Having bedroom windows that face East is a pleasure for me. Continue reading
This past month has been hard on me physically; anyone who has ever had mononucleosis (mono) can probably attest to it being a real kick in the arse. Strangely, in some ways it feels like my period of illness has allowed me to slowly realign myself. I tend to feel very removed from my own life, to feel like the currents of life are just pushing my passive form along to wherever, but as I recover from the mono and other accompanying ailments I have felt a much stronger sense of intentionality about my life.
As part of my continuing recovery, I decided to attend a short energy healing session at Holistic Care Approach that I had attended a few times before over the last couple years. This session felt quite different from the others in that I felt more open to receiving help in the form of energy, and that changed the tone of the experience drastically. Often after an energy healing people talk about how much “lighter” they feel. My experience is that it makes me feel heavier but not in a negative way; I feel more anchored in my own body, in my own place. It seems like I have developed the habit of avoiding syncing my energy with my physical body for various reasons, so the process of healing and realignment brings to me a sense of fully-embodied vigor.
After the guided meditation energy healing, a trip to my favorite park seemed in order. The sun was already pretty well set as I was driving home, so the park was thoroughly immersed in the darkness of twilight when I got there. Something that I had been missing all year was the presence of bats hunting in the evening. It seemed like I saw them much more often last year and in much lighter hours, causing me to worry if this past harsh winter had severely impacted their numbers. Relief washed over me as I walked beneath their shadowy, darting forms in the fading yellow-green light. The moon is currently waxing to just past half full (1st Quarter Moon.. half full = Quarter moon.. not very intuitive terminology), making plenty of light in the clear night sky to see my moonlit shadow beside me as I walked.
Upon reaching the lookout point, I had hopes of spotting a deer or a fox in the fields below. No such luck, however. It was nice to just stand for a moment watching the magical, winking firefly lights over the grasses and sleeping flowers. I felt blessed just to have the strength to go on this walk after being so weak the last fortnight.
Although summer feels like it passed much too quickly and murmurs of another strong winter lie ahead, I embrace this liminal twilight as we approach the Autumn Equinox.
The integrative mythdream is an archetypal meditation that has grown out of my depth psychology studies and my personal contemplative practice. It allows us to encounter the archetypes through their personification in mythology. It involves the experiencing of a mythic story through active imagination, and engaging the bodily felt-senses associated with the places and characters of the myth.
Last night I had the privilege of attending a workshop by Maureen Wolverton at The Coptic Center about Finding the Center: The Search for the Archetypal Self. The main focus of the workshop was to draw a labyrinth, seek out this labyrinth in meditation, and charge this internal labyrinth with your personal energy to reach your ‘immovable center’. This center refers to Jung’s concept of the archetype of Self, the archetype of wholeness. Afterwards we painted within the circle of a mandala to express aspects of our meditation experience from this idea of wholeness, with the circle serving as the infinite yet whole container for these experiences.
I chose a simple labyrinth design so I could easily trace the path with my mind’s eye. Besides activating this labyrinth with my energy, my individual intent for this meditation was to find ‘my’ symbol. As seen in the center of the colorful mandala up above, it was given to me. Though a very simple symbol, it demonstrates much about how I operate and the role I feel I am here to serve in for this lifetime. In its reflective shape I see represented a name given to me in a Sacred Grove meditation, scáthán (said ‘s-Cah-han’), meaning ‘mirror’ in Irish. I also see ‘as above, so below’ figuring in the symbol. Being rather empathic, I tend to reflect the emotions around me without even realizing it sometimes.
In addition to the symbol itself, I was given the distinct impression of scenting cinnamon in the air during the meditation. This seemed really random at first, but after doing a cursory search on the history of cinnamon I found that cinnamon has been incorporated into very valuable, probably sacred mixtures such as for anointing important individuals both living and dead. Even the shape of cinnamon sticks shows similar curls to the ones in the symbol.
It will be interesting to continue exploring the significance of this symbol and all the other things I gained from this wonderful workshop.
Through the course of engaging in a short, straightforward meditation, I had a thought that was something along the lines of “The sensation is almost like I’m tapping into some kind of power..”
To my immense surprise, I seemed to receive a corrective response Continue reading
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For the most part these moments that defy articulation rest on a paradox: at every crossing there is always a moment in which one is neither on one side nor on the other, neither what one was nor what one will be … One is in suspension-hovering timelessly in between.
We welcomed the autumnal equinox last Sunday with a ritual in Visionsong. With votive offerings of smoke, apple, water, and tobacco, we bid farewell to summer and, together with the trees, turned our awareness toward the balance of light and dark, and began the journey toward Samhain and the approaching dark half of the year. The equinox is a liminal time, and certainly, the energy of Visionsong, and of the ritual we performed inhabited a gap, as it were, between summer and autumn. I think the liminality of the experience though is much larger than that. I have only rarely experienced a liminal time or place quite as abrupt as a single day or a single ritual. Nonetheless, the ritual was powerful for me, and led me into the embrace of autumn.
Within the transformative space of ritual it becomes clear that liminal places are places of power. Since I have had many significant experiences in liminal places, I have never really questioned this idea, but as I was pouring the votive offering in Visionsong, I asked myself why. I didn’t ask because it suddenly struck my philosopher’s mind to ask, but because the water I poured onto the altar seemed to have its own ideas on where to land, stubbornly ignoring my attempts to ‘aim.’ In a mundane setting, I might have tried harder to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish, but in the liminal state of ritual, the liminal time of dusk, and the liminal entry of the equinox, I just allowed it to go where it would go, to merge with the inherent energy of liminality.
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The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.
Blogging about the Nemetons has got me thinking about the process of entering into, experiencing, and maintaining the spiritual practice of inhabiting my true place in the world of Being within nature. Though the dedication and tending of a Nemeton involves many expressions of practice, the basic, underlying spiritual process is the same. This has become a natural, or at least automatic, process that I go through without consciously thinking about it, so I have been taking a step back, as it were, and trying to understand what exactly happens, what exactly I do when practicing in nature, and what comes of it. I have reached the conclusion that it is a process of becoming indigenous to a place. It is a sacred courtship and marriage which is a three part process of becoming aware, becoming acquainted, and becoming one.