Posts Tagged ‘meditation’
On the nature of signs and portents
I have a pot in which I put things that I am certain of, there is a lot of spare room in it. One thing that I am convinced of is that it is our busyness that is our energetic downfall and our spiritual darkness. Wow! That’s a powerful conclusion to draw isn’t it? But I stand by it. As you know, if you follow my exploits herein, I am a great follower of signs. I used to believe that we attracted signs because of our energetic alignment. Thus the more aligned we were the more signs would come our way. Funny, because I still do believe that, however I make a very curious distinction (or set of distinctions).
Before I go into it, I want to be excused. The discussion below is just my humble view. It is not meant to persuade you to my way of thinking or to detract you from your own personal view on these matters. What I am doing is describing my understanding of things, that’s all.
The essence of my distinction is this, we have many sources of sign type information. However what I understand is that there are three main categories (oooh don’t you just hate it when people categorise stuff?) These categories are:
- Our Energetic Self (until now known as our higher self, a term that I have come to dispute)
- Our spirit (whatever that maybe, but for me it isn’t our higher/energetic self)
Hang on though, that’s only two. Yes it is. What I say is that our Energetic Self can provide us with intuitive knowledge or it can be an access point for other worldly beings to give us knowledge.
I’ll talk about Spiritual Guidance in another post (not that it matters, in my humble opinion, Spirit is a deeply personal affair and your own faith about it is much more precedent than my views, which after all are only my views).
Anyway, whether it is our personal Energetic intuition, other worldly guidance or spiritual guidance the obstacle remains the same. In Castaneda’s view of things it was our self-talk that was the ultimate culprit and the practice which stifled our genius (spirit). I don’t dispute it. However the journey to mastering our monkey chatter begins with a practice of stepping (as oppose to stopping) out of the busy world.
I was asked recently by a blog reader, on many occasions, you go out into the wilds with Gwas and it is he that is on some purpose whereas for you it is a case of just be how come you do that? Seriously? Surely the depth of friendship between Gwas and I is sufficient an answer? If not, then I will let you into a secret. Creating a habit of stepping out of the busy world and into nature is one of the best things you can do to get access to the constant signs and portents that the universe in one form or another is laying before your feet.
It isn’t that signs are more readily found in nature (after all isn’t everything nature?) it is more the case that stepping into nature gives us the clarity and emptiness to see signs wherever we are.
Other activities that support our access to the perception of signs is meditation, keeping a journal of what has happened (this blog forms a good one for Gwas and I, with all that has been said here we would be hypocritical in the extreme if we claimed that signs are non-existent). Listening is another.
It is completely unsurprising to me that the 5th and 6th energy centres are empowered by listening and silence, respectively (among other things).
“The catalyst for understanding is listening, the catalyst for perception is silence” Kal Malik Active Enlightenment
Am I leading somewhere with this post? Yes, This, if you like is an introduction to a few posts with regards to a recent night that I spent with some Sufi Mystics. The meeting between us occurred through some serendipitous events and I feel not in some small part to a cohesion of several disparate (and yet not so) parts. Are you curious? Stay tuned.
I have been re-visiting some of the essential elements of the magickal work that I do. Sometimes when working I forget various parts of these elements that I have found to be essential components to the success of such work. When I forget to employ all five of the elements in the process of doing energy work or interacting on a magickal level with nature then the likelihood of the success of that work, or rather, the strength of the outcome, is compromised by relative degrees. Often it can cause such work to fail altogether.
Usually one puts failure down to any number of other factors such as tiredness, low energy levels or some other personal or environmental failing. On reflection the work has failed because one of the following five essential elements has been missed out or performed as a gesture.
Here are the five essential elements that I have found contribute to the proportional success of natural magick.
- Prepare for the work by becoming humble and sincere in attitude
- Set your intent clearly at the outset, before performing actions or visualisations
- Engage with the surrounding or called-in spirit forces and negotiate their co-operation in the work. This is another reason why clear intent is useful.
- Provide your own energy into the work at a frequency that we associate with the feeling of love.
- Give thanks to the forces that interacted in the work when you have completed the intention or energy exchange
Every time I work I will try to keep these five elements in mind during my work. How hard can it be?
This is the first of a few posts telling you about my trip to the beautiful county of Nottingham. You may remember that I had dowsed using rods and map to find a location in which I could spend a few days of peace and quiet. The dowsing rods had done me a good turn. Hold on - I must stop saying it’s the rods themselves. The rods are an extension of an interaction between myself and my guiding spirits, with whom I have forged a psychic relationship. There. That’s better. Now you understand how I view this dowsing activity.
Before going to Creswell Crags I decided to have a relaxing walk in a forest that the landlady of my hotel had recommended – Clumber Park. Dowsing had suggested that I should be at Creswell Crags closer to midday, rather than in the morning. Clumber Park was very close by, so it was no bother to go visit it. I found it easily, and it was free to enter and to park when I got there (although there is usually a charge).
Clumber Park is a National Trust estate and so is consequently well organised and well kept. It was my intention simply to wander around for a while to acclimatise to the energies of the place, and to breathe in the warm late Winter fresh air – clear out my lungs and enliven the blood.
The estate is large, and once I had found the car park I began to wander around, feeling for a direction to walk in. The spire of the church nearby pulled me towards it. One of the signs promised peacefulness and this drew me in. The chapel was impressive from the outside – much bigger than you would expect for a chapel that must have served a s very small congregation. Interestingly, its dedication was to “Our Lady“. An indication to me that it was hedging its bets as to whether that was Mary or some other natural female deity.
I couldn’t dowse around inside because the building was closed for Winter refurbishment, but the surrounding trees made me feel welcome anyway, and I wandered off towards the stretched-out lake to watch the swans taking off and landing. The swans’ wings made the oddest rhythmic sound which captivated me for many minutes. Oh, the luxury of time – time enough to let oneself fall into the arms of Nature to feel her heart beating!
Peach of a Beech
As I wandered away from the lakeside something made itself known to me and I began to walk in the direction of the ‘tug’ – the mental feeling that something was calling to me. Within minutes I was walking up a small mound of shrubs and trees to discover a huge beech tree on the top of the rise. I wasn’t surprised, but instead delighted.
I spent a few minutes in meditation with the tree, and asked how we might interact together. My suggestion was to rebalance my chakras using the tree’s helpful energies, in return for me providing the tree with as much growth energy as I could muster. I set to work generating some energy from a combination of my heart and sacral chakras and provided them to the tree’s roots. In return I felt the tree go to work on my aura, and after it had finished I felt rather good. This might be a useful preparation for things to come later, I thought to myself.
As I said my thanks to the tree, I heard in my mind “Good work, young Druid“. That was a nice touch. Young? Not how I would describe myself, but relative to the tree I suppose I was. And in terms of my druid knowledge – certainly in my youth there.
I was now feeling balanced and prepared for the day ahead. I seemed to have all the energy I could need. The recovery process was off to a great start. Now it was time to visit the caves at the crags and an unexpected meeting with an Earth Spirit, which I will report in my next post.
The year has only just started and already I am way out of line with my posts and the dates upon which the action took place. I fear this year is going to be SO busy that we are going to have to start posting smaller and faster just to keep up. In this post I revisit the Llangernyw Yew tree that is the starting point for many of my previous years’ quests and adventures. This year was no exception. This episode occurred in late January, before Imbolc. Yes, we have all the Imbolc posts still to come! So much to tell you about already this year. On to this story.
It is a philosophical point as to whether the tree really communicates with the druid. Perhaps its still nature and deep-rootedness simply allow you to go deep within yourself and find a small reflection of your own wishes that are then brought out to serve as an inspiration for the elaboration that is to come? Certainly, that is often how it appears, yet there is always something that you never actually know yourself, something that you couldn’t have known, something that surprises you and this element is the unquestioning influence of the yew tree itself. It is for this reason that I visit the tree so often, and always at the start of the year. The yew tree starts the year, offering me its guidance on the theme of my work for the coming turn of The Wheel.
Kal and I split up as usual, he going off to tour the graveyard briefly before settling into his own meditations around the tree, whilst I got straight to work beneath the mighty ancient yew. The weather was cold, but crisp and the sun was shining which made the day feel warmer than it should have been at that time of year. The yew tree would normally have been subdued by a biting frost and a layer of snow in January, but instead it felt ready to burst back into life as though Spring were upon us, even though Spring was still two full months away.
I settled into a meditation after dowsing for the best place to work from, and a direction to face – into the Sun, unusually. Little did I know that this would become a recurring theme for this year, as I will show in later posts. Within minutes I was deep inside the yew tree after setting up protection and doing my grounding and centring visualisations. They came easily, and the yew responded with a warm and deep hum like the clearing of an ancient throat at length. In humility I directed a question, a thought-idea at the yew and hoped for a response: “What is my direction for this year?” I asked. Deep quiet. Long silence. Then a stirring, and a word moving up from the depths of the roots into my consciousness: “Renown”. Just that one word!
Part one – the nine ladies
Once you set about visiting Sacred sites you can’t help but get a few more in on your travels. So after that lovely encounter and auspicious start I decided to pop down (since it’s down a slope) to Doll Tor (hope the spelling is right). This is a lovely little sacred site in amongst the trees and by the side of some inviting meadows (I keep promising Gwas that I will run down those long meadows one day).
I had no particular reason to go there, other than it was close by and hey why not. As I approached a couple of crows zoomed out of the trees and flew towards me in greeting and I acknowledged my totem and knew that I was on to a good thing. Again, respecting the threshold, I communed with the Genius Loci and gained a favoured entry. I asked whether there was anything for me to learn here and the rods acquiesced. So I asked for directions and was led to a tree just to the side of the circle. If memory served on a past occasion Gwas and I had noted that a pentagram had been hung from its branches. Now the tree was bare and I sidled up to it and sat down letting my mind open to any impressions. Alas it was not as exciting as my commune at the nine ladies. Indeed, I felt that that last jaunt had depleted my communing energies so I decided to let this place energies me instead and just relaxed. I felt completely relaxed and even the cold wasn’t affecting me. After many moments I arose feeling really refreshed and as is my wont these days I knelt down to place my palm upon the ground in gratitude when I saw something blue on the floor where I had been sat.
At first I thought it was something that had fallen out of my pocket, but then realised that it was a blue lapis lazuli crystal. It was quite big too a good half a hand size. I was about to pick it up to examine it more when I thought to capture a picture of it first. Taking out my trusty iPhone I zoomed in and clicked. Nothing. I tried again, nothing. What? I checked my phone and all seemed fine, but when I tried to take picture of the crystal, nothing. I tried taking a picture of the site. Again nothing! My phone has never failed me before so I considered that this might be significant. I grabbed my rods.
- Is there a reason why my phone wont take a picture? Yes.
- Am I missing something? Yes
- Is it about the stone? Yes
- Should I take the stone? No
- Was it good for me to meditate on the stone? Yes
- Did it have a good effect on me? Yes
- Was the stone left here with an intention? Yes
- Is that intention stopping me taking a picture? Yes
I wondered what the intention could be. The obvious thing was that it had been placed in secret and when I asked this the rods confirmed that that was the case. Was the stone placed with a purpose I would consider to be good (you see Elizabeth Browns Dowsing book has influenced my questioning). Yes. I left the stone alone and considered why I had meditated on top of it. My crystal lore has it that Lapis is an excellent 3rd eye stone so I pondered whether this stone had affected my 3rd eye energies? No. Lovely!
Lapis is also known to be good for mental faculties – hmmm - had the stone affected my mental faculties in anyway? Yes. Ah. Okay. I had no way to test this rather ubiquitous response and left it at that. Plus I was getting hungry and the food (left in the car) was calling to me. I placed some grass on top of the Lapis and thanked the site for its pleasure and left.
As I walked up the meadow I found my thoughts racing with ideas and wondered whether it was placebo or the Lapis. But it wasn’t until my next stop that I really believed that the Lapis had engaged the energies I had picked up at the Nine Ladies.
In the second part of my Winter Solstice expedition I hereby present the story of Thor’s Cave. You may remember that I was directed to seek the sanctuary and sanctity of a cave atmosphere as a suitable space within which to see out the end of what has been a very interesting year. I think there are several reason why a cave would be a suitable space. Firstly, because I was visiting at the Winter Solstice, this time of year is all about closure. It is about letting go of any tensions built up in the year, of concentrating all of the information learned in that yearly cycle, and then of closing down to wait for the energies to re-appear at Imbolc in February. With a cave’s aura-shaping capability, it made sense to me that seeking a dark enclosed space within which to agglomerate all of the year’s teachings would be the ideal choice. Kal and I learned about the aura-shaping aspects of caves earlier in September from our visit to South Wales.
Thor’s Cave is probably quite easy to get to if you approach it from the road below, but you would be presented with a very steep climb. Instead, Mike and I approached from the footpath just at the edge of Wetton village and there was very little climbing involved, but the ground was wet, muddy and slippery in many parts so we had some amusing episodes both there and back as we struggled for grip. One you reach the front of the cave, however, the entrance is awe-inspiring in size.
It may not be obvious from the pictures but you can’t walk into the cave – you have to climb. For us at this time of year this meant scrambling over wet smooth rocks and all hands and feet were needed to get into the cave without sliding back out. I would recommend you visit on a dry warm day. For some reason I was totally unprepared this day and hadn’t brought a torch! Luckily, Mike had – this was a complete role-reversal that amused us both for ages.
Shafts of remaining sunlight filtered into the cave from the huge entrance and the tall slit in the rocks at the side of the cave, letting in enough light for us to make our way slowly and carefully to the back of the cave. There, the ground rose slightly and split into several hollows arranged around a central protrusion of rock. We tried to make ourselves comfortable to begin a meditation, but the intense slope of the ground and the dampness of the rocks made it difficult to find a comfortable position. We rapidly decided that a standing meditation would be sufficient today. “Adopt, adapt and overcome“!
In the second part of the tale I tell of how Kal and I went looking for a cave that was in the Parc Le Breos site near Parkmill, Swansea in South Wales. The idea was to begin the process of consolidating the information we had learned so far this year. Caves are ideal for this purpose, I believe, and so I was going off to prove this to myself and to Kal. He was completely unaware of my dastardly plan.
As we walked up the main path we scanned the nearby shrubbery and tree-lined hillsides for caves. Within fifty feet of the burial chamber I saw a path going up the hill to the right. It looked narrow and rarely used. I walked on. My intuition rang a warning bell, but I ignored it. Overruled by my rational brain, I’m afraid. In another fifty yards there was a much wider and recently used path. It was muddier, but it looked like it led somewhere, so I called Kal’s attention to it and we went to inspect it. On arrival we found it to be quite muddy. Kal backed away, unsure. I persuaded him it would be fine. As we ascended he grumbled about slipperiness and I made comments about inappropriate footwear. The path got steeper and muddier. As we reached the top we saw our destination only a few feet away – it was a chicken coop! Damn!! We turned around and went back down the slippy, treacherous path. I cursed my rational brain.
We marched onwards, but now the sky was closing in on us and threatening rain. In another hundred yards we felt the first spots of rain and ran for the shelter of the trees at a crossroads. Had it not rained I’m sure we would have picked one of the adjoining paths and carried on walking, but now we were pinned to the spot by a torrential downpour that would have soaked us in seconds. After five minutes the rain eased and we decided to head back to the car instead of continuing our foolish quest for the cave.