Friday, February 22, 2013

Pagan Blog Project: D is for Doubt

(I must give many thanks to my Goddess Sister, Ivy Moon, for this topic.  She knows, better than most, how to crawl into my brain and punch the crap out of it with thought-provoking stuff.  Thank you, Ivy!)

Many of us don't associate doubt with being a pagan or magical topic, but it is.  Maybe it's a really important one, too.  We have all performed magic or spellwork that simply didn't manifest.  Many times when this happens, we attribute it to the universe simply having something else in store for us, but could it possibly be that we doubted that it would work?

Doubt is a funny thing.  It doesn't take very much to screw up any chances we might have of succeeding.    Is doubt an emotion?  Is it simply a negative thought? gives the word doubt these definitions:

1. to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
2. to distrust.
3. Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.

The first definition leads us to believe that doubt is simply a negative thought, but the last two innumerate emotions: distrust and fear.  So, when we doubt our own magical abilities, are we simply not trusting our own abilities or are we afraid that we might succeed?  

I know many new witches who look to those who have been in the Craft for years and declare them to be 'powerful.'  These seasoned witches have come up through the degree system, in their chosen traditions, and been taught the lessons of the Craft.  The difference I see with many of the seasoned witches, versus the newer ones, is a lack of doubt.  These seasoned practitioners have learned to trust their own power and their own connection to The Power whereas many of the neophytes have yet to realize they have the same connection.  There is that small shred of doubt, the 'I don't know as much, so I'm not powerful.'  

Doubt creeps in when we compare our own path to that of another.  One thing I am taught in my own path is this: I only exist by comparison.  Well, doubt only exists by comparison.  Just because a person has walked their own path longer than you doesn't make them more powerful, only more experienced.  Doubt is the mother of fear and fear is the mother of failure.

When doubt creeps into our thoughts, we must stop and ask ourselves what we fear.  Do we fear failure?  Maybe success?  Those are really the only two answers to any situation.  Aren't they?  Next time you experience doubt, stop and ask yourself why.  Keep asking yourself why until you get to the bare bones of it.  When you do that, you get to know yourself a little better, but you also understand more why you see the world as you do.  

We can all work a little more on ridding ourselves of doubt and in the end, we become better people and better magical practitioners for it.

Brightest blessings my friends!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pagan Blog Project: D is for Dark Goddess

(And I have completely flaked for two weeks here! o.O Real life sometimes trolls me and steals my writing time.)

So, this week, the Dark Goddesses have demanded a blog.  Well, I can't say 'demanded'.  They never demand anything.  They just get a twinkle in their eyes, a sarcastic-ironic-like grin on their faces, and they say things like, "Hey, don't you think it's time...?" or "Have you thought about..."  This time it was, "Don't you think you need to talk about us?  Maybe dispel some of the myths and fears?"  Therefore, this weeks blog is on the Dark Goddesses and why we shouldn't necessarily fear their sometimes gruesome and fearsome nature.

I know many people who hear the name of Mother Kali and tremble in fear.  Their eyes widen, they break out in a sweat, their breath quickens, and you can see the terror on their face.  For a select few pagans I have encountered, she is the consummate Dark Goddess and they refuse to stand in circle if she is invoked because they have seen her terrible wrath wrought upon those who deserved it, but also upon those who asked for it.

Mother Kali metes out not only justice, but punishment.  Well, it's not really punishment, but it feels like it.  I heard a story one time about a young woman, a drug user, coming to a witch to get justice from Mother Kali and to leave her abusive and addicted boyfriend.  Within a short amount of time after this was asked for, maybe a couple of weeks, the boyfriend was on the run from the law and the girl was in jail for manufacturing drugs (or something equally as dramatic).  The poor girl couldn't understand why she was in jail when what she really wanted was her boyfriend put away.  However, the girl got exactly what she wanted, to leave her addict boyfriend.  Justice was following him as he ran (and was inevitably caught), but the poor girl didn't realize that leaving this young, addicted man, would ultimately lead her to drying out and getting her life straight.  The young woman didn't realize that Mother Kali never tipped the scales of justice one way or another.  If you ask for justice for a wrong, your life should also be just and in balance or She will make it so.

Hekate is another goddess who is quite popular today, and another of the Dark Goddesses.  She may back-hand me across the face for this next comment, but Hekate is kind of like Mother-Kali-Lite.  In that oh-so-horrible comparison, what I mean is that Hekate will, at least, ask you if you are sure when you ask Her for something.

From my own experience and Her claiming me as Her follower at Samhain 2008 and then the life which has ensued, I can honestly say that like all Dark Goddesses, she is not an easy mistress.  At Samhain 2008 I was a solitary practitioner working with the Greek deities.  I'd never worked actively with Hekate and chose to evoke Her, as the Crone, into my circle that night because my life was falling down around my ears and I didn't know what else to do.  My marriage was falling apart (because of prescription narcotics).  I was struggling with bills and my life was not as easy as it had been.  I was losing everything.

She came into my circle that night, withered, old, and wise, and, with a cackle, told me that I was to be her follower.  She said, "You are mine."  Stunned is not a strong enough word for me to use at this revelation of being claimed by a goddess.  Really, what could I say?  No?  That's laughable.  So, I acknowledged this and made an oath to worship Her in all that I do until such a time that She no longer sees that I need Her.  She then accepted this oath and asked me why I called upon Her.  I spilled my guts, talked about all of the horrible mundane things I was going through, and asked her if she would change it.  Hekate cackled at me and said that She could.  She then asked me, "Are you sure that you want this?"  To that, of course, I answered that I did and made her the offering I'd set out on my altar.  She once again cackled, took the offering, and gave me that knowing smirk and replied, "Be careful what you wish for.  You just might get it." And then, she was gone!

The next several months of my life were pure Hell.  I endured physical abuse from my (now dead) ex-husband.  I left.  I went back.  I left again for good and filed for divorce.  He stalked me.  He threatened me.  He threatened my family.  I quit my job and moved to get away from these things.  Through all of this, when I would cry out 'why me?', I would hear a little voice tell me to be strong and to be careful what I wished for.

My life, now, has purpose.  It certainly hasn't been easy and it certainly hasn't been a lot of fun (some of the time), but this great Dark Goddess has also opened my eyes to a much broader world.  She has allowed me to travel.  She has given me wise and fair teachers.  For each step I have taken in the right direction, she has rewarded me greatly, but for each mistake and outright disobayance, I have been firmly reprimanded and set back upon the right track.

Dark Goddesses are like a really good mother.  They discipline you when you stray, but they reward you when you stop being hard-headed and open up to something different.  The discipline can be quite traumatic, honestly, but the good things that happen are quite rewarding.  Having worked with Kali, Hekate, Hel, and The Morrigan throughout the years, I have found the energies of these ladies to be very similar even as their modes and tactics are quite different.  Dark Goddesses are not to be feared for their ways of being, but looked at and understood differently than those not labeled as such.  Some of us need a goddess who will push us down and curb-stomp our face when our stubborn streak kicks in.  Some of us need a goddess who will pat us on the back enthusiastically when we are doing what we are supposed to.

I came to the Craft to learn.  I am willing to suffer to learn.  Sometimes that suffering is greater than other times, but I am all the better for it.  Hail Hekate!

Brightest Blessings my friends!!