Had a lovely chat today w/ a dear friend and one of the points I was making was that “discernment” is too seldom practiced in the Pagan community. Christians often talk about discernment, by which they mean that they spend time in prayerful contemplation in order to “discern” their god’s will for them in a given situation. As Pagans, we’re less likely to believe that our Goddesses/Gods have some specific plan for our lives and are more likely to invest ourselves with greater agency. But that doesn’t mean that we, too, don’t need discernment.
Watching (from a distance) a recent dust-up in the local Pagan community, I’ve been struck by the complete lack of discernment exercised by way too many participants, including some Big Name Pagans from way out of town who inserted themselves into the issue over, and over, and over again. This is only the most recent in a series of events where various Pagans have had issues with some group and have chosen to deal with the issues/group in the most public, confrontational manner possible. Sometimes, that’s necessary. Sometimes, that’s a good thing.
But just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean that you need to express it. Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean that you need to express it RIGHT NOW. Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean that you need to show up on every single Facebook page, blog, and other form of social media and express your opinion OVER AND OVER again.
I’d love to see Pagan groups make the practice of discernment a regular part of their spiritual disciplines. Meditation, trance, divination, listening to you landbase, and talking to a friend in person are all good ways to get in touch with the Universe, your Goddesses/Gods, your Higher Self and determine whether you need to jump in or to exercise the better part of valor.
How do you practice discernment? What has it helped you to do or to not do? Do you regret following it?