by Angela Kaufman

    Perhaps you thought that delving into mysticism and “New Age” spirituality would keep you clear from judgmental attitudes espoused by more blatantly patriarchal religions.

    You worked hard to shed any negative thoughts or judgments about others.

    You’re enlightened AF and know better than to judge someone by skin tone or sexual orientation. You love diversity, which is why you take Yoga and read Rumi.

    You want to keep learning and growing, so you follow the Gurus who have the highest vibration and aren’t afraid to tell you so.

    What if your quest to rid yourself of any ‘negative’ thoughts has caused you to turn a blind eye on the injustices those around you are suffering? The injustices that others don’t have the privilege to simply ignore?

    Yes. That was an icky statement. And there are more to come.

    Because while I am not the only one to be vocal about these issues, the fact remains there are too many people who peddle a watered down brand of meritocracy and oppression.

    One that has been dressed up in yoga pants and crystals. Likewise, there are too few people calling bullshit on these spiritual gaslighters.

    You’re probably shaking your head, insisting that you are a being of light and love and would never do anything to oppress others.

    And you are probably correct in this assertion.

    Except for the damage you don’t know you’re doing.

    I believe you want to be a catalyst for positive change for others.

    I believe you truly do want to open your mind and heart and connect with others on a deeper level.

    I believe your desire to do no harm is sincere.

    So keep reading, because some of what you have been taught is toxic, and without realizing it, your perpetuation of a few common New Age beliefs can be contributing to the oppression of others.

    And we both know that isn’t what you want.

    Manifestation or Meritocracy?

    Before ‘Manifestation’ became a mainstream New Age buzzword, the practice went by another name.


    And yes, it works. Yet the extreme commercialization of spirituality has distorted the concept of Magick and manifestation into a new form of gaslighting.

    There is little difference between a New Age Guru who tells others that they have not yet attained financial stability because they haven’t worked hard enough to manifest it, and a televangelist who tells others they have not yet found financial freedom because they aren’t contributing enough money to the church.

    Yes, that is a hard to swallow herbal supplement.

    But listen carefully the next time you hear people talking about manifestation and you will hear the oozing undertones of Calvinism and meritocracy.

    You will hear people say, for instance, that a person who is living in poverty has simply not learned to raise their vibration high enough.

    Perhaps the person asserting this opinion will have raised her own vibration with the help of an inheritance, trust fund, or the income of a spouse.

    While I do believe that we need to embody the energy of what we wish to attract, there are certain factors which can’t be ignored.

    Generations of income inequality between men and women, white people and non-white people for example, create real barriers to financial stability.

    A person of color in the United States who did not have the privilege of class mobility until recent years because of institutional racism and practices like red-lining, for example, did not ‘fail to raise their vibration.’

    They were kept at the bottom of the income ladder by a system of white supremacy.

    Considering it in context, it makes the rate of vibration of the people at the top of this racist food chain seem pretty…well….’negative’…..

    Yes people can transcend oppression, and yes shifting energy to align with positive outcomes can have an impact even in the face of challenges, yet ignoring oppression in favor of promoting the idea that those who have not succeeded haven’t spiritually tried hard enough is dangerous.

    It is dangerous because it contributes to the very oppression that keeps others marginalized. It creates a convenient excuse for the imbalances of power in our society.

    If I believe that I have truly earned all of my resources (I haven’t) then I will never honestly see how my privilege contributes to at least some of my resources while keeping resources from others who don’t have such privilege.

    Yet if I subscribe to the commercialized version of New Age spirituality, I will remain blinded to my privilege and worse, to the ongoing oppression that keeps others from “manifesting” stability.

    Here are a few of the messages from New Age gurus that perpetuate oppression.

    Poverty is the result of a low personal vibration

    No doubt there are some instances where a negative attitude will keep one stuck in the vicious cycle of self sabotage.

    However on a larger scale, why are we no examining the role of wage stagnation, predatory lending, the destruction of unions and the exploitation of the working class by policies influenced by corporate campaign donations?

    It seems the one percent have manifested a comfortable life for themselves at our expense, and I don’t believe this has anything to do with their vibration being higher.

    This belief is Meritocracy’s counterpart in the New Age/Spiritual realm.

    God/dess/ The Universe wants you to be wealthy

    This not-too-distant-cousin of the Divine Right Monarchy mentality that leads dictators and kings to believe they were given ascension to power from God or a Divine Plan, seems innocent at first.

    It feels warm and fuzzy to believe that Creator wants us all to be wealthy.

    On some level, I believe it is true that our Creator wants us to grow and thrive and experience what we need in order to fulfill our mission in this lifetime. I would even call that ‘abundance’.

    Yet I use this term with caution because abundance and wealth have been distorted by commercialism.

    Does God want you to have a sports car?

    I don’t believe so.

    If your mission requires you to have access to a means of safe transportation and Creator wants you to fulfill your mission then yes, Creator will help you manifest that means of transportation.

    The rest is your ego talking.

    What do you honestly think would be a higher priority for a benevolent Creator?

    To see a handful of people indulging in opulence while the masses are impoverished?

    Or to see wealth distributed in such a way that everyone can thrive and fulfill their mission?

    People Choose Poverty to Learn “Lessons”

    I believe that we choose a blueprint for our incarnation in order to learn lessons. Yet it is also important to look at the larger context, what are we teaching and learning from each other?

    Is the homeless person manifesting a life of humility and sacrifice because that is part of their Karma?

    Or is it part of my Karma to see the hungry person out on the street and re-examine why I am contributing to a system that neglects our social obligation to those who are struggling financially?

    What of the lessons surrounding us about the imbalance of power, the disparity of wealth and income in our society?

    Perhaps we all incarnated into this corruption of materialism so that we may make conscious choices to make significant changes to the system.

    Perhaps it is part of our lesson to uplift the destitute rather than counting ourselves as righteous because we have somehow escaped that fate.

    For now.

    Yes, people incarnate into certain circumstances and roles to learn lessons.

    So what is the lesson about social responsibility that your role of privilege and advantage is teaching you?

    And what are you willing to do to contribute to empowering those whose circumstances remind you of your social and financial advantages?

    It is difficult enough to talk about money in mundane circles, even more challenging to honestly explore finances and inequities in spiritual conversations.

    Money is a measure of energy. What does it say about the energy of our society and culture if we allow the extreme disparities to continue?

    What does it say about us as individuals if we are only willing to bring money into the spiritual conversation when that discussion is focused on how we can manifest more? When we see the struggling as to blame rather than as casualties in an ages old class war?



    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:

    Angela Kaufman is an Intuitive Empowerment Coach, and author of the book, Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down- Unleash the Power of Your Inner Tarot Queen (2018, Conari Press). She specializes in blending the mystical and mundane to help women at the crossroads connect with their core sources of power to overcome obstacles. She is also an activist and artist. For more information visit


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