Alex Naranjo and Marlene Vargas are co-founders of House of Intuition, who in addition to being business partners are also a couple, have a new book that just came out titled, Your Intuition Led You Here: Daily Rituals for Empowerment, Inner Knowing, and Magic. Here we talked about everything from ritual, to baths, to Catholicism, and how the real estate market crash in 2007 led them to a place beyond their wildest dreams.
I saw that HOI was born after seeing a tarot reader during an especially tough time in life. What has happened at the reading?
Marlene: In 2007, I lost my business, my home, and my car. Like the many others who were struggling financially and emotionally, I was in a very rough state of mind and felt disconnected from the world. Ultimately, when I lost my aunt in the same year, her death made me want to connect to the afterlife. I went to a tarot reader with the hope and desire to connect with my favorite aunt. Within the hour of that first tarot reading, I was transfixed, and to be honest, I began to view the time with that tarot reading as a lifeline and source of light.
After a handful of sessions, Alex and I both unknowingly embarked on a spiritual journey that started to rebuild our lives by laying down the foundational framework for House of Intuition. As someone raised in a religious household, I was always skeptical and scared of the neon lights that psychics and tarot readers used, and realized that instead of perpetuating that stereotype, I needed to be on the other side.
Even though we are not tarot readers or healers ourselves, we wanted to give back to the community who had helped us on the spiritual journey to becoming whole again. With a push from the tarot reader, I withdrew savings from my son’s college account and Alex sold off the last of her real estate to build the House of Intuition. (Editor’s note: In addition to hosting Zoom classes and workshops that focus on healing, transformation, and personal growth, HOI now has nine brick and mortar stores (eight in California and one in Miami) which sell everything from affirmation candles to crystals to bath and beauty products (and count Jessica Alba, Lena Dunham, Anne Hathaway, Lea Michele, Ariana Grande, and Jennifer Lopez among its clientele).
Q: What do you both love most about your work?
Alex: Providing spiritual inclusivity so that people can develop their own belief systems and discover the realm of metaphysics. I love sharing stories. In the book, I got to share my story growing up transgender for the first time and I just love that I can share my story and be an authentic voice. I just never heard stories like that growing up!
Marlene: Bringing magic into people’s lives and helping people discover how accessible it truly is when they start to listen. The book was a crazy cathartic experience for me because my life had more drama than a daytime talk show and like Alex, I never heard stories like mine as a child so it is especially rewarding to share our story together, as entrepreneurs, as partners, and as gay women.
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Q: Is there a certain misconception about HOI or about the metaphysical in general?
Marlene: The biggest misconception is that magic is evil. In the very beginning, I was terrified of just the word magic. Growing up I was taught that the only people that can do magic or have the power to energetically shift things in my life was a person who had this power or was initiated into a practice that gave them this power. At House of Intuition, we believe that you have the power to do it yourself and to not rely on anyone to do your magic or ritual practice for you.
Q: How have your backgrounds as Latinx people, as Catholics shaped what you do now?
Alex: As someone who identifies as gay and transgender, growing up in a Catholic home was not easy breezy, as you can imagine. As I got older, I began my spiritual journey to seek what felt right to me. As I continued on in my spiritual journey, I realized I didn’t have to fit into the box of Catholicism and even conform to one single belief system. I decided I would create my own spiritual tradition by taking things that resonated with me from many spiritual and religious practices. In our relationship, I was the one who brought magic to the table. Marlene had never seen candle burning or the other rituals I performed. She eventually warmed up to it but when I first set up my altar, I knew she did not understand, and that’s ok because she does now!
Marlene: My strong belief in God is something I learned in Catholic and Christian churches, which is the foundation of my faith. However, it is not all my faith. I have faith in myself that God exists within me and that I have the power to be good or bad, which keeps me accountable for my actions. My religious background served as the building blocks but my ritual practice is the continuation of how I build my temple within myself.
Q: What are your favorite ways to relax?
Marlene: To be able to quiet my mind really involves the senses. I take deep breaths. Also, visualization to relax and to see our heart pumping — to be able to release any negative feelings and self-doubt, fears, worries. Of course, we also love scents — essential oils, burning oils — and their power in being able to help quiet the mind. We take a lot of spiritual baths as well, that’s how we relax. So if we are feeling a little anxious or feeling a little bit of fear, we love to take baths to be able to calm ourselves.
Alex: Through rituals. I can’t say or share this enough. Rituals might look like using salt in the bathtub or jumping in the ocean to keep your aura clean. Think of rituals as preventive care that paves the way for magic to more easily enter your life.
That inner magic wants to rise to the surface and come out to play in all of our lives. The rituals simply provide us with a means to get closer to that magic so that we can listen to and trust ourselves and the universe more easily. Rituals provide a tactile, focused practice that draws our awareness to the fact that we are the powerful creators of our own lives. We share some of the most tried-and-true rituals in our book, such as my “Anxiety Bath” and a “Box Spell for Releasing and Letting Go” using everyday herbs and oils you can easily find.
Q: What are you excited about in the future both from a personal and professional standpoint?
Marlene: This changes every year because as we grow, new things come in. So as of right now, we are excited about our book, we’re excited about stepping into the shoes of an author, seeing what that brings us. Also how it shapes us and betters us to be able to professionally and spiritually — because now we get to share our stories and to connect with people in a different way — not just through our products. That’s pretty exciting.
Alex: I’m excited to be an author, I’m not going to lie. As the quiet one in the relationship, this was my favorite and most meaningful project. It has always been hard for me to express my feelings with my words through conversation. I found I was able to really express myself by putting the words down in the book. It was also quite healing for me and made me look deeper into myself.
Our book, Your Intuition Led You Here, came out on December 28, 2021. We have a pre-order bonus now for 3 free digital downloads which include our 2022 Astrology Forecast, 2022 horoscopes, How to Build a Spiritual Arsenal, mantras & more. You are going to love it!
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