The Darkness of (Doreen) Virtue
Last week, Doreen Virtue, self-proclaimed self-help guru and author, came out of the conservative Christian closet in a most extreme way and I'm angry.
I've never really jived with what she was throwing down in the first place--certifying fairyologists and angelologists to provide aid and comfort to people who are in pain and seeking spiritual solace. Her whole business model, with her books and angel and fairy decks smacked of sensationalism and narcissism to begin with. But to see her now disavow all that she has espoused before is just too much.
Her prior New Age works stuck a note with many who look to her guidance as a spiritual mother. She has assumed this role gladly leading people toward spiritual practices that, to my eye, were ungrounded in this reality—sending people “up and away” from their very real pain. I don't begrudge anyone seeking medicine that actually helps them and I'm pretty sure that no matter what the quality of her personal commitment to and understanding of what she was putting out there, her work helped a great many people weather the storms of life.
But now, to see her not only abandon her own ship but to attempt to sink all the others in the stormy seas of her own confusion is a betrayal of massive proportions. The mother within me is angry as hell. She’s dropped her children in a way no mother should. This makes me suspicious that her conversion is not itself of God but may well be the movement of evil in the world come in the way it has found so easy to turn people toward ignorance and controllability.
Strangely, her January 21st post doesn't even seem to have been written by her. It almost reads as if it were written by someone else for her. It is wildly tone-deaf to her audience and her prior work. The style isn't even hers. I kind of even worry for her safety. Who's got control of her mind? Who's writing for her? What evil has taken form and done this to her?
There are a few things in her January 21, 2029 missive that I agree with:
There are powers and forces in the world that most of us do not see or understand, that have their own life in being and move about the world faster than light speed. These forces cannot be grasped with the mind and those whose love and devotion are weak are prey for these dark, malevolent energies. We need no other proof than to look at our country's current state and the darkness that sits right at the tippy top of the iceberg.
There is an industry built upon our weakness--a snake oil industry that purports to solve our ills with this technology, or that salve, or this method, or that diet. She is right in spotting that we leave ourselves open to darkness when we seek new experiences for the sake of the seeking, not for its allyship in connecting us to our Creator and to all the good medicines and tools of this world.
Conspiracy theories, alien entities, and channeling. My own experience with these do suggest to me that a great deal of discernment and caution must be urged when working with entities and energies. I have seen people overtaken by their novelty and power, only to lose themselves in the process. At the very least, we must protect our spirits from influences that are not fully in our corner--and that can be difficult to discern when we are coming from a place of lack or need. These can also distract us from doing the work to heal our deep inner wounds that give ground for other energies to have their way with us. So yes, if you're seeing aliens or channeling or entertaining wild theories, by all means, guard your mind and your heart. Watch where these things go inside and how they get wired in there.
Her original teachings stuck me as thinner than I would want in a spiritual teacher. She used and taught others to use her cards for divination, fortune telling, which is an effort to know the future—rather than as guidance to create the future. She had it backward from the get-go. It’s no wonder she’s turning tail now. Tarot, pendulums, and other tools are not meant to predict the future, they are intended to clarify the present, to show us ever more deeply the circumstances in which we find ourselves now.
I've only ever owned her Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards and loved them. This deck introduced me to the faces of the feminine power that lives in the world and to honor them by name. I haven't used them or any other of my favorite decks to divine the future--I use them to understand the patterns, textures, and feel of this time and place more deeply.
Given her starting point of divination, it’s not surprising that her use of these tools had to be course corrected at some point. I imagine seeing the impact of her original mistake coupled with the immense profit she’s made off of it has her wracked with guilt and shame, which she is now playing out in the manner of her abandonment of her spiritual children.
In a very real way, she has allowed the mental sickness of the conservative Christian church (as it is now in America), driven by a thirst for power and hubris, to force her to abandon her children—not unlike a weak-willed mother who turns a blind eye to the suffering of her children at the hands of a violent father or stepfather. She is a woman lost, wandering and bumping around in the dark that has always been descending on her.
I’m not a New Age devotee myself. I don’t believe in a lot of the bypassy crap out there. Still, I’ve had more than my fair share of spiritual experience and training.
What I know:
Shamanism is real. It is not for the faint at heart nor the weak-minded or weak-willed. Shamanism must be rooted in faith and in accepting ourselves as the healing instruments of God. Jesus was a Shaman of the highest order and has been the only Shaman of that order who has lived so far. We absolutely do well to learn his ways, walk in his path, and put ourselves in service to and in full communion with God. Those practicing shamanism in a healthy way know from whom their healing abilities come.
That the human species is hard-wired for ecstatic experiences and altered states of consciousness of all kinds (including mindfulness and meditation). Ms. Virtue now says all altered states except direct prayer to God are fertile ground for demons and devils to have their way. I disagree vehemently. Not all altered states, when properly protected and contained, render us helpless to darkness as she says. In fact, it is in these altered states that we learn to discern the dark from the light, what is of God and what is not. In these liminal spaces is where we can do our most potent healing work. It is important to build safety and sacredness into our innermost being, to fortify our souls to do the work of excavating our hurts, pains, regrets, resentments, and the places we have been betrayed.
That putting faith in any one belief system leads to separation and ruin. The flow of grace is ever moving and does not discriminate among the religions or paths. All paths lead to God, and it is through the action of evil that we come to know what is right, true, and good because ultimately evil serves to show us where we are in relation to God.
That there are tools and allies provided by the Creator to assist us on our journey. The entire natural world, here on earth and within our own beings contain all we need to exist here--including the plant kingdom/queendom, the animal kingdom/queendom, the mineral world, the immense gifts of water, air, and soil that we have taken so for granted. God has imbued us with all we need for this existence—to be other than completely endowed with the tools we need for this life away from our Creator would be a cruel injustice. And I just don’t believe God to be that cruel. Tough, yes, but not cruel. The tools we have at our disposal should not be so easily disposed of, particularly when they have stood the test of time and been harnessed by our ancestors to good ends.
That there is life and beingness in all that exists. Animals, plants, and the very ground we have the blessing to walk upon are full to bursting with spirit. We co-exist and co-create with all of life. We cannot exist separate from this world but are of it and it is of us. When we restore the sacred balance between ourselves and the natural world, we come closer to God. There is no other way toward God but through the creation of God. Ms. Virtue is now of the mind that the creation of God must be dislocated from our beings in favor of only one answer--her Christian answer. That is the madness at the heart of all the ills of our world.
Ms. Virtue's mind has been overtaken by a relatively modern mindset (meaning A.D.) that is singularly harmful—the one that places sole access to God in the hands of the world's power holders—the Christian Church. She has succumbed to fear, to dangerous superstitions,and rejected many of the most helpful medicines this world has for us. She has accepted God as strictly male and solely transcendent (out there), not imminent (in here) which always results in separation of man from God, man from nature, and ultimately places man in a position of dominion over the earth where we have done nothing but harm it. She isn't leading people forward, she's dragging them backward.
The realms of spirit are not all sweetness and light. They contain all that is evil within us and among us as well as the grace of God. Perhaps she encountered such darkness within herself (her pride maybe?) that scared the shit out of her and made her run into the robes of priests and pastors. That we don't know what we're dealing with is no excuse, particularly for a mother, to turn away entirely and not face the fears and terrors within. In fact, I daresay, Jesus himself taught that we must face them with courage, faith, hope, and love if goodness is ever to prevail.
What does her defection mean for all those still caught in the darkness of the evil she is sprinting so fast away from? Abandon all hope, for if Doreen Virtue can’t handle it, you’re truly fucked.
The presence of evil is itself a blessing in that it forces us to wrestle with ourselves and to yearn for and seek God and all that is good in the world. It is the LONGING for God that brings us to our knees in prayer, gratitude, and true wisdom. It is not in the avoidance of practices that she now demonizes.
As a mother, I’d like to tell Ms. Virtue to simply disappear and take her drifting-right Christianity with her. I'd like to tell her to leave it to the real mothers who refuse to abandon their children out of fear. We’ll take it from here, Doreen. We’ll help these children of the earth, the precious children of God, if you won’t. Our motherhood will not permit us to abandon the children--no matter how terrifying the dark. Our motherhood is fierce and full and would step in front of a bullet, real or spiritual, for our children. Our motherhood cannot be pushed into submission. It cannot be made to cower.
I'll pray for you, Doreen. That you lose your mind, and come to your senses.