The Journey of Arthur Graye & GreenMan Studios
The Journey of Arthur Graye & GreenMan Studios
Dallas Yoga Magazine is honored to have Arthur Graye share his experience and journey with us in the yoga and holistic community. He is an Artist, Writer, Teacher, Reader and Healer. He owns GreenMan Studios and creates beautiful artwork, photography and malas. We know our readers will enjoy his inspiring story as much as we have! Check out their booth at the Cosmic Yogi Festival on 4/20!
DYM: How long have you been in the DFW Metroplex?
Arthur: I was actually born in Irving, Texas and grew up in Lewisville, so I am a true Texas Native. (Laughing)
DYM: Share with us a little bit about your upbringing and background.
Arthur: I was born into a very conservative Christian fundamentalist family. My whole family was like fourth generation Nazarene and pretty strict. I went to Southern Baptist school for most of my life. My great grandparents were extremely religious. They didn’t believe in TV or radio or anything like that. Visiting their house was like visiting a different planet. My grandmother never cut her hair and she never wore anything but long dresses. I remember I was looking through photo albums once and found a picture of her in riding breeches sitting side saddle on a horse and she was so embarrassed. My home life with my parents was still very conservative but nothing like that. We had a television and watched movies and such, but I was still very sheltered and we went to church three to four times a week. I got a head start on education due to the accelerated program in the private school I attended. I am thankful for that, but as we got older the indoctrination into the Southern Baptist mentality really began to grate against my inherent knowing that there was more to the world than the box of Christianity. I am thankful that my mother was a “bra burning hippie” before they found religion in their early 20’s. I have always felt it was her understanding that helped me make it through my childhood.
DYM: You are the owner of the GreenMan Studios, explain what GreenMan Studios offers. Arthur: The GreenMan Studios is a metaphysical business that offers everything from Handmade jewelry and spiritual tools- prayer beads and such- to Meditation, Yoga, Reiki and Tarot classes. I do a little bit of everything and we are always growing and expanding. I try not to keep my business model in a box- new is good!
DYM: Why did you start GreenMan Studios and with whom?
Arthur: I started the GreenMan Studios on my own in 2010 in an attempt to give people the tools and information to help them on whatever spiritual path they happened to be on. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine arts in Studio Photography in 2009 and I had been struggling with creating a wedding photography business. I finally decided that I was not happy at all trying to do this and I felt guided to create something a little more my speed. The GreenMan is the god of the forest and I have always been intrigued by him and consider him to be one of my guides or Patron deities, if you will. To me, he stands for the natural world and what we can gain from realizing that we are a part of it. Today’s society would have us believe that we stand separate from it, but no matter what we do- it is where we came from and it is where we will return. The GreenMan Studios is my passion. I am lucky enough to have had the opportunities over the years to work and learn from some really great people and the opportunities for growth have been phenomenal, especially in the last six months when I was able to go full time with it.
DYM: That’s awesome! Your background in dogmatic religion is very different from your belief system and spirituality today. Can you share with us your journey into your personal spirituality today?
Arthur: Spirituality and Metaphysics to me is really just the laws of the natural world that our science has not come to understand as of yet. I have always been a little more “in tune” with things than most people and even from a very young age I knew that dogmatic religion was not for me. I would consistently get in trouble for raising questions and challenging the church authorities until I learned it was easier to just keep quiet and bide my time. I have also known that I was gay since I was 11 years old and I kept it as a secret- a necessity for survival in that environment- until I was 17. I got very good at keeping my mouth shut, but that did not by ANY means, mean I didn’t have my own opinions and thoughts and ideas. We had a huge change in our family when I was 17 due to a domestic violence situation and I decided that I didn’t have to hide who I was anymore. At that point, I came out of the closet as Gay and Pagan. I studied Wicca for a few years until I realized that many parts of that religion are just as confining as traditional Christianity. I am glad it works for some people and I do think that all paths (traditional and non-traditional) have beauty to them, but it didn’t take me long to branch out and start collecting my own beliefs and forming my own system. There was a point in my early 20’s where I had no control of my “talents” and that, coupled with everything going on in my personal life such as school stresses caused me to question my sanity a bit. This was a pretty dark time for me, and I began using recreational drugs in order to shut up my empathy and stop the voices in my head. It wasn’t until 2003 when I met my husband that I was able to embrace my talents and eventually fine tune them through learning to read the Tarot around 2008. I consider myself lucky to have had all of the experiences- good and difficult- that I have had because I believe it is these very experiences which allow me to connect to my clients and help them through the troubles they might be having in their own lives. All of my experiences have led me to pull from many different schools of magic and belief systems from different cultures and from all over the world. I don’t subscribe to just one theology. I believe that true spirituality comes from within each one of us and we have to use whatever tools and talents we have in order to fully develop our own belief system. What works for some, might not work for others and it is imperative that we listen to our own intuition and guidance to find what is right for us.
DYM: WOW! Your journey is very interesting. Many consider you a healer. Will you explain your gifts and share some examples with our readers?
Arthur: My healing tendencies started with my childhood. My mother has always had a passion for animals and our house was the house where the entire neighborhood would bring any sick animals or other wild things they would find. I grew up nursing baby birds and bunnies back to health. We raised rabbits and sold them for pets and my fav thing to do as a child was to take all of the bunnies and put them in a pen in the back yard and lay in the grass with them and read my books. Animals always understood me better than the people I was around, so they were my main companions as I grew up. As I made my way into adulthood and began to find more people that were going through the same things that I had gone through I began to realize that I truly did have quite a bit of compassion for other humans- not just animals. (Laughing) It was around the time I was 20 that I heard of Reiki for the first time, but I didn’t have the opportunity to pursue it until almost a decade later. This was my starting point in 2009 and I realized I loved helping people heal on an energetic and emotional level. It wasn’t long until I started using herbs to make products for physical healing as well.
DYM: You have many certifications in healing. What are they and what inspired you to get educated more in those particular areas?
Arthur: When I first started delving into metaphysics as an adult, I simply did everything that I could do. I was interested in all of it and I took every class and every seminar and workshop that I possibly could. Many of them were obviously not for me and I never went back to them, but I was fortunate, and I found quite a few things that did resonate with me- at least for a time. I have taken many certification courses including Usui, Holy Fire and Karuna Reiki, Basic and Advanced Theta Healing, The Oneness Blessing, a modality called Galactic Healing, and many years of Crystal Healing. I am also a 500 hour certified yoga instructor. These are just the things that interested me. I am a HUGE proponent of following your intuition. If it feels right in your gut, do it. If it doesn’t feel right in your gut, pass it up. Hands down. That is the way I have lived my life for the last decade, and it seems to be working out very well.
DYM: We never knew you were a yoga teacher! 500 hours is a lot…you constantly amaze us. When did you know you had a special gift of healing others?
Arthur: Being super emotionally and psychically sensitive, my childhood was not an easy place or time for me to be in. Until I was 13, I was an emotional basketcase. At that time, I developed a big persona and I was loud and sarcastic and, honestly, a little mean. This was a total self-defense mechanism and it was very useful in getting the other kids- and some adults- off of my case. I was a little fearless after discovering this and I would hold nothing back. My sensitivity seemed to give me an edge where I could zero in on what was going to be the most efficient way to put up my offense and in effect, defend myself. People don’t like it much when you know their secrets and as I grew into a teenager, I began to make some real friends and realized that this innate knowing I had could be used for good, instead of just defending myself from people who were being bullies. I can remember kind of counseling my friends from the time I was 14 and on. I think this was when I realized it felt good to help people and do something good for them. Before all of the Christian policies of “helping others” and “being kind” and such, had been tainted by the hypocrisy I had experienced and related to the religion. Making my own version of kindness and morality became very important to me as a teen and continues to grow throughout my adulthood. It wasn’t until much later I began to become interested in using energy work as a healing modality. Another memory I have of my childhood is I was always in the backyard making mud pies and playing with plants- drying them out and making powders and such. I find it interesting that such a large part of my adult life is doing the same- making concoctions with oils and plants in order to create healing herbal products.
DYM: You also offer Spiritual Counseling. Can you explain the different ways you do this?
Arthur: I have been seeing clients now for over a decade. Whether this is for my Intuitive Reading Sessions, Healing Sessions or my Spiritual Counseling Sessions, I have a lot of people who come to me for some sort of guidance and I am so very thankful for these opportunities. A lot of times my sessions bleed into each other. A client might approach me because of a recurring dream, a heaviness that they can’t shake or odd psychic phenomena that they are experiencing. I usually sit them down and talk it out with them. Many people just need to tell their story to someone who does not think that they are out of their mind. There are so many different strange, scary and exciting experiences people have on a daily basis and many times they don’t know or are scared of what to do about them. A lot of times they are just looking for validation and someone else who understands. This is where I come in. My spiritual counseling sessions usually involve a tarot reading just to see what is going on, a LOT of honest conversation and might end in an energy healing session or something else. It is very different for each individual and I am very glad I have the life experience and the intuitive sense to help the clients who come to me.
DYM: What would you say to someone who was not open to using tarot, oracle cards etc. and how would you explain their purpose?
Arthur: This is a big question because even though it is becoming more and more mainstream, there are still HUGE taboos about the tarot. I think if you partake in magical practices, then the tarot can be a very magical tool. If you don’t practice magic, then the tarot can be used as a FANTASTIC tool to connect with your angels, your guides, God, the universe or even just your own intuition. I even have some prominent psychologist friends who use them as a tool to help people work out their own psychological issues.
DYM: Why do you think people sometimes are afraid to ask or try the more non-traditional paths such as cards?
Arthur: Honestly, I believe that restrictive Christian religious morals are so ingrained in the foundation of our country that it bleeds through into our daily life without us even realizing it. I think that as we move forward into the coming years, we will continue to open up more to these “alternative” paths. The last decade has seen LEAPS AND BOUNDS in this area, and I believe it will continue to happen exponentially. I believe we are opening up more to these things because we are realizing a lot of the “answers” we currently have are not really working.
DYM: That is so true. Will you explain the difference between Tarot cards and Oracle cards for those who don’t know?
Arthur: The Origin of the Tarot is somewhat of a mystery. There are rumors that they come from ancient Egypt, but in my opinion, those are just rumors. We actually have historical proof that there were fortune telling cards in use in Italy in the 14th century and this is most likely where tarot comes from. There is a messy and sordid history behind the tarot. In the mid 1900’s there was a group of people who called themselves the Golden Dawn. This group included Aleister Crowley and Arthur Edward Waite. These are very prominent names in the metaphysical community. These two had very differing views on what the tarot should be. Waite wanted the cards to be easily accessible to the public and Crowley wanted them to remain esoteric. The result of this conflict was the Ryder Waite deck (Waite) and the Thoth Deck (Crowley). The Waite deck is considered the standard and has been largely used by the public since its birth. The main difference between Tarot and Oracle is the structure. Tarot is very structured and Oracle decks have no set structure. Oracle decks are usually a series of artwork that are made around a central theme and are used in their own way for divination. Tarot has rules. The way I read and teach people to read means a lot of times these rules get broken. (Laughing)
DYM: Interesting. You also use Lenormand cards. Can you explain what those are and how you use them?
Arthur: Lenormand Cards are very interesting fortune telling cards and are named after Marie Lenormand, the Oracle of Paris in the 1700’s. They are a system of 36 cards that give very direct and accurate information. The draw of the Lenormand is they are extremely factual and rely less on intuition, although the readers intuition is a factor, of course. Another intriguing thing about the Lenormand is once you learn all of the cards and the way they interact with each other, you can lay out all 36 cards and the client can ask as many questions that they want and they can all be answered from that one layout.
DYM: That sounds awesome…we will have to try those cards. This might sound like an odd question, but how do you know what cards to use with each person?
Arthur: I don’t think it’s an odd question at all. Tarot is my chosen tool. I have three or four decks that I will choose between (although together, my husband and I own over 500 decks) but I usually use the Juvel Mor Tarot, since I created it myself and it has special meaning to me. My husband is the Lenormand Guy and he rarely uses tarot in his professional readings.
DYM: You created special cards called “The Juvel Mor Tarot” and they were gorgeous! Did you draw them yourself?
Arthur: The Juvel Mor Tarot is the product of a collaboration between myself and my friend Matt Gatlin. Matt is a very talented artist with some very difficult challenges- MS and Epilepsy. We took about three years of going back and forth- probably about five times for each card- and deciding what we wanted them to look like. I told him what I wanted, and he did an amazing job of drawing it out. Then some color matching and digital editing on my side to get them publisher ready and VOILA! We had a deck.
DYM: These cards were very important to you, will you share why with our readers?
Arthur: The Juvel Mor was and is a complete labor of love. It is dedicated to my co-collaborators mother who passed away a few years ago, but more than that the name is dutch for Jewel Mother and the deck is a nod to all the mothers and mother-like caregivers who have ever had the pleasure and heartbreak of raising a child or caring for one as if it were their own. The Juvel Mor is a completely intuitive tarot deck and spans many different cultures and time periods.
DYM: You have incredible Malas…some of the nicest I’ve ever seen. Can you explain what malas are for people who don’t know?
Arthur: The main complaint I hear from my clients when I inevitably suggest that they start a meditation practice is that they can’t clear their mind. Monkey Mind is what we call it and it is a SERIOUS problem in this day and age. This is when I suggest Mantra Meditation because when you use a mantra (a specific saying that is repeated over and over) it gives your monkey mind something to hold on to instead of wondering what you need to buy at the grocery store later that day. (Smiling) An important part of mantra meditation is the use of a mala. A mala is a numbered string of beads that are used to keep track of your mantras when you are practicing mantra meditation. The GreenMan Studios is pretty much based off of my malas. They were the first thing I started making and they are my passion. I hand tie each one in the traditional hindu method and I charge them all with Reiki. I make three different sizes- 108 (traditional), 54 and 27(both multiples of 108- an extremely spiritual number in many cultures). I make my malas out of all kinds of different crystals and woods and they can be used as both decoration of your person or as a sacred object. I love teaching people mantra meditation and how to use a mala.
DYM: What inspired you to create malas?
Arthur: This is a funny story. I bought a mala when I was a manager at a retail store that sold them. I loved the way it looked and when I got home, apparently so did my dog. She ripped it off of my wrist almost immediately and all of the beads went flying in 108 directions. Me, being the artsy guy that I am, I hunted all the beads down and did some research on how they were traditionally made, and the rest is history. I started making them for myself and then had some interest from friends and then they started to sell. About two years after I started making them, I was exposed to mantra meditation in my advanced yoga training and it literally changed my life. I use mantra whenever I need to center or ground myself and once, I learned this technique there was no going back. Complete game changer.
DYM: We would love to learn how to make a mala…you will have to teach us! Do you have a favorite service you like to do?
Arthur: While I absolutely LOVE my healing sessions, I think my first love will always be my readings. It is where I started and what allowed me to get my abilities under control. Tarot changed my life and I will forever be grateful for that. I love being able to share my gifts with my clients by showing them what the cards can tell them.
DYM: Why do you like being a Spiritual Counselor?
Arthur: While I do enjoy doing what I do, it is sometimes difficult and uncomfortable to show and tell people what they need to see and hear. My style is I don’t beat around the bush or sugar coat anything that I receive from my guides. I tell it like I hear it. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. I don’t think I really had a choice as to whether to do this or not. My readings and my Reiki sessions were becoming spiritual counseling sessions in and of themselves and I felt very guided to continue to explore this venue. I love being able to help people get the results they are looking for. I find that to be the most rewarding aspect of all of my work.
DYM: What was one of the most interesting experiences you had as a reader/counselor?
Arthur: I have so many stories that a “normal” person would consider to be insane, but I guess one of my favorites would be when I had someone’s grandma show up in a reading. Like, in the room. (Laughing) I was reading for a young girl and I look up and behind her left shoulder there was an elderly woman in a while shirt and a grey skirt looking at me very sternly. She audibly said to me “YOU TELL HER TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL!!!” This has happened many times since, but this was the first and I was very surprised. I gave the client the message and she just smirked and said, “That sounds just like something my grandmother would say.” And the description matched her grandmother who had passed away two years prior. I don’t advertise myself as a medium, but it does happen on occasion and I always find it interesting.
DYM: You are also an amazing artist and photographer. Your pictures are so unique and stunning. How did you get involved in photography?
Arthur: I have always been artistic- another thing I get from my mother. I found photography my senior year of high school in the midst of a life changing family crisis and I clung to it. I found out in a high school photojournalism class I had some talent for it and I ran with it right through six years of art school. Photography is my safe place. I travel the world as much as I can to create my surrealistic photos of beautiful places. I try to mix my metaphysical and magical beliefs into my art as much as I possibly can. You can see a large part of my portfolio at arthurgraye.com
DYM: Do you have a particular kind of photography you prefer or like shooting best?
Arthur: After years of being asked what I like to shoot pictures of I have this answer honed down pretty good. I shoot NOUNS- people places and things. I am currently shooting a series of black and white portraits of people in the Dallas metaphysical and yoga community. I find this very satisfying, but other than that, I mostly shoot locations form my extensive (and obsessive) traveling of the world.
DYM: We can’t wait to see those black and whites you are shooting of local people. You are going to be at the Cosmic Yogi Festival, Saturday, April 20, 2019. We are so happy you will be joining us again. What you will you be offering at your booth?
Arthur: We will have the entire plethora of merchandise the GreenMan Studios offers- including many new prayer beads, new crystals we brought back from our trip to the Tucson rock and mineral show and our entire assortment of metaphysical jewelry and products.
DYM: Thank you so much for sharing your journey with our readers. It is truly remarkable and so are you!
Contact Arthur Graye & The GreenMan Studios:
Go to www.thegreenmanstudios.com and find all of the services, classes and products they offer. You can also find the upcoming events they will be attending.
If you are interested in Arthur’s photography, please visit him at www.arthurgraye.com
All of the photos are available printed in almost any size.
Contact Arthur for details and questions at [email protected]
Facebook- Search Arthur Graye and/or you can like and follow his business page at The GreenMan Studios. Look for the same names on Instagram– please follow him!