I’ve been undertaking magical studies and learning about the hermetic laws. And I’ve been working to understand and to challenge my own prejudices, privileges and perspective in the realm of social justice. And trying to integrate all the things I am learning into my ideals and ambitions, figuring out how things fit together. How to best use my talents and passions to do my work in a way that is helping instead of harming.
And I’ve struggled with it so far, as I am now immersed in a spiritual community that makes me feel so safe and connected, so in place, after years of trying to figure out where I fit and where I didn’t. Who I was and who my people were.
Yet white supremacy, colonialism, those attitudes are so pervasive in my world. Even amongst people who are doing their best to heal themselves and others and to act in love, I can see now the ways that we perpetuate harm and resist confronting these dangerous attitudes in ourselves and in the people around us, for the sake of comfort and positivity.
It’s not always obvious which parts of our dreams and attitudes are part of the very system which has and continues to destroy cultures and the wild nature and wisdom from which we all come.
And getting through the first few hermetic laws brings me to a place of looking for balance. And with all the centrist rhetoric surrounding the clashes between white nationalists and anti fascists lately, I’m drawn to dissect what balance and moderation really mean. How they happen as well as why they are important.
We have this tendency to strive to remain in balance. To see both sides, draw from the energy of polarities, to be in a place of relative calm in between the commotion of the fringes. We think highly of that state, we see it as a noble and desirable goal.
But balance is not really a state of being. Balance is a process. In our inner worlds and without, balance is something that we can see by looking at the larger picture of movement and transformation over time.
True balance implies a stillness which is basically stagnant. In these bodies, in this place in this time, we are constantly in motion. We are never really at any plateau, we are constantly rising and falling through lessons, hardships and achievements. And the kind of peace in moderation that we revere is not something that we can really hold for any length of time.
So in our outer world right now, there is a great imbalance. The system that we have allowed and supported to rise to dominate the earth, people, parts of ourselves, has grown to such an extreme that it is faltering and simply can not continue to grow without approaching calamity. And, in accordance with natural laws, so it meets resistance.
We have reached a point where the push against so many groups of people, against so many parts of ourselves can no longer be ignored or tolerated even by those who were able to be generally accepting of it thus far. There is a counter.
And clinging to this attitude of balance, of respecting both sides or trying to find a place of diplomatic mediation does not serve us at this time. In fact, it may be perpetuating the strain and increasing harm.
Because the middle ground is not fairness or unity when such an extreme level of force is pushed against us already.
Seeking balance now means embracing the opposing forces within us and without, to truly neutralize the threats that can no longer go unchecked.
And I have always thought of myself as a pacifist. I really admire lack of aggression as a tactic, as a response. To truly make peace, from a spiritual perspective, I try to recognize the fears and motivations of those who are the aggressors as well, in the sense that we are all here to learn and every experience has some truth and something for us all to learn from.
But there are other parts of me too, other parts of all of us, that know how to defend, to take a hard stance, to stand up and say that enough is enough. This is an important part of us, with an important purpose that should not be dismissed or repressed just to keep up the appearance of balanced calm.
Because the idea of enlightenment that beings us past the “lesser” emotions of anger and fear is a construct of the same oppressive system that is terrorizing our world right now. We are spiritual beings, and in a sense we are beyond all of the drama and strife that can seem so overwhelmingly powerful.
But that is not all that we are. We are creatures of this Earth. We are creatures with passions and instincts, with potential for great love and a great protective nature that can cause us to become quite fearsome adversaries when what we hold dear is threatened. These are our abilities, our gifts and challenges for a reason.
Imagining that we must overcome our defensive nature for the sake of some imagined peace is a patriarchal stifling of our feminine, feeling wild selves. It does not serve us, it does not serve anyone who really needs our service right now.
I follow a principle of “do no harm”. And I could interpret that to mean do not act, do not cause discomfort, do not confront, but I do not see it that way.
When we are in a time with such a great imbalance of power, poised to destroy so much that we hold dear, taking no action or trying to stay neutral actually serves that harmful force, helps it or allows it to continue.
The duty now is to add our energies to a resistance. Whether we choose to push back, turn the wheel hard in the other direction, to engage in violent situations to physically protect people, to have uncomfortable conversations and call things out so they don’t slip by unnoticed – the way to do no harm now is to resist. The only way to find balance and peace now is to counter the oppressive forces in whatever way we can. Any effort to stay in a state of unaffected repose ourselves only serves as selfish comfort and it is not something I will promote or allow to be idealized anywhere around me. We need to feel the fury and the pain here, get ourselves right into it. We need to expose ourselves to the truth of the mess all around us, so we can feel the truest reactions we have to it, the natural responses that will lead us to act in the most meaningful and purposeful ways. Trust the instincts of our wild nature as it connects us to those who are suffering the most, because that is what is at stake. And it knows exactly how to protect itself, if we will truly listen.