On Merging the Political Self and Spiritual Practice
By Zach B.
The 21st century has brought a sense of globalization and connection that most people wouldn’t have expected. As feminists, queer folk, and people of color alike continue to unify and seek their own spaces of self-exploration and healing, people are searching more and more for ways to build and grow their sense of inner-stability. Among many other things, this has manifested in people seeking out a greater understanding of spirituality.
Many feminists, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals have found flaws with religion and have often felt ousted by it in the past. Marginalized groups often feel rejected by high-reigning religions with exclusive doctrine. Ironically enough, those who feel rejected in such environments are often in desperate need of healing and can potentially benefit from the things that religion and spirituality try to offer.
The narrative of a young queer person leaving a religious community because of its queerphobia is all too prevalent. Many LGBT people have felt that they had to reject any sort of spiritual belief in order to stay true to their personal identities. However, we're seeing a greater trend on the internet of people gravitating toward spirituality, marginalized folk and not. Whether it's just participating in astrology memes or an in-depth learning of the esoteric, the interest is growing, especially in people who have not found peace or acceptance in more traditional communities.
It’s great to find a belief system that doesn’t explicitly speak out against who we are. That alone can be hard to find. However, with the availability of knowledge and information via the internet, there’s a greater desire to see spirituality that actively works as an extension of personal politics and feminist beliefs. In a time where simply existing can feel political for so many, it would only make sense to want your spiritual practice to line up with those politics. Luckily, as we’re seeing a rise in spiritual interest via the internet, we’re also seeing people who approach their personal belief system with their politics, feminism, and social priorities included. What’s even better, more and more resources are popping up to help other people to do so.
Chani Nicholas is an amazing astrologist who offers free horoscopes and affirmations. She “believes the personal is political, art is magic, and that all should have access to the healing practices that we need.” She urges her followers to take what they need from her horoscopes as inspiration and use it in order to be the best version of themselves. Reading her messages has the same healing effect she aims for, and it’s clear that she’s always keeping things like social justice and personal activism at the forefront of her mind. Plus, she’s queer.
Co-star is another amazing tool for those who want to further explore astrology. It generates a birth chart for you and also connects you with people in your contacts and matches up your personal compatibility as people. What’s great about this is that it brings our closest relationships and those dynamics to our attention. It makes us think not only about ourselves, but the way that we relate to others. It’s a unique method for increasing the platonic love in your life and nurturing your personal communities/chosen family. It’s also a cute opportunity to check in on your friends and how they’re doing according to the universe. It’s comforting, humanizing, and emotionally intelligent. It also sends you daily messages that sum up what you might be experiencing that day. Equally as important, you can DM and block people, just like on any other form of social media.
For those who seek more formal community and religious membership, there are also LGBT-friendly churches, synagogues, and mosques. These become much harder to access if they don’t exist within your general area, but many often have websites filled with resources and even livestream their services. I’m personally thinking of visiting the Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, an LGBT synagogue located in Manhattan. Their site is filled with information about everything from being a trans Jew, to their efforts for gun control and ending mass-incarceration. For all of my fellow Jew-ish people in the tri-state area, this seems like a great option.
Lastly, I really love Asali Earthwork as a place to go for resources, specifically for people who enjoy tarot cards and are in need of reconciling thoughts and emotions. This is a blog run by Asali, a black queer femme who is a community healer and earthworker, and roots their practice in self care and community care. They have tarot deck reviews, interviews, resources for self-healing and growth for marginalized communities, and plenty more. This one is easy to get lost in if you’re new to tarot or spiritual practice, but that’s simply because it has so much to offer.
We won’t always be able to reconcile our personal politics with spiritual or religious ideas created by others. Depending on whether they’re ingrained in our culture, enforced by our parents, or were written by a bunch of dead racists hundreds of years ago, we may always find things that don’t agree with us. However, it is always possible to create a spiritual practice that heals and meshes well with every aspect of our identities, and for those who want it, that’s something worth working toward.
If we can figure out how to use these practices in order to heal, replenish, and prevail, so that we can continue to work toward a society that we’re proud of, then it’s even more worthwhile.