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!


  1. Merry Meet, I am new to the PBP, thank you for this post.

  2. Hello Padhopper!! Happy to meet you! Thank you for commenting.

  3. Interesting take on things. Thank you. I have very different thoughts on doubt. I actually see it as a necessity if we are to have faith. I'd love your thinking on my PBP post (shameless plug incoming):

    I agree that it is something to be worked through and dealt with; I'm just not as such I agree that we should be rid of it....

    Either way, thank you for a thought provoking essay!

  4. Great blog on the same topic, David! I agree that we absolutely must question everything (at least) at first, and those teachings which don't resonate deeply within us. That said, there comes a point when we have accepted certain teachings as being true, so in that acceptance, we have no need for faith or doubt any more. I suppose that, mostly, I see doubt as a function of ego, and the path I walk has no place for an out of control ego. :) Thanks again for writing the other side of this, man. (If you are reading this, go and read HIS blog on Doubt. It's just the opposite of mine!!)

  5. When doubt creeps in about your abilities it is hardly ever about the Craft; or your "readiness". It is your own personal feelings of inadequacy as a person; or the voice of "how dare you think you are good enough or bold enough to ask for this...". We as Pagans, sisters, and brothers should stop saying not only these things to each other; but constantly edify one another...YOU can do it, and YES do dare to ask for better because you are worth it; and a God or Goddess (even if you do not see it). This way, if we are in a weak moment ourselves, then together we can push through. I feel this is the advantage of a community over solitaire practice...

    SO, You can do it...and the next time you doubt your validity or self me! BUT ONLY if when I have a "shadow moment" you call me. Wonderful blog btw

  6. You honor me with your comment, Sonya. You are exactly right in your observation! The shadow is a tricky bastard. :) This is why I love my community so very, very much. There is no lack of encouragement. Thank you!! <3