The spiritual reality onto which we are weaving our lives, our consciousness, our understanding can be thought of as the warp. The Ground of Being is. It does not require our acknowledgement or acceptance or faith to exist. Just as fish can’t be expected to be conscious of the waters in which they swim, we are not naturally conscious of the reality within which our stories are created and out of which our skin, being, energy, feelings, and consciousness are shaped.
We exist within this web; it is the substance out of which we – the fundamental essence of who we are – are created.
My understanding of this warp – this thread onto which we our beliefs and lives are woven through experience and ritual – is complex, shaped by over twenty-five years of intensive spiritual and personal exploration. While I could write (and have written) treatises on my understanding, it can be summarized thus:
My spiritual reality is non-exclusive, intuitive, interconnected, and mysterious. My personal spiritual worldview is panentheistic, animistic, and ecstatic.
My spiritual reality is non-exclusive. While I respect different traditions’ takes on how to honor God/dess and live rightly, I reject all forms of religious exclusivity and declarations of One Right Way in connection with the divine. I do not have to have a relationship with God/dess in a prescribed way in order to have that relationship; and my own way of connecting with God/dess isn’t less valid or true because of its lack of conformity to any one tradition.
My spiritual reality is intuitive. I believe that through meditation, prayer, and ritual, we are capable of tapping directly into divine wisdom. Rituals created by others – specific liturgical traditions, spiritual movement practices, and rituals and “spells” created or taught by contemporary gurus – can be useful ways of grounding, connecting to the divine, honoring transitions, and awakening inner wisdom. We do each have the power to create our own personal rituals; supporting others in the creation of personal rituals to awaken divine connection is a cornerstone of my work.
My spiritual reality is interconnected. The inherent individualism of intuitive spiritual work functions best when grounded in community and infused with an awareness of interdependence. We are part of the universal web that connects our families, communities, and global humanity; our agricultural systems and ways of healing; our local ecosystems, region, and world – even the cosmos. As we grow in spiritual maturity, we strive to act in ways that balance inner knowing with the highest good for the webs in which we live and upon which our very lives depend. We are all energy; we all are made of the same cosmic putty.
My spiritual reality is mysterious. It doesn’t always make logical sense. It isn’t dependent on science for validation, although it certainly is inspired by and informed by scientific discoveries. It remains malleable and transforming. It can contain contradictions. It emerges out of the tension of opposites and does not require external validation to prove or disprove it. It exists in feelings and study, in our external world and inner universes, in our connections as well as in our boundaries. It is present in the understanding of one spiritual presence underlying the whole of reality, as well as in mythologies that honor numerous expressions of divinity.
These are the ideals that inform my interfaith practice and ministry, and upon which I base my ritual and intuitive support of others.
For me in my private spiritual practice, this includes a belief system that is panentheistic, animistic, and ecstatic.
By panentheistic, I mean that I believe God/dess to be both present in our world and apart from it. For me, the immanent, present aspect of God/dess is less personalized, pure energy, present in each of us and the world around us. This is what I am working with in energy work and practical ritual. The transcendent aspect of God/dess is above and beyond our world, and feels, at least for me, more personal, more like a loving parent. This is who I praise in ecstatic joy, to whom I pray, and to whom I go for comfort and healing. For me, the divine is not either present in the world or transcendent over it: Again, leaning into the tension of opposites, my God/dess is both.
My theology could be described as animistic, in that it honors the spiritual reality present in the natural world. I sit by rivers and receive their wisdom – wisdoms I do not usually access in other spaces or times. I connect with herbs and plants in my healing practice, both medicinally as extracts and teas, and energetically in nature or incenses. Land is sacred, with each sacred landscape, plant, animal, or element bringing its own unique awareness and personality and lessons.
My practice is ecstatic, in that I sometimes use altered states of consciousness, induced through breathwork, movement, ritual, chanting, and dance, to connect with deeper wisdoms and states of knowing.