Let's Talk Discernment

We live in a modern society which means that magic related explanations for things have been replaced by science instead. There is nothing wrong with that as a magic practitioner still uses things backed by science in their workings. However, living in a modern world means that things tend to be ordinary rather than special. For example, when we see a storm we don’t think the sky is ablaze and a deity is mad at us. We know the weather tends to do that and we know not to stand beneath a tree. The same can be (and should be, in my opinion) applied for discernment in magic workings & spirit workings. Discernment helps you keep your feet on the ground and not look for things where there is none. Such a practice can get out of hand at some point. So, what does discernment look like in your practice? Let’s go through some examples!

Discernment in Deity work

You see it quite often, people who have just begun to be more spiritual send a picture in discord and ask others if this is a sign from either a deity or the universe. But, the thing with signs is that if it truly is a sign from someone or something - you will know. A good thing to keep in mind is to look at your surroundings as well. Do you see a lot of birds because a deity is trying to contact you? Or is it because they’re being fed? In my own experience signs from deities are scarce. The reason for this, in my opinion, is because when they want your attention - they will get it. A storm is just a storm to me. I’ll say cheers because it is associated with Thor, but the only time I've seen signs in a storm was when clouds were shaped like runes.

What you can do if you think the sign is from a deity is ask them to give you repeatable signs. I would refrain from using the algorithm as a way to get signs personally because if you talk about it, it will be recommended to you automatically. I made this ‘mistake’ when I was wondering if Apollo wanted to work with me. Later, I saw a sunflower in the middle of the city where nothing else but weeds grew. I spoke about it with my boyfriend and suddenly I was seeing pictures of sunflowers on my tumblr feed. It’s up to each individual how they see this part of getting signs, but for me it’s things that are repetitive and out of the ordinary that could be signs of a deity.

Discernment in Spirit work

The biggest question I see related to working with entities is whether or not a random thing from nature is a gift of the fae. But, what I see people forget a lot of times is whether or not it could be something from nature spirits originated from their own country. And before we even hit that question, couldn’t it be that nature just happens to be weird sometimes?

You also need to use discernment in spirit work to see whether a spirit you’re talking to has the right intentions. Everyone needs to eat and there are entities out there who eat emotions or energy. Sometimes entities will pose as your favorite character or just tell you fantastical stories about how you are so powerful, the chosen one™ and how only they can guide you in that aspect. In today’s magic practice everyone wants to be special, so there will be people who will believe this and happily let the entity in. When you are a beginner in this practice that might seem scary & intimidating, but from my experience as a spirit worker these entities are rarely super dangerous. What they make up in brain they lack in brawn and are easily intimidated out of the house if you let it know you will not be messed with. There are exceptions in this because not all entities know that they are draining to people. So, to immediately cast a banishment seems pointless to me most of the time. Many can be taken care of verbally.

You can use ADB for this! First you politely ASK them to leave. If they don’t you DEMAND them to leave. If they still don’t you BANISH them. But again, communication will get you a long way!

Sometimes discernment in spirit work is also discerning whether or not something is just your imagination. The Clairs play into this. I have clairaudience myself and although normally things will come in clear, there are days that my mental voice is really active and you have to discern from that. When it comes to my mental voice it always answers first. When I was talking with someone as a teenager about spirits they asked me what the color of their door was to test me out. My mental voice immediately said “Blue!” So, I answered that. But, a couple seconds later I heard a calm voice saying white and it turned out the door was white. This was when I realized that discernment, and self-knowledge for that matter, are really important.

When it comes to clairaudience, you can ignore spirits as well.
Closing off is what many people do if they can't afford the distraction!

Another thing with discerning imagination from spirits is whether you are talking to a thoughtform. The general rules of this are that these entities can be draining as well because they’re tied to you since you created them. They are very one dimensional and understand the memes that you like even though not all spirits come from earth and have experienced modern society. You guys never have a disagreement because “you’re so in sync™” and they never seem to have a life of their own. What’s also tricky is that you need to discern whether or not a certain species coming into your life is because it just happened or because you read a book on elves a day ago and you thought they were really cool to hang out with. However, that one can be tricky to discern because sometimes things just happen.

Discernment in Astral work

When it comes to astral work the biggest question one can have is whether or not they are actually projecting or traveling to the astral realm or if they’re lucid dreaming in their mindscape. Although this can be different for everyone there are some overlapping basic things one can check to see if they’re not just in their mindscape. The biggest is the energy cost of things. If you need to heal a major wound and it heals in a couple of seconds and you don’t feel drained, chances are you are probably lucid dreaming in your mindscape. It’s harder for energy cost related ‘spells’ because people travel and project to different places. And different places can have different rules. I spoke with other practitioners about this with their travel experiences and although everyone’s experience is kinda different, they are rarely alone.

What I mean with this is that for example, I go to astral places where bending energy to your will is way easier than in other places. So for me, bending water and shooting a giant fireball are normal. Another practitioner may travel to places where this isn’t as easy. At their place the same amount of energy that I use to create that giant fireball is nothing more than a small baseball. Which means that in this place you have to rely on sword fighting, brawling, guns, etc. I’m still trying to figure out why this could be, but it is interesting nonetheless! The Malachite Library is someone who has experienced both and came up with the baseball analogy.

There are things that I use personally to discern astral travel from lucid dreaming. For example, when I astral travel or astral project everything comes in from the top of my head. I decided to check this out by thinking of something myself while I was traveling. My own thoughts will form in the front of my head and feel one dimensional. Another thing I noticed while astral traveling or astral projecting is that my body will sleep, but my mind is awake. Now this is basically sleep paralysis and it isn’t only connected to astral work as meditation for me will also give me sleep paralysis. But, the difference for me is that with meditation I’m in my mindscape observing my own mind and I know my body is still here because I am actively working with it. While with astral work I forget my body even exists and I am over there in its entirety. It’s a weird sensation.

This post was originally posted on October 15th, 2020

Some other useful links to practice your discernment:

Astral Q&A For Beginners by The Malachite Library
Is Your Spirit a Thoughtform? by Elysium Conjures

Photo from freepik