Maybe its growing up in what used to be considered the spiritual capital of the UK, maybe its the ever looming 30, or maybe its the never ending Mercury retrograde. Either way, the topic of this blog covers spiritualism, truth, and how that (amongst endless other things) have been stolen, re-branded, and re-gurgitated by men.
Spiritualism has been in my life since a child. I grew up learning ancient Hebrew (I know, so cool for a kid growing up in rural northern England), and was raised Jewish. Learning the ancient teachings of the old testament, the teachings of the haftorah and the philosophical debates gifted to me my then Rabbi. I practised until I was 15, and then, with the acceptance of my parents, decided that Judaism was great and all that but I wanted to explore. Around this age, a group of us in school (as basically everyone did at this age) decided we were WITCHES. We would meet in our lunch break and practise visualisations (The one with the apple?!) and talk all things witchcraft, and of course smoke the occaisonal joint and then try to go back to class. At one point however I did over-step the mark, and returned to an ICT lesson, red eyed and confused, and demanded that my files had been stolen from the inside of my computer. Amazingly, I wasn't suspended (genuinley amazed I wasn't suspended MULTIPLE times through high shchool but I was just so damn funny) and my teacher pointed where my files were and we never spoke of it again. We used to buy crystals from Leicester house, a shop in Hebden with an incredible woman who sold all things witchy, burnt insense and smoked weed and we used to feel all naughty and magical when we went in. I started learning Tarot when I was 16, decided witches were for kids, and did what all teenagers do (or they do by us) turned to partying and the endless nightlife to answer my questions about the world.
Skip ahead. 26. Graduated from Drama school, running a marathon. Sobriety hits. Firstly turning my back on alcohol made me investigate other ways to relax, and thus Yoga, edibles and a multitude of other things started to make my way into my life. I find myself walking again, so connected with my body and with nature. Running, walking, not look for material answers led me straight back to spiritualism again. And as an adult, as a woman, into a whole new world of frustrations.
I want to introduce a word at this point. A word well recognised in Hebden. A 'Trustafarian'. Now, a trustafarian, is generally white, with dreadlocks, maybe lives on a narrow boat or their parents house, and preaches gospel about freedom, truth, and one-ness, all whilst living a very happy life from their parents trust fund. Growing up around trustafarians made me very sceptical of firstly narrow boats (not any more! My ill-found prejudice is long dead, in fact if anyone has one going spare i'm IN) and secondly men. Preachy men. The spiritual truth seekers. You only have to look on the internet, or in a book shop, to find how many men have made incredible financial success for them preaching this gospel. As a woman, my initial thought is, where are all the women?! Then I remember, we are oppressed, so why would the 'spiritual sector' be any less bound of prejudice than the material world, and here, in this context we find them hand in hand.
Now, I don't know what youre commitment to reading is like. Reading for me is still a sacred act, and there are, thank goodness, books published by women about female spiritualism, shamanism, and ritual. I saw Adele Getty speak this year, and am currently reading her book, 'A sense of the sacred'. She was a huge inspiration for me, to see a woman speak with such grace and candor about the use of hallucinagenic substances, how to use them in a way that is sacred and honours the body and the earth, and connects you to it. She puts it well, drugs are re-creational, not recreational. Opportunities to explore, the body, mind and other worlds in a sacred way. Not just for you to brighten up an otherwise mundane Tuesday. Now, seeing Adele, being at a festival in California (Where there was a much more apparent presence of women) really brought this home to me. Hang on a minute, in all of my 'Spiritual' growth in Hebden, where were the women? In a town FULL of strong inspirational women, why hadn't I seen them, preaching the gospel, shouting from the rooftops, or rallying groups of people together to worship at the chapel of wisdom created by one person that had a just so transformative pschadelic experience.
And then I realised. It is not because women are not spirutal. Absolutely not, I mean 'Mother Nature' hello? We only have to look at the beautiful chaos of our own abundant bodies to be connected to the earth. We are constantly asking our intuition, challenging our sensitivity, following our gut insincts to safety, I mean we are technically responsible for the continuation of the species so I think its safe to say we know our shit. What it is, is that the male world again, has seen something it wants to own, to conquer and control, like any other strand of toxic male behaviour. Now, if we took all of that attention and focused it on what we should be doing, which is making sure women are happy so we don't decide to end all human kind by refusing to pro-create, men would have much less time on their hands to muse on their own existence. Patriarchy has made the perfect spiritual couch for men to rest their weary heads on. Put your feet up. Drink this broth, why don't you figure out what the future holds? Meanwhile, women everywhere are put in the position of caregivers and caretakers of our planet and are wholeheartedly ignored. The men are catapulted into the limelight, like new age spirtual celebrities and icons, Jesus, re-branded, but far too few of these men are talking about the female relationship. It perpetuates the same narrative, of men as truth seekers, and women as lame-subservient shepardesses graciously begging at the feet of the truth-lord when they chose to share their visions of a future world.
If only. If only they new that all the answers they need lies in a single blade of grass, a leaf, or into the abyss of pure creation that lies between a womans legs. Not only can women wake up, work, take on child care, for them and maybe other mothers, maybe their job is also as care giver, but still, and now more and more, finding the time to meditate, find other women and strike their covens. I'm at a very exciting time, where I feel a coven forming. Not just my local coven (Can I get a hell yeah ladies) but all around the world. Women are not following the male linear full battle approach to spiritualism and its a god damn refreshing voice to hear. In 'Shakti Woman' by Vicki Noble she talks about how she took 2 years with female only spaces, to empty the male sound that drums through her head. I read this and completely understood. So often with spirtual paths, women are collected as muses, as delicate little fairies to bounce upon the bodies of men and just bounce off again when they so please, as they may be GETTING IN THE WAY OF ENLIGHTENMENT. I honestly think if women had more time, we would be innundated with living female Buddha's teaching about the grace and beauty of the world. How to collaborate, how to find your way and be with, not against the world around you. How not to conquer, how to win, but how to win every minute of every day, by looking out into the fucking majestic splendor that we are gifted, instead of being consumed by the arrogance that somehow alone in your brain you have the answer. You know the asnwer. The answer is you're not alone. The answer is you learn from the world around you. The answer is that we evolve and adapt. And the asnwer is you can never go backwards to go forwards. The answer is your mind and your body is a gift, and respect the integrity of the universe or believe me it will tear you apart.
Now. As a self confessed witch, explorer, lover of nature, walker, runner, hiker, lover, I am tired of a world run by men. I'm even more tired of my spiritual journey being navigated by them. Women are teachers. Women are knowledgeable. Women have answers. In the same talk that I saw in California, one of the Shamans (male) was asked about their visions of the future. He said (I paraphrase)
“We now, are in a time, where we must listen to women. When I need the answer to something, I ask a woman.”
with the rise of technology, phallic glass oprressive buildings moving us further and further into the sky rather than back into our bodies, he is not wrong. We must listen to women. We are not pretty accesscories for you to figure out your path like a beautifully decorated Sat Nav. We are wise, we are intuative, we are strong, we are bold, we are spiritual, we are beautiful, we are useful, we are necessary, we are magical and we are tired. If I need the truth, I ask a woman. If I need to hear things how they are, I ask a woman. If I need to hear about intuition I ask a woman. If you need a truth seeker, ask a woman. She seeks it calmly, beautifully, in her own time, using resources, gifts from beyond. She does it with grace and respect and understanding, not using natures gifts as weapons against conciousness to blow our brains into smitherines and spend the rest of our lives picking up the fragments. We are now, in a time, where we must listen to women. So listen. Hear. Do not interpret, do not digest and turn us into false agenda. Accept us as truth seekers, and spiritual warriors, still rising in a world that is pulling us down. Revel, celebrate, hear.