Keep it simple. Go and sit in your inner silence.
Stick with the Self that transcends that which can be expressed in human language – especially when external factors seek to trigger you out of that head-space.
Aries correlates with the solar plexus chakra. Invest your energy and willpower wisely. It is easy to confuse being impulsive and listening to a gut-level instinct. Do a check-in with self before you act during this Retrograde.
In other words…
Honor your energy and choose what you expend it on. This may be one of the most honest and challenging paths of self-knowing. Otherwise one risks becoming the bull that sees red everywhere… and charges.
You are defined not just by what you do, but also by what you choose not to do.
Avoid identifying the self exclusively through external actions and responses to the world around you.
You are so much more than that.
Aries also corresponds to the face, eyes and head. Avoid burning the candle at both ends and aim to nurture your psyche with the rest that it needs. Wait till Mercury goes direct before committing to any paths, declarations or decisions surrounding matters of identity / self-embodiment.
Frankincense oil (read up on dosage, contraindications and dilution) and rose quartz are my oil/gem recommendations for this period.
P.S. Thank you to those who reached out to me whilst I was away. Had a few family emergencies to deal with. Should be back to work soon.
Post & Video © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.
Astrology is not a substitute for the spiritual experience. Within limits, it can be a powerful tool to guide you back to your Spirit. Your Essence. But at some point, it too needs to be surrendered.
This video describes the need to surrender to the process and drop the training wheels at a certain point in the Journey. It also describes the personality types that are least likely to benefit from Astrology as it – truly- is a phenomenal tool of the Mind.
Use it as you would as a roadmap. The journey is taken not through the conceptual exploration of the terrain alone, but by actually putting one foot forwards – and then the next.
And so on.
Related Article: The Limits of Astrology
Post & Video © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.
There are multiple aspects in the skies at this time that lend themselves to the romanticization of past karma. This is almost a given – in the human condition – but it is even more prevalent now. The following alignments make us far more susceptible to seeing what we want to see in the etheric waters. Tread carefully and remember to listen to your body when in doubt.
Chiron (26 Pisces) conjuncts Tantalus at (27 Sagittarius).
Mars conjuncts Vesta (17 Sagittarius)
Neptune (13 Pisces) squares Sphinx (13 Sagittarius) and The Great Attractor (14 Sagittarius)
Neptune conjuncts Magdalena (13 Pisces)
Stellium in Pisces with The Sun, Mercury, Venus, Chiron and Neptune.
You may find this in romantic relationships, friendships, soulmate connections (especially the ones that, at first, ´appear´to fit the label as a ´Twin Flame´), connections with teachers – really – anyone. We cycle through lifetimes and carrying echoes of relationships that go well past our perception of the present moment. That does not mean that we have to repeat them yet again.
In some cases, this will be an energy of joyful re-connection – in others (whilst it may start that way), it is an energy that seeks to bring us back into old karmic cycles we have worked for so long to move beyond.
To me at least – this isn´t the time for a ´hard´ cut. But allow yourselves to wash away old contracts and karmic debris – engaging the Unconditional Love of the Heart. There´s healing to be found there, even when we need to walk away.
Post & Video © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.
With the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Neptune and Chiron all in Pisces right now – I´m just chilling. Spirit says rest, nurture your essence and go home to Source. You can´t add much to that.
Dance in the flow of the deep waters – which of course – is the theme for my upcoming workshop in Illinois. It´ll be my final event before I leave the US.
So yeah … keep delving. Music, art, meditation, walking in nature – do what allows you to connect back inwards. It´s not a mental or intellectual exercise.
Just go inwards. Don´t force anything. Not much more to be said.
Go home to the self that goes beyond the mind. Sometimes you need to define what you are not to discover that which you are (which is One-ness). It is all part of the process of awakening and Be-ing. There are no shortcuts.
This will also be the theme, and the energy inspiring my final workshop in the US: Finding Your Flow: Dancing in Deep Waters (Illinois Workshop)
For those who want a more detailed astrological overview of this Eclipse, refer to my previous article on the subject: Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius: Bridging Heart and Mind
Post & Video © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.
When you truly respect a particular culture, you would not wish to distort or dilute it. It is really that simple.
Where you were born, or what race you are is immaterial there. What counts is the depth of your engagement and whether you are willing to experience something that may be alien to your upbringing on its terms, rather than your own.
Especially when dealing with indigenous cultures that strongly connect with a land-based tradition, one cannot use the mind and intellectual analysis alone to make that bridge. It is a somatic and deeply emotive experience.
But it takes patience, surrender and a willingness for the land or culture you wish to engage with to recognize who are its custodians. That´s one of those places where what we want, impose or construe about ourselves has very little to do with it but rather how we wait for the invitation or recognition or permission to participate.
When everyone understands that point alone … we will no longer really need to have the cultural appropriation debate. Culture is not something that you own or claim to have the right to single-handedly change or alter for your own purposes.
You can read all the books you can find on a particular place or culture, but that does not mean it is yours. Finding a personal relationship and being recognized to practice, teach and/or build upon what is there is an exercise in energetic sensitivity.
My heart goes out to descendants of indigenous cultures (and there is actually a very specific understanding of what that term means – www.indigenouspeople.net ) – who have been dislocated from their cultures by virtue of the global diaspora. And here a different type of work is needed. The connection is not immediately activated by virtue of genetics, but it takes work to activate it if it has been suppressed or kept dormant for a long, long, time.
And in some cases, that diasporic descendant may actually feel more connected to where they were raised – and the life-histories of their families who migrated to that new land. Which is fine. But it really goes a long way in differentiating the two.
In short – when you create a grounded relationship with a different culture – in body, heart, mind, soul – you tread very differently. Developing this awareness and skill-set is going to be one of the most vital steps in learning to engage with the cultures that hold ancient planetary wisdom, in ways that connect to the acceleration of collective consciousness underway.
We explore a lot of these questions in the video ( https://youtu.be/K0s8n1uW77E ) .
In this installation of the SpiritBuddy Interview series, I sit with Medea B Hardy – a PhD candidate studying Women´s Spirituality, truth-teller, god-body, land-worker and sister of many colours.
We explore how and why Medea considers Virginia as ´her home´ (as opposed to West Africa), how she engages the land energetically, and how she was invited to and given permission to do the same in New Orleans. She makes a stunning, and deeply important observation on the significance of the Mississippi River.
This is a very powerful discussion and a must-view for anyone exploring this word and the sensitivity and recognition of intersectionality that needs to come along with it. You can find more of her work at Activating Your Spirit and her conservational efforts with her husband at CORE USA
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Related Material :
Honoring the land, honoring the indigenous – https://wp.me/p4OUNS-2so
Spirituality & the Politics of Cultural Appropriation – https://wp.me/p4OUNS-2sv
How spiritual platitudes and pretending history didn´t happen re-traumatizes people of colour & ways to truly engage – https://wp.me/p4OUNS-2sv
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If you have found this article useful, consider contributing to my work and upkeep: PayPal.Me/TheSkyPriestess .
I would prefer leaving my writings freely accessible without introducing a subscription service – but for that to happen there needs to be an energetic exchange that honors all.
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Text © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.
Video © Bairavee Balasubramaniam & Medea B Hardy, 2018. All rights reserved.
PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE IN AQUARIUS: BRIDGING HEART AND MIND, SEEING THINGS FOR WHAT THEY ARE AND NOT WHAT WE WANT THEM TO BE (Feb 15-16, 2018)
Blessings. The Solar Eclipse / New Moon in Aquarius asks us to set the seeds for innovation, collective engagement, ideational breakthrough and networking. It is when we develop upon or dissolve older frequencies of thought and experience and step into newer modalities of being. We are asked to let go of more egoic notions of selfhood before accessing some of the higher-frequency stuff. This requires us to deconstruct and decolonize our minds of concepts, paradigms, and ways of seeing the world that make us invested in a particular ego-personality. It asks us to come back to the roots of our being and not the false self we have been conditioned to believe we are.
The way we do this is by engaging the energy of the heart and allowing the leadership of the Inner Child to light the way to the Heavens. Go back to what made your heart sing and do it. Repeatedly. Whether it´s watching a childhood movie, dancing, playing, singing, speaking on stage – let your emotional body engage with the mental body. One cannot exist in isolation of another. For those of you whose mother tongue is not English – go back to your mother tongue. You will access genetic codes unique to your culture and its connection with the Earth. Never underestimate the power of that connection.
Aquarian energy is generally misrepresented in the way it is commonly understood. Many equate the energy signature with the time-period in which the song ´Age of Aquarius´ and Woodstock festival came about.: 1969. Frankly, there was a lot more Piscean energy afoot then with Chiron preparing to exit Pisces and Neptune preparing to exit Scorpio, both trining one another ….. Probably an article to write at some point.
Whilst Aquarian energy can be compassionate, that compassion stems from ideology – rather than emotional connection. Aquarian energy can be very headstrong in its understanding of the ideals by which humanity ought to live. It´s not very fluffy-cuddly, but is a lot more abstract.
Be clear in that differentiation and set your seeds of innovation and change – be it amongst friends, at work, in prayer or facilitation, friendship networks, or in your personal connection with Mind, Higher Mind and Universal Mind. Just be sure you know what you´re connecting with as the Universe (at the energy level) is not always what it appears to be.
Astral travel at this time can be very powerful, but only engage in it with an experienced practitioner who truly walks their talk. You would ideally look for someone whose groundedness matches their degree of (frequency) elevation. Otherwise … you risk creating some truly cosmic baggage to deal with.
The seeds you set now will unfold over the year ahead, with some indications appearing during the Aquarius Full Moon later this year (July 27, 2018). You will also see connections between this New Moon/ Eclipse to other members of the Saros cycle this eclipse is a part of: Jan 1964, Jan 1983, Feb 2000. The next time this energy signature presents itself is Feb 2036.
FYI – According to www.eclipsewise.com The instant of greatest eclipse takes place on 2018 Feb 15 20:51:25 UTC. The exact time of the astrological conjunction between The Sun at The Moon at 27 Aquarius´7 is 21:05 UTC on February 15, 2018.
With Mercury (25 Aquarius) and Juno (26 Aquarius) so close to the actual Eclipse (27 Aquarius) – expect a high degree of communication amongst members of (what looks like) your soul tribe. This may include romantic, spiritual and/or platonic soul-mates. This aspect of the energy is a little double-edged as Juno does not always indicate a positive marriage partner or soul-mate experience, rather she comes to show us the type of energy who can help us awaken the soul to other possibilities. In other words, soul-mates can help us grow through pleasure, nurture and healthy support – or they can push us to growth through pain, abuse and/or neglect.
Through my study of Juno in clients´ charts, I have found her to be a mixed aspect at best. Either way – whoever shows up now holds the key for your re-connection to the Feminine aspect of being. Just wait before you declare s/he´s ´The One´. Collect a little more data.
In terms of Mercury´s influence, say what you have to say with respect to your truth, be it through written or spoken form – and then let it go. There´s going to be a lot of energy present through social media channels, and not all of it is good. Do not expect others to share your opinion of the world – as one works with their own truths at the pace that they can handle it.
Remember that we are prone to choose truths that make us feel comfortable – and whilst that makes for a more consistent perception of the world, it´s not necessarily great for growth.
This is expressed by Mars (12 Sagittarius), Vesta (14 Sagittarius) and The Great Attractor (14 Sagittarius) squaring Neptune (13 Pisces). Be very mindful as to the paths, lessons, teachers, teachings, spiritual paradigms you accept or reject at this time. Know that what challenges you may actually be healthier than what makes you feel comfortable. Such is the … particular dynamic of the Great Attractor. It ´pushes´ and ´pulls´ you towards truths and untruths in varying degrees and it is up to you to look at the lesson behind the ego´s reaction to something.
Neptune´s role asks us to stay discerning to whatever spiritual information we get at this time, or whatever spiritual interpretations we seek to use and lay upon our dealing with the Masculine. Make sure you are not romanticizing or idealizing something to be something (or someone) that it is not.
Go with the flow of things, but avoid creating mental constructs around your experiences at this time. In other words – do not judge, or label – but experience. And navigate accordingly as per your deeper intuitive flow (which is not something you can quite explain in words without distorting its essence). The moment you justify your intuition one way or another, you´re coming back to the Mind (which is a powerful tool, but NOT the source of your spiritual Connection).
Some of you may be hooked into old cycles of sacrificial service where you may give up your autonomy in favour of another – I would strongly advise against this. Some of you may choose to commit to paths of service, travel or teaching from a more empowered place that honors the essence of the self. As with Juno, Vesta too is a mixed aspect. (So too is each and every single body in astrology – there is never a one-size-fits-all definition).
Venus and Nessus conjunct one another at 6 Pisces. Essentially this energy asks us to surrender ourselves to the deepest flow of Spirit that connects us to our ancestry and previous karmic timelines (which – according to some – exist in parallel domains). Whilst this is laudable, remember that merging of timelines muddles the perspective of the present. Experience and release. Learn, integrate, release and keep centering yourself back in the present moment.
In the same way you cannot function by collapsing all of your inner organs to a single point of existence, allow each time-line to play out in its own space. Allow yourself the freedom to live fully in the (perceived) present. However you define it.
Nessus´ energy refers to the abuser´s asteroid, whereas Venus refers to the Feminine and Pisces that eternal flow of the collective unconscious as it connects to Spirit. Put all of this together around Valentine´s Day and what you get is the invitation to open your heart, and your core wounds – to someone who has the competence and desire to help you heal, or at least witness that pain without creating a pattern of re-traumatization. So treat yourself and your loved ones gently during this period. Be especially mindful of people from your past presenting themselves on gold or silver platters with a present and a fancy bow on top.
You might just find that it houses a turd … And upon further reflection you may see that it was the same one you tried flushing down the toilet (or ancient equivalent thereof) several life-cycles ago.
So again, be mindful of romanticization of people, experiences – and the past.
Allow yourself to feel into the truth of your emotions, and let this then lead you to a deconstruction of mental concepts that block you from a fuller, richer experience of reality – and its complexities. Avoid trying to water-down or streamline your spiritual experience by citing platitudes or one-liners.
The ancient seers were (by our standards) gifted scholars – and much of what we quote is a very, very watered down version of their teachings. They saw nuance, structure, form and information in the subtlest changes in their environment. Some of them spoke out when things were not in alignment, and others preferred silence. They were not a homogenous group, and by no means did they lack agency in the world.
Last but not least, those of your with placements near/at 27 Cancer will experience this alignment as a powerful Yod (Finger of Fate) with the Eclipse Point (27 Aquarius) and the Galactic Center (27 Sagittarius). Let the message unfold, and do not try to control its content.
So – here´s to deep diving.
FINAL WORKSHOP IN US: DANCING IN THE DEEP – FINDING YOUR FLOW. HINCKLEY, ILLINOIS – 26TH FEBRUARY 2018. LINK FOR TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dancing-in-deep-waters-finding…(Two time-slots available)
FB event page: Finding Your Flow: Dancing in Deep Waters (Illinois Workshop)
Post & Video © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.
HOW SPIRITUAL PLATITUDES AND PRETENDING HISTORY DIDN´T HAPPEN ACTUALLY RE-TRAUMATIZES PEOPLE OF COLOUR & WAYS TO TRULY ENGAGE
When we use the rhetoric of spiritual enlightenment to avoid complicated discussions about race, history, memory, trauma and culture – we re-create the damage that was done.
I empathize with wanting to move past all this. But dealing with cellular memory does not work that way.
We can go throughout our lives without talking about any of this, but our bodies, our (mother´s) wombs, and our descendants will still remember.
It is my sincere appeal to those who seek the spiritual to avoid engaging in yet another form of spiritual bypassing. Trauma does not heal itself if you pretend that the circumstances which created it never existed.
And it becomes a lot more complex when you seek to hold space for, or engage with persons of colour. The article analyses the ways in which their spaces are taken even in that process, and how respectful engagement can be held instead.
We are all hurting, and the ways we hurt are not always the same.
Let us respect our differences – including the ways we need to heal.
Please read this with your hearts open.
Whilst every race on this planet has experienced some kind of trauma or another, the impact of modern colonial rule on persons of colour is a very specific phenomenon. It transformed the energetic, cultural, political, economic and social framework of this planet – and continues to shape the developmental trajectory of the world we currently live in. Hence its relevance. It is not ´white-bashing´- to point out that this happened.
And it is not universally a colour-coded thing. There were white races that were considered inferior or ´lesser´ and they were also dislocated from their culture. But please take numbers, geography and the extent continuing impact of such in account as well. Entire continents were carved up and its peoples forcibly ripped away from the roots of their culture, their connection with the Earth, their identity – and life-force. Their descendants make up the vast majority of the population of this planet.
Let them speak, and be heard.
Colonial rule was one that destroyed and disconnected millions from their heritage and created a karmic imprint that generations later – so many are still trying to unshackle themselves from. It is a very specific kind of pain that is so hard to translate. But people of colour everywhere know the same scars instantly.
We wear it on our bodies, burnt into the colour of our skin. ( Which is funny because some brown people are extraordinarily fair-skinned, it´s still burnt on though. I wish there was a better word than people of colour, but it´s better than framing it as white vs. non-white).
I find the greatest resistance to this work coming from the descendants of those who (in that incarnation) played the role of the colonial oppressor.
They are the first to say that race does not matter, that talking about this history makes a person racist, or that they are too transcendental to engage with it all because they are cosmic star beings.
(A concept – I might add that got popularized by adopted and watering-down Eastern and First Nation spiritual traditions as part of the ´New Age´movement).
They are also the first to seek to tone-police and project on (especially) educated women of colour who present the facts. And you can be damn sure we will be loud, we will quote our facts and we will not re-package our truth to make it more comfortable or palatable.
(Not speaking for anyone beyond myself and the other scholar-practitioners I work with).
Another tactic is to quote mixed racial heritage when they themselves may have lived as a ´white person´ and experienced the full benefits of doing so.
Please do not cite DNA tests that say you are 1% percent Native American / Asian / whatever and make the claim that you have the right to speak for their trauma if you have not actually connected with that culture – or recognized its pain.
And felt what it means to recognize and live with the remnants of that trauma day after day – and to re-live it within societal structures that perpetuate institutionalized racism.
You have no idea how much that hurts a person who does live it day in and day out.
Cultural heritage is not something to be worn and discarded to make a rhetorical point.
It lives through you, you live through it. It creates the framework of your existence.
But what about white people?
There is a great amount of healing and reconnection for Western-European descendants to do in really looking back at their own culture and understanding why they were disconnected from their own spiritual roots to begin with. But that should not come at the cost of denying what an already-traumatized people did to the rest of the planet. Or in equating one trauma with another.
Or legitimizing it with platitudes that say this is the nature of the human condition. That REALLY does not help and creates a narrative that legitimizes re-traumatizing others because one is already hurting.
Please try to understand feeling uncomfortable with the recognition of history is not the same as flat out trying to abuse someone. There is a line there and one that we need to talk about more.
To phrase it differently, you need to be able to stomach the discomfort and cellular memory that arises when confront with this history.
That´s not easy, and many try to avoid feeling that pain – often at the cost of minimizing another´s voice.
For those of Western-European origin with the sensitivity and decency to seek to reconnect with their culture – I ask you to do so in a way that does not capture the center of attention in a space that is focused upon the experience of marginalization of other races. And to not seek to define the terms of engagement with which they have that conversation.
Colonialism may be a painful truth of your past you may want to forget, but its consequences still form a part of the lived reality for millions on this planet. For your own comfort, do not try to minimize the damage it created by seeking to delegitimize that term.
If you can, do not try to deflect the debate on how you or your ancestors also suffered. Whilst everyone´s pain is real, taking away the space of focus on this discussion repeats the essence of the colonial enterprise. Let people speak for themselves in the terms that they want to.
When listening to the pain of those who have been hurt by this legacy, please check your privilege before you ask them to make things feel good for you, or to make it more comfortable for you, or to allow you to be the center of their attention and focus. That´s a different form of tone policing and really defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.
If you cannot handle that conversation – hearing those voices of pain – please do not engage in it till you can. Because that does not benefit anyone.
It would be a graceful gift for all parties if you could do so. And would not repeat that fundamental injustice. I see where your hearts are, but privilege is an insidious thing – it is accessed and used without even realizing it.
If you can bear witness and let them speak, you do so much more.
You will probably learn more about what others are feeling without trying to label, dissect and understand it through the intellectual mind.
People of colour can see the attempt at taking their narratives of trauma and trying to equate them with others. Colonialism took away languages, cultures – and sacred connection with land. It is a loss and a violation that no amount of words can ever fully express. It is not to say their pain is greater or less, it is to say that it is different.
So open your heart, if you will – and listen to what they have to say. Let them then invite you to share your pain.
And that is a far, far, more meaningful experience.
We are all genetic cocktails with a common origin, but some of our journeys have very very different chapters. Parallels will be there, but they´re not the same experience.
Yes, we are all members of the human family – but if something happened to your family member – you could feel sad for them. But you cannot take away their personal pain and experience.
If we are to be true to that argument, honor the other members of your family and let them be true to their experiences.
We are all souls on a journey and have lived all across this planet (and others in all likelihood), but there is a reason why we choose to incarnate into a particular culture.
Erasing your race is trying to erase a part of your own spiritual path and the journey your soul has chosen to take.
It´s an uncomfortable conversation to have, and feel in your body – but allowing that conversation to happen will actually begin to take the first steps towards healing this pain. And then genuinely moving away from the legacy of this horrid chapter in human history, together – hand in hand.
It is also wise stop telling people whose descendants bear the imprint of colonial rule that they have to ´transcend it and awaken´ – whilst appropriating their culture even more.
Let me give you an example. After reading my previous post on this many, several men and women of colour reached out to me and began sharing their experiences of the same. They were glad that someone was saying it. And I´ve already made some fruitful connections through that one post. But one story really jumps up at me.
An Indian teacher of traditional bhajans expressed her dismay at being publicly put down for her ´incorrect´ pronounciation of Sanskrit by a white person who assumed they had greater knowledge of her culture and religion than she did. I read the exchange …
He was absolutely obnoxious and kept insisting he had a right to speak on her tradition and ignored her knowledge completely – putting her down over and over and over again.
I have no words for that kind of behavior. It feels like even more of a betrayal when it comes from someone who claims to respect that culture.
Whilst it is wonderful to study a different cultural practice or tradition, please do not assume that you have the right to re-shape it or lay claim to it, or to market it and sell it as your own without honoring its origins and the land it came from.
I discuss this in far greater depth in this video and article (on spirituality and the politics of cultural appropriation – https://wp.me/p4OUNS-2sv )
And I hope that those reading this will do their best to speak up when they see this colonial pattern played out as it was done so very many years ago.
Same old wine, new rainbow-chakra-coloured bottles.
Post & Image `Triplicate Electric Heart` © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.
Californian Astrology & Implications for Spiritual Practice, Geology, Politics and Entertainment: Changes in 2018-2019 with Uranus at 29 Aries
I find it sad when individuals legitimate stripping spiritual practices away from a particular culture because white people find it useful or interesting. And then try to pass it off as ´spiritual enlightenment´ or wisdom. What is ironic is that spirituality itself – as a concept – got popularized in the West through engagement with Eastern mystics and the traditions that supported them. And then got appropriated.
For those who have studied the history of colonial rule, and the ways in which indigenous cultures were suppressed – or in some cases – entirely re-written by their oppressors – this is basically the same old wine, in a sparkly new, rainbow-chakra coloured bottle.
The debates that inflame people on facebook have truly been read, researched, assessed to an incredible depth by a whole body of international scholarship. The wheel doesn´t need to be re-invented here – it just needs to be acknowledged.
Trying to assume that a lay understanding of history and politics surpasses the need the engage with the work and life-worlds of indigenous scholars is yet another form of colonial appropriation.
Trying to erase away the history of these practices (and the politics of appropriation) using the rhetoric of being ´enlightened´ or ´at Oneness´ has its own costs.
And yes – of course some indigenous practitioners do fleece innocent seekers who go in search of answers – left, right and center. That´s the other side of the equation. But so much of that can be averted by making the effort to be informed.
Ask the tough questions.
Pick up that really heavy book on the origins of your tradition and read it.
If you can, look for the marginalized voices that the tradition itself chose to ignore or suppress (and that creates so much growth).
Make sure the source actually has the credentials to know what they claim to know.
Ask the tough questions.
Remember your roots, and remember the traditions you engage in.
It takes work to do so, but it´s work that is well worth doing.
It shows respect and honors the lifeblood of the civilization that created it. And if that´s not worth doing – one really has to ask what kind of ´spirituality´ is being practiced here.
I see people leaving my page over this – and you know what – I´m glad. I´m not going to, through my efforts (free or otherwise) support the development of spiritual practices that are disconnected from their roots. By now, one would think that it´s pretty clear I don´t do what I do to score brownie points or likeability.
My spiritual path has never been divorced from my politics. It´s easy to claim that politics exists in elections, institutions, officials – and so on. But that´s just the starting point. The surface level.
Politics exists and permeates through every decision we make in our lives. There is a political dimension that operates in the smallest detail that makes up the picture of ´normality´. It creates the framework for what we accept as the status quo, and what we think does not need to be questioned. It sets up the parameters of what is seen as dominant, hegemonic or mainstream – and ´others´ all that exist outside of it.
Spirituality is, like politics, something that permeates and suffuses itself through all dimensions of one´s life. They are both fundamental layers, or perspectives on reality that intimately re-inforce one another.
What we take as the accepted domain of ´the spiritual´ is itself a political choice. Who is allowed to regulate and commodify spiritual practice is – again – a political choice. Be it one that was made thousands of years ago in the midst of cultural and economic change – or one that takes place in the present, shaped by the needs of a market-based economy in a digital world.
As a spiritualist, I have found my academic understanding of politics to enhance my work and help me locate myself with greater authenticity. And to raise my voice in support of spiritual practices that do not repeat historical injustices.
I didn´t realize it at first, but I get people to think about things they normally wouldn´t. That´s worth doing.
As a Tamil (South Indian) woman with a PhD in Political Science, I have found the discernment and analytical tools of academia make me question the wool that others have sought to put over my eyes in the name of ´the spiritual´. Or to know when the name of Spirit is used to perpetuate greater violence and separation.
In my life at least, the two are intimately interconnected. It would be hollow for me to have one and not the other.
Here´s a couple of useful articles that – at least on the topic of yoga and Hinduism – provide a decent general introduction.
https://postyoga.wordpress.com/…/yoga-as-the-colonized-sub…/ – a beautiful piece by Sri Louise. I admire someone willing to stand up to members of her own ethnic grouping because of her love for another. And who backs it up with research.
Seriously, the idea of India – as a nation – and the dominant narrative of Hinduism came about only with colonial rule. I´d highly recommend looking into the works of the ´subaltern studies´ branch of Indian sociology / historiography. A lot of what is ´sold´ as an idea, practice or concept has strong Brahmanical roots – that came at the cost of excluding other indigenous traditions.
In the video, I also address why these distinctions need to be made, and why it is so telling that indigenous practitioners are shamed for wanting to assert their own cultural boundaries. (Using watered-down spiritual terms that came from their own lineages, no less) .
Post, linked Video © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.