Lulu Zsebe + Micha Thomas, Of the Wolves
Magically one of a kind and powerfully part of the pack, Lulu Brud Zsebe + Micha Thomas,are the mystical beings behind the cosmically connective medium, Of the Wolves. With a focus on spirituality, the wild woman archetype, sustainable living, and sanctuaries, Of the Wolves has been around since 2014, but recently underwent a community-driven re-alignment, with the intention of sharing stories (from the Midwest to the Milky Way) to pass information, preserve tradition, and connect us all. Lulu + Micha were born to tell other's stories — read below to get a vision into their own.
What have each of your journey's been like, and what brought you two together?
LULU — I'm originally from North Carolina. I moved to LA 11 years ago, which now seems crazy because time flies here because there are no seasons. It’s just sunshine and beautiful all the time — you don’t get that cold December mark in time. It’s strange — I miss the fall a lot. I'm an actor and I started Of the Wolves, but it started out as Dream Catchers. I was making Dream Catchers and doing a lot of markets and craft fairs with makers, and I fell in love with their stories. It’s always been interesting to talk to people and figure out where they’re from and how they got into making this thing, this creation. Then you realize, 'Oh, you work seven other jobs on top of this?' It’s amazing for me to look at people and think, ‘You’ve figured it out! You have it all together!’ But to then realize that actually, we’re all just figuring it. Of the Wolves started as a shop, but then became a blog space where I could share other people’s stories and brands that I loved.
After I interviewed Micha for the site, she reached out and said, ‘I want to be doing this with you! I see what this can really be and how it can help people.’ And I really needed her help. She’s been amazing. Our visions align perfectly. Made in America is so much of what Of the Wolves is — sustainably-made products and wellness. It was just a really beautiful pairing. We fully re-launched Of The Wolves in June, so it’s been three months now. The rebranding, relaunching and rebuild has really taken off and it's going really well. I absolutely love what we’re doing. It’s really fun work.
MICHA — I’m originally from Oklahoma and have been in Southern California now for almost 15 years (and used to own a house in Austin). Ever since I was nine I wanted to come here. I’ve worked in marketing and creative development most of my career, starting out in the entertainment industry, mostly in music, as well as some nonprofit work. I started my own marketing consultancy six years ago, and it went amazingly. I learned and grew but also realized that I also didn’t want to work that way. I felt, in large part, that I was giving a lot of myself away and many of my ideas for free. I ended up doing so much for clients like building parts of the organization or building completely new aspects of the business. I loved it, but I was also like, ‘You know what? I think it’s time that I apply my ideas and IP to my own endeavors.’
Over the course of the last couple of years I started to invest in my own projects. I started The MIA Project a couple years ago, which focuses on American makers - their stories, their products, and just unleveling all of that and a necessary change in perception that made in America is not all 'flannels' and 'manly masculine stuff'. There are so many things that are made here. Then, second to that, I went back to school and got several certifications in coaching and hypnotherapy. Along the way, I’ve always written a lot. I used to write for Elle and other places just for fun. Storytelling and communication is really the entire reason why I ever did marketing and creative development - to be an extension of artists, brands, and companies that I loved. I wanted to help them elevate their stories and communicate it in ways that could sometimes be challenging for them to do on their own.
The beginning of this year I realized I needed an outlet to share the knowledge I’d amassed in the realms of health, wellness and mindfulness as well as my lifelong passions of music, art, dance. I had these skill sets through coaching, consulting and being an entrepreneur, but I had no desire to create a platform on my own. I already had The MiA project. Lulu had already started something that felt more organic and special than anything I’ve come across so I thought 'Why don't we just do this together?'
January and February of this year turned into today, and it’s all been snowballing in the best way possible. We’re already working on what our first retreats will be and as well as events, a sustainable shopping curation all, etc. We really want to embody the word “community”, to make it accessible— it's been the biggest thing we’ve talked about since the beginning. It’s like, ‘Let’s fill a void in online and physical communities that feels accessible and that makes an alternative lifestyle feel inclusive.’ I always equate it to how yoga felt to a lot of people 15, 20 years ago. It felt like the language was weird and a little un-relatable. Now, yoga is so common in the world, but you need to use certain language and imagery to bring people into different ways of life so that they don't feel intimidated by it. People now realize 'Yeah, I can totally be a part of that' or 'There's something in that I can see in myself', you know?
LULU — Absolutely. My favorite messages are from young girls who are like, ‘I’m reading the book you said to read — Women Who Run with the Wolves — and I’m awakening this new part of myself.’ I love that they want to know how I got on this journey, or how I learned about moon cycles. And I'm like 'Yes, young women! Own it now. Get into it!' It’s so fun to see that people are waking up to that wild woman archetype. I feel like that's really important.
How did you both grow up? What were you interested in?Were you two always tapped into this spiritual side of life?
LULU — I was always the weird kid. My parents were definitely not hippies — I grew up in the South in a religious, pretty conservative home. I would say that I’ve stretched my parents more by sharing this stuff with them and over time, they’ve become much more open to it. My mom looks at the site and she’s like, ‘It is so beautiful! I'm not going to pray to rocks or anything, but I love the stories that you’re telling.’
I love that that’s her interpretation of it, but that she still finds stuff that she likes. I would say that I’ve always been into mystical things, but I think I was always scared of it because of the idea of being a “witch.” Growing up the South, you’re like, ‘Oh that’s a scary word. You can't use that in church.’ But I was born on a full moon, so I’ve always been undeniably connected to that energy even if I didn't yet know what to call it. It wasn’t until I moved out to LA and had some health stuff going on that I had to redirect myself and got really into healthy eating. Suddenly I found myself pulling Tarot and this whole world burst open to me. It just made me feel so much more connected to magic and alive. It feels like an awakening — like you're coming home, and there are some things that you just can’t explain, but it's like 'I know this. I've lived this. This makes sense to me.' It's just gotten pushed down through the years.
MICHA — I was born and raised in Oklahoma with a family from the deep south who are conservative Republicans, so much of this kind of self expression was just unfamiliar, unavailable to them. Lulu and I both have that in common. I think it's so interesting because Lulu and I both found it, and I think that's a narrative that we want to illustrate for others: you, too, can find your tribe, find your self expression, tap into modalities that may not be common amongst those around you no matter where you live, where you’re from, what your background is...So much still feels inaccessible to people for a number of reasons, and we want to help them connect to many ways of thinking and being: embracing the esoteric now, the mystical, and I think there's already a real embrace of self and individuality out in the world.
So many of my witchy, reader, clairvoyant friends here were born into it. It was embraced. It was fostered - that shadow side of life was really taught to them.
I think that's one thing I love about the union of Lulu and I — that neither one of us was handed this information at all. We had to go seeking it. We were always asking, ‘Why do I have this strong intuition about things, or what is this inside of me? What is this primal thing inside of me?' We were lucky to have literature and art to learn from, but now there are so many more resources. We hope to be one of them. To my parents’ credit, they put me in piano and dance at an early age, and I found things through these practices that were real gateways.
LULU — Exactly, I feel like for us with Of the Wolves, it’s an opportunity to share some of the things that we found helpful along our own esoteric journey. Books, music, places, retreats, things we've discovered along our esoteric path. People have helped us on our way, so we just want to share some of that and give it back.
What do you guys think it is about storytelling that both of you have found so attractive and want to share with others?
LULU — I’ve found that storytelling is the line that goes through everything that I do. Being an actor, I always loved that it instilled empathy — you could somehow relate to somebody who felt so far away from you just by getting into their head. It connects you as a community when you realize that you’re not the only one and that you’re not alone. We need stories. We use to sit around campfires and tell stories to learn,to feel less alone, to know that people have gone before us and had similar experiences on this land — in love and life.
I also work with storytelling in interior home spaces. I love telling people's stories through their homes. I think that that’s very important thing especially when cities when you're sharing so much space with people. You need to feel like your space embodies you and your story, it's really important.
With Of the Wolves, storytelling is about being a good connector of people and a grounding force that makes people not feel so alone on your journey. The minute that you speak something into the world of which you are afraid, or if you've suffered a loss or a hurt or a pain, when you vocalize what may feel taboo or scary to admit, there’s a good chance that someone may look at you and say 'I know exactly what you're talking about.' Suddenly, that darkness gets pulled away and you don't feel so alone. And the thing that used to feel like a secret shame has the breath to feel less scary. That’s why I love the work that we get to do. We get to connect people and make them feel less alone.
MICHA — Everything Lulu said. I have a firm belief in and coming from the work I did, at the end of the day it's all about communications, telling our stories. We all communicate in symbols, in words and imagery. It's how we bring people in. It's how a business brings people in. It's how an artist brings people in. That's who are are as human beings. We communicate. We have to. We do it non-verbally, verbally. In so many different ways. At the end of the day, what we're communicating, the story that we're telling, is everything. That's how we connect.
I just came back from a music festival, and for me, being a deeply inquisitive, curious person, there was an artist performing that I'd heard of but had never seen live and I immediately needed to know everything about this person. I had to go straight to the computer that night because all I could think was 'What's his story? Why was he such a great performer?' I wanted to know more. I needed to know the story, to feel like that connection was even deeper, you know what I mean? I know not everybody takes those extra steps, but plenty of people do, and we love providing this deep resource of a community to aid people in learning about all sorts of topics. Really, at the end of the day, we’re all still concerned with narrative to a certain degree.
Can you talk a little bit about your added Of the Wolves services and the kind of coaching that you do?
MICHA — I've been trained in both life coaching and executive coaching — kind of hippy dippy NLP training and then I went through a Columbia program. So I've had one very scholastic, very researched-based experience, and the other is a lot more about neurolinguistics. Hypnotherapy I'm just finishing up, and it was basically just an adjunct to the NLP program that I did. I thought 'Why not? Why not learn that?' Because sometimes you just can't surface things through complex conversations. It’s an extra tool to work with people and help them surface things. Whether it's stuff that's holding them back, or something that they really want to get into. It’s a dangerous thing though, right? Working on the subconscious, that is. Getting in there on a deeper level is something one should honor.
Starting this week, via our website, we’re offering simpler ways to work with myself via coaching modalities, consultations with Lulu and our team regarding sanctuary and interior and exterior design, and eventually readings with some of our Tarot and esoteric experts in our Wolf Pack. We get notes from around the world often in regards to how people can work with the Pack in more ways and truly be a part of Of The Wolves, so we’re consistently adding and brainstorming how Of The Wolves extends further online, in person and how we add more value for our community.
LULU — Of the Wolves is a fully encompassing lifestyle blog-- many of our contributors are designers, coaches, clairvoyants and we want our community to feel tangible and approachable. If someone is deeply resonating with the words or the work that is being shared, then it just feels natural to share their services alongside everything else on our site.
What are your favorite routines?
LULU — My morning routines are my jam. They are my happy space because I feel like if I don’t carve out that time for myself in the day before I open the door and go out, then it doesn’t happen. My husband sleeps later than I do so I set my alarm to get up and go into that space with myself for an hour. We have a meditation room in our house so I like to go in there and light a candle, burn some incense, sit and pull my cards to get a sense of where I’m at for the day, then maybe write in my journal on the porch with my tea or coffee and that starts my day. If I don't do this, I feel it.
And of course, I do my moon baths. Moon baths are my favorite. It's full moon and new moon medicine that I give myself. I love to just take a bath either during these times.
MICHA — Something that is somewhat new to my routine is a manifestation journal, in the corresponding colors of either the Root or Sacral Chakras (red and orange, respectively). I can not remotely take credit for this idea, as one of my absolute favorite clairvoyants and a dear friend suggested this in a reading. I focus on very specific language in these journals - what I need, what I’d like for myself. It enables me to be unwavering in my passions and goals. I also adore mornings. I do my best to always afford myself an hour and a half if not much much more before calls or meetings start. And Sunday mornings. Oh, I love Sunday mornings and haven’t been great about claiming them for myself of late, but the magic of putting on a favorite vinyl, making a slow breakfast and therapeutic tea, reading The New York Times and all while in bed is my idea of magic incarnate!
In this space of alternative lifestyles there's a very deep understanding that nothing is separate and everything is connected and your mind and your body and everything that's going on are all influencing you. Can you talk a little about your relationships to your bodies and how you like to keep them balanced.
MICHA — Yeah, oh my gosh, where do I even start? I was a super sickly kid. Very sickly. I was growing up in the Midwest with parents who were also raised a bit meat and potato from their very Southern parents. They had enough foresight and understanding though when none of the westernized medicine was working for me to take me to a Vega practitioner when I was in 8th grade. It changed my life. To be honest, I was always a little bit disgusted by the way Oklahomans tended to eat, so I was rebellious in the sense that I got very interested in nutrition that had nothing to do with our normal cuisine and taking care of myself. That was the start to the journey of realizing that we can alternatively take care of ourselves through what we consume. Staying in my body though? Dance is everything for me. There are so many times when I get very disconnected from my body, and I feel like I'm standing outside of it.
Dance puts me right back into it.
LULU — Growing up, I had really bad skin and was put on a lot of antibiotics from the time that I was 12 or 13, basically through all of my high school years. Two rounds of Accutane plus birth control at a young age when hormones are just figuring themselves out, meant that at 21, my skin was out of control. I had killed my gut and it was all showing on my face. It was incredibly difficult to get so close to acting jobs, only to have a screen test and lose out because of bad skin. It was embarrassing and made me want to hide the thing that I was supposed to be putting out into the world. I have complete empathy for people who are going through skin stuff because it’s so hard. But through that I got into food and a deeper understanding of how what we put into our bodies affects everything. We cook at home a lot. We make our food. We like to eat things that are grown well and local. With everything that I consume, I like it to be well made. I like to know that people aren’t suffering for what we have. That we're eating well, we're putting love into the food we make. And I do feel a difference. But there is balance to everything. Sometimes I like to go out and face plant in pizza and I know that I'm going to feel terrible a day later, but I'm going to enjoy it in the moment because it really is all about balance.
As far as staying in our bodies, I’m with Micha on the dance train. It’s the one activity that really pulls me out of my head and forces me to be completely present with my body. It helps now that I’m older, because it’s less about the “perfection” of the steps and more about the release and the laughter that I can hold for myself when I “mess up.”