What makes someone or something “woo-woo?” OK, this may not be the question that keeps you up at night. But what would you say is the difference between “woo-woo” and “not-woo-woo?”
If you define “woo-woo” as an idea, belief or believer with no rational base (like, say, most of the recent presidential debates), then is “not-woo-woo” based on rationality? Like quadratic equations, logical behavior and Baruch Spinoza?
California used to be Woo-Woo Capital. Someone once theorized that everything that comes out of California can be traced back to hot tubs and ganja. To which we must admit, there are worse ancestors. Asheville, North Carolina went through a woo-woo phase a few years ago, but lately has found itself grounded more in buskers, tourist money, hotels and drum circles. Hmmmmm. Still sounds woo-woo.
A woman friend of mine likes to visit a psychic every now and then. She’s not a woo-woo. She’s a business woman. A successfully rational business woman. She says the reason she goes to this psychic is not so she can find out what’s coming in her future or what spirits are trying to tell her or even when Mercury will be in retrograde. (Is Mercury ever not in retrograde?)
This wise woman says she goes to a psychic because it reminds her that there is more than one way to look at life. That’s it. That’s her only reason. However she reflects on her life with its joys, sorrows, mortgages, leaky roof, fabulous friends, estranged lovers, teen-aged children, VISA bills, aging parents, hot dates, extra ten pounds, FaceBook laughs, doctor’s appointments, sleep problems, aging issues and whatever else, she constantly wonders if there’s another way to see it all.
With all of these concerns free-wheeling through her brain, she says that a trip to the psychic sends it all out to the stars for awhile and allows her mind to rest with another point of view. She says, “An hour with my psychic
gives me perspective.”
Even as I write this piece, I have a statue of Pan standing just outside my window. Looking, quite literally, over my shoulder. Awhile back, we had a 250 year-old red oak tree in our yard which had root rot and needed to come down. So, we cut it down to 20 feet and invited master wood-carver, Jack Bailey, to create a life-sized Pan out of it. Pan, the Greek demi-god, half-human/half-goat – that pointy-eared, cloven hoofed, shaggy-legged, horned and horny god of the woodlands sits even now with his pipes about 30 feet from where I work, play, eat and sleep.
And every now and then, I get up, go to the window and look at the old boy and wonder what he’s thinking. Sitting there butt naked with his pipes and unshorn legs, he stares back at me. And I know he’s just a tree. And I know someone thousands of years ago dreamed him up as a way to make sense of things. But, looking at him, I sometimes feel like he’s looking at me and saying, “Yo, preacher man! What you doin’ with your life, boy? Get out of that room and come dance with me in the moonlight.”
Why do people go to church, synagogue, temple or mosque? Why do people spend money on therapists? Or read the Bible? Or go to concerts and art shows? Or hook-up or have relationships? Or pray or go to yoga? Not really sure. But, maybe, just maybe it’s a way of getting perspective. Seeing a bigger picture. Rising above, slipping beneath, or stepping aside of your life just to see it differently.
This brief life we are granted is far too rich, too fertile, too vast to peg it down with jobs and bills and worries. There is such a wide and varied landscape – and so many ways to see the panorama. And when it comes down to it, who cares whether it’s woo-woo or not?