At the tender age of 17, Selah Marley knows more about the Universe than your average science teacher. We sat down with our new spirit guide to talk star signs, the internet and cool mums for Oyster #109.
Selah Marley was perhaps destined to end up on the astral plane. The daughter of Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley, it’s impossible not to be fascinated by the progeny of such a winning genetic lottery-ticket.
Her personal blog, selahssecrets.com (which she refers to as her ‘child’), is an intimate account of her internal and external worlds, touching on such existential subjects as being OK with fucking up, overcoming pride, and the curse of empathy. Her Instagram feed (bio: Space Princess) features a ton of selfies in crop-tops mixed in with images of electromagnetic fields and cosmic combustions. Smart, spiritual and curious, the 17-year-old began modelling this year in tandem with finishing high school, and has aspirations that run the gamut from music to mysticism. But most of all she’s a cultivator of positive energy – just what the world needs more of right now.
Natalie Shukur: Where did you grow up and how did that shape you?
Selah Marley: I used to always say I grew up nowhere, because I had a nomadic sort of lifestyle. When I was younger I lived all over the place, but I predominately grew up in New Jersey. Truthfully, to ask how that shaped me is a very powerful question, because I feel like I’d not be the person I am today if not for my environment.
Where do you live now?
I live in New York and it’s crazy. I love how many stories there are… You really get a sense of perception when living in the city, because you see that everyone perceives things differently. Perception is quite illusory when everyone has different motivations, backgrounds and experiences… they’re all speaking from different viewpoints. New York is a beautiful place. I live in the heart of the city, where it never stops.
It’s difficult not to mention what an incredible woman your mother is. What values did she instil in you and what do you admire most about her
My mom is the most free-minded, freespirited, independent woman I have ever met. I always watched my mom do everything herself — and a million things at once for that matter. She always has that way of looking on the brighter side, and reminds me that I can always do better. There’s the saying, “Think outside the box” — with her there is no box.
You’ve just started college at NYU. How’s that going?
Well, my school is awesome because I get to create my own major, so I’m currently focusing on shedding light on the link between science and spirituality. I take an astrophysics class, Ancient Egyptian art, a class on the literature of sleep, and mindfulness and mysticism — it’s very reading-writing intensive, which can be quite stressful, but I really enjoy my studies. I’m able to study the subconscious mind through several different lenses and be able to link them all, and even reference them when making my own crazy theories. I’ve been exposed to so many eminent writers and so many ways of thinking and perceiving the world. I think the coolest thing about life is understanding that everyone experiences it differently.
What does spirituality look like for you?
I would say that spirituality is just a part of life. It’s completely embedded in me, and not even something I have to think about because it always comes from intuition. I like to connect spirituality with science to give grounding and stability to the wild, existential thoughts, so I can share those thoughts with people … and make them feel more comfortable with it. It’s not really something you do, it’s just something you are. For me, spirituality boils down to knowing your innate power and understanding that you have unlimited amounts of potential energy. It’s all about tapping into it and positively channeling that energy.
We’re all energy…
Energy is huge. In my daily interactions with people I observe them on a deeper level. I am incredibly sensitive — even though I try to hide it — so it is very easy for me to feel people’s pain and resonate with them. It’s about understanding that we are all one, that the same light that powers your engine everyday is the same light that exists in everything in the universe; therefore we are connected. There is no such thing as separation, just attraction. We attract what we need and repel from what we don’t, but there’s always a reason.
Do you have rituals, practices or creative endeavours that sustain you?
I’m always expressing myself creatively. I think that’s because I have an ocean of emotions, so the only way I can fully and comfortably express them is through art. I like to write a lot; I think a lot. I don’t know who I’d be without music — music is a beautiful form of escape for me.
Do you make or play music?
I’d like to say so. I’m still a rookie. I’ve found that a large part of making music is letting yourself be vulnerable in the expression of your emotions, and that takes a lot of courage.
What are you listening to at the moment?
‘Can I’ and ‘Unfold’ by Alina Baraz, Up All Night by MedusaRai, ‘Temptations’ and ‘Don’t Run’ by PARTYNEXTDOOR, ‘First Take’ by Travis Scott, and ‘Cupid’ by 112.
What’s your star sign, and do you follow astrology?
Scorpio, and I do. But I try not to read into it too deeply and use it as a means of prejudice against people. I’d rather use it as a source of understanding.
What are your hopes and fears for tomorrow?
Honestly, I have none. I don’t even know how my day will go until I’m in it. Lately I’ve been working on going with the flow more, and part of that means not worrying about the future — just letting it be and letting life surprise you.
What do you love/hate about the internet?
I love that I have immediate access to unlimited amounts of information. I strongly dislike that everyone hides their true selves behind computers and allows social media to suck away their individuality and integrity for a couple of retweets and likes. I love how it’s become a platform for anyone to be able to express themselves and share their thoughts, art, feelings, et cetera. But I truly can’t stand how fixated we’ve gotten with our phones — and I’m guilty too! I think it’s a beautiful tool, but it is imperative that you put the phone down sometimes and experience these brief moments of life as they pass you by.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing your generation?
This state of perpetual fear and loss of morale. I think how we’ve been liberating and healing ourselves is very beautiful but I also think we’re very lost. We collectively carry a lot of pain in our hearts. I believe we are the children that inherited serious and intense amounts of karma but I feel that is because we are meant to transcend it. There are so many sensitive, compassionate, intelligent, and empathetic people in my generation but many of us are equally lost, misguided, wounded, distracted, and restrained… so we kind of don’t know what to do. Right now, I feel like we are in a very extreme time and we’re all trying to find our balance… You have to go through chaos to get order and I feel that is our current experience: a beautiful, beautiful chaos.