Week 7 of the Pagan Blog Project
Ok so let us start with Denial & Deceit.
The two issues of denial/deceit I want to discuss are Self-denial (lying to yourself), and denial on behalf of others.
Self-denial is not healthy, simple as that. If you keep urges, wants, needs, desires, etc from yourself, it is basically lying to yourself. Witchcraft and Magick are only as powerful as your word. If you yourself can’t believe what you say, or what you think, why should the Universe? Or another entity (deity, spirit, etc)?
That being said, it IS a lot harder than it sounds. To be truly, completely honest with yourself – about everything – may very well be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. In order to make your Magick every bit as powerful as you can, to use your energies to their fullest potential, and to maintain your spiritual (not to mention emotional, mental, physical, etc) integrity it is something you need to do. You will need to have a good long look at yourself – your thoughts, behaviour, habits…. everything, before you will be able to effectively use the full power of your personal energy. You may want to organise a personal mini-retreat, for an hour or two (or longer, if that’s what it takes), with a notebook and pen. If you have trouble remembering everything, or thinking of things you may/may not be entirely truthful about, or there are things you need to work through that you’ve been repressing – write it down! Write down everything that comes to you.
Personally, I kept a notebook with me for a week solid, and as well as making notes of some prompts/questions, I wrote down most of the thoughts that went through my head for those seven days. This was in addition to two in-depth hermit-ness sessions, one at the beginning of the week, one at the end. Some of my prompts were along the lines of:
Relationships – how do I communicate? how do I react to bad news? good news? would I want to be friends with me?
Myself – how do I think of myself? my body? how do I justify my actions?
Mental – when my mind wanders, where does it go? what do I think about before I go to sleep? when I first wake up?
You may want to do this more than once – after all, people change. Your habits, environment, relationships, mental processes, all change with time. Maybe not drastically, maybe not all at once, but they do change. Remember not to think of justifications for your habits, thoughts, etc as you write them down – simply write it down as data to be analysed later. You don’t even have to analyse all that you’ve written down, and you don’t have to try and change yourself “for the better”, or to “fit in”. If you realise you’re selfish, and you don’t want to change that, then don’t – but accept the fact that you are selfish, and be honest with yourself about it.
Denial on behalf of others is trickier to deal with.
For instance, about 4 years ago I was discussing religion with my (Roman Catholic) father because I can’t for the life of me understand why he still maintains a firm belief in Catholicism & the Bible considering the fact that he’s gay. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with him being Catholic, and I don’t have a problem with Catholics in general (hell, my Hubby is Catholic!) – I was just trying to understand him better. I sort of ‘came out of the broom closet’ unintentionally, telling him that I am a Pagan – to which his reply was “No you’re not, there’s no such thing.” O.o
Well, what is there to say to something like that? I was a bit flabbergasted, to say the least, so I just let it go. Honestly, I still don’t know what I would’ve said to that – even if I could go back to that moment in time to retort.
Righty-o, time for some Delusions of Grandeur.
A delusion of grandeur is the permanent, false belief that oneself possesses superior qualities. In a religious context, the person believes he or she has received a special message from God or another deity. (paraphrased from: John M. Grohol, Psy. D., Delusion of Grandeur, 2008)
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I first discovered/recognised Paganism, I felt pretty special. Around every corner was a sign from the Gods, I was constantly getting messages from the Divine….. I thought I was the greatest person in the world, that I had this special insight into the Universe and its workings. The world was full of sparkles and light and good, and any darkness could be easily fixed by having a personal chat with the Lord & Lady upstairs. I saw Tinkerbell-like fairies and Disney-fied pixies everywhere.
Nowadays, I can see that I was being pig-headed and silly, and the majority of what I thought I saw or heard were just figments of my mind. Once I actually started to study the various forms and beliefs of Paganism, and delve deeper into the history, emerging traditions/paths, as well as other people’s opinions & narratives, I truly began to understand that Magick is not like what’s portrayed in Charmed or Buffy. The ‘real world’ is full of Magick – it always has been. It may be called different things; tradition, wishing on a star, the birthday candle wish, prayer, nature, even Biology, Psychology, and most of the other ‘-ologies’.
However, some people seem to get stuck in the initial stage of “Oh my gosh I am so awesome. I talk to a Goddess and a God and do Magick. LOOK AT ME WITH ALL MY LOVE AND LIGHT”. These people are who I – and others – refer to as “fluffy bunnies”. Others may have a similar, or completely different, definition of fluffy bunny – but that’s what I go with. The thing is, delusions of grandeur are actually a symptom found in mental disorders (see above link in definition), and can be dangerous if not seen to by a professional.
… I honestly have no idea where I was going with the second half of this post -.- so I’ll just leave it at that.
NOTE: If you do attempt the exercise in the post’s beginning, and have trouble with it or are disturbed in any way by your results, please talk to someone – a friend, family member, or even a trained mental health professional.