I feel a divide growing within the spiritual movement.
It has been growing slowly, almost imperceptibly. Like a frog swimming in a pot of gradually boiling water that hasn't realized the danger he's in.
Here it is, dare I say it: The realm of the mainstream spiritual has become shallow and dogmatic.
In an effort to reach divinity, enlightenment, and guru-status, we’ve banished and demonized the “negative” and the struggle of the human experience. We’ve lost touch with the glorious bittersweet medicine that our pain and suffering offers when truly acknowledged by the Self and the tribe, and subsequently integrated with compassion and love.
I tried. Fuck, I tried. I did the meditations, I did the training, I did the work. I focused on the positive, I focused on the light, I focused on letting go of my darkness. Just release, they said. Don’t even bring attention to what it is, they said, just release it. I advanced in my healing skills, in my awareness, in my intuition. I worked deeply with clients doing soul retrievals, secretly reveling in the shadow of the underworld. I knew that there were those in my spiritual community who did not approve of my work. But I worked anyways, because I saw how deeply I could connect with my clients. I saw and acknowledged their pain. I focused on the integration of their experience, rather than the denial of it. I cried tears of joy when I heard of how much my work was helping them heal themselves. And at the same time, I was jealous. Why wasn’t the work healing ME? Why wasn’t I feeling better? Why wasn’t MY shit releasing?
That growing awareness backfired. More and more, I felt I was wading in the shallow pond of the world while my spirit was so deeply imbedded in the dark muck of the earth, in a place no one wanted to look. I was not offering the same sense of acknowledgment to myself that I offered my clients. I was still trying to uphold the notion that I was supposed to be a certain way, that I was supposed to be zen and happy all the time if I was going to be a healer. But nothing was in balance. I didn’t feel real. I didn't feel authentic to myself. I was trapped between the the worlds...I was too spiritually minded to be a muggle, but I wasn't the right kind of spiritual for the actual spiritual community.
So I said Fuck it.
I am part of a generation of witches rising up to say Fuck it. A generation of witches that has been burned too many times, and refuses to silently wither away in the flames again.
Don’t bring your attention to the fire, they said. Just release it and let it go, they said.
But not this time. This time, we are taking those flames inside of us, acknowledging them and respecting them and feeling their searing pain, and letting them transform in our bellies so we may breathe out the fire of an awakened dragon. As awakened dragons, as millennial witches, as priestesses of the moon, as unpredictable beautiful bitches, as wild wolf women, we have a list of demands and decrees:
-Our sexuality will be honored as spiritual, sacred, divine, and primal. It is communication with the divine, it is a link between heaven and earth, it is pleasure for pleasure’s sake, it is the human experience. It is a force all its own and won’t be controlled or belittled.
-And yet, our spirituality will not be sexualized, fetishized, or infantilized. The Priestess is not a fetish. The days of gurus sexually manipulating and abusing the Goddess are SO over. We’re not buying what you’re selling. No one gets to tell us how pure or impure we are, and what makes us that way, and whether we need to change that or not.
-We don’t want our spirituality to taste like candy. We don’t want rainbows and unicorns and sugary sweet confections of relentless positivity and the law of attraction. We want our spirituality to taste like dark chocolate; deep, rich, a little bitter, a little sweet, sensual and complex. We want it real, we want it deep. We won’t accept anything less.
-Many of us swear. Like, we really swear. We fucking swear a fucking lot. Deal with it. What’s a witch who doesn’t curse? (Not to mention it’s good for your brain—google that shit.)
-We will not be shamed. For our sexuality, for our lifestyles, for our choices, for the shortage of fucks that we give. Our lives, our power, our choice. Get on board or get out.
-You will not tell us to simply “let go”, “clear”, or “release” our feelings and issues by way of ignoring them. We don’t just release; we integrate. We take our darkness and stew in it, letting our unique human experiences mingle with our divinity, creating a powerful form of alchemy that’s whole and complete. We know the light is only half of what makes us powerful. Once integration is complete, what is no longer needed naturally releases as a byproduct of the process.
-We do not live in binaries, so don’t categorize us in them. Don’t tell us what’s “good” and what’s “bad” because we know better than that. Don’t tell us to live in the light to banish our shadows. In fact, don't tell us what we are or what we should do at all. We are fluid and becoming more so. Gender fluid, sexually fluid, socially fluid, spiritually fluid.
-We hold a deep respect for social and cultural issues. We won’t use “Namaste” as a substitute for “goodbye” just because it sounds spiritual. We won’t wear a bindi on our foreheads just because it’s cute. We won't discount another's experience and point of view just because it's not ours. We realize that our individual path is not more important than an entire marginalized culture’s. We listen.
-“Omg I can’t say anything without someone getting offended and everything has to be sooooooo PC nowadays.” <—Nah. We don't see it like this. We see a generation coming into their own, attempting to own their view of the world and how they’d like it to be. Clearly, there’s a growing outcry for more sensitivity and change. You could stubbornly fight it or try to understand why it’s happening. Change won’t happen without conversation, so be open to the conversation, even if you don’t see it the same way.
-Be aware when you respond to our feelings. There's a tendency, when someone admits they are feeling something other than complete joy or satisfaction, to apologize and suggest ways to be rid of that feeling. F that noise. The only cure for feelings is to feel them. Completely. Sink into them and allow their wisdom to wash over you. We don't wallow, but we do feel. Everything. We refuse to repress or push our feelings aside just because they make us (or you) uncomfortable. (P.S. We hardly think "You should meditate on it." or "Have you tried going gluten free?" are appropriate responses to anything. And this is coming from someone who both meditates and is gluten free.)
-The second you use any of the new age buzzwords— manifesting abundance, the law of attraction, meditation, energy healing, authentic, etc etc— our discernment kicks the fuck in. It’s not that we don’t believe in manifestation and meditation and energy healing, we definitely do. Manifesting is our middle name. But without the realness of our human and divine darkness acknowledged by our teachers, coaches and mentors, the spiritual movement becomes oppressive and dogmatic dressed as light and love. And not to mention, manipulated for profit when the actual authenticity is not behind it, considering the growing trend. We will search you, hard, before we will work with you.
-Maybe the most important of all, we know that Truth is found in paradox. If it’s not a contradiction in itself, we are wary. If we are not contradictions in ourselves, we are not real.
We will not accept less than what we are. We will not be only partially ourselves because it's prettier or happier. We will be gritty and raw and beautiful and whole. We love fiercely. Love is at the core of our beings, but we know that sometimes love is the awakened dragon burning down the bridges that no longer serve us.
the witches you love and fear
**As nothing is just black or white, I acknowledge and appreciate the spiritual teachers and mentors in my life that have never oppressed me and have always wanted me to be myself. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my fiery heart.