a special energy or spirit?  

Marlene: We do feel some parts of the world have higher or lower vibrations than others. Overall we feel areas that have a body of water or filled with nature can have a magical effect on how we feel. Also, the energetic history of what a space or place has encountered can also have a high or low vibrational impact of spirits or energy that can be felt. When exploring a destination be open to its beauty and be present in the moment to receive the magic Mother Earth has to offer. Explore freely and have your own experiences with everything you do.  

How will you be spending the Holidays?  

Marlene:  Alex and I spend Christmas Eve with my family here in LA and then we leave for Colombia to spend Christmas Day and New Years with her family. In Colombia, the New Year is very big within the culture and also in the metaphysical world. So needless to say, we will be in deep ritual, as well as setting our intentions for the Year and reflecting on the past year’s accomplishments. 

What do you feel lies ahead for us all in 2022? Can you give Queer Forty readers a brief reading, any advice, or a simple ritual for the new year?

Alex:  A stronger connection with others and self. The isolation and devastation that we all have experienced in the last 2 years has given many of us the desire to build stronger relationships and bonds with others. We look forward to seeing more of this in 2022 as we come further out of the darkness that we have endured.  

Marlene: Vision boards are a great way to start the new year. They are very simple to create and a lot of fun. It may sound somewhat cliche or basic, however they really do work. It is manifesting at its best. They are a way to tap into your deepest desires and bring them into fruition. Once completed, they are a powerful source of motivation and a great reminder to keep reaching for those hopes and dreams one is striving to achieve.

Live a more magical life! Shop House of Intuition here. Your Intuition Led You Here: Daily Rituals For Empowerment, Inner Knowing, And Magic is out now!

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Merryn Johns

Merryn Johns is the Editor-in-Chief of Queer Forty. She is an award-winning journalist, as well as a broadcaster and public speaker. Originally from Sydney, Australia where she began her career in journalism in the 1990s, she is based in New York City where she became the editor-in-chief of Curve Magazine and wrote for a variety of publications including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Slate, and more. Follow on Twitter at @Merryn1

Merryn Johns has 141 posts and counting. See all posts by Merryn Johns

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