Who’s ready for another round of Nonir rambles about spiritual stuff? I hope it’s you, because that’s what today’s post is. Whomp whomp.
Those you (all two of you) who have been following me over various platforms for a while probably have heard me whine about fallow times and struggling to connect.
Well, now that I’m finally getting my head back on straight, let’s talk about the importance of rest in a spiritual practice.
First of all, not being able to connect with your deities/spirits/higher self/whatever can be a pain. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It sucks, especially if that relationship has been helping with your mental health in any way.
But having downtime is so important to growth--spiritual or otherwise.
The best thing you can do when you find yourself out of touch or struggling spiritually is to relax.
Don’t force things. Don’t take on a gazillion courses or try to shove your way into the astral if you’re used to traveling. Try not to get upset or frustrated with yourself. Try not to get resentful or angry with the spirits or gods you work with for not being there. (Odds are they are there, just in the background, waiting for you to finish resting and healing.)
Letting yourself relax and accept the fallow times can help:
So the next time you find yourself in a time that feels kind of spiritually empty, just take a few deep breaths, remind yourself that it will pass, and relax.
Has someone ever told you that they love you unconditionally, but you can tell they don’t actually mean it? Say, a parent who disapproves of your sexuality or gender presentation. You can never be sure if they’ll scold you, ignore you, or worse if you’re truly yourself. Kind of undermines the entire concept of “unconditional,” doesn’t it?
I get it. I mean, we’re all human. We all have limits and sometimes we don’t even know what those are until we hit them.
But it also hurts when someone says they love you no matter what but doesn’t (or even if you’re not sure whether or not they do). It hurts a lot. Trust me. I’ve been there.
It keeps you on edge, makes you wary. You start hiding the parts of yourself that you’re not sure are approved. It’s exhausting, especially if you’re like me: recovering from past emotional abuse, people-pleasing like woah, and already constantly walking on eggshells.
But, holy crap, it’s amazing what knowing that you are totally and fully loved can do.
We all need someone to have our backs, to be there no matter what. And sometimes it’s hard if not impossible to find that person on this plane. That’s okay.
I’m not saying that everyone should have the same relationship with their spirit companions, if you even go down the spirit work path.
But I am saying that sometimes spirituality can provide that foundation of love that we need to thrive.
Obviously, it’s not for everyone, and it will take different forms for different people. Your mileage may vary.
For me at least, I don’t know what I’d do without my spirit companions. For the first time in my life, I’ve learned what unconditional love really feels like. And there’s no way I’m going back.
P.S. Don't forget to preorder a copy of the Brain Beasties Oracle to help cultivate some unconditional self-love, too!
My roommate and I have recently been watching a lot of Buzzfeed Unsolved, and it's got me thinking about spirits, the ways we interact with them, and how our own brains help or hurt that. It probably helps that I've started writing an e-course about spirit work, but we're totally going to blame the show. Because reasons.
Paranormal investigation focuses on trying to find real, solid, scientifically-acceptable proof that spirits (mainly ghosts and other post-human entities) exist. They use tools like motion cameras/lights, video and audio recorders, and all sorts of other technology. The problem, in my opinion, is that spirits don't exist on this plane--so how would they trigger motion lights or show up on video?
So, okay, that sounds crazy. Dismissing paranormal investigators by saying they're doing it wrong. But in my experience, they are.
Spirits, especially in the context of a spiritual practice (since that's all I can really talk about), aren't generally throwing things around or creating intense physical sensations. Most of the time, it's a very subtle thing that even those of us who have been doing this work for decades can miss or misinterpret. When a spirit worker talks about "hearing" or "seeing" a spirit, more often than not, we're talking about things that happened inside our heads or in dreams/mediation or some other subjective, non-physical experience.
For me, what matters the most in dealing with spirits isn't physical, solid proof that they exist. It's belief that they do, and they want to interact with us*. Which, you know, would put paranormal investigators out of business.
I think it's important to remember if you're interested in working with spirits in any capacity that there will likely never be scientific proof that you're not crazy. Maybe it is all in our heads. Maybe we are talking to entities from other planes or the ghosts of the deceased. Maybe it's some combination thereof. We'll never know.
But, honestly, I don't think that's a bad thing. Healthy doubt is good in this work, after all.
* Of course, don't believe everything you experience or let belief get in the way of good discernment, but that's a blot post for another day.
I was chatting with my friend Olivia from Leafing Out Gardening (who happened to do the illustrations for On the Tightrope (preorders open until August 8!)) yesterday about spirit work and she said something interesting:
"All of the spirit workers I know are some of the most down-to-earth people I know."
This struck me because I think there's this conception that spirit workers are caught up in woo and wanting to be special and the sheer drama and thrill of interacting with entities on another plane. People think that folks who claim to be working with spirits or have spirit companions etc. are looking for attention, positioning themselves to be "better than" others, gloating, or what have you.
I can't deny that there are certainly some people out there who fall into that camp. Hell, I had a phase where I was trying to interact with as many different types of spirits as I could to make myself feel special and better about myself. (High school was rough, y'all.)
But I think it's a disservice to spirit workers and the spirits they deal with to assume they're out-of-touch with reality or just seeking attention.
In my opinion, good spirit workers are masters of discernment. They're aware that sometimes their own brains interfere, or that everything might be a figment of their imagination. They don't take things at face value, but also don't get mired in the doubt swamp (oh, gods, this is so hard, let me tell you). They generally don't go around crowing about the spirits in their lives to just anyone, though I know some who do have blogs dedicated specifically to spirit work and recording/sharing experiences to help others. And, most of all, they never use their experience or connections to manipulate/gaslight/abuse/generally make others feel bad.
I guess my point here is let's stop making spirit work something that's super out there and woo and crazy. Instead, let's maybe try to focus on the fact that this is something everyone can do if they want to, no special skills required. Just patience, practice, trust, and learning.
Nonir is a queer pagan nerd and writes about various things in those realms.