releasing the woo
Over the past few months, I've taken a few steps back, observing + evaluating many things. One of these evaluations has been everything spiritual - from recent feelings, the people I know, articles + the community I have been + am part of. Through this process, It's felt like a roller coaster of shadow work, light work, affirmation + sometimes complete irritation.
There's a phrase picking up circulation that I used to be okay with, in fact, I've used it from time to time (even though I felt valley girl dumb) + I was even going to be part of an amazing retreat that had this word in its name. That word is Woo Woo.
"Woo Woo" is a label used to coin someone or something as spiritual + conscious, but not religious (usually involving yoga, manifestation practices, meditation, mindfulness, you get the picture). Something like, "Hey! I'm feeling Woo Woo, let's do yoga at the rooftop brewery then have tea + read tarot!"
First, I just don't like this word, but in hindsight, no woman should like this word, it's strikingly hyper-feminine jumble of whimsy alliteration, mimics the same fluffy, girly names our mothers (+ their mothers before them) conditioned us to call our vaginas, labia(s) + breasts. This word feels like it softens, depreciates, downgrades + belittles our journey, our practices, choices or experiences (whatever your experience may be).
There can be fun in spirituality, lots of fun, but please let's not give it a funny name, or at least not something that resembles puffy pink bedazzled sorority trinket. After all, we're still swimming in a misogynist world where we say "I'm sorry" too much, are still referred to as "girls", feel like we have to justify our choices to others, compare our amazing selves with filtered social media projections + think our beautiful bodies need weight loss, surgery or depreciating.
Besides this personal distaste, I mostly hear this novelty word from white, privileged women (I AM white + very tuned in + struggle with my own privilege) to justify an experience or a new + interesting frame of consciousness. This tends to be the same privileged kind who will spend $75 on yoga pants creatively marketed to women to illicit feelings of strength, fierceness + fabulousness (THIS word...). That fierceness, that beauty, that strength? It's inside of every damn woman, it's always been there + we don't need articles of clothing, goddess coursework training or a perfected Instagram account full of advanced yoga poses to justify ourselves or establish our soul value. We are already enough, we're already authentic.
Our society (the same one that thinks you need $75 yoga pants + matching mandala printed $60 tank top) wants us to think otherwise. Once you get this, you get "Woo Woo" doesn't feel authentic, it doesn't sound authentic (in fact, childish) + it's being represented by women who are already amazing enough to say "I am me" + erase it from their vocabulary all together.
Instead, how about this?
"I am me,
I am enough,
I need no labels".
You get women identifying with this instead + we have a damn revolution.
Not slapping on label (woo woo, yogi, guru, intuitive, empath, goddess, etc) + just declaring we are who we are, label-free, is most powerful + often difficult because it still doesn't tell others immediately who we are. THIS is exactly it, we're not jars of canned vegetables on a market shelf, we're storybooks + if we align with the right people, we unravel their story as they do ours. Our storybooks don't need to be publicized at all times.
Embarking on becoming conscious + mindful feels damn exciting + exhilarating, especially in the beginning. It's like what sex is like early in a relationship, cathartic. However, in this blissed-out stage, ignorance is an easy trap to fall into. Branding yourself is one of the easiest traps. I've fallen into these traps, I felt like I had to look a certain way for yoga class, + in that class, I felt like I needed to push myself to be like everyone else. When I first came out, I labeled myself as a femme lesbian (the LGBTQ community is quite label loving). I've used elements from another culture (which I knew nothing about, nor respected) for my own desires. I look back now + could cringe, but I'm now hanging out on the flipside + now try to think things through more consciously for the next time. Of course, I'll make mistakes.
"Woo Woo" ranks in the same realm of cultural appropriation (bindi tattoos, colonizing native practices, headdresses at Cochella, glamifying yoga or using the word "tribe" to reference your group of friends) or companies + organization like Spiritual Gangster, Sisterhood of the Goddess Divine Mastery Program (okay, I bullshitted this name, but Google for yourself, these exist) + Lululemon that cater to pure exclusivity + capitalize on this new age movement in the most inauthentic, inaccessible + material methods.
Straying from my personal feelings, I dug deeper on the history of how "Woo Woo" came to be + discovered it was pretty much... well... full of woo. From RationalWiki:
Woo is a term for pseudoscientific explanations that share certain common characteristics, often being too good to be true (aside from being unscientific). The term is common among skeptical writers. Woo is understood specifically as dressing itself in the trappings of science (but not the substance) while involving unscientific concepts, such as anecdotal evidence and sciencey-sounding words.
The term comes from "woo-woo", an epithet used in the 1990s by science and skeptical writers to ridicule people who believe or promote such things. This is in turn believed to have come from the onomatopoeia "woooooo!" as a reaction to dimmed lights or magic tricks. The term implies a lack of either intelligence or sincerity on the part of the person or concepts so described.
My desire in bringing this to light is not for people to be offended. It's to make us think. Think more about the words we use, how we show up, how we really feel about something or someone, what we post + how we communicate. There are times I wish something like this to come across my path earlier on.
Here's the kicker...
I have crystals (I love them)
I charge my water under the Full Moon (I even capitalize Full Moon)
I co-create spiritually grounded, magical retreats for women (where we've never heard or used "woo woo")
I try to be mindful
I use plant medicine to connect myself with Spirit
I sometimes practice yoga
I make yearly vision boards
and... I also have a $72 pair of yoga pants that I cling to with disdain (this purchase occurred during my own awakening)
On the other side, I eat meat, I think homeopathy isn't always the ultimate solution, I drink beer, I dislike meditation, I don't buy all organic, I sometimes argue with my partner + I have problems with expectations + control (among other things). I am human, I'm not "Woo Woo", I don't belong to a tribe, I'll never call myself an alchemist or yogi + I never want to be a spiritual gangster. I'm just me, + that is quite enough.
Each one of these things make up who I am, there is NO label needed. Your current frame of mind doesn't need a name designation, we're constantly changing after all! Our wonderful journey, experiences or paths don't need a label. Sometimes, we need to relish in the beauty + non-conformity of, "I am here, this is me".
If this topic interests you, here are some resources that might get your own wheels spinning (as my best friend + soul sister Britt says, "there's Dogma in everything" + she's absolutely true, so take in what feels right):
Among "woo woo" there are other words + phrases I have had trouble ridding from my vocabulary, including my "I'm sorry's". Accidentally bump into someone? I say I'm sorry. Missed a phone call from someone? I say I'm sorry. Don't like the way someone makes me feel, I start our with "I'm sorry, but...".
In fact, I wrote I'm sorry or I don't want to offend many times during this article. Sheesh.