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Differences in self since beginning to practise?


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#1 Hekabel

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 10:29 AM

This is less of a question about how others perceive you, and how you perceive yourself, based on things I've noticed about myself since I started down my path.

When you began practising in earnest (assuming you haven't been at it since childhood lol), did you notice any differences in how you feel? Before I started practicing, I was very socially anxious, had bouts of what I now recognise as depression, was very very nervous about taking up anyone else's time or being a "bother". But, since I actually started working with the Craft, I feel... It's hard to choose a word, but I think maybe "formidable"? I feel powerful, confident, and infinitely more competent. I feel like there's this enormous well of energy under my skin, burning away any previous nerves or low self esteem!

Along with this, I feel like my emotions in general are heightened? It's much harder to keep my cool than it used to be, things regularly move me to tears where before I never cried at anything but personal tragedy, I feel wildly vengeful and find myself much happier and more content with much less provocation.

So, I was wondering if this happens to other people, or if it's all psychosomatic or something lol, which is always a possibility!

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#2 NorthernPilgrim

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 12:41 PM

I have similar changes in self-perception, but the most obvious one is that I no longer think I'm nuts when I sense things lol So in a nutshell, more confident?

 

As for others, so far I haven't heard any report that I have changed or things. Could be because I haven't practiced enough lol. But I'm also the type of persons who are used to hiding themselves so . . . .


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#3 RapunzelGnome

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 04:09 AM

I feel more complete in myself, if that makes sense. I am no longer finding my identity in other people or ideas or roles. I'm just me, and it's...whole.

Growing up Christian, the teaching is that you should fill up any "holes" in your life with God and nothing else. If you've got sin in your life it's because you're trying to fill the "God-shaped" void with other stuff. But the funny thing is, all that ever did was make me feel guilty for wanting the "stuff" more than I wanted God. I'd ask to be filled, as they say, and I'd have some emotive-surrender moment and the next day I'd go back to the stuff. Co-dependent relationships, excessive spending or long periods of depression...food. And the destructive cycle just went on and on, driven by the guilt and shame that it wasn't working, and not for lack of trying or desiring it to.

Now I realize that I never really had any "holes" or voids to fill...I just wasn't allowed to fully know and accept the person I really was. They had me convinced that the parts of me that were unfavorable to the church were just things I was using to replace God. But in reality, my destructive behaviors were a result of me fighting against my true self and refusing to see the entire me. When I was able to see and accept my actual identity, the dark and the light, the masculine and feminine, the sacred and profane and all the in-between, I no longer needed to bounce from thing to thing to find an identity in something that I am not.

That ends up manifesting itself as a lot more self confidence, productivity, and healthy behaviors. I'm not trying to squeeze myself into a role I wasn't made for, but finding myself and improving upon it with growth. And nothing boosts your self-confidence like actually changing things to your advantage by will and intention. Once you start seeing that you can change the world around you, improving yourself seems much more manageable.

But if I make it sound all happy bunnies and rainbows of self-discovery, it's worth mentioning that I had to go to some really dark, dark places on this path and I'm sure I will again. Part of finding yourself can include finding what your rock-bottom is and all the crags and crevices along the way. But part of being a witch is knowing death intimately and living with in the mystery that's it's not an ending but a gateway. That also goes for all the little painful deaths you'll experience on the path. I'll always have that incurable rapscallion inside of me, it just doesn't mean that I need to repress it until acts out and starts calling all the shots. I just had to learn how to feed it in healthy ways.

Anyways, theses are very much psychological changes and growths that I've made, but witchcraft was the often the vehicle or tool, where Christianity was what I used to cover and hide beneath.

Edited by RapunzelGnome, 22 February 2016 - 04:15 AM.

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#4 Jaesin

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 08:50 AM

Wow, this is a subject I could write a thesis on but I will however keep this brief as possible. 

When I began to practice seriously, I went through a series of changes.  I am a former Buddhist Monk of 11 years, pastored a Christian church for a few years while getting my Doctorate Degree, and through that process, began to ask myself questions (Long story up to that point).  

I can recall sitting in the middle of a state park, staring off into the mountains and asking myself "why do I believe what I believe".  When I began to deconstruct the walls of "religion" and societal programming that  I had built around myself one by one until I was able to see back to when I felt most natural.  This led me to return to practicing Witchcraft, and the connection it made me feel to nature sparked a new question in myself...

"Who am I?"  I a clearly not the things I thought I was.

 

I recalled when I would journey to other "realms" in trance I would be called something different.  This led me to the realization that "I AM NOT MY NAME."  If I change it, do I still exist?  Yes.  So I cannot be my name.

I recalled others calling me "biqshu" and "pastor". I recalled others telling me I was crazy as I created various concoctions from herbs, stones, bones, and the like.  Yet, the results were beneficial.  I learned that "I AM NOT WHAT OTHERS SAY I AM."  Yet, I had a teacher that believed in me enough to teach me that I was not the only crazy one!  I proudly embraced the stigma of strange. What they call me is mere opinion, and you know what they say about opinions....."Opinions are like rectums.  Everyone has one, they blow a lot of hot air, are usually full of crap, and often stink!" 

I recalled my house catching on fire as I was studying at the kitchen table.  I lost everything I owned.  All of my "supplies".  How was I going to practice?  Yet, I still existed.  and "I" still practiced.  I learned that "I AM NOT WHAT I HAVE" 

I recalled a time when I lost my job for wearing a black chicken foot necklace (which I still wear to this day) to work and was fired for "scaring people with black magic".  Even though I lost my job, I still existed.  I learned "I AM NOT WHAT I DO."  

I recalled traveling to other realms, communicating with "spirits", and see in places that I could not imagine existed, all while leaving my body behind.  I learned, that "I AM NOT MY BODY".  The real me is much greater.

So what differences has practicing witchcraft brought into my life?   I learned that the mask I wore (the ego) for so many years was not me.  Witchcraft stripped me of this false identity and showed me who I really am.  I am not my name.  I am not my body.  I am not what I have.  I am not what I do.  I am not what others say I am.  I am something greater than all this!  To me, this is the most powerful form of witchcraft.  Revealing the true self!  Not for the world to see, but for you to KNOW!

 


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#5 Oroboros

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 02:49 PM

@Jaesin- that is a great post, +1 from me. Lessons important to understand on a deep level. Not "I get it", but " I really get it." Conversely, I am completely utterly mystified at the number of people who seem to have zero interest in why they believe what they believe. No drive to discover the unseen and unknown. To me this type of curiosity and having a drive to understand these things is fundamental to being human. Yet apparently it isn't, at least for many people it isn't.

On a different note. You wore a black chicken foot necklace to work, apparently in plain view?!
Lol, so you hated working there anyway is what your saying:):):).

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#6 Kalinia

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 08:23 PM

One big change is that I actually appreciate nature more. I take my time to really enjoy my surroundings, and be truly appreciative of what is all around me. When I am actively practicing, versus being an armchair pagan with a lazy dream, everything around me I am more aware of. The dark, the light, the beauty, the ugly. I think, and feel, and question more. I feel more open, alive and free. More like myself, verses a dumbed down closed off version. 


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#7 Jaesin

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 05:13 AM

@Jaesin- that is a great post, +1 from me. Lessons important to understand on a deep level. Not "I get it", but " I really get it." Conversely, I am completely utterly mystified at the number of people who seem to have zero interest in why they believe what they believe. No drive to discover the unseen and unknown. To me this type of curiosity and having a drive to understand these things is fundamental to being human. Yet apparently it isn't, at least for many people it isn't.

On a different note. You wore a black chicken foot necklace to work, apparently in plain view?!
Lol, so you hated working there anyway is what your saying:) :):).


Thank you for the kind insight.  I stand with you in being mystified by the number of people who never stop to ask themselves why they believe what they believe. I couldn't agree more with your statement that "this type of curiosity and having a drive to understand these things is fundamental to being human."   If you "believe" what you believe without knowing why you believe it, is it truly belief, or just programming? 

I have had this conversation all to often here in the Bible belt.  Obviously, wearing my chicken foot sparks a bit of conversation and stares (and it amazes me how many southern folk ask me if it is a monkey paw...WTH????  Does not even look similar, and this is the south, we have LOTS of chicken farms and people raising their own chickens. Oy vey. But I digress.  All to often, when they comment on the chicken foot and ask me "WHY?", I will usually ask them why do they believe what they believe.  Almost unanimously, I get one of two reoplies;

1) "I was raised to believe this" (Christianity).

2) "The bible says...

Both reasons astound me. With answer #1, I usually tell them a short story that basically goes like this.

One day a wife was preparing a ham to be cook while her husband sat with her and chatted. As he watched her, she cut off both ends of the ham, and threw them in the garbage, then placing the ham in a pan.  The husband, out of curiosity then asked the wife "why cut the ends off the ham and threw them out.  it looked like perfectly good meat." To which the wife replied "I don't know really, That's the way mamma always done it. So that's they way I do it

The wife now thinking about the question, calls her mother and asked "how come you always cut off the ends of the ham and then threw away when you were preparing it to be cooked."  The Mother replied' "that's the way grandma always done it, so that's how I was taught to prepare it."

The wife then calls her grandma and asks her the same question, "When you prepare a ham, why do you cut the ends off and throw them away?"  To which the grandma replied, "I never had a pan big enough to fit the ham in, and we were to poor to buy a ;larger one. So I cut off the ends to make it fit."

A whole lot of good gone to waste over the years that could have been very beneficial simply because no one asked why!

In reply #2, Having a graduate level theological education, I have a ton of replies to this, but I will usually have them do the work themselves by referring them to look at Hebrews 1:3 in the Codex Vaticanus which contains a side note reading “Fool and knave! Leave the old reading, don’t change it!" -which is absolute proof of alterations within the Bible. 


As far as wearing the black chicken foot to work, yes.  I figured most walked around with rosaries, crosses, some with shirts that were rather vulgar,  one wore tzitzit - Tassels worn as commanded in the Torah (Numbers 15:38), so why could I not wear my chicken foot?  Well, as you already heard,  apparently having the stigma of strange attached to you is not a good idea in the workplace (although my job now does not mind it at all). 


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#8 Oroboros

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 08:39 AM

@Jaesin - yeah well, the people in my area were raised with church being fundamental, as well as beer and football, homophobia, racism, and keeping your wife in line. As though it makes sense to preach about the message of love and yet live that way. So, I feel like the whole ham thing would be lost on them.

PS: not that there is anything wrong with beer and football...:)

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#9 Jaesin

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Posted 23 February 2016 - 11:08 AM

W

 

@Jaesin - yeah well, the people in my area were raised with church being fundamental, as well as beer and football, homophobia, racism, and keeping your wife in line. As though it makes sense to preach about the message of love and yet live that way. So, I feel like the whole ham thing would be lost on them.

PS: not that there is anything wrong with beer and football... :)


Well put!


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#10 Wexler

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Posted 18 March 2016 - 12:18 AM

The biggest difference is now I believe what I do, say, and think matters.


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#11 Coyote

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 06:11 PM

@Jaesin - Nicely put.

I've been a member on here for years but given the fact that I don't get on the forums much, I tend to read more than I post when I am here. Your post certainly caught my eye and I remember thinking "BAM! This guy nails it."

 

As always there is much to be learned by anyone who comes onto this forum with a desire to learn and grow. Thanks for sharing!  


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#12 TemperanceMoon

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 03:39 PM

Thanks folks! Another great string! I completely resonate with much of what has been said.  Since actively practising the craft I feel more like me, deeper, more whole and also have had to dive really deep into my darkness, illuminating it. Even though I come from a slavic family that believed in wtichcraft, I would have to say that people in my community (east vancouver) began calling me a witch before I identified as one.  My community has tons of witch/pagan folk, so I know this was a super important part of my self awareness/acceptance.  I feel like the craft keeps expanding me inside and out..and my connection to all beings (fellow animals, plants, elements, etc).  I also have found that every year that goes by with me deepening my understanding of what I believe has also resulted in attracting other humans to my life that share this path.  I have learned (the hard way, as these things go) that having people in one's life that are intimidated/jealous/scared of the craft results in me not practising very much. The craft continues to expand me while simultaneously strengthening my boundaries.  I am a long time community organizer and activist and the craft has not only made me a better, more grounded organizer, I also feel it is essentially the same thing in terms of justice, love, generosity, growth, and creating a better world.


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#13 Eis

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 11:34 PM

There are a lot of subtle changes, and there have been a number of larger changes as well.  None of them have been changes for the worse.  Witchcraft, more than anything else in my life, has encouraged me to 'live in the world' and take steps to understand my place in it.  The most important step of all has been learning just who I am: that encompasses so many things that I could write pages about it.  In short, it has helped me to gain confidence in myself, to value myself and to set healthy boundaries that reflect this self-worth in terms of what I am willing to put up with (hint, hint, it ain't a whole lot).  It's also helped me to finally get a handle on just what I really want out of this life I'm living.

 

Witchcraft helped me bounce back from a series of bad relationships, find the person who is right for me, land a job in the field I want to work in, and finally build a stable and safe environment.  I couldn't have done any of those things without taking the steps to come to know who I am.  It's a lifelong process, but I don't know that I ever could have made myself begin it without my practice. 

 

These experiences are worth more than their figurative weight in gold.


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#14 odalibuc

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 04:11 AM

Before I began practicing witchcraft, I always felt very uncomfortable in my skin, but didn't realize it because it was all I'd ever known. Going to church with my parents seemed like it helped, but it made that discomfort numb instead of better. I felt very contained, like my body isn't meant to hold all of what I am and I didn't know what to do. When I began practicing, it felt like I was stretching out shriveled muscles; it almost hurt, waking up the energy inside me. But now, I feel very rooted in the earth and very connected to my friends on a deeper level. I also don't feel nearly as confined anymore, especially after I began learning to astral project and interact with spirits. I'm also coping with my depression a lot better, and have found several pick-me-ups for when I get very overwhelmed or anxious. Most notably, I found a use for a stim brush I used in middle school and now take it everywhere I go; its much better at taking my anxious energy than fidget stones ever were, and washing it with soap and water rinses out all of that negativity and sends it back into the earth once it gets in the pipes underground. All in all, I feel much more comfortable in my own skin.


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#15 Aronses

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 06:18 AM

Well I can't pin what on what, as I was coming to terms with my sexuality the same time I started practicing the craft, but I didn't notice anything others would see. I didn't become more confident or value myself more, that came with life experience, I didn't really become more of anything really. What did change that I noticed was my own perception of the world. I noticed how things feel instead of just look, sound, taste, etc. I took in life much more than before practicing. I would like to say it made me different, but honestly accepting myself helped bring that on. 


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#16 Mistflower

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 08:43 AM

I have switched off the radios. And the TV.  I am more comfortable with what is going on within me, and no longer have the need to block it all out with random interference.


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#17 Wanderer

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 10:44 AM

Since beginning my work I have a lot more confidence and belief in myself. I used to freak out if my experience was something out of the normal because of cultural factors, even though I thrived for that when I was a child. I guess I have come to realize that ultimately when push comes to shove the only thing I can really be certain of is that I am 'experiencing' and to stay present and with that process whatever it seems to be moment to moment. It hasn't been the easiest path and at times I would say it's been a very hard path but strengthening like nothing else that I know.

 

Since hearing of traditional witchcraft it has helped me feel more connected to spirit and my ancestors because I can now see that there is a very rich tradition that is connected to my ancestors and that spiritual and shamanic practices aren't just something that all other cultures have. They are part of me and my history which helps to affirm beliefs/intuitions/experiences I have had prior to understanding more about witchcraft.

 

At the beginning of my journey that was to lead me here I suffered from what the outside world would call a psychotic episode which now I realize was just an initiation and death of my old self I crafted for me so that I could function in certain cultural paradigms. It also allowed me a fairly extended period of living with a foot in both worlds. This has greatly effected my understanding and sensitivity to energies. Developing more of a sense of energies and the entities that interact with them has helped me so much in seeing how I have attracted certain difficult experiences into my life and what they actually were. Having more awareness of energy has also been challenging, especially other peoples, but is teaching me so much about how to protect my energy and how things are so intimately connected in a vast web of energy/spirit.

 

One last thing is that the world seems to make more sense to me and also much more interesting, while I was interested in science and still am, I saw the absolutism philosophy guiding science as a dead philosophy, magic is much more living and interactive..it's alive!! In fact you could say that's the key difference..I'm alive and the world is alive.


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#18 Nikki

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 07:23 PM

@ Jaesin and Wexler +1 to you both.  Excellent posts.


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#19 AuroraBaenSidhe

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 08:32 PM

It's a completion. Like before I began this journey I was constantly looking or reaching for something and when I first started to practice it was like leaping some great divide. Everything just fell into place. Outwardly I suppose not much happened. Internally, though, I went from uncontrolled chaotic storm to calm, collected and steadfast. 


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#20 Aina

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 09:25 PM

For me, things that happened in my past now make sense. It's like my life was a puzzle and now everything's coming together. This is the most connected I've ever been.
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