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Author Topic: How do you know it's real?  (Read 4640 times)

Chausette

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How do you know it's real?
« on: April 26, 2012, 05:02:54 am »
Now, I don't mean to offend anyone here. I'm genuinely not asking this out of malice - I'm just wondering, how do you know this is all real? When you commune with a God(dess), what is your confirmation that "yes, this is real and not just something I'm making up in my head"?

The reason I ask this is that I've recently tried to reach out to a Goddess, but I keep worrying that it's just my mind inventing things whenever She answers me. I'm a very imaginative person, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that I could just be having a conversation with myself, answering in the way I'd want Her to. So is there any way to solidly know that yes, this is real? Do you still experience doubt, or is it just the fact that I'm a beginner that I'm still questioning the reality of these things?

Elani Temperance

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 05:24:58 am »
Quote from: Chausette;51950
Now, I don't mean to offend anyone here. I'm genuinely not asking this out of malice - I'm just wondering, how do you know this is all real? When you commune with a God(dess), what is your confirmation that "yes, this is real and not just something I'm making up in my head"?

The reason I ask this is that I've recently tried to reach out to a Goddess, but I keep worrying that it's just my mind inventing things whenever She answers me. I'm a very imaginative person, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that I could just be having a conversation with myself, answering in the way I'd want Her to. So is there any way to solidly know that yes, this is real? Do you still experience doubt, or is it just the fact that I'm a beginner that I'm still questioning the reality of these things?


Oh my--well, that's the crux of it, isn't it? I guess the only true answer I can give to this is 'faith'. I try to keep grounded and not take anything and everything as a sign but some things I can't explain away. I have decided to trust on my UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) but try to validate everything I experience with historical facts or SPG (Shared Personal Gnosis). Some things I just have to take on faith.

Do I doubt myself? Yes, sometimes. The wavering of faith is becoming less often but the doubt is always there in the back of my mind. Still, I'd rather practice my religion and be wrong in the end than not practice and offend the Gods and Goddesses that might take an interest in me.
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Nachtigall

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2012, 05:25:46 am »
Quote from: Chausette;51950
Do you still experience doubt, or is it just the fact that I'm a beginner that I'm still questioning the reality of these things?

 
Sure. All the time. Don't think I'll ever completely stop questioning.
Sceptically speaking, all of my experiences so far can be attributed to overactive imagination, string of coincidences, lucky guesses or cryptamnesia... that is, if I choose to interpret them this way. I've been reading a lot of literature on spiritual experiences from psychological (and psychiatric) point of view, just to explore the possibility that it is all indeed just in my head.
At the end though, it doesn't matter. Whether I interact with archetypes or actual deities, the main point is, what do I gain from it. And I know I've been gaining a lot so far... so I guess that alone makes it real enough.

RandallS

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2012, 08:09:30 am »
Quote from: Chausette;51950
Now, I don't mean to offend anyone here. I'm genuinely not asking this out of malice - I'm just wondering, how do you know this is all real? When you commune with a God(dess), what is your confirmation that "yes, this is real and not just something I'm making up in my head"?

To be honest, if you don't wonder such things you risk being dangerously delusional. If you can't imagine the possibility that it is all in your mind (even if you strongly believe it is not) then I think you have, at a minimum, "gullibility issues".

Quote
So is there any way to solidly know that yes, this is real?

Not really, unfortunately. That 's one of the main reasons its called "faith" because no matter how much you "believe," you can't really "know".

Quote
Do you still experience doubt, or is it just the fact that I'm a beginner that I'm still questioning the reality of these things?

I still wonder if it is just in my mind at times -- and I consider that a good thing, a side that I haven't turned off my brain in favor of unthinking belief.
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Stardancer

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2012, 08:42:25 am »
Quote from: Nachtigall;51952
Whether I interact with archetypes or actual deities, the main point is, what do I gain from it. And I know I've been gaining a lot so far... so I guess that alone makes it real enough.

 
As hubby (agnostic) once said of me; if it makes you happy, then it is of the good.

In general I've found/learnt:

If the voice in your head is flattering, trivial, doesn't uplift you or bring you forwards, it's either your mind, or something you don't want to contact.

If it on the other hand resonates with your own ability to think, gives good, sound, reasonable advice - that is applicable both right now and in the longer run, is positive but still cuts to the truth - then listen. At this point it doesn't matter if it's Divine or mundane, because you can still use it.
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Darkhawk

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2012, 08:45:20 am »
Quote from: Chausette;51950
Now, I don't mean to offend anyone here. I'm genuinely not asking this out of malice - I'm just wondering, how do you know this is all real? When you commune with a God(dess), what is your confirmation that "yes, this is real and not just something I'm making up in my head"?

 
I don't.  I also really could not give less of a damn.

I care whether it works.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Kylara

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2012, 10:23:46 am »
Quote from: Chausette;51950
Do you still experience doubt, or is it just the fact that I'm a beginner that I'm still questioning the reality of these things?

 
A while back, I sat down and really thought about this.  I tend to play devil's advocate with myself, so I wasn't asking if my faith was real so much as what if it's not...what if everything I believe in is just something in my head.  I feel that my faith leads me to be a better person, to improve myself.  At the end of a day, there is a lot of things that I feel represent me in a good way that I wouldn't have done if I didn't have my beliefs.  Even if it is all based on one fact that isn't a fact, all those other things remain.

But I think more than that is that I feel in my heart it's right.  I still have my moments, the stray thoughts that ask if what I'm doing is real (especially when working with something new...something I might not be yet proficient enough to really get results).  It pushes me to keep at it and push myself when I might give up.
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caelestisraven

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2012, 11:36:06 am »
Quote from: Chausette;51950
Now, I don't mean to offend anyone here. I'm genuinely not asking this out of malice - I'm just wondering, how do you know this is all real? When you commune with a God(dess), what is your confirmation that "yes, this is real and not just something I'm making up in my head"?

 
I always joke that unreligious people are just unimaginative lol

Honestly you don't know that is why it is called faith.

I think heavy doubt might be a sign that you are trying to force something that isn't right for you. It might also be that you are not able to fully open that door and peek inside currently. Have you stopped and really gave alot of thought about what the Divine is? What it means? If you are still at the point where you are unsure what you believe?

I remember when I was much younger & began to wonder away from Christianity. I had huge giant doubts about any of it being real. Because my mind could not wrap around the idea of that as truth.

When I first found paganism and Wicca, I still had some newbie doubts reading all the books and reading their views on Gods.

But once I sat down and wrote about what I actually believed, what I knew to be the truth, I no longer had doubts.

It reminds me of a quote by Starhawk which I so love:

"People often ask me if I believe in the Goddess. I reply "Do you believe in rocks?" It is extremely difficult for most Westerners to grasp the concept of a manifest deity. The phrase "believe in" itself implies that we cannot know the Goddess, that She is somehow intangible, incomprehensible. But we do not believe in rocks -- we may see them, touch them, dig them out of our gardens or stop small children from throwing them at each other. We know them; we connect with them. In the Craft [Wicca, a neo-pagan religion], we do not believe in the Goddess -- we connect with Her; through the moon, the stars, the ocean, the earth, the trees, the animals, through other human beings, through ourselves. She is here. She is within us all."

All that being said though I think some doubt is normal at the beginning. Because you are taking a new path that is off the normal road. And new things can be scary and we have a tendency to want to doubt new things. You just have to decide how much doubt is ok and if it is newbie jitters or if it is telling you something more. Listen to your intuition.
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Chausette

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2012, 12:04:47 pm »
Quote from: caelestisraven;51982
I always joke that unreligious people are just unimaginative lol

Honestly you don't know that is why it is called faith.

I think heavy doubt might be a sign that you are trying to force something that isn't right for you. It might also be that you are not able to fully open that door and peek inside currently. Have you stopped and really gave alot of thought about what the Divine is? What it means? If you are still at the point where you are unsure what you believe?

I remember when I was much younger & began to wonder away from Christianity. I had huge giant doubts about any of it being real. Because my mind could not wrap around the idea of that as truth.

When I first found paganism and Wicca, I still had some newbie doubts reading all the books and reading their views on Gods.

But once I sat down and wrote about what I actually believed, what I knew to be the truth, I no longer had doubts.

It reminds me of a quote by Starhawk which I so love:

"People often ask me if I believe in the Goddess. I reply "Do you believe in rocks?" It is extremely difficult for most Westerners to grasp the concept of a manifest deity. The phrase "believe in" itself implies that we cannot know the Goddess, that She is somehow intangible, incomprehensible. But we do not believe in rocks -- we may see them, touch them, dig them out of our gardens or stop small children from throwing them at each other. We know them; we connect with them. In the Craft [Wicca, a neo-pagan religion], we do not believe in the Goddess -- we connect with Her; through the moon, the stars, the ocean, the earth, the trees, the animals, through other human beings, through ourselves. She is here. She is within us all."

All that being said though I think some doubt is normal at the beginning. Because you are taking a new path that is off the normal road. And new things can be scary and we have a tendency to want to doubt new things. You just have to decide how much doubt is ok and if it is newbie jitters or if it is telling you something more. Listen to your intuition.
See, that's what I don't know. I don't know whether it is "newbie jitters" as you say, or if it's that this really isn't right for me. A lot of it feels good, and even if I'm not sure if I believe in it or not it feels nice to believe in. And it's also the fact that I've never had religion before, so it's hard to get that "this is all silly myth" thought processes out of my head. I don't know, I go back and forth between really thinking "I think this might be right for me" and being totally agnostic/atheist.

I guess it's the fact that I've never had a personal experience with a deity or magick or any other sort of thing yet. It's hard to say "yes, this is real" when I have no concrete proof yet that it is, unlike a lot of people in this forum.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 12:07:48 pm by Chausette »

earth_dragon

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2012, 03:15:52 pm »
Quote from: Chausette;51988
See, that's what I don't know. I don't know whether it is "newbie jitters" as you say, or if it's that this really isn't right for me. A lot of it feels good, and even if I'm not sure if I believe in it or not it feels nice to believe in. And it's also the fact that I've never had religion before, so it's hard to get that "this is all silly myth" thought processes out of my head. I don't know, I go back and forth between really thinking "I think this might be right for me" and being totally agnostic/atheist.

I guess it's the fact that I've never had a personal experience with a deity or magick or any other sort of thing yet. It's hard to say "yes, this is real" when I have no concrete proof yet that it is, unlike a lot of people in this forum.

 
Having newbie jitters is perfectly understandable and reasonable. I think nearly all of us have gone thru that; maybe even still go thru it. It may just be one of those things that only time can answer for you.

If something feels good to you, and it's not hurting anyone else, then there's no reason to discontinue that path so long as it's something you wish to do. But I think it's perfectly normal and natural to have doubts and questions at any and every stage.

I hope you find whatever you're looking for, hon.  :)

yewberry

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2012, 03:59:34 pm »
Quote from: caelestisraven;51982
I think heavy doubt might be a sign that you are trying to force something that isn't right for you.


I tend to think heavy doubt also indicates intelligence and critical thinking skills.  Maybe I'm a spiritual weirdo, but I have very serious doubts about my perceptions of this stuff.  The entities I've "met" appear to live in liminal places, including, I imagine, between belief and disbelief.  I've always felt I need to embrace both states in order to even begin to understand them.  But, of course, I could be totally deluding myself.

I should also mention that I don't work with the Wiccan goddess, or any gods at all, so maybe comparing it to what the OP mentions is apples and oranges.

Brina

Aubrey_Rose

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2012, 04:06:32 pm »
Quote from: Chausette;51950
Now, I don't mean to offend anyone here. I'm genuinely not asking this out of malice - I'm just wondering, how do you know this is all real? When you commune with a God(dess), what is your confirmation that "yes, this is real and not just something I'm making up in my head"?

The reason I ask this is that I've recently tried to reach out to a Goddess, but I keep worrying that it's just my mind inventing things whenever She answers me. I'm a very imaginative person, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that I could just be having a conversation with myself, answering in the way I'd want Her to. So is there any way to solidly know that yes, this is real? Do you still experience doubt, or is it just the fact that I'm a beginner that I'm still questioning the reality of these things?

 
I'm constantly thinking about this. But what it comes down to for me is what I believe in my heart of hearts. There are small things that keep me believing, like the uplifted feeling I get when I pray, or stand at my alter. Or the way thigs always have a way of working out when I ask for help or guidance, even if they don't work quite in the way I imagined.

My Goddess found me. I used to talk to the male God of my beliefs all the time, but I was left with an incomplete feeling, there was just something missing. Then one day I reached out to my Goddess, talked to her, and sat with her, and I just knew.
I know it sounds corny, but its my expirience. Now whenever I sit and chat, or sit and listen to her I am filled with inexplainable peace.


Hope that helps.
If we all lived a little greener, Then perhaps our children\'s children will live a little longer.
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Chausette

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2012, 10:50:41 pm »
Quote from: yewberry;52022
I should also mention that I don't work with the Wiccan goddess, or any gods at all, so maybe comparing it to what the OP mentions is apples and oranges.

 
Maybe I should clarify a bit - I haven't been trying to work with the Wiccan Goddess, but rather the Greek Goddess Artemis. I had been meditating and thought of arrows and the forest and a lot of other things commonly associated with Artemis, and since then I've been trying to contact her, but when I get answers or anything else it feels forced, like I'm trying to speak for her.

Am I just rushing this or trying too hard to contact her? I feel a very strong draw towards her.

Wickerman

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2012, 11:10:40 pm »
Quote from: Chausette;52072
Maybe I should clarify a bit - I haven't been trying to work with the Wiccan Goddess, but rather the Greek Goddess Artemis. I had been meditating and thought of arrows and the forest and a lot of other things commonly associated with Artemis, and since then I've been trying to contact her, but when I get answers or anything else it feels forced, like I'm trying to speak for her.

Am I just rushing this or trying too hard to contact her? I feel a very strong draw towards her.

 
I see a lot of people talking about personal communications with deities. I am not doubting anyone's experiences, but I don't think that it happens this way for everyone. I have never had such an experience myself, and I do just fine. I pray, and sometimes I just know that those prayers were heard, other times I don't get that feeling. I would say, to not worry about it. If it happens for you then enjoy it, relish it. If it doesn't, then it doesn't. Don't rush it, let things happen naturally, Deities choose you, according to most people that I have talked to, so it could be that it just isn't time yet. But at the same time don't over think things, if you feel that a deity has spoken to you then operate under that premise.
"Don\'t take life too seriously, or you\'ll never get out of it alive." (Bugs Bunny)

yewberry

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Re: How do you know it's real?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2012, 12:28:15 am »
Quote from: Wickerman;52075
I see a lot of people talking about personal communications with deities. I am not doubting anyone's experiences, but I don't think that it happens this way for everyone.


This.  Stop wishin' and just keep yourself open.  It'll happen or it won't.  And don't beat yourself up if it doesn't.  I'm not sure that means anything either.

Brina

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