*~* Witchcraft and Wicca Forum *~* EUTM


Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Have a question about a spell or witchcraft/Wicca? Ask it here. Those of you who like to help others can help answer questions.

Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby springsgrace » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:15 pm

First of all, a little background info:
I have always been an atheist until about a year ago. I was raised by cynicism and the value of science and the notion that spiritualism is silly. So, I always have the need to sort everything out logically before I can put trust in it.
Therefore, I find it hard to not have doubts about the craft and I find myself saying "This isn't real, it doesn't have any evidence towards it" in the middle of meditation or a ritual and ruining it all. I've never had a big spiritual experience and I feel doubtful because most people have. The closest is when I had sleep paralysis a few years ago and had a lucid nightmare, but it wasn't very pleasant.
Anyways, could someone give me tips on getting rid of doubt and opening myself to the Spirit? Thank you all so much :oops:
Image
| cerelia | oceania | eclectic wiccan |
User avatar
springsgrace
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:52 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby SnowCat » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:30 pm

Asking for help is a good first step. Reconciling science and the craft isn't easy. My suggestion is that you come up with some type of evidence based test that will provide a yes or no answer to a question about the craft or about spirituality. Unfortunately, I have no idea what that test might need to be. It would need to be something meaningful to you.

Snow
Daughter of Sekhmet
User avatar
SnowCat
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 5705
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:29 am
Location: The Spirals
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby springsgrace » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:35 pm

Thank you! I'll think of a test, and perhaps share it eventually if it works.
Image
| cerelia | oceania | eclectic wiccan |
User avatar
springsgrace
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:52 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby Siona » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:36 pm

It can be a hard, and slow process. Many people don't have spiritual experiences right off the bat, that's totally normal. Some people never have those major experiences, or perhaps they never experience deity, but have other sorts of experiences, everyone is different in that area. Just keep practicing. With meditation, don't expect something big, there are lots of ways to practice meditation, many atheists practice it, think of the other benefits of meditation... and if something more happens, great, if not, it is still beneficial. Similar with rituals... if you doubt, keep going. Everyone stumbles in ritual from time to time, it's alright to keep going.

However, you may also wish to have a slightly different focus with rituals and the like. I don't know exactly what path you're practicing, but for example you might look at rituals that focus on natural events, like the changing seasons, moon cycles, and so on. Any sort of thing that has that physical element. You can then look at these events in a somewhat more symbolic way... the planting and harvest season becomes about making, growing, and 'harvesting' goals and such. These sorts of things might get you more comfortable with ritual, that eventually allow you to open up a bit more.

I would also say, there are also many atheists who do practice different forms of paganism, so if that whole thing never works out for you? There are still other options to connect to your spiritual side without some of the elements that rely more on faith.
I sing of you, blessed, night-winged Dream, Messenger of things to come, greatest prophet to mortals, in the quiet of sweet sleep you come silently and speak to the soul.
User avatar
Siona
 
Posts: 700
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:54 pm
Location: NH, USA
Gender: Non-binary

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby springsgrace » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:48 pm

Thank you very much! I am leaning towards non-deity paganism so perhaps I will focus on elemental/physical properties first.
Image
| cerelia | oceania | eclectic wiccan |
User avatar
springsgrace
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:52 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby Xiao Rong » Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:15 pm

Hello SpringsGrace, and welcome! As another former atheist, I've totally got that inner skeptic too. In my experience, the inner skeptic has been both a blessing and a curse. Being able to approach things critically has often been helpful in understanding what's BS and what's not, but like you, sometimes it gets in the way of having a spiritual moment because I'm afraid that it's all just a bunch of "woo" and I look ridiculous. The two things that I would say are:

1) For most things (like rituals and spells), if I can suspend my disbelief for a while and just DO it and not worry too hard about how it works or if it's real, I can usually look back and feel like it was a positive experience -- whether it was feeling something deep and profound or just having a laugh with my friends. Just try things out and see how they feel or how they work. It helps having a sense of humor and being able to laugh at yourself a bit. (although the inner skeptic does come in handy for telling you what's worth trying out or not. A candle spell at home? At worst, it's harmless. Signing up for a $300 course with a so-called "guru"? Inner skeptic is great for telling us to hit the brakes and think about whether it's worth the investment or not).

2) Sometimes it's just an issue of broadening your idea of what a "spiritual" experience means. For a long time, I thought that I couldn't be spiritual because I wasn't getting direct messages from Jesus or whatever (that was when I lived in a predominantly Christian community and I wasn't aware of any options besides Christianity and atheism). Still haven't had experiences "speaking" to a deity directly, which can sometimes leave me feeling a little left out among polytheists. But one time (just as I had started getting into Paganism), having cooked a huge dinner for a bunch of my friends, we were all just sitting around in the afterglow of a delicious meal, and I just felt ... surrounded by love, like it permeated the whole world and I was just awash in this abundance of love. It wasn't like the sky opened up or anything, it was just a moment of wonder and love. That was a very spiritual experience for me. I've heard other people who have similar experiences, like feeling connectedness and peace from being in nature or even feeling in awe of the universe in all its complexity and glory. I think that these are all spiritual experiences; we sometimes just don't know to call it that.

By the way, if you're interested in non-deity centered paganism, you should check out a post/resource I wrote some time ago: Paganism: When There Aren't Any Gods.

Hope that all made sense!
~ Xiao Rong ~ 小蓉 ~ Little Lotus ~
User avatar
Xiao Rong
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3456
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:58 am
Location: New England
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby Shub Niggurath » Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:11 am

I second what Xiao said!

Being able to suspend your disbelief for the time of any magickal works is one of the most important but also one of the most challenging things to learn and embrace. Takes a lot of practice and it's definitely a must. I come from a more thelemic than wiccan approach in this case and I believe it's kind of easier for intellectual/sceptic/atheistic people to understand things from the thelemic perspective at first. Practicing witchcraft, doing spells and rituals, evolving through altered ("spiritual") states of consciousness doesn't necessarily need to be about believing in any kind of higher dimensions/gods/whatever. Believe in yourself, in your will!
If it's hard for you to feel comfortable in a ritual environment you definitely lack some confidence. You lack the confidence because you don't understand the mechanism of witchcraft/magick. And it's totally understandable, of course, because we don't have any "legit" scientific researches explaining how it works, why it works and what it really does - if it was widely scientifically proven everyone would be a wizard all of a sudden :mrgreen:
I can give you some information about our (mine and my friends') private finds and experiences. Since we're psychologists we tried to understand occult/witchcraft from a psychological point of view. Not to bore you with details, we've come to a conclusion (that confirms other psychologists' theories - like S. Grof, K. Wilber, A. Maslow etc) that being actively involved in spiritual or magickal practice can be highly therapeutic and helpful with personal growth (which directly influences the quality of your whole life).
Being in a ritual environment (with your disbelief suspended) you can easily connect with the subconscious level of your psyche. Subconscious is all about symbolism and when you perform a ritual you actually do a sequence of symbolic actions that might not be clear to you on a conscious level but are easily understood on a deeper level. It's as if you were giving your subconscious instructions about how to operate your mind to guide you to manifest your intention and thus manifest what you were performing the ritual for. That's why in the religious/occult/witchraft traditions everything is symbolic - because we don't want our intellect (which is limited and not perfect!) to get in our way.
Anyway, there's much more to all of that and I could probably write you a book about it so I'm just gonna stop here - you get the point. And hopefully you'll find it helpful at least enough to set things right in your mind and get a little bit more comfortable with all this boo-hoo stuff ;)
If you want any more info or want some book recommendations you can always PM me.
Good luck with everything!
Image
User avatar
Shub Niggurath
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:18 am
Location: Moon
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby LiebeUndLicht » Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:45 am

I was a Christian before I found the Wiccan path.
I guess you just need to tell yourself that what you're doing is right. I think you need to work on connecting with the God and Goddess (or whomever you choose to believe in) and just work from there. I think the other answers are correct also. Particularly during meditation, let your mind relax and try not to let things worry you, as for during ritual, if you don't feel comfortable, you can always stop, you shouldn't feel the need to force yourself to do something you're not comfortable doing. I understand what you mean by the evidence thing, but Wicca is about doing what you feel is right, so don't feel forced to do anything you don't want to.
But yeah, the other answers are really great, I wish you luck on your path :flyingwitch: blessed be and much love :flyingwitch:
Not all scars show and not all wounds heal. Sometimes you never truly see the pain that someone feels.
User avatar
LiebeUndLicht
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 4:56 am
Location: England
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby Moonfire » Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:50 pm

I can understand this completely. Often I still have thoughts of doubt. For most of my life I did not have any kind of spirituality and was very cynical on all spiritual assets. When this kind of thing is not widely accepted and just seems so unreal and hard to believe when there doesn't seem to be any evidence. So I have a way you can look at this and for it to be in a more logical manner. Something that will be easier for you to relate to.

At one point in time mental illnesses were not believed to be real. For one reason or another people either thought that the said person was faking it or was weak in their own way. Or the religious groups felt that said person was afflicted by a demon or the devil. Because had the time we had no means of providing evidence that it was a real health issue and not just someone's imagination, lies or some religious explanation. And even now that we have ways to prove their existence, there are still plenty of people who don't believe in them.

Now think this: What if magick, deities/spirits and spirituality are real just that we, as humans, lack the means to provide clear evidence to show it's existence?

This is by no means something concrete to make you suspend all of your doubts, but I think pondering this from such an academic perspective may help you. :] It's helped me.
User avatar
Moonfire
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 1:05 am
Location: Middle Earth
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby MsMollimizz » Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:22 pm

Xiao Rong wrote: Still haven't had experiences "speaking" to a deity directly, which can sometimes leave me feeling a little left out among polytheists. But one time (just as I had started getting into Paganism), having cooked a huge dinner for a bunch of my friends, we were all just sitting around in the afterglow of a delicious meal, and I just felt ... surrounded by love, like it permeated the whole world and I was just awash in this abundance of love. It wasn't like the sky opened up or anything, it was just a moment of wonder and love. That was a very spiritual experience for me. I've heard other people who have similar experiences, like feeling connectedness and peace from being in nature or even feeling in awe of the universe in all its complexity and glory. I think that these are all spiritual experiences; we sometimes just don't know to call it that.


I try to not be real open when I come to this site, just a little...
When you described this happening, it was like I was there with
you from the energy those words put out ::coolglasses::

Springsgrace...
(awesome name!)
Some of these things may seem...simple, easy...etc
Stop looking the the experience, simple as that ! It's
like love, when you go looking for it it doesn't happen;
it's only when you've given up the search that it finds
you... :fairy:
To maybe give yourself some "evidence" why don't
you try working with a pendulum ? Straight-forward
answers, yes/no, sometimes you'll get an "I don't know"
answer and that can be because your question may have
to be re-worded ? A pendulum can also be used as a
dowsing tool to find pipes buried, when you get real
good with it you can use it to find minerals and metals
in the ground...
Just a suggestion...
:flyingwitch:
Gentle Red Light
MsMollimizz
Until one has loved an animal,
part of their soul remains un-awakened.

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance,
it is the illusion of knowledge." Steven Hawkings
User avatar
MsMollimizz
 
Posts: 1139
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:53 pm
Location: Lost in Space
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby LadyCoyote » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:13 pm

I seem to be on the same lines with you. I developed my pagan views from a scientific standpoint. I watch the seasons and understand that it arises from the earth and sun moving together, and how those movements affect us (and the moons movements). I view magic as just the intent to change our mindset, because if I didn't do anything to change my own mind I wouldn't change. And of course other outside forces can change myself, but changing yourself by your own will is a very powerful thing to do and if you have the mind to continually make yourself a more loving and caring person (through calming meditation and healing/observational rituals etc.) then that is magic. I would love to hear about your viewpoints and doubts, because I do have the same. But I calm myself down to look at things better by meditation and just talking to the invoked god and goddess as like a therapist almost (couldn't find a word). Idk what do you think?
User avatar
LadyCoyote
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:31 pm

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby springsgrace » Mon Sep 29, 2014 3:00 pm

LadyCoyote wrote:I seem to be on the same lines with you. I developed my pagan views from a scientific standpoint. I watch the seasons and understand that it arises from the earth and sun moving together, and how those movements affect us (and the moons movements). I view magic as just the intent to change our mindset, because if I didn't do anything to change my own mind I wouldn't change. And of course other outside forces can change myself, but changing yourself by your own will is a very powerful thing to do and if you have the mind to continually make yourself a more loving and caring person (through calming meditation and healing/observational rituals etc.) then that is magic. I would love to hear about your viewpoints and doubts, because I do have the same. But I calm myself down to look at things better by meditation and just talking to the invoked god and goddess as like a therapist almost (couldn't find a word). Idk what do you think?


I get what you mean, but like the "the magic was within us all along" kind of standpoint feels like a cop-out to me :roll: However, maybe you're right. It does make sense to me, but what doesn't is why bother getting the crystals/incense etc. if it's just about changing your perspective? Perhaps you could enlighten me further. :)

I've been reflecting on this a bit, and I view magick as our emotions and our thoughts, our dreams and our subconscious. This part of us has a whole heap of an effect on our health- placebo effect drugs, hairloss/nausea/stomach ulcers etc. caused by stress, being able to "give up" and die if you're really sick. I feel like possibly there is something else to this- perhaps a show of magical will and power that the mind has to manipulate it's environment. So, perhaps magick is just the carrying of this will to the outside world where it is not able to be focused as easily or have as much power, so we must strengthen our work through meditation and rituals. Basically, magick=power of the mind taken outside the body
However, I don't know where the deities come in. Perhaps a deistic pagan could inform me? Personally, I doubt these deities because I feel they're so easy to make up, so they hold no real value in my heart. However, representations of male and female energies in the Earth, and the natural life cycle of nature as a God and Goddess could connect in with my prior theories and seems like a sensible thing.
Also, sabbats/esbbats are a bit confusing. I figure for me they're just a festival celebrated by pagans with possible religious influences, depending on what you believe. Maybe the extra energies and magick people say floats around on these days is caused by almost the entire pagan community practicing on one particular day? I don't know exactly, and I'm not saying I know I'm right. Just a point of view I hold. :fairy:
Image
| cerelia | oceania | eclectic wiccan |
User avatar
springsgrace
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:52 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Trouble with opening self/getting rid of doubt

Postby LadyCoyote » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:06 pm

Personally I view gods and goddess as a concentrated manifestation of human traits and activities. If you were a fishing town in Japan at the local shrine you'd have a shrine to the towns fishing god and then the shrine where more general religious happenings would go about. Patron gods and saints are normally attributed to an area due to it's necessity. When I do magical workings, if I think I need guidance or heightened symbolism I invoke specific dieties.

Rituals for me, and ritual tools are symbols. Joseph Campbell said that the ritual is just enacting the myth. Myth teaches us, and so I use my candles as symbols for the sun, "male" (yang) energy. While the bowl is "female" (yin) energy. I focus on polarity and balance, so just invoking the god and goddess is enough. And the god and goddess are the two parts of one. The one being the universe. Everything is sacred, and the energy moving throughout is life. The push and pull of emotions, planets, etc is what causes change.
The sabbats and esbats are observations of the sun and moon affecting the earth and how it fits into a yearly narrative. Whether or not energies raise because of castings or not is up to speculation. But with pagan holidays they are mostly important for nature observation and how the yearly cycle echoes the human life cycle.
User avatar
LadyCoyote
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:31 pm


Return to General Questions about Wicca & Magick

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 0 guests