As we move through our days, we step through invisible battlegrounds oblivious to the casualties. The conflictual spiritual forces of outdated versus evolving ideologies send currents through our wifi networks and cable lines. They fill our atmosphere with static. Knowing this, you can arm yourself with a shield of light against the bombs of fear blasting up your mobile devices. Deepen the connection between your intellect and inner wisdom, your head and heart, to know the difference between truth and lies.
Within the past three weeks, I have worked with dozens of clients in my intuitive astrology practice who expressed similar sensations. Tightness in the upper back behind the heart and unexplainable anxiety. At times, individual stories can reflect a microcosm of what we are experiencing as a macrocosm or whole. So, I began to see links between their experiences and what’s happening in the world right now. My conclusion? We’re in a spiritual crisis, but there’s hope.
Conflicting collective thought forms (like beliefs, rules, and cultural norms, for example) are simultaneously tugging us back toward the past and pushing us forward into a more progressive paradigm. As the old thought forms die, new ones come to life.
We have been spiritually evolving and fast, and we are experiencing a cultural renaissance in many ways. For example, we have more access to personal development resources of all kinds, like online courses, books, workshops, and podcasts. As we deepen our understanding of human consciousness, expand our awareness about our power to manifest change, and consciously link our mind/body connections, we better understand our creative potential. Our power.
As a result of this evolution, the collective beliefs, ideas, and ways of being that have served as our culture’s guiding principles no longer resonate. We are witnessing the beginning of the end of white supremacist patriarchy, and most of our collective thought forms were rooted in that paradigm. However, the ground for new societal constructs has not yet been solidified. Therefore, we are finding root systems in our individual truth and in like-minded communities. As we transition from one paradigm into another, we have an opportunity (and a great need) for some collective healing.
For centuries, men (primarily) in positions of political or religious power used tactics of imprisonment, torture, and execution to maintain and gain power, money, land, and authority. They made threats and spread propaganda to mold an obedient population. Public displays of torture and punishment reinforced an inherent imbalance of power and turned neighbors against one another. While specific practices have evolved (thankfully), some underlying structures have remained.
In graduate school, I researched the witch trials in Europe in the Early Modern Period. I discovered striking similarities between the scare tactics used to perpetuate fear and justify killing witches, and those used to excuse violence against groups of marginalized people. Power was the root of it all. In my research, I found that when society seemed unstable, people looked for scapegoats and saviors.
As a human collective, we have a collective traumatic history, though some people and their ancestors faced more brutal trauma than others. We were burned alive for serving as midwives, being too outspoken, or seeming a little too weird. We were told our earth-centered spiritual practices were evil and then killed as a result. We were forced into exile. We were robbed of our languages and cultures. We were tortured into giving up our neighbors for crimes they didn’t commit. We were starved. We were stolen from our land and taken from our people. We were whipped, hung, and shot. We were raped, and sometimes, we had to carry our rapist’s babies in our wombs. Loaded into gas chambers. We were sold as slaves. And more.
The memories of imprisonment, torture, and death loom in our collective conscious. They linger in strands of our DNA and stay alive by feeding on fear, shame, and guilt. So, when we band together to dismantle unjust social structures, we can often feel anxiety and a strong tug from behind our hearts. That pull is our history slowing us down and reminding:
This hasn’t been safe in the past. Watch out.
We feel fear, and when our friends and family members attack us, it hurts as it did lifetimes ago.
Today’s practices may be more humane than the Heretic’s Fork or the Iron Maiden, but they still perpetuate a fundamentally unjust system. Because these systems have faith-based and ethical roots as well as political and legal ones, these are spiritual problems.
I know from my own experience as a trauma survivor, as well as from working with other survivors through my client practice, one of the first steps to healing is feeling. Trauma survivors often suppress or repress our feelings because they can be complicated and intense. We experience freedom when we finally allow ourselves to feel the full spectrum of emotions: Terror, fear, sadness, hurt, shame, confusion, and anger. Healing is an embodied process, and emotions are embodied responses to life.
But what happens when we disconnect from our bodies? When we judge our bodies? When we focus all of our energy on our intellect? When we’re so in our heads, we feel numb? Trauma lives in our bodies and wakes us up from time to time, sometimes with strange ailments, aches, or pains like little alarm bells sounding. The body brings us back to itself so it can help us feel and heal.
Now, let’s think about that as a society in a spiritual war with traumas stored in our collective memories and DNA. If we are to heal as a collective, we need to see ourselves as one body with each of us being a different part.
As one body, we are a collective creative energy, pure potentiality. That is a powerful force for transformation. Combined and focused with intention, we can quell the battling spiritual forces, neutralize the airwaves, and restore peace. But as a collective creative entity, we can create chaos as well as we can create peace.
In any spiritual battle, we can’t take sides or see “good” vs. “evil.” Duality has been one of patriarchy’s weapons. If we think of our side as right and theirs as wrong, we reinforce outdated ideals. When you find yourself slipping into those either/or judgments, disrupt dualistic thinking and introduce nuance. One way to do that is by listening to stories or engaging in spiritual/ritual practices with people of different backgrounds. One-on-one personal connections reinforce our unity, our one-bodiedness.
You cannot fight in a spiritual war, even if you feel under attack. You can, however, restore peace. To do this, draw power into your body from your divine source. In other words, when you fully embody your self, you access internal resources to strengthen your sense of power. You become im-powered (not empowered, which etymologically means power from outside the self). In that state of being, you build an immunity to ungrounded, frenetic spiritual forces. When you do that for yourself, you ripple change into the collective whole.
Healing intensifies feelings, helping motivate necessary action to face fear. Therefore, if you’re feeling everything more intensely right now, you’re ready for the next step of the process.
In a spiritual war, the opponent wants you to numb out, disconnect from your emotional side, and stay asleep to what’s happening. It offers you all sorts of temptations to suppress feelings and thoughts. That’s why you might want to have a cocktail, eat a cupcake, and binge-watch your favorite show after being bombarded by depressing headlines. While that can be a perfectly acceptable self-care routine, do not ignore your grief or rage. Give it your full attention and expression. Don’t judge your feelings — feel them. They are a resource of power within you.
Anxiety is also a big theme right now, at least in my client practice. I think we’re feeling it collectively because we have had such triggering events. When anything unjust happens to one part of our collective human body, you, as part of the whole, feel it too. So, when a child is taken from his mother and sent into a detention center, you feel it. You may not know what it is, that pain your shoulder or the sudden eye twitch. You might not be able to directly pinpoint the cause of that ache in your side or the digestive disturbance. These unexplained ailments could be coincidental, but they could also be your physical responses to others’ suffering. These sensations could be your body’s way of helping you awaken compassion. They could also be motivating you to become involved beyond your comfort zone.
Injustice is a product of fear (the fiercest weapon of the outdated forces in this spiritual war), and love is one force that can motivate courage. Love is powerful, protective, and unifying. It says, “I can’t be a bystander when others suffer.” You are a peaceful warrior of truth and light in this spiritual war, and rather than fight with words or weapons, be embodied as your most powerful self. Unabashedly be your part, and you will bolster our body as a whole.