Monday, December 14, 2015

Personal Catharsis and the sins of my forefathers...

It's the middle of the night, and of course, nothing new for me to be going through a personal catharsis. The one I'm currently going through isn't even new, and is a continuation of mental and spiritual torment that I've been going through for over almost two decades.

And the more I'm driven to explore and learn, the more barriers I butt up against, perpetuating each cathartic moment.

To give you a little bit of mixed up background... born in Jan of 86, depending on who you ask, I'd be considered a "bihort", neither directly belonging to Generation X or Millennial's, but fitting in with both cohorts and exhibiting most of the traits and traumas of both generational groupings. It's strange, as neither group will claim and I, likewise cannot truly claim either identity cleanly. Sadly, this type of pattern stretches on through my life. Culturally, I can't cleanly claim any specific origin and none would claim me, as I don't fit into any of the tight lines carved across each land. By blood, I'm told I'm Irish, Scottish, Germanic, French and questionably a small portion of one unidentified Snohomish indigenous tribe. Familially, I was adopted into a family that can be traced back to Ireland and Wales specifically, and then intertwines into Scotland, France and Poland -- so that doesn't help much, even if it was directly in my blood. In either case, I'm a mutt. Good or bad, I can think of no other word for it. I cannot directly tie any of my ancestral blood to any current lifetime links to any of those cultures, adopted or otherwise.

socioeconomically I'm just as left out. Technically I'm a minority, but only because of my lack of penis. Otherwise I'm lumped in with those who check the "Caucasian, not Hispanic" box on the census. Though I don't make any reasonable amount of money, so even if I felt called to join up with one of the myriad of predominately white American culture cults, I couldn't afford it.

When it comes to community, I really can't claim any specific and appropriate identity, as I never grew up in any specific community outside of the highly miseducated predominately white Seattle school system I attended. I've briefly been a part of a number of groups, most of which I quickly got out of as fast as I got into them, in an attempt to find a community I can call "home" and appropriately belong to. A maddening process which has gone on since my youth. From bible camps to brownies to Masonic youth groups to diverse drum groups to writing groups to neo pagan communities to activist troops to neo shamanic circles to even some spiritually-culturally mixed ceremonial groups and more. Some might be amazed at how many things a person can get themselves into, even without money, for others it's not surprising at all. I wouldn't claim any of those communities or experiences as bad or negative, and each were amazing in their own ways, though neither have I ever really been able to comfortably sit among any of those groups and felt like I really truly belonged amongst them. I'm generally an easy going person whose fairly easy to get along with, and I'm as respectful as my knowledge and experience allows me to be, so I'm often tolerated and welcome amongst any group I seek to participate in, but being tolerated and allowed to participate, is not always or even usually the same thing as truly belonging to a community.

Spiritually, the catharsis gets no better, as there are no real places in Washington state, for a non-abrahamic, categorically "white" female who doesn't even have two pennies to rub together, to belong to unless you want to knowingly and/or negligently participate in culturally inappropriate practices. I've generally found that most of those groups are innocently enough trying to recreate some semblance of spiritual structure, balance and growth that is so lacking in our in numbing industrialized western nation, and due to such a large amount of rebuff and lack of authentic, open and factual information, are judged to be muddying other spiritual and cultural traditions, innocently or not. The other groups, while in their minority, are encountered often enough and usually are much more highly publicized and horrid in their crimes, that a respectful knowledge seeking person has to be careful not to get entrapped in their enchanting frauds, aimed at profitizing a sort of "McSpiritual Experience" full of random mcnuggets of stolen spiritual truths plumped up with westernized metaphorical versions of growth hormones that make them seem like bigger, better, more filling versions of the originals, when in fact, they are drier than red ochre clay and not nearly as nutritional, especially for all the hype they receive as some sort of uber exotic spiritual miracle experience that you can get in 1/16th of the original time for 300% of the original price.

Spiritually, I was baptized Lutheran, not because my family belonged to the congregation, but in fact, because it was the only church within a reasonable distance from my parents home, that would baptize a baby for a family that didn't want to join the congregation afterward. And for that matter, I was only baptized, mostly as a precaution from two minutely superstitious parents who were lucky to have been able to adopt any child. They claim a sort of agnosticism, but pretty much practice atheism unless someone is getting married or has died. From what few and horrid experiences I wondered through as a kid who only had access to predominately Christian youth groups, I knew before I was a preteen, that I didn't belong in any abrahamic traditions either. Being an avid reader and constant knowledge seeker, even as a youth, I quickly found my way into the easily accessible wiccan information and groups that began to spread like wildfire across the internet, and was easily digestible for youths like myself, who both wanted to escape the suffocating hold of the church and to find more magick and authentic acceptance amidst like-minded individuals.

Like most things that seem too good to be true, or that turn out to be the comforting myths of our youth, Wicca too, became a part of my past. A place of beginning that I'm grateful to have found at the time, but that as a more experienced and educated adult, I can't neatly fit into, nor do I wish to anymore. From that starting point, I was at least able to begin to cleanse my brain, body and spirit of some of the whitewashing and brainwashing I'd grown up swimming in, though it still took some time get most of the gunk out, and I'm still working on that process even now. Maybe even more so these days.

From Wicca, I was introduced to the umbrella term of paganism and quickly found myself fond of Celtic spiritually, neo shamanism and Native American spiritual traditions. All of these spiritual cultures are vast, diverse and have large portions of them that feel "right" and true. Energetically, I attribute this feeling to the mixture of ancestry in my distant past. Psychologically, I associate it with a burning desire to belong to an authentic and earnest community where I too, have a greater purpose than just being a white American schmuck doomed to work until I'm dead or paid off in debt, and we both know which is likely to come first.

When I first came across these spiritual paths, and started to find what I could personally experience and verify as "truth", I lovingly incorporated those truths and practices into my daily life. I was "eclectic", a label in pagan communities for someone who incorporates many traditions, ceremonies, myths, beliefs and practices into their personal lives. I still like that term, and I hope one day it will be more widely accepted and even encouraged, since most of all the people across the world will all be mixed together culturally, in our not too distant future. Though until then, being eclectic is mostly a choice from lack of local and authentic guidance that isn't misguided or misappropriated, or both. There are a few out there, in my experience, who have truly received authentic teachings through long hard years of travel, voluntary servitude and sheer tenacity, though they are few and far between. It's much more common to find eclectic folks who are just as lost as I am, or those whom paid their way through workshops, seminars and "retreats", who pretend to appear comfortable in their "earned" spiritual educations and community connections, but whom often continue to try and fill a void they can't explain the existence of if they were really so fulfilled.
It wasn't until my mid twenties, not very long ago, that I started to realize most of which I'd devoted my time to learning and practicing as well as I could with the resources I had -- which wasn't much -- that none of the spiritual cultures I felt connected to, would ever accept me as a one of their own, even if I could choose just one. If I attempted to go to Ireland and connect with authentic druids or witches with verifiable ancestry (who wouldn't charge me an arm and a leg), I'd be laughed out of the group as an Irish Paddy, since I'd have to go back at least 4 generations to find my nearest Irish ancestors and have no authentic modern connections to the culture. The same is even more so highlighted within any potential Salish tribal community I might seek to integrate into, as even if I could get one of those fancy DNA tests to prove I actually have any Native American blood in me, there were no good records kept of marriages between poor Irish descendant women and Native men in the 1800's, as such a thing was likely to get both parties beheaded, and even if it wouldn't, the record keeping sucked anyways. When it comes to shamanism, the only locally available opportunities to learn and train that are available to me, cost more money than I'll probably ever have and are so muddied and mixed up, that it's hard to even really call it "neoshamanism", as it's far removed from any authentic communal healing cultures that could truly be considered shamanic. And even if I had enough money to go off into the world and find an authentic shaman of any specific type, I have young children and aging parents whom I can't and won't abandon any time soon, for the likely decades of time I'd need to devote to learning all the right procedures, ceremonies, rites, redes and initiations to truly follow the paths of my souls desires.
Sure, if there were some true spiritual healer from a long tradition of anything resembling what we dream of as true shamanic, who was hidden away in this state somewhere and he or she were willing to take me on without requiring money in exchange, I would jump on the opportunity like a starved panther and stay in it for as long as necessary. Though if such a person really exists here, I'm certainly not any where near finding them and I'm not sure how much longer I can pretend that I might be able to find them...

And even if I could do such a thing, it would be near impossible to live in the way that we consider a communal healer to do so. The government, with loving support from droves of mullified sheeple, doesn't allow for anyone to live outside of their governance and that means through one process or another, they'll want money from me. My personal opinion and fervent belief, is that knowledge and especially healing of any sort, should be free of charge. Contributions are certainly not turned away and could even be encouraged, but are never required, openly or manipulatively.

So not only would I be at odds with myself for asking for any amount of money or even highly valuable trades only asked for to keep my own debts in check, but the minute word gets out, I'd go from bring a respectful outsider who practices sacred ways, to immediately being labeled another "plastic shaman" trying to make a buck off of needy new agers in search of authentic spiritual experiences or knowledge. That's the last thing I would want, especially considering that even authentically earned information and rites, which are hard to come by for a white outsider, would still be considered cultural appropriation. And it really wouldn't have anything to do with a wealth or lack of community, respect or authentic training. It all comes down to one thing: skin color. It's not even my ancestry, which if correct, means my ancestors were likely starving but widely peaceful Irish men and women who played very few roles in the wars of their European cousins, especially since they were largely ostracized almost as heavily as any other race of the time. Many even came over as slaves and indentured servants. Lineage doesn't really matter when you look like the enemy and reap even a few of the stolen benefits they've decided they deserve.

Which finally brings me back to the title of this post, and opens up even more catharsis...

Because of the greedy, judgemental, war mongering, misogynistic European bastards who built Rome on the blood of those they deemed less superior, and then eventually came to turtle island to do the same exact thing -- because of them, I now have no place where I can truly belong to. Yet, the most paradoxical and maddening part, is that because of their bloody sins that still permeate every corner of this continent, I can't even truly scream with all the rage it invokes in my very soul. I'm not allowed to claim it's unfair to be an outcast, to be ostracized or to be excluded from even creating my own mixture of spiritual paths, because my skin color earns me the perverse curse of "white privilege", which is absolutely more than a cargo truck full ancestral baggage that will stain my grandchildren's grandchildren with the blood stolen away inside them. To make it even more paradoxical, while it's completely unfair to me as an individual (and those like me), it's a completely understandable karmic retribution. Until a true balance has been achieved, and the world is not ruled by the descendants of the most violent and destructive race of humans still known throughout history, nothing will change. People like me will still continue to be lost in a sea of tears and blood, stained with the blood of those who were railroaded by our ancestors through no choice of our own. Even the many things we can to do begin to repair and repay some of the rifts of the past that still pervade the present, are not likely to have any meaningful significance in our lifetimes...

I might not be able to consciously register current events if I live to be 99, but it's my sincerest hope that I'll live to see the day when all peoples and all cultures welcome and accept each other openly and without fear, and not under some ridiculous globalized government frock. When no particular race, socioeconomic class, culture, orientation or spiritual path is more abundant or dominate in the world than any other. When each breed of human is finally done repaying the sins of their forefathers and no living being has to ever again worry about death, desecration, dehumanization or devastation through the hands of any others. The days when peace, compassion, acceptance and contentment are the encouraged norm. When no one, for any reason, holds "privilege" over any other.

Is this all a big phat pipe dream wrapped up in a rant?

Still, at the bottom of Pandora's box, hope holds on...