Believing that there is one right way to practice witchcraft is a symptom of spiritual programming, which is indoctrinating individuals until they believe that their own experiences and knowledge are unimportant or wrong.Spiritual programming is based on fear: those who instill it fear us and seek to control us through their methods, while we, out of fear, fall into their traps. Spiritual freedom occurs when we realize that we have a choice in what we believe and practice.
One of my earliest memories is sitting in a church pew on a Sunday morning. The wood beneath me stuck to my bare legs in my short summer dress. As a child, I couldnt articulate how that painful feeling of stickiness permeated my soul in that Pentecostal church, but I knew that my discomfort was about far more than my sore legs. It was the complete lack of freedom, coupled with the omnipresent fear that doing the wrong thing would end in a one-way ticket straight to hell. Thats enough to make anyone stick to their seat, but I yearned for the freedom I knew existed.
Flash forward to when Im involved with a tradition that, although beautiful in many ways, felt like just another uncomfortable church pew. The very opposite of freedom.
Gatekeepers are trying to keep us stuck to our spiritual seats. What these gatekeepers are doing is trying to program us into believing them, to literally keep us in the place they need us to be. They try to insert doubt and other forms of fear into our minds. This contaminates us spiritually so that we get confused about what intuitively feels right to us.
From telling us that our understanding of the deeper world is wrong, to insinuating that we are incapable of determining what practices are best for us, they program us in ways that can be very subtle but are still very sticky. Their aim is to render us as frozen in fear as they are. Make no mistake; anyone claiming to have the one version of the truth is engaging in spiritual programming. Their goal is to deny you of your own free will and stick you to your seat out of fear.
Theres no point in trying to change the gatekeepers minds, but there is great value in discussing how spiritual programming influences even the most independently minded witch. The gatekeepers are bullies determined to bind us to them through the power of fear. Send them the love they lack and follow your own truth.
Spiritual abuse is the extreme end of programming. It involves manipulating our emotions and thoughts to the point that we no longer believe what feels intuitively true to us. Toxic witches in all their many forms are spiritual programmers, from the gaslighters to those who take up all the air in the room.
Claiming that we shouldnt do deep inner work on our own borders on spiritual abuse because it attempts to infantilize practitioners to the place where they have no ability to make their own decisions. We are not small children who want to eat an entire box of cookies. As adults, we make our own decisions and accept responsibility for our actions. That is, unless we are so spiritually programmed that we blindly follow whatever the gatekeepers tell us.
Spiritual programming shows up as discrediting our individual experience, so much so that what we know to be true ends up needing some sort of external validation. The expression unverified personal gnosis has always rankled me. Its as though what I know to be true isnt, unless some expert agrees. Thats contrary to the very nature of spiritual witchcraft.
Even though Ive always been an independent thinker, I was still accumulating spiritual programming from these paths. In particular, the idea that my inability to deeply connect with any one tradition was a failure on my part. I had a fear of commitment or I lacked discipline. All these hurtful terms used to describe anyone who resists blind adherence to a tradition. Were taught to conform out of fear: if we dont, well be punished, by losing our community or going straight to hell.
Spiritual programming promises us that by staying stuck in the seat of accepting that one system holds all the answers we will have a heavenly life. It denies that the individual is the expert on their own journey, and that spiritual growth is very messy. When we get stuck in spiritual programming, we start believing that forces outside of us are responsible for both our well-being and our misery.
The major shift in how witchcraft is practiced today, in comparison with the wise women of the past, is that we have access to so much information. Our ancestors learned what they could and then improvised the rest. Instinct, intuition and a bit of mysticism drove their practices, not what a website said to do.
Spiritual programming doesnt belong in witchcraft because it steals the very heart of it: the power of the practitioner to be the expert on their own journey. Ive said it many times: the only rule that matters in witchcraft is to know yourself.
Sometimes, we gain insight into who we are by comparing ourselves to others. My early misfit days in the church became clear as I observed how others in the church acted. I wasnt like them. Theres no need to be critical of those who require the comfort of dogma. Being responsible for your own life is frightening to many. For them, the easy road is to just go with the flow. Theyll never even become aware of their herd mentality.
Seems weird to say that herd mentality is encroaching on witchcraft, but it really appears that way. We have all these rules, from which directions of the compass go with each element, to fixed ideas about what constitutes a ritual. If the Christians were to be successful in wiping out real witchcraft, it seems to me that convincing us there were specific rules that must be followed is an excellent approach.
When we being to overcome spiritual programming, its incredibly uncomfortable. Just like when we lift our legs off that pew. Well heal from the stickiness as we move from fear to freedom.
Go here to read the rest:
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