Spiritual Abuse

Kate was in the kitchen yesterday when sudden movement caught her attention.  A bird landed on the table in front of the window and then quickly took off again.  Kate got enough of a look at it to recognize it as a Rufous-sided Towhee.  We always consider that creatures of Nature show themselves to us for a reason and knew that there was some message it wanted to convey to us.  There was nothing in Ted Andrews’ “Animal Speak” books about Towhee, so we looked on the web.

We couldn’t find anything directly about the spiritual meaning of Towhee on Google, but one person talked about its behavior.  Towhees are ground feeders who jump backwards to scratch the ground and uncover insects to eat.  “So,” we thought, “Towhees uncover things…”  The next thing we looked at was a blog that came up on Google, but a “word find” showed the word Towhee didn’t appear anywhere on the page.  Puzzled, we looked over the latest entry on the blog, where the writer was talking about being questioned about her focus on what she called “spiritual abuse”, a term we had never seen before.  She wrote that she’d rather not waste words defining it, because Wikipedia had already done a better job than she could.

Intrigued, we looked at the entries on the web.  So there was the message of the Towhee, uncovered for us to see.  As we looked at the definition of spiritual abuse, we recognized that it is not only practiced by leaders of fundamentalist religions.  Many New Age gurus, non-religious “spiritual people”, followers of Nature-based religions, religious lay people, and others were also slinging forms of this abuse.  We had just experienced it ourselves through criticism of how we, as non-Indians, engage in Native American customs as part of our chosen spiritual path and teach them to others.  It was also a reminder to us to be vigilant on our path and in our own tolerance of the spirituality of others.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_abuse

About Brad Silberberg

Brad Silberberg, director of The Mesa Creative Arts Center in Burgettstown, PA (Pittsburgh area) is an artist, holistic healer, spiritual leader, and change agent.
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One Response to Spiritual Abuse

  1. Joni says:

    Thank you for publishing this! I’ve had two dramatic towhee incidents yesterday, and a third encounter this morning. Your article and definition(s) helped me to see what the messages mean, and it all makes sense. I really appreciate the insights!