A Perseverance Through Spiritual Exclusivity
Written By: Anh Stanley
Going into my business venture, I was plagued with doubt. Would the community receive me? Would my own people receive me? I even found myself, like so many of us do, struggling with Impostor Syndrome.
I was already fueling myself for the inevitability of defeat before I had even allowed myself and others the opportunity to experience what Pyramid had to offer.
Much to my relief, I found myself embraced by almost every single person who was willing to give me a chance. Groups like Blue Ridge Beltane, Earth Church, and even city representatives came in to show solidarity. But to be honest, this wasn't enough for me.
The other day, I held a DIY Health & Wellness Spell Candle Class. Half of the class was educational, and many of the attendees eagerly took notes about the herbs and crystals that were to be used that night. The second half of the class was hands on. I have to say, I was so damned moved as I watched people from all walks of life engage themselves spiritually while also enjoying themselves and each other's company (many of them complete strangers to one another).
At the end of my classes, I like to ask a few people how their experience was. This time, it was a group of lovely ladies who were just starting to dip their toes into a new brand of spirituality.
"So, what did you think about all of this? Was it too woo woo for y'all?" "Not at all! I was more concerned that we would be judged for not knowing about any of this. This is all new to us and I was worried we'd be out of place."
Those words shook me. I took a step back later that night to really analyze where she was coming from and realized the full spectrum of what exclusivity does to every. Single. Person. I also realized that I too have felt threatened by a portion of the witchier community. The same feelings I felt when I had opened my business. Would I be received? Am I good enough? Tonight, I wanted to discuss the root of those feelings: The unconscious way in which we express exclusivity. And I'm going to be putting the spotlight on pagans, witches, yoga folks, and energy healers.
If you're still reading, we can conclude one of of three things:
1) You are a total slut for punishment.
2) You are of the woo persuasion.
3) You have felt outcasted by spiritual groups.
BONUS) All of the above.
Before I delve right into bashing my own kind, I wanted to talk about my experience with some, not all, of the community at hand. Most everyone has been absolutely lovely. I love it when lovely people come into my shop. The place just vibrates when they leave and the energy lingers for the next person who walks in!
There are, however, a portion of folks who have come in to spread their "knowledge" and virtually masturbate themselves in an act of what I refer to as Spiritual Gatekeeping.
Imagine you're sitting at work doing whatever it is you do. You could be a cashier. Maybe you're in accounting. Maybe you're a waiter. Now imagine that somebody else, who you've never met, walks up to you and strikes up a conversation about your job. They're not asking questions or really including you, but rather they're talking at you about how they ring up customers. About how they file documents. Or about how they bring out entrees. Then, just before leaving, they turn around and ask you, "So why didn't you choose to do your work the way I do?".
Now... Imagine that in a spiritual setting.
Yeah. Big Mood.
This exact scenario has played out in my own shop at least 3 times since I opened the doors 4 months ago. Unfortunately, I wear my emotions on my face and the majority of these patrons haven't returned. Tack on the element of gossip, and you've got yourself a pretty hefty group of people who not only won't support you, but tell others to follow suit because it's not the "right" way.
I know. It sounds like I'm lamenting. And, in my own way, I am! But the point I'm trying to really drive home is that exclusivity and gatekeeping does, in fact, exist in the alt. spiritual community; and that I won't fucking stand for it.
Spirituality knows no bounds. There is no right way to access the higher nature of ourselves or the universe. If a Twinkie opens a portal in your mind and makes you transcend conscious thought as we know it, more power to you! For me, personally, meditation and shadow work do wonders.
But, if organized faith is your calling, by all means go to that, too! I don't care if you're wearing a cross, a pentacle, a raven, or an epoxy resin crystal; as long you're not encroaching on the human rights and freedoms of others - we're cool.
I mentioned before that Pyramid wasn't meant for established groups, and that's half true. I love my woo woo people and if I can help them in any way possible, I'll do it!
My calling harkens to my own spiritual awakening (I'll save that for another time, or you can just ask me in person). I am here to break down walls and ferry those who seek their spiritual path. If you're worried about acceptance, Pyramid is here for you. If you feel like you're not good enough... Here for you. If you feel witchy vibes but don't gel with traditional teachings, guess what, Pyramid is for you (and you're also a solitary practitioner).
Or if you already found your path and just need something supplemental, you can just leave. I'm kidding. I love you. And You have a home here, too.
What I'm here to do tonight is address a community that confuses intuition with discrimination. A community that spiritually bypasses others through white washing and "warmth, love, and light" culture. A community that, although has suffered through centuries of hardships, can turn its nose up and snub out those who choose to follow a less structured path.
When I say Pyramid welcomes all, I truly mean ALL. We're just now starting to gain momentum, and it is my PRIVILEGE to break down walls and usher in a new wave of truth seekers.
I have zero intentions of allowing anybody to feel anything less than magickal and empowered...
Even if you have no idea what you're doing yet.