by Jessica Walker
My whole life, I’ve been in love with two things: my spiritual nature and social justice.
They inform who I am. As a young person, I could see spirit guides and work to right injustices.
These two things were never at odds until one book: The Law of Attraction.
I grew up poor and I yearned to be rich! This book told me that I could have all of the things I had been denied as a child if I was just positive enough.
Ya’ll, I was IN IT TO WIN IT. I was going to live my best life at the top of my game and all I had to do was get my attitude straight.
No small task, I assure you; but I worked harder on it than I’d worked on anything in my entire life.
I quickly realized that everything going on in the world didn’t give me the feel goods.
I started to get nervous: if I was going to have my Pinterest board house, I couldn’t be thinking about the atrocious acts perpetrated against the vulnerable around the world.
The more deeply I got involved in the spiritual community, the more I was influenced by “spiritual” white people who agreed.
Thankfully, I lost my faith. And I say that because it allowed me to find my way back to social justice work. I refuse to lose sight of that again.
And the beautiful part? Social justice doesn’t exclude my spirituality, and I won’t take part in a spirituality that excludes social justice.
Now, I’m a badass spiritual activist.
You might be a badass spiritual activist if you can identify with these five hallmark traits.
#1 You recognize the inherent abuse in recommending “positive thinking” when someone is going through some real shit
When I listen to people of privilege who first discover the power of positive thinking, I get a little antsy.
I can’t help but think, “I get it, you read the Law of Attraction and you started getting some pretty choice parking spots with your positive thinking. But what have you done to stop black people being shot in the streets?”
I’ve definitely manifested some preferred parking spots, but every time I do I remember what a fucking privilege it is for me to focus on something so mundane.
I remember that there are people driving right now, afraid for their lives if they get pulled over.
People of color can’t focus on getting a great parking spot because they don’t even know if they’ll make it to the parking lot.
And if I tell a person of color that all they need to do to make it to that parking lot safely is to think positive thoughts, I am contributing to the abuse the experience every single day.
No amount of positive thinking on my part will keep a skittish, racist cop from pulling the trigger.
If you understand that thinking positive may have helped you but that there is privilege inherent in being able to turn your mind to happier thoughts, you might be a badass spiritual activist.
#2 Victim blaming is completely unacceptable to you
You saw that video of Tony Robbins and the rape survivor right? That shit is out of this world.
People like Tony Robbins have a lot more privilege than most of us. When he attributes his success entirely to his abundance mindset, he’s forgetting how much privilege he was born into being a straight, white male.
He is the epitome of privilege and his refusal to acknowledge that automatically disqualifies him from leading anyone else not in his exact same privilege category.
So let’s recap: a straight, white man born in America isn’t really qualified to speak to the experience of women AT ALL.
And he’s especially not allowed to tell a woman who survived the horrific experience of rape that they’re making themselves a victim and standing in the way of their own success.
If Tony Robbins telling a woman who survived rape that she needs to stop giving her power away makes your blood boil, you’re probably a badass spiritual activist.
#3 You’re an Intersectional Feminist
When the word feminism is spoken in America, it is synonymous with white feminism. And white feminism is deeply flawed and woefully inadequate.
Enter intersectional feminism.
Intersectional feminism is the framework with which we view how overlapping identifiers impact our experience in the world.
Being a woman in this country definitely comes with some overarching themes, regardless of color. But the lived experience of a white woman is vastly different than the lived experience of a black woman.
If you approach feminism only from your viewpoint, by default you are working to break down the oppression you experience, not the oppression that other women experience.
This means that you are complicit in the oppression of other women.
I refuse to be complicit in the oppression of other women — and indeed any other people.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a perfect intersectional feminist. But I am in it for the long haul and that means SHOWING UP every day and looking at my own shit.
If you’re not afraid to hear “This is why what you’re saying/doing is problematic” then you’re doing the most important thing required to be a badass spiritual activist.
#4 Exclusively connecting to love and light bores you to fucking tears
Look, Seeker, bring in that love. Connect to the Light. But don’t ever forget your Shadow.
It will teach you 100,000 times more than light ever will. And we all know that our collective garbage lives in the Shadow.
We can’t fix any of this mess we’re in if we aren’t willing to get down in the fucking mud. We have to be willing to get our hands dirty to change the world. We can’t ascend this mess. We created it.
Now it’s time we fix it.
If you’re ready to get down in the shit and go to work, you’re a badass spiritual activist. Let’s get dirty, warrior.
#5 You’re deeply aware of the current state of political and social affairs
Thinking about capitalism, the prison industrial complex, lack of access to basic healthcare, every birthing person who has been traumatized by hospitals, people of color harassed and beaten, LGBTQIA people afraid for their lives… and every other fucked up thing happening in our country makes me want to scream and set shit on fire.
No matter how spiritual you are, you should never forget Trayvon Martin. Or all 49 victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre. Or all of the women who have died from unsafe abortions.
No amount of divine energy we connect to will make us forget them.
Because we know forgetting is a crime against our own humanity, as well as the humanity of our entire society. Forgetting is unacceptable.
Their names are etched into the very fiber of our souls. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Because we are badass spiritual activists.
Hey, let’s go set some shit on fire.
If this essay resonates with you, please join our WITCH email list by using the forms on this website so we can stay in touch.
About the Author:
Jessica Walker is a Shamanic Coach and Spiritual Activist. She teachers her clients to work with the energy present in all things AKA The Force to shift blocks they have stored in their energetic system. She does this through the lens of social justice because our humanity is tied up in breaking down systems of oppression. When she’s not working with Seekers, you can find her exploring her favorite city (Kansas City, of course), trying new beers, or with her nose stuck in a book. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram and on her website: CrowMountainMedicine.com
featured image source