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none's picture
The following are meditations, and articles about meditation, we have found useful in our Work.Two Powers MeditationTwo Powers Meditation for Larger RitesBasic MeditationLetting the World Slip AwayMeditation for the Type A PersonalityAn Advanced Two Powers AttunementTwo Powers Active MeditationConnecting with the Natural WorldTrance Journey to the Three WorldsGaranus Meditation
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Ian Corrigan's picture
(Note: This is excerpted from the Dedicant Path booklet that ADF members get when joining; members can also listen to an MP3 audio file or another version) This is a basic meditation intended to link the Druid's spirit and flesh to the currents of Earth and Sky. It is based on methods that have become known in Pagan work as "grounding and centering". All these methods are meant to connect the student to spiritual powers in the cosmos, and to provide balanced channels of flow for those powers in the personal soul. Some form of this technique should precede almost any work of worship or magic. The Two Powers model is based on core concepts in Indo-European lore, but is not, by any means, the only vision or mythic model useful in our Druidry. The work begins by seating yourself, or standing, in a comfortable position at your meditation seat. Here follows a script for a version of the Two Powers work. You should read through the script until you are familiar with its pattern, or perhaps even read it onto a tape for the first several exercises. Soon, with practice, you will know the basic order, and be able to proceed from memory. The best practice is to memorize the sequence of images, but this is made much easier by a few repetitions with spoken guidance. The Script Begin, O seeker of wisdom, with your breath... breathe deeply, from your belly... in... and out... make your body comfortable... stretch if you need to, settle in place... and focus on your breath... observe your breath as it flows in and out of your body... and with each breath, allow your body to relax... let your breath carry away tension from your flesh.. relaxing your feet and legs... letting your belly soften and relax... breathing away tension from your shoulders and arms... from your neck... relaxing your face and mouth, your eyes... with each breath your body becoming warmer, comfortable and relaxed... your mind alert and prepared for magic... Now, with your body still and calm, imagine that from your feet, or the base of your spine, roots begin to grow downward... roots reaching and growing into the earth, down through soil and stone... deepening and spreading... reaching to touch the waters under the Earth... the Earth current... the dark, cool, magnetic power that nourishes and sustains life... as your roots touch this current it is drawn in and up toward your body... your breath draws the Earth power upward... into your body... the invisible, magnetic power fills your legs, energizing and strengthening... waters rise from the earth, into your legs... rising... into your loins... and pooling in your loins, a cauldron of Earth power... You breathe the power upward... rising from the earth, through your loins, rising up your spine... into your heart... pooling and filling a cauldron in your heart with healing, restoring energy... power rising from the deep, through your loins, through your heart... rising up your spine and into your head... filling a cauldron of wisdom and vision behind your eyes... and rising still, filling all your body and flowing out again through the crown of your head... through your hands... flowing out around your body and back into the earth... the power under the Earth flows in you... grounding you in the source of life... Now imagine the sky overhead... The sun and moon and, far beyond them, the stars... imagine a single star at the center of the sky, shining directly over your head... the center of your inner sky, your own pole-star...see a flash of light shining down from that star... streaming down between moon and sun... gold, silver and blue-white light... the bright, warm, electric power of the sky... the light touches your head, filling and illuminating the cauldron like sun on still water... shining from above... filling your head with warm, awakening power... flowing down into your heart... warming the cauldron... shining down through head and heart, illumining the waters... downward to reach your loins... The cauldron shines with sky power in your loins... Tingling, electrical light in head, heart and loins... the light flows downward into Earth, and you are shining and flowing with the mingled powers of Earth and sky... the raw material of magic... the chaos of potential and the world order... These powers are balanced in you... yours to shape and use... always with you in some degree... But for now, allow the powers to recede... waters to the Earth, light to the sky... knowing that each time you attune to them you become more attuned, more at one with the powers... breath deep... and allow your awareness to return to your common senses... as you open your eyes...
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KirkThomas's picture
There has been some discussion on the Liturgy list about the effectiveness of the Two Powers Meditation at large rites. Often, not everyone at a large ritual is interested in a formal entrancement, and leading one is definitely dependent on the skills of the leader. While some of the participants can really feel the power of the meditation, others are totally bewildered. I believe that we should continue to use the full, formal induction at our smaller rituals, where we probably get a more dedicated class of participant, but at our larger rites (like the High Day rituals in my Grove which usually attract 60-80 people), something shorter might be best, eliminating a possible 15-minute 'hole' in the ritual. The primary purpose of the 2 Powers Meditation is to ground and center the people, to attune them to the powers of the earth and sky (or chaos and order) and to unify them for our common purpose (based on the Order of Ritual in the DP booklet and Isaac Bonewits' Neopagan Rites). The following is a possible alternative to the trance induction for use in large rites: Priest says: (Opening Prayer) O Waters of the Earth, deep and dark, Arise, primeval powers, fill us now With all your wondrous possibilities, That through the Earth our Mother we may ground and join as one. O Fires of the sky, O blinding light, Descend and crystallize within us all That spark of order on which life depends, That through the Sky our Father we may shine and share as one. Priest says: (Centering) For just a moment let us close our eyes and feel the life which courses through us all. (pause) The beating of our hearts is at the center of our core. Like sparkling blood, the coursing of the waters and the light of life Now mix and swirl and energize us all. (A single drummer begins an appropriate pattern) Priest says: (Litany) Chaos of the Earth, now fill us! People say: Chaos of the Earth, now fill us! Priest says: Order of the Heavens, mold us! People say: Order of the Heavens, mold us! Priest says: Join the powers deep within us! People say: Join the powers deep within us! Priest says: With the merging of these powers let us join as one! Bard: (Unity) The bard begins intoning and the people join in. The drumming continues. The Bard intones through the main English vowels, a e i o u, ending with "So be it" in the appropriate language. Or, a Unity song could be sung here, such as, "Unity In The Three Realms".
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TommyWatson's picture
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and arms down by your sides. Close your eyes.Acknowledge the natural pattern of your breathing and heartbeat.Begin to control your breathing in a manner comfortable to you. I use the 4/4 measure. Breathe in to the count of four, hold to the count of four, breathe out to the count of four, hold for the count of four, and repeat.Start to relax your body beginning at the crown of your head and working down to your feet. Try not to focus too much on this part, as this is an active meditation. You could imagine a wave of relaxation is running over your body.Now, with your arms by your side turn your hands out with palms up. Slowly raise your arms until they are parallel to the ground. Then turn your hands palm down again and lift them so the tips of your fingers are pointing to the sky. This is the point where you establish the energies of the Middleworld, those that are already present.Now when you are ready, move your hands down back to their parallel position. Lower the arms to your side. Place your weight on the balls of your feet and begin to lower your self to a kneeling position with your buttocks on the back of your heels. Keep your hands to your side. While you are doing this, imagine your spirit moving down through the earth to connect with the powers of the Underworld.When you have established these energies, with your arms by your side turn your hands out with palms up. Slowly raise your arms until they are parallel to the ground. Now place your weight on the ball of your feet and begin to rise from your kneeling position. Imagine that you are carrying this energy back through the earth with you.When you are once again in the standing position turn your hands palm down and then raise the tips of fingers so they are pointing to the sky. Imagine the energies you have connected with from the Underworld mingling with the energies of the Middleworld.When you are ready lower your hands once again so they are palm down and parallel with the ground. Turn your arms so your palms now face the sky. Slowly raise your arms until they connect above your head, at the same time begin to raise yourself onto the balls of your feet so you are standing on tiptoe. Imagine your spirit moving up through the clouds into the sky to connect with the powers of the Upperworld.When you have established these energies, with your arms still raised turn your hands so they are still above your head but "back to back." Now begin to lower them and yourself until they are parallel with the ground and you are once again in the standing position. While you are doing this imagine you are carrying these energies back through the clouds with you.Move your hands once again so the fingertips are pointing to the sky. Imagine the energies of the Upperworld mingling with the other energies of the Middle- and Underworlds.When you are ready, lower your hands so they are parallel to the ground and begin to lower your arms to your side once again. While you are doing this imagine your spirit containing these energies. Open your eyes.When you are ready to reverse the powers, you will perform the same task as above but in reverse order.
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LindaDemissy's picture
(Note: This article is intended to be an addition to the Dedicant Path material. It explores the two powers meditation technique from a Norse perspective).Hear the sounds of your breath as you run with the rhythm of the land, the pulse of the Tree.Start by feeling you own body, and notice how your arms and hands feel, and your chest feels, your abdomen, pelvis, legs, and feet, then going up, your neck and head, and if your eyes are not closed by now - you can close them.Realize how your breathing has changed since you started this, and that you are now in a light trance, ready to interact with the Otherworld - which is just on the other side of the now, and that you can start to feel the roughness - of bark on your back, and as you feel this and realize that your back is against the trunk of a tree - larger than you can imagine, the World Tree that connects everything.Touch that bark with your hands and fingers, feel its texture, just let yourself feel its rough and smooth parts - as you keep your Otherworld eyes closed, and take a moment to feel gratitude - that this tree Yggdrasil - is the shaman's horse - that can carry you anywhere in the world, and has brought you here - to experience the two powers.And having thus thanked the Tree, become aware of the sounds of the forest, the sounds of birds and cries of other animals - in this enchanted forest, and take a deep breath of the living glowing air of this Otherworld.Listen. Breathe. Know that beside you runs the root of divinity, one of the three great roots of the Tree, and that the root goes into the forest before you all the way to the Well of Wyrd, where you wi11 soon meet the three goddesses of destiny, the old one that holds your past, the young one that holds your future, and the mature one that holds the ever - changing present.So with your Otherworld eyes open now, look at the root beside you. Really look at it, and you will feel how it pulsates with power even as it feeds the Tree, and keeps it firmly rooted in divinity.Follow its path into the forest with your gaze and notice how vibrant the colors are, how full of life, and start your way along the root, amid the sounds of the forest, feeling your feet on the ground, and notice how your breathing speeds up a little from the walking.Look all around you on your path. Take your time. And when you finally see a clearing far ahead, you will notice something that looks somewhere between a pool and a low well, and as you get closer, you'll be able to see the waters shimmering near the top of it.As your gaze is upon the waters, three women will approach the well, and they are called the Norns. Look at them, and ask to "taste the triple waters of Wyrd". See one of them fetching a ladle, and a cup. She approaches the well, and you might see her lips moving silently as she scoops up some water, and partially fills the cup.She hands the cup and ladle to her sister, who also scoops up some water, and partially fills the cup. She then passes it to her third sister, along with the ladle, and she too scoops up water, and fills the cup.Having done so, she raises the cup, looking to the sky, then turns to face you. She approaches and hands you the cup. Thank them. Drink it all, and you will feel her hand on yours as she retrieves the cup from you, just before the full effect of the liquid hits you as you close your Otherworld eyes.Let the waters of destiny flood your body and your mind, restoring you to your true nature, your trueself and goals. Receive the visions...When you feel ready, open your Otherworld eyes, and seek the path back to the Tree. Run along the root of divinity, filled with a sense of renewed purpose, as if you had finally awakened to yourself.See the living colors along your trail, and hear the sounds of your breath as you run with the rhythm of the land, the pulse of the Tree. And soon, you reach the Tree, and it is immense. Go to it, admire it, and touch it.Then turn around and scan the skies above the forest - for a rainbow that is not a rainbow, a bridge that is not a bridge, a passage to the realm of the Shining Ones.When you find it, go to it. It is made of fire, in all the colors of the rainbow. Approach it. Nearer and nearer. Flaming bright. Until you stand a step away from it. And when you do, ask if you may "take three steps towards divinity". And really look at it.Let it fascinate you. Raise your leg and take your first step onto it, and as you do you are surrounded "by rainbow fire, by an aura that reaches as far from your body as your fingertips can reach, and the same distance above your head, and the same distance below your feet, and all around you. Red flames. Orange flames. Yellow flames. Green flames. Blue flames. Indigo flames. Violet flames. Changing you. Making your being more like that of the gods, bringing you closer to their realm of existence, translating you into their dimension.And when you are ready, take your second step, feeling the flames burst within you from your center, filling you, in every corner of your body, arms and hands, chest, abdomen, pelvis, legs and feet, neck and head, consuming you with divine fire and renewing you. Feel it completely.And when you are ready, take your third step, and as the fire within joins with the fire around, look about you at the trees and see that they have this same rainbow fire about them. The divine is in them too. See the birds and other animals. They too have the rainbow radiance. Look at the rocks and the grass. Everything has this radiance, and it is enlaced with every other rainbow radiance, connecting them, uniting them, all divine, all different in their rainbow patterns, all the same in their source.Take the time to absorb this, and when you are ready, reconnect with the radiance of your physical body. Feel the fire of those physical hands in your hands, the fire of your physical heart in your heart, of your head, of your genitals, of your feet. And all of it held together by the crystal pattern of the waters of destiny, giving you definite shape and separate existence.Wiggle your physical toes. Wiggle your physical fingers. And when you are ready, keep your Otherworld eyes open, and slowly open your physical eyes, so that you may keep seeing the radiance in everything and everyone around you. By fire and water, you are made unique. And yet we are one.
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none's picture
"Learning to work with the imagination, inner visual response, and moving beyond conventional ideas are potentials within all human beings."Meditation is the beginning of any magickal or spiritual program. Virtually every religion or secular order practices some form of meditation, for prayer, stress reduction, relaxation, or a form of focused intent. Meditation is the focus on a certain thought or subject either to achieve a determined result or bring one to the awareness that there is no dichotomy. It is a tool with which anyone can develop concentration, self-discipline, focus, and letting go all at the same time. The cultivation of stillness and silence of the mind nourishes the need within all of us. Learning to work with the imagination, inner visual response, and moving beyond conventional ideas are potentials within all human beings. Reopening the door of imagination reestablishes a link between body and spirit-meditation can help with the opening.Meditation is sometimes thought of as the "art of contemplation" because during relaxation the mind starts its own information seeking. During light trace or meditative state, brain waves are slowed. When a person shuts his eyes and is not actively thinking on a subject, brain waves become larger and more regular than in normal consciousness. This initial state of trance is called the "alpha" state. There are many deeper levels than the alpha state, but it is my opinion that one does not have to reach the deeper states to work successfully. The state or level that one chooses is a highly personal one and depends largely on how relaxed you can become. Like any skill, it takes practice to become accomplished.One of the basic questions that most folks ask is, "How will I know if I'm in a trance or meditative state?" One of the first clues are Rapid Eye Movements (REM), which feel like your eyelids are fluttering. This occurs in sleep during the dream state. The other physical sensations are that your body feels very light or absent, some people have no awareness of their bodies at this time. There can be sensations that your body feels very heavy like it is weighed down or tied down so that you feel that there is no possible way of moving it. The feeling of being very large or very small isn't uncommon. The main sensations that I find are that the breathing and the heart rate slow, the feeling of a presleep state is very apparent at this level, and the awareness of one's external environment seems very dim. For those that see energy patterns or colors of the body's energy field, trance appears as a slower but brighter pattern in most people.This happens because when breathing is deep and controlled, the area in the brain which controls respiration and circulation relaxes. If one is angry, his breathing is uncontrolled, hard, irregular, and labored. When one is afraid, the first response is to inhale deeply and hold it for a short time so that the breath becomes very shallow. Our breathing patterns have a direct correlation to our emotional status. Some of the ways that I learned to control my breathing patterns has been from yoga, Pranatic breathing, biofeedback, and pain control.Slow deep breathing is necessary for most of the trance states. Experiment with different patterns. I have found that I can use rapid shallow breaths for decreasing my oxygen supply, thus making me dizzy and changing my awareness; however, while this might be an interesting thing to try, I don't recommend this as a regular meditation practice. The object of meditation is calmness for information accessing, not achieving an altered state through oxygen depravation.Most people have a shallow breathing pattern, which is a problem when they attempt deeper breaths and increase the amount of oxygen to the brain until they learn proper techniques. One technique for mastering breath control is simply changing the pattern of the pause between breaths. The pause that normally takes place between the inhalation and before the exhalation- try placing it after the exhalation. This focuses your attention on your breath. Another technique is to deepen the breath by pausing twice. Inhale though the nose, hold the breath, exhale slowly through the nose, and then pause again. I have also used lengthening my exhalations, as if I were blowing out a candle. This technique can be done by exhaling out the nose instead. By becoming aware of your breath, you are mindful of your present awareness. Then, by listening to your breath you can feel your lungs expand as you inhale and contract as you exhale. The next step to experiment with the different feeling of exhalation from the nose versus the mouth. Each time your mind begins to wander, focus back on your breath and its pattern. Mindful breathing gives you focus on what your are doing. Each time, try to concentrate your focus so that it becomes easier and easier each time.EXERCISE #1 Position your head, neck, and chest straight in order to avoid pressure on the nerves of the spinal column. This first posture is a natural one, but you can change your postures later if you choose. For this exercise, breath in though your nose and exhale though your mouth. Count to 10 on your inhalations and the same on your exhalations. This establishes a rhythm that generates newer energy and makes you focus on your breaths. Try this once in the morning and then again in the evening for a couple of days.EXERCISE #2 After mindful breathing, try visualizing the breaths being distributed throughout your body and feeling like a massage. Start feet and toes on the first breath, then move to ankles for the second breath. Move up to knees, genitals and buttocks, abdomen and internal organs, chest cavity, shoulders, muscles and tendons, upper arms and elbows, forearms and wrists, hands and fingers, throat, lips and jaw, cheeks and lines around eyes, then forehead and scalp. As you are doing this, exhale all tensions. This is a relaxing meditation for when you feel stressed, getting ready to study, or before meditation.EXERCISE #3 This is an exercise to establish concentration. After the relaxation premeditation warm up, go into a visualization of a single symbol. It can be a apple, a number, a peaceful pool of water, or anything you want. I use a single candle flame. This is the trigger that signals my mind that I am going into a meditative state. If you use such a signal to your mind, later with time, you won't have to do the mindful breathing or relaxation technique because you have programmed your mind to go into an alpha state at your will. This takes a bit longer to accomplish, but doing this with your regularly scheduled program of meditation will eventually get you to this state. This exercise will cultivate the stillness and calmness within the mind when you chose to enact it.Helpful Hints Don't set unreasonable demands upon yourself and your accomplishments. Ten minutes once or twice a day is worth more than an hour erratically. Try sitting in different positions to see which is best for you. From personal experience, I recommend that if you would like to do longer meditation, skip the lotus position for a while unless you want to come back a human pretzel.Half lotus works better in the beginning states. Keep track of your progress by using a personal journal. Meditation has a direct causal linkage to the human memory centers in the brain which help learning and decision-making and have many therapeutic values as well.There are lots of how-to books out there about meditation, but I prefer the straightforward technique of just doing it along with the experimental approach. Reading any one of the how-to books does give insight into how other individuals use meditation in their daily lives and their type of technique. It can be counterproductive, however, to follow strictly another person's program, because each of us come from different backgrounds, experiences, and have different motivations for meditation. The best mentor you can have for yourself is you, because you are the only one that can measure your progress at any given time. There is a common baseline within these books and the general rule of thumb is to do what works for you.The next step in meditation is visualization. This is the time that one moves on from the art of contemplation to begin information accessing. Visualization aids this process by using your imagination to align yourself with certain aspects of your psyche. This is the part that will take your time and patience to start working the skill base that has brought you to this point. I started working with what I call triggers and props. It is helpful to use three items that have a particular sensation that differs and involve all the five physical senses. I used an orange, a lit candle, and a rock. The orange is a visual, taste, touch, smell, and audio prop that can trigger all the senses at one time. The candle flame can produce a retina burn that implants the visual aspect into the mind for memory recall. The rock was used to work with the differences between the other two and to pick up the specific vibrations from the stone. This is the beginning step of working with psychic impressions from objects.EXERCISE #4 Gather up your three trigger props. I am going to use the above examples for this exercise, but you can choose whatever you deem appropriate for you. Start with the relaxation breathing technique discussed in Exercise #1 and then open your eyes to the items you have in front of you. Start with the orange: feel the skin of the orange, feel the weight and texture of it. Take the time to examine it very closely. Close your eyes, and while the orange is still in your hands, bring the image of it into your mind. After you have the image firmly planted in your mind, open your eyes and try it again, but this time without touching the orange. Again after you have the image implanted in your mind, open your eyes. Examine the orange a bit further then peel it and eat it.Explore the actual taste in your mouth, how it feels in your mouth, what sounds were made when you were peeling it, the juices that got on your hand and how they felt, and what it felt like when you finished eating the orange. Now close your eyes and recreate the scene in your mind. Try to include your motions and what it felt like peeling the orange. Then recreate the sounds you made peeling it. Then recreate the taste, the sensation in your mouth, and the smell that you had when you were eating it. After you recreate the physical sensations in your mind, open your eyes. Think about which of the five senses were easiest to recreate within your mind and which were the hardest. Now look at the candle flame, watch it move and listen for the sounds it makes. Keep doing this for a couple of minutes, then close your eyes. Did the flame appear, or did you have to recreate it within your mind? After you feel that you have made the image appear to your satisfaction, open your eyes. Now try this again, but get your hands close enough to the flame that you can feel its warmth. Close your eyes and bring up the image again, but also add the warmth of the flame to the image.Notice where and if you feel the warmth. Then open your eyes. The next part of this exercise involves becoming more relaxed. Get comfortable, and repeat the relaxation exercise while holding the rock. Feel the rock in your hand. What does it feel like physically and in your mind?Notice what your feel, see, and hear but don't let you mind wander off. If you do, start this part of the exercise over. When you are ready, open your eyes.The purpose of the above exercise is to recreate the item within your mind in all of its forms and sensations. This stimulates your imagination, and at the same time develops your recall and transfers your physical sensations into the mind. It forces you to activate your will and disconnects you with your environment for a short time. Visualization is different than meditation but there is an overlap regarding recall and the use of physical sensations during both of these skills.
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none's picture
Exercise 1: FeelingLie down in the grass. Close your eyes and try to feel the rhythms of the earth. Without sight, you must rely on your other senses. Empty your mind of mundane thoughts and concentrate only on feeling and hearing. Put your ear to the ground. Can you hear the movement of insects busy at their work? If you listen very carefully, the pulsations of the living earth will become very apparent. Allow them into your body. Relax. Let them become one with your heartbeat until your body no longer feels discrete and separate from the earth.Remain in this exercise for at least 15 minutes.This exercise may feel difficult on your first attempts. We have become accustomed to walking on manmade substances, our feet soled and shielded from the earth. We have forgotten the connectedness that out ancestors knew well. Even at your first attempt, however, you will feel something.Ancestral memory is strong within you if you allow yourself to remember. Oneness with the earth is part of our genetic evolutionary consciousness. It needs only to be aroused. When you are ready to rejoin the everyday world, go to a journal. Write down what you felt and heard. Try to think of all the words you know that will bring your experience to life.You may find yourself describing feelings as colors, scents, tastes. Your body knows how your senses connect. Allow your unconscious to describe for you. Let the words flow. Trust what is in you - not just what your logical, school-trained brain tells you. The next time you do this exercise and journal a response, read back. See how different your new attempt was from your first. This exercise is not something you will do once. It must be repeated over and over until you really feel the connection again. You will benefit in a lower stress level, a deeper meditation level, a grander understanding of yourself and your place in the scheme of things.Exercise 2: HearingOf all our senses, hearing allows us to go inside most easily. Hearing is not linear like sight; it cannot be shut off by "closing" the ears. Hearing surrounds us. It comes to us in vibrating waves, whether we are conscious of the sound or not. Even in silence, there is sound. Remember the old conundrum: If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there, can it be heard? The logical mind says: "No, hearing is dependent upon the receiving, the presence of ears" but the intuitive mind tells us that, of course, it is heard. Its very vibrations are felt by the trees that surround, and thus, its falling is acknowledged. Hearing is not dependent only upon the ears. Hearing is dependent upon the entire consciousness.Close your eyes. Listen to the sounds around you. Try to identify their source; as you identify and connect with each sound, let it go and move on to another. Ah, yes, there is a bee buzzing, and in the distance I hear the drone of a machine - two buzzes that merge and dance. The wind rustled the leaves. Do the leaves of the oak sing a different melody from the leaves of the willow?LISTENThere is a beautiful old clock in my sunroom. In times of greatest peace, its ticking is the only conscious sound, reassuring and reaffirming that calm center of all things, steady as a heartbeat. with the sunroom windows open, the clock's calls mingle with the natural sounds of the garden and become symphonic. There is wholeness. Hear the clocks in your our life.After a while, you will find yourself so bathed in sound that the sound itself disappears. At first it will "blank" on and off- you realize that you aren't hearing, and it comes rushing back to you. After a times you will hear nothing.The true center of sound is SILENCE, something we have very little of in our mundane lives. That point of silence is the very center of your Self.In winter or inclement weather, this same experience can be done inside. Concentrate on household sounds or listen to music wearing headphones. Try to pinpoint the various instrumental sounds that make up the whole; then let the whole take over. (Do NOT use music with lyrics; words interfere with the source).If you practice this deep hearing often enough, you will be able to use it at any time. You might be in a crowded grocery or walking down a busy city street, but if you concentrate first on the individual sounds, then the symphony of sounds, you will find yourself being instantly transported to your calm center of silence.Each time you consciously set out to do this exercise, go to your journal immediately afterward and record your experience "within the sounds of silence" (Simon and Garfunkel)Happy Journaling!
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none's picture
I love a rainy day. . . the gentle splash of rain on roof and windowpane, the muted grey light, the enveloping warmth of home and hearth that invites reading, napping, dreaming, letting go of the world.Too often our world has no soothing rain. Too often the mundane intrudes. Too often we forget our spiritual center in the bustle of completing all our tasks. Too often we are pulled into the frenzy, stress, anger of the world around us.How can we let the world slip away? It's a simple little exercise, but a most effective one. Let's say you are sitting in traffic. All around you are ugly sights and sounds, and worse - angry, frustrated drivers. Are you one of them? Why? There is nothing you can do to alleviate traffic, but there is something you can do to remove yourself from the ugliness.Stop right where you are. Think to yourself: "Let go of the world; let go of the world; let go of the world," and as you use this phrase like a mantra, take ten slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your diaphragm (belly) with a closed mouth; breath out through your mouth, slowly and steadily, all the while saying the mantra in your head. Count your breaths by laying a finger on the steering wheel for each breath completed. I guarantee that by the time you have completed ten, the world will have retreated. You will still be stuck in traffic, but you will be refreshed and calm and in touch with your spiritual center.Use this time to think, not of what's waiting for you to do, not what you're about to be late for, but about what pleases you most. Dream a little house, room by room. Dream a walk through the garden you'd love to own, plant by plant. Dream a stroll through a forest and the plants and animals you will encounter. I think you have the idea now.Use this technique in the grocery line, waiting at the dentist's office, doing the laundry, cooking a meal, cleaning the bathroom. We can participate in all the demands of the mundane world without letting them intrude upon our inner Self. Let go of the world often, and you will find the mundane a nicer place in which to live.
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Ian Corrigan's picture
Embark on a magical journey to the three realms of land, sea and sky.Here is a trance journey you can take on your own to visit the three worlds.PreparationBasic breathing and relaxationMist inductionDeepening as mist risesDrifting downwardCome to rest, mist clears...1: The LandYou have come to rest on strange ground. The mist clears, shredding in a gentle breeze. As your vision resolves, you are in a clearing in a wood. You remember your quest - to seek contact with the essence of the three worlds.All 'round you is the forest, dappled in gray light through the leaves of trees. The floor of soft leaves and plants is beneath you, the smell of loam and earth around you. You rise to your feet in vision. Above you, the sky is silver-bright, but sunless, the light broken here on the forest floor.As you stand in this clearing, turn now to the four directions. Gaze in each direction, and let the vision become full and clear. As you turn, an animal or bird will appear in some place before you. You begin to walk, going toward that messenger, seeking the land-folk.As you walk through the forest, you observe its nature. Open your heart and seek loving contact with the land spirits. Observe any response, but keep walking, walking on through the woodland.At last, you emerge into a wide glade in the wood. In the center of the glade is a mound, of the ancient kind, a small barrow, ringed in stones. Before you is the door into the mound, a narrow arch of giant stones, with the lintel-stone carved in spirals and rings. Inside the doorway all is dark but from the door a thin stream of smoke creeps.You know that this is your destination, so you stride fearlessly to the portal and Step into the dark, into a downward tunnel, with walls of cold Stone. The tunnel turns to the left, turning downward in darkness, turning rightward back on itself, until before you a dim red light becomes visible. You walk down into a chamber with high roof and walls of giant slabs. The light comes from a fire, burning in a round raised altar in the center of the chamber. Flickering firelight reveals carvings of animals and plants.You go to the fire and gaze into its changing light. You turn your mind toward the land. As you watch the fire, the spirits of the land may come to you, may reveal themselves. Let your mind range to the deserts and jungles, the tundras and woodlands, the plains and mountains. Call out to the living minds that lie within the stone and soil.You find yourself in the mound, the ground beneath your feet, the fire before your eyes. You feel a presence at your back and you turn. You see a spirit standing before you.The form of the spirit becomes clear - its face, its body, Its garb or raiment. The spirit holds out a hand, offering you a gift. You accept the gift with thanks to this guide of the land.The spirit gestures, and behind the burning altar a panel of carved stone opens. Through the door, you can see the ocean. You step around the fire and out onto the sea strand.2: The SeaYou stand on the sea shore, and remember the land, and its gift. You look out over the sea, hearing the sound of the waves on the sand, feeling the wind off of the water, smelling - the salt air.A beautiful silver gull flies from right to left across the sky. Your eye follows the bird. By the shore you see a ship, a ship of white wood, with blue sails and silver fittings. A gangplank runs from the ship down to the shore.You walk down the shore and up the plank onto the deck of the ship. No crew is visible, but the plank draws up, the sails fill with a freshening wind, and the bow turns away from the land as the boat sails away.The ship sails with magical speed, scudding over the waves as gulls call overhead. Fish come to follow, and leap around the vessel. Three dolphins come to leap and play, running before the fleet ship.Far from the sight of land, the ship slows to a halt. In the calm and gentle roaring of the waves, the gangplank lowers again, down into the water. At the bottom the dolphins wait.You walk down the plank and into the waters of the sea. The cool water is refreshing and supporting. The dolphins come and bear you up, then laughing, they carry you with them as they dive down, into the sea.You feel no need to breathe as you pass beneath the waters as you travel down among the life of the sea. Open your heart to the life of the sea as you travel in their country.You are carried on through the sea by the strong, friendly beasts until you come to a great undersea mountain, its peak deep beneath the surface. The water has grown warm, and you see that the top of that mountain is flat. Upon it, is a ring of stones, and at its center a pool of lava steams and bubbles. It glows hot red, and flows of lava run into the sea, cooling.The dolphins carry you down to the lava and you gaze into its glow. You turn your mind to the sea. Let your mind range to the trenches and reefs, to the strange upwelling sources, to the warm shallows and the whale roads, to raging storm and calm depths teeming with life. As you watch the lava, the spirits of the sea may come to you, may reveal themselves. Call out to the living minds, within the ancient depths.Floating there at the mountain, the dolphins waiting beside you, you feel a presence at your back. You turn and there stands a spirit of the sea. The form of the spirit may come dear to you, its countenance, its garb. It offers you a gift, and you may choose to accept it.The spirit gestures, and the dolphins carry you up again. They begin to carry you upward, speeding up through dark water into lighter seas, up toward the bright surface. They break the surface and leap high, bearing you over the waves. You suddenly feel yourself caught on a powerful body, that carries you toward the sky.3: The SkyAs you rise into the air you look down to see a huge white swan, carrying you gently into the sky. Its mighty wings beat and its noble neck stretches out before you. You remember the sea, and its gift to you.You are lifted higher and higher, turning wide, back over the land. You rise through banks of cloud, past flocks of singing birds. You feel the crisp, cold air of the sky, see the passing of the clouds and currents of air, the sky that circles the whole globe of the world. Open your heart to the sky, seeking awareness of its spirits, storm and dear night, wind and gentle rain, as the swan bears you onward through the silver sky.The swan leve1s off, flying at remarkable speed. You approach a huge cloudbank, towering up white and fleecy, high above your head, you see canyons and hills of cloud. Near its base it is black, and you hear the rumble of thunder.The swan carries you to a shelf in the cloud and, as you descend, you discover that you can slide from the swan and stand upon the grey-white surface. Before you the convolutions of the cloud open like a maze, and you walk in.The way is clear, through a valley of cloud, until you come to a great arch of purest white, with a tower of cloud rising behind. In the center of the arch flashes a free-floating ball of fire, crackling and hissing in the moist air.Gaze into the £ire, and turn your mind toward the sky. As you watch the fire, the spirits of the sky may reveal themselves to you. Let your mind range into the air, to the cycles of rain and wind, to the kingdom of birds just above the treetops, to the high, racing winds of the upper airs. Call out to the living minds that lie behind wind and rain.You find yourself standing at the temple of cloud, the towering white, the rumble of thunder and the fire's blaze. You feel a presence behind you and you turn to see the messenger of the sky.The form of the spirit becomes clear, its gaze, its appearance. It offers you a gift, which you may accept if you choose.The spirit gestures, and the swan catches you up onto its back, speeding upward again, upward above the clouds, upward until the silver sky is left behind, until the sun and moon are both visible in their glory.You remember the three worlds, your experience of each, the three gifts you've been of. Offered, and remember, that when you wish to return to the inner worlds, to contact the spirits, this work has made that easier. It has opened the way.4: The ReturnYou ride on the back of the swan, and it begins a gentle descent, back toward the swirling mist below. Together you sail downward toward the common world, remembering all as you descend toward your body.The swan departs and you are again drifting downward to the upholding mist. You remember your body, seated here. You drift back down into your body, settling gently.Breath deeply. Stretch and feel your flesh move. As you open your eyes, you are returned to your common life. Your mind clear and rested, filled with the memory of wonder, but ready to return to common life, with the blessings of the three worlds!
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JenniHunt's picture
Hi, my name is Jenni, and I am a multitasker.A few years ago when I was struggling to get through the meditation requirement for the Dedicant's Program, you might have seen me on any given morning sitting uncomfortably before my contrived altar, eyes squinted closed, trying not to think about the zillion things I had to do that day, focused on growing roots out of my posterior and having a star beam blaze a path into my brain.Now that I'm a Dedicant Priest and my teacher insists that I meditate for a minimum of three minutes a day - every day - you might see me literally sitting on my hands, eyes closed, and furrows in my brows as I try to focus on "the now." Meditation has never ceased being a struggle for me. So just as I struggled with Algebra but found I made a pretty good Algebra tutor, I figured it might help some folks who also struggle with meditation if I shared some of my experiences.I used to always worry that I just wasn't any good at meditation and I'd never get it. I have trouble sitting still for any period of time; my feet go to sleep if I sat in a lotus position for more than two or three minutes; my mind drifts everywhere; I have a hard time even keeping my eyes closed. Meditation feels like a chore or a punishment - like when my mother used to punish me by sitting me on a stool in the corner and setting the timer for 10 minutes. Torture! Sometimes I despair of ever being able to meditate properly. That is, until I realized the only way for me to meditate "properly" is to do so in a way that works for ME.One day, while I was still working on my own DP, a friend pointed out to me that I can always meditate when the situation calls for it - particularly in ritual. I can be in trance mode almost as fast as you can say "ground and center." Ergo, she reasoned, I must be getting practice somewhere. Maybe I was practicing in ways I didn't consciously deem meditation? Eureka! I practice meditation when I am doing something else that does not require the complete focus of my mind but I can't do anything else simultaneously. How typical of me! Why would I ever do one thing at a time when I could be doing three or four? Since then, I've identified two discernable types of trance and meditation that I use regularly: The first involves focusing on nothing in particular and getting lost in the nothingness (or, as I prefer to think of it, "zoning out"). With the second, I focus on one thing and get totally wrapped up in it. Like so many other learning experiences in my life, I found I really could do what everyone else seemed to find so easy to do - I just went about it in a different way.Mindfulness: Contemplating NothingFocusing on nothing was a task which daunted me for years until I discovered that I do so all the time, and I suspect everyone else does, too, with some frequency. The best example for me is while I am driving for a long period of time on a route that requires little attention. When I find myself on such a drive, I go into a sort of attentive trance, not consciously directing my thoughts, but allowing them to mill around in my head, sorting themselves out almost of their own volition. Now I certainly don't recommend anyone take up meditation while driving, but anyone can reach a contemplative state while driving. I've discovered a huge benefit in doing so as I'm one of those rare persons who doesn't succumb to road rage. I'm not so involved in my driving that I ever get upset about it - - my mind is only partially occupied with driving, and I'm very relaxed.There are certainly lots of other opportunities for "zoning out" - the bathtub zone, the front-porch-at-dusk zone, the commuter-train zone, the trance-music zone, etc. (I'm sure folks can come up with dozens of other examples.) It's not so much what you're doing as the fact that you're really doing nothing that makes the time so valuable. The point is that you are a captive audience to "the now." Thoughts and sensations drift in and out of your consciousness just as much as necessary, though you don't necessarily get bogged down in any of them. I find that all those thoughts and sensations tend to sort themselves out and prioritize themselves naturally. As I sit on the front porch, I notice the neighbor's music for only a moment; it's the song of the bullfrog in the pond across the street that comes to the forefront, probably because that song has something to tell me, not the neighbor's stereo.Of course, on rare occasions, I get so lost in the moment that I neither hear, feel, see, smell nor perceive ANYTHING. I treasure those moments most of all. I really miss smoke breaks. They don't work for me without the cigarettes; I just don't relax. I used to sit outside on the back steps listening to the birds, tasting the air on the wind, and generally tuning into the world around me. I prefer to think of this kind of meditation as a "mindfulness" exercise, rather than focusing on nothingness. It simply involves relaxing and opening up my mind and senses to be totally receptive. Often I do this sort of meditation immediately after prayer, because I think an important part of prayer is listening. Sometimes, these meditations just quiet my mind. Sometimes they lead to contemplation of all sorts of things: daydreaming about my future, thinking about my ancestors, working out the outline of a story or essay I plan to write, or planning work and rituals for my grove. Sometimes what I experience I can only describe as epiphany. At such times, I've written some of my best poetry. Sometimes it simply brings great, joyful tears to my eyes. I daresay that these meditations are some of the most fruitful and satisfying meditations of all.I used to experience another less spectacular instance of this focused meditative trance when I would type from dictation or copy. Typing from long tapes of dictation or pages and pages of boring copy can be very relaxing. I used to get so deeply involved in the task at hand that my mind would be totally open and empty, not thinking at all about what the document says, and no effort whatsoever into the kinetics of my fingers on the keyboard or my foot on the dictaphone pedal. I could just close my eyes and shift into a sort of clerical cruise control, unable to see, hear, or smell anything around me - pretty much off in another world. This is as close as I ever come to being so involved in a trance that I think of "nothingness," yet ironically, it is while I am totally focused on a single task, simple and automatic as it is for me.Immersion: Contemplating EverythingThe whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are all inextricably connected to each other and to that which surrounds us. By consciously focusing on the connections we have with the world around us and joining our essence with the 'All,' we become more than just ourselves - we become a part of our community, our environment, and our universe. I refer to this type of meditation as "immersion," because it involves surrendering one's individual consciousness to become absorbed in the Whole. For me, the most powerful of these meditations occur in ritual, when my mind becomes so tuned into what enfolds before me that often I'm not aware of anything but the ritual and its participants - the Kindred, the Community, and the Earth - in a way that excludes perception of so called mundane reality - people joining the ritual late, traffic sounds, or the airplane passing overhead. Because the Universe is a dynamic and mutable force, immersion meditation is not something one would do quietly or sitting still. It requires - by definition - active participation. My favorite form of immersion meditation involves listening to music and singing and/or dancing along with it. My soul has always spoken and understood the language of music more so than any other form of communication.Sometimes I listen carefully to discern the different instruments or voices in music which create the whole, but more often, I listen more holistically and feel the music as an aching, soaring catharsis deep within me - I see, hear, smell, and feel nothing else but the music. It is the most uplifting, exhilarating type of meditation I know. I once attended a zikr workshop sponsored by the Sufi folks in Columbus, Ohio. This type of meditation opened entire worlds of consciousness to me. The zikr is a form of meditative trance which involves some sort of movement and chant. Whirling dervishes are the most readily recognized users of this type of trance and meditation. One of the simpler zikrs I remember involves a group of people sitting around in a circle, each in a half-lotus or lotus position, knees almost touching the persons adjacent. The chant was an exaggeratedly aspirated "hhhhoo," and the movement simply turning one's head from side to side.The idea was to imagine the essence of your soul concentrated in your breath and passing it with the syllable "hoo" to the center core of the soul of the person to either side of you. After maybe ten minutes of this exercise (it is difficult to have any sense of time during zikrs), the souls of every person in the circle had been passed around and shared, and we were all the stronger and refreshed (these being totally inadequate adjectives) for having shared them thus. Sometimes I do consciously involve myself in a more guided, spiritual meditation. Instead of the Two Powers, I imagine a small, but powerful flame deep inside the core of me expanding, diffusing, and spreading around me like an aura. I especially like to do this when I am driving in heavy traffic where other drivers seem to be particularly impatient and grumpy. I focus first on myself and my breathing, calming and relaxing myself. Then I allow those feelings of calmness and well-being influence those around me. It really does seem to work to help relieve tension in the drivers around me!Finally, I want to describe one last form of immersion meditation I use when I am walking or exercising. It involves matching the rhythms of my body with my movements and with any external rhythms I perceive. When I was younger - and could still jog comfortably without feeling like every step was jolting my body to pieces - I would always use a specific song in my mind to pace myself -- ELO's "Evil Woman" was one of my favorites for a long, steady, sustained run. Nowadays, when I swim, I find a stroke which suits the rhythm of a particular song and set the pace of my stroke and breathe to that beat. My favorite workout is on the elliptical machine while wearing headphones and a lively CD playing. I love the music SO much, that I can't help matching its rhythm. I've found my heart rate is lower when I work out to music, time goes faster, I have more energy, less soreness... and oh, when those endorphins kick in! I get so lost in the movement and the music, I totally lose track of time and all conscious thought whatsoever.These methods of meditation are what have worked best for me, and I found them as a process of experimentation, elimination and back-door contemplation. Whether you're just learning to meditate or have done so for years, find a method of meditation that works best for you. Try the Two Powers meditation - honestly, open-mindedly and over enough time to really give it a chance - before you do anything else. It is a terrific starting point, and for many folks, one of the best meditation techniques there is. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it!) If you find it really isn't your bag, take the time to contemplate why that is. (Find out what's broke and fix it!) Try different techniques, and if necessary, tweak them out until you have something that's custom-made for you.Hey, if I can do it, anyone can.
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MichaelJDangler's picture
When Three Cranes Grove, ADF, started doing public ritual, we chose not to call on a deity for a gatekeeper, though there were many available. We wanted to build a relationship with a nature spirit, helping to spread our worship across the Kindred. We spent some time working with various nature spirits, and as I look back on it I'm a bit surprised how long it took us to see the perfect nature spirit: we needed to look no further than our name.For two full years, we invoked the crane, named Garanus after the Gaulish word for "crane." This past September, we added a new piece to the invocation: a meditation that precedes the actual invocation.The meditation is a trick I learned at Trillium in 2005, when Kirk Thomas gave a workshop on circles of concentration in ritual. The meditation helps the ritual participants to focus on the opening of the gates, and helps put them into a frame of mind where the energy raising of the gate opening is more accessible.This meditation is done just before the invocation of the Gatekeeper, and gives a set of visual cues that help to keep everyone on the same page.This particular meditation is designed simply to re-center the Grove on the gates of the ritual, re-establish the cosmos, and confirm each participant's frame of reference. It slows the rite down in preparation for opening the Gates.The Garanus MeditationIn your mind's eye, see the mists that hover between the worlds as they roll in around this sacred space. In all directions, the mists close you off from the mundane world, leaving nothing but this Grove. At the edge of the mists, there is a parting. The mists roll back to reveal the waters, deep and undisturbed. They stretch far into the distance, disappearing into the farthest mists.In the shallows before you, where the land meets the waters, stands a tall, watchful crane. One foot stands upon the land, and the other is in the water. His eye is raised to the sky.This is Garanus, the crane.He has dominion over the three realms: he walks upon the land, feeds in the waters, and flies through the sky. Garanus, the crane, will guide us and protect us as we walk to meet the Kindred at the boundaries of this sacred Grove.
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Ritual and Practice