Have you ever experienced someone trying to tell you what you are doing in your own practice is wrong? Imposing their own beliefs or practices on you, making sure to let you know “that is wrong, this is the way to do it” in a more aggressive way?
When it comes to communicating differences to others there is a very fine line between expressing your beliefs to another vs. trying to impose them on that person! Whether you work with tarot, or crystals, reiki and chakras ; identify as a witch, or pagan, etc. No matter how you identify, or what you practice in your craft the bottom line is that your practice is sacred to you. Sure, some that are new into exploring their beliefs may not have the experience of those that have been practicing their craft for years but their vulnerability is not something to prey on. We all started as ‘the fool’, an infant, new into learning.
Let’s use the example of learning to ride a bike: it seems to be a rather universal analogy I’m sure most can understand. Teacher 1 doesn’t let or doesn’t want you to make mistakes. They will make sure to point out everything you are doing wrong and let you know what is the right way. They may even shame you at your attempts. Teacher 2 is calm and patient. Allows you to make mistakes so that you do learn. SUGGESTS better ways to do it and gives you praise along your path of learning. Who is the better teacher? ….I think we all can agree on who we would want to instruct us.
I see too often in life in general, and in our particular communities where people feel the need to impose their thoughts and beliefs on others. Shaming them for doing something ‘the wrong way’ and making sure to let them know in a condescending tone. You know who those people remind me of ? Extremist religious people that will knock on your door asking if you have found God yet. Preaching about your eternal damnation because your living life all wrong and that their way is THE right way to be. There, I said it!
Your craft is YOUR craft. Your beliefs are YOUR beliefs. They WILL be different from others, naturally. Just as you will find others that believe and practice similarly to yourself. No two people are alike, no two beliefs or practices are the exact same. Everyone will have their own unique je ne sais quoi. THAT is what makes the world special ( in my opinion you can agree or disagree with anything that I am saying, I just felt the need to express my opinions around this and open up a dialogue around this topic ).
I polled my Instagram Followers for different examples of how this has occured in their life and wanted to share some of these with you:
- Anonymous writes: ” Not really gatekeeping but someone was commenting on how I could do more if I studied Reiki, or I could ascend further if I took the time to figure out what was preventing me. It was like them saying ‘what your doing is not enough’ and pressuring me. It came across as this person was allowing their ego to get the better of them.”
- Joshua Barry writes: “When talking to a practicing witch who has definitely been practicing for longer I told them my immediate attraction to tarot and how I felt I was really getting pulled to do it. I got the response “You aren’t as astrologist, you don’t have the qualifications to read the stars like that its not your practice so stop.” this same individual took great offense to posts I was making on ‘daily messages’ regarding daily card pulls. Their response to this was “not everyone feels this way and you making generalized messages is disrespectful to the Divine. You are hurting others by doing this so stop”
I just want to take a minute and thank my Instagram followers for responding to my story post inquiry about this topic and opening up and sharing your experiences in order to provide further examples and context to this. Make sure you are Following my Instagram Account if you would like to participate in future video ideas!
I SCOURED the internet for the term I am about to describe and came up empty. Google let me down, so if you know what I’m about to explain please comment down below and let me know…. I took an art theory class back in college ( too many years ago ) The “Arts” as defined by Wikipedia:
Is important for context for what is to come. Keep in mind that this term that escapes me addresses essentially the natural evolution of the arts. Including but not limited to dance, art, architecture, design, etc. I am applying this theory to our own personal craft and how we practice our spiritual beliefs, so hang with me…
Analyzing the evolution of art we start with Realism, then Painterly, Impressionism, Expressionism and Fauvism, Abstraction, Abstract and Photorealism. If I ask you to picture or describe ‘Abstract’ art, what comes to mind? What you are picturing in your mind is what Abstract art is TODAY. The reality is that what we now call today ‘realism’ in fact was ‘abstract’ when it first started. What exactly is abstract? And how this terminology of a form of art has evolved you can feel free to do more research into if the subject matter interests you.
My point is that evolution exists in biology, technology and the arts. Change happens on many scales, some rather noticeable like the leaps and bounds in technology that has happened within our own lifetime. Some so minute most will never be able to measure. This change is inevitable and always happening…including spiritual practices and beliefs.
There is almost this level of hierocracy I find within the spiritual community that seem to want to control or stop this from occurring. The gatekeepers, the one’s that know ‘everything’, know ‘what’s best’ and always know ‘how to do it.’ I am by no means suggesting that the spiritual community is the only community that this behavior occurs. As a matter of fact I am willing to bet there is something innate in us, a part of the human experience that makes some people strongly hold onto their convictions. By all means stand by your beliefs, I’m here to say do not impose them on others. How you practice your craft today is different from those practicing 400 years ago and will differ from those 400 years from now. It’s almost futile, a waste of breathe and certainly energy for those to impose their beliefs and practices on others. I certainly believe that to BE spiritual is to be accepting and work towards co-existing in harmony with energies around me.
I certainly have been guilty of this. I am human after all and though I would like to be I am no where near perfect. There was a time in my life that discovering someone was an Android user felt like a personal attack on the superiority of Apple. I felt the need to explain why their choices were wrong and maybe even shame them. Not having the same political views, or agreeing that cats are naturally better pets than dogs. There is something ingrained in ourselves to “know” the way we think and practice is “the right way.” Perhaps the “right way” is allowing others to live their life how they see fit as long as they are not causing harm to others. Perhaps the right way is allowing others to practice their craft for what way feels right to them. Allowing them to discover new things and experience life just the way you were allowed.
At the end of the day you need to do what feels right for YOU. Your beliefs and how you practice your craft will naturally be very different from others. There will be people that practice similarly to your own. Never allow someone to tell you how you should practice; or how you should feel or act. If your uncertain, that is fine, that is part of the fun in discovery and growth. Advice is nice but how it’s delivered is important.