Let’s Talk Spiritual Colonialism
Okay, I am going to address a sensitive issue here, just because there is so much silence around it and it is what I call Spiritual Colonialism. I have witnessed over and over again people in the spiritual circles lifting and taking indigenous knowledge: Those of African descent, Native American, Asian. Then these people make this knowledge their own with no regard for the source of where they obtained the knowledge. They never mention their sources and will even quote back work that has been painstakingly gathered and tell you they had an original vision of it. I have seen people right here in Asheville and other places, using indigenous wisdom which they obtained in a brief moment from someone else who underwent deep training and initiations – to further themselves and their careers.
Please folks, this sense of privilege and abuse of the indigenous person and their knowledge just has to stop. It is not conducive to spiritual growth or real change. It is just a repetition of the same mentality that bred slavery and colonialism, but just under the guise of “spirituality” which actually makes it very toxic. I speak this out as a black woman of indigenous roots, who has been the victim of what I speak about, but I have also witnessed many other of spiritual wisdom keepers and teachers of African, Native American descent etc. be the victim of this too. I speak this out for all my ancestors and those ancestors who have suffered enough.
The worse thing about Spiritual Colonialism, is that those who do it, feel extremely insulted if you dare to even mention it to them. Yet, do not feel that they insulted the ancestors of my people or others by doing it.
Until we can speak this issue out, own it and stop it, then we are not working towards breaking the collective narrative of pain, suffering and imbalance. I remember once in trance I received this message from Esu, “The ancestors and deities do not see words, they see the energy behind the words.”
Dear spiritual community, Spiritual Colonialism is a psychosis that does not foster healthy balanced relations with all our relatives. Malidoma Patrice Some has often complained on his website about people who “steal” knowledge he is teaching. We know knowledge is to be seeded, spread and scattered around the globe. No one owns it, but at the same time in the spiritual tradition I grew up in, it is best practice and good etiquette to acknowledge where you are receiving your teachings and knowledge. It is best practice not to just attend someone of indigenous background or anyone’s workshop just with the idea, “oh I can lift that and run with it.” etc. etc. This is all very dishonorable, and extremely disrespectful to the spirits that actually seeded this knowledge in the first place.
Spiritual Colonialism is part of spiritual materialism where one believes knowledge can be paid for, stolen or acquired like a commodity. For years, I have been sitting on this issue. But it has become clear to me that no one of Western descent is going to mention this, I want to mention it, in honor of my ancestors and all the ancestors who have been abused yet cared for our Earth anyway. Peace…