When olde tyme religioun becomes crisis, and n3w AgE spirituality can’t alleviate.
In the last Betwixt post, I talked about the lack of center being the current way of the adaptable animist. I mentioned how through changing times we grow and mature, so our center changes, as do our methods for accessing it. As well, eventually even our concept of what center is must be at least investigated, let alone updated.
For those of you new to the Betwixt Series, my focus remains giving as full a context as possible of what it’s like to live as an animist in the everyday, specifically as modern shaman. Given that setting and the frightening trajectory of current events, we need to talk.
I will never be the academic sage who reads modern signs against an ancient lexicon. Likewise, I’ll never be the New Ager interpreting crystals and solar flares as gospel. I also flounder at best with, though adore scientific segues into our experience of form. I can offer but one perspective on what’s happening on the planet, and it’s absolutely flavored by my path as an animist and shaman, through the missives of my guides and UPG. Mileage may vary, and that’s the whole point: it should.
From a planetary standpoint, we’ve been forced to step into the truth that how we’ve lived (in the west) has created an epidemic lack of natural resources, and damaged Nature in ways that it won’t recover quickly enough to sustain current world populations. Culturally, we’ve identified that people have a general distrust of government, politics, systems put in place to serve communities, and they are running from organized religions.
I want to talk about what all of this means spiritually, specifically now it impacts the place of humans in our concept of divinity. Most of the time when we–any of us, regardless of denomination/path–feel spiritual disjoint, we assume it means we need to change rituals. We need more community. We need the right community. When that feeling becomes discordant despite making change, we internalize it as a need to re-route path, completely. We change religions.
As most people come to paganism as a result of discord with an organized religion, we know what that feels like to make such a huge change. We are well-acquainted with the discomfort of spiritual needs not being met, and we recognize the sign posts pointing us to a spiritual detour.
Likewise, we’re used to feeling that discontent alone. We’re used to it being only us, having to cope with that grief and loss in a vacuum. As religion is deeply ingrained in our ancestry, seasonal rituals, and community resources, the transition away from the accepted faith can be traumatic. Sometimes we are isolated not because we need solitude to re-orient to a new way, but because we were cut off, because we had the audacity to change. We’ve come to see isolation as part of such transitions.
What’s happening on the planet now is we’re all going through spiritual detour at the same time.
The chaos, grief, and change we’re all feeling is what that looks like–across religions, belief systems, ideologies.
But where do we all go? What spiritual path is waiting with open arms for us this time? Tripping one spiritual path to another isn’t working. It won’t dent the mass crisis of folks of all walks seeking enlightenment, peace, hope, and faith. It won’t neatly satisfy the need to feel connected to Other. Why? Because that we’re all in spiritual crisis at once isn’t the only emergency happening right now.
I’ve gotten pretty confident in saying some pretty wild hair things over the last couple of years, and that’s partly because I’ve said them in my blog and so many readers responded with similar observations. Foremost, thank you for that because it’s why I can say:
Other Has Changed.
One more time, Other Has Changed. There is no spiritual path that’s going to be more comfortable than the present one. We’ve not been abandoned by the Divine (or greater system)–however we each define that to be. We’re not doing anything wrong; we didn’t break anything. (?) Whatever the events playing out now–on the world stage, in each of our understandings of Beyond, the rending of the fabric that holds the Unseen and the Seen together–have nothing to do with what spiritual path we’re on right now.
Then what does it have to do with?
Before we get to that, we need to deeply realize the core of the crisis and learn to respond differently. We’re not experiencing a spiritual crisis in isolation. Understanding that fact means developing the maturity to realize other people are going through it as well, and to shift our responses to that crisis from ego-driven efforts to quickly soothe ourselves to ones that include helping other people, as well. At this pinnacle of the crisis, it’s our responsibility to reach out, to be inclusive of the experience of others, of all. The exact demand is to realize that the resolutions we find for ourselves must also bless others. They can’t be separate; it must be both, at once. What we ask for ourselves, we must request that it be given to all who want it, as well. And that also means blowing out the incense, dropping the prayer beads, heaving off the altar, and being boots on the ground in our communities. We must pay it forward and help others through this shift. Inclusivity isn’t only our personal way through it, but the way through for us all. We aren’t experiencing it in isolation, we can’t achieve success with it in isolation.
Prayer and soul-searching are awesome. So are conversations with Odin, Jesus, and Thoth. However, it’s time, also, to show up.
We’re a planet We’re a reality–Seen and Unseen, all together–experiencing radical change. It’s not just the neighbors going through a deep spiritual rebirth, it’s also the beings who watch over us, over the galaxy, the beings we trod upon to get to the mail, the ones we breathe. We’re not used to living animism. It’s uncomfortable and brings a level of accountability for everything we eat, drink, breathe, carve, think, shoot, paint, sex, hear… Yet, without that level of understanding of our impact upon the Others who live right among us, we’ve totally forgotten our impact on those dwelling Above and Below us–and I mean that literally and figuratively.
In our quest for tech and power, humans have changed reality at all levels. We may be the biggest influencers
on the planet right in this reality, right now. We hold power over the water, vegetation, animals, air, space, and land, without the wisdom to hold it well. We need to take responsibility for that role, and we do it by coming into direct relationship with everything around us. The Nature Spirits of our yard, our region, and the spiritual Other worlds.
If the gods are in distress too, who do we pray to? Perhaps the deeper concern is our definition of God, gods, goddesses. Maybe prayer isn’t about making a request of a higher being. Maybe it’s making a request or offering a blessing, then taking every action to bring that request into being, to make sure that blessing gets delivered. Aren’t we always saying it’s not the destination, but the journey? Maybe prayer isn’t about the recipient or response, but the act of engaging? Directly engaging. Maybe we need to have more faith in ourselves as Divine beings, and start seeing our guides as beings in need of support. Faith in ourselves is the most untried.
The hardest of all of these demands is we must come into direct relationship with the people in our lives, those across town, and the ones we can’t comprehend. This is where we’re effective. This is how we get through it. Not by praying to a being who’s also under duress, then turning off the light. Not by giving love and light, and logging out.
The reality is right now our only tenet of path is to witness, and that happens only in the Middle World, Midgard, right in front of our faces. The Way just isn’t solid, staid, or freaking still enough for us to do anything else, and that’s the biggest blasphemy any of us have ever experienced. We’re used to our spiritual paths being there–with road blocks, crossroads, and occasional fender benders, but there.
What we’re being asked to do now is stick to the path, without knowing what territory it’s leading us through, or where we will end up.
Is that what we were always being asked to do and we missed the memo, until it became an emergency?
Instead of having the luxury–nay, privilege–of honing our spiritual paths and relationships to Divinity and expecting Divinity to take up any slack in that gesture, we’re being asked to tend this world. Plain and simple. Be here. Show up. Help. Support. This doesn’t mean we can’t still work our prayer beads and wave our sage. It just means that can’t be all we do.
Maybe we aren’t to blame for the entire upheaval of Seen and Unseen. Maybe it was coming, regardless, though like climate change, we sped it up. Maybe Other hasn’t changed. Maybe it was always elusive and our construct of religions and crystals to access it merely provided a term-limited connection. What is certain is the fabric of reality–the fabric our spiritual paths are built on–as we’ve struggled to know it, suffered to contain it, is changing. It’s not done, and there’s nowhere to land. This is why people are leaving churches in mad droves, why polytheists and animists are screaming at each other like Methodists and Southern Baptists.
Years ago, one of my more New Agey mentors told me that we were shifting from 4th to 5th dimensional reality, and that it was all or nothing. Either we all shift, or none of us do–the whole planet. I thought that was a very limiting perspective, and an incredibly unfair one. The people doing the work, walking the walk should get to shift. Those who aren’t, oh well. Think about that for a minute.
It really tripped me up, her all or nothing prophecy–a fatalistic perspective hard for this 8th house Cancer to swallow. I just couldn’t accept it, which left me raw with this idea that I had to save the world. I didn’t want to be left behind because I hadn’t done my part. I may as well do everyone else’s to make sure, right?
That mentor died last year. In the events that have unfolded since her death, I think I see what she meant in that binary roll of dice. It isn’t that we all fry in a fiery galactic convergence as the result of our own asshattery. It’s that if we don’t shift the attitude to inclusivity, we may as well.
Thank you for what you do. Keep doing what you do, and where you can, do more. We need you.