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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Meditation

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Longest Night

I have always loved the colour of the night sky in winter.  It almost never seems entirely black; instead, it blue with refracted gloaming, even at the dark of the moon, even at midnight.  And yet, the stars are never so clear as they are in the midst of winter, as Orion charges out from the horizon to chase Taurus with Canis Major barking at his heels.  The jewel in the Great Dog’s collar, Sirius, sparkles like a radiant prism diamond as it cycles through white, red, green and blue (though of course this is only atmospheric refraction) just over the Southern Horizon; Castor and Pollux wink out of the sky’s zenity; and the Pleiades sparkle like a celestial diamond ring.  Meanwhile, in the Northern Horizon the Dragon rears his head, and the Big and Little Bears point the way.

It’s dark for a long time here above the 49th Parallel at this time of year.  The sun sets at around 3:30 pm and it doesn’t rise again until almost 8:30 in the morning.  That’s seventeen hours worth of night.  I find it challenging to deal with.  But it gives you a long time to contemplate the stars and the celestial mysteries.  Maybe that long night is part of the reason why the stars are so clear; there’s so much less sunlight leaking into the sky by the time one considers the stars in winter.  Or maybe it’s because high-pressure fronts coming down from the Arctic Circle chase the clouds away and the sky opens up to reveal the vastness of the celestial firmament.

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  • Martin
    Martin says #
    I often find the winter months trying, so I enjoy reading works like this. Thank you for taking the the time to brighten my dark
How Openness to Experience brings you to Presence

One of the values I ascribe to in my magical practice is keeping an open mind. A recent conversation with an acquaintance got me to thinking about what keeping an open mind means to me, and I consequently decided to revise that value to one which I feel is more accurate to who I am and how I approach life. I keep myself open to experience. There is a distinct difference to keeping an open mind and keeping yourself open to experience. Keeping yourself open to experience is a recognition that genuine openness isn't something you can keep in the realm of the conceptual. An open mind might conceptually consider an idea, but not engage it in a fundamental manner that actually enables real experience to occur. Keeping yourself open to experience, on the other hand, moves away from concept. The experience is important because it requires a level of engagement that goes beyond just thinking about something.

In Awakening the Sacred Body and Embryonic Breathing, both authors discuss the importance of maintaining a state of openness to experience. Both books are about meditation and experiences of altered awareness and what both authors recognize is that a conceptual treatment of the topic won't provide the necessary understanding and development of skills that the reader ideally wants. The only way the reader can learn about these topics is to open him/herself to the actual experience of doing the work. Even more important, for the person to get real value out of the work s/he must as best as possible avoid preconceptions that may shape the experience in ways that are less than helpful. Being open to experience means truly being open to the actual experience, allowing yourself to be present without analyzing or categorizing it. That can be hard for anyone to do, because so much of what we're taught is to categorize and label our experiences.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_9228.JPGDaily Practice helps me from going crazy. No, seriously, in a world where so little is in our control, seemingly less filled with compassion and more filled with injustice, my daily practice allows me to sink into the safety of the only thing constant in my life, the breath.

I encounter people everyday, whether direct or in passing, and wonder… are they breathing? I mean, really breathing? With faces intently locked onto phones, harnessed at the computer, walking briskly, or rapidly talking, I wonder are these people breathing? What might it look like for them to simply acknowledge the breath within their body. The simple, yet realchemizing breath that fills our lungs to energize our blood and move toxins, like stress, out of the body.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh Erick, This is just what I needed to read this morning. I am drawing a bath right now. I will tend to my outside altar and then

discipline

ˈdɪsɪplɪn/

noun

noun: discipline

     1.     the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience.

    "a lack of proper parental and school discipline"

    2.     a branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education.

    "sociology is a fairly new discipline"   

 

Wow. No wonder people hate the word discipline.  It’s often equated with punishment, correcting a perceived disobedience.  We are free people, we should be able to do what we want, when we want, so long as it harms none. Life is for living, right?

Of course, I would agree with the above, that we are free, that life is for living. However, I’m also here to reclaim the word discipline into something that is positive.

We live in a world filled with instant gratification.  We have IPhones and tablets that can “connect” us with people anywhere, anytime, so that we never have to be alone (even in a crowd of people).  We have hundreds upon hundreds of television channels that tempt us into thinking that something better than the current moment we are living in is on the tube.  We have internet to answer all questions at the push of a button.  We have access to food 24/7 (most of us) – we’re usually never too far away from our larders or a shop.  We love to “treat” ourselves. Marketing has told us that “we’re worth it”, or making us feel that we’re not good enough, and with their product we will be.  Problems solved, instantly.

Now, this isn’t a blog post about self-denial, asceticism or anything similar.  It is about truly seeing and understanding our needs versus our desires. Our modern world has twisted our desires into needs, and it is up to us to rebalance, to rejig our way of thinking in order to live a life filled with more intention.

I work three jobs, alongside my work as a Druid priest.  Time can be in pretty hard demand sometimes, but planning makes it all work. It takes effort, but that is what discipline is: effort made in order to improve a situation, to live a life of intention, to learn more about integration and compassion.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

The still centre.

Outside, in the dark, the air is finally still.  Like rich swathes of fabric, the darkness hangs around me, enfolding me, wrapping me in its exquisite embrace.  I sit, breathing in the night air, the smell of cedar and dew wet grass filling me with pure awen.  The last of the crickets are singing in the remnant of summer’s growth, owls hooting softly in the distance and underneath the beech tree near Caia’s grave I let the songs of the night wash over me in waves of indigo and black.

The quiet is shattered by the call of a stag just on the other side of the hedge. Calling to the does, he is in full rut, looking for the ladies in the shelter of the night.  He is maybe four feet away, and his bark and rumbles excite me with the power that he is emanating in following his soul’s truth.  I can hear the slight shuffle of leaves and grass beneath his hooves as he paces up the track and then back down towards the nature reserve and farmer’s fields.

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A Shrine of One's Own . . .If You Have the Space

When I first started studying in the ADF Druidry Dedicants' Program over a decade ago (. . . sigh), 3469097890_12749a5e87the wording of the program was a little different at the time because it was the second draft.  I was studying with my grove, Grove of the Other Gods and our senior druid was authorized to proctor the class with my cycle and she was able to bestow certification of class completion.  I need to caveat here as I need to caveat everything when I talk about ADF: My grove was and is a chartered grove, we follow the few rules that we are required to follow.  We use the liturgical ADF ritual outline.  But I can just about guarantee that our take on 80% of ADF and how we do our rituals besides following the outline is going to be radically different from the rest of ADF.  That said, we're also one of the largest groves in the US so it resonates with a lot of people from our tristate area at least.  My grove is not very "high Episcopagan", there's not a lot of ritual robes, swords or thee'ing and thou'ing. If that's your bag, rock out!  There's room for everyone at the Occultists, Witches and Pagans table in my opinion.  Despite being raised Catholic, it's not something that really stuck for me personally but a lot of people find that level of ceremony very moving.

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When I lean over the chasm of myself,

It seems my God is dark,

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