Fear her and love her as the terrible Queen she is.
For her womb is a black hole, and her domain is rebirth.
Fear her and love her as the terrible Queen she is.
This lunar eclipse in Leo feels like showing up. It feels like the potential for anything to happen, good or bad, and it urges us to be present. Be present for all of it. All of the joy, all of the suffering, all of ourselves. Every piece of ourselves we love, every piece of ourselves we’re ashamed of. Just show up.Read More
Did a gift receipt come with this? What’s the return policy?
The next person that tells me how being an empath is such a wonderful gift, gets a slap in the face from me.
Seriously. A real crisp slap that echoes in the brain.
It’s not that being an empath isn’t a gift. It is. But that’s not what I want to talk about. Everyone wants to talk about that. “Empath” has started to become another one of those buzzwords. But no, I don’t want to talk about the signs and symptoms of being an empath and what a magnificent being one surely is by being one. We’ve seen plenty of that, haven’t we?
I want to talk about the unbearable burden of being an empath. Especially after this brutal past week of grief upon grief. I want to talk about the empath’s shadow. I want to talk about the rise and fall of empathy, about the “how much does it hurt?" question we ask ourselves every day. I want to talk about the parts that fucking suck. (Name your pain!)
Semantics and the loss of us...
We define our empath nature by defining how we experience the emotions of others. How we internalize what is outside of ourselves. And often times, we tout this experience as a noble sacrifice we are giving the world. But even in our very simplistic definitions of empath, we are giving our power away by idealizing it. We are literally defining ourselves through others. I mean, that’s the definition of empathy right? So it makes sense.
And this is all true. Being an empath means being attuned to the emotional experience of another being, whether it’s another person, animal, or even places and events. But I want to reframe this…because the ones who tend to get lost in this equation are the empaths themselves. And I don’t want to idolize the process of self-abandonment and martyrdom that every empath has undoubtedly gone through at one point or another in their spiritual development. (And probably many times over.)
I want to define my empath nature by more clearly defining how I experience myself. I want to reclaim my selfhood by defining what is true about me as an empath.
That starts with this very simple, very vulnerable statement:
I have years of hurt locked inside my bones. My cells remember. I cannot and will not wrap up my hurt, put a pretty self-righteous bow on it, and give it away to the world as “a gift.” I am not a sacrificial lamb. I am not a martyr. And neither are you.
So let’s shine some light on the shadows of empathy and talk about why being an empath fucking sucks.
(including Pain Alchemy Affirmations to be used in addition to naming the pain. Note that I said “in addition to,” not “instead of.” We do not replace our pain with fake positivity here, we build onto the truth of our pain and alchemize that pain into more truth.)
8 reasons why being an empath sucks...
Unfortunately, most of us realize we’re empaths by way of experiencing the pain of others. For whatever reason, for many empaths, pain and negative emotions are sensed more strongly and more easily than joy and positive emotions. Not that we don’t sense joy and positive emotions, but joy doesn’t energetically grasp at us in the same way. Joy doesn’t desperately grapple for compassion the way that suffering does. When another being is suffering, it’s like their energy is calling out to the void, reaching out for a hand that could pull them. And empaths feel that call more than anything else.
When I was in 4th grade, I watched a documentary about the Titanic on the History Channel. It was the first I’d ever heard of it. By the time it was over, I was crying uncontrollably for hours in my mother’s arms because I was so upset over what had happened to those people. I had no idea why I was so upset, but I felt that loss to the core of my soul, even then. Fast forward to now, I am still affected by movies, music, stories, etc. I have no idea what is going to set me off or not. It’s a very unpredictable emotional process, one that is oftentimes very unpleasant.
Tragic current events are brutal. When I first learned about Orlando, I sat in silence for 10 minutes, staring into space. I got up and started washing the dishes because I didn't know what to do with myself. I cried my eyes out as I washed and scrubbed, desperately trying to feel the loss without feeling like I was destroying myself in the process. And because it affected my own queer community, I felt it through every person I'd ever known. Even mentioning it now brings tears to my eyes.
We can also feel pain pre-cognitively. I remember the day before the big earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011…I was horribly upset and weirded out the entire day. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the wind was warning me of things, and I couldn’t handle the mystery pain I was feeling. To this day, whenever I tell my husband that I feel odd and horrible for some unknown reason, he asks me if there are any natural disasters on the way.
I am hurt by the pain and suffering of others. I know that this deep empathy gives me a fuller knowing of the spectrum of life on earth, and allows me to be grateful for my own joy and the joy of others, and feel that joy just as deeply.
When I was very young, I found an injured baby bird in the woods of Northern Minnesota at my grandparents’ cabin. I desperately wanted to nurse it back to health and love the crap out of it. My father wouldn’t let me. He told me that it was the cycle of life and he made me feel stupid for wanting to care for this tiny creature.
That was the earliest memory I have about feeling unaccepted and isolated. I remember the feeling, I remember the tiny bird. Growing up, I came across many injured animals. Some I was able to help, and some I wasn’t. But the feeling of a dead bird stiffening in my hand is something I can recall on a moment’s notice with an ache in my chest.
That is one of my core wounds, feeling as though I was “too sensitive” and “too emotional” to adapt to this world. All empaths have been told things like this throughout their lives, and unfortunately for us, they began in childhood.
“Don’t be dramatic.”
“Stop being so sensitive.”
“You need to toughen up if you want to make it in this world.”
Even in my recent past, I have heard things like this from people I’ve trusted with my emotions. It’s especially painful to hear from friends and acquaintances in your own spiritual communities:
“I’m tired of witnessing you creating drama.”
“You’re really negative.”
This kind of talk is discouraging and creates an unsafe space for us to be ourselves. This kind of talk tells us that there is something wrong with us, that we are not suited to live here. We cannot help that we are empaths. We did not choose to be an empath because it sounded like the new age soup du jour. This is just us.
I am hurt by the disapproval of my sensitivity. I know that my sensitivity is beautiful and I do not need to change it. It is a vast network of delicate intuitive synapses that begin and end in my heart.
When I graduated college, I took a fool's journey out west. I rode the train from Minneapolis to Portland, Oregon, where I met up with a band of lovely people I traveled with for the summer. On the train ride there, however, we got stuck in the middle of the mountains in Montana. We sat on the tracks for hours, miles away from civilization, no cell service, in the midsts of the wilds of Glacier National Park. I sat in the observation car, the mountains looming over me, a taunting cliffside below me. All I could see were trees and rocks, height and depth, in every direction. The sun was shining through the pines, the sky was bluer than blue. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And yet, I panicked. This was the first time I had been so disconnected, so out of reach, from the people and places I’d left behind. Knowing I couldn’t reach anyone I knew, even if I wanted to, amplified my panic.
Here I was, facing the wild unknown, the overpowering and overwhelming beauty and terror of Nature, and I suddenly felt as though I didn’t exist. How could I exist in mountains? I was small and alone. And I realized that as emotionally isolated I’d felt my entire life, I’d never felt that energetically and physically alone. I’d never felt so free of the cords from others. And it scared me because it was so new, so uncharted, so wild, being empty and nonexistent in the trees. I would soon learn that this was the reason Nature is medicine.
For an empath, Nature strips away all the pretenses, all the energetic cords, all the codependency and the obligation, and allows one to simply be nonexistent. To simply be. Without everything else. But even though it is medicine, it’s still scary. Being truly alone forces the empath to question their entire identity and reason for existing. It challenges the inherent belief that an empath exists for others, and begs the question, “Who are you when everyone else is gone?”
I am hurt and scared by the idea of being completely alone with myself. I know that to face this fear with courage, to sink into the wild isolation of independence, is to know myself better.
When I was growing up, my parents fought all the time, and it often sent my mother into complete emotional breakdowns. Her pain was so vast and so intense, it was all I could feel when I was around her. My heart broke for her every day, and I learned from a very early age that I needed to mother my own mother. My own emotional struggles of growing up as an empath, even my struggles of sexual abuse when I was a bit older, were always put on the back burner so I could be strong for my mom in her pain. I had no boundaries. She was dependent on me, and I felt obligated to her. I made so many life decisions that were influenced by my need to stick around and mother her when they should have been influenced by my own heart’s desires and wanderlusty yearnings. I held so much pain inside of myself that wasn't mine to hold.
“Boundaries boundaries boundaries!” is the first thing you’ll hear from any empath giving advice on dealing with it. I learned that in my relationship with my mother. I learned what happens when you have no boundaries. But what hasn’t been talked about, is what happens when you create such strong boundaries in your efforts to protect yourself, that you end up on the opposite end of the spectrum into numbness and complacency.
Years later, after peeling back a few layers of my mother wound, I learned how to put up very strong emotional boundaries so I wouldn’t be so miserable and so consumed by her or anyone else’s pain. But in an effort to hold my boundaries, it also pushed me to the other extreme, of feeling numb. Of feeling like I am locking out the feelings of others to protect myself. It can make me come off as cold and unfeeling, which is the exact opposite of what I really am. And this most often happens with the people who are closest to me, because feeling the pain of the ones I love the most is unbearable.
Spending a significant amount of time in either extreme is unhealthy for an empath. You begin to lose your identity and center. Finding a stable balance in an issue that lives and breathes pure raw emotion is so difficult it's almost ironic.
I am hurt by the boundaries I’ve abandoned, and the boundaries that others do not respect. I know that my boundaries are the most important thing to my long-term health, and I understand that upholding them means putting myself first, even to the disappointment of others.
I am hurt by the numbness caused by my efforts to protect myself. I know that I can gently hold my boundaries while also opening up the capability to be vulnerable with my loved ones.
This is one that I don’t have to get into very much. This is one that most of us are completely aware of. There have been so many great articles about the toxic connection between the empath and the narcissist.
One thing that I’ve noticed, however, is that people with the most potential to be abusive to others are incredibly skilled at hiding their emotions and intentions. For a jaded empath, finding someone that can’t be figured out and read right away can be both very exciting and very relaxing. And it’s a very slippery slope from there…
I am hurt by the pattern of abuse I have found myself in. I know that I am not confined to these patterns, and with honest self-work and self-love, I can break free of these karmic plays.
I went to the bank a few weeks ago to make some changes on my business account. I sat with a very friendly banker who was eager to help me. He was very chatty and seemed slightly nervous and distracted. As he told me the required documents I would need to make the desired changes, I found myself very confused. I hadn’t even heard of the documents he was requesting, and I knew very well what I actually needed to make the changes. When I questioned him, he reassured me that what he was saying was correct, and I found myself acting as though I suddenly had no idea what I needed for my account. My voice raised in pitch to sound more feminine and helpless, and I said things like “Oh, I had no idea!” and “Wow, that’s good to know!” and I didn’t argue when he said, “Good thing I was here to tell you these things!”
After I got home, I did some research and found out that the information he had given me was outdated and dead wrong. I had been right all along, and I felt icky about it. I mentally replayed what had happened and realized that I had completely changed my personality and my convictions. I sensed in him a need to be right and automatically responded to it. And without even thinking about it, I made myself smaller to accommodate his unspoken emotional needs.
A week later, I went to a different branch of the bank and saw a woman I’d worked with before. I brought in the proper documents and just said, “Here ya go.” She made the changes without a fuss and without expecting any sort of response from me. It was beautiful. I realized then why I’d always subconsciously accepted jobs with women bosses, and why I turned down (or quit after a short period) jobs with male bosses. My empath nature has been culturally attuned to men, especially in authoritative roles, and that kind of automatic response is very unsettling. (Not to mention it kills my productivity and creativity.)
Empaths often automatically change their behaviors for other people when the other person’s emotions are clearly being felt. Their emotional needs are put on the back burner as they tend to them.
I am hurt by my willingness to make myself smaller to accommodate others’ emotional needs. I know that by doing this, I’m not truly helping them or myself. My relationships will be stronger and more meaningful when I fully show up as myself.
How many times have you known something about someone before they told you? How many times have you watched someone lie to your face? How many times have you kept the secrets of others, without them even knowing it?
Life is stressful enough with your own secrets and issues, without adding the burdens of everyone you cross paths with. All sorts of complications arise from empath knowing, from knowing who's into who, to the betrayal of friends and family, to feeling completely isolated when no one matches their talk with their energy. One of my least favorite experiences is feeling someone else's difficult emotions deeply, while they talk of shallow things and guard their emotions with smiles, saying that everything is fine. And if you decide to bring up the dissonance, you could be met with bold-faced denial, or outright anger about you being in their business. And if you decide to keep it to yourself, the balance in the relationship may be thrown off and you lose the mutual connection, which slides you further into isolation.
In one of those short-lived jobs with a male boss that I mentioned before, I could very clearly feel my boss's sexual desire for me. I was 19. He never outwardly said anything inappropriate or took any action towards me, but I felt it as if he was screaming it at me, day in, day out. Even though I made great money, I quit after two weeks. I wasn't angry with him. I was exhausted and disappointed, and I know quitting was the right thing for me.
There are few things so isolating as feeling an entire complex web of emotions between people and not being able to talk about it.
I am hurt by the disconnection and dissonance that is caused by unintentionally knowing too much about others. I know that the more I trust myself in handling the discomfort the way it feels right to me, the more I will attract people that are honest and caring towards me. And the more I show myself what I am okay with and what I'm not, the easier it will be to handle the situations that I'm not okay with.
Where do you think all that extra pain and suffering goes? When we don’t have a healthy way to handle our empathy, all those extra emotions from others, including the intense reactionary emotions of ourselves, settle into our bodies. Our cellular memory can be a scary thing. Years and years of being unaccepted as an empath and struggling with many of the issues stemming from empathy, have created a somewhat hostile environment in my own body that I am still working on healing. Autoimmune issues, inflammation, chronic pain, mystery illnesses, weight issues, and more, are all incredibly common with empaths. Digestion is usually a problem, as digestion in the body parallels digesting (processing) emotions.
I am hurt by all the excess emotions causing my body harm. I know that I can heal myself, and I know that when I nurture and love myself first, my body will be able to process the excess energy better.
So what’s the point here?
The point is that you’re a fucking Queen. The point is that you are a beautiful, gifted, flawed human being with incredible abilities. The point is that you’ve probably been told time and time again how you’re “too sensitive” and you’ve undoubtedly shirked off the real root feeling of being an empath: pain. You’ve dressed it up in mala beads and skinny jeans and told everyone it was your special gift to help the world. You’ve dressed it up in a power suit and highlights and never told another soul about it. You’ve dressed it up in a funeral gown and have played it the same sad song over and over again.
It’s time to undress it. It’s time to be naked with your pain, seeing every dark crevice that steals you away, every curve that catches the light in an interesting way, every story that wants to be told. No more hiding. Tell your stories. Be brutally honest with yourself. Let the truth of your pain heal you. Be angered by it! And temper your holy anger, your sacred rage, your undying pain, with unyielding self-forgiveness and compassion.
Take this full moon, this solstice, and don't just "let it go." Don't just "release" it.
Embody it. And offer it to la luna in a pained and desperate whisper. Or a haunting howl that echoes through your bones.
And you will find that the purpose of being an empath is nothing like you thought.
Want more? Check out my book I Don't Want To Be An Empath Anymore, now available on Amazon.
And now…for the climactic confrontation between Adara and her manipulator and the dramatic conclusion to the story of the spiritual teacher turned predator…
There is no sense of finality, of karmic justice, of a guy getting what was coming to him.
Because this is real life. Because this is happening everywhere, in varying degrees of damage, and most of these women won’t get dramatic conclusions. They won’t get the closure that we all want them to. Many of them will keep what happened to them as a secret shame that festers in their heart until they’ve completely isolated themselves from any potential support system.
Because when women have been victimized, it takes a lot of courage for them to come forward with their stories. And if they do, telling their truth is their way to claim back their power. It’s their way to admit what happened to them, it’s their way to state that they are survivors, not victims. We tell our stories to heal, to connect, to grow.
And more often than not, these acts of vulnerability and courage are met with raised eyebrows and questions, not compassion.
“They should have known better.”
“What did she expect? She got drunk with him.”
“What did they think would happen? He’s obviously a creep.”
“I hate that they have such a victim mentality.”
"But he seems so kind and helpful, he has a good reputation!"
“Man-hating won’t solve this problem.”
“Well, she should have listened to her instincts. It’s her own fault she didn’t.”
Adara, how did the confrontation really go?
Adara: It actually wasn’t very eventful. After I’d met with Lydia, I was furious. I was so angry, I wanted revenge, I wanted justice. I wanted to fight for every single woman this has ever happened to. I decided I’d pretend that I wanted to be in a relationship with him to see how he would spin it. I hid my lividness just below my words in the conversation and pretended things were okay. When I brought up that I’d seen Lydia to him, he remained perfectly calm and started working her into the conversation as if she had always been there. As he began weaving his tales, avoiding eye contact with me, lying to my face, I suddenly lost my taste for revenge. I lost my taste for all of it.
I put all my cards on the table, telling him I thought he was being predatory to young women. I told him that even though I saw that he'd done some good healing work with certain people in certain situations, I thought it was inappropriate for him to teach intimacy to young women. I told him that I had Facebook friends messaging me, telling me of how he’d tried the same lines on them and how they felt a slimy energy from him. Women who were local, and women who weren’t. I told him he was playing a dangerous game, that he could really hurt people.
How did he respond?
Adara: There were parts that he seemed open to talk about, and parts that he didn’t want to touch. He never apologized for anything, and actually, he didn’t even seem surprised that I would accuse him of being a predator. He chalked it up to us having different versions of reality, saying that neither of them were wrong, just different.
I realized that he was operating out of his own wounding. That the hyper-adrenalized part of him that wanted to be intimate with young women to the point of manipulation, was just a little boy, clamoring for the nourishment of the Great Mother. He was still reaching for the tits of life, where he’d been separated from as a boy. We were able to talk about his wounded inner child a bit, and honestly, I felt a lot of compassion for that wounded child. After that conversation, I had mixed feelings, and I wasn’t sure it would make any difference, but I knew I was done with him. I may have felt compassion, but that still didn't make it okay or excusable.
There has been some demonization of your character over your actions in part 1. What do you think about that?
Adara: At first, I was angry and spent all my energy obsessing over the handful of comments and being hurt and defensive. And that’s when I realized I was falling into the problem. The problem of women coming forward with their stories only to expend all their energy on defending themselves. Once I realized that, I stepped back and saw everything in a really interesting light.
Not all women who are preyed upon are simple innocent lambs. In fact, most of them aren’t. And that’s why so few women choose to speak. Because society expects victims of abuse (of any kind) to be childlike, naive, modest, foolish. And when smart, confident women are victimized, suddenly it must have been their own fault, it must have been their own shortcomings that got them into that situation.
And really, the small amount of negative comments paled in comparison to the amount of women who resonated with what happened and rose up to share their own similar stories. It was mindblowing to find out how NOT alone we are.
So how do you both feel about what happened now? Also, I think it’s interesting how the ‘victim mentality’ has been talked about. Do you consider yourselves victims?
Adara: I don’t think either of us see ourselves as victims in the way people talk about. Telling the truth about being victimized doesn’t automatically put us in victim mentality. We’re just telling you what happened. That’s why we’re here talking to you about it. Because what happened sucked. I did feel preyed upon and manipulated. Last I heard, he was still teaching intimacy classes, and there’s ultimately nothing I can do about that. But mostly, I want to increase awareness so this happens less.
Jewels: Exactly. I feel violated and preyed upon. I feel as though he thought I was stupid or weak. I feel gross for the other women who might be falling for it. But I feel like I still have some work to do when it comes to who I let in and how I handle uncomfortable situations...especially with men. Where's the balance? I don't want to be an angry bitch or a pushover. There's a line where truth lies. It's honest, liberating and compassionate. It's true though.
Adara: Me too. There’s still obvious wounding in me, deep patterns I’m healing layer by layer, that still need a lot of work. And I own that. That’s mine. Do I put myself into risky situations sometimes, to dig for the truth and to find the lesson? I do, I always have. Do I willingly walk into the flames sometimes, knowing that I’m going to burn a little bit? I do. I really do. I have such a yearning for the truth. I own that, and I am aware of where my work is. I’m okay with people not understanding that, or even demonizing it a little bit. But what happened is still not okay. And while I think it’s powerful to call out the people who are manipulating others, I think it’s even more powerful to give women everywhere the weapons to protect themselves from people who would do that to them. Your biggest weapons are knowing yourself and your boundaries, and speaking your truth.
Jewels: Yes. Know what you're comfortable with. Identify what's okay with you and be okay with that being your boundary. Then when someone starts to cross it, it's nothing personal to practice your truth. It's just like when you want to manifest a relationship or job. You sit and visualize what you need out of that experience and what's important to you. You have left and right bounds on your path. These keep you in alignment with your higher purpose. Same goes for interactions with folks.
Listen to your intuition. If something even feels a little off, don't feel the need to make a decision right away. Sit with it and let clarity come to you. There's no need to placate someone else's emotions by sacrificing your peace. One of the Four Agreements is: "Don't Take Anything Personally." Remember this for yourself as well. What you do with yourself, your body, your time is part of your business here. Don't disrespect yourself in that way. You have a purpose and mission here. Part of that is managing your energy and what you invest in energetically.
Jewels and Adara went on to talk about how they could come together to create a forum in their community where women who had been victimized could feel supported and build healthy boundaries in a safe space. Once both of them had opened up about all the things that happened with him, once they had told eachother their stories of how they were manipulated, the conversation completely shifted. Both women were grateful for their unconventional way of connecting with one another. They were grateful for the lessons they learned about themselves. But mostly, they were determined to create space for women who hadn’t had the opportunity to speak openly about it like they did.
They both told me how they wished the best for the man this was all inspired by. Even after everything that happened, what remained in their hearts was compassion and conviction fueled by divine rage. Compassion for the wounded inner children of the men who manipulate, compassion for their own healing processes, and conviction to build the strength in a community of women that would fill the holes that this type of manipulation can creep into. Conviction to sever these unhealthy ties, and to keep that compassion in their hearts while also standing up for injustice.
When women are truly heard and validated in their experiences, the world shifts. When we allow women to speak their truth, when we allow them to freely respond to what happens in their lives without immediately questioning their character, they find their paths to healing. They grow, they create, they thrive.
So don’t take away our stories. Listen. Please. Just listen.
I received so many messages from other women who have experienced similar situations of being manipulated or abused by spiritual teachers that it would take an entire library of books to tell them all. Here are just a few experiences from others:
One woman I talked with had an experience with a married spiritual predator that spanned over a few years. He took her on as a student, teaching her meditation, breathwork, psychic readings, etc, and that turned into a sexual relationship. She also had a past of sexual abuse that he was able to tap into and manipulate. Within months, he had her doing work for him, advertising his events, paying rental spaces, and training with him. He made her believe that he was eventually going to be leaving his wife for her, and his intense connection with her confused her to the point where she considered doing the impossible: leaving her family and kids behind for him. She eventually became friends with other healers/mediums who encouraged her to do Angel card readings with people at an event, and when he found out, he berated her and patronized her for not being ready. He was always telling her she wasn’t ready to step into her own power. She found out he had been doing this with many other women over a span of 20 years. She claimed her power, got out of the relationship, called him out on it, and is now a powerful teacher and healer in her community.
“On three different occasions and three different men, all at varying degrees of spirituality, I felt myself manipulated. I guess you could say that I was early into my spiritual journey and these men all seemed more "advanced" than me. Like the ladies wrote in the article, their version of reality seemed easy to fall into, even though the warning bells were ringing in my head.
The second, and most horrible, involved being at a campground where I connected with the so-called separated husband of the couple that ran the campground. The "connection" was expressed by him as your ladies have mentioned and it was easy to get caught up in the moment. The twisted part was that I had my then 8 year old autistic son with me. He took an immediate interest in him and quickly took on a "fatherly" role. He too spouted future dreams and plans for us and convinced me that his ex was definitely his ex. He even slept in one of the cabins. He even convinced me to go skinny-dipping while out on his boat...with my son there. I have more shame over that than I can possibly share. He even convinced me to have him and his ex do some energy healing on my son. I felt sick. The next day, even though I was having grave misgivings by this point, I still went out on another boat ride with him and my son. While coming back to the campground and him talking even more about how we were meant to be together and how the three of us could sail the world, his wife pulled up beside the boat, followed us back to the campground and that night kicked me out of the campground. I drove six hours back home feeling the most intense shame that I've ever experienced. I never really realized just how much I was manipulated until I read your blog. I take full responsibility for my part but until I read your blog I just didn't put a name or context to these events. It is too easy to be manipulated and sexualized in the name of spirituality. “
“I had been part of a circle for nearly half a year and we had been doing ritual with braided hair and thin clothing, even in winter. I am shy about my body and react most like Artemis when Acteon discovered her bathing. One night, we were doing ritual, and I had been told by our High Priestess to couple with her mate, the high priest, for Beltane! And this was told to me under the guise of Isis being present and manifested in the circle. A) I am no fan of Isis, nor she of me. We don't talk. B) I am not chattel and will not be forced into any encounter, Goddess blessed or not! I broke circle, came into my own, and they said my black wings unfurled as I swept out of the room where it was being held. Every woman should remember that we have a piece of divinity in us, and no one can make us do anything we don't see as right.”
“This parallels an experience that I am having. I rely on my intuition...it never steers me in the wrong direction. I even try to talk myself out of doubt and suspicion...I tried to give the other person a "fair chance." But nope...my intuition was right...as much as I wanted to believe the man "helping" me is pure of heart with good intentions....it just isn't so.”
“I’ve seen entire covens doing this. Abuse masked as sexual liberation and learning.”
“…we started watching videos on a man who claimed to have extraordinary psychic powers and he thought that was something he and I could master so we could have psychic powers too. These videos involved drawn out exercises that I couldn't hold for longer than a minute. At the first sign of weakness he pounced on my sensitive nature and hurled all sorts of negativity my way. I wanted to cry, but I knew that would make him even more mad so I internalized my pain which eventually turned into shame and self hatred.”
“I just read your piece and HOLY SHIT...it's like I was involved with the exact same man. And funny enough, your piece was forwarded to me from a woman who had also been involved with the same guy as I was…
…I was more than happy to organize this gathering, run that errand, prepare this event literature, make that phone call, etc, etc…because although I may not have realized it at the time, I was looking for validation that what I was trying to create with him was okay because it was “different”. The woman who sent me your blog piece could not believe the similarities between the woman you wrote about and our own experiences with the same guy we were with. That validation piece seems to be a fucking clincher across the board.”
“These types of males have crossed my path more than a few times, and one was an ongoing situation I repeatedly immersed myself into in my late 20's early 30's for the sake of prayer and ceremony. (Medicine Man/Spiritual community setting) My early story was one of sexual assault and rape like the women in your article. That seems to be a huge precedent of energy-speak to set us up for this particular interaction. The predator/victim scenario..."
I was blown away by how much resonance there has been to this story, and even more blown away by how little support many of these women have gotten over their experiences. There are many common threads, many shared experiences. I’ve had my fair share of experience with this predator/victim pattern of abuse myself. One experience that came up for me while writing this blog was one that I’d completely pushed out of my mind for years. I was 21 (7 years ago), and it was shortly after I’d had my spontaneous Kundalini awakening. It was very overwhelming, I didn’t know how to handle the energy, and I had no community. I found a “Kundalini healer” in the Twin Cities named Larry. I was also coming out of an intense phase of suicidal tendencies, trauma-induced sex addiction and self-destruction, and he knew about this. He was older, maybe late 50s, and the session was centered around massage and lots of probing questions. His questions, his touch, were incredibly triggering, and I told him so. He told me it was a good thing and that I needed to see it through for my healing. I went into complete trauma panic mode, guided by him, and ended up having sex with him. I remember when I went out to my car afterwards, I broke down and sobbed. The shame, the guilt, the shock, was unbearable. I never told anyone because of the crippling shame I felt at the time. I know now how wrong and unethical it was, but at the time, all I could do was blame myself. And that's how these types of people keep abusing.
Common traits of the spiritual abuser to watch for in your own relationships and your community:
Angela Jeffreys-Geuzinge is a Reiki Master and the president of the Atlantic Association of Energetic Healing Modalities. She was kind enough to send me this info on spotting a spiritual predator and what to look for, and it's great information to keep in mind anytime you are looking for healing work:
A therapist or teacher that dismisses or does not provide information about their training.
Many sexual predators have a sense of entitlement about themselves in that they are better than their training. Many of these "spiritual gurus" have never had any training at all. Ask for credentials, certificates and references. Avoid any teachers that are offended by your questions or will not provide them. (This last statement applies to female therapists and teachers as well.)
A sexual predator will seek those that lack confidence or self-esteem.
Look for a healer or teacher that makes a client or student feel very special. In a group setting a teacher or healer will seek out the less confident ones and put them in the center of attention, give them all their attention, or make them feel very special with words, actions and/or gifts. In one-on-one sessions, a sexual predator will give that certain look of attraction or make you feel attractive and special.
In a class, the teacher states you have special gifts and offers to meet with you one-on-one privately.
This may be completely legit, however make certain it is. Ask if you can include a friend or another student for extra practice. If this is met with immediate positive reception, then this is most likely legitimate. If there is any hesitancy or it is suggested that friends be worked on afterwards, then refuse the private training.
Usually in these situations no additional money is charged, giving you a sense of indebtedness to the teacher.
If the healer asks "Do you trust me?”
Look for a healer that asks "Do you trust me?" and then proceeds to suggest doing something that is outside of the scope of the healing modality (i.e. working within the breast or reproduction areas). If this is suggested ask for exact details; what is to happen and how that is supposed to help. If you are to remove your clothing (if this is a modality requires you to stay dressed) then immediately leave. If this is a modality where you are already undressed (i.e. massage therapy), clearly state that the session is over. Demand that he leave the room so you can get dressed and leave.
When you say the words "I trust you," these words mean "I trust you will do what is best for me in my healing and you will not harm or violate me." Predators will turn this around and use this as a way to engage you in sexual activities or other inappropriate behavior.
There are two types of predators. There is the predator that will engage in physical activities that are unethical. Then there is the passive aggressive predator who does not touch you or harm you physically but leaves you feeling very uncomfortable about your thoughts and your actions. Both are equally destructive. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with anything that has been said or suggested to you, know that you always have the right to end the session and leave.
Those are the signs to look for. Make sure to take them in full context. Many sexual predators have huge egos, which can be confused with confidence. They are two completely different things. A man who is confident does not necessarily have any ego. For example, my hypnotherapist is very confident in his work, but he does not have an ego whatsoever. Someone could misconstrue that confidence for ego and then prevent themselves from experiencing great healing.
Many women are hesitant to look for a male therapist, teacher or healer, whereas there is no need to fear - if you are aware of what to look out for. For some women, working with a male is best. Many women have had a bad experience with a female figure in their life so a male healer would feel safer for them. Additionally, working with a male can help balance energy, giving space for a deeper healing. Do not allow a few bad apples to deter you from seeing the rest of the good ones that are out there.
Be aware, be vigilant, and never ever feel bad in saying "No" and leaving. It is your right to do so.