The spiritual paths or titles or labels we identify with are vessels that hold and shape our experiences. They are, however, not the experience in themselves.
Many get stuck in their outward labels – be it Priestess, Shaman, and so on – at the cost of interrupting their own developmental process. They may become very successful healers or teachers and help many, but become so invested in what they think they are, that they forget the bigger picture.
Spirit. A connection with the Mystery. A grounded knowledge of the Self in reality (this and others). And so on.
I use titles myself, when I feel it´s required. And I´m happy to go without, again, when I feel it´s not required.
At best – it´s a tool, vessel, frame of container which has use, but is ultimately not the end-all-and-be-all of the spiritual journey. And you don´t need to use it all of the time either.
( ( ( FYI – I´m using I a lot here because this is my view, and yours may be different. This is not mean to stand as a ´universal´ truth. ) ) )
But what I do see is a great deal of over-investment in the form of Priestessing with less emphasis on the essence. At the various temples I have seen (and some highly successful ones too), there´s a lot of dress up going on. Sometimes quite literally …
Whilst I celebrate the Goddess, I see a lot of brain-washing and (for lack of a better word) cultish behavior forming within the Goddess Movement. It is a sad. sad. thing to be behold.
And whilst in name, all of this is done to to bring back the balance of the Feminine – I see Patriarchy dolling itself up in a different form.
And yes, you can be patriarchal in your understanding of the Goddess and the Feminine Mysteries.
It´s about the way you are to access these facets of reality, who sits on top of the hierarchy telling you how and who holds you in your place.
It´s about the way ´success´ is exclusively measured in this domain by the size of the numbers who follow you – how much you money make – or how many people believe you are the Messiah of some movement.
And so much of it is focused on external tools and props of projection.
If you get a certificate saying so, you´re a Priestess. If you wear a robe and flowers in your hair, you´re a Priestess. If you fawn over a High Priestess as her handmaiden, you´re a Priestess. If you serve at a Temple (irrespective of its vibration), you´re a Priestess.
And more often than not, I see many who focus more on the external appearance of the Priestess role and tradition walk about as though they are in a trance – completely blind to the energy that surrounds them and the facilitators they gravitate to.
It´s not the kind of trance that leads you to commune with spirits or elements or gods, etc. but more like one is in a state of psychic confusion or being glamored.
At the conscious level, if you were to ask someone in that state of trance, you see a couple of things. An an entire ego-identity gets constructed around that idea, often entirely separate from who that person actually is.
Pedestals form, and illusions take hold. People begin to believe thay that are so-and-so or such-and-such because of the title they use, the label they identify with, the church or temple the serve – and they forget themselves.
And Alice falls through the Looking Glass till it shatters. And takes years to recover herself.
It dismays me to see it. It really does.
Always, always – be aware of people who seem to attract others to them like a magnet. Consider their energy and consider why you´re drawn to them.
Do you enjoy their work?
Do you make you want to surrender conscious control?
Do they remind you of yourself?
Do you share compatible strengths and wounds – and does that help?
Apply that to ANYONE who has that effect on you – myself included. Which is why I write pieces like this once in a while.
I notice that the followings of popular facilitators mirror the facilitator´s own issues (and blind-spots). That may or may not be a bad thing. But it´s good thing to ask yourself these questions.
In other words – If the person you look up to is blind to themselves – you then get a free pass (at the ego level) to do the same.
To be clear – I´m not against the external forms of spiritual facilitation and the things which legitimate them, or the rituals that are performed. But I do take issue when that becomes the benchmark of Priestessing.
And whilst I enjoy my work as a Priestess in service of the Dark Mother and Formless Spirit, I am keenly aware that it too is a paradigm. There is a reality beyond it, and which that paradigm can help one access (or offer a one way trip to lala-land). Up to a point, that label works. As does any other.
But there´s a lot more to the Self and Spirit that human labels – at the present, or even in ancient times – do not fully address.
Like a vessel or container holding the purest water. The vessel is your path, title, tools, rituals and material forms. The water is your Spirit and connection with Cosmos.
My suggestion is to not fixate exclusively on the container, but equally on the energy it holds. Some containers enhance the water, and others contaminate it. Sometimes you need one, and sometimes you don´t. So choose wisely.
Bairavee Balasubramaniam <3 <3 <3
Image: Water containers livestock.jpg – By The Photographer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
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