Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 19,786,997

March 4th. 2017 ...

Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion

February 10th. 2017 ...

Understanding the Unseen

Kitchen Magic and Memories

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

Little Dog, Big Love

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

October 10th. 2016 ...

Witchcraft from the Outside

September 11th. 2016 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?

What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?

Nature’s Reward

August 12th. 2016 ...

When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch

Past Midnight

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

An Open Mind and Heart

Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum

June 13th. 2016 ...

Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

Life is Awesome... and the Flu

May 15th. 2016 ...

Wiccan Spirituality

Faery Guided Journey

How to Bond with the Elements through Magick

Magical Household Cleaning

Working with the Elements

April 2nd. 2016 ...

Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected

An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity

The Evolution of Thought Forms

The Fear of Witchcraft

Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele

Magic in Sentences

Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Energy and Karma

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Introduction to Tarot For the Novice

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self

The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans

Native American Spirituality Myopia

A Dream Message

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side

September 16th. 2015 ...

Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate

Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism

May 6th. 2015 ...

Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism

I Claim Cronehood

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 28th. 2015 ...

On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

The Three Centers of Paganism

Magick is No Illusion

The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames

January 1st. 2015 ...

The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 13669

VoxAcct: 278862

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 2,612

Times Read: 3,224

RSS Views: 13,737
Instinct vs Research

Author: Juniper
Posted: January 31st. 2010
Times Viewed: 3,224

“This is what happens when you dabble! You can’t practice the Craft while you are looking down your nose at it.” ~ The Aunts from Practical Magic

So why do I have to do all this required reading and research? Isn’t that work? Its so time consuming and the books are hard to read! Why can’t we simply practice solely based upon our instincts and natural talents?

Instinct is only one part of the equation.

Imagine that your spiritual practice was a house. Now, try to build that without blueprint, without a plan, without the knowledge of how to properly the use a nail-gun and electric drill. You could probably build yourself and nice little shanty but it’s probably not going to keep you very warm come wintertime. It is also certainly not the four bedroom post and beam home you had hoped for either.

It’s all about balance. It is all right if your spiritual path leans more on the instinctive side than the research side, or vice versa. After all you should build a house you’d actually want to live in. However leaving out one or the other entirely is just plain irresponsible.

An adult doesn’t go into a job interview with having some experience at that job, or without at least doing a little research first, or else they wouldn’t get hired. So a Witch shouldn’t be summoning spirits, ancestors and gods without having a clue as to what they are dealing with and how.

I know a number of Witches and Pagans who practice almost totally based on instinct and natural talent alone. It’s wonderful to be blessed with strong instincts and natural talent, if you have it. However these instincts only Witches will, more often than not, report frightening and bad experiences or a lack of anything “special” happening at all. Why you may ask? This is because instinct and talent is the starting point, not the be-all and end-all.

They go walking into ritual and situations they are not properly prepared for and wind up doing more harm than good. If instinct and talent were all that was required than these instincts only Witches would not be having such bad experiences in the first place.

Working based on instinct and talent is supposed to come after years of research, practice and trial and error. Practicing a beautiful and fulfilling non-scripted ritual is your reward for years of practicing with a script in hand until you don’t need one anymore.

Starting at the 101 level without a script, with out doing your research, is taking a shortcut. It is lazy, immature and irresponsible. It will never be as enlightening and fulfilling as a ritual, rite or Craft that you earned the hard way. There is no such thing as “good enough” in a spiritual practice, especially what that “good enough” mean you did next to nothing at all. A spiritual Path is not supposed to be easy and the gods don’t like lazy people.

The gods, spirits and ancestors do not reward people who do not do the work to earn their respect. If you want to develop a relationship with the Otherworld and the Spirits of the Land you have to earn it. You cannot simply show up with your hand out expecting a prize, for no work, like a spoiled child.

This is witchcraft, not a revealed religion. You cannot just show up, sit down, open one book and expect heaven to be handed to you for no reason other than that you are a good person. Declaring, “I am here and I am good” may work for monotheism, at least on the surface, because they are on a conquest kick and want as many people to join as possible. Yahweh and Allah just aren’t all that picky, its enough that you are willing to show up and feel guilty for the bad things you do and then try to coerce other people to join too.

Our gods expect a little more from you than that. After all, they put you here and they made you good (at least that’s how you started out anyway) so showing up and saying “I’m here and I’m a good person” fails to impress them. Our gods used to be worshipped by people who would sacrifice their very best goat to them and now you expect them to hand the Mysteries over to you because you showed up with Enya playing on your MP3 player? For shame!

You cannot expect your ancestors, people who fought battles with swords, who pushed horse drawn plows, how would walk many miles to the yearly feast grounds, to give you long lost lore for nothing. What we must look like to them, we who are so spoiled and pampered that we whine and complain when the processional to the ritual is longer than 3 city blocks. How can you ask for their aid or protection or knowledge when you are willing to do little more than pour half a bottle of cheap whiskey out to them once in a while? The processional for the Eleusian Mysteries in ancient times took a whole day.

Now I know I am being a bit hard on you here. I do so because I care and also because I myself have learned these lessons the hard way. I was once a young aspiring Hedgewitch who covered herself with too-potent, homebrewed, flying ointment only to have a truly terrifying, mind shattering, life-changing experience. The kind I would not wish on my greatest enemy. So I speak from experience here, not a high horse.

Allow me to give you another example from my own experience. I have a staff that I now call my “fluffy staff” made many years ago when I was younger and impatient it is covered with poorly researched runes and ogham, silly markings and glued on crystal beads. Truly it looks like a cheap prop for a small community’s stage production of Harry Potter. I grimace every time I look at it now and vow that one day I will sand it down and start gain.

In the meantime however I have spent the last six years slowly creating a most wonderful and beautiful stang. Made of juniper wood from an uncles back yard and seasoned for three years. It has been carefully laid in the sunlight and moonlight, placed in the winds of the great Canadian Rockies, the Kootenays, the wind off the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Carefully carved, each stroke with the knife researched, planned and mediated upon. Lovingly hand sanded over an entire winter until my hand ached. I have loved this piece of wood for the better part of a decade now; I know every millimetre of it better than I know my own body. All I have to do it touch it to enter into a light trance state and it has not yet been blessed.

This stang is nearing completion and will be finished in its seventh year of creation; it will be one of my proudest achievements as a Witch. And it will be a tool far more potent and powerful than anything even an Elder could whip up in only a week’s time. I know al this work and worry, waiting, plotting, planning and research is worth it. I know that when I come into the presence of the gods with this tool in my hand, they will see plainly my dedication to the Craft and approve.

I have learned to earn my right to call myself Pagan, Witch, Priestess and Shaman. How about you?

“Properly prepared I must always be” ~ part of the 2nd degree oath as written by Gerald Gardner.

Copyright: Juniper from the Hedge 2009, feel free to reproduce so long as you have my name attached.



Location: Ottawa, Ontario


Author's Profile: To learn more about Juniper - Click HERE

Other Articles: Juniper has posted 8 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Juniper... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Juniper ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2017 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).