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Poll

Do you regularly experience doubt?

No, I experience no doubt in my faith, or only rarely experience doubt.
1 (5.6%)
Yes, I experience some doubt that I've got it all right, but I believe my Powers are real and in touch with me.
3 (16.7%)
Yes, I doubt the reality of/my connection to my Powers sometimes, but I am certain divine powers (or even just some form of "magic") are real.
7 (38.9%)
Yes, I regularly experience doubt in the reality of the numinous.
3 (16.7%)
The concept of doubt is not relevant to my path or practice.
1 (5.6%)
I have some other experience with doubt versus faith.
3 (16.7%)

Total Members Voted: 18

Author Topic: Do you doubt your Powers?  (Read 940 times)

Eastling

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Do you doubt your Powers?
« on: September 16, 2017, 01:11:06 am »
I'm a born skeptic. I spent over three decades of my life yearning to believe in gods and magic but not allowing myself to do so, because I hadn't seen sufficient proof.

Early last year I began courting the gods, laying down groundwork for spirituality, even though I was still deeply agnostic. Finally, late in spring of this year, I experienced things that made me finally Believe with a capital B.

But I can already feel doubt creeping back in, which makes me wonder if it's just a part of my personality. I believe that there is a great spiritual dimension to reality now, but I find myself doubting my own personal connection to my Powers on a regular basis. Does anyone else have similar experiences? How do you deal with doubt in your practice?

Edited to add that I am aware the question of "is God real?" is a thorny one that everyone interprets differently. Feel free to take your own interpretation and run with it.
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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2017, 08:49:45 am »
I have phases in which I'm more or less skeptical, it also depends a lot on which priorities I have in this phase or what I need from spiritiuality/religion... Sometimes I doubt the gods excist and see them more as images in my head. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing enough (dusting my home altar often enough etc.).

I go to the witch group I practice with anyway, because even in my skeptical phases/moods I love the seasonal celebrations, I get some fresh air and it calms me / releases allday stress and I consider the people there my friends.

But the skeptical phases come and go - I sometimes also have thoughts of "does it matter if the gods are real or only in your head? Look at all the cool stories about them, how meaningful they are..."

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2017, 05:59:43 pm »
I'm a born skeptic. I spent over three decades of my life yearning to believe in gods and magic but not allowing myself to do so, because I hadn't seen sufficient proof.

Early last year I began courting the gods, laying down groundwork for spirituality, even though I was still deeply agnostic. Finally, late in spring of this year, I experienced things that made me finally Believe with a capital B.

But I can already feel doubt creeping back in, which makes me wonder if it's just a part of my personality. I believe that there is a great spiritual dimension to reality now, but I find myself doubting my own personal connection to my Powers on a regular basis. Does anyone else have similar experiences? How do you deal with doubt in your practice?

Edited to add that I am aware the question of "is God real?" is a thorny one that everyone interprets differently. Feel free to take your own interpretation and run with it.

I have tended toward skepticism most of my life.  I frame my personal path and rituals in such a way that they can be meaningful in a believing context or a more skeptical, non-literal approach.

I am careful to leave clues in the words I use in rituals to allow a naturalistic interpretation. Much of this part of my life has more for me to do with my mind and experiences and weaving meaning out of that than whether those experiences correspond to a supernatural or magical reality.

Skepticism is a little more difficult to deal with when I am worshipping communally in Anglican contexts which is much different than my solitary practice, but in that setting it helps to know that many others are in the same boat, and when I am acting communally in liturgy that seems to me much like a grand story, my own opinions matter less -- at least, according to our more liberal theologians.  It is the drama and enactment of a great narrative and solidarity that is most important to me in that setting.

So I take different approaches to skepticism depending on if I am acting alone or with others.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2017, 06:02:16 pm by EclecticWheel »

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2017, 07:16:17 pm »
I do doubt. Frequently. Its something I'm working very hard to stop doing. The neat part though is that the powers that be have never failed to give me proof when I need it the most. I personally think that doubting is a very natural human thing. Every person in every faith experiences it at some point.

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2017, 10:11:41 pm »
I'm a born skeptic. I spent over three decades of my life yearning to believe in gods and magic but not allowing myself to do so, because I hadn't seen sufficient proof.

Early last year I began courting the gods, laying down groundwork for spirituality, even though I was still deeply agnostic. Finally, late in spring of this year, I experienced things that made me finally Believe with a capital B.

But I can already feel doubt creeping back in, which makes me wonder if it's just a part of my personality. I believe that there is a great spiritual dimension to reality now, but I find myself doubting my own personal connection to my Powers on a regular basis. Does anyone else have similar experiences? How do you deal with doubt in your practice?

Edited to add that I am aware the question of "is God real?" is a thorny one that everyone interprets differently. Feel free to take your own interpretation and run with it.

"When you doubt your powers, you give power to your doubts"—The Sphinx. (Obligatory Mystery Men reference...hey, someone had to say it!)

When you've been waiting as long as I have with so little outwardly to show for it, it's easy to think that, hey, the doctors might all be right and this could all be in my head. Easy...but I wouldn't be able to believe it. While I haven't seen much that couldn't be explained away as a hallucination or psychotic episode, the pieces just don't fit together any other way. I would have to believe that the reward for thirty-plus years of following my God and praying fervently for his guidance and his best is to be struck with mental illness. I don't care who's selling that or how many degrees they may have, I'm not buying.

But suppose that they really are right and there is no God out there; at least, not one who cares enough to intervene and make his/her presence known. What then? I'm gainfully employed; I'm current with my bills; I'm on good terms with everyone in my extended family, neighbors and friends; my taxes are paid up; I'm in no trouble with the law. The only thing you could hold against me is that I'm ignoring my doctors' counsel on controlling my cholesterol and blood sugar because a) I think medicine in this country is a criminal racket and b) I refuse to believe that the "abundant life" Jesus promised requires sticking myself with needles five times a day and taking 42 separate prescriptions as my mother's cousin did. BTW, she died anyway.

I've used this Harry Potter quote before but I'll use it again: “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are.  It is our choices.” I have made my choice, and I'm sticking to it.
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Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2017, 11:54:57 pm »

A Reminder:
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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2017, 02:42:40 am »
I've used this Harry Potter quote before but I'll use it again: “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are.  It is our choices.”
Now you mention Harry...isn't there also this wonderful quote in the 7th volume with Dumbledore asking Harry why things should be less real if they just happen in his head or something...?

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2017, 02:53:58 am »
Now you mention Harry...isn't there also this wonderful quote in the 7th volume with Dumbledore asking Harry why things should be less real if they just happen in his head or something...?

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Yup, book 7. :)
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Morag

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2017, 03:05:33 am »
But I can already feel doubt creeping back in, which makes me wonder if it's just a part of my personality. I believe that there is a great spiritual dimension to reality now, but I find myself doubting my own personal connection to my Powers on a regular basis. Does anyone else have similar experiences? How do you deal with doubt in your practice?

I used to be pretty open-headed with my gods -- I had a lot of very clear experiences that were definitely them. I also used to see definite results from magic, sense energy clearly, and be able to tell when I was speaking to other entities.

For the past 3 years I've been living in a house that's like a spiritual Faraday cage. I can barely sense my gods; when I pray to them it's like clawing my way up through dirt. Nearly all my magic backfires. I can't even keep this place or myself psychically clean; it's like living in psychic sewage.

(No, moving is not an option. We are stuck here until I finish my next bout of schooling, unless we win the lottery.) 

I know they still exist, I know they're still out there...most of the time. I am starting to have moments where I wonder if all my experiences weren't real. I already struggle with keeping hold on reality because of various mental health reasons, so this has not really helped matters.

I've started to doubt magic is real, or that I have any ability to do it or ever did. This has created a negative feedback loop in my practicing of it.

When I leave the house, I get a much better connection to the energy of the world around me and my gods...but it's nowhere near as strong as it used to be.

The only time I've been able to pray in this house and felt a direct connection to the entity I was talking to, and a response, was when I prayed to the Virgin Mary.

I've come to the conclusion that if I want to get messages to my gods, I have to use Her as an intercessor, because apparently She's the only one I can get through to. And I'm more or less giving up on the magic unless it's something I can do at my mother in law's place.


...ok, wasn't expecting to be that open about this in this post, but yeah, that's where I'm at. My house is drowning me in psychic sewage and it's causing me to doubt everything. I have no idea how to deal with it other than a) continue praying to Mary, b) work my ass off in school so we can get the hell out of Dodge.
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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2017, 05:28:16 am »
...ok, wasn't expecting to be that open about this in this post, but yeah, that's where I'm at. My house is drowning me in psychic sewage and it's causing me to doubt everything. I have no idea how to deal with it other than a) continue praying to Mary, b) work my ass off in school so we can get the hell out of Dodge.
That's awful...if I understood you correctly, you're living with family members and can't just do some big cleansing ritual with big gusts of smoke...?

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2017, 08:03:16 am »
That's awful...if I understood you correctly, you're living with family members and can't just do some big cleansing ritual with big gusts of smoke...?

No, I'm renting* from a super uptight landlady who has threatened to evict us over our smoke detector going off, and bitched me out on my birthday because I got a package.

The house itself -- the spirit, the egregore, the combined emotions and psychic clouds left here by all the people who have resided here, whatever it is -- the house itself doesn't want me practicing my religion. I finally got that clear answer recently -- the house does not want me contacting any spiritual beings except Christian ones. It's been doing everything in its power to stop me from having a religious life, and for the most part, been successful.

I've done everything I can with cleansing and psychic hygiene, but it's not enough. So I just have to survive until we can escape.


*It's not possible for us to move anywhere nearby, and the place we're in is about 5 minutes from my husband's workplace. Since we moved here 3 years ago prices in the area have skyrocketed and our rent is already 50% of my husband's income, and I don't make enough regularly to count mine. (He covers the majority of our living expenses already.)

We *might* be able to move across the bridge now that the tolls have been lifted, but that's also unlikely, and we'd have to move to a much smaller place, which would mean putting most of our things in storage...and then the cost from that. The chances of us saving any real money on rent from moving across the bridge are...slim.

And that's not even getting into the fact that when we move we absolutely need to hire movers and we can't afford that right now.
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Altair

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2017, 09:07:21 am »
How do you deal with doubt in your practice?

I've had a tough time answering this question. As a nature-based pagan (and pantheistic about it), my deity is manifest, around me and in me, all the time; personal observation and learning more about science and the latest discoveries are the windows through which I watch Her in awe. So faith isn't really involved there.

But then there's my interpretation of that divinity: the gods and their myths, through which I try to understand Her in a way outside of rational inquiry. Here my thinking is pretty much opposite to the above; I can't doubt, because I know my interpretation is completely made up. (That's an easy conclusion for me, since I'm the one who made it all up! If you follow a preexisting mythos, accepting that it's the work of human hands rather than divine revelation is probably a thornier issue.)

My conception of gods and story plays a big role here. To me, regardless of the Abrahamic sect or the pantheon, it's *all* made up (no offense intended to believers). They are metaphors through which we attempt to grapple with the big forces and issues that otherwise are beyond our limited human capacity to fully grasp. Storytelling is a means to truth beyond rational inquiry, and when we're talking myths, we're talking stories about the Big Issues (how did we get here, why are we here, where are we going) and some of the greatest of truths. The gods and their myths aren't meant to be taken literally (down that road lies the worst kind of fundamentalism), but for me, the fact that we humans made them up doesn't make them the least bit less True, in the most important sense.

Finally--and this is where I DO doubt--I think by conceiving of these gods, to a certain extent we may breathe life into these specific forms.

In short: For me, the forces described by gods and their myths are real and demonstrable, not subject to doubt; the gods and myths are also free from doubt, since I accept that they are human inventions; and while I have doubts on whether those inventions have subsequently become "real", that's irrelevant to the truths they convey.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 09:10:00 am by Altair »
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ehbowen

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2017, 11:23:19 am »
My conception of gods and story plays a big role here. To me, regardless of the Abrahamic sect or the pantheon, it's *all* made up (no offense intended to believers). They are metaphors through which we attempt to grapple with the big forces and issues that otherwise are beyond our limited human capacity to fully grasp. Storytelling is a means to truth beyond rational inquiry, and when we're talking myths, we're talking stories about the Big Issues (how did we get here, why are we here, where are we going) and some of the greatest of truths. The gods and their myths aren't meant to be taken literally (down that road lies the worst kind of fundamentalism), but for me, the fact that we humans made them up doesn't make them the least bit less True, in the most important sense.

Finally--and this is where I DO doubt--I think by conceiving of these gods, to a certain extent we may breathe life into these specific forms.

On The Other Hand, I take the opposite tack, at least as it pertains to my own Deity. I believe that he has been trying desperately to regain contact with humanity ever since the event we Christians refer to as The Fall...but that truly making contact with the core of a personality is a job which would make finding a needle in a haystack seem like child's play by comparison. It's Not Easy. He did make that contact with Enoch...but all that he got was Enoch. He made it with Abraham, but all he got was Abraham's family. He made it with Moses, but all he got was the nation of Israel. He made it directly in the person of Jesus, but all he got was the subset of humanity known as "believers," aka Christians. I'm now convinced that, while he hasn't surrendered anything already won, he's keeping it up until he reaches everyone.

And so I do believe that his words, specifically the 66 recognized canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as penned by the original authors, are in fact to be taken literally. If that means I have fallen into "the worst kind of fundamentalism," so be it; once a lost child is found you can always clean him up but it's much better to have him at home even filthy than to have him still lost out in the trackless woods.

Yet, at the same time, I do believe that my God looks at our myths and stories with an eye to breathing life into them and "making it real." Perhaps not letter-by-letter the way we envision them, but in a way which is true to the core of the narrative while at the same time being a blessing to those whom it touches. For the past three weeks or so I've been thinking a lot on Stephen King's story of Carrie. Now, perhaps it's a bit of a stretch to envision The Greatest Horror Story Of All Time becoming a blessing...but I can't shake the notion that someone who prayed as often and as fervently as King and DePalma depict would have, along with the gift, received wisdom as to how to use it. Just sayin'.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 11:26:36 am by ehbowen »
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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2017, 12:46:44 pm »
I'm a born skeptic. I spent over three decades of my life yearning to believe in gods and magic but not allowing myself to do so, because I hadn't seen sufficient proof.

Early last year I began courting the gods, laying down groundwork for spirituality, even though I was still deeply agnostic. Finally, late in spring of this year, I experienced things that made me finally Believe with a capital B.

But I can already feel doubt creeping back in, which makes me wonder if it's just a part of my personality. I believe that there is a great spiritual dimension to reality now, but I find myself doubting my own personal connection to my Powers on a regular basis. Does anyone else have similar experiences? How do you deal with doubt in your practice?

Edited to add that I am aware the question of "is God real?" is a thorny one that everyone interprets differently. Feel free to take your own interpretation and run with it.

I do not doubt myself and I do not regret anything.  These are emotions that I do not allow myself to experience.

My spiritual-religious system does not require "belief" or "faith" in the supernatural, or fantastical myths, creation stories, or afterlife scenarios.  It is not against incorporating those things in its culture either.  Whether or not the gods of my pantheon are only deified aspects of human Nature, and nature, or reductive interpretations of unfathomable extraterrestrial or intradimensional advanced life forms... is irrelevant.  It is nice to contemplate and fantasize about these things, but what truly matters is the utilization of these deific concepts to:

-absorb strength, power, wisdom, and beauty from wherever I Will, whenever I Will and however I Will

-gain deeper insights into various- often opposing- sides of my own human Nature, and collective human Nature

-strengthen and amplify my attributes and abilities necessary to achieve my own goals and ambitions

-experience life in ways that reflect my own Weltanschauung and True Will

-make my experience of life more f***ing badass

So, there is never doubt.  I do not doubt myself and I do not doubt my religion.  I definitely do not "doubt" my gods.  My spiritual-religious system evolves with each passing moment as time goes on, however I Will.  If some aspect of it no longer reflects my Weltanschauung, my goals and ambitions, and my True Will, then I have absolute power over my religion to adapt accordingly... spiritually and religiously.

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Waldhexe

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Re: Do you doubt your Powers?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2017, 02:55:54 pm »
That really sucks, I hope things will change for you for the better in the near future... Reminds me of my first flat in the city I live in, there was a negative energy I couldn't get away, then I discovered it was mould...then I discovered I was allergic to mould...I moved, but it took years to pay the debt from that move...

well...back to topic, this makes me think of that real life bad circumstances sometimes make me doubt my powers and my connection with spirits & deities etc, sometimes it makes me also hold onto spirituality more because I find meaning and comfort in it.

The good times sometimes make me lapse somewhat in spiritual/religious effort, I think that's pretty human ;)

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* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

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Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

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Board Staff:
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Chief MUX Wizard:
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Webmaster:
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