A few years ago I was sitting in a hot spring deep in the Rocky Mountains soaking in all that nature has to offer. This is a favorite spot of mine, one that I try to go to at least once a year. There is just something about the water there, a feeling that brings on sudden bouts of inspiration that have always astounded me. It was in this particular pool of water that I came across an idea or concept that intend to share with you here and in an upcoming book I’ve been working on.
The concept is called Integrative Spirituality.
What is integrative spirituality?
Integrative spirituality is a method of creative spiritual exploration that leads the aspirant to understand their unique portals to spiritual or mystical experiences. The idea is that if we can reconcile the disparate parts or aspects of our spiritual composition, we shift from a mode of seeking truth to a mode of living in truth.
Ultimately the goal of any spiritual aspiration is to lead us to higher and higher truths not only about the universe but also our place and role within it. The problem we face in many cases is that there is so much to explore that we often end up spinning our wheels. Is the answer in this book, in this tradition, in this framework? Or is it over here in this one, or that one! My own bookshelves are loaded with seemingly contradictory ideas and concepts ranging from mystical Christianity to shamanism to Reiki and Yoga, to Witchcraft and Angelic Magick, and that is only a fraction of what is available to us in this modern age.
Compounding the issue of the breadth of information is that when you go deeper and deeper into a particular spiritual map, you start to find that not everything within it fits YOU. You may enjoy the pageantry and ritual of the Western magickal tradition, but something about the underpinning ideology irks you. Perhaps you enjoy the physical benefits of Yoga, but the cultural context eludes you. The reason for this discrepancy is because every tradition you can follow can only take you so far. Meaning that eventually, you need to break free and begin to live and create in your own unique way.
The question is, how can you do this?!
Theory of the Integration of Three
As I said before this inspiration hit me like a bolt of lightning, it happened so quickly that to this day I am certain that the idea is not my own. I suddenly began thinking about the way in which deep drums moved me, specifically the drumming of Nordic, neopagan music like Wardruna or even the shamanic drumming of many indigenous cultures. It dawned on me that this was not something that was learned by my own experience; I had been raised mainly within the evangelical and methodist protestant Christian models of spirituality. Have you ever heard a heavy drum and foreign chanting in a protestant Sunday Sermon?
What I began to realize is that this calling, this feeling was something that harkened to me from deep within my blood, my DNA. Naturally, my ancestors were not always Christian; in fact, in my own genealogical exploration, I seem to be related to a Germanic Witch that was burned in the early 1500s and when you talk about my genetic ancestry, it ranges from English/Irish, to Germanic, to Nordic to Slavic, etc. These cultures were vastly different from the one I was raised in, so how could I seemingly tap into a piece of their experience simply through the sound of a heavy rhythmic drum?
The answer is revealed when we begin to understand that we cannot escape our primal, ancestral ties. Despite the efforts of many traditions since, these older modes of experiencing the divine remain very active in our day-to-day lives, whether we know it consciously or not. We are not far removed from the echoes of their experience; in reality, both historically and cosmically, we are indeed still living in their wake and are very susceptible to their influence. This ancestral mode, or the primal mode of spirituality, is the first mode of experience we need to explore if we are going to integrate and then move from seeking into creation.
Tapping into the Primal Mode
The first thing one needs to do is to explore your own ancestry in as much depth as you can. This is a beautiful exploration that can give you incredible insight into where you came from and, in many cases, what you are capable of at a base or primal level. There are indeed so many incredible stories that led up to the incarnation of the spirit that is YOU. This is your ancestral line, a living river of blood and stories that you are now acting out in everything that you do. You are part of an unbroken line of spiritual tradition that dates back hundreds, if not thousands or even millions of years.
This is exciting news!
You aren’t just a human, born of a mother and father, who lives in the U.S.A. and is part of a modern age that seems without a soul. You are the avatar of your familial line and have beautiful things to accomplish. It is imperative that you become familiar with this power and begin to tap into the ancestral memory that you are carrying into the future. With this foundation, you can begin to build your portal to a unique exploration of spirit.
For many of us, this exploration of the ancestral or primal mode will take some work, particularly for cultures that were subverted and undermined by the overwhelming power of the Catholic and Protestant Churches of the last 2,000 years. It is difficult to find a culture that hasn’t been overwhelmed by the church, but some have been more well-preserved than others. Luckily, in our modern age, we are blessed with thousands of resources that can help us tap into revivals of these ancient modes of spiritual exploration.
A very pragmatic way of accessing this information about where you come from is through the Ancestry genome testing that has become widely available. This way, you can look at direct evidence of what is uniquely your ancestral narrative. Once you have this data, you can begin to explore the deeper stories of individual ancestors and family lineages. This can lead to you exploring ancient spiritual traditions that are in your blood.
- If you come from a line of the English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, etc.: You might explore the neo-pagan revivals of Druidry, Wicca, Irish Fairy Lore, Arthurian Myth, etc.
- If you are descended from Nordic or Germanic, You might want to begin to explore the Odinic traditions of Asatru, Seidr, Runes, and Norse Myth.
- If you are of African or Mediterranean descent, You might consider exploring the Yoruba, Egyptian, or Greek traditions.
- If you are of Asiatic descent: You might consider exploring ancient Taoism or Shinto, the path of Yoga, etc.
There are countless paths that pre-date the emergence of the major world traditions that are prevalent in today’s world, too many to list here and if I did, it would take away the magic of your own personal exploration. These are just suggestions and are by no means directives that must be followed. Each of us is a wonderful mix of ancestry that can tie into so many traditions that weave a tapestry of our own unique story and each one of us has the privilege to explore them to their fullest extent.
Ultimately, this path I call, Reclaiming the Ancestors, is only the first part of the Integration of Three and after you have begun to explore this aspect of your spiritual composition you become ready to tackle the second, Healing the Trauma of your Born Tradition. Stay Tuned for the next piece in a few days!