Starting on a spiritual path these days can be a daunting effort. In this information age we are inundated with massive amounts of data and resources about many different forms of spirituality and alternative religious paths. Face Book Groups and Instagram Accounts espousing knowledge and experience have popped up in enormous amounts. Many people are claiming guru, mentor, priestess/priest, Houngan, Master, Living god/goddess, Shaman status and there are very little ways to check if they are legitimate.
With the massive swarm of internet self-proclaimed spiritual leaders, discerning who is real and what information is accurate has become difficult. There are people who are well-meaning folk but have very little experience and knowledge and feel they can pre-maturely hang a “shingle” out announcing they are able to help you spiritually. This is less nefarious but can still be equally harmful. Then there are some who need their egos fed and fluffed and use the spiritual arena as a place where they can live out their fantasies of spiritual superiority on the unsuspecting and novice seeker. Spirituality is not a game. Spirituality is not an “everybody do what they want” field of service. Spirituality is the source of life and core of our being. We must be keenly selective of who gets entrusted with guiding us along the way.
I started my journey back in the 1970s as a teenager. Resources were little to none. The internet wasn’t a thing remotely thought of or available to the general public. We had to rely on the library, books, referrals, word-of-mouth and just plain luck in order to run into something or someone who could show us the way towards another type of spiritual path. When used connections to find a different way of honoring the divine and have a place where we could question existence and our place in this world and universe. Most of us who started on this journey back then stuck out and were considered strange, different and crazy. However, there was something driving us towards a new way of experiencing ourselves as humans and spiritual beings. Due to its relative newness, most people and resources turned out to be reliable. Of course, there were certain people who would take advantage of other’s naiveté in order to advance themselves personally, but that is everywhere. Being careful is always advisable, especially in arena where there isn’t any accrediting standards set across the board. Relying on referrals from people you trust is one way to connect with the right kind of information and spiritual practitioners. Paying attention to your inner voice is also very important. If it doesn’t sound right, or feel right, then it’s not right. Another thing to keep at the forefront of your mind when dealing with anyone in the spiritual arena is if someone approaches you without reason or inquiry on your part it is a huge red flag. Many who prey on others in this arena use lack of knowledge, fear and intimidation to get someone to buy the services they are peddling. They use fear of angering your ancestors or spirit guides to sway you to pay them. These people are up to no good and should be avoided at all costs. They are con artists with no spiritual strength or knowledge of any kind. People who are legitimate spiritual workers do not initiate unsolicited contact. There is a level of respect and integrity in place and the understanding that those who need their help will be led to them.
I’ve gotten a few questions on how to begin on a spiritual path from some people who really wanted to get information to help them along the way. Below are a few suggestions. Understanding yourself as an energetic spiritual being is the most important step first. The spiritual path is all about your spiritual growth and evolution. The first steps I took when I began centered around getting to know me. I found the western spiritual technologies of Astrology and Numerology good foundational places to start to delve into my personality traits and potential destiny. It would be good to start with those two and a few other suggestions below: 1. Astrology: The study of the planets and horoscope. Go to a free online site and get your chart done. Then look up the meanings of the planets and the houses separately, then look up what it means when you have a particular planet in a house, etc. Study your chart and get to know it. There is much information there for you to delve into and get to know about yourself. 2. Numerology: System of Numbers from your name and birthdate that can give insight into your personality and destiny in a similar way to astrology. The premise is that your name is not a chance happening. It was ordained before your birth. Each letter in your name has a numerical value when added a certain way gives you insight into your personality and your purpose. Go to a free numerology site and do your numerology chart. Most significant numbers to pay attention to are your birthday vibration, life path number, and the destiny number which is the summation of all the numerical values in your name. Soul Urge is another important number. Many other personality traits and life cycles are determined in numerology. I personally like it over astrology but the two combined are the best in finding out a lot of info about you and your life. 3. Tarot and/or Oracle readings. Obtain a deck and start giving yourself readings. The cards and their meaning are based on ancient esoteric principles. This will have you look at yourself and your life cycles more keenly and give deeper insights to ponder. I would recommend starting with the Rider Waite or Morgan-Grier styled tarot decks where there are major arcana and minor arcana (78 cards in total). This is where you have 4 suits in the minor arcana (swords, pentacles, wands, cups) and then 22 major arcana with cards such as "The Magician," "High Priestess, "Sun," etc. These decks are based on esoteric principles. Then you can branch out and get decks where the imagery is more appealing to you. Merely a suggestion. 4. Alchemy and Esoteric Principles are western systems of magick that provide a good foundation into understanding the natural elements and the unseen metaphysical realm. Famous alchemists are Hermes Trismegistus, Carl Jung, and Moses of Alexandria. 5. Diary or Journal: Try to track your feelings daily or often. The path is about self-discovery. Writing helps to uncover your subconscious feelings. 6. Research reincarnation and past life regression. 7. Ancestors: This relates to self-discovery spanning generations before you. Learn how to connect with them. 8. Study the 12 Universal laws of the universe as taught by the three initiates in the book "Kybalion" This describes the Creator and how sh/e has ordered the universe. 9. Also, reading creation stories from Ancient Kemet (Egypt), the Orisha tradition, Voudou, Congo, Igbo, Native American spirituality, Ancient Asian cultures and any other ancient societies. European cultures also have ancient spiritual ways that pre-date Christianity. They will also have very interesting creation stories. 10. Investigate Color Therapy to understand the vibration of colors and their healing qualities. 11. Moon Cycles (become aware of the full and the new moons, put them on your calendar. The Moon has a deep and impactful effects on humans and the entire planet. 12. Mother Earth and her cycles: Seasons, Solstices, Equinoxes. Being in harmony with these cycles will bring balance. 13. Study the human aura and the other etheric bodies (we have several different energy systems around us)
14. Study the Chakras: From the East Indian Hindu tradition. It has been widely adopted into western spiritual culture. It's good to study this system in order to relate your spiritual body to your physical body. Body awareness and feeling into your body in a deep way is another spiritual tool to develop. Much healing and harmonization of your emotions and energy systems can be accomplished by working on the health of your chakras. For those who have a leaning towards Hoodoo and magick: Look into Herbal magick, Candle magic, Petitions, Jars, Casting a circle, Protection, Banishing. Read about the history and how it came about. For those interested in African Traditional Religions (ATR): Look at the most popular which are Orisha, Voudou, Palo Mayombe, Akan, Kemet, Igbo. First you want to read about their concepts of the Creator and Existence, creation stories of how the world, and how humans came to be. Starting from a perspective of self-knowledge makes it interesting and you get to really learn about yourself in different ways. You will discover why you have affinities towards certain things and why you have aversions. You will find out your strengths and what needs strengthening. A feeling of self-empowerment happens when you begin to have a deeper understanding of the complexity of your personality, emotions and then begin to understand the simplicity of spirit and how to tap in.
Your spiritual path is yours. It is an intimate journey between you and the Creator. You have dominion over your path, period. Wherever you end up, always remember that the choice to do or not do something is yours, not your guru’s or spiritual elder’s. You should listen to your inner calling and determine what calls to your spirit for you to investigate and learn about. As you journey along, what calls to you may change. It probably will change, but each step is a step towards growth and a better understanding of your purpose. Always look to your ancestry as a place to investigate. You may automatically feel a strong inclination to learn more and delve into the particular wisdom practices of your ancestors. Blessings on your journey!