I was inspired by this piece I read over the weekend, particularly this section:
“Here it is, dare I say it: The realm of the mainstream spiritual has become shallow and dogmatic. In an effort to reach divinity, enlightenment, and guru-status, we’ve banished and demonized the “negative” and the struggle of the human experience. We’ve lost touch with the glorious bittersweet medicine that our pain and suffering offers when truly acknowledged by the Self and the tribe, and subsequently integrated with compassion and love.” ~ Ora North
It’s something I’ve been stewing over for awhile and was thankful Witchkin Ora put words to what was knocking at my brain. Why are Witches so obsessed with letting go, renewal, releasing, cleansing, banishing? While those things are important and necessary for spiritual health, they’re only a piece of what is necessary for spiritual growth. Like our physical health, focusing too much on elimination of certain foods without the inclusion of additional healthy foods or appropriate activity for our bodies can harm more than help. But just as so many of us (myself included) are wont to “banish” certain foods from our realm in the interest of improving ourselves, it’s all too easy to latch onto the buzzword of “release and let go.”
For me, part of it is in the order of things. Releasing and letting go is not always be the first step in the spiritual growth journey.
Several years ago, someone wrote a very public, pointed blog about me, listing all the ways in which they felt I was a terrible person. While they fortunately did not use my name, people who know both of us knew quite well that I was the anonymous subject. It hurt. This was someone I tried to support for years. Were there ways in which I’d failed them? Of course! No one walks the Priestess path without stepping in spiritual dog shit about a third of the time. But were there ways in which I had consciously tried to help them find some peace, healing, and navigation on their path? Oh HELL yes. In fact, my entire time working with them seemed to be only about that. In the end, though, I was not successful and this person focused solely on the mistakes I’d made as their teacher in a very public, deeply personal way.
When I told a friend how hurt and angry I was about this, she responded, “You need to let it go.”
“Let it go” seemed like the mature decision. It was the “more spiritual” thing to do. I would pretend I wasn’t bothered or hurt. I would bless and release the situation as a lesson in compassion. I was a rock and an island and I had no feelings because acknowledging hurt and feelings meant I was not a truly spiritual person!!!! I WAS A FUCKING TANK OF A PRIESTESS AND WITCH AND NO ONE COULD HURT ME!!!!!!
Yeah. I was lying to myself and others.
By ignoring my pain, I was actually denying myself the journey to compassion. Telling myself I could climb that staircase to healing faster than “mere muggles” was really an exercise in ego. If I can release and let go immediately, it means I’m a “truly spiritual” person and a more evolved human. What it actually did was stuff my feelings deeper into me. I started becoming bitter and resentful of my role as a Witch and Priestess, getting easily upset by little things as opposed to seeing them as little things. I resented the person who told me to “let it go,” and picked fights with them over inconsequential stuff. I wasn’t becoming more spiritual. I was actually stunting my own growth.
If I could go back in time….
I wouldn’t have immediately forced myself to “let it go.” I would have sat with the pain for awhile. I would have acknowledged the sorrow I felt as detailed above. I would first have had compassion for myself and given myself the appropriate time to mourn what had happened. Then I would focus on letting it go. The good news for me is that it’s not too late. Honestly, this blog is the first chance I’ve had in the years since it’s happened to really detail that experience and what it did for me: I felt lost. I felt saddened. I felt betrayed. I felt like being a Priestess was a stupid thing to be–why spend my life helping people if they are just going to turn around and hurt me if I make a mistake? Why am I expected to be better than others? Why am I expected to be perfect?
But in writing this, I already see that this is not true. Being a Priestess is a wonderful thing. I’ve had the blessed opportunity to learn from so many people and watch them truly thrive. If people have the expectation that I am perfect, then that’s on them! I’ve never claimed to have found enlightenment!
Wow. That was much easier than I thought.
The truth is that in jumping to “Release and let go” I’d never fully been able to do either. I needed some time to mourn and feel. In taking the time to do so, it will be easier to move on.
Let’s all keep in mind that releasing and letting go IS a necessary step in the growth process, but it should not be the “go-to” step. After delving into the deep pool of uncomfortable feelings, there will be an appropriate opportunity to release and let go, but we can’t skip the delving.
The New Moon in Pisces tomorrow (which comes with a free Solar Eclipse!) is a great opportunity to dig deeper. Pisces rules the unconscious and encourages us to explore what’s going on with us, deep underneath. Pisces doesn’t “just let go.” Pisces churns up the stuff that’s been clogging the floor of our personal, proverbial oceans. We can see what’s making a mess down there and then we can consider letting the spring energies come in and help us release it.
On this New Moon, I invite Witches to join me in:
~Acknowledging a hurt
~Feeling a loss
~Exploring an area of discomfort
Let us ask ourselves, what’s going on in those places that don’t feel good? Where do they come from? How do they inform us about our current situations? I already feel that this New Moon is helping me understand that the hurt I felt by that former students has made it harder for me to personally invest in newer students. I can see how I’ve taken out my hurt on them through a mask of impatience which was really me shielding a place of sorrow. Had I taken time initially to feel, maybe I could have avoided some of that.
And once we’ve given ourselves the space to feel, then we can focus on letting go.