“Hey Mama Cacao,” I whisper. “Do you have a message for me – what do I need to know?”

She told me my instinct was right – to start to decolonise my spiritual practices.

“This,” she told me, “is not for you, not now. You will never be made unwelcome, but your impulse is correct. This is your sign. Decolonise your spiritual practices. (Also, write about it.)”

I had never felt such a connection with her before. But when I came with a clear question, she gave me this very clear answer.

Decolonising our spiritual practices

Indulge me while I state the obvious: white people have caused such harm to humanity, to animal and plant life, and to the physical fabric of our precious home planet. I suggest, as a disproportionately tiny mark of respect for our fellow journeyers, that we set aside the practices, crafts and tools that have been plundered, appropriated, and consumed.

Cultural appropriation

My own ancestry is riddled with racism, misogyny, and every kind of bullying small-mindedness. They dwell in me, smiling out of faded photos as I, still bleary with sleep, light a candle to remember the dead. 

Yet they manifested me. I am inspired by the sharing of culture, and question how we (white people) cherry pick the myths and traditions we enjoy, and dispose of the rest.

“Appropriation”, after all, hardly paints a picture of what went down.

What can we do?

If we’re using something given by the ancestors of a particular culture, and benefitting from it, shouldn’t we also do something for the descendants of that wisdom? Mustn’t we be deeply and practically invested in their wellbeing, now and in the future?

Loved ones, we cannot hope to heal generational trauma with spiritual traditions, if we’re blind to the generational trauma caused by our ancestors towards black people and other people of colour, and their spiritual traditions. Our pain cannot be transmuted by a practice that is itself steeped in the pain of stolen knowledge. We must work on decolonising our spiritual practices.

With love and magic to you and yours,

Anna