Toxic Positivity Culture: Why Pagans, Polytheists, & Occultists Should Guard Against It

Toxic Positivity Culture: Why Pagans, Polytheists, & Occultists Should Guard Against It August 14, 2018

 

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“You attract what you are.”

“Everything happens for a reason.”

I’ve seen a variety of these sorts of phrases. They’re typically found in the New Age and LoA (Law of Attraction) communities, but it’s not unusual for pagans, polytheists, and occultists to fall under the trap of this type of thinking. A lot of this tends to stem from the notion that intent is everything (or at the very least the main thing) which you need in magic, therefore if you “just think positively” your magic won’t fail.

Obviously this isn’t the case, and magic is far more than just intent. And if you’ve noticed that these phrases tend to sound victim blaming/shaming, you’re not alone and you’re quite correct. I’ve frequently noticed that people who gravitate towards such philosophies are desperately seeking a sense of control over their life and surroundings, including over events they have no way of being able to otherwise prevent or handle. But this can also be used to turn on people in order to discredit or gaslight them, and be New Age bullies. Such tactics are also used in order to silence victims of abuse and oppression: “You brought this on yourself, no one can harm you without your consent.”

The other aspect of this poisonous philosophical trend is what amounts to spiritual bypassing. By focusing only on the positive in regards to thoughts and emotions, you are preventing yourself from confronting your problems, healing from past traumas, and in short not allowing yourself the necessary personal development in order to work on your issues. A fantastic example of this is quite honestly what amounts to the darker aspects of the so-called light side of the Force from Star Wars. By avoiding fear, pain, anger, and hate out of the notion that it will “make you evil” or “turn to the Dark Side” is usually how people wind up not handling those very issues and become a self-fulfilling prophesy by going to the said Dark Side. And the perfect example: Anakin Skywalker.

Part of being a well rounded witch, magician, or occultist in general is being able to confront and deal with your crap. It also means recognizing that yes, there will be events beyond your control and that of others. It doesn’t mean that magic isn’t real, that you aren’t an effective occultist, and/or that you somehow deserved it or otherwise brought it on yourself. There’s a great deal of superstition that I sometimes see even in the Hellenic polytheist communities. A streak of bad luck occurs, and people ask why the gods hate them or how they managed to piss them off. That’s not how this works; that’s not how any of this works! Blaming the gods for bad things that happen to you and other people’s bad behavior isn’t even remotely accurate, let alone appropriate.

The LoA community likes to pretend that everyone is “switched on” and that we’re all in control over the forces in our lives and what happens to us. The reality is that most of people are in neutral gear while a minority of us contend with a volume knob that can go up or down due to reasons not entirely our own. Bad stuff can happen to good people regardless of who or what they are. Not acknowledging that is essentially denying our humanity and reality at large. You’re not going to become a better magician or witch by only focusing on positive emotions, or blaming others or yourself for when bad stuff happens. But you will find that your magic will be far more efficacious if you learn how to harness your anger, control your responses to your emotions, and allow yourself to feel and process those emotions. They are valid, and so are you.

 

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