Engaging with Reality

One of the interesting arguments I tend to run into regarding my spiritual path as a mystic and godspouse is that I live in some fantasy world or disjointed from reality. In fact, a lot of criticisms of mysticism and spirit work seem to revolve around the fact that you cannot be present in reality.

However, I have found that to be furthest from the truth.

Since going down this path, I don’t believe I’ve ever had my feet more firmly planted in reality. Have I traveled to other realms? I think so. Have I met ancient beings with knowledge I cannot remotely fathom? Yup, I think. Have I even fallen in love with ancient beings whose knowledge I cannot fathom? Also yes, I think. Though, in order to experience these things, it has been a constant battle for reality checks.

I think people tend to mistake reality for some sort of materialistic need. Reality doesn’t have to be what is in front of your face every day. Reality sometimes has to be your emotions, your senses, your thoughts and patterns. Reality can also be your self. Unique and complicated.

In the age of technology and smart phones where people (including myself) are constantly dragged into the fantasies of those around them and the constant void that is the internet, I tend to feel as though it is not I, the mystic godspouse, who is removed from reality but rather the people who feel the need to be on their phone constantly, engaging with lives they will never match, yearning for lives – yes, I’m sure plenty of people may continue to believe being with a Deity in the way I am is impossible, that’s not what this post is about – they may never have, looking to the bigger, better tomorrow as we continue on the hamster wheel road of capitalism as we all march forth on this great desire for idealism.

Look, I am just as guilty. I find it very hard not to peel my eyes away from the latest memes and Tik Toks and seeing how many followers I have on Tumblr now (a whopping over 900!) or what my friends think of my Instagram posts. As someone who is very active on social media – a moderator of three sizeable lokean groups, a blogger, and a friend to far away people, and also, like most, quarantined away from all those I hold dear – yes, engaging with reality is very, very difficult.

However, I have found that the more I don’t engage with reality, be it my emotions and thoughts, or my present circumstances, the less effective I am spiritually. “Spiritually effective” in this context I define as open to other energies, available for others, and engaged with my practice.

The people who tend to make people questioning of mystics are the mystics who tend to peel away from their own reality. Reality in this case being consciously or not dealing with their own bullshit, a desire to match and outdo others, or, in shorter terms, their ego and self. The more we run from reality, the more dangerous it becomes to ignore it.

The moments I peel away from my phone to sit quietly at my altar or with my divination tools are the moments I find myself confronting my worst inner battles I put on hold when I pick up the phone again. The more and more I put them on hold, forget what they feel like, repress and withstand the honest-to-the-gods truth, the more awful they will feel at the shrine and altars and the more unlikely it will be that I continue my Work.

If I had just put down my phone and engaged with my inner demons I had with my boyfriend and hashed them out with him, the faster it would have brought me to realizing I am not honest or authentic with those around me and the better our relationship could have been weeks ago. If I had just signed off of Facebook faster on a regular basis, the more I can engage with how utterly miserable it feels to be stuck in my 740 square foot apartment with neighbors who are full of shit until gods know when. The more facades I put on to cover my lack of authenticity with myself, the more burdened I become, the less open I am to the Deities, the spirits, and people who I serve.

I am not saying it’s a bad thing. Escapism is a natural human response to trauma and gods know we are going through a lot of collective trauma. Escapism is mitigating the trauma and allowing it to manifest in more manageable ways but we also must accept the balance, too. Imagination, even, is a huge tool for mysticism and engaging with the Unseen, so even picking up a book or watching a movie, reading or writing fanfiction or regular fiction can fuel the sources in which we use our brains in ways we don’t expect.

This type of thing can even manifest itself when we are too rooted in the past or future that we aren’t engaging with the present moment. Thinking of all the great things that you could be doing after this quarantine is over isn’t going to help you with how you feel in this present moment. It may make the burden a little easier to bear knowing that there can be a better future after this all, but not acknowledging your own misery and grieving for your situation will make the misery and grief unmanageable as it continues to layer and likely continue to even after this is over.

To be a mystic or a spirit worker or anyone who delves deeply into the practice of engaging with the Unseen must always have a firm foot in this world while also being on the others. Without a firm sense of self, the outside becomes a little more unreal and a little more disjointed and that’s when we have people projecting their trauma on the Unseen and fantasies on their situation.

When your mystical practice becomes removed from its own reality, it becomes ineffective, as well. If you feel like you’re going in circles with your Deity it’s likely because there’s something you’re refusing to engage with. If you find that you’re suffering a whole lot more when you are working with Deity and nothing gets better or changes, you’re dealing with fantasies either about yourself or with the Deity.

Another aspect of the reality of being a mystic also means that I can accept that I can be wrong. It isn’t an exact science. I cannot produce constant results when the same ruling aspect comes into play at all times. Hel, I can’t even summon Loki the same way twice because He couldn’t give less of a shit for formalities. I’d also wager I don’t summon Loki, Loki shows up when He feels like it and makes a point for it not to be when I am expecting His presence as it’s a constant state of needing trust in His willingness to engage with me, rather than forcing the issue. And even then, I can be wrong. Fuck, it might not even be Loki I am working with. It could be some totally other Deity or spirit. It would suck hard core if that’s true, but it could be true. I am only two years into this practice. I could even be five years or ten and still be wrong. However, that’s the reality of this Work. Being okay with being wrong in your practice is accepting another level of reality that’s far more honest than the latest Instagram post from your oh so adventurous friend who seems to have it under control all the time or the aesthetically pleasing witchy blog on Tumblr.

All of this makes it that much more apparent that a mystic cannot be above another who isn’t one. In fact, the moment I begin to peer over at others who are clearly not where I am spiritually, I am not asked to gloat and wave my wonderful experiences in their face, I’m usually asked to re engage with past mistakes and trauma and forge them into a tool to help, not hinder. The spirit worker’s job is not to serve their own purposes, but to serve the spirits who require their meat bag’s assistance and the meat bags who require a spirit’s assistance, putting us in a weird middle position between the two groups, rather than above either.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what others think us spirit workers and mystics, lovers of the divine and family to the Unseen, because our reality remains to be our reality. To be present with the universe around you and at home at your wildest, basest, ugly self is as close as you get to the Divine.

I leave you with a task.

Next time you are particularly removed from your practice, be it your meditations or prayers, perhaps your godphone is whack or your intuitive senses need a recharge, turn off your phone. Set down Animal Crossing and turn off the latest binge-worthy (or unworthy) show on Netflix. Return to your self, your thoughts and your feelings. Engage with the emotions that come up and feel them. Rage, cry, scream, laugh, do whatever it takes until you cannot anymore. Perhaps you can’t even feel the emotions that come up. That’s okay. Keep the television and phone off as passivity is an emotion, too, so deal with it. That moment is your reality as ugly as it may be and in that moment, you are likely more truthful and honest than you have been at any time before then.

Perhaps even engage with whatever comes up when you approach the altar or shrine or divination tools. Is it annoyance at your lacking of constant practice? Is it some imagined slight at the beings that you serve? Engage with that, too.

It will probably take a long time – days, weeks – before you find yourself completely regrounded and refreshed if you’re like me and like to stuff things into their little holes until you don’t know how to emote anymore or dissociate yourself from them entirely. But once you do, you’ll be surprised how quickly and naturally the Work becomes easier again, engaging with others feels less burdensome, and the godphone clears.

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