I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to a lot of things within the Pagan realm. You'd think someone who works with magic and Gods and other unseen entities would have less disbelief towards others' claims of 'powers' and 'gifts' and yet I often find myself rolling my eyes and scoffing when I hear claims of this that type.
What prompted this musing was a question on a Facebook group about the 'gifts' people have and the ensuing discussion. There were a lot of claims of 'gifts' and 'powers', each one appearing to be a one-up on the previous. I sat reading, shaking my head at the stories people offered up, thinking about how deluded each person was. Then I sat back and wondered, why did I react like that? It's not like I haven't personally experienced many of these things; dreams, visitations, the success of a spell and the fluctuations in energies around me. This got me thinking. Why the skepticism?
Personally I think the experiences are the exceptions and not the norm. I don't mean I'm the exception and I'm not discounting that things can happen, but I don't think they are 'powers' and 'gifts' that a person has. I've been known to ask for rain during a hot, sunny and cloudless day only for the heavens to open up five minutes later. I've also found myself out in the sun with no shade and burning from the heat wishing that the wind would pick up and blow a cloud across the sky to cover the sun, which has happened on a couple of occasions. With this sort of 'success' do I think that I have some special weather power/gift? Not at all. I'm inclined to believe it's a happy coincidence. Yes I believe words/thoughts have power, but my ego is not big enough to think that my thoughts are actually going to change the weather, regardless of how strange and closely correlated the events are.
Do I believe some people have talents that can be learned and exercised like any other mundane talent? Sure. I've seen some great tarot readers who have had to learn and hone their craft. Do I believe people who have psychic talent are crackpots? Of course not. Many of my friends have psychic leanings and of those I would trust a few with my life so if they see/feel things then I believe they see/feel them.
I wonder if my skepticism at someone claiming to be a great and powerful XYZ is that I'm really a scientific girl at heart. If a claim can't be quantified and verified then it is harder for me to accept it happened and wasn't a part of an imagined experience. I sometimes wonder if my own experiences are imagined because of this same skepticism. Is that something that other practitioners experience? A self doubt? I'm not talking about bringing doubt into spell work because I never doubt that. Doubt leads to failure. I mean that after you get good results, or after you have an 'otherworldy' experiecnce, do you have a moment of doubt where you wonder if it is just a coincidence or perhaps you just imagined it happened?
I will say though that I should be more tolerant when someone makes a claim of having experienced something. Sure it might not be verifiable, and could quite possibly be a coincidence, but does their believing it actually hurt me? As for my own experiences, why does it matter if the end result is the same? Do I really crave validation that my experiences are real? And real by what standards?
Unfortunately today's post is loaded with more questions than answers and crazy idle thoughts.