This article originally published on Medium 11/7/2020. Visit the medium article here.
I know, it’s 2020, you say, we ALL have problems.
And many of those problems are much bigger and more sinister than the one facing the Spiritual Professionals Community.
But while we are peeling the cover off of our many Shadow issues this year- from white supremacy to classism, the many shortcomings of a for-profit healthcare system, the devastation of the planet that is escalating as time runs out…
We need to make room to look at yet one more issue.
Because this problem is undermining the very foundation of our work, mission and image.
I’m talking about Qanon.
I first heard of this loose collection of bizarre ideas a few years ago. I remember seeing a headline that read “Pizzagate” and thinking, surely, surely, this MUST be a joke. It wasn’t.
Yet like most people, I didn’t pay it much mind. The theories were so fringe and ridiculous, and there were bigger issues at hand and still are.
Let me backtrack for a minute. You may be thinking, “Who are YOU to determine what idea is fringe? Shouldn’t we give fair consideration to ALL ideas and remain open to the unconventional?”
I hear you. With an Aquarius Moon, I believe in a lot of things society considers unconventional or even crazy.
I work as a Psychic, for one. I talk to animals and believe all of nature is sentient. I believe in nature Spirits and talk to my dead relatives on a regular basis. I believe in reincarnation, energy and read Tarot Cards. I also believe that the movement of planets influences mundane matters and our personalities.
So who the hell am I to question anyone else’s beliefs?
A friend who is highly skeptical of anything not empirically provable asked essentially this same question when I first started openly challenging Qanon. He makes a fair point.
And this is what presents an even bigger challenge.
We, fellow psychics, tarot readers, astrologers, Reiki healers, mediums, spiritual healers and advisors, are not viewed by society as, say, teams of old guard scientists challenging teams of cutting edge researchers.
We are viewed instead as one big group of people who believe in the supernatural. That there are various degrees of ethics within each of our practices, let alone variances among those who do or don’t adhere to ethics, doesn’t occur to the average person.
So when our community is hijacked by whacked out shit-posters who are, knowingly or not, serving as tools for extreme right wing factions, we are woefully ill equipped to try to explain the difference between those of us who practice with integrity and discernment, and those who don’t.
Now, this problem is not entirely brand new. Those in my profession, for instance, are constantly battling against the image of con artists who ask for exorbitant fees up front in order to lift “the curse placed upon your family many generations ago that is the only thing keeping the man you love from coming back to you…”
We are constantly trying to establish credibility amidst the many people who are content to make money as “fortune tellers” who may or may not be using any degree of psychic insight but who are mostly out to flatter or frighten so that either way their clients (victims) will just keep coming back for more.
The legitimacy of our work has been scrutinized for centuries, as has the legitimacy of alternative healers. For centuries, the battle was largely that of Patriarchal approaches to healing and leadership (one rules, many subjects, a detached and objective approach to medicine in which symptoms, not the entire person were treated and a complete detachment from intuition in favor of rationality alone) and Matriarchal approaches to leadership and healing (reverence for the Earth, a communal or familial approach to healing, respect for the intuitive/spiritual as well as logical/scientific).
Until recent years.
Now, we face another problem. One that has seeped into our community largely via social media groups and internet conspiracies. One which could seriously undermine any credibility we have gained.
As I mentioned, it was all too easy to dismiss Qanon as a rare, fringe group that seemed more like a goofy prank than a serious ideology. I mean, I can understand people questioning the medical profession, as this profession often falls short. I can understand parents wanting to know more about the ingredients inside vaccines and how these ingredients can impact their children’s health.
I can understand mistrust of anything chemical, manufactured and genetically modified. Such mistrust, I believe, is well placed. But somehow, right under our noses, an outbreak of propaganda and misinformation began to take spread and take hold.
It’s understandable how some of these concepts were seeded. Like any cult, I doubt the full blown delusional content was digested in one large gulp. More likely, little things began to make sense to people who otherwise knew better.
Maybe it was the shared language.
We New Age and Spiritual people are always talking about “awakening” and discovering the truth. We’re always asking people to see the “bigger picture” and trust your intuition…
Back in March, right after the lockdown was initiated in New York State, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across what I was certain was a joke.
It was posted by a fellow professional in the Spiritual community. The post read like a run-on sentence and made no sense at all. I read it again and again, waiting to read the “punchline” at the end.
After line upon line promising that tomorrow morning, Justin Trudeau would be arrested. That Tom Hanks was in charge of a pedophile ring of sex traffickers. That all of the top government officials were about to be revealed for being criminals.
Well, ok, who hasn’t recognized that many politicians are crooked and may be of greater service behind bars than in their offices….
But the rest of the post was absolute nonsense. One after another, I read comments from this person’s friends, begging them to take down this harmful and ill-informed post. The person refused. They responded that “we have to keep an open mind,” this, another common refrain within the Spiritual community.
I knew people were under stress because of COVID so I wondered if this person was high or had had a nervous breakdown and was outright delusional.
Turns out, I saw variations on this same post throughout the week. From different people. All from the local Spiritual community. That’s when I started to research and discovered that these bizarre rants were messages that were going viral because of Qanon.
Since then, I have seen one person after another fall prey to the most insane- and out of respect for those who suffer mental health issues, I don’t use this term lightly or as an insult- statements. The most bizarre and delusional things imaginable, in fact, beyond imagination.
I was invited to a “Save the Children” march by one of them. Although I knew full well that this was another level of Qanon conspiracy (after all, your cult is sure to grow exponentially if anyone who challenges your views is labeled a pedophile and sex trafficker), but I couldn’t help wonder where all this white, suburban, New Age outrage was when children were incarcerated at the border and torn from their families.
As the summer went on, I began to see people I used to collaborate with, work with, refer clients to and trust, become brainwashed by this ideology. One in particular, was close enough to be like family for many years. This was more than alarming, it was heartbreaking.
In some ways, it was like a repeat of 2016, in which I discovered how many people in my circle had fallen for Trumpism, doing a complete about face from their previous ideology.
In some ways, it was worse. Many of these people I knew to actually be quite progressive. They had no idea they were being used as tools for a right wing agenda and it was far too late to try to convince any of them.
Maybe it’s social media, maybe the heightened tension because of COVID, maybe the long cumulative result of Neptune transiting Pisces and making some harsh angles to the Stellium in Capricorn…
However you cut it, we in the Spiritual community now have a serious problem.
Yes, it’s a PR problem, but it is more than that.
If you come to this work out of a desire to be of service, as I do, then we have an obligation to confront the dangerous epidemic of misinformation, brainwashing and radicalization happening in the Qanon movement.
Fair or not, those who espouse these views are becoming the face of Spiritualism, New Age and Alternative Healing communities. Just as my Christian friends of conscience constantly call out Evangelicals who have become drones of the right wing, so too must we push back at every turn. We must do this for a few reasons.
One, we may actually come to give our community members the feedback and awakening, in the true sense of the word, they need. Though I doubt this.
Two, we must create a way for the public to recognize where they can find trustworthy, ethical, socially responsible and grounded spiritual practitioners. If we are drowning in a sea of nonsense conspiracies, how can we expect clients who are not spiritual practitioners to know the difference between someone who is reliable and someone who has fallen prey to this cult?
Three, we need to make sure that others in our community recognize who their allies are. This is essential. It also protects our community from things like burnout and even from getting lost in similar cult-like groups.
Most importantly, this group has been behind several acts of violence or thwarted violence.
Back in 2016, the Pizzagate conspiracy resulted in an armed vigilante storming the Comet Pizzeria in order to “liberate” the enslaved children allegedly being kept in the basement. There were no children, and no basement.
In 2018, people identifying with Qanon engaged in an armed standoff near the Hoover Dam.
In 2019, a man attributed committing murder to association with Qanon.
In 2019, a person following Qanon theories was arrested for involvement an alleged kidnapping plot.
In 2020, several acts of violence including kidnapping and a plot by two armed men to storm a polling place in PA, were connected to those who claim to follow Qanon.
The person who is posting bizarre statements, falsehoods and debunked YouTube videos is being sucked in to a group that encourages such acts of vigilante violence, all based on nonsense.
I know, we don’t like to be “negative.” We don’t like to confront and argue. We don’t like to tell anyone not to believe what brings them joy…
But we’ve got to draw the line.
For the sake of our clients and for future clients, now of all times. For the sake of all of those who are watching as their loved ones become sick or die of COVID, for the sake of those who are floundering because everything that was stable in their lives has come crashing down, for the sake of those who need our healing and guidance more than ever, we need to stand apart and make it known that the fringe conspiracy drones do NOT represent the best of what our community is.
They are afflicted with a sickness. And just as I would need to step aside from my work in order to heal if I were afflicted with an illness that impacted my judgment and ability to do my work ethically, so do many of these folks need this deeper healing now. Yet we can’t expect them to recognize this any more than a fish will recognize the feeling of being wet.
In the meantime, we need to do all we can to make our own ethics, discretion, and integrity known.
Understand that some of our words, concepts and phrases have been hijacked. I am very cautious now to explain what I mean when I use the term “awakening,” for example.
In this last week, I have already been called rude, disrespectful, abusive and toxic for pushing back against these extremist and baseless theories. So be it. I only hope that those in the Qanon community who now see me as “not enlightened” or needing to do more “research” will refrain from going full on Pizzagate. Like the Comet Pizzeria, I don’t have a basement.