Questions, questions

One of the mainstays of my spiritual practice is to ask questions of myself and my teachers. I remember, as a child, asking questions of the vicar who would come into my school. These were good questions, questions like “How does the wine turn into the actual blood of Christ?” “How did Jesus manage to roll back the stone placed at the entrance of his tomb? Surely he was really tired!” But these were never answered adequately enough for me. All I usually got was, “Keep reading the Bible, and stop asking questions.” But I’ve never stopped asking questions of my spiritual teachers, or of myself, and I think this is a really healthy approach to one’s religious and spiritual path.

There have been some tough questions too over the years too. Like How can you call yourself a Druid? and If you revere Earth-based Gods, what about the rest of the Universe? These are great questions, and although some have been cast my way by people who have asked themselves these questions, and have not been able to find the answer within themselves, so have stepped off their path and onto another, I have each time found my own answers. So although asking, and being asked these kinds of questions has sometimes challenged the very foundation of my spiritual beliefs, I have to thank the people who asked them, as each time they help me to see clearer my Path through the Forest.

So I say never stop asking questions of yourself, or your teachers, if these questions need to be answered. Sometimes the answer will take a while, but the clarity that the search brings is priceless.

17 responses to “Questions, questions”

  1. My mother, a Methodist preacher, told me when I was young, “Question everything, including what I tell you. The truth has nothing to fear from questions and lies shouldn’t be protected from them.” It’s been very useful advice. When I ended up becoming a Christian druid, she and my sister, the other Methodist preacher in the family were both very supportive.

    We learn so much by asking endless questions and nothing at all by just accepting the first thing we are told.

    I find a large part of my druidry is being questioned by others, from the people who ask how I can be a Christian and believe in nature spirits to spirits that will suddenly pop up asking “who are you?” and require a reply more complex and hard to compose than my name.

    I think the moment people stop asking questions, their beliefs and path start to stagnate. Always good to keep your mind engaged with your spirituality.

  2. I really enjoy your posts on these thought themes Damh.

    The first thing that comes to my mind is how we take it for granted that we can ask these questions using a language that potentially many people can read, understand and think about.

    Just yesterday, I had a group of children using our labyrinths, playing and what came from their imagination was awesome. These children were between 2 and 4 years old, children who had just grasped the use of language. They seemed to ask questions not with a main intent of receiving answers but through the thrill of discovering they have learned how to turn sound into language and use it in ways that gets response.

    I do host retreats here and offer to guide folks to travel back through their language, their paragraphs into sentences, into words, into letters and how a single letter can have different sounds depending what word it is within.

    We then explore how those sounds are poetry and how poetry and music were
    one and only separated once we developed the education of language from symbols. I am convinced ogham did not start as an alphabet but as a virgin naked poetry 100s or thousands of years before language was developed, sounds we joined in alchemy when were were full of inner inspiration and hand signals were not enough to express ourselves.

    I feel the ability to ask questions has only been with us for 2 to 3 thousand years because its only in that span that we have been able to ask questions through language that others can hear, understand and respond to.

    Often I feel answers are there if we can just put the language aside for a moment …

  3. I suppose the answer to a lot of the questions you asked of the vicar is ‘Faith’. as so many are unanswerable. I’ve tried to accept ‘ God’ but never managed it. Been twice to confirmation classes and once to Alpha, none of which helped.Just made me feel like a bit of a failure really.
    So, I’m still searching…..

  4. Like you, Damh, I used to ask a lot of questions at Sunday School. I went to a Methodist one and I was always puzzled by the fact that we were told that drinking alcohol was sinful and, yet, there is the story of Jesus turning water into wine. I also was told to read the bible and not to keep asking silly questions. Asking questions has sometimes got me into a lot of trouble but I shall take your advice and keep asking.
    Thanks for your thought-provoking post.

  5. What a great post! I agree it is important to question and to find the answers out for yourself. What I would add is that the answer you find to your spiritual question may be different to someone else – not wrong, just different.

  6. Sheblyth, there is a great way to turn water into wine, and I often wonder if this is what was done by the pre-Norman monks in autumn.

    If you make tea from the bog cotton collected on moors, close to heather, on peat/turf bogs, and make tea with it, it does have a slight stimulating effect like a glass of wine.

    Squeeze elderberries into water, or pour water into a mix of elderberry juice and bog cotton tea and the tang of the elderberries with the bog cotton taste is sort of red winish taste and has the slight stimulation.

    Now this autumn/fall – you too can turn water into wine in front of your friends 🙂

    However, tread carefully when you collect cottongrass/bog cotton in season, which has actually passed in most areas, as it is also a warning plant of dangerous soft peat spots that can be like quicksand and could trap you.

    Another alternative plant that would probably work, but I have not tried it, is agrimony sun dried, or use a dehydrator, and made into a tea. Melissa, lemon balm, may work too but the taste alteration would be a giveaway.

  7. When people ask me the question about Earth-based gods vs. the rest of the Universe, I reply “I live here, not out there. Here is what is relevant to my life. Were I to go to Mars, things would have to change.”

  8. Interesting you should post about this. My therapist (a psychologist) sometimes doesn’t seem to understand that I go to her for help in my daily life, not for discussions about where I was before I was born, what will happen when I die, the nature of God, or the best way to pray. But it occurred to me this morning that what her questions have served to do is get me to clarify what I believe and why the Druid path is right for me. I don’t think that’s her goal, but it’s how it’s working out. What started out as annoying has actually become quite helpful.

  9. You have helped me view this whole thing in a new way Damh, and for that I thank you. For too long I have been scared to ask, scared to question because I feared for what I would discover if I did. But there is beauty in knowledge, and to ask questions on yourself and what you choose to believe in does strengthen your belief; almost like a backbone to the things you choose to love. My day is now no longer fulfilled unless I question at least one thing, and I do not rest to find an answer I am happy with. I thank you.
    Blessed be!

  10. I love this post and the responses! This issue had recently resurfaced in my life. Since I was raised a Catholic in an Italian family, I was always told never to question the church’s teachings or my parents word. I came into this world in true innocence so as a child I was utterly taken by everything around me and questioned it all in curiosity. When I was knocked down and taught to “be quiet and don’t ask”, I recoiled inward and lost my voice for a very long time. Until I found my way to my true spiritual path. My voice came back loud and clear and lo! the answers to the questions from my early life (and now) began to show themselves. I learned it may take some time, but never fear asking, for the answers do come at the exact time they are needed and ready to be heard. I can now be grateful for it all as it has led me to be the storyteller that I am today. Blessings!

    Great post Damh!

  11. How lucky you were to meet this vicar in your early life and getting these answers to your questions! It send you of on your queste and now you are sharing it with others too. For me it was the priest, but I was too afraid to ask my questions as my intuition made it very clear it would not be appreciated at all. But, as for you, it urged me to try and find answers elsewhere…
    And I did! It helped me change from putting my attention outside of me to inside. I can´t help believing that fate has turned everything around and the churches are getting emptier by the day as more people are fed up with ´reading the bible and be silent´ and the churches are losing power they have so defended for century! The same power that was abused by prosecuting many innocent questioners likes pagans and witches. Who take over again as people look for answers, solutions and just support on a friendly respectful manner, which they rarely find in churches anymore….Brightest blessings!

  12. I couldn’t agree more, as a Catholic child I was often told it was blasphmy to question the teachings of the church or the bible… It wasthe lack of answers from the catholic church which led me to find my spiritual path in wicca in adulthood….

  13. It was about five years ago that I asked myself a simple question about whether or not the things I’d believed in my whole life were actually true. Asking that question allowed me then to test whether some those deeply-held beliefs were true by walking away from them for awhile. I had been told that doing so would bring ruin, sadness, lonliness, and comdemnation into my life; but what I found was the freedom to actually be a human being. I never went back to those beliefs because they looked poor and hollow once I stepped outside of them. I am incredibly different today because of that one question. I guess the lesson is that questions, even small and private ones, can be immensely powerful in determining the paths of our lives.

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