Mindy, the latest character from the Tram Tales crowd to get her own novel, finds herself headed down the path of new age spirituality. Mindy reasons that she is safe because she’s not dabbling in Wicca or witchcraft, which she deems “creepy.” While the characters and plot are completely fictional, the background information for this novel is drawn from my own experiences with both Wicca and other new age practices.
Wicca and witchcraft are types of new age practices, but all new age practices are not Wicca or witchcraft. That said, they do often go together. One can be Wiccan and refuse to use Tarot cards, seek spirit guides, practice guided meditation, or read runes, but the vast majority of Wiccans and witches engage in at least some of these practices. Another person may refuse to practice witchcraft and never identify as Wiccan, but seek spirit guides, use Tarot cards, practice guided meditation, write, recite, or gather affirmations, or read runes. That person is engaging in practices related to witchcraft, whether they see the link or not.
The common new age practice of using “the law of attraction” requires the practitioner to accept responsibility for controlling everything in their life with their thoughts. This is pretty much a Wiccan spell without all the fun glitter and candles and statues and other props thrown in. And when a Wiccan casts a spell, they’re doing a ritualized take on the law of attraction.
Whether you’re whipping out the candles and the wands, calling yourself a witch, and casting a spell, or simply directing your thoughts and calling yourself “enlightened” or “seeking,” these practices are dangerous on many levels. One of the most basic dangers is the guilt and shame that comes with the belief that you can control your environment with your mind and your energy.
You begin to see others’ behaviors and reactions as a response to the “energy” you put out.
We do have an impact on each other. Jesus alludes to this in the Bible repeatedly, as he commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, treat each other the way we would treat Him, and help and serve each other. Since God is the one who created science, it of course backs him up, with our current knowledge of the brain and the mind revealing that certain chemicals are released when we feel loved, or when we feel hated, or when we think someone is going to harm us.
But we do not control each other with our minds or our energy. A person who gets near you in a crowd can certainly pick up on your sour facial expression, tense body posture, and turning away from them, but somebody who has no idea you’re even there is not “picking up” your “negative energy” or feeling down because you sent unpleasant thoughts their way. Believing everyone is impacted by your every mood and thought makes you feel responsible for others in a way you simply are not.
We see this belief in popular culture all the time, as people proudly post memes about cutting anyone who “spreads negativity” out of their life, or command others “No negativity please!” when they post something online. It stems from the belief that the “energy” a person gives off when they’re going through something less than pleasant, or the energy generated by somebody not liking something you had to say can infect you like a cold. It cannot, and you cannot “infect” people simply by having unpleasant thoughts or feeling bad about something.
You blame yourself when things don’t go your way, despite your best efforts.
One of the first things you learn when you leave all new age practices behind is that you are responsible for your own decisions, thoughts, and actions. You control the choices you make. That’s it.
New age practices tell us we can become our own god. But if you’re going to be god, you have to take on all the responsibilities of god, including being ultimately responsible for all the energy in the entire universe. Sure, you might have others who work against you. The real God has those who work against Him. That would be the devil and anyone who decides to do the devil’s will instead of God’s. But in the end, God will prevail. If you believe that you are godlike and that you will prevail in the end, then anytime that isn’t looking good for you, you start thinking you just didn’t put enough energy into it. You’re supposed to be godlike, and when you’re not, it must be your own fault for not trying hard enough.
The reason you didn’t get the job, despite handing in what you thought was the perfect resume and doing a great job at the interview, in your mind, isn’t because that job wasn’t meant for you and something else is out there, but because you didn’t will it hard enough. You didn’t cast the spell correctly. You didn’t apply the law of attraction correctly.
This type of thinking encourages you to berate yourself, and make frantic efforts to “fix” your flawed energy in an effort to better manifest your own will. Of course these efforts never truly work. You’re not God. You’re not a god. And you never will be. Your power simply isn’t that great, and letting go of the idea that it is feels like being let out of a cell you kept trying to dig your way out of with a spoon.
You feel reasonable regret and guilt over neglecting things to indulge in new age practices.
When a person accepts Jesus Christ, their guilt and shame are washed away. This means you no longer have to beat yourself up over what you’ve done in the past. You accept that you are loved unconditionally. You know that you have a purpose in this life and beyond. It doesn’t mean you will never feel bad about anything again, or that everything you do is great. Feeling bad because you did something you shouldn’t have done, or neglected to do something you should have done, is completely reasonable and even necessary to help us make better decisions in the future.
New age practices encourage us to make those bad decisions we are going to regret later. We may neglect friends and family in order to spend more time alone engaged in new age practices. Maybe we’re spending money on books, tools, and other new age paraphenalia that we know we should have spent to help someone else. Because in new age thought it’s “all about us” we become self absorbed and make decisions based only on our immediate needs. Most of us come to regret those decisions later.
Feelings of guilt and shame are just one of the many dangers of the new age practices, including the law of attraction, affirmations, and manifestations Mindy becomes involved with in the novel.
Keep reading for more insight behind the art and into the background material of my latest novel writing project.