I’m Bridget Owens and you're listening to the Waxing Soul podcast where we're adventuring into the world of mindful modern magic and authentic spiritual practice. It's December 2, 2021, and today's topic is how we deal with the big shifts that happen in the world around us. Are you ready to grow your soul?
Happy December, everyone! Can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year, but here we are in the home stretch. And there’s this really interesting… You know, I’m not an astrologer, I’m not someone who, like, as part of my spiritual practice or spiritual gifts or whatever, not someone who can speak to any kind of global energetic shifts or planetary alignments and how they impact everyone. But what I am is, like many of you, someone who is tied in to some broad communities where there are changes happening that are visible and where people pay attention to trends and signs and whatever, and there are definitely some major shifts going on in the world right now.
I came across a TikTok the other day where someone was talking about the marketing and business experts they were following and subscribed to in whatever form and how they seemed to be disappearing. Which totally lines up with the things I’m seeing happening in the online business space, where social media rules and algorithms are shifting around, we’ve got the Meta thing… Things are changing in the online space and lots of these people have built their businesses around being experts in the way things were, and now that that’s not the way things are, that expertise is no longer really relevant.
So it’s… There’s changes going on in the world around us, and that’s what drives personal evolution. To continue to thrive means to adapt.
Specifically, though, this shift that’s going on – and it’s not just social media stuff, right? There’s the Great Resignation and all of that going on, lots of housing changes, economic changes, things put on hold, people are, maybe a lot of you out there listening are looking more critically at your lives and reshaping them to fit who you are and what you want. Situations are changing for all of us, there’s a global sense that things aren’t going to go back to the way they were in 2019 or whatever, and that means that we have to undergo changes, too.
It’s pretty unlikely that whoever you were in 2019 was totally prepared for the last two years, and that means we’ve pretty much all had to not just make life adjustments because of the changes around us, we’ve had to make some internal spiritual adjustments as well. And I’ve been seeing… well, actually, if I really think about it I’ve been hearing various contingents of the spiritual community predicting big energetic shifts and global transformation stuff for years now based on whatever the planets are doing, whatever downloads they’re getting, that kind of thing.
And I’m not… this isn’t going to be about, like, whether I think they’re right or not. Actually, I think they probably are right by default. Things are shifting all the time. That’s… The universe is alive, the world is alive, life means change. It’s unending and perpetual.
So if change is always coming at us, what do we do about that? How do we face a world where huge life-altering energetic shifts are constantly just around the corner?
Well, the easy answer is that we change along with those changes. We adapt and evolve. But what I want to talk about first in all of this is the way we think about changes that are happening, will happen, or even have already happed. And I want to break those down as the three sections of the episode, and let’s start with the stuff that will happen.
And it’s not just the big, like, we’re going to move from one age to another in astrological terms or like in 2012 when we were approaching the turning point of the Mayan calendar. Those big shifts are ones we hear a lot about, sure, but this applies at all levels of the fractal nature of the universe.
I touched on this when I talked about, when I did the series on tarot for self growth last season, but humans are just… we are the worst when it comes to determining whether an upcoming change is a bad thing or a good thing. It’s… I mean, if we want to really get into it, we’re not even very good at… We’re as bad about trying to parse the difference between what is harmful magic and what is helpful magic as we are trying to make good choices based on what we know about what’s going to happen in the future, and it has really everything to do with our fears and desires. We think our desires are inherently good and our fears are inherently bad, and that’s not always true. In fact, I’d say that’s not even largely true. Lots of times our desires are self-destructive or at the very least cause us to overlook the detrimental aspects, while at the same time lots of our fears are really the keys to our shadow selves and positive transformation or, at least, are overblown in our minds.
So when we’re told that there are big energetic shifts coming in the future, what we tend to completely miss in this is that there is literally no way – literally no way – that any big shift in global consciousness can be entirely good or entirely bad. And in fact I would argue that taken on a long term time scale, all shifts are eventually positive because humanity and, well, life in general, evolves in response to change no matter the type of change and eventually makes whatever positive it can out of everything.
So whatever judgments we make about the things we anticipate in our future, whether it’s big or individual or even just, like, what your schedule looks like tomorrow, those preconceived determinations can absolutely hinder our ability to deal in a spiritually evolutionary way when those things do happen. If we assume that what’s coming is going to be bad and that our best course of action is to try and avoid it, hide from it, fix it, stop it from happening, whatever, then we’re hindering the transformative potential or opportunity in it.
And I think that’s important in a lot of aspects, starting with how we deal with what our divinatory practices tell us but also in interpreting what we’re told by those who we trust to be sources and guides. Because their determination of whether something is going to be good or bad has everything to do with their own internal judgments and expectations. Two people can look at the same information and predict the same energetic shift on the horizon and come to two very different conclusions about what that will entail. I mean, as bad as the pandemic is, as much upheaval as there has been in the past two years, there are absolutely lots of ways in which people are benefiting from the changes. And that doesn’t invalidate the suffering of those who aren’t benefiting, and in the long run there are going to be positive overall outcomes – lessons learned, societal advancements, spiritual growth.
And my challenge to everyone is to shift that tendency to anticipate everything as good or bad and make an effort to – this ties in with the gratitude episode I just did, actually – make an effort to rise to challenges rather than avoid them, to look at every change and challenge as a chance to evolve and grow on a spiritual and personal level rather than live as though you’re at the mercy of what happens around you.
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Now back to the episode!
Next let’s tackle the issue of how we deal with big shifts which have already happened in our lives. And this is a big one, and one that’s really relevant to my life recently because it appears I’m in another round of pretty deep and very serious shadow work.
I’ve mentioned before on here that my first experience with shadow work happened kind of on accident. I was sort of… I won’t go into the story again but in just pursuing things I was interested in I read something that opened the door to a pretty big revelation about my own self-destructive tendencies, the fact that I had a very serious case of impostor syndrome, and as I began picking at that idea I ended up going through a couple of months of really intense self work. It was the kind of thing where, like, people around me could tell something was going on, I was visibly more emotional and kind of withdrawn, very focused on stuff I wasn’t focused on before. It was a lot.
And I didn’t realize what I was really doing at the time on a spiritual level but I was, like, enthusiastic about it as it was happening. It wasn’t the kind of thing where I was upset that I was finding all this stuff that, I know now, was really digging up and working through some things that were traumatic. I was unraveling parts of my worldview and self image which were based on really detrimental and damaging ideas.
And since that time, which… I look back at that and really consider it as the beginning of my real true spiritual journey. It was the point where it became an actual spiritual practice and not just something I did to try and fix my life. And since then I’ve really kind of… Well, for a while I thought I’d pretty much dug to the bottom of a lot of my shadow aspects, I did therapy after that for a while to kind of have some guidance in adjusting to my new sense of self and understanding of the world, and I didn’t do a ton of shadow work after that for a while because I sort of thought I was done. But more recently I’ve realized that shadow work is really part of our evolutionary journey, our spiritual growth journey, and we never really stop doing it or stop needing to do it.
So I’m currently in another pretty hard core bout of shadow work where I’m digging even deeper but doing it in another fairly concentrated but more well-managed way. And that means that I’m dealing with big shifts and big changes that have happened in my past. Some of which are traumas, sure. Not all of them, but a fair amount. That’s what tends to come up first in shadow work. We’re dealing with memories and the emotions around them, the thoughts that stem from them, which means that we’re not just looking back at what happened, what changed or shifted in an objective sense, we’re doing it through a very thick lens. We’re really looking at not what happened but how we dealt with it at the time.
Which is why this whole question of how we let ourselves anticipate what’s coming, what judgment we place on it before the fact and how that impacts how we make choices and what attitude we take into those situations, why it’s important to adjust our way of thinking going forward because when we’re dealing with what has already happened in our past we’re really having to take a second pass at those things.
And I want to be really clear here that I’m not saying our trauma is our fault or that we handled it wrong, but I do think that when we are more self aware, more mindful, more spiritually mature, we’re less likely to come out of a big transition or significant event in our lives, even if it’s damaging, with the kind of long term trauma we end up dealing with from our deeper past because a) the work we’ve done to get to a more self aware and spiritual mature state leaves us better equipped to process those things and b) we’re less likely to exacerbate the emotional and spiritual impact of what happens around us by placing arbitrary value judgments based on what we assumed should or would happen.
And this directly impacts our magical practices and spiritual practices. There’s a huge difference between the kinds of spellwork we do, the kinds of intentions we set, when we look at the things that have happened and focus on either fixing the aftermath, trying to undo what happened or the impact of it, or on ensuring we avoid a similar thing in the future, and the kind of magic and intentionality that comes up when we approach things as opportunities to work on ourselves and push our own growth forward.
Part of shadow work is using the lessons we learn about ourselves to shape how we develop so we don’t keep running into the same roadblocks over and over again. And that means it’s more important to focus on building our own spiritual abilities, strengthening ourselves, sharpening our intuition, working on our resilience, learning to work through and tap into our emotions rather than stifle them, all of that stuff – which is absolutely something you can do spells for – it’s more important to focus on that kind of working rather than try to fix the situation, change the outcomes, prevent change coming, doing workings to manipulate the external.
That’s what’s important in shadow work. It’s the process of digging out the judgments and assumptions that were in play during past shifts and changes and adjusting how we engage with those memories both as memories and as lingering patterns. Which brings me to the stuff about current changes, which I’ll dig into in a moment.
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So what about the stuff that’s shifting and changing around us right now?
Obviously this is a kind of timely thing to talk about since we’re in the midst of a pandemic still, there’s all kinds of social and cultural things shifting and changing around us. I’m not going to turn this into a pandemic fight, but there’s no ignoring the relevance to the topic.
Now, I talk a lot about how evolution is driven by adaptation to change so that we can thrive, and when I talk about thriving, I’m talking about resilience. To thrive is to achieve a state of being where… It’s not about making life easy by removing the challenges and frustrations and obstacles, it’s about making life easy by increasing your ability to deal with the challenges and frustrations and obstacles.
So it probably ought to be more obvious to us as we go through life, but I know this is something I didn’t figure out until well into adulthood, but when our worldview, the way we deal with fear, the way we look at what may or may not be happening in the future, the lessons we take away from our past experiences – if we stay in a pattern of judging change as good or bad, in resisting and trying to undo or slow down changes, in trying to manipulate whether the changes that come our way externally are the ones we want or not, getting caught up in who is making the right choices and wrong choices around us, trying to be agents of change in ways that are focused on avoiding discomfort, we’re actually increasing the difficulty of our lives. Doing all of that is not a way to deal with… that’s literally the opposite of dealing with change.
And before I get angry comments, I don’t mean that anyone should just roll over, go with the flow, follow the crowd in order to make life easy. That’s… no.
But there’s a huge difference between the way we’ve been conditioned to react to the dynamics of reality and the fundamental core beliefs that make up our values. And one of the biggest most significant differences between our unexamined attitudes towards change and our core values is that our values aren’t about feelings. What I mean by that is, you know, let’s say I… Let’s go back to one of the biggest shifts in my life.
A few years ago there was a sudden change in the dynamic between myself and my boss in my old job. I literally in the course of a few days went from feeling like I was supported in my role, that I had a great relationship with leadership, that I was appreciated and trusted to make good management decisions, to having my job threatened and realizing that my perception of my manager had been wrong and that my performance in my job wasn’t being judged on objective metrics. Now, there was the emotional reaction, the feelings of anxiety, the anger over feeling betrayed, fear of losing my income, a sense of righteous indignation, all of that. It’s, like… That’s where we start from just instinctually, right? Fix what’s making us feel bad. Make things easier for ourselves by removing what’s making us uncomfortable, whatever looks like the thing that is causing us to have a hard time or to feel like we’re not in control or that something bad is happening to us.
And this is… I feel pretty confident in saying that that’s how most of us start in our spiritual and magical practices because that’s pretty much where we start in, like, how to deal with life. Find the source of discomfort, solve it, make it stop. But that isn’t making things easier because it’s not increasing our resilience. It’s preventing us from adapting and it actually makes things harder on us, and not just in the future.
That’s not a call to just, like, choose to suffer. But our struggles aren’t caused by us feeling bad. Fixing the fact that we feel bad doesn’t end the struggle. And this isn’t just another call to do shadow work, per se, it’s more about looking out beyond feelings and to not approach our magical and spiritual practices only from the angle of learning to battle the things that make us feel bad.
This is why people warn about the kind of things that will return to you if you’re not careful about what kinds of workings you do – it’s not because there are cosmic gatekeepers or mechanisms waiting to punish us for making the wrong choices, but it’s because if we act primarily in reaction to feelings, we’re not seeing the bigger picture and we’re far more likely to be ignoring obvious cause and effect dynamics because we’re too focused on our own tiny personal world.
So all of this to say that when it comes to dealing with the big shifts going on around us in the world, it’s really important to take a step back and look at where your focus is in your practice. Look at who the villains are and how you’re directing your energies and intentions. Especially if you feel like you’re really struggling with the changes and shifts going on. If you feel like everything is changing for the worse. Participating in the dynamics of change rather than just reacting to it is key because it puts the focus on actually supporting your own resilience, working towards goals that make it so that when change happens, when things are shifting around you, because they always will, that you’re better able to find your way through without being torn down.
So I challenge you to look at your practice, the ways you use your practice when these shifts are in progress and everything is in flux and you feel challenged, and find the ways you use your practice to try and manipulate reality rather than focusing on, you know, your spiritual state of being. That’s where the next level of your spiritual development and your practice is going to begin.
Thank you so much for listening. New episodes of the Waxing Soul drop every Thursday. All materials and resources except the music are copyright Bridget Owens. Many thanks to my readers, listeners, friends, mentors, inspirations, and my framily for riding with me into season two. Until next week, blessed be and be good to yourself.