It's All the Same
In my last few blog posts, I discussed Witchcraft, what it means to me, and why I choose to identify as a Witch. Then in July, I completed my level 1 & 2 Shamanic Training, and this has only affirmed for me that Spirituality, Witchcraft, Shamanism, Reiki, Yoga, even most if not all organised Religions, are all the same.
Yes, many have been warped, twisted, and corrupted, no longer clearly reflecting the pure place from which they arose (Spirit), but when you strip each of them of all the 'Human' corruptions and contextual conditionings, you can clearly see that at their cores they are indistinguishable from one another.
This is what I was attempting to express with my previous blogs about Witchcraft. The taboos and stigmas have never made sense to me, because in essence Witchcraft is exactly the same as all other traditions relating to Spirit and Spirituality, and although I received a largely positive response to my 'coming out of the broom closet', I have also received questions.
Despite understanding my point and intention, many still wonder why I would choose such a polarising and taboo-laden term to identify with. If it's all the same, then why don't I just refer to myself as 'Spiritual' to avoid alienating those who may have negative associations with Witchcraft?
That question perfectly encapsulates my entire point. My identity as a Witch shouldn't polarise, alienate, or otherwise disturb others because it's all the same! By using these terms to describe myself, my beliefs, and my practices, I intend to assist in eliminating the stigma surrounding them. Sure, I may cop a few hits as a result, people might read my blogs and choose not to work with me, but I feel much better about that than I would about changing the way I show up in the world to cater to that minority.
Also, why would I attempt to attract those clients anyway? They're clearly not for me, and I am not for them, which is another important value of mine. In order to do the work that I do, I need my clients to trust me, and to feel comfortable working with me. There are many other highly skilled practitioners out there that would be better suited to those who do not resonate with my way of doing things. I am not sad or sorry to see you go, I am glad you are being steered in the right direction for yourself and your healing journey, and I wish you all the best on that journey.
So, for those still reading, let me further refine what I mean by "it's all the same".
Spirit is the word I choose to use to describe the essence-core of reality, the source-point of all-that-is. It is present throughout all-that-is, as well as the creator or origin of all-that-is. This concept is present in every spiritual tradition, although it may have been given a different name (such as Reiki, Prana, or perhaps a particular Deity). In Organised Religion, the word is God, and this might be a good place to start as, in my opinion, Organised Religion is one of the most 'humanised' (I won't say corrupted because that may be misunderstood) forms of Spirituality. When I say 'humanised' I mean deeply influenced by our human perceptions, values and experiences.
As Earth-based Humans, our experience is limited or conditioned by a number of factors. First we are governed by the laws of nature and this lovely planet we call home (think gravity, the life-death-rebirth cycle, etc.), then we are further conditioned by our bodies and their limitations, to see we rely on our eyes and their limited perception, to hear we rely on our ears and so on, and all that relies on our brains capacity to process the information which has it's own flaws and limitations. Then our minds and bodies are further conditioned by the contexts in which they were raised. Consider your own physical, psychological, social, and cultural contexts, and then imagine creating a Religion for yourself under those influences, how relevant, applicable and beneficial would that religion be to other people around the world? Not very, I imagine... And yet, a single Religion often resonates with billions, cross-culturally, around the world. Why? I believe it is because its essence is a universal reality, and we are all capable of recognising and identifying with that essence despite our contexts.
Something I came to understand in the early days of my spiritual exploration is that Deities and humanoid Gods or omnipotent beings are simply our Human way of understanding and identifying with something that is beyond our Human comprehension. We put a 'face to the name' so to speak, in order to help us connect with something that is so completely outside of our own personal experience that we may otherwise never understand it. This use of the familiar to understand the unfamiliar does not mean that God is literally a bearded man in a white robe, or that fertility is governed by a voluptuous naked woman, that's just how some might choose to relate to the unrelatable. That's why it's called symbolism and not reality.
Spiritually, in all its various forms, is just our limited and heavily conditioned Earthly-Human way of understanding, identifying and connecting with Spirit.
This brings me to another musing I have had. Humans have a nasty habit of attempting to define, refine and categorise our perception of reality in a desperate attempt to know and understand the unknowable, and it tends to corrupt, convolute and confuse more than it clarifies. Why has this desperate need for clarity and knowing replaced our innate ability to know without knowing? Why do we need so much definition, structure, rules, and rituals to connect with and relate to something that is ever-present within and around us? My answer is, we don't. It doesn't matter how any of us refer to our spiritual beliefs or practices, or ourselves in relation to them, because it's all the same. We're all the same.
It's all Spirit.
If you want to reduce complications in your spiritual practices and increase clarity, knowing, understanding and connection, then loose all the trappings and finery that surround and shroud its essence. Return to the pure awareness of Spirit and your connection to it, and move through life from that place. I promise you will never be steered wrong.