• Ash Brockwell

SPIRITUALITY - WHAT IS IT ACTUALLY?

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Imagine that in searching the Internet for the stories that you know in your soul to be true, you stumble on a myth that challenges your fundamental assumptions about who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing...





Wandering in the Borderlands


Imagine that you’re a wanderer in the wild borderlands of spirituality, sexuality and gender, never quite belonging anywhere, never quite fitting in, never quite understanding the journey or the destination.


Imagine that you don’t believe in past lives until you discover, while writing what was always supposed to be a novel, that you can remember your own past lives in intricate detail - but you know no-one will take you seriously.


Imagine that in searching the Internet for the histories that you know in your soul to be true, and finding them confirmed, you stumble on a story that challenges your most fundamental assumptions about who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing.


It’s a secret so deep, and so powerful, that in medieval Europe anyone who was even suspected of knowing it was burned at the stake.


It’s an ancient world-view that the Inquisition suppressed so effectively that it was erased from history books, surviving only in the realms of myth and oral tradition.


It’s a spiritual truth that explains the fundamental reason why patriarchal elites have always oppressed and murdered women, black and minority ethnic people, indigenous people and others who follow a nature-based spiritual path, and LGBTQIA+ and non-binary people.

Imagine that the more you let yourself explore it, and write about it, and sing about it, and remember it from your past lives, the more you realise it could change the destiny of the world.


You want everyone to know it, but you don’t know where to start. How do you articulate it in words that don’t make you sound as though you’ve lost your grip on reality? How do you even convince yourself that you haven’t lost it?


Refusing the Call


You can’t get your head around the idea that you might be the first person to understand it in full. You, of all people. That can’t be right. Surely there must be a thriving community, a rapidly-growing church, an international fellowship somewhere that’s sharing this knowledge and following these principles?


But in all your late-night trawling through obscure parts of the Internet, you can’t find anything except a few out-of-print books, a couple of small cultish-sounding groups that charge $200 for a copy of their sacred text, and some self-styled spiritual entrepreneurs who share it through online courses costing $995…and they all seem to be in the United States, and each of them is only selling one part of the story anyway.


You keep searching for evidence that you’re not the only one who knows it.


You’re an ordinary person with no aspirations to become some sort of cult leader, or indeed any sort of leader at all. You just want to keep your family together, stay out of the limelight, and get on with your life. But nothing shows up, and the story still won’t leave you alone.


You get the novel out of your system, together with six notebooks of handwritten scribblings – conversations with characters from your past lives, random recollections, prayers, songs, meditations, insights, dreams, liturgies, and more – that could form the basis for at least three or four sequels.


You make a couple of half-hearted attempts to get an agent, give up, and move on.


You see sense, and do the sensible thing, and put it all aside to get on with the important business of earning money. You’re thousands of pounds in debt, after all, and running out of options; and you’re a single parent, with two teenagers to support.


You’ve still got the notebooks, in a plastic briefcase that you keep in the garage.


You’ve still got the novel, in a file on your computer that doesn’t get opened very often.


Well, what are you supposed to do with it? Start some kind of underground spiritual movement? Won’t you be exposed and denounced as a cult leader or something?

Transitioning


So there you are, trying your hardest to forget about it and move on. But somewhere below the surface of your conscious mind, the secret keeps on rumbling like an active volcano, and finally erupts uncontrollably when you’re least expecting it – blowing apart your entire sense of identity.


You realise the reason why everything in your life has always felt wrong is that you’ve tried your hardest, your absolute hardest, to tick the box that says ‘female’ and to live your life as a woman – but it just isn’t working any more.


You come out as non-binary, then non-binary transmasculine, then just transmasculine, then a trans guy. Phew. That’s all right, then. There was no deeper meaning to it after all; no past lives; no long-buried secret that the world needs to hear. It was just the ramblings of a confused mind trying to make sense of itself; just the birth pangs of a new identity.


You’ve figured out who you are now; you don’t need that nonsense any more.

Yet the story – with all its songs, prayers, liturgies, and everything else that goes with it - still haunts you, when you let your guard down for long enough. It’s exhausting, trying to keep it at bay. It comes back to you at odd, mundane moments: in the shower, on the bus, or when you’re loading the dishwasher. And it comes back stronger than ever when you open your social media account, and read words like these:


I’ve been out as a lesbian for twenty years but I’m too scared to come out as a Christian.


I’ve been a committed Christian for twenty years but I’m too scared to come out as a gay.


My wife left me when I came out as transgender because she says if we stayed together she'd be queer, and God hates queer people.


I’ve been told that if I want to be gay and a Christian, I’ll have to stay celibate for the rest of my life.


I’m not allowed to take communion because I have a same-sex partner.


Sign the petition now to save a gay couple from the death penalty.


I wanted to go to church but I asked if I’d be welcome as a trans man, and the vicar said no.


I think I’m bisexual and I don’t know what to do.


I think I’m asexual and I don’t know what to do.


I don’t feel like either a man or a woman and I don’t know what to do.


It only takes one person to listen to the story and say, ‘Actually, you know what, this could really help a lot of LGBT people’, to remind you that you can’t just keep it to yourself.


But where do you start?


What do you do?

You persist in trying to label it ‘fiction’, which is the least terrifying option you can find.


You start, I suppose, where all the ancient stories start: “Once upon a time…”


The Forbidden Story

Once upon a time there was a man who was called Yeshua the Nazarene, and a woman who was called Mariam the Magdalene… and they taught people to abandon all the laws of religion that had been passed down to them by the ancestors.


All except one, that is, and that was the Law of Love: the greatest and the most enduring of all the laws.


They lived the Law of Love in the fullest, deepest and most beautiful ways possible; and they taught the Way of Love to others, and showed them – through deeds, and through stories – that Love is stronger than fear.


They taught that sacred space is the Land we walk on, and sacred time is this moment; that the purpose of life is not to find Christ, or to follow Christ, but to become a Christ (literally ‘Anointed One’) in our own right; and that we reincarnate, again and again, until we achieve that goal and find Eternal Life.


That is all.


There was nothing about guilt, sin, blame or shame.


No threats of eternal damnation; no promises to return and save those who had remained faithful to a particular creed or doctrine, while destroying all the rest.


No need for a priest or vicar to intercede between the human being and the Christ; no need for confession or absolution.


No distinction between ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ and ‘straight’, or between ‘trans’ and ‘cis’, or between ‘saved’ and ‘lost’.


There was only the Law of Love, and the Fellowship in which the pure essence of Divine Love was taught through song and dance and ecstatic prayer, and the sacred calendar with its festivals to mark the seasons, and the Path-working that strengthened the bond between people and the Land.


The sacred circle was unbroken, and within it, people sang and walked the Land and studied the Mysteries until they learned the secret of Beloved Partnership; for it was in Beloved Partnership that they learned to become Christ.


The great secret was that it no longer mattered, in the eyes of God, whether one’s body was `male’ or ‘female’: the goal, in either case, was to perfectly marry and merge the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine energies within one’s own self. That was what they meant by Beloved Partnership; not that a man and a woman had to be physically bonded together, but that the ‘marriage’ of spirit and soul could and should take place within every individual.


The `Divine Masculine' represented the visible, the outward-facing, the bright sun at noon, the fire of passion, the breezes of clear thinking, consciousness, the Word of God, and the Heavenly Father; and the `Divine Feminine' represented the hidden, the inward-facing, the dark moon at midnight, the deep waters of emotion and intuition, the mysteries of healing and the Land, the soul’s subconscious dreams and memories, the Wisdom of Goddess, and the Earth Mother.


And the two together made up Deep Mystery; but Deep Mystery was still more. The Love-beyond-all-names could never be fully captured in words.

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