Wise words from an old soul in a young body:
"My life has teetered between religion and spirituality for as long as I can remember. Having been raised strictly Roman Catholic, seeing a psychic is generally regarded as very, very taboo.
Ironically, being ethnically Chinese, my family also believes that being born in the year of the dog had strong effects on my personality, and, possibly, my destiny. Even my father, the more religious of my two parents, would recount proudly that his mother had once seen a psychic who once correctly predicted, when he was born, that he was going to be incredibly successful one day.
When I was fourteen, my mother brought me to see a psychic. I remember being stunned by the intimate details this woman knew about me, with specific details about the people who were in my life just by giving her a name.
Twelve years later, I still make the time for regular annual check-ins with my medium-turned-friend, Morgana Starr. When I entered college, I was introduced to The Secret Language of Birthdays, a database that combined numerology, astrology, and a supposedly empirical study of about 20,000 people. It highlighted key personality traits, life purpose, and even measured the possible success of relationships to other birthdays.
More recently, I discovered the app known as The Pattern, which follows a similar combination of astrology and numerology, but goes into more specific categories and serves additionally as a social media platform where you can compare your shared traits with friends.
In between this, and dabbling with tarot card readers on YouTube who give general readings, I would say I quite enjoy engaging in spiritual practices.
As astrology and psychic practices become more and more mainstream, they have been slammed all over the internet for being “too generalized”, “confirmation bias”, a “waste of time”, “an easy scapegoat for bad behavior” and even “narcissistic”. Oftentimes, we’re also told regularly that we’re being scammed.
While I agree that there are people who may sometimes be trying to take advantage of vulnerable people, if you feel like you’re being given more than just a “future prediction” and are being challenged to ask yourself whether you agree or not with the reading, then you’re learning something valuable about yourself.
You’re not always meant to believe in these practices, or always assume everything you hear or see is entirely accurate, but rather use some of these suggestions as a simple introduction to self-reflection. To adapt these readings, whether regularly or irregularly, and to look at each characteristic and to take note of whether you agree or disagree and why is an incredibly simple task to get you started without having to constantly ask yourself where to begin.
When I was first introduced into the world of spirituality, my psychic would assign homework - personal reflections, lots of developing answers to your “whys” and small practices to challenge you to improve your situation through confronting your suppressed emotions and bringing them to the surface to move forward.
Most of the successful tarot readers on YouTube will also tell you - even in love readings about your “lost love connection” - to focus on your own personal challenges, to see the silver lining in hard times, and to check yourself so you’re not spending your whole life obsessing over other people.
Key concepts like “patience”, “timing”, “love yourself first” are repeated over and over again, with good reason. Unless we use these tools as a way to simply justify our negative traits without recognizing them as key issues to spend more time working on than others, spirituality won’t lead you to the path of narcissism. If anything, you’re being confronted to take a critical look at yourself and take the first step towards self-love.
So how can spiritual practices be used for the purpose of self reflection, and what’s the point of self reflection?
To self reflect means to know yourself, and to know yourself means you know your limits, set your boundaries, interact well with people, and most importantly, to have and develop healthier relationships with the people around you.
I come from a place where I don’t believe people are meant to be stagnant minded. All criticism is good criticism. Even when you feel like you’re at your best, there is always room for improvement.
A fantastic piece of advice on how to digest all forms of criticism comes from one of my favorite authors, Thich Nhat Hanh, who introduced an important meditation to remember: “you are partly right”. He says, with every criticism or compliment, to acknowledge a part truth is to acknowledge that each and every one of us possesses both good and bad traits, but to keep in mind not to be too overconfident in ourselves just as to not be too hard on ourselves.
Whether we look at cards or horoscopes to receive criticism of our character, to recognize and agree that we can improve ourselves and how to proceed from there is an easy first step to growing. By applying an open-minded attitude with the sole intention of beginning - or continuing - your journey of self reflection, using tools like tarot cards and astrology to identify current or past cycles in your life can be beneficial, even if you don’t believe in the mystical aspect of them.
Of course, should we somehow discover that we’ve had sincere concerns in our life, it is important to go beyond spiritual practices and seek help. There’s a reason why any spirituality practices in mainstream media will always use terms like “for fun” or “for entertainment”.
As a self-described mental health advocate, it is extremely important that when we identify challenges in our lives - with or without the help of a natal chart - that we seek professional help.
Claims from spiritual leaders to "self heal” serious mental health challenges such as depression may provide you with good advice on coping mechanisms, but mental health is something that cannot be taken lightly in the slightest, and any good spiritual teacher or coach will refer you to seeking medical help.
Despite younger generations being criticized by older ones for obsessing over self-care and social injustices, it is evident that our youth have been provided more tools for the use of personal growth. Therefore, they are actually more capable of self-reflection, with increasing pursuits of improving interconnectedness and responsibility for not just ourselves but others.
Our gift of the Internet and the spread of constant information, while daunting and sometimes can lead to misguided views (whatever they may be), it is always important to turn back into ourselves and to see what can be done to improve ourselves to see the world in a new light.
When spirituality is about confronting our insecurities and weaknesses with the intent of improving our ability to be better, more active participants in our world, then there is no harm in using these tools to start somewhere - even if you believe in the metaphysical or not." ~Victoria
Victoria is a Hong Kong Canadian who has grown up and studied in 6 countries across 4 continents. Having pursued undergraduate studies in philosophy and religion, and later studied political science in graduate school, she has always been intrigued by the metaphysical world and importance of unconditional love beginning with the self. She met Morgana Starr at the age of 14, who has helped her through many challenging times in her life. Now, her goal is to find ways to reach those who believe in social sustainability through a balance of education and belief systems based on understanding and kindness.