Sweetness of Silence

Sweetness of Silence May 28, 2010

Keeping silent may be the hardest bit about Witchcraft, especially if you’re the chatty blogging sort. However, as you mature in your practice, silence can be a relief, a welcoming thing.

Last night I attended esbat for the May moon. From the outside looking in, everything went fairly smoothly and was pretty normal for an esbat. Ritual was lovely, weather was warm and people were just friendly and amazing. However, I had an unexpected spiritual experience.

No, dear reader, I have no desire to tell you about it because it is personal to me. To talk about it would scatter it’s energy uselessly. There’s no expectation of testimony in the Craft and that is such a relief. Quakers and Pentecostals feel they must speak when moved by Spirit, but Witches mull their experiences in silence for a good while before, or if, sharing them.

While silence may be somewhat unique to us, the joy of a spiritual event is not. May your journey be full of joyful revelation and deep mysteries.

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  • Kerry W.

    Re: “Quakers and Pentecostals feel they must speak when moved by Spirit, but Witches mull their experiences in silence for a good while before, or if, sharing them.”

    There are different kinds of Quakers, but the ones I’ve worshiped with enter a process of discernment when moved by the spirit to determine whether the experience was personal or meant to be shared. Mostly we worshiped in silence; one person would share for a minute or so in an hour’s time.

  • Interesting! I’ve never attended a Friends meeting but I have attended a Pentecostal church. Maybe i should restrict myself to what I know first hand! :o)

  • Kerry W.

    Here’s a bit more on silence in Quaker thought and practice, from “The Inner Voice” section of Ted Hoare’s “Facts about Friends,” available online at http://www.quaker.org/friends.html.

    “Friends believe that if they wait silently upon God there will be times when God will speak to them in the heart. The silent Meeting of Friends is therefore the sacrament of communion with God during which Friends lay themselves open to the leading of the Spirit. George Fox often wrote about his ‘openings,’ meaning revelations and it has been the experience of Quakers over the centuries that ‘openings’ will occur in the mind of that ‘a way will open.’

    “Openings can come to individuals when they are alone or may come out of the silence of a gathered Meeting for Worship. It is a perennial question as to whether a leading comes from God, from one’s own ego, or from another power and it is the practice in the Society of Friends to test a leading or a concern in a meeting with others. ”

    Silence is a core part of Quaker tradition and worship. A little research does indeed go a long way.

  • Right, and I wasn’t saying anything against Quakers, only that to my knowledge that they speak when the Spirit moves them. Obviously, if the Spirit does not move them to speak, they remain silent.

  • Kerry W.

    I need to apologize — that was entirely too snippy of me, especially before I’d even introduced myself. I’ve been reading Pantheon for a few weeks now and really getting a lot out of it — and enjoying it too. I should have first told you that, and expressed my gratitude for all the great writing here. And I should have bit my tongue at the end.

    At the risk of belaboring the point: Quakers often are moved by the spirit, but then must discern whether that is meant to be shared or not. Most often, it is not shared, but personal. The Quaker experience with silence matches more closely to what you represent at the Witch’s experience with silence than what you represent as the Quaker’s experience.

    It seems important from a Pagan point of view, beyond the spirit of ecumenicism, to clarify this, because there are Quaker roots to at least the Reclaiming line of Witchcraft.

    From a more personal standpoint, I found my way to paganism through Quaker meeting. (But I myself am not a Quaker, and haven’t been to a meeting in several years.) It is no metaphor when they say they feel the Spirit moving. Occasionally other spirits pop in as well. On a more personal basis.

    I notice you live in the Atlanta area, as do I: If you’ve got the time and inclination some Sunday morning, the meeting in Decatur is open. It’s an interesting experience.

    Again, I’m sorry for being snippy. And I really do appreciate your writing here.

  • Not at all! Discussion is awesome! I’m generally on the run and can come off as abrupt. I may check out the Decatur meeting sometime soon. Be a good excuse to have lunch at Mary Mac’s!

    I think the point I was trying to make is there is no expectation to give testimony in Witchcraft. The Quakers were a bad example but as many Christian faiths place great store in testifying, we actually don’t. I recently “testified” in an article on this site something I hadn’t shared with anyone for the past ten years, and then only shared it because I felt the article needed a first-person example.

    Glad you are enjoying the blog! Keep commenting! Keeps us on our toes! :o)