I always wondered why so many people in Western culture seem spiritually sick. Why they seem to constantly be filling the void with addiction or extreme consumption of one kind or the other. Why everyone I encounter seems to have some level of PTSD. I think I learned why recently.
A friend sent me a few pages from a book she was reading (I wish I could quote the source but I can’t find the original email) Here are some points from that book:
“In the biblical traditions, God is like a potter and the world is a pot. He created the world but he’s not present in it.”
“Most of us in the West were taught that because Adam defied God by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, brought by Eve’s susceptibility to the devil and her seductiveness, Man is left alone, having been expelled from paradise and from the presence of God. He is born with the “stain of original sin” and condemned to a realm – The Earth – that, like Man, has fallen from grace. Spirit and matter are eternally separated and the Divine is forever outside of us and our world.”
“The patriarchal religions teach us that the best we can hope for is to come to God’s favour through living a ‘pure life,’ one that denies the earthly plane. We’ve been told that if we live in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, Koran, or Torah – or if we receive vicarious redemption via Jesus – then, and only then, God will hear us. But the assumptions beneath all of these ‘paths to salvation’ are that we are devoid of divinity and in need of saving.”
“We have been trained not to perceive the magic and divinity that is all around, and within us. It’s a blindness so ingrained, we’re not even aware of what we’re missing. But no one can deny there is an emptiness that all the fancy cars, designer clothes, alcohol, and parties just won’t fill.”
I would argue that saying this feeling of Divine disconnect is ingrained is an understatement. I believe that this nihilistic outlook is deeply entrenched in the individual as well as the collective subconscious.
I believe this deep-rooted sense of spiritual lack creates a constant low-level stress in all of us living in Western society. This stress is initially the manifestation of a primal fear of being abandoned by the Divine. It manifests mentality, emotionally and physically reeking havoc on the quality of life for most Westerners.
This sense of Divine rejection is exacerbated by other aspects of the Patriarchal society we, Westerners, live in. We live in a culture of imbalance in the favour of “masculine” archetypal energies that encourage “fight or flight” by virtue of its dynamic, action-oriented state.
This imbalanced state of “survival mode” pushes us even further into a state of fear and stress, in a horrible snowballing effect.
But there is a solution some have found. We have discovered a way back to balance. The path to equilibrium is one that embraces the archetypal energies we are missing in this current cultural paradigm. It is reverence of the Sacred Feminine.
Why? The archetypal energies of receptivity, stillness, introspection and holding space oppose the energies of fight or flight. They position us to do deep shadow work both individually and collectively – to face the demon of spiritual separation that was born of Abrahamic religions. Through this shadow work, we can embrace our inner Divinity and cultivate a pantheistic worldview, escaping the state of “survival mode.”
We can finally begin to heal and connect with the Divine that is all around us. However, this sense that we must act, fight or run is so deeply entrenched that to stop and turn and face our fears seems counter-intuitive to most these days. But it is truly what is needed.
These collective Pagan, Shamanistic and Goddess worshipping paths encourage us to do this work not only mentally but emotionally and physically as well. They encourage us not just to heal but to embrace this earthly existence rather than reject it for the promise of something better in the next life.
We hold that low-level fear in our bodies not just our minds. Our bodies are in survival mode and we don’t realize it, but it is slowly killing us. We disconnect from our feeling and bodies in order to avoid that feeling of low-level stress and this creates a cycle that further perpetuates this state of stress and doesn’t allow for true healing.
I recently read The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. and I have become very aware of the impact of this constant low-grade stress on my body. We need to learn to find the “off switch” for our survival mode and I would argue that spiritual paths that embrace the Goddess and all her energies are the paths back to spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing and balance.
I believe whether we realize it or not we are choosing survival mode (on a subconscious level). We are blindly accepting the idea that God has abandoned us. If we purposefully choose a path that brings this choice into the light of our conscious awareness we can break out of its confines not just on a spiritual level but in all aspects of our lives both as individuals and as a society.