Have you seen Doreen Virtue's epic list of all that is bad in the world of the New Age? When I first read it I was mildly miffed, and then, more amused. This 'oh please lady' turned to empathy as I pondered how hard and painful it must have been for her to turn against her own body of work and faiths. Then I forgot all about it, until, prompted by a FB challenge from the lovely George Lizos, my apathy turned to anger as I realised that to denounce a whole host of practices, done by a large number of perfectly good people, who are doing no harm, and simply seeking to find meaning in their lives, is tantamount to hate speech.
Not just hate speech but hate speech that dehumanises the people she critiques by suggesting they are lead by demons. The suggestion being therefore that they are lesser, bad, evil even. Ya' know, because they watch Harry Potter, collect crystals and allowed a self help guru to inspire their lives...
I don't care about what Doreen's particular faith is. I'm sure it has always been this intolerant. What I care about is her jumping on that bandwagon and using her very public and powerful position to laud fear in the name of 'love'. Because this is where shit starts to go bad. It is by finding demons in others that we start to create divisions, that we make them other, wrong and to be feared. We know where this leads don't we? This kind of grotesque judgment of others, based on what? Her faith, her God, her holy book? Leads to anger, divides, wars, violence, abuse, gas chambers in the name of... There is a dire lack of perspective in her new stance, a blinkering to what is really good and bad, a closed circle that see's only it's own perfectionism and the damnation of all else.
So no I can't sit back with "love and light" and say, 'each to their own', because she is not affording a whole planet of people that same right. Cos it's not just the hippies she is coming for. It's everyone who is not a fundamentalist like her, it's not just the culturally appropriated beliefs that new agers tend to take, but the faiths that lay behind them, hindu, buddhists, 'eastern mysticism', shamanic faiths, whomever and whatever. (I fear the New Age is a soft target, and I dread to think what she will come out with next, for this route, leads to stronger routes of intolerance as she is buoyed up by fans... I'm guessing Homophobia, Islamophobia, Transphobia as dictated by her God)
According to Virtue, all faiths, other than hers are demons waiting to pounce. If it's not her precise way of seeing, it's demonic and it's not coming in. Her A-Z, amusing as it might may be, is dictatorial and dangerous. She will be wearing a MAGA hat next and doing Hitler salutes. Strong words I know, but better than saying she is cursed by demons at every damn move she makes, which is basically what she accuses everyone else of.
I've seen hate. My mum was Gay in the 1980's and my Dad was a priest who became a Wiccan. I've personally been privy, and subject to fear and torment based on those two differences. I've witnessed worse too, I've studied the pain caused by 'isms' at university for a depressing three years. I've sat silent and been tolerant of it as people in power make jokes and make it 'normal'. And from all this experience, all of the hate, so epically, tragically infused into our humanity, it starts from fear. And that fear comes from powerful, well positioned people who speak about divides and demons and difference.
If you want to use your faith to rail against something, how about crime, war, prejudice or sexual abuse? Because getting your knickers in a twist, publicly, with power, about Star Wars, or Feng Shui, Aliens or Unicorns, or a bit of burned sage, because it is 'of the devil', is an odd way to go. Denouncing things that make people feel better, and as if they have some control, as being based in evil, is a heck of a strong road to take. Whilst in many respects, it is absurd and ridiculous, it is hate, made real. People will suffer as a result of this, as their choices and preferences are called out as dangerous by ordinance of Queen Doreen.
This A-Z is I hope, where many people will take their 'demons' and flounce off empowered. For there is no other reaction to this. It is pain and fear made manifest. We don't need it. We can be better and rise above this low level, critical, judgemental, fear inducing drama. I'll take my chances with my 'demons' because I've seen real life devils and they don't look anything like what she is lauding. Doreen is now priestess of propaganda, and hate mongering in my book. Nothing more, nothing less.
Alice's latest book Dirty and Divine for more fierce real life spiritual talk...