I want to korero on something (I'll be doing more on sexual trauma and sexual identity further on) that comes up so often in 'womens circles', Moon Circles, Priestess Training and books on womens' healing, relationships and spirituality.


It's like a weird... Spiritually Poisoned Fanny Fallacy. (What, ew? I know. I haven't yet had breakfast, my creative brain has called in a lazy substitute this morning).


We need to unpack this because, like many colonial-grade shitty spiritual messages, this is something that gets promoted and venerated in a spirit of 'love and light' but actually is limiting, steeped in patriarchy and old religious fear and ultimately, hatred. (And also, white supremacy. Most non-white ancient historical/mythological depictions of women incorporated their sexuality but didn't define them by it. The colonial horror that black & brown women could be sexual but also... healers, warriors, hunters, scholars and God forbid, actual people, still reverberates within the spiritual community). So it's time that we unravel this message and release it into the wind.


By the way, if you're woman-identifying and you've been fortunate enough to NOT encounter this pseudo-spiritual message, you're lucky!


So it's this: That when you have sex with someone (usually a man), their 'energy' stays with you. I've heard this trope extend from 'his energy will block any other potential love energy from coming your way', to 'this can poison your energy and attract negativity and bad entities'.


...I'm not kidding. This is a thing. And it's super common.


This message is usually shrouded in some kind of self-love mantra about worth, as in 'choose very carefully who you have sex with/ only have sex with someone you love/ don't have sex with anyone other than husband material otherwise you're debasing your sexual energy and lowering your vibration'.


And let me delineate: that it's absolutely fine to choose celibacy for spiritual reasons or to limit your sexual contact to committed relationship/marriage if that's what you, with your own independent agency, are choosing for yourself.


Where this message starts to colonise the spirit though, is by not taking into account any or all of the following, very common and real realities (trigger warning also for those who have experienced sexual trauma):


1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in childhood (by the age of 15), most by family or family-adjacent relationships. Many parts of the world (including places of 'spiritual enlightenment' throughout Asia, Europe and South America) are hotbeds of human sex trafficking. Sex Education in schools is often nonexistent, underfunded, abstinence-modelled or poorly delivered. 'Enthusiastic Consent', sexual safety and respectful relationships are not taught to young boys and men. Media and advertising sexualises children and young girls (while shaming those who display sexual agency), glorifying violence and toxic relationships. 78% of sexually-active women report having at least 2 instances of breached consent (including being made to kiss or hug an unpleasant relative or having a partner insist upon sex too soon after giving birth) in close relationships. 67% of women have experienced sexual pressure in the workplace (including being pressured for a date by a customer or propositioned by someone in a more senior role). Girls in lower socio-economic areas are more likely to have children by 18 than to complete higher education.


I could go on. The point is that for a huge percentage of women-identifying people, sexuality and sexual experience commonly (especially in earlier life) comes enmeshed with experiences of everything from ineducation and pregnancy, to boundary violation, shame or even abuse. Often, even negative consensual sexual experiences are a natural follow-on effect from the way a woman has been educated, seen relationships modelled, experienced mental health struggles and more.


So when we blanket-statement under the guise of 'self-love' that 'women need to choose carefully who they have sex with because their energy stays in you', we're discounting the lived experience of many, many women who at some point have had that choice limited or taken away from them and should NOT ever be defined by it. And to burden women with fear, shame or the desire to 'cleanse' themselves as a result of sexual contact, breaks their spirits. It colonises their spirit.


I've worked with many girls and women over the years seeking spiritual guidance about the 'after-effect' of a sexual experience. And let me tell you, most of the most confused ones are the strong, brave, independent women who have been committed to healing and growth; who reached out to self-love or self-help books, women's circles or 'goddess groups' and come away with the message that they are, will be, or have been punished for who they had a sexual experience with if they don't 'get it right'.


Let me clarify, so that together we can unravel this thread of spiritual colonisation.


YOU ARE NEVER CURSED, BLOCKED, POISONED, PUNISHED FOR OR DEFINED BY ANYBODY THAT YOU HAVE HAD A SEXUAL EXPERIENCE WITH.


*Unless they were not consenting, but this post is not directed at those who have committed sexual assault or abuse.


Trust me. Being 'promiscuous' or being celibate don't matter to the Universe. Being celibate doesn't mean that someone is doing their personal growth work, any more than someone engaging sexually with many partners isn't still available for a serious and committed relationship. If you need to be physically disconnected in order to heal, grow and focus for a period of time, that's fabulous because it's your choice - not because the Universe will reward you a gold medal in some metaphysical Purity Olympics. Spiritually, our sexual expression has NO link with our worthiness or healing. Know that, ok? One of the very few gifts that spirits are given during our human experience is the potential for healing, happiness and joy through sexuality and affection. We honour that with consent and respect, nonjudgement and gratitude. But someone who has shared a sexual experience with you doesn't necessarily have some sudden magical power over or insight into you, unless you, now, allow that with no expectations of return. It's like, if a friend visits your house, do they suddenly own it because they sat in your kitchen eating chips? Not unless you, for some reason, handed over the keys and the deeds. So why do you believe spiritual 'gurus' who tell you that someone who has been present with you sexually, has ownership over your value in some way? Sex can be healing regardless of physical appearance or commitment. Sex can be traumatising, regardless of physical appearance or commitment. So how is this possible unless... it's not sex itself that defines or has anything to do with your personal growth, life, healing or worth, as a woman? (meanwhile in the Vatican, floor tiles are disrupted as Popes of yore turn in their graves).


The message - mainly delivered to women - that sexuality is something we need to hold closely, keep 'pure' and wield for only 'deserving' men (let me guess, he's a wealthy woke mixed-race muscly Tantra teacher who makes cute babies and has long hair and likes puppies? Like that isn't some violating fetishisation of men, mostly of colour on their own spiritual path? I see you, Pinterest 'spiritual' quote images!) is simply old, harmful religious and white-supremacist programming marketed as modern self-healing. Bullshit. It's damaging and unrealistic. And it's more than time to decolonise this toxic, psuedo-spiritual message.


If a sexual experience has left you feeling (or you've been told) in some way 'haunted', like you've taken a step backwards, energetically blocked or stagnant; this doesn't mean that you're being punished or done a thing wrong. What you CAN do, is a ritual - such a shower with music, a salt bath, smudging with herbs, sound healing or self-anointing with oil or sacred clothing or jewellery. This isn't about 'cleansing' you (as though you're dirty), but about re-aligning your energy and focus with your true spirit, your sense of worth, safety and love. Can you see the difference?


A disclaimer: Spiritual harm can be caused to yourself if, over time, you consistently engage in a sexual relationship with somebody that causes you harm, hurt or disrespect (even if it's not as severe as abuse). The reason for that, is that your body will form a neurological/emotional link between the physical sensations/experience of sex + intimacy, and the feelings of hurt or fear. You CAN train yourself to expect things, and so you may find yourself in a relationship or dynamic where those two experiences have become linked. It's rarely an overnight process to escape, but have the knowledge that it's NOT a) a secret superpower that person has over you or b) a shameful weakness on your part. Your awareness that your body has come to link these two experiences, can be replaced by a consistent effort to un-link them. Start by avoiding physical or verbal contact, if it's safe to - ask for social or professional help. Replace your physical reminders or triggers (such as clothes or sheets) and stimulate the desire for sexual expression or intimacy in safer experiences as you go - read or watch good (respectful) erotica, take up a dance class, get a massage, ask a trusted friend to hug you or hold your hand. What you're doing is simply re-training your body to experience sexuality and intimacy in a caring, respectful way; and de-normalising the experience that intimacy = suffering. It's not about that person. It's about decolonising the belief that they or others, deserve to define your experience of yourself as a worthy, valuable & loved person.


HOWEVER, having said that - equal spiritual wounding can also be caused to yourself by non-sexual acts of intimacy, care or service to harmful people or dynamics. Such as being bullied into a family obligation, covering up a work superior's behaviour or having to spend time with someone toxic. The crux of this is that it's not sexual activity itself that is inherently causing harm; but the learned dynamic of intimacy= suffering. Does that make sense?


To unpack further: the shame, self-loathing and sense of uncleanness that may be present in your body from abuse or sexual violation belongs SOLELY to the perpetrator. No matter what inherited (read = colonised) justifications or beliefs you may hold about what you wore, said, drank or encouraged; the above feelings are NOT yours to hold. Do what you can safely to, if not release, then slightly dislodge them. Replace them with compassion for yourself. (Despite being two sentences, this may be a years-long process and that's ok. Those feelings being present in your body don't mean that you're somehow poisoned /blocked from being loved or attractive - know that, in reality, this is only your *colonised* perception because you've taken ownership of THEIR shame as your own. Which we are going to unravel together in this series). Trust that you have always done the best that you knew how to do at the time.


The guilt, embarassment or mortification that may be present in your body from a sexual experience that was maybe not traumatising but regrettable (think: alcohol-induced, infidelity, being caught in public, someone inappropriate et al), is allowed now to be replaced with wisdom, personal growth, simple remorse and ultimately wisdom. Remember that you are a spirit having a HUMAN experience in this lifetime: and that means, occasionally, running into the limitations and foibles of being flawed and human, in order for you to grow and learn. You're not 'unworthy' for your mistakes - you are wiser.


What we collectively and personally need to be aiming for is not 'choosing carefully who we have sex with' out of some colonial fear of being unworthy.

But aiming to:

1. Be able to, with clarity and safety, MAKE THE CHOICE with whom, when and where we experience sex or intimacy

2. Have spiritual and mental tools in place to dismantle systems + beliefs that try to punish or define us for sexuality, intimacy, vulnerability or experiencing abuse

3. Have agency over our own sense of value and identity outside of our sexuality

4. Have compassion and empathy for the sexual experiences of others


Whether you lead women in a yoga, meditation, manifestation, therapy or spiritual practice; or you participate, consume or read messages directed at women, it's time to decolonise the way we're talking to women about sex in the spiritual community.



WHAT IS DECOLONISING?


To talk about decolonisation, we have to first look at what we know about colonialism.


If you grew up in the West, you probably learned a little (if not enough) about colonisation in school, yes?


COLONISATION is defined as 'the action of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area', as well as 'the action of appropriating a place or domain for one's own use'.


I could dedicate one or a hundred posts to the trauma, environmental and social destruction, disease, war and poverty created by physical colonisation in history. Think the invasion of native lands, the taking of slaves, the disrupting of families, the rape of women and children, the decimation of crops, the introduction of alcohol and illness to vulnerable populations, the genocides, the restriction of education, freedom and healthcare access everywhere from Australia and Canada to Hawaii and India. If you don't feel that you know a lot on this topic - research. Do the work.


What I want to talk about here, given the medium of my work, is SPIRITUAL COLONISATION. In other words, how our 'spirit' (aka our soul, our will to live) is similarly invaded, disrupted, brainwashed, neglected and made small in much the same way. And how to stop it from happening.


WHAT IS OUR SPIRIT?


A person's spirit is that internal power/consciousness which connects us to all things - it's made up of our energy, our intuition, our instinct, our ancestors, our memories, our motivations, our hopes, our desires, our life force. Our spirit is what connects us to trees, the ocean, our children, our lovers, our artworks, our life purpose and the legacy that we leave behind.


So spiritual colonisation is the process by which - individually and collectively - our spirit is colonised and controlled by something powerful, cruel and destructive outside of ourselves.


This sounds serious, right? Don't panic, I'm not talking about lizard overlords or malevolent alien invasion.


THESE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT COLONISE OUR SPIRIT:

Advertising. Capitalism. Racism. Trauma. Sexism. Bigotry. Xenophobia. Physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse. Neglect. Toxic parenting. Cultural violence. Ancestral trauma. Poverty. Lack of education. Religious or spiritual trauma. Alcohol, food and drugs. Poor health. Inequality. Overwhelming physical environment (big cities, long commutes, living in a food desert, pollution, crime, noise). We may experience one, more or many, and we may often be conned into enacting some of those beliefs or behaviours on others without realising.


COLONISATION of your spirit is when another, more dominant body (this could be a person, a company, a system, a government) profits from your internal suffering. By stripping you of your self-esteem, dignity or strength, then selling you 'a solution' (a war, a nose job, violence, depression).


How to tell if your spirit has been colonised in some way? Ask yourself 'who is profiting or gaining power from this right now?' next time you feel compelled to do something. So many marketing ploys, fashion trends, social media movements and even beauty ideals or spiritual practices stem from deeply sexist, racist or hate-filled or dangerous practices. Which is why, no matter how much kale you eat, how much yoga you do, how colourful your vision board, how positive your thoughts, how beautifully you augment your body: Something feels OFF in your spirit.


The 'average' person I work with as a client is often apologetic when they feel sad, or anxious, or simply disconnected or unsure of their path or worth. Being apologetic shows that they have normalised the ways in which their free, beautiful, intuitive soul has been colonised, limited and mislead into being small. They've normalised that this constant feeling of 'not good enough-ness' is just something to deal with. For real, loves - this is NOT NORMAL. Lets not make it so!


Let's break it down with an example. Your spirit is the part of you that knows that you deserve a respectful, joyous relationship with another person. Of course, right? Sometimes you hear some music or do a meditation and you feel all that knowingness and love for a little while. <3

YET: If your spirit has been colonised by advertising: insisting that you be thin, exotic and compliant in order to 'deserve' a relationship; and by poverty: that restricts your ability to move beyond your home town to meet more compatible souls, and by trauma: that leaves you constantly battling the resulting health issues (such as anxiety, undiagnosed mental illness or hormonal imbalance)--- And you're going to work every day, competing, consuming social media telling you over and over how compassion, vunerability and desire for connection are a 'weakness' for those too lazy and unambitious to climb the career ladder or focus on accumulating a fresh pair of shoes, new lips or a Range Rover.

TELL ME how your spirit would EVER be clear and powerful enough to attract or even recognise a joyous and loving relationship. Tell me how you'd even have the energy to be able to take such a relationship on board, learn through it, grow with it. If you're normalising that level of spiritual depression every day and constantly fending off overstimulating marketing messages telling you all the things you SHOULD be doing, how do you even remember how to be present in a relationship with another human being experiencing the same thing?


Near to impossible, yes?


When your spirit is colonised, it's almost like you aren't in control (although you're constantly trying) of your life. You spend more, whether it's on Botox or self-help books or psychics or food. You fear fatness, failure, humiliation, weakness, ageing. You search for the single cause 'that you're not understanding' as to why you don't seem to fit in your skin, your relationships, your job, even your own choices. You might joke about losing your memory and perhaps too often, you find yourself experiencing something significant - a sunset, a beach, your dinner, your date night - through your phone. Sounds familiar, no?


So when I talk about DECOLONISING YOUR SPIRIT, I'm talking about unravelling ALL of the toxic, mixed messaging colonising your spirit currently and examining where it REALLY comes from. So that you can let it go.


Let me be clear with this - 'Decolonising your Spirit' isn't about punishing you for thinking negatively, it's not enabling victimhood, it's not prescribing you to a strict diet or spiritual regime. ALL of those things, that masquerade as 'motivation' 'positivity' and 'spiritual ascension' are often almost medieval in their attempts to colonise your spirit. There is NO punishment or shame on offer here (that's so 1583 and I don't know about you guys but that wasn't a great year for me).


DECOLONISING YOUR SPIRIT is the process of withdrawing yourself from former colonisers (see above for examples), reclaiming your spiritual freedom, your physical independence and your emotional self-determination. It's not 'overcoming obstacles', it's dismantling obstacles that should never have been there - those that should have no claim over your soul, your body, your connection to others. It's bringing your spirit back to its' true sovereign state - loving and loved, abundant, strong, clear. Instead of trying to crash through limitations, it's pulling them into the light and examining why they exist. It's returning accountability and responsibility to the systems that require it. (As we go on through this series, you'll see what I mean.)


WHAT DECOLONISING YOUR SPIRIT FEELS LIKE:

Coming home. Relief. Unconditional love. Courage. Laughter. Being present. Being both accountable and willing to hold others to account. Clarity. Sometimes, released anger or grief followed by self-compassion and understanding.



It's time that we unpack something together.

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The last five years or so as social media has become ubiquitous and big business grows fragile, many people are shifting into entrepreneurship, making a living through and from social media. Whether you're a trainer, a hairdresser, a yogi, a baker, even a 'pimple-popper', you're not working hard enough if you aren't capitalising on ALL that modern society has to offer in order to make that bag!

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On one hand, I love that this is rooted in our collective wisdom that, actually, being stuck in a competitive, toxic office slaving for inhumane corporations is SUPER unsustainable and unhealthy. We're waking up, slowly, and starting to look within for what we have to offer. Aside from swinging tools or pushing buttons or burning out for a paycheck.

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On the other hand, it's important to remember that the 'gig economy' has also come about as a result of inflation, low wages and the inability to support ourselves, pay off debts or feed our family WITHOUT at the very least, a side-hustle on top of a fulltime job.

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Being self-employed is NOT futuristic, if you're in it because your 'day job' is undervalued by your society & government. (But that's a rant for another day).

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What I want to korero with you about is this:

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I am seeing SO MANY people (primarily POC, young people & women) succumbing to valuing their gifts & talents ONLY by their ability to monetize them.

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Because even the most 'positive' of biz coaches and wellness leaders and spiritual gurus are telling you that it's weakness, laziness, fear or mindset that's 'stopping you' from becoming a famous & successful baker, makeup artist, counselor, witch, PT or leader.

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As someone who sees everything in its core energetic form, let me tell you - this messaging, no matter how lovely, light-filled & well-intentioned; is ROOTED in fear + oppression. Babes it is BAD juju.

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I'm not saying to NOT be successful or not to value our labour monetarily.

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What I'm saying is: For our spiritual & mental health, it's of vital importance that we carry on the work of 'awakening' by allowing ourselves to value our positive traits REGARDLESS of their business capital. Because it is TOO EASY to fall prey to the message that your lack of income, confidence, health or social connection is YOUR FAULT for not working hard enough, looking good enough, knowing social media well enough, networking or pushing fast enough. And when you fall prey to that messaging, what do you do? You fear more, you push more, you feel worse, you disconnect from the now, you judge your body, you audit your words, you become self-conscious and lose self-awareness; and you end up in over your head in a rose-quartz-filled mire of 'Why aren't I good enough?'. . In the process to succeed monetarily, you devalue the wholeness of yourself and all you have to offer. Understand?

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For example. I could never be a chef or a baker. But my food is fucking GREAT. (My soups will make you immune to the goddamn plague). I don't work professionally as a reiki healer or masseuse but I've calmed the worst outbursts, the scariest of meltdowns, with a hug or a hand touch. My artwork wouldn't sell in a gallery but I handmake beautiful cards for people I love. I don't make millions from my work & Oprah hasn't come calling but I've seen the power of telling people their spiritual truth & watching them succeed & heal beyond the WILDEST imagination. I don't have a Amazon-bestseller wellness book but I healed my own Endometriosis & Chronic Fatigue/ME diagnoses through intuitive choices. . My gifts, abilities, skills and wisdom are SO boundless and yet, I too have devalued them. By judging them as 'good, but not good enough to...'. It has taken so much WORK to dismantle the thought pattern that says, 'if you stand behind your spiritual beliefs, why aren't you motivated to do daily videos on social media? If you believe in your healing, why DON'T you sell a course on it? Everyone says you have healing hands, but you only use them on friends and family instead of putting in the effort to build a huge clientele & tour'. Can you see how diminishing, how oppressive, how hate-filled and shame-inducing those words are? Do they sound like words from my soul or do they sound like words put into my mouth by society, media & endless middle-management and 'motivational' emotionally-inept dudebros? Can you see how this thought pattern shifts the spirit away from gratitude, integrity & connection to one of judgement, fear and ego? I could go on.

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I KNOW how hard it is to detach from judging our gifts or abilities in terms of fame or financial return. Bc THIS, you see, is old oppression talking. Who cares how nourishing your unphotogenic dinners are? Who cares about your heartfelt post if 18k people didn't like it on Instagram? How important are your hundreds of hours of training & certification if you're too lazy to pump up your SEO to get found on the Internet? Are your healing hands valuable if they only help one person? Is your spiritual wisdom correct if you 'only' save yourself? Is your single signature on a petition, worthy? Are you a leader if you only get 3 clients?

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Do you speak to yourself like this, stacking up your care, integrity & healing abilities against whether or not they're making you well-known or wealthy? Because, loves, I want you to stop.

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(Whether or not they bring you fame or riches is, actually, somewhat out of your hands and tied in deeply to privilege, power, socioeconomic status & social trends. As a society we need to dismantle these structures, but you can't do that if you're allowing them to define your worth in the meantime. You get me? If you want to live in a world where all working people can support their family & access healthcare and education, you need to start valuing human effort & contribution OUTSIDE of the financial sphere. Watch this space for an upcoming rant on spiritual superiority)

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Fight back by valuing ALL of your offerings, all of your service, all of your daily emotional labour. Your hugs, your dinners, your grace when disappointed, your tiny efforts. Your Christmas cards, your sticking up for other people on the Internet, your reading the news to stay educated even when it hurts. The uncredited weekend courses you've done, the way you always iron the sheets before making up a spare bed for visitors, the time you take to tell people the stories of your childhood or country. You aren't lazy or blocked if you love a thing, or are good at a thing, and yet DON'T make a cent off it.

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It has spiritual value beyond what you can yet understand - but we're going to get there together, yes? Decolonising your spirit is a process. . There with you, Kelsey

© 2019 by Kelsey Avalon. All Rights Reserved. All medical, financial and legal enquiries must be directed to your prescribing medical health professional or legal representative.