How to Decolonize Your Spiritual Journey as a Latina
When we think of spirituality we can naturally place it into a category with religion. However, there's a huge difference between a spiritual practice and a religious practice. A spiritual practice can be part of a component embedded into a religious practice, but they're certainly not the same.
As Latinas/es, colonized religion has been a huge part of our diverse cultures. Whether it's Christianity, Catholicism or Judaism, religion has always been gaslighted into our spiritual understanding as the all seeing, all knowing and the authoritative voice of accountability and power. You're here because you're either questioning leaving religion entirely behind, questioning why you might feel so called towards unconventional spirituality such as brujería, or trying to figure out how you can integrate your sacred spiritual practice with your current religious beliefs. Maybe you've already shed the burden of colonial religion and are ready to further decolonize your spirituality, welcome!
It could feel confusing, daunting and as one tries to work through guilt and shame of stepping away from your religious upbringing. However, this is a natural progression into your personal decolonial healing journey. Questioning everything that has ever been indoctrinated onto you or within you mentally, physically and spiritually is a painfully liberating process. Congrats, amigx.
As a Latina/e, our cultures and spiritual expressions are not a monolith. However, here are simple ways you can start integrating decolonizing methods into your spirituality as you step into becoming The Modern Spiritual Latina™.
How to Get Started
This is probably the most unclear aspect of the journey, but certainly the most confirming and rewarding.
Begin by writing out a list of all the ideologies or virtues you were taught about what your spirituality should feel like, look like or sound like that DO NOT seem to align with your current state of consciousness. These can be things you were taught and told to keep you from living your most authentic life that held you back from growth.
You can begin by asking yourself:
Does your spirituality look like sexual liberation for all? Do you believe in equal rights for all and how does your spiritual practice support this core belief? Do you believe that spirituality should encourage others to be authentic and liberated?
Were there certain things you had to do or abide by because of religion that limited or oppressed you?
Start eliminating religious terminology such as "amen," "God/He," and biblical references from your spiritual embodiment.
Then ask yourself how your spiritual practice will help heal these wounds and triggers? What can you do in a practical sense thru your spiritual practice to begin releasing those oppressive formats? Example: My spirituality allows me to reclaim my power, or, My spirituality allows me to question anything that induces harm onto others by pledging spiritual ally ship with marginalized communities. Your decolonial spiritual practice can benefit by centering addressing and releasing toxic patriarchal norms that have held you back or held other BIPOC communities you care about.
How to Navigate Family Values + Family Politics
When you begin doing this work, not everyone will become a fan. Finding support in family can be hard or limited when you begin to question the way your culture or family raised. It is common for these decolonial conversations to be perceived as you being the bad person, because how could you ever take for granted all that your family did to you? Of course, many families did the best they could with what little knowledge and resources they had. Don't expect a welcoming parade from family when you begin to share all the ways you are healing decolonial harm as this can trigger certain family into realizing how they might have unknowingly or knowing perpetuated these harmful formats.
Share your spirituality and decolonial healing with only those family and friends who can create a safe space for you. If they are constantly meeting you with resistance or putting your practice and healing down, that should be considered a red flag.
By not projecting your own spiritual practice and decolonial healing ethics onto others, you can navigate family politics with more ease. This doesn't mean refrain from sharing your truth or by calling others in when there's opportunity to address such moments. Sometimes we have to understand that not everyone will actually understand, and that's okay. This is where setting healthy boundaries for yourself is key.
Some relationships with family or friends might have to end if they're no longer providing fostering reciprocity. You will outgrow people during your journey. Consider if some relationship dynamics are healthy enough to continue investing in.
How to Find Your Decolonial Spiritual Practice
Your spiritual practice will look vastly different from mine and from others. This is a fact and it should be embraced. Let's normalize not following set rules or limiting structures in spirituality. Because doing so is an old school colonial thought format.
Explore and follow your curiosity. You can find your decolonial spiritual practice through non-traditional healing work such as working with brujx, cuaranderx and spiritual practitioners. Your practice should feel true to you and try refraining from mimicking others practice especially if it feels forced or inauthentic.
In truth, this will unfold naturally through your healing work. All the beautiful ways you explore releasing guilt and shame. The more you work through your trauma, the more you'll recover lost parts of yourself and begin to develop what feels right for you as a means of using your spiritual practice to stay empowered.
Be open to taking advice and tips from mentors and teachers, however, trust your intuition in this process of development.
May you manifest wisely,