We’ve reached a choke point within the Thing that we call “spiritual culture.” We know we want to be here and anyone who approaches does so usually because they just got badly burned and are in need of real nourishment, to do, be, or feel better. The lights are a bit blinding, there’s lots of fear, and Something or Someone who has a job for them and cares for their wellbeing goaded, dragged, or seduced them to the place with all the sparking weirdos who were Awake at least to the point of being able to recognize that there was either Something More or that there was something other than what was being disseminated in the more popular religious/spiritual groups.
These groups/traditions were/are, to be sure, better funded, organized, and riding the expensive bloody coattails of Imperial history. (Or you just “got lucky” and “dug the good vibes, broh.”) Oftentimes, the very spaces intended to be sanctuaries and recovery structures can often become the theaters for middle-school-esque insecurities to blossom and in some cases perpetuate the same toxins that poisoned us before we arrived there. For marginalized people who have fought for the dirt under their shoes, this is not a casual issue. I’m one such person. I’m illustrating something hard to understand and harder to describe, but its important, so I’ll do my best. Take what your heart hears and leave the rest.
Each has their own story about why and how and what, but a rather universal experience, confessed or not, is the sense of being Other and wanting to feel this warmth of belonging, tribal strength, nourishment, and a sense of socially awarded honor that comes with being recognized as Same and Worthy. If you happen to be a survivor of human rights violations, modern slavery, chronic illness, acts of war, the daily trauma of racism, homo/transphobia, cult abuse, etc., this sense of “well, now what” can be almost unbearable and only a great few survive it. If we manage to find a group we like, we get a group label and then possibly people begin to listen to us for being qualitatively weird like them! Glory be! We feel a rush of real nourishment and for some it is the first time – in which case the wounded child aspects surface and we feel all of the repressed pain ride under the waves of belonging.
Thankfully, instead of just lynching people who are different, shooting them at home, or starving them into masking their true natures as in decades past, we’ve begun to boost the voices of marginalized groups, like transgender people and people-of-color, for example, because their daily lived experiences are, by conventional operating standards, incredibly difficult and horrific, most of it beyond their control. I have the blessing of having racial privilege while also being transgender, but appearing more or less like my-Self, so there’s little pushback that I encounter when navigating in society, though for many years, this was not my daily experience and walking down the street was a gauntlet. When you exist outside of what a group thinks is the sum total of reality, some people hold it against you.
I uniquely get to see how easily someone will be given the benefit of the doubt for traits completely beyond their control and another person completely denied said benefit for traits equally beyond their control. When these voices get boosted and welcomed into groups with very public and sometimes inherently political acts, people who have been ignoring deep wounds instantly see their shadows cast on people who are different and are compelled to oppress the marginalize – questioning their integrity, victim-blaming, erasing their daily lived experiences – because these narratives remind them of just how wounded they, themselves, still are and feel helpless to resolve within. Because one person over there gets loved, their pain gets louder, because they want that same love. This is why many people who seem to have social power will attack those who don’t seemingly for no reason. They don’t realize the neighboring narrative parallel to their own.
In other words, when the Repressed see the Marginalized helped, they react in anger because they feel invisible and like they will never have space held for them to heal if these invisible resources are given to groups that typically don’t get to experience any social privilege. Note that when I speak of privilege I mean subtle/not-so-subtle things like being silently judged a “safe” person, a kind person, or a person-like-me, in addition to things that are life-threatening like access to jobs with upward momentum and health insurance, home and business loans, compassionate medical care, marriage proposal. Its true that many people experience tough times, but here we’re referring to the vast majority of collective experience.
Its also important to note that US veterans who more often than not suffer from deep and relatively poorly treated PTSD and other health issues, including but not limited to missing limbs, are often provided little or no care or assistance re-entering what may appear to be an alien world upon completing overseas deployment in war zones having experienced significant violence. Some are fortunate and many are simply not.
My main point is this, if you sign up to run with those who honor “Wild” gods and practice working with energy born of Nature, then you will encounter often that which will stun you, terrify you, confuse you, charm you, be-wilder you, nourish you, seduce you, or even empower you. Nature is home to bunny rabbits and venomous spiders. Here there be dragons! People will be gay, bi, straight, pan, and none of the above. They will violate prescribed gender norms; they will engage in non-fetus-making sex. They will be solo and they will be in groups. They will be all shades of all colors. They will dance in caves and on beaches. They will be vegan and they will eat steak. They will exchange power and they will be militantly equal. They will speak with angels and they will fellate gods. We’re not here to destroy or cut down each other for being more or less Different than we are. If ever we feel the impulse to hurt our own with criticism or strife, remember there are actual wars with actual death being fought with clergy and citizens in actual danger right now. I submit that we would do well to invest our energies building what we want, rather than critiquing what we don’t fully understand yet.
If you want a steady and consistent methodology and culture, come to Mass with me. If you want to run free, naked (or not) as you please, run in the Heath with me. However, you don’t get to turn around and decide that you are gatekeeper to other people’s lived experience, identity, Mystery, or relationship with deity. You don’t get to point your wand at people and say that their daily lived experience isn’t real just because it hasn’t spread itself out on your high holy doorstep or because you weren’t invited to their unique struggle. You most certainly don’t honor any gods, living or dead, by taking inflammatory reactions to others beyond your own property onto social networks and throwing tantrums, nor does it serve, in my humble opinion, for others to get in there and muck about on keyboards with those who are doing so, even with noble intent. This is all energy that could be spent in devotion, aka, shutting up and Living in reflection of They who have shown you Beauty beyond. In other worlds, let’s go build what we talk about.
People learn by feeling. Compassion is born of mutual suffering: com-passion. I only get to take another step in my journey once I have felt all there is to feel about an issue in humble quiet and not-so-quiet honesty with myself and Source. Its not anybody’s business, fault, or responsibility: its mine and mine, alone. I came to the Heath seeking to understand what was pulsing like sonar inside me and having watched my prior world and family ties burn to ash before me, there was nowhere else to go. That pulsing thing was my Heart and in healing her I got to see myself and learn what at least a kind of Love felt for the first time. That became the core of my work and no matter what comes up, it returns there and that is all that remains. The rest, the notoriety, the cred, the “traditions”, the groups, they all burn just like the sacred groves of old to which the Imperials set flame, the same way they crafted human torches out of women and the Different who dared wield strength, own their sex, go to Source directly, or own property like they were sovereign beings.
Here’s the point, no commentary is going to change what is or is not. It is the summary of quiet actions repeated daily that change the world. If you’re called to serve, to build up tribe long lost, or got a crow up your ear saying now’s the time, then burn your cred and get on with it. In the Wild places, you’ll find no trademark. There’s just blood, sweat, cum, mead, and tears and when you feel the world wash away again, the sun comes up and the horn blows anew. No one cares what your name is or how you identify; they care whether or not your vibration helps them stay alive or die where they stand. To the gods, everything else is tripe that burns. Those that think their personal comments will erase what has been forged in hellfire will never see my face. Those who risk all to breathe free just might. The Mother knows us all, no matter our color or what swings between our legs. We’re all bratty toddlers to Her, so let’s get on with it, shall we?
Walk in Beauty, Strength, and Magic all your days.
This is the Royal Way.
– Freya Thunderheart