Back in the very late 70’s and very early 80’s, when I was first getting into the New Age thing, it seemed to me at least with regard to the people I came in contact with that the spiritualist/new age movement was about working toward enlightenment. Methods for doing that inner work became very popular, such as TM, yoga, Zen… at least in S. Cal where I grew up (and lived most of my life). The focus seemed to me to be very much on the fact that you had to find your own inner way, that there were tools to help you do that but they were intended to be just that: tools, not crutches.
Along about the mid-80’s the whole new age thing began to really catch on out there in a major way, and all of a sudden there was an influx of these new ideas supposedly being represented by “channeled information”. Suddenly it seemed like everywhere you looked, someone was channeling the 4 or 8 or ten thousand year old spirit of someone else from Egypt/Atlantis/Lemuria with information that was supposed to make us all better in one rather expensive weekend. Or on a smaller scale all you had to do was look in the back of your local new age magazine or newsletter and there were hundreds of “psychic astrologers” or “psychic channelers” or what have you with All The Answers, for a fee ranging anywhere from very nominal to outrageously exorbitant. Among these there were a few who had good information, and the vast majority were in it for either the money or the ego trip of being viewed as an Ascended Master of some sort. (I’m thinking of people like JZ Knight or Lazarus, etc, who IMO are colossal charlatans).
The main problem with most of what was being offered was that it dangled the promise of achieving in a short period of time the level of wisdom, enlightenment and self-understanding that the more traditional paths told you would take years of work. (Yasssss, people, can you say Ashtar Command and ye are HEEEEEaled I say, I place my hand upon your forehead and say the magic name of Ashtar and you are HEEEEEaled….). The problem was that some paths don’t have shortcuts because the journey is the point. Cut out the journey, and you’ve cut out the reason for walking the path in the first place. But in this age of drive-thru and disposable and instant everything, anyone who offers you (generic you) the Answer To It All in a matter of days with no commitment of time and effort on your part is going to attract a certain amount of yous who want the result without doing any of the work. People like that are *always* going to have adherents, many of whom will absolutely swear by them at first.
What happens when you find out that your problems are still there, your life still sucks, you still get depressed and you still have no idea who and what you truly are inside, underneath all the layers and labels, and you find you have learned nothing to help you cope? Most folks end up searching for the next instant-enlightenment gimmick and never end up doing any of the work to discover their own internal framework. Disillusioned and angry, they turned away from what they had once embraced in droves and the new age community obtained a very bad name that some of it’s adherents don’t deserve. I now see “fluff bunny new age” being used as an insult, because when most people think of “new age” they think of “white light dingalings” drifting around offering fluffy and unrealistic solutions that people no longer believe in.
It didn’t work for Christianity in 1890, it didn’t work for psychology in 1920, it didn’t work for Buddhism in 1985. Why do people think it’s going to work for Otherkin in 2001?
This has a lot to do with why I’m so bitchy about the “spoonfeeding” and why I see it as pointless at best and dangerous at worst. What is going to happen to people who’ve fallen into the whole coddle-the-newbie trip when the coddler gets bored with the game, and hasn’t helped anyone do the real work of developing their own inner framework? It’s very easy to criticize me for my own critical comments about the spoonfeeders, but perhaps placed into this overall context you can at least understand my concern. I didn’t *have* anyone to coddle me when I Awakened, I was alone out there. But I worked my ass off to Become.
Later, I found the Silver Elves and they gave me support and friendship by showing me that I wasn’t alone and that what I felt and experienced wasn’t weird for who and what I was… but they didn’t tell me how to walk my walk and they didn’t tell me what the things I was thinking and feeling meant. They continued to encourage me to do my own exploring and understand who I was in my own unique way. That’s what newbies need, just not to feel like they’re alone and to be encouraged to find their own Song. That’s all they need, and if we really give a rat’s ass about their own journeys rather than feeding our egos at their expense, that’s all we’ll realistically offer. We can’t GIVE them answers because our answers may not be the right ones for them. We can tell them where *we* looked… I found many of my own answers among the philosophies of Zen … but we can’t tell them that they’ll find their answers in the same places we found ours because everybody got to march to their own drum. I strongly believe the only thing we should be doing is letting people know we understand and giving them a place to air out their own thoughts and get some intelligent feedback and good, solid critical but kind questioning to give them some objective perspective… and the occasional kick in the ass when they need it. There’s tons of websites out there, let people find their own truths among what’s presented there. We aren’t human, but we cannot discount the human philosophies as useless for our own journeys because some of the experiences humanity has are universal. There are fewer resources for kin than there are for humans, but who says kin cannot benefit from human experiences? The only way people will know what Sings to them is to just start reading and searching and looking. Telling them what will and won’t sing to them is something the coddlers are doing for themselves, not for the new kin.
I don’t want to sound boastful, but a large part of why I feel so strongly about this has to do with my own personal experiences of the past couple years. My experiences from that time period tore at the very fabric of who I was and what my life was. I feel very strongly that had I been spoonfed and coddled and handed this vision of my “trueform” those events would have destroyed me. As it was, they came very close to doing so anyway but by that point I had invested a great many years in doing a lot of slow, patient work to Know Myself, to understand who and what I was down to the bone and deeper. I have this solid, strong framework of self built on years of learning to understand myself, my feelings, my ideas, my beliefs, my reactions, etc… and when the day came that I felt entirely cut adrift from the paths I had believed in and the places I thought I was going, I still had that inner sense of self and strength to hold me through it. My “time in the Desert”, as I have come to think of it, has been a time of great personal growth and a valuable experience that has enriched me in many ways. I am still IN that time, actually. I do not really know where my path will lead me next or where to even start looking for it but =that’s okay=. Because whether I’m in the desert or walking a path, I am still Me. And what I’ve learned over the years has taught me that the best thing for =me= to do when I’m not sure which direction to walk in, is to find a nice warm rock in the sun and just sit and Be.
I could not have learned that by dint of someone doing the armwavedance over me in a weekend. That is the product of years of meditation, study, practice, methodology, magic and inner Journeying.
You can call me many negative things, but you can’t say I have a weak sense of self.