Reading Natalia Clarke’s book on intuition in magical practice made me think a lot about my own history with intuition. In my teens, I pretty much steered by my gut feelings, and in my twenties, that changed. It wasn’t loss exactly, more a series of experiences that damaged my trust in my own gut feelings.
I dealt with several people in succession who were manipulative, gaslighting types. One in a work context, one in my personal life. Before I realised what was going on with them, I was fed a lot of information that contradicted my gut feelings, and I did not know what to trust. I’ve never been a massively self confident person, and was persuaded that my intuition was wrong and not to be trusted. To further compound this I had people claiming magical knowledge that was so alarming and uncomfortable that I pulled away from all of that sort of thing in self defence.
My Druidry became more agnostic, sometimes more atheist, because belief no longer felt safe. I couldn’t afford any sort of woo-woo. It was a lot to lose, especially my ability to trust in my own judgement and gut feelings.
The thing about abusive people is that they will tell you they know best. If you resist, it is further proof of how wrong, silly, and misguided you are. What they do to you is always justified. The same is true of toxic systems, that will tell you why you deserve how you are being treated – the appalling treatment of disabled people in the UK, the way police shoot innocent Black people in the US, the history of oppression for any group that has been oppressed includes messages about why the dominating culture feels entitled to do this. Worthlessness is taught. It can be hard to trust your own judgement when you’re subjected to this kind of treatment.
I abandoned my intuition. I did so in order to try and stay sane and survive situations that were really unhealthy. I found that I needed to be able to evidence and justify anything I wanted to express – and even that didn’t reliably work, but starting from ‘I feel’ was likely to cause more trouble than it was worth. I fought a losing battle to be allowed to be a person, and I cut off a lot of parts of myself to try and survive. An animal in a snare may gnaw its own leg off to escape, and for a long time, that was what I was doing.
I read Natalia’s book, and I asked whether I could change things, and make room for my own feelings and intuition. I set a process in motion. I’ll be back in future posts to talk a bit about how that worked for me.