Conspicuous Consumerism to QAnon Conspiracies- the “Spiritual” Community’s Epic Fail
The time to reckon with the failure of the “spiritual” community is long overdue. To clarify, I am not anti-spirituality. In fact, spirituality has long been an integral part of my life and even my work. Spiritual belief and ethics, a connection to Divine Source and the tenets of pagan/Wiccan and some aspects of what has come to be (erroneously) considered “New Age” spirituality have been a beacon guiding me through some of the most challenging experiences of my life.
This, I came to believe in childhood, is one of the core functions of spirituality and thus should be a central feature in any spiritual community with integrity. Yet just when it is needed most, this type of community seems to be in short supply.
When I was first drawn to Earth centered spirituality and polytheism, it was nothing like the trendy cash cow it has been in recent years. The internet was not as prevalent then- I hadn’t even heard of it at the time, and books on the subject were highly specialized and only found in massive bookstores or specialty New Age shops. My local library had two books on this subject.
The message behind most of what I read was that spirituality was not an excuse to bury one’s head in the sand, and was not a replacement for mundane responsibilities, but a way to enhance one’s life and find meaning and purpose, to gain perspective and connect with nature and other beings in a way that shows reverence. Yes, the Tarot cards and other tools were cool, but these were ancillary to the core purpose of spiritual connection, which is to say, the process of connection with something beyond the individual ego.
It was the mid 90s and I was exploring the works of early pagan writers, as well as the likes of James Redfield, Robert Moss and Dan Millman. Though there are some problematic aspects of works popular at this time, specifically the proclivity of cultural appropriation, the overall themes dealt with seeing through the illusions of high pressure success culture and returning to a life of ethics, meaning and purpose. Reconnecting with the energy of the Earth and recognizing intuition in practical encounters. These works centered on the practical application of esoteric concepts.