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Let’s Create a New Definition of “Woo-Woo”!

Updated: Apr 24

Do you laughingly calling yourself “woo-woo”? I mean, if that is what people who are not like you and me and do not do and believe what we do might call us this in a sort-of, yet really sometimes insidious way to mean that we are kinda crazy.

This morning, I asked myself, “What is woo-woo, anyway?” I wondered if it is a word that actually has a dictionary definition.

Well, guess what?! I looked it up online and, to my surprise, found this: “relating to or holding unconventional beliefs regarded as having little or no scientific basis, especially those relating to spirituality, mysticism, or alternative medicine.” Wow.

At least is says, “regarded as,” rather than “not having.” Maybe the needle has shifted some.

Let’s break this down.

“Holding unconventional beliefs”: What does unconventional mean? I would say it means that you and your way of life don’t fit into what is considered the “norm” or “normal.”

I have always been “unconventional” in my life. In fact, my family was, in their own way, not conventional. This meant that we had beliefs and ways of being and seeing things that we perceived to be certainly outside what the outer world would consider normal. I mean, my mother was an astrologer! We all learned Transcendental meditation when I was a teenager. That was in the early 70s (and no, my parents were not of the flower-power generation)!

Societies, communities, and groups have rules and norms about the way you “should” be. Some are more rigid than others. Some overtly use fear, manipulation, threats of and even outright violence to get you to conform. Some are more subtle. They are like a smog you breathe, without knowing it, like racism, for instance.

What if what is labeled as “unconventional” in such contexts is just being, well, a normal human being? I mean what is not normal in shamanism about knowing everything is conscious, awake, and aware? What is not normal about talking to animals or trees or mountains? Or harnessing the transformational energy of fire? What is not normal about knowing that everything is energy and that, as such, it can be felt and even moved with sound (rattling, drumming, singing), scent (incense, essential oils), or loving touch (energy healing)?

This gets to the statement “has little or no scientific basis.” What is science, anyway? In the West, it’s like we feel we have a corner on the word and that any other way of perceiving and testing reality is NOT “science.”

Is it not scientific for Tibetan Buddhist monks to meditate for hours every day and meticulously record their experiences for comparison over several centuries? And to thus have an incredibly detailed and remarkable written record of human consciousness and what happens when people do such practices? Is it not scientific for a hunter or fisherman to study the movements and habits of the animals and to develop very specific ways of capturing and killing them so they can feed their family? Is it not scientific for me to work with 2000+ clients over 15 years and notice a predictable pathway of the removal of heavy energies connected to heavy thoughts and feelings and the palpable shift into lightness and openness afterwards?

Don’t get me wrong, I love many aspects of the western scientific method and its outcomes. I mean, I am trained academically as a social scientist. I think western science has done a heck of a lot of good in the world and still does (even though I know it has been and still is used in some cases to do harm). I mean, I am thankful that scientists have been working their butts off to understand and find a vaccine for COVID (no, I do not believe that some powerful people are putting little robots in it to control our minds and bodies and track our movements—hello—anyone can do that now by just tracking your cell phone and computer).

So why are things “relat[ed] to spirituality, mysticism, or alternative medicine” perjoratively labeled “woo-woo.” Or wrong, evil, crazy, dangerous, or just wierd? Who creates the rules?

Who is funding western scientific research? What are their goals and biases? Who gets to decide what is a valid subject to study? How are they making their choices?

Maybe, like the powers-that-were in medieval Europe who thought the sun revolved around the Earth were the abnormal ones and Copernicus was the normal one simply because he was willing to be open to possibility and to explore his questions in a focused way? Maybe the people in our world now who are closed to considering something outside of the accepted box are really the unconventional ones and those of us who walk an earth-inspired, heart-grounded, soul-awakening, and spirit-shaking pathway in life and those of us who are healing practitioners in alternative medicine are actually the normal ones?

I think I’ll coopt the word “woo-woo” and make it mean: “relating to or holding beliefs and practices common across human cultures through millennia based on observable and measurable subtle and overt phenomena, experiences and perceptions, physical, spiritual, transcendental, and energetic.”

I am PROUD to be WOO-WOO!

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