On Supporting People Spiritually

Note: this post was written a few months ago during a bit of a chaotic period in my life.  I was angry and hurt, as were several others around me, and I don’t consider that to be the best time to write, so I shelved the post.  However, I wanted to get the message out, and I figured I may as well post it now that I’ve cooled off, because this is something I want people to know.

When you become good enough at magic, spirituality, or whatever, you will often get the urge to spread what you’ve learned and done.  Not everyone, granted; not everyone has a parenting instinct, and not everyone is meant to be a parent physically or spiritually.  That’s fine.  But some people are meant to do just that.  Some people are meant to initiate others, to guide others, to teach others, and depending on one’s own spiritual tradition and practice, that urge can be realized into action in different ways.  Some people start online classes while others write books, while still others will spiritually adopt people into a godfamily of sorts, making them part of their spiritual house.

This is not something to be taken lightly.  People who give birth to real children make that relationship for life.  People who initiate people into being their godchildren make a lifetime bond of another kind, one that can’t be reneged upon.

Yes, I’ve heard the arguments that a mother eagle will, once its chicks are old enough, push them out of the nest so that they can fly off and do their own thing.  Eagles, after all, don’t permit freeloaders.  Wolves, too, once they grow old enough will eventually split off from their litter and form their own pack or form part of a small one, but usually leaving to make their own if they’re strong enough.  Many animals need that time on their own to develop and become independent, strong, and fierce to the point of beautifully savage.

We are not birds.
We are not dogs.
We are humans.

Human.  Fucking.  Beings.

Animals might survive on their own in the wild.  Humans do not.  Humans build families, houses, tribes.  We move together.  We fight together.  We watch each other’s backs.  We trust each other.  If everything fails, then we either die together or we split up to make new tribes.  What we don’t do is kick someone out to make them do better on their own.  We do better by being better together.  If we fight, we fight together; if we fight amongst ourselves, we work it out.  The Bedouin, one of the world’s most famous nomadic tribes, encapsulates this all: I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, my cousins and I against strangers.  You uphold the sanctity, power, protection, and preservation of your in-group (house, clan, coven, order, whatever) against all others.  That’s how this shit works.  When you have a follower or godchild, you support them forever unless they leave on their own for their reasons or unless they are directly attacking you; that bond, however strained, cannot be broken.  You do not decide to rescind support for someone you spiritually get involved with like that.  You coach them, you teach them, you instruct them, you chew them out, you bitch them out, you smack them, but you do not forsake them.

If you have a problem with that, then you shouldn’t bother supporting others.  If you can’t uphold that, then you’re not ready to support others.  Be careful and be absolutely sure of yourself when you take on the responsibility of having a follower or godchild.  Once you make that commitment, you can’t go back on it.  If you turn your back on your spiritual family, you have more problems than just earning my ire or losing my respect.

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About polyphanes
I'm a software developer and Hermetic occultist living near Washington, DC, USA. I claim that I'm youthful, dashing, daring, and other things. I make things and chant stuff, and periodically write about them.

2 Responses to On Supporting People Spiritually

  1. rufusopus says:

    Tribe matters a lot. I’ve inspired a lot of people, but though a lot of them want to be close to me on the Brother level, I simply haven’t got time for that. Or interest. I mean, honestly, our lives are all pretty much the same. We love, we hate, we fuck, we cry. I don’t know why some people I want to help personally and others I’m just like meh, grow a pair and deal with your shit. But that’s how it goes. Probably blood sugar. Or BAH. Or both.

    I’ve had a couple people I look up to take me into their tribe, and a couple other people tell me to grow a pair, and that’s ok too.

    We can’t be there all the time for everyone we initiate, either. I’m all about bodhisattva vow shit because people are beautiful.

    But I have to deal with my own shit sometimes too. That means for months I’ll be on retreat, dealing with my shit. My shit is more important than your shit, and it’s more iportant than our shit. I didn’t incarnate for YOU! :D

    And that’s also valid and needs to be incorporated into our tool kits as magi-who-inspire-others. It’s not fun to experience if you’re not warned, so warn people that there will be months where you are dealing with your own shit because you’re still doing the Work. I think that’s fair.

    • polyphanes says:

      Absolutely; when a tribe is made, when bonds of blood or spiritual family are formed, those things are paramount. Those things can’t really be changed anymore than blood relations are, though it being a spiritual tie, those are up for a few more changes and alterations depending on need.

      Then again, that’s part and parcel of initiation. A band of friends does not a tribe make; a writer teaching people online does not make a spiritual lineage. When you have someone to call a godparent and you’re called someone’s godchild, that’s a different matter.

      I agree that we all have our own shit to deal with. Then again, if you can’t deal with your own shit while being answerable to others that you pledge yourself to, then you have more shit coming.

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