First, for anyone who has not heard this term, this is the definition I’ll be addressing in this post…
- Spiritual appropriation (basic definition):
It is the act of adopting for worship spiritual deities and practices from a culture of which you do not share a blood line. The act of adopting a spiritual path and practices that are not connected to your family and ancestors.
Right off the top, I’ll say that this topic is not one that I agree with.
I don’t believe that any human being has the omnipotent capacity to know how another human being should, or should not, connect with or interact with a deity, no matter from what culture of man it originated… How do you know a deity didn’t reach out to a particular human being instead of a human being reaching out to a particular deity?
I don’t believe it’s possible to contain and pigeon hole another person’s deeply held spiritual beliefs, or their desire and choice to view the spiritual world from their chosen perspective. Spiritual appropriation is a man-made constriction. Spirituality rises above humanity and it’s borders.
An example of the ludicracy of spiritual appropriation: If this narrow marginalized view of spirituality were held true across the board for ALL spiritual paths, only Italians could rightfully practice Roman Catholicism.
For Americans, the idea of spiritual appropriation has a special colossal conundrum, one I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere, so we’ll mention it here.
As an American, I have no single connection to any one culture or ethnicity. As an American, my bloodline and ancestors are a mystery filled with a multitude of cultural and ethnic connections — some known, but others not known. For many of us, we’d have to take a DNA test to know exactly who are ancestors are, what story our bloodline has to tell.
With every set of grandparents, on both sides of my family, as far back as I can go, there will be new connections, new ethnic revelations, another link in the evolution of mankind and my heritage.
Personally, where do I begin?… German, French, English, Irish, Chippewa, Lakota Sioux. This is only three generations. I can’t begin to imagine the intriguing possibilities. What else am I? To what races, ethnicities, cultures do I share a bond? What spiritual path am I to identify with? What gods and goddesses walk with me? What spiritual practices am I being called to embrace?
I’m an American. I am a beautiful tapestry of human evolution and cultural integration.
Let my spirituality exemplify and honor this truth.
Spirit knows me.
Wonderfully written and well said. I wholeheartedly agree with this analysis of Spiritual Appropriation.