• Jess

Discernment in Spiritual Practice

In the most easeful times, navigating this world can be a challenge. Since the pandemic began, it's become exponentially more challenging. Unsurprisingly, people have been turning to witchcraft, divination, crystals, astrology and a host of other tools and practices to help make sense of the world and their place in it.

Before we go any further, if it's not already obvious, as an earth-honouring, ancestor-honouring,intuitively guided, witchcraft-practicing Pagan woman, I believe that many of these tools can help us reconnect with our sense of inner peace and personal power and help us leave this world better than we found it. Provided that they're used responsibly, with knowledge of the culture they're from, how they work and with the wisdom to use them safely.

In various spiritual and witchy communities I've been part of, I have watched people become panicked because they had lost a crystal or rely on their Tarot or oracle deck to make important life decisions. If you feel that you can't confidently give a presentation at work without your amazonite ring or have done the same Tarot spread with 5 different decks hoping to get the answer you're looking for, it's a safe bet to say that you're looking for reassurance and a sense of safety.

I'd also go out on a limb and say that you've temporarily turned your personal power over to external things, to tools which you can choose to use, but aren't duty-bound to listen to. Time and experience have shown me that each of us is born with innate wisdom and knowing. Trusting in unseen Powers, such as Gods, ancestors or helping spirits, doesn't mean disregarding that innate knowing. It can be useful to get confirmation from a pendulum or a Tarot deck about a course of action, but the power lies in you, not in the tool you use.

So, why is this a big deal? It means that we don't trust ourselves, that we think we can't make wise decisions. It means that we doubt our power and our resilience, it weakens our intuition, and it feeds into the harmful belief that our innate wisdom just isn't enough. It can also mean that in the depths of our self-doubt, we ignore warning signs and rational information because we're so busy looking for magickal signs that we turn everything into a sign, ignoring information that we don't want to see or hear.

Your body is another incredible tool that you can use to help you make decisions and help you feel more grounded in your power and your ability to make wise, healthy decisions. We often speak of gut instinct, and there's plenty of evidence-based research to show that our gut can act as a second brain, sharing information with you on a level which you're not fully conscious of.

So, if you've leaned a little too heavily on external sources of wisdom and affirmation, how can you get back on track?

Without any tools at all, you can use your body as a divining rod. Let's say that you're trying to decide whether or not to leave your job. Once you get grounded and quiet, what does your body say? Maybe at the thought of staying, you notice that your palms get sweaty, your stomach gurgles and your neck feels hot.

At the thought of leaving, your shoulders start to crawl down from under your ears and you can breathe a little easier. This is information that you can use. Of course, I always like to use my body's wisdom in conjunction with some journalling or list-making using my mind's wisdom, and asking advice from trustworthy, safe folks who I respect, from friends to a therapist. Especially if we have a history of trauma, our body can interpret change as danger. This is what it means to practice discernment.

In an upcoming PDF on Discernment and Intuition, I'll share more about how to bring discernment to our practice and how to settle into trusting ourselves more. For now, remember that you are the magick that you are seeking. It's not in your tools. It doesn't have to cost money. Magick, the art of changing consciousness at will, comes from focused intent, deep desire, raising and sending energy, and acting in accord. You are the spell.

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