Spiritual One-night Stand
When I was a child and a young teen, I loved revivals. So much energy, good food, and songs long into the night. Even when I turned away from Christianity, I enjoyed going to these events for the energy I got from it. However, I still hated going to Sunday church services or Wednesday youth group meetings. They were lame! Sitting around, listening to only one person drone on for an hour. The revivals were turned up to eleven, and the rest of the time, it was a two at best. Pagans can experience this as well – it is not only something seen in Christianity. Some may go to a Pagan Pride Day, a workshop, or a public group event where they are filled with such high-flowing energy, but then fall flat when they go home or start attending a local group. Sometimes people do not stick around longer than a month due to the low-energy felt afterwards.
What on earth is going on?
It is what I sometimes refer to a spiritual one-night stand. It’s a wonderful, one-time experience that seems to never be reached again. Some drug users experience this – always chasing their first high. That’s basically what is happening in the brain. Dopamine floods the system during the event, but at other meetings, the levels are not as high. This causes the person to not be as excited as they previously were once they attend another event that is not as exhilarating. After the high, all inspiration and motivation are lost, causing zero commitment unless the experience is promised to be as great as the first.
The Teutonic peoples believed in hamingja. This can be perceived as “happiness” of a person, and was also considered as part of the soul complex (It has been referred to as “luck,” but that is not entirely accurate). There is much more information about it, but in an essence, it was believed that the hamingja could be affected by outward forces. It would rise and fall, depending on health, the people they are around, and other external concepts around the individual. This supports the modern idea of “psychic vampires” who leech joy and energy from those around them (but not always intentional). The opposite idea is true as well – that someone can give their energy to another to help uplift them, without becoming saddened themselves. This is what is experienced in a revival – everyone’s energy is becoming equal. Some go up, some go down, but all leave with equal levels. Afterwards, an individual’s hamingja will go back to how they were previously, unless they keep up with spiritual work (ritual, spells, meditation, etc.) on their own. Unless the dopamine surge was able to spark inspiration within the person that turns into a commitment, the feeling fades and the person becomes a spiritual junkie. Someone who just wants the high of ritual without the work.
How do we avoid this?
More than likely, those reading this are not the types who only go to a large event once and give up on personal work. I may be wrong. There may be some that are always trying to keep that high, but do not know what to do on their own, and happen to stumble on this blog. There may be someone you know who is a spiritual junkie, or someone who only keeps with spiritual one-night stands.
If it is a friend or an acquaintance, depending on who they are, distance is needed. Some are unable to be helped, and will continue to only want to attend large events to ride the high. They also may only go to one event, then become that person who always wants to go again, but never does. These types may come around, but from experience – usually do not. Some simply do not know what to do and where to go after this large energy crescendo. However, talking to them to encourage them to do research and learn more about their path may help them become more active and keep up with regular rituals, even with smaller groups.
One must learn to become a fanatic during ritual. In everyday life, I am an atheist. However, when I am in the midst of ritual, I am a zealot! Train the body and mind to come together during ritual, and understand that the fervor that is experienced in a large group setting was sitting in the soul the entire time. You must learn to unlock it at will. Inspiration fades without support and commitment. Decide to becoming steadfast and practice every day. Meditate every day. Start small and set reminders. Do a few minutes once a day, then twice a day, then more than just a few minutes. The next step is to set up time for larger personal rituals that coincide with the moon phases and seasonal changes. Being able to perform personal ritual with great power will allow you to work with others without feeling a decline in energy. Allow yourself to be energetic. Sing, scream, jump, twirl - allow the ecstasy of personal ritual to rise inside of you.
Once a seed bursts open, its growth may be slow, and the seedling small. Remember - with time, even a tiny acorn may become a giant oak.