Truth

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The Ordains: Part 13 – The Stories We Tell Ourselves May Harm Us

This is the thirteenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“Never lie to yourself for this is the ultimate act of deceit.”

I believe this is a tough one because most of us tell ourselves too many stories to count. Personally, as someone who is pursuing a career in writing fiction, I find that it can be quite easy to build a story in my head and even easier to believe it. The older I get, the more vigilant I have to be about what those stories are.

In the last two or so years, I’ve gone through some pretty big shifts emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And while the core of my belief hasn’t changed, a lot about the way that I practice and the way I think of myself is very different from five years ago.

Five years ago, I moved to New York with my mind set on following a particular path. At that time, I told myself I was being guided by Goddess and, if I didn’t take that exact route, I was a failure. Failure, in my warped mind, was equivalent to badness. So, when I moved here set on a certain course and I couldn’t hack it, that meant that I was bad.

The lie I had told myself was that people chose their path and stuck to it. Anything else was wrong.

It’s taken a few years to overcome those stories, as well as the fear of not living up to them. But I’ve realized that those stories don’t have to be true. When I accepted that, I finally began to feel like myself.

From childhood, I told myself so many stories. I listened to what people said about me,—that I was too quiet, that I was smart, that I was weird—and stepping out of those labels always left me questioning my identity.

But so many of those stories were false beliefs. Because they weren’t true, the part of me that knew that suffered. These lies I told myself led to near-constant confusion, depression, and feelings of worthlessness. They led to self-destructive choices and unhealthy compulsions. Things I’m still facing.

Nowadays, I’ve reached the point where I’m more aware of the things I tell myself. Of course, it takes work to actively try to change the kinds of thoughts that come into one’s mind. Many people knock the idea of positive thought, but it’s part of what’s kept me alive.

With words of affirmation, rephrasing negative thoughts, and reminding myself over and over that I don’t have to believe every thought that crosses my mind, I’ve found that my mindset is a lot more stable than it was a decade ago.

When we lie to ourselves, we’re robbing ourselves of the opportunity to feel peace. We’re stealing happiness from ourselves with dreadful stories.

How many people do you know are struggling to find a job? How often do you hear them say things like, “No one will hire me,” or “I just can’t seem to find a job.”? We lie to ourselves when we engage in bad behavior due to mental illness, but refuse to acknowledge any personal responsibility in the matter. These lies serve to absolve us and to temporarily free us from the hard work it takes to live fulfilled.

The more we believe these lies, the harder it becomes to understand ourselves and to truly feel joy. As we age, it becomes that much harder to find true freedom. That is, the freedom to be our most authentic, joyful, and spiritually-connected selves.

Many people think therapy or medication is the way to finding balance. I believe that those methods have extreme value in one’s healing process, especially therapy. That should be a resource that every person has access to. However, it sometimes feels like people use therapy as a tune-up, while doing little to no maintenance in-between sessions.

They go to a session, suss out their feelings, tell themselves they’re fine for a week, and then start the whole routine over. For whatever reason, many people seem frightened of the deeper, harder work. There’s no questioning of their beliefs and morals, no examination of their daily thoughts, no consideration for what they truly desire.

Instead, they continue on their routine. Work, home, dinner, entertainment, bed. In and out. Then, it’s back to therapy to discuss how they feel like they’re in a rut.

If we don’t work to reach the core of our problems and take the steps to solve them from within, then we can’t come to a place of true healing.

The only way to solve our problems is to face them and be honest about why they’re there. I counsel everyone to do so. The world will be much better for it. No matter how scary that is or how much it hurts, look at yourself with clear eyes. Ask yourself the hard questions, then ask again a month later or whenever you’re feeling unsure of who you are.

This is something I’m still learning. There are still things that I believe or that I tell myself that I know aren’t true. There are moments when I question my motives and my work, but that’s just one story. It doesn’t have to be true, and if I can see the lie for what it is, I can get through it to see the truth.

Have there been times when you knew you were lying to yourself, but kept going with it? Why do you think some of us do such a thing?

With eternal love,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

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The Ordains: Part 9 – We Both Have Truths

This is the ninth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“Witches know that there are no absolute truths.”

This title would have worked better a couple of entries ago. Still, as I said in that post, I can’t help but think of Pilate’s line whenever the question of “truth” comes up. That entry offers a pretty in-depth look at my personal views on truth, so I won’t repeat it all here, but I did mention my belief that all of our ideas of truth are filtered through personal experience.

One of the reasons Pilate’s line struck such a chord with me is because I already followed this tenet. The idea that there are no absolute truths guided me through childhood, though it was often a struggle for my black-and-white mind (itself a symptom of my inability to gauge subtlety from others) to fully accept.

Even as I struggled with the idea, I knew it to be true. At an early age, I learned that what looked red to me might look pink to someone else. As I approached adolescence, I began to think more deeply about truth. More accurately, I began to question the truths everyone around me believed.

A couple of years after my father passed away, my mom took my little sister and me to live in Mississippi. Most of our years there were lived in a small, close-knit, very Christian town. There were many things I loved and hated about living in Eupora, but my least favorite was the tendency all small towns have for extreme groupthink.

So, when I started to question my Christian upbringing—started to pull away from the accepted “truths”—I became more aware of how a differing understanding of truth affected every interaction with other people.

In addition, my truth and beliefs had changed and, as ever, I sought to understand why. In response to my changing core beliefs, I dove deeper into the sciences on the search for more concrete truths. I wanted something to rely on.

At first, the natural sciences provided some needed comfort. I could be satisfied knowing the facts of things like birth and life and death. These truths I knew to be absolute. They happened regardless of one’s beliefs about them.

Even now, these are the only truths I know to be undeniable, but the circumstances around them are murky still. The way we handle birth and death in this country leaves much to be desired. And nearly everyone in my generation seems to have some general struggle as they attempt to ‘understand’ life.

So, even these things I feel to be undeniably true are filtered through a billion different eyes—measured under a constant “what if?” What if we could live forever? What if we’re reborn after death? What if life exists in forms we’ve yet to discover?

It’s that constant “what if” which lives at the heart of this witches’ law. No matter how much we learn, there will always be something we don’t know. There will always be unattained knowledge. And the pursuit of that knowledge is an endless pursuit that means we can never know anything completely.

As a lover of both magick and science, I’ve come to accept that I know nothing. No matter how much I study, no matter how much information I try to shove into my brain, I will never know enough. I will always be learning, and therefore, must remain ever open to the changing nature of “truth.”
So long as I do my best to be an ethical and honest person, I can carry this law in my heart without abusing it. While I can acknowledge there are no absolute truths, I won’t pretend that this amounts to a go-ahead to tell lies. It’s not.

This law serves as a simple reminder that truth comes in many forms. I believe it’s a witch’s duty to figure out the most ethical and spiritually sound truth and to pursue that.

What do you think it means when one says there are no absolute truths? Do you think this is meant literally or in a very specific context? Please share in the comments or on the Maiden’s Circle Facebook page!

P.S. I’m in the process of starting a charity that offers aid to people who are homeless. Would you be interested in participating in a grassroots endeavor to create care packages for New York’s homeless?
The idea would involve bags of essentials including blankets, non-perishable food, feminine hygiene products, and more to help someone navigate life without a home. Homelessness can happen to anyone, so I want to do my part. If you’re interested, email me here and I’ll let you know how you can help!

Yours,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!