Fear and Doubt

By December 9, 2011 Witchcraft & Magic 45 Comments

I have a secret to share with you all: we all feel fear and doubt on this path, it will always come and go, and it’s completely normal -healthy even. We fear we’re not doing it right. We fear magic’s not real and what we do doesn’t work. We fear magic is real and our spells will work. We fear the otherworld and spirits are real and what will happen if we do take the steps to interact with them. We fear what we might hear, see, experience, or that it will alternately be nothing at all. We are afraid of success and failure at the same time.

If you’re not afraid, you’re either not human or you are stuck in a place of comfort and are instead afraid to move further along on the path preferring to stay in the safe zone you’ve carved out for yourself. If you don’t have those moments of doubt and fear now and then, it may be likely that you’ve stopped walking your path, afraid of the thorns and hidden dangers ahead. But we all fear, so chin up, hiking boots on, and walk bravely again on your path into the unknown.

I tell myself and others that if you are uncomfortable and feel a little chill of fear up your spine when you practice magic and ritual, you’re doing it right. The more uncomfortable you feel, the more barriers you break and the more progress you make along your path. Courage is acting anyway in spite of fear and doubt. Β It is faith and action. We are all tested by the gods and spirits, to see what we will do. Will we stop where we are, will we give it up and run away, or will we keep going despite our fears?

Do things that take you out of your comfort zone; host rituals for others, perform rituals and practices you’ve been afraid to or put off for one excuse or another, reach out to spirits and gods on a regular basis and seek communion with them, listen to the voices within and follow your intuition, and set aside time to actually do the work – do it anyway even though you are afraid. The exhilaration of accomplishment from pushing through your fears is well worth it and you will need to do it again and again walking this crooked path. The initiation, the becoming, never stops. This path isn’t meant to be easy after all, if it was everyone would walk it, but they don’t because it is narrow, crooked, steep, and sometimes treacherous.Β Give into the dark night of the soul, face and deal with the secret fears you hide deep within yourself, embrace them, and come through it transformed. We all fear, you are not alone.

Author Sarah

Illustrator and weaver of words. Witch. Forest siren with talons, succubic tendencies, a love of otherworldly beauty, poisonous plants, wild places and dead things.

More posts by Sarah

Join the discussion 45 Comments

  • cheshirecatman says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Sometimes I tend to have the mistaken belief that those I look up to are confident on their path all of the time. It’s heartening to know that you have moments of doubt and fear as well.

  • Nikkie says:

    Perfect timing, perfect words……fear is healthy and it proves that we are alive. This crooked Path is indeed fearfully magical. How fortunate that we are walking it…Thank you Dear

  • chloe says:

    Timely post, thanks.

  • “We are all tested by the gods and spirits, to see what we will do”

    And say (to speak our mind)…to see if we will be honest with ourselves, to others, to them…our feelings, our thoughts…and voice those truths. How many times has anyone on this path became so frustrated (for whatever the reason) and voiced it out loud to the gods and spirits? And in the back of our mind fearing how they would respond to it? But it had to be said and you knew it no matter what happened.

    Great post Sarah…

  • Damon Stang says:

    I can’t actually even begin to explain how much this post means to me. Just an hour ago I was having a most intense existential inner dialogue with myself about these very issues. Thank you for your vulnerability, wisdom, and power. You do the Craft proud. I am grateful for your generosity.

  • downstrodden says:

    Thanks for this wonderful piece, it speaks to me, and no doubt all of us, in ways you can’t imagine!

  • nightjohn says:

    What perfect timing! This is exactly what’s been going on with me, I think. I allowed myself to fall into a comfort zone and momentarily turned my back on what I knew I really needed to be doing. Thank the gods, I’m fairly sure I’ve woken up from that now!

  • hisprecious1 says:

    Oh thank you so much! I needed to hear that! This time of year is my least favorite – only because I detest the cold. But I sometimes become dormant myself – but I only need the courage to trudge on and see the beauty in ALL seasons and have no fear of it. Thanks again and many blessings to you!

  • Marilyn says:

    It is very important, particularly when in the Circle of Arte, to guard ones thoughts and emotions, for whatever you think and feel becomes part of the working, part of the magic, and can manifest.

    It’s a skill that takes many years to hone, decades perhaps, takes much practice and consistently pushing past the fear barrier.

    The day will come when one truly fears nothing and will walk into the Circle with such confidence and familiarity and do magic with such laser-like concentration, one wonders how they ever felt otherwise.

  • Laurel says:

    Thank you. Just the words I needed to hear at this time. πŸ™‚

  • Richard de Graeme says:

    Wise words, Sister. Lovely post! Thank you πŸ™‚

  • Harold Roth says:

    Good advice. I agree with you that fear is often a part of magic. I certainly had a problem in the past with experiencing fear at spirit contact. Repeatedly, spirits made contact with me and I ran away, to come sneaking back later, when I calmed down. The power of a spirit can really be terrifying, especially in its very alienness.

    The other fear I have dealt with and one that was unexpected is fear of being mocked by other practitioners who are so very sure of themselves and who believe they are on top of the whole thing. For a long time I took such mockery to heart. Finally I came to wonder if such people were actually having any spirit contact at all or were simply “contacting” their own imaginations.

    I have lately been experiencing the exhiliration your describe of trying new practices as I venture further into Kabbalah, some practices of which can be very dangerous.

    • Ian Phanes says:

      The other fear I have dealt with and one that was unexpected is fear of being mocked by other practitioners who are so very sure of themselves and who believe they are on top of the whole thing.

      Those who are sure of themselves are frequently those who’ve read one book and decided that means they know everything. πŸ™‚

  • Nellie says:

    I feel like you could have written this post directly to me at the moment (actually for most of my life…huh…), thanks for posting it πŸ™‚

  • Bonnie says:

    Thank you for so eloquently addressing that which most witches leave unspoken. Once again your words inspire me.

  • Leathra says:

    Thank you.
    I don’t intend to stop.

  • Kristian says:

    I love this, THANKS!

  • Hurrah and blessings. Well said and, as you also say, well worth it. Every bit of it…

  • Kionawitch says:

    Thank you Sarah, I have been going through this for about a couple years now. I am having trouble finding my path. I have tread on several but I can’t seem to pin one down. I have been an avid follower of your blog and I love what you write.
    Thank you
    Kionawitch

  • dana19018 says:

    What an inspiring post. πŸ™‚ I have always enjoyed a different path than most and it is refreshing to hear your thoughts on the subject. Often it feels like we walk a path that isolates us from just about everyone in our day to day lives and that can be difficult, so we push our inclinations in and maybe don’t explore all the things we are drawn to. Thank you. I wish you a blessed Yule and hope you can drop by the blog for the party tomorrow. http://onthebroomstick.blogspot.com/

    Best,

    Dana

  • james creel says:

    Thank you so much for todays post Sarah- it was exactly what i needed to hear. May you be Blessed Odanata MT

  • hagofnaedre says:

    Thank you for this.

  • Tana says:

    Yes.
    I feel that it’s the same with most things in life.
    Being scared to fail and being scared to succeed just at the same time.
    The usual brain frying, I guess. ;p

  • Thank you so much for this post. You have no idea how much I needed to read this.

  • Many blessings to you for posting this.
    I am so fortunate to have found your blog. I found it by way of The Deepest Well.
    Everything and I do mean everything you mentioned here is true for me right now. I am afraid. I know it. I just need to find a way to get past it. I believe this post will help.
    I know the gods are patient but only to some extent.

    Blessed Be!

  • Sandy says:

    I like so many others here really needed to read this…to know we are not alone in our fears and doubts is a great comfort.Thank you

  • Scordra says:

    Could not come at a more perfect timing! I’ve been exploring the balance of this plane of existence. The necessity of both good/evil, of light/dark, and to honor and respect those energies for their being. I went out of my comfort zone by getting a demon/psychic reading done. Never walked down that path for answers before. I thought about it last night, but it was this morning when I completed those hesitant steps. I think it is very important for someone like me, who has no problem shedding my skin every once in a while but sometimes just needs to actively do it, to read such an inspiring post as yours!! Thanks for the feeling that it’s okay to go out of the comfort zone and travel down a new path (even if I decide to leave it for another)….Many Blessings to you this Season and in 2012!

  • Ian Phanes says:

    I would add just one thing to this great post:

    I know I’ve had times when I wasn’t moving forward, and so has every experienced practitioner I know well. In my experience, that’s also a part of the journey.

    So if you find that you have been in your comfort zone for some time, don’t waste your time and energy beating yourself up. Just pick something that challenges you and do it.

    —-

    Or I could tweak the last line to say:

    We all fear and falter, you are not alone.

  • ariel says:

    beautiful i really needed this i felt for sometime the nawing doubt and always the fear of meddling but like always you give me strength , courage, and hope to move on and that i am not alone thank you so much you bring such insparation to me and force me to be honest with myself.

  • sunny251 says:

    Once again you have a direct lline to the hearts of a lot of people. I have felt that tingle of magic and still have doubts. Often I’ve thought that things weren’t working – only to realize a little later that they had. It makes me cautious of thought and action.
    But thatnk you for this post – especially now considering things that are happening in my everyday life. πŸ™‚

  • Patch says:

    I was going to comment saying that I fell like this post was written for me. However I see that a whole lot of people feel the same, haha.

    When I was around 15 I discovered traditional witchcraft. I was far too young and fear of spirits and the otherworld choked me and I stopped practising.

    Now I am older, I feel the call to witchcraft very strongly. However that fear still rears it’s ugly head from time to time. I am working on it though, and this time I will look upon it’s face and not turn away.

  • It is something that has come up many times in discussions with friends of late and I thought if we all felt it, then so would all of you. We modern folks live so much in our heads we forget to talk to each other and share our fears and when we do is when we discover so many others go through all the same things and feel the same as us. Welcome to the human race, lol.

    And for fun – the Bene Gesserit litany against fear from Dune:

    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

  • I’m glad that I’m not alone with having fears and doubts. Sometimes It makes me feel weak and vulnerbale when I admit that I’m afraid of something. But then I realize I am human and I don’t have to feel bad just because I may be a bit frightened about something. I love magic though! I’ve had small miracles and fun, happy surprises happen to me because of magic! Long live Magic!

  • aw says:

    “I tell myself and others that if you are uncomfortable and feel a little chill of fear up your spine when you practice magic and ritual, you’re doing it right. The more uncomfortable you feel, the more barriers you break and the more progress you make along your path. Courage is acting anyway in spite of fear and doubt. It is faith and action.”

    Amazing post, thank you for that. I am just beginning my path it seems and I still wonder if I am ‘doing it right’, I love your words, and I will be back for more. Come read my blog if you have some time πŸ™‚ Thank you again.

  • Skye says:

    As many others have said, thank you very much – I really needed to hear this right now. πŸ™‚

  • Raven says:

    What a timely article! I was just going to write on my own blog about the various fears, doubts, etc that I think we face. Nobody is 100% sure in their path, and I think that’s actually a healthy and positive thing. It never pays to get too complacent, or to be too confident.

  • Alicia says:

    A very timely post, Sarah. Fears make us human. It is a threshold. The gifts and blessings just beyond that threshold transform us, shape us.

  • Halia says:

    a whispered “thank you” coming from heart, your words gave form to questions living inside my mind and helped to focus on, and looking for answers.

  • -Ran says:

    This, to me, is like awakening and falling asleep and dreaming only to awaken and fall asleep once again. I pull up my covers to be comfortable and smile (being neither fully awake or asleep). Thank you for your insights.

  • masteridiot says:

    This gives me some enthusiasm. I feel like I haven’t been in touch with fear at all.

  • Melissa says:

    I’ve just begun my journey down this dark and winding path, and I’m very afraid… but your words have given me encouragment to move ahead in my spiritual quest, no matter how daunting it seems at times. Thank you for writing such a wonderful post.

  • Mari Adkins says:

    i hope you don’t mind. i posted a copy of this (along with all the proper credit) to my group’s private study board.