Tuesday, 28 February 2012

D IS FOR DOUBTS

I'm a bit behind with my Pagan Blog Project - that's because I've been doing some reading and lots of thinking.

The reading has been many of the other blogs involved in the PBJ and the variety of topics they cover, but this has led me to doubt myself on this pagan path. I was brought up within an Irish Catholic household - not very conservative as some might be, but enough. I carried on thinking the same way until my 30's - and it wasn't until I was living in America and came across a book that I started to think there may be another way. I got hold of all the material I could find and the more I read the more I felt at home with a pagan/earth base way of life. As is often the way when you set out on a new path, I met someone else along the way who could help and guide me. She and her family had been on this path a lot longer than me and she could help with with some of the questions I came across. A real dilemma for me was Christmas and the singing of all those Christmas Carols. As a singer - there was never going to be a time when I wouldn't sing them but I found it hard to reconcile the words with what I believed. My friend told me not to be so anxious - go ahead and sing them and enjoy the tradition they brought.

Now recently I have been reading so many blogs which talk about things I find hard to believe in - I still have this other head on my shoulders which says to me "really? you can't really believe that?" - as an example - I know that the moon is really a rock travelling in the atmosphere and can it really be "drawn down" and do I really believe that by doing so I will have a spiritual encounter? I have a hard time meditating, I cannot switch off - I never "see" things or "feel" anything other than my head spinning round my "to do list" for the day. I'm a Taurean, my feet firmly on the ground, in the ground and I find it difficult to move on from the seeing is believing mantra.

I am more comfortable with some parts of the pagan lifestyle than others, I am a solitary having never met another pagan since my friend in the US and now I'm back in the UK I don't think I would feel comfortable within a coven even if I could find one in my area. Can I call myself a witch? I don't really think so - I live by the creed, I give a nod to the festivals, I have an altar, but as with my Catholicism I am a lapse.

I'm not sure whether joining in with the Pagan Blog Project is going to be good for me or not. I'd love to hear if anyone else ever has doubts.


Magickdiva

11 comments:

  1. I also have doubts sometimes, and like you, I don't agree with everything that is posted in the PBP. My husband and a lot of my friends are atheists, so I get told quite often that practice X only works because [insert scientific explanation here] or that feeling Y is just there because [explain working of neurons in my head]. But the beauty of the Pagan path is that we do not *have* to believe everything that is out there, but instead we can choose which practices make sense for us. So if meditation doesn't work for you, then you might want to try something else, e.g. breathing exercises.

    And nobody but you can decide whether you're a witch or not. If you feel that the label isn't for you or doesn't describe you correctly, then find one that does. But don't let yourself be discouraged because you feel that others might look down on you because you're not "witchy enough." It's your path, and if you feel that witch is a good term for you, by all means use it!

    And as to the songs: I solved the problem for me by finding a site that adapts the common Christmas carols for an AsatrĂº audience; now I can still sing the melodies I love with a content that I'm comfortable with (obviously this won't help you at family gatherings, but when you're alone at home baking Christmas cookies, for example, it might be nice).

    Wishing you all the best in finding your path and lessening your doubt!
    BB, Harzgeist

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  2. One of the most wonderful things about this path we have each embarked on, is that we OWN it. We incorporate those things that resonate with us, and as we learn, experience and grow, our knowledge expands. This means that what we might not be sure we can believe when we start out, 10 years later, we feel as if we have always known, or as if it should be obvious to us. We do not encounter those experiences we are not ready for, and the Goddess knows us well enough to aid us in going outside our comfort zone.

    12 years later, and there are days I have a fleeting doubt. I wonder whether I am competent to teach my children what I believe. I don't struggle with the public school or outside individuals telling my children to be Christian (I homeschool), but I do recognize that if I had remained in the religion I was raised in it would be "easier" to tell them "this is how it is, and it has always been this way, and this is why". I can still tell them "this is what I believe, and this is why", but there is not as much of a supportive framework to work within.

    Overall, I think many of us begin to doubt, at one point or another, whether we are doing this right, or are we doing enough, or is there an another way... etc. The important thing to remember is that we are not sheep following blinding what someone else has said. We are explorers and adventurers; independent thinkers who are finding out for ourselves just what is true and positive for us, and we know that our vision is not going to match everyone else's, and that it will be challenging at times because there is sometimes much opposition. But, it is worth it. Most definitely worth it, when we do come out of a new experience richer in spirit and mind, and more powerful in our convictions.

    So, are you "witch enough"? Only you can answer that, but if you feel like a witch, then as far as I'm concerned, you are a witch.

    Bright Blessings, and I hope you find your inspiration to continue on the path that is right for you.

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  3. The best thing in the pagan world is that you are free to choose. You can pick all the things you like and and give a s**t about the rest that you don't like and it will be just fine. And right. We make our own paths and have our own ways in interpreting things. And that is okay, the important thing is that it feels right inside. I doubt sometimes too, but then I tell myself that it's my version of the belief so it's okay. (I call myself eclectic.)

    There are tons of passive christians (for example) out there that still call themselves christians even if they don't go to church. Then it's okay to be a passive pagan too if that is what suites you. Just because one does not celebrate all the sabbaths doesn't make one less pagan. Or witchy.
    I could feel sometimes too that "maybe I'm not witchy enough in my everyday life". But in this, there are no rules except those you make for yourself, if you want any. Rather do a little with the whole heart than do a lot with no heart.


    Blessed be!

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  4. I think questioning yourself is always a good thing, doubts lead to clarification. This is much preferred to simply going along with things just because that's what you're expected to do. If you're not a "witch" that doesn't make you any less pagan. I too came to the realization that "witch" wasn't right for me and now I feel a lot better not being expected to believe in anything "witchy" and instead finding my own paganism. If your head says you can't go along with ideas that don't make sense to you, then accept this as true and know that in the future you may learn new perspectives on the universe and develop your understanding.

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  5. Well, as one who has more doubts than anyone else I know about this Path it's quite nice to know I am not the only one .... I'm a Gemini on the cusp of Taurus - maybe its a theme who knows :) .... I too struggled with meditation, more because I couldn't believe it wasn't me 'guiding' my mind to see what I wanted to see. I can't wave a wand and make the struggles go away - and I can't weave a spell to say you are a Witch - but you know what brought you to this Path is what will keep you on this Path ........ you and the Goddess will work it out, just have faith :) I'm also in the UK ... love bunni x x x

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  6. Every so often I too find my brain going "Now come on, logically you know that there is a scientific explanation for what you are giving a spiritual one to right?" And yeah there is, but it isn't the science that makes me feel what I feel, its the spiritual connection I am making. Science is just another word for magick :)

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    Replies
    1. Good point, Julie...that is one of the most beautiful things about Magic and our Pagan paths we choose. It CAN be backed up by Science! With further studies and advancements in Science, we may someday comprehend Jung's and Sheldrake's theories of Collective Intelligence and so forth - really being able to GRASP the magic and wonder of it all.

      Knowing there is a Scientific explanation for things like harnessing and wielding energy, colors vibrating on different frequencies, how our "abilities" are heightened when we get both the right and left sides of the brain working in near-harmony, etc, doesn't detract from "the Magic" of it for me at all...in fact, it has the opposite effect - making it MORE valued and magical. :)

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  7. I feel, sometimes, as if there's this imaginary divide in paganism - that you either have to believe everything, or nothing at all. Which really isn't how it works.

    Doubt is healthy. There's no reason to believe everything a total stranger tells you, is there? I believe we should all question everything, and often. Applying critical thinking to your spiritual or magical practice might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but I find it actually works to strengthen what you DO believe. So. Ask questions. If you're catching up on the posts at the PBP (as I clearly am, heh) drop a note if someone's post confuses you.

    As for meditation... ugh, I hate it. Mostly because you cannot escape the reality: sit and breathe for at least twenty minutes. It's dull. But necessary, I find.

    Anyway. Ultimately you decide your own label, no?

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  8. "Drawing Down the Moon" is a Wiccan ritual in which one invokes the Lady of the Isles into oneself. It's not really about the moon, or even the energies thereof ;) There's no reason to perform it if you're not a Wiccan (I actually don't think it's even possible outside of a Wiccan coven) so I wouldn't worry about it.

    "Pagan" just means "non-Abrahamic". You don't need to believe in magic, let alone be a witch. I'd say most Pagans aren't witches, and some even consider it impious to practise magic. You don't need to believe in gods, or celebrate any particular holidays. Paganism is so broad a category and encompasses so much, after all. The idea that Paganism = witchcraft, or that all Pagans celebrate particular holidays or hold rituals a certain way is just not true.

    That's one of the issues I have about the PBP newsletters, is that they imply that certain things are believed and certain things celebrated all across Paganism. This isn't true at all. Paganism is even referred to a couple of times as "the Craft" which I find offensive. But there you go.

    I don't think any of these things are "doubts". I think you're trying to fit yourself into a type of Paganism that very naturally does not appeal to you. That's fine - there are plenty more types of Paganism out there. Have a look around, and maybe something else will appeal more to you.

    Witchcraft, of course, is not a religion, but more of a spiritual craft. There are things you do sort of have to believe in - like spirits and that there are energies that can be manipulated - but mostly it's about what you do. Using and feeling those energies, working change, understanding and speaking with spirits of various kinds. If none of these things enter into your practice, no, you're not a witch. But that's OK. There's no reason why you would have to be.

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  9. I can see why you're having doubts. Even the comments you've received so far are a bit confusing and inconsistent.

    Please don't think that "there are things you do sort of have to believe in" - I disagree with that statement more than any other. THAT is what it's like when you're in a Monotheist path and following blindly because somebody says that's the way to "do it" even though it feels like irrational self-brainwashing.

    I am a Traditional Witch and have never believed something "just because". Part of the reason people seek out Pagan paths (anything that is not a Judeo-Christian-Islamic faith) is because they choose to think for themselves and do the research - building from within to reach those levels of inner peace that can't be (or that I feel can't be, I should say) fulfilled outside of themselves by an outside force or religion.

    If anyone is skeptical of things, it is me. I think I analyze and ponder things more than many people - it all has to "fit" - so I spent lots of time researching the origins of religions, the things about humans that makes them "want" to "have" a religion to begin with, etc.

    Anyway, I encourage you to listen to your intuition and let that be your guide. Rather than trying to mold yourself to fit into someone else's idea of what a certain "path" is, let yourself grow from within to develop your path for yourself.

    In closing, I will share my personal definition of what Paganism is: the term "Pagan" currently encompasses any non-monotheist earth-based path with a deep reverence for nature; observance and celebration of the natural cycles of life, death, rebirth, and natural law; and a strong desire to live in harmonious peace. An Atheist can be a Pagan. A Wiccan can be a Pagan. A Witch can be a Pagan. But being a Pagan does not automatically make one an Atheist, Wiccan or Witch. Even a Christian can be a Pagan at heart, but can't truly be both, or either, at the same time.

    Bright Blessings!

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