The Dark Side of Spiritual Living

Spiritual living is often painted as a life of peace and contentment, or a means to gain prosperity and abundance in the realm of finance. Each established path offers promises, and is often marketed as a ‘how-to’ formula where you perform certain actions or live by a certain code and are supposed to receive certain blessings as a result. The truth is, results may vary, and we are guaranteed nothing.

The spirit world doesn’t have any use for money, and money is not the definition of abundance. It is a human construct that we use in the physical world to get things that we want and need, but by no means is it universal. Blessings come in many forms, whether it’s good health, stability, food on the table every day, good friends, a warm bed to sleep in, or many of the other things we often take for granted that make life truly rich and full.

But a spirit-centered life is one of sacrifice and suffering as well. This is not an aspect of spirituality that is spoken of very often. If you desire peace you will face conflict so that you learn the real difference between true peace and placating others out of fear of confrontation. If you desire to be more patient you will be faced with situations that test your patience. If you desire to be kind you will be faced with situations and people who don’t inspire kindness, and so on. You have to give up your impatience, your unkindness, your fear and make choices that strengthen these qualities within you.

Opening up your third eye and growing your psychic abilities will often result in sleep disturbances and a heightened sense of activity that can be exhausting. Many who are naturally more open and have no guidance from the people around them (we live in a world where many deny the reality of spirits) feel like they are losing their minds. You have to give up a worldview that doesn’t include spirit activity, you may even give up the ability to sleep soundly for a while. There is a price to having these abilities. There is a cost to all things.

Often, our spiritual pursuits wreck our lives so that they can be reformed in a way that supports the growth of our own spirits. We may feel abandoned by our deities. We may feel lost. Depending on the path you take, you may lose friends and family. You may lose a place in your community, or your job. You may gain spirit allies and find you that you no longer feel very comfortable around most people. You may have to give up habits that are no longer supported by the spiritual path you are on.

No one understands that you must give to get better than the witch. Our practice and lives are the practices and lives of the marginalized. There is not much acceptance for us in society, though much of what we do has been appropriated, and though we are often sought by those in need who may not acknowledge us otherwise. We sacrifice for our magick and for our deities. We sacrifice when we commit to our calling.

The effective witch walks the path of the wise, and that wisdom comes with a great price. It takes wisdom to know when to hex and how to heal, to determine the true need or desire under the layers of what we think we want, to determine the best course of action in any given situation, to know how to interact with spirits and form relationships with them, and to manipulate energies to bring about desired results. We don’t get to this level of mastery without suffering, setbacks, difficulties, and loss, often on deep levels.

So, is it worth it? I can’t say for you, but I can say for me that yes, it is worth it. Better to know the cost and count it than blindly jump in and think any set of beliefs or specific actions will allow you to avoid suffering and sacrifice. It’s unavoidable, so if you do take the jump, prepare to lean in to it.

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