Physical Symptoms of Discernment

Sometimes you can experience physical sensations in your body that tell you something is going on in the unseen realm. Has this ever happened to you?

A reader of the blog sent me this question:
“I sometime will feel the sensation of worms or ants crawling under my skin. Sometimes it will be all over my body, other times just on my head or back of shoulders. I know I’m sensing something demonic and it partly has to do with the enemy speaking lies and trying to manipulate. Why do I feel it in different places and what is the Lord trying to tell me?”

Good question! I had never experienced this before so I sent this question to a few friends who are gifted with discernment and have been walking with the Lord for a long time. Three people told me they had experienced it before. Two people said it was related to witchcraft. Witchcraft is a form of manipulation.

Regarding why it is felt in different places – one person replied that the location on the body didn’t make any difference to him. It was just God’s way of getting his attention that something wasn’t right and he needed to pay attention. Another person responded that theΒ different locations are likely tied into the type of witchcraft – perhaps one is atmospheric witchcraft (on the head) whereas the one on the back is a specific person manipulating you.

Very interesting responses – I like that each person had their own experience of this and was able to provide some insight. We see in part and know in part (I Cor 13:9-12). This is why I started this blog – to open the conversation regarding this topic because none of us has it all together!

This question made me start thinking of other physical symptoms of discernment – what I mean is you have a physical sensation in your body and this tells you something spiritual or unseen may be happening. Often you also get a certain kind of “knowing” that it’s not just a physical sensation, especially if it happens suddenly. There are no “rules” that say, “This symptom always correlates to this particular spirit”. I know that makes it hard for those who are just starting out. The key is to never assume. Just ask the Holy Spirit – He will tell you what you need to know. If you don’t get an answer, maybe you don’t need to know. Or sometimes you might be asking the wrong question.

Why aren’t there “rules”? Because spiritual gifts are meant to draw you closer to Jesus. You become more dependent on Him as you seek Him for understanding. If there was a simple chart or book that explained it all, then why would you need to depend on Him? You could just lean on your own understanding – not a good idea, when it comes to spiritual warfare and discerning what it happening in the unseen realm.

That being said, here are some symptoms that people have experienced in relation to specific spiritual influences. This might help you as you ask the Lord what is happening – if nothing else, it might make you feel better that you’re not crazy and you’re not alone. (One of the main reasons this blog exists, by the way!)

Sudden sharp headache – might feel like an ice pick in one side of the head
Ringing in the ears, also means something is shifting in the spirit realm (usually not good)
Sudden Nausea
Painful pressure on the chest


Butterflies or knots in the stomach
Tension on the back of the neck, tingling up the spine

Eyes twitching/burning – May be blocked from seeing in the spirit

Ears irritated/plugged – May be blocked from hearing from the Lord

Feeling of being squeezed – Python/Divination

Pain in the lungs when breathing – Needs filling with the Holy Spirit, related to Python perhaps?
Sharp pain in lower left stomach – Rejection

Heaviness on the shoulders – Carrying a heavy burden that was not meant for them
Sudden drowsiness – Leviathan, a spirit that comes against leaders & their followers

Sometimes when you experience one of these symptoms, the discernment is for YOU. To warn you to pay attention and pray for more clarity. Sometimes you are discerning something for another person. It’s very important that when physical symptoms suddenly come that you ask the Lord to help you figure out whether it is for you or for someone else. Also use some common sense and determine whether your body is responding to something in the natural realm. Don’t ignore physical symptoms. But also be careful not to over-spiritualize them. If they are part of the gift of discernment, then the Lord will give you clarity as to what to do with them. Once you take the action He tells you (pray, decree, bind, loose or whatever), the symptom will disappear. If it doesn’t, it might just be a headache. Rest, drink water and it will go away. πŸ™‚

Was this post helpful? Please leave a comment below. If you’ve experienced a physical sensation related to discernment, please let us know.

About Kingdom Walker

A woman seeking to understand the world around her - with grace and acceptance toward all. Discernment of the Supernatural Realm - Insight and experiences of the Unseen Realm from a Christian perspective. This blog:

Posted on November 26, 2018, in Educational, Sensing, Spiritual realm and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. Great post! =)

    Before I knew what discernment was, I thought there was something wrong with me. My ex husband had a lot of evil spirits with him (which God revealed to me at one point aftera few years) and I would have a constant headache and feel unable to think clearly when he was around. It was significant when he was away and would come back. I hadn’t realized that it was the spirits with him that caused it and thought it was something physically wrong with me. They also affected my son and made him very irritable, hyperactive and angry.

    • Mary, I think a lot of people can relate to your comment! Discernment is so odd sometimes that it’s very easy to mistake your symptoms for something being wrong with YOU. In fact, I think a lot of people suffer with symptoms that are not sickness – they are just in toxic environments and their body is trying to tell them about it. I’m glad you realized it – I hope it helped you deal with the symptoms. Children and young pets are especially sensitive to it – their symptoms are a good indication that something is not right.

  2. Hi.Thanks so much for your blog.Much needed.😁
    I operate in the gift of discernment ( still growing in it)-recently I’ve experienced a sensation of crawling( like insects) on my face and head…it Happened twice during worship at our church and also at my work place.
    We prayed against witchcraft and any demon causing the crawling sensation rebuking it!It lessened but left a very slight crawling feel on my head….could it be something else that I need to pray against?

    • Hi Tania, thanks for your question. I am not sure why you still have a slight crawling feeling on your head. Perhaps there is something more the Lord wants to show you. I’ve noticed that when things don’t go away after praying that often the Lord wants me to seek Him for more depth of understanding. He draws us to Himself by giving us little mysteries to discover. πŸ™‚ Hope this helps! Thank you so much for stopping by – I hope you keep in touch. We need to all learn from each other’s experiences.

  3. Yes, This site was very helpful! I have been having pains in my right shoulder area down into my chest. When I have those I know that there is an evil presence around! I will pray and then the atmosphere changes and becomes peaceful!!

  4. Tania Gabriel

    Thanks so much.Very helpful post.
    I experienced the crawling sensation on my head and face recently…We prayed against witchcraft and it definitely lessened but was not completely gone. My husband and I then prayed in tongues for 2 good sessions and it is now gone.
    Thanks so much guys, so helpful to hear everyone’s experiences as we grow to be sharper and more effective in the Kingdom.

    • Tania, I’m glad this blog post was helpful – that’s so encouraging to me! I’m glad that crawling sensation is now gone – whew, what a relief! And it was awesome that you and your husband prayed together – that’s so POWERFUL! I am so happy you have someone who loves you and cares about you like that. What a huge blessing that is! Thank you for sharing your experience and what worked for you – we all learn more that way. Please keep in touch and stop by anytime! πŸ™‚

      • Tania Gabriel

        Thanks so much

      • Tania Gabriel

        Hi. Hope you are well.😁 Do you perhaps know what spirit is operating for the following: I’ve noticed that initially the person will give advice -same advice for many times to a person but the person they are advising doesn’t change or follow their advice. The advisor then gets frustrated and irritated and starts belittling the person regarding the area where the advice was given. Noticed this pattern in a family. Do you know what spirit is manifesting? Blessings Tania

        • Tania, thank you for your question. That is Control and Manipulation and possibly Intimidation. When someone’s advice is not followed (especially someone who cares a lot or has a vested interest in you or your future), they begin to be afraid of what you might do (I’m using the word “you” in general, it applies to everyone). They cannot control your actions and they either fear for you or they fear for themselves if you do not follow their advice. Sometimes it is well meaning (as most mothers will say) but sometimes it is selfish – if you do something on your own, it leaves them out and they may feel ignored, overlooked or devalued in some way. This is especially true of insecure people – they may take it personally that you are not listening to them. Control means they want to control your action – this is usually motivated by Fear. Manipulation means they want to make you feel a certain way – that you are somehow “less than” them if you don’t take their advice (i.e. you’re “stupid” or “you don’t know what you’re doing” or “you don’t have what it takes to do that”). Intimidation means they actually try to instill fear in you to bully you into doing what they want. It usually comes with a threat, either implied or spoken – for instance, “if you leave this house, I’ll cut you out of my will” or “if you marry that man, I’ll never speak to you again”.

          What can you do? If it’s someone you respect (i.e. a parent or a spouse), you can validate their advice but still stick to your decision. “Mom, I appreciate what you are saying, but I really think this is the best decision for me right now.” Then smile and walk away before an argument starts. πŸ™‚ If it’s someone who is just pushy about giving advice and you don’t want to hear it anymore, then you can simply stop the conversation as soon as they bring it up. “Stop! I do not want to discuss my future with you any longer. I’ve made up my mind. Please don’t bring this up again.”

          Pray for the person who is giving the advice that they would be at Peace and not be afraid. If you have a strong enough relationship, you can gently ask, “What are you afraid might happen if I don’t take your advice?” Maybe there are some consequences you have not thought of – or maybe they need to be reminded that God can be trusted and they need to let go.

          I hope this helps! Feel free to keep asking these kinds of questions – this is how we all learn and grow. I got some more clarity even as I wrote this reply! So, thank you! (and thank you, Holy Spirit, for the clarity!) πŸ™‚

  5. Hi there

    Any good books that you can suggest regarding this topic?

    • Welsh, that is an excellent question! And no, I don’t know any books that talk about this topic, specifically physical symptoms of discernment. There are so FEW books on discernment – that’s one of the reasons I started this blog several years ago. What I know, the Lord has taught me because there’s so little teaching or information available in print. I’m hoping as the Lord highlights the importance of discernment that more people will write good books about it. I’ve got notebooks full of experiences and revelation … so I share what I can from time to time. Sorry I couldn’t offer something more! Thank you for your question. I appreciate your interest in this topic. πŸ™‚
      PS If you find a good book on this topic, please remember to come back and tell us about it, okay?

  6. Hey, thank you for this post, and I fully agree, as I have been walking in this for the last 2-3 years but I have a question.

    It’s been driving me crazy that I cant find biblical reference for it, so, do you have any?

    • Jonathan, thanks for your comment and question. I’m glad you liked this post and I’m happy to hear you’ve been walking in this gift of discernment for a few years. The only Bible reference I could think of regarding the unseen realm affecting your physical body is in Revelation 10:8-11. That’s where John is given a little scroll to eat and when he does, it upsets his stomach. But it doesn’t specifically relate to discernment. I’ve noticed the Bible hardly mentions how the gift of discerning of spirits works – and for good reason. As I mentioned in the post above, there’s no “rules” for this gift because it’s supposed to draw you to Jesus to ask HIM what’s going on (instead of relying on bible verses or principles to figure it out on your own). Part of operating in spiritual gifts means relying on the Holy Spirit. It reminds me of what John said at the end of his gospel, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) I don’t think we’re supposed to be looking for a bible verse for everything … I think we are supposed to be following Jesus. He will show us because the world could not contain all the book that would be written if He made sure it was all written down for us. πŸ™‚ Hope that helps!

  7. Hello and God Bless. I been trying to find an answer to something I been experiencing – I’m still learning my gift of discernment. Just this weekend I was driving and got this strong pressure on my chest then it’s like travels to my shoulder on the same side. It feels heavy but then I got hot in my chest and had to pull over and starting vomiting a lot. I’ve had this on and off for the last year I’d say. I don’t understand it. Sometimes it makes my head spin and I feel a panic attack – this comes out of no where.

    • Priscilla, thank you for your comment. I am not familiar with the kind of symptoms that you described. I would get checked out by a doctor to rule out any medical issues first – those symptoms sound serious. The panic attack is Fear. I’m going to leave your comment posted here in case anyone else has some insight into this. God bless and keep you ❀

    • excited to be part of this group.
      Just a question…Have you ruled out that it is not a medical problem with your GP?
      Let us know as awesome to learn more in the area of discernment.

  8. I had been having like sand or dust in my eyes. Was wondering what that means.

  9. Very helpful post, got captured by Priscilla’s comment and I can attest to having experienced vomiting too often to count. At first it came about through deliverance but when it did not stop I felt there was something more to it and started to pray about it, seeking the Lord for a solution and nothing has happened thus far instead I gradually noticed that when I would smell something strange in the atmosphere, of course something that others didn’t smell, I would vomit and immediately pray in tongues which were by themselves strange because I felt like I was at war from the tone of the tongues. Later on the phenomenon would occur more at home after feeling paralysed from physical pain only to realise that it was someone else’s pain and after every similar occurrence I would realise the person with the actual affliction would get better instantly. I am still seeking the Lord to reveal more to me my path in Him because the discernment of people’s physical pain and sickness is heightened even more during a fast. I remember a time I encountered someone who had just come out from a deliverance session, I had smelt a very bad stench from her a week before the session and had a terrible headache at the time, and on this particular day after the session when she came to speak to me I had to run to the bathroom without warning… that was embarrassing to me. I do not know what to do except to obey the Lord’s teaching of his mysteries.

    • Gloria, thank you for sharing your experience. Wow, I am so sorry that you keep having to vomit. That must be really uncomfortable. I often yawn, which is also often experienced during deliverance but it’s only mildly embarrassing (when it happens repeatedly in social situations). I wish I had a “solution” for you – the only thing I can think of is to ask the Lord to remove it or replace it with something like yawning for deliverance. I’m sure there’s a reason why it is happening. Perhaps someone reading this will have some insight for you. God bless you for your faithfulness! ❀

  10. Am experiencing almost every feeling thank you for the insight.Elias

  11. Thank you for this post! I am experiencing something similar except it’s not a crawling sensation more of a tingling. It’s happened to me 3 times, the first I was helping pray for a lady that was being liberated and the spirit that was on her tried jumping on me and oppressed me (confirmed by a prophet) and everytime I would go to pray maybe for a good 2 weeks that strange tingling feeling would be there having me nauseous anxious uneasy and panicky but the prophet who confirmed it also prayed over me and it was gone. The second time I was at church and we were told to pray for the person sitting beside us so I was praying for this lady I could feel from her that she was sad so I started focusing my prayer on her strength and right when I was speaking in tongues that strong tingling feeling came over me again it always happens at the top of my head and goes down my back and and it just had me feeling really uneasy not as extreme as the first but I just felt strange. This time I didn’t tell anyone about it but eventually the uneasy panicky anxious feeling went away on its own after about 2 days and the 3rd time!! I was watching an apostle preach on YouTube and I was a little distracted so I made myself really focus on what she was saying and sure enough the tingling came my chest got heavy I felt it was hard to breathe it seemed like a demonic manifestation was going to take place but nothing happened I just felt super uneasy and heavy spiritually afterward. Is this discernment, oppression again, or some form of warfare? Thank you

    • Kayla, thank you for sharing your experience. I’m not sure what to tell you. It could be discernment or could be warfare. Only the Lord can tell you. Ask Holy Spirit to show you and He will. Sometimes we learn these things a little at a time until the Lord teaches us what it all means. Keep seeking, keep asking, keep knocking. God bless you. 😊

  12. Thank you so much for this website! So appreciate it!

  13. I wanted to know if I sense when the Enemy is near?
    Also when I am reading something I get a hot sensation when it’s not r in right and then when
    things are well It feels like light
    Is this part of discernment?

    • Shani, thank you for your sharing your experience with us. Yes, you can sense when the Enemy is near. When you read something that is not right, your discernment can tell you that – getting a hot sensation might be telling you to be careful or to stop reading. Yes, things that are right feel like Light – that is discernment too. There are many ways that the gift of discernment works – basically anything that gives you a warning of some kind – that protects you and helps you make good decisions. Ask Holy Spirit to show you more and He will! God bless you. Thank you for coming here for more information. πŸ™‚

  14. I’ve had all symptoms of witchcraft said above ever since I broke off a generational curse of Freemason. When I read the Bible I get ALL of those symptoms and also whenever I pray. The sudden sharp pains that occur in the middle of the night are severe and frequent. I’m usually by myself so I’m not discerning it on someone else. Have you ever heard of this?

    • I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing these painful symptoms. I would encourage you to ask the Lord whether there are other generational curses related to witchcraft that are affecting you. Ask the Lord to take you to the Courts of Heaven and ask if there are any judgments against you. They can be removed there. It might be that since you broke this curse, you have become more sensitive to when witchcraft is targeting you or the area where you live. Besides the generational curses, ask the Lord to show you anywhere you might have unconscious agreement with witchcraft. I often pray before I go to sleep, “I cancel all witchcraft and any word curses spoken concerning me or anything associated with me, in Jesus’ name. I am under the blood covenant of Jesus.” I hope this helps! God bless you, Nikki. πŸ™‚ Feel free to come back and let me know if any of these suggestions helped! Or to ask for more ideas. πŸ™‚

  15. Thank you so much! There are so many people that are suffering because of this powerful gift, believing they are cursed – not knowing it is a gift from God. I say that because all five of my senses are active and it landed me in a mental institution for three days, but thank God for people like you! May God’s blessing cover you and keep you.

    • Thank you, Eartha! I appreciate your encouragement. I am sorry to hear what happened to you. It is a powerful gift that takes some getting used to! Keep your heart open and our wonderful, loving heavenly Father will help you find the blessing in it, more and more each year as you yield to Him completely. God bless you and thank you for stopping by! 😊

  16. What are the repercussions and consequences of a person with a gift of the spirit of discernment that becomes furious and struggles with controlling their emotions when it comes to a situation of bullying? (because they are gifted and can strip someone’s soul away with accuracy) Because they are feeling provoked by the bully and aren’t able to control their emotions. Just curious.

    • Amanda, thank you for your question. It makes sense to get mad – bullies are not nice people. However if dealing with a bully causes you to use your gift to “strip someone’s soul away with accuracy”, then the consequence is that you become a bully yourself. That’s not what you want to do. The secret is to avoid bullies or if that is not possible, then learn to walk away BEFORE you get furious. Bullies like to “push your buttons” – they know exactly what to say to upset you. You can deactivate those buttons through inner healing and learning to walk away before you get triggered. Ask Holy Spirit to show you what you need to do. Ask Jesus to help you heal on the inside and give you peace. Sometimes bullies need someone to stand up to them and say, No! You cannot treat me that way! But it’s not usually necessary to “strip their soul” – let God deal with them. He knows exactly what they need. I hope this helps. God bless you. πŸ™‚

  17. At times I feel like I’m having anxiety?
    I feel burning through my body, shaking & tingling. I always pray, Lord, what is it that you want or need for me to know, so I know what to pray? I have done this for years ….. is this discernment?
    Sometimes I have to pray for God to take some of the stronger feelings, cause I can’t take anymore. It it so overwhelming.

    • Wow, that does sound uncomfortable. What has the Lord shown you? I have heard people say they feel tingly or shaky in the presence of God. I’ve seen a minister friend of mine that begins to shake/tremble whenever he prays intense prayers. I have heard people describe the fire of God as a burning feeling in their body. I have felt that before in my arms/shoulders. I’m not sure what you might be discerning other than maybe the Fear of the Lord or the Awe of God’s presence? Does that fit what you are experiencing? πŸ™‚

  18. I tried out a new church. Every time I go there, there is such heaviness. I feel irritated and nauseated. The choir has beautiful voices, but they feel cold to me. They keep saying, The Spirit of the Lord is there and people get slain in the spirit, but I feel so cold. Didn’t want to go back to the church from day 1 since I found it – so unbearable to be there, but somehow I keep returning. Been praying for the church.

    • Tammy, wow – that sounds terrible. I don’t think I would go back unless Father directed you to go. Trust your discernment – if something feels “off”, it probably is! It is possible you are discerning the truth about that church – even though it looks good “on the outside”, something is not right. When I feel irritated and nauseated, it means witchcraft – someone has an agenda and they are using manipulation or intimidation to get everyone to do what they want. Are you supposed to be there? If so, stay guarded. If not, please find somewhere that has light, love, kindness, warmth and Life! Because that’s what Jesus is – He is Love, Light and Life! I’m sad to say, what you are describing does not sound like a church that follows Jesus. πŸ˜₯

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