Natalia Benson was destined to guide people to their best selves. Before her current life as an astrologer and women's empowerment coach, the Arizona native designed esoteric adornments as a jewelry designer, led relaxing flow sessions as a Kundalini yoga teacher, and powered dance parties at Coachella and Lightning in a Bottle as a DJ. (Fun fact: This editor first met Benson during her jeweler days.)
Now, the L.A.- and Palm Springs-based modern mystic is adding a few more titles to her resume: Author and Oracle Deck creator. In February, Benson released her first book, Mystical AF ($33), an 80-page memoir inspired by her natal chart. Available in hard copy and audio form, the tome shares Benson's life lessons learned during her journey from addiction and lack of self-respect to finding self-love, spirituality, and success.
"It's a memoir about my 20s and how I've created myself out of challenges and the willingness to grow," Benson tells UncoverLA. "It took me about a year to write; it's only 80 pages. You will not see a 7,000-page manuscript — it's very bite-sized quality-over-quantity information, as will all of my books be."
Her new Oracle Deck ($44) is a set of spiritual tools that guide users with her cosmic wisdom (and humor) and available in her app ($11 per month). Expect cards that reveal daily mindset reminders, morning rituals, exclusive horoscopes and astrology reports, and more (it's also available in app form). The inspiring products join the L.A. creative's other offerings of online workshops on self-love, manifesting, and her best-selling Money Magic courses.
Benson's own journey wasn't always so magical and crystal-clear. "About 10 years ago was kind of the first birthing when I let go of substances and alcohol. I either had the choice to move to New York and design, or stay in L.A. and do yoga teacher training," she tells UncoverLA.
Clearly, she stuck with the West Coast. We recently caught up with the L.A.-based empowerment coach and sat down for a candid conversation on life, money, mental health, and more. Read on below, and learn more about Natalia's workshops, podcasts, coaching, and more here.
I first met you in 2014 in my own former life as an editor at Racked L.A., where I covered your jewelry line. What was your adult life like leading up to that point?
When I met you I was still wildly insecure, but I wasn't doing drugs anymore. In my early 20s, I was addicted to alcohol and substances and ironically I had a bit of mystical experience. I quit cocaine cold turkey because of something that happened to me.
From there I had been doing jewelry. In 2010… I started my first [Kundalini yoga teacher] training. Through my 20s I really struggled with self-worth. I had really unhealthy relationships with men. But all of these things is what made me study ancient mystical practices so deeply. I had so many unsatisfactory parts of my life I wanted to know why [and thought], "Can I find a solution in my spirit?"
When and how did you know that you had a knack for coaching women?
For the last 10 years, I was doing tarot and private astrology readings. I read tarot at Petit Ermitage for two years. I was working for a small agency doing social media stuff. I told myself, "This is not it for me, I feel like I'm not living up to my potential." And then I had a random thought: "What about [being] a life coach?" I was already using the mediums of astrology and tarot. It's really similar: You're meeting people where they are, you're helping to guide them to mystical and cosmic health. It was a natural process. I never thought that it would all lead to this.
What have been some of the most powerful lessons you've learned on your path to success?
I had a real lack of self-love and self-respect. That is something that I have really put myself through the wringer. There were many times where I contemplated suicide because I was so unhappy in my early 20s. I thought, "What is joy?" Now I know what joy is. if I can go from saying, "I have no idea," to knowing it, then anyone really can change if they're committed to exploring themselves and finding inner joy.
That being said, I don't think there's one size fits all [solution]. But if you stay committed to truly wanting joy and happiness, you will find it. I am an example of someone who has moved through so much self-inflicted darkness.
What are the most rewarding aspects of what you do?
The best thing — and this still holds true — is it's such a blessing to hear that I've helped someone source their own power and find their purpose. Now that I do group programs it's beautiful to hear the echoes of what my students now say which is very similar to the women astrology, charts, natal charts that I'd read. That "Ah, I can do this" [realization] and just feeling found and centered to take [on any] challenge.
Given the pandemic and everything else happening right now, mental health and stability are probably at the top of everyone's minds. What's your top advice for those aspects of life?
I have a deep space in my heart for where so many people find themselves right now. The irony is that we are always living in an unknown, we just think we're not. We think we have some semblance of control. The truth of it is we get to meet parts of ourselves [during these challenges].
Number one is to know that you're not alone; that's the biggest thing that helped me during [my struggles.] I had some grateful experiences that I wasn't alone in the world, there were people that cared, even when someone would smile at me. I used to be very depressed — I know how deep and dark we can go as human beings. Sometimes just understanding that there's light at the end of a dark night. It's always dark just before the dawn.
What are some tools and practices that you suggest for people who are struggling financially or emotionally right now?
We all have inner guidance system, we have gotten really good at ignoring it. I think that whatever you feel called to explore or do or try, listen to that. It's what we do within our challenges that really set us up for a magnificent experience, and these are the times of challenge where we get tested. Create ways of solace in the moment. To look forward can be anxiety-inducing, so get your power situated in the moment.[When you're ready], one exercise is to write where you want to be a year from now. It gives you this energy of hope and optimism and reminds you that you do have a hand in your life. You get to decide how you feel right now, are you going to let anxiety and fear take over or are you going to take control?
It's not easy. I'm offering it because these are tools that helped me. I think this it's a great time for learning or just creating some skills that you're passionate about. Many people are losing their jobs and instead of looking at that as the end, it could also be a new beginning. Every cycle must have an ending so that something new can begin.
You're also known for your Money Magic courses that help people take control over their financial future. Can you give us a little taste of what it's all about?
A lot of it has to do with first off, having some gratitude for the intangible. We always have something to be grateful for: Our health, that we have a home, or that our kids are healthy.
On the practical side, I am really passionate about teaching women how to create their own revenue streams. Money is an energy. Something we can do is to tap into our own energy and things that we are passionate about. Look at what you love, what you're passionate about, maybe [talents or skills] that you've ignored, and add more value to yourself and monetize is.
A third thing is to bring your skills online. Find ways to serve people and businesses with free offerings, and then have something that you can set up — a Squarespace site, for example — where people can buy things from you. I know it's a huge one size fits all [answer], but each person has to find their own thing relating to it. I just want people to know that if there's a will, there's a way.
There is a way; my journey has really been about monetizing the intangible and creating streams of income by doing things that I love. Whatever you're passionate about, you can find new ways to open new streams of revenue by tapping into your natural energy.
There's a little bit of woo-woo with the gratitude — but open the bank account, say thank you, and see bigger numbers in your mind's eye.
This is so inspiring! So what's next for you now?
I'm going to start writing my next book at the end of June, I'm going to have a free event really angled for women in their 20s, just to have a roundtable and come together. I want to hear from them directly and what they're going through. My 20s were really hard for me, so I really am passionate about helping women in that age.
Lastly, how are you staying grounded?
I have a daily meditation and yoga practice. I love doing morning rituals, before I check my emails or start working, I do something for myself. I drink a lot of water; at least 100 ounces a day. Right now…sometimes it'll just be exercise or prayer, I'll build a little space right now
I am starting a course on past life regressions, and I love to take Epsom salts baths. I love to study, I'm reading a book called "Happy Pocket Full of Money," which is all about quantum energy and money.