Today, let’s discuss skepticism! So obviously it should be in all aspects of life; science may be the one area I’m a bit more forgiving on if there is basically no more room for doubt due to countless, respectable peer-reviewed evidence (e.g. evolution, global warming, the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and safety of GE foods, etc.) As someone who works in science, specifically in the medical field, solid evidence is important to me. So, I am a skeptic, particularly in areas that do not have ways to neither prove nor deny themselves. Which means my faith and the ideas surrounding it can fall under my special form of scrutiny.
I believe that skepticism is an important thing to have in ANY spiritual path or religion. There are a lot of people in this world looking to take advantage of others through their beliefs and there’s a lot of just plain bullshit flying around in general, so it’s up to the individual to properly educate and protect themselves.
Now, this can make faith and spirituality a difficult thing to hang onto as you wade through hogwash, but that’s the beauty of faith right? Yes, but I will admit that if the day comes someone has definitive proof that there is no afterlife, no such thing as spirits, etc then obviously I may need to re-evaluate my belief system (and the things I experienced as a child, because…if spirits can’t be an explanation, then I’m gonna need something else). Until that day, I’ll follow my gut and hope not to get swindled.
I decided to write on this topic after listening to a podcast earlier today where the hosts discussed man-made rocks and crystals and the stone “Blood Quartz” came up in conversation. It turns out that blood quartz is actually just glass with red dye swirled around in it, but some jack-hole was selling it for a decent amount of money and claiming it had powers that could be used for all kinds of crap (protection, love, etc something to that effect). The hosts were both very bothered by this, as they should be, because this person is essentially taking advantage of those who don’t know better in the metaphysical belief world and making a good amount of money off of their gullibility. Of course, this person is free to do as they will unfortunately, but this really made me look inward a bit at my beliefs and practices and how I should protect myself from this kind of con.
Personally, while I love pretty/cool stones and rocks, I don’t really believe they hold special powers. Same with herbs and “essential oils”. Yes, the scent of lavender as incense or fresh bloom can induce feelings of calmness, but that’s about as far as I’ll allow the ‘woo’ to go; that smells can enhance or diffuse certain feelings. This is mostly because, for myself, I find it dangerous to believe certain plants or crystals hold certain powers. I think it can lead to me being more vulnerable to having someone tell me an item can or should be used a certain way and then have it turn out to be a load of bull.
Instead, I believe that everything has energy…well, actually everything does have energy, but I believe it has energy with potential. As a witch/pagan, I believe that I can use the energy in that item and focus it for what I want to use it for…or more what my gut instinct tells me to use it for. So if a stone makes me feel strong or protected, then I will use it in any craft or ritual that focuses on personal strength or protection regardless of whether or not “stone professionals” think that’s the correct purpose (or even it’s a simple agate I found outside…I love agates.)
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I am more skeptical of others and their ideas and what they try to sell me, because I don’t want to be duped. It seems to me that Paganism is an easy area for manipulators to infiltrate. Sometimes, items or rituals don’t work the same for each individual and paganism really is an individual path, so it’s important that each person is mindful of their own feelings when exploring or taking notes from someone else’s experience. The spiritual path of Paganism is so intimate and personal and I think that’s why I love it so much, but it’s scary knowing people could be taking advantage of us, so be safe out there! Take a breath and a minute to really consider what you’re being told or sold and follow your gut. It’s okay to raise an eyebrow if someone tells you basil will make you rich or moon stone will cure your depression. And please, PLEASE, don’t forgo mundane medical treatment for a serious problem in lieu of some naturopathic/homeopathic “remedy”. There’s nothing wrong with seeing a doctor AND performing a health ritual, but don’t let someone tell you rose water is more effective than antibiotics.
Seriously, do you, but take care of yourself and follow your gut. If rose quartz calls to you as a stone to promote health and happiness, then get it and use for that purpose. But if it just says to you,”I’m pretty, wear me,” then don’t feel pressure to use it in your rituals and simply find a fun outfit to coordinate it with! 😉
Hopefully I didn’t ramble too much and it made sense! Until next time, blessed be!