For Heaven's Sake, Don't Drink the Kozmic Kool Aid !
by Flash Silvermoon
Interesting synchronicity today as I contemplate the needless tragic deaths in the "Sweatlodge" of last week. I have been furious ever since I heard the News commentator release the sad report about James Arthur Ray's "Spiritual Warrior Retreat in Sedona, Ariz.
At $9,000 + a pop to sit at the feet of this Guru wannabe, we are seeing the Corporatization of Spirituality, Enlightenment to those who can afford it, God /Goddess sold to the highest bidder!
I had initially been pleased that "The Secret" had opened some people to positive thinking but as I saw it take on a Cultish twist where people started essentially blaming the downtrodden for not having a fat bank account and casting condescending glances as if they alone had the ANSWER.
Then, I actually saw the film which begins with of all things, a man in a loin cloth, running away from persecutors because HE HAS THE SECRET! Talk about re-writing History and giving it a radical mastectomy to boot! Everyone should know that it was the Wise Women of old who first had the secret and that it was no secret, no big deal just simply understanding that what one believes can indeed create and give shape to one's reality.
This axiom is the cornerstone to all magical, mystical practices. The only secret this New Age Charlatan had was a gift for convincing people that they did not have the secret already. And... for a price, they could attain it repackaged from the more grass roots pagan style and shrink wrapped to dazzle the new Believers.
Today I watched a special on Cults and viewed the carnage of the Jonestown massacre where hundreds of well meaning hopeful people subordinated their will to a mad man who in the end murdered them all. Their story haunted me for many years thereafter.
I thought about the well meaning hopeful people in the sweat lodge and how they trusted this Non Medicine man who could not have taken the time or effort to study with a true Native Shaman or this tragedy would never have happened.
Why didn't any of the Believers stand up and say, "This is too extreme for me, I am not feeling very well!"? Why did these Spiritual Warriors who spent the better part of a week becoming empowered lose their own voice, their own spiritual compass? Was their need to belong, to be cool, to not be spiritually weak or inappropriate so much stronger than their plain common sense?
Maybe they didn't want to be the only one not drinking the Kool Aid!
Maybe they were so used to a religious model of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" that their shame would be too overwhelming to save their own lives?
Three days of fasting and 120 degree temps for 2 hrs. is going to be hazardous for most people and perhaps no one made sure that the materials of the Lodge were 100% natural and safe with extreme heat. Maybe the stones that were heated had some toxic chemicals in them. I am sure that in time the truth of this horror will come to light.
I personally don't enjoy sweat lodges but there are many who do and have beautiful and powerful experiences when the Lodge is poured by a Shaman or Medicine Woman who has put in years of deep study and learned the Native American ways of the Sweat Lodge.
Some New Agers have a bad habit of cultural appropriation of Native Cultures which is bad enough and totally disrespectful.
Damn, if you are going to steal it and resell it, at least have the sense and honor to offer something close to authentic.
What did James A Ray do to make 50 plus intelligent people stop listening to their own bodies which had to be screaming STOP? Twenty one of this group were hospitalized and three died. How does this man sleep at night? How does he even have the nerve to show his face on TV or to his students the following week?
How dare he say that God is testing him. My kind of Deity does not kill people to test their leaders. Mr New Age is starting to sound a little Old Age, fire and brimstone to me.
What makes groups of people in the EST Forum feel that their group leader has the right to keep them from going to relieve themselves at appropriate intervals?
As this piece of writing has unfolded, I realize that some of my rage may well have to do with the fact that my dearest friend and ex wife perished in the Amazon jungle while involved with a Shaman's retreat which albeit authentic, utilized harsh fasting and herbal cleansing programs combined with hallucinogenic plants. I will never know exactly what happened to her in the jungle that night but she died in her sleep with no one by her side to make sure that she was safe.
I am a deeply spiritual woman and a leader in my own right so it is not spirituality that I blame or defame, however, all paths are not safe, all leaders do not have the best interests of their followers at heart and sure as I am alive, if you are "following" someone you really need to look eye to eye with them and make sure that your inner wisdom is not being over ridden by your need to belong.
Are you giving your power away? Is someone vampirizing your energy? If so, why are you willing to let this happen? I find it interesting at this time that there is such a fascination with Vampires. Call me old school, but I kind of like the idea of keeping my blood in my body but that's just me.
Sadly, a third person died from this needless tragedy. Part of the problem is the externalization of the Divine which is the foundation of all Patriarchal and mainstream religions. This is the big set up for all of us and especially the have nots who are never represented as being a God head. Therefore what is Divine is other and the Other has all the answers.
Its one big set up to keep all the isms well in place with a clergy that has the ultimate back up plan with Hell to pay if you stray from the dogma.
As long as people externalize a deity and especially if they worship one that is not like them, they are doomed to drink the Kool Aid at some point and to keep their seats securely at the back of the bus with their own connection to the Divine always just beyond their reach.
There are wonderful and elevating paths one can explore that do not include spending exorbitant amounts of money and giving up your free will. Ideally, if you listen to your own quiet inner voice sans the hype, you will discover just what journeys will give you the wisdom and freedom that you most desire.
People, please don't be Sheeple and whatever you do, DON'T DRINK THE KOOL AID!!
Blessings Flash Silvermoon
* The Wise Woman's Tarot - http://flashsilvermoon.com
* What The Animals Tell me -