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To Know, to Will, to Dare...
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Witchcraft vs. Religion
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Article ID: 14786
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Jadalya Boudicca
Posted: December 4th. 2011
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Intuition is one of the strongest assets of a Witch. It is quite possible that one of the reasons people see Witches as “supernatural” is due to the fact that most Witches rely so heavily on their intuitions that we seem to have some kind of otherworldly knowledge of people, situations, or futures. What most people don't realize is that it's not supernatural or occult at all; it's simply that Witches actively build a dialogue with their inner voices, whereas most people brush off the whispers of their subconscious, or worse, intentionally bury them. However, I have been seeing an even bigger problem in our own community that threatens to annihilate the recognition of intuition, and that is through poor teaching practices.
Intuition is one of six psychic senses, and the technical term for it is claircognizance. Claircognizance is defined as the inner knowledge of information, people, places, or things without any outside information being presented. Some examples of claircognizance are knowing who is calling before answering when you have no caller ID, knowing when something bad has happened to a loved one, knowing when a friend is in trouble, and being able to sense things before they actually occur.
Intuition can be honed and used as a kind of extra-sensory security system. Everyone has experienced “bad vibes” from a person or place at one point in their lives. This is an example of intuition at work. It activates your psychic alarm, causing that twisting feeling in your gut that tells you something just isn't quite right, and perhaps you shouldn't be involved in whatever you are presented with at that moment. Often times, this can save you from a lot of grief, stress, or even injury. Ever decided at the last minute to take a different route to your home or work, just to get there and find out that a wreck had occurred on your usual route? Yeah. Intuition at it's finest.
Intuition is a wonderful gift, but increasingly people are losing touch with that inner voice. This can lead to serious problems. Everyone knows at least one person who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time, or has great intentions but causes trouble every step of the way, or just has plain old “bad luck”. These people often have victimization issues, feel that everyone is out to get them, and can suffer from depression or suicidal tendencies. In many patriarchal religions, intuition is seen as something from the Devil, and often followers of this mode of thinking are aggressive, religiously paranoid, and extremely fearful of the world around them. Some even go so far as to say that people who are exceptionally aware of their inner voices are besieged by demons, and perform ceremonies to divorce the subconscious mind from the conscious. This is unfortunate, but true.
That makes it especially difficult for newcomers to the Craft, Paganism, Neopaganism, or Heathenism. Many of us have converted from a patriarchal religion where intuition is looked on as evil, and we have been programmed to push our inner voices down until they become so weak they are nearly inaudible. I hear teachers telling their students to listen to their intuitions, and then becoming frustrated with them when the students look confused or indecisive. We forget how difficult it can be for the Seeker, flexing weak muscles and tiring quickly with effort.
The fact of the matter is, when it comes to teaching the Craft, we often forget to teach foundations. We jump right into going through the motions without teaching our students how to use their psychic senses. Having a student walk around in a circle pointing an athame to the ground isn't going to create a ritual space if the student doesn't know how to project and bend energies to their will. In some cases, this can create a rather nasty, confused, muddied-up space that no one in their right minds would want to work magick in. Nor will they be able to feel the energy they are creating if they haven't been taught how to recognize it. They will make mistake after mistake, and this is normal to some extent, but teachers can prevent a lot of these problems by remembering to teach basic energy work and theory before having them jump into a ritual. In other words, one must teach their students how to listen to their intuitions and psychic feelings.
This is no easy task, I'm aware. It will happen differently for each and every student. Some will catch on quickly, and others will have a lot of programming they will have to undo before they can effectively begin working with their inner voices. They will doubt themselves, tell themselves they were imagining things, and get discouraged along the way. However, no one said the calling of a teacher was easy. If a Seeker is serious and dedicated to learning the Mysteries, the teacher must be equally serious and dedicated to teaching the Mysteries.
Intuition is one of the most important aspects of being a Witch.
We strive to keep the dialogue open between our conscious minds and our subconscious minds. By becoming short with our students when they appear to be unable to do so, we show our own inability to keep our own dialogue open. Our students will have trouble connecting with us, connecting with magick, and even worse, connecting with Deity. They can inadvertently cause problems for themselves and reap some pretty gnarly karma because we, as teachers, have only told them to listen to their intuitions without actually helping them to recognize it. With something so important as intuition in the Craft, we can't become angry or agitated with those who are just rediscovering their inner voice. To do so will just further cause self-doubt, confusion, and will widen the gap between their conscious and subconscious minds.
So how do we teach someone how to listen to the intuition, that all-important skill?
Group meditation is one way we can teach our students to open that dialogue. Guided meditation is great for this, because it utilizes meditation, visualization, and concentration, all of which are skills that are necessary for doing energy work and spell crafting. Doing this simple exercise at the beginning or end of a study session will help a student recognize their subconscious, and will gradually strengthen their subconscious voice, i.e. their intuitions. Teaching basic Reiki, doing Yoga, and holding creative writing sessions also help the student to awaken their intuition.
In a spiritual practice that emphasizes “Know Thyself” as much as the Craft, we have to be patient with those who are still trying to learn. Many of us who have been in the Craft for years can sometimes forget that for many, intuition is something that is learned, not granted. By failing to recognize this, we inadvertently harm our students. With a skill as precious and necessary to the Craft as intuition, we must remember to foster practices in our students that exercise and strengthen those psychic muscles, or risk silencing the dialogue forever.
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