COSMIC CONVERSATIONS with TENA of CELESTINE ELEVEN

Londoners, unite! You have trumped Sydney in the conscious, cosmic, shopping department, you win! I surrender!
This past November in the magic, wondrous land of London, I did my usually pilgrimage to all things health food related (hello, Planet Organic, WildFood Cafe, Nama, Daylesford Organic!) and then on the other end, all things esoteric and expansive. It says something that the Selfridges Christmas 2015 windows were themed to the cosmos and astrology, a Journey to the Stars, with a gift room, the Astro Lounge, piled high with crystal balls, astrological clutches and Spiritual books. This is where Celestine Eleven fits in. You could say she assisted in paving the way for this widespread London expansion, through her own shift in consciousness. 
An expertly curated wonderland of luxe, feel-good, conscious creations. This is where you come when you know seeing beauty to be profound in its heart-altering ways. Adorn yourself in jewels, strewn amongst the books on psychedelics, The Beatles, crystals, Tarot, mixed with tonic herbs, denim and artisanal clothing creations that would make your heart as expansive as a supernova. There is nothing wrong with adorning yourself here, you can be both awake and a lover of all things of beauty. Tena Strok is the mind behind this Shoreditch gem - she knows her stuff, and through her own practice she is assisting in facilitating a modern, luxe wake up call, holding events in their space, pop-up raw food cafes, meditations, yoga. You name it, they have it. Basically, if you live in London (or if not), add this to your to-do list. Right now. You will be $500 poorer but richer as a human, spiritual being.

Ondine: Where did the idea for Celestine Eleven come from?

Tena: It was probably born out of quite a radical shift in consciousness and that I went through personally, about five years ago. Through, learning about my mind/body dynamic, I kind of got interested into the whole holistic health side of things in quite a big way. Anyone that's been down that road can really empathise with the fact that once you are using those protocols and using those tools, you really can alter your state of consciousness quite dramatically.  I started to think about how, actually, luxury is more a state-of-mind than anything else. That was really where the idea for the store is born from this manifesto of luxury is actually a state-of-mind.
I started to correlate everything that I could think of that would contribute to a certain state-of-mind into a shift in consciousness, essentially. That's, obviously, where the idea for where the Apothecary came from with the herbs and supplements, the clothing, organic skin care which is a really big part of our product edit and, obviously, a really important part of our buying process, selling people things that aren't harmful to them which is, again, something that a lot of stores probably haven't even thought about.

O: I feel like once you're on the process to waking up or you've woken up, it's almost like your job to facilitate that and hold that space for other people to shift.
T: Absolutely, yeah. Anyone can relate to the fact that once you are learning new things and are really changing your life, you just want to tell people. This is kind of a really glorified way of being able to do that.

O: To share your knowledge and own personal experience...
T: Yeah. Now, a super important part of the store which is still in development hasn't really gone public but I can tell you because it's similar to the blog. We're starting something called Mystical Night School in 2016 which is basically going to be metaphysics/astrology...The two most ancient sciences known. We'll be doing a bunch of workshops and talks and rituals and things on probably a monthly and weekly basis.  We've been dabbling in that in that we've hired the space to many practitioners. We've done everything from sound births to tarot sessions, we do yoga twice a week down there. 

O: So you've been holding an incredible space for many people to come together?
T: Yeah, exactly. We just haven't done it ourselves. We have this space. You can come in and do what you like, and we just hide out. From next year with the Mystical Night School, it's going to be more Celestine lead. It's going to be really things that we believe in and that's on-brand with us because a lot of the New Age stuff can also get very "New Age-y" in a fairy way.

O: Yeah. It's like crushed purple velvet table cloths...
T: Exactly! Yeah. It's cool. It's nice that there's some of these ideas going mainstream because people like transformational stuff. Going back to the workshops, we had a facilitator do a Spirit Animal Meditation and here and its cool and fun but, its not...

O: It's not giving you the tools to actually expand, so often we're just told by some teachers what we should be feeling rather than actually being given the authentic spiritual tools and wisdom to assist on your own unique path. Everyone is different and every Spiritual path should be treated as such.
T: This is the thing; Thor and I kind of thought we need to offer people actual wisdom if we have the means. Both of us respectively have contacts in that world whether it's … Thor kind of knows an astrologer. I have a contact, Daniel Pinchbeck. He's a big pioneer and author of Psychedelics and essentially how they can affect consciousness. These people are kind of discussing real ideas and methods.

O: It is a lot deeper than just the visual side of it.
T: Do you know what I mean, yeah? It also goes beyond the fun side of the spiritual, New Age thing.

O: We've often discussed having grown up in this world. Our mum does this type of work, and she's amazing. She came from the deeply spiritual Mapuche people of Chile, but her dad was a New Yorker. When you're dealing with spiritual work, the opening into spirituality and transformation, it's actually hard work. 
T: It's lots of work.

O: As much as we all love a good crystal, don't get me wrong, we have to ground these ideas. We have to ground spirituality so that people understand this is not play. It can't be play all the time. It's not easy. It's not going to be like "going with the flow". There's going to be turmoil. There's going to be work and work in the darkest parts of your life. People aren't willing necessarily … they like the visual side of it.
T: They like the superficial side of it because apparently, unfortunately, a lot of people are still functioning on a very superficial level of consciousness. That's kind of the whole problem with everything. One of the issues, is that people have kind of been drawn to the whole New Age thing because of …

O: Looks.
T: Completely, yeah. Everyone kind of goes at their own rate. What we want to offer here is just the tools for people that potentially might want to go a bit deeper to start experimenting with that consciousness.

O: For a lot of people, it might start as a superficial thing. That might be the little switch that turns, and then they realize that there is something more to it. My other question was about the 'Eleven'. What's the meaning of 'Eleven' for you?
T: I read The Celestine Prophecy, and that's where I took the ‘Celestine’ part for the name from. I took some time out before we founded the company. Actually, it was that kind of time where we're all like, "Am I really going to do this?" I took a month and I went to New York. While I was there, I had a dream about a spinning wheel. There was a ball spinning on it. It was kind of like a gambling wheel. It landed on a number 11, and I woke up. I was like, "Oh, my god. That's the name." 

O: My sister and I both have tattoos of the number 22 on our arms as in the divine feminine. Knowing the 11 being the masculine … that was what drew us to it as well. We were like it's so interesting to have this thread.
T: Eleven is also apparently like the awakening codes. One also signifies new beginnings. The double one is very much like a new dawn, obviously a shift in consciousness, like a new era, essentially. That was a huge appeal because that really was like this intrinsic fit with the concept for the store. 

O: I wanted to ask about … I know you said with these nights, you're looking at all of the sciences. What's your thoughts on alchemy? Do you know much about alchemy?
T: I know that it means transformation. I feel like it's such a huge part of our day-to-day lives. Obviously, transformation is probably the most powerful thing that we can go through as individuals. I feel it has a big part to play in any kind of awakening process because essentially as you begin to awake, you begin to transform.

O: I'm always interested to hear how people uniquely define Alchemy. The reason I call my blog The Alchemists is because I wanted to create a space for people who are modern-day alchemists to come together, to talk, to impart wisdom on each other. For me, what you're offering to people is alchemy because you've not only shifted yourself and created alchemy on a personal level, but you've also facilitated the space for other people. I'm always interested in different definitions of alchemy because I think it's subjective, and it's nice to think of a modern-day alchemy where it's completely subverted and it's something new. This, to me, is alchemy, everything we've created. You're creating gold in this amazing space.
T: That's such a nice way to put it. We put a lot of thought into how it would look. That's so important because I think we're such visual creatures. It's just such an important part for how we perceive the world.

O: A lot of the time, often in the spiritual community, people want to forget about the vanity aspect of it. Beauty is so important.This is completely in line of wanting to embody that beauty and wanting to have lovely clothes and experience that luxury as a mind-set. I feel like it's necessary. You can't write it off.

O: If you had a moment when the whole world was listening to you, what would you say? 
T: I actually would say that consciousness is the key. That's it. That's literally it. That, is what we're trying to do here and what we're trying to inform people in. That's what I would say because in my own life, the most transformative moments have been where I've managed to attain a different level of consciousness. That's been the most transformative thing because consciousness is essentially what we are. It doesn't matter really where we are or who we're with. We're always within ourselves. If you can alter how you feel within yourself, nothing else is really relevant.