I recently took an online quiz regarding supernatural beliefs. In trying to be all inclusive and cover the popular bases, it was clear that the writers of the quiz had little idea of what “supernatural” beliefs actually are. But it made me realize that this is exactly the kind of perception a lot of people have about the spiritualist community and the beliefs therein. So, I wanted to address some of the bigger misconceptions that stood out to me in this quiz.
If you believe in one “woo woo” idea such as reincarnation, you also believe in all other ideas such as astrology or the existence of mythical creatures.
This is obviously not true. It is easy to assume that because a person has one seemingly wacky belief, they must hold all similarly wacky beliefs to be true. After all, if they can get themselves to believe in something as crazy as psychic powers, surely they believe in alien conspiracies as well?
The truth is, like everyone else, most spiritualists tend to trust what they have experienced personally and come to understand through their own reason. It is common to meet people who are open to reincarnation but think the existence of fairies is bunk, or people who believe in casting spells but not in out of body experiences. All people understand our reality differently and form a slightly different picture. Spiritualists are no exception.
Only special people are gifted with psychic perception or are able to have spiritual experiences.
This one is huge. It is so important because this one idea is what keeps a lot of people from being open to the idea of a spiritual reality. Spirituality is for everyone, not just some of us. As soon as we accept that everyone has the capability to tap into their spiritual potential, we can drop this idea that mediums and psychics are somehow special and set apart from everyone else. It’s like that one movie: Anyone can cook. Some people just decided to dedicate themselves to developing that particular skill.
All spiritualists are driven by a belief in fate.
This goes back to earlier: not all spiritualists see the world in the same way. Some people are driven and motivated by the idea that everything is pre-written and set before them. Others feel more empowered in a reality where they control their own destiny. “Fate” is something of a buzz word that instantly conjures up the image of the stereotypical new-ager who thinks every little crumb on the table has some important message or meaning. That’s not really how it is, of course, but the belief in fate itself is in no way indicative or required of a spiritualist perspective.
Karma is a tool for punishment.
For people who don’t understand the concept of karma well, this is a common conclusion. It’s that idea that what you do will come back on you (sometimes with interest, depending on the school of thought) and you will be held accountable for all your actions. But being held accountable for one’s actions is not the same thing as punishment, and that is where the misunderstanding begins. If karma is a force of balance, or the way we understand divine balance to play out in our souls’ experience, the need for punishment doesn’t really make sense. It’s a human concept, not a spiritual one.
Of course there are many more troubling misconceptions that some hold about spiritualists’ beliefs, and I will examine them at some point. But overall, it becomes frustrating trying to engage with the world and have people see you as a rational, reasonable person (albeit with some strange or unexplainable experiences) when these ideas are spread by well meaning individuals who have only vague pop culture knowledge to go on. Hollywood, TV, magazines, and the like have been notoriously and hilariously wrong about what it means to be spiritual and have spiritual beliefs, so it’s a shame to see those exaggerated and incorrect ideas be the guide for general people to understand our perspective.