I’m forever talking about the pursuit of self-knowledge to grow spiritually and to grow soulfully. I’ve been doing this practice daily since my tenth grade sociology professor stated to the class, “None of you know who you are.” What an intriguing question for a know-it-all tenth grader!
Forty-seven years later I am no longer quite such a know-it-all, and I have long come to the conclusion that I could not know myself half so well as I do if it were not for the fabulous friends and fantastic antagonists I have known throughout my life. Some have been people, some have been animals, and always…Always! I learn from our interactions. So I conclude that to know one’s self it is necessary to practice some form of self-reflection, but it is also necessary to have friends, family, and acquaintances who are capable of revealing the best and worst of ourselves. That said…
There are some people I really and truly enjoy. If any of these folks have distinctive characteristics, it is that we are all slightly off-the-edge, somewhat deviant, and vibrant with life and creativity. Yesterday I deepened my acquaintanceship with someone I have known through one of the centers in which I have been a psychic reader. She is a Tarot card reader and a college professor, and she wanted to interview me for a book she is working on. I would wax on with more information, but I feel I should sit on this now as I don’t want to give away any details that I should not give away. I will post more, or even reveal all, as her work progresses and her work is published. But for now…
She left me with a wonderful question and a deep impression. She asked me whether I felt stigmatized by the work I do as a psychic. Truthfully I never thought to look at the work I do in those terms, as it is work I feel privileged to do, and I offer these gifts of mine in service to help others connect with their deeper soulful and spiritual selves. It is true that there are friends I never discuss my “psychic” self with, because I am aware that they hold biases that could ruin our friendship, but this does not make me feel stigmatized. Rather I consider it an act of love that preserves our friendship.
But the question raises other truths too. It was not too many centuries ago that women and healers and women mystics were hung or burned at the stake or tortured as witches by a church that had forgotten its founder, the healing rabbi Jesus, was a healer, a miracle worker, a person with shamanic gifts – he walked on water and calmed the winds like any classic weather worker, and a lover and supporter of life. These church people felt entirely justified in labeling something they did not understand as demonic, and consequently taking the lives of good and loving people under the name of heresy. So perhaps the work we do is stigmatized, perhaps it is not, however depends on how we independently feel about it, but how much we reveal about ourselves and what we do depends on how safe we feel and how protected in talking about it.
The attitude of protection is something that is very important for Spirit-workers to give attention to. There are cleansing rituals – like daily cleansing; smudging with sage, mullein, sweetgrass, cedar or other cleansing herbs; and prayers to favorite deities. But there is also the internal cleansing that is a self purging or purifying of one’s inner spirit by the fire of the Gods, or by Grace, that fills us, renews us, and brings us into inner and outer cleanliness. To this end it behooves us also to seek out and deepen trusted friendships with like-minded “soul companions” (as author and mystical teacher Caroline Myss has termed it) – those people whom we absolutely trust to have our backs both in truth and in calling out our shit. It behooves us not to take in impressions that act against our capacity to stay in alignment with our higher selves, just as it behooves us sometimes to seek out the corrupt in order to practice staying in our higher selves any way. And further it helps us to get in communication with those Spirits like our Guardian Angels or Life Guides whose purpose it is to help us find our soul destiny. These are Beings we can ask for strength to get through the difficult times of facing our own shadows, or to guide our decision making process, or to stand by us during our times of tiredness and life trials.
There are good books on the stuff I’m talking about here. One just needs to peruse the shelf at the local bookstore or check out the topics on amazon. But if I leave with one thought today, it is this:
It takes courage to seek out one’s truth and authenticity. It takes attitude to practice authenticity. And while one is undergoing the trials of one’s spirit by fire, it is really wonderful to have an attitude with gratitude, because there are so many people who would seek these hidden ways out if they weren’t handicapped by their fear of “What will others think of me?” Well, don’t be a wallflower, get out and find out!