relax

The Road to Runes

December, 2018

The Road to Runes: The Right Headspace

 

 

Reading runes is a form of divination. All forms of divination require an open mind ready to receive messages and interpret symbols. A stressed and worried mindset will lead to false interpretations, or prevent messages coming through at all. Even the strongest connection between diviner and tools can be blocked by a worried mind or troubled soul.

Of course, we often look for answers from the runes because we are troubled and worried. So how can we stop these worries affecting our divination?

Relax

As an anxious person, believe me, I know this is easier said than done. Relaxation becomes even trickier when you have lots of questions on your mind. However there are several techniques you can use to relax your body, which will normally also help relax your mind.

Listening to music is an old standard for me. Very familiar songs allow me to blank out everything else in my mind, and I often find that belting out a good tune can release a lot of pent-up tension. Classical music can also be very relaxing, but if you’re someone who finds classical music boring, don’t go down this route! Spend some time figuring out which music relaxes you. Are you more relaxed after shouting along to something upbeat? Or by closing your eyes and letting some panpipes wash over you? Services like Spotify are great as they allow you to search for relaxation music and sounds, if you can’t think of anything from your own collection.

The pendulum method, or progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) is also a method I use to help me relax. It also works for sleeplessness. It consists of deliberately tensing groups of muscles, then allowing them to relax. The idea is that for the pendulum to swing the most one way, you first have to pull it all the way in the other direction. So muscles will relax better, or feel more relaxed, after being tense. You may start with your hands, work up to the shoulders, then down to the feet, all the way back up the body leaving neck and face until last. I tend to start with the feet and really take my time. I will talk to myself mentally as I do this: “I’m tensing my toes; I’m relaxing my toes. I’m tensing my feet; I’m relaxing my feet,” and so forth. The combination of muscular relaxation with focusing on the task will leave body and mind loose and ready for anything.

Meditate

Rune meditation is a specific type of meditation designed for understanding the runes better. However, any form of meditation before divination can help make the mind more receptive to messages and more skilled at interpretation. Meditation helps move our mind onto a different level of operating, and allows us to let go of thoughts and feelings which may be bothering us unduly.

Breathing is the key to meditation. A very skilled meditation master advised me that breath is the only tool we ever need. Philosophical, but also accurate. Find yourself a comfortable position. There’s no rule that says you have to sit cross legged, or sit at all. Laying down is perfectly acceptable, although there is the risk of falling asleep! I have joint issues which means it’s very painful for me to sit cross-legged, so I normally sit on a chair or on my sofa, supported by cushions in order to have a straight back whilst remaining relaxed. Once you are comfortable, start to focus on your breath. Breathe naturally, but make a note of it flowing in and out of your body. Notice the breath coming in, then feel it leaving you. In, then out. Imagine yourself breathing in fresh, cooling air, and imagine any stress or tension leaving you with every out breath. Inhale refreshment, exhale stress and worry. Inhale light, expel confusion. Inhale relaxation, exhale aggravation.

If you struggle to breathe normally whilst focusing on your breath, try counting as you breathe. Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of four, then breathe out for a slow count of five. There are lots of different breathing techniques to allow you to enter a meditative state. Once you find your mind starting to relax, you can start to let go of troublesome thoughts. Notice them appear, then just let them drift away. Don’t try to quiet your mind; this is impossible and can make you feel more stressed when you fail. Let the thoughts rumble through your mind but treat them as though you are watching traffic, or the birds flying by. You don’t need to be involved with them right now. Observe them, then let them pass. Stay in this state for as long as is comfortable or until you feel relaxed and comfortable. Always come back to yourself slowly, and gently. Drink some water. Thank yourself for the gift of relaxation. Now you are ready to read your runes.

***

About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors on Amazon

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways on Amazon

Mindful Meditation

November, 2018

Samhain Mindful Meditation

Samhain, or the third harvest, historically was a time for farmers to harvest their last crops and head into the dark times when the nights were longer than the daylight. Also known as “Witches New Year,” we can use this time to reflect on our accomplishments and regrets as we begin to look ahead to the coming new year. What are we letting go of and what are we calling in to our lives? 

Items you will need:

-a quite room to be completely alone in

-a comfortable seat

-writing utensil & paper

-cauldron or fire pit

-special box for safe keeping

Intentionally create sacred space and allow yourself to relax into this meditation.

Imagine yourself throughout the evolution of this past year, from November 2017 up until today. Watch your milestones, your mundane actions, and life changing decisions unfold before you. Notice how each movement through out life this year has gotten you to where you are right now. 

Write down any regrets, missteps, or perceived mistakes or missed opportunities you have made.

Now, imagine yourself in the future year from this day until November 1st, 2019. What accomplishments do you see yourself making? What do you wish to manifest for this coming year? Write the manifestations in an affirming way by using phrases like, “I will have” or “I am”. Envision yourself achieving these goal and living it as if it is a normal day, like a waking dream. 

You have your future manifested now in your mind and affirmed on a piece of paper. 

Fold the paper intentionally, mindfully, and place it in your special box. You can place your box upon your Altar or in a special place to be kept secretly.

Now, take the first sheet of paper which refers to your past year and hold it in your hands. Say, “I forgive myself for _____” (stating each individual regret) and once you have released the energy from your heart and tears, through the paper into the fire, watching it burn away before you. Allow the fire to fully extinguish.

Thank yourself for taking the time to sit with your thoughts, thank the fire for burning away the past, and thank your future self for creating this intention-setting moment.

***

About the Author:

(Amy Dubenetsky & Becky Coates, respectively; Writers of the Mindful Meditations column & Coven Sisters.)

This Mindful Meditation is brought to you by Amy Dubenetsky, a Bodyworker/Reiki Practitioner/Witch based out of Manchester, CT whom leads group meditations as well.  Amy is deeply involved with her Coven, Organic Farming, and various Dance Communities across the country.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

Mindful Meditations

September, 2018

 

     As we honor the energies of the West while entering Autumn — the season of reaping what we have sown during the second harvest of Mabon – we are encouraged to take a moment to show gratitude for our abundance. Our crops have borne fruit which is being stored for the darkening season and our fields are growing hearty vegetables which we will reap at the third harvest, Samhain.

 

Items Needed

-sunset location

-cup of drinkable water

-writing utensil

-paper (or the like)

 

Choose a preferably clear day to watch the sunset while sitting in nature. This mediation will still work from indoors but we are Pagan so nature is our place of worship. Face the West as you observe the colors of the sky, hear the sounds around you, feel the wind. Acknowledge that with each setting sun, completes the cycle as the day transforms into night, just as summer turns to autumn. Now get into a comfortable position and sit with your cup of water. Stare into the water, scry upon its surface. Reflect upon 20 things you are grateful for in this moment, this day, this year, this lifetime. Jot them down as they come to you. Feel free to write more than 20 but do not write less. When you are satisfied with your list, notice the feeling of gratitude within you. Imagine you are channeling that feeling through your hands and into the cup of water you’re holding. Imagine the molecules gently vibrating with warm, white light. Acknowledge your gratitude for the water and drink from your cup. Thank the water for nourishing you. Thank the West, the sunset, and nature around you, for holding sacred space during your Mindful Meditation. Thank yourself for taking the time to reflect upon your abundance in gratitude.

 

Blessed Be!

 

***

About the Author:

(Amy Dubenetsky & Becky Coates, respectively; Writers of the Mindful Meditations column & Coven Sisters.)

This Mindful Meditation is brought to you by Amy Dubenetsky, a Bodyworker/Reiki Practitioner/Witch based out of Manchester, CT whom leads group meditations as well.  Amy is deeply involved with her Coven, Organic Farming, and various Dance Communities across the country.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

Mindful Meditations

August, 2018

Welcome to Mindful Meditations, a new column to help you connect to yourself.

Monthly the author will switch between two witches that are massage therapists that lead meditations and are in the same coven.

 

Fire Meditation

It’s Leo season and what better way to enjoy that excited, expansive energy than with a bit of fire scrying, either with your friends or alone. This fire meditation is crafted to work as a guided group meditation or an easy-to-follow solo journey. So light your fire, grab a journal and let’s drop in! If having a physical fire isn’t a possibility, you can use a candle or call the energy of fire into your mind’s eye and let your imagination create the flames for you.

 

 

 

-Cast a circle in whatever way fits your practice. Create intentional, sacred space so you feel comfortable opening to the messages you receive. I encourage you to call in the element of fire especially, an example would be “I call the element of fire into my/our circle tonight. I/we honor your passion and power, your transformation and transmuting, and your illumination and warmth. Guide me on this journey into your flames tonight. Hail and welcome!” Once in sacred space, set your intention for what you wish to receive from the fire. How am I holding myself back from my desires? What direction should I take? How can I manifest my dream? Or simply, what do I need to know right now? Feel free to do this silently or as a discussion with your group.

 

-Once you’re clear on your intention, find a comfortable seat where you can easily gaze into the fire. Feel where your body connects to the Earth and see roots sprouting down into the soil to anchor yourself to her. Notice your breath and feel yourself entering the present moment with each inhale and relaxing into the now with each exhale. Let everything but your breath and the fire melt away.

 

-Bring your intention into your mind. Begin to ask questions to yourself and the fire. Let possible answers drift through your awareness, staying mindful of not attaching to any one idea. Watch the fire, how does it respond to your thoughts? How do you feel as the fire shifts with a passing thought? Let it speak to you.

 

-As you get more comfortable asking and receiving, relax deeper into the fire and clear your wandering mind. Be open to receive any messages the fire has to give you. Notice images, colors, or changes in the flames. As messages come to you, feel free to write them down so you can release the idea and allow another into your awareness.

 

-Take a deep breath and let the inspirations float back to you and by the fire light, start sorting, shifting and integrating. Free write or daydream, pulling these messages into your awareness. Take a piece of paper and write the most important messages from the flames. Did you discover a block, a new direction, something that no longer serves, or an inspiring message? Write it down, being clear what you wish to change, bring in or release (remember words have power!), and bring it to your heart. Give gratitude to the flames for facilitating this insight. As you gift the paper to the fire, say “Thank you, thank you, thank you. As it is written, so mote it be.”

 

-Close your circle, sit back and enjoy the fire.

***

About the Author:

Becky Coates is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Tarot reader located in Manchester, CT. Visit beckycoatesmassage.com for more information. 

Finding Your Own Way

April, 2018

Chapter One in Our New Serialization…

Basic Relaxation Techniques


Relax!

A certain amount of tension is necessary for our lives. In fact, it is essential! Life requires tension, – as does every enjoyable activity that we can indulge in. There is a joy in handling even simple everyday tasks. There is a sense of achievement in pushing the limits of our strength, speed and endurance.

Even fear can be positive. It prepares us for action and helps us to think faster and act decisively in a crisis. Then, we relax. Everything rests and we return to a normal level of tension.

Or, at least we should.

Many of us don’t. We live in fear. What will my partner say if I work late again? What will my boss do if I do not finish this job in time? What if I fail this exam? What if I cannot pay my bills?

Childhood fears remain below the level of awareness. For some, the fear of hell-fire, or, perhaps separation or maybe the bogeyman that we imagined to be under the bed.

Unexamined childhood fears and traumas cause much of our feeling of unease and feed our tendency to worry about the future. I have noticed that people often feel an emotion first, and then, look around them for a cause to ascribe it to later. We justify our feelings by blaming the people and situations around us. As a result, we cannot fully trust our own judgement until we learn to relax and become more aware of our own habitual feelings.

This first exercise is probably the longest one in the book, – but it quickly becomes streamlined with practice. Just by learning to relax for a short period, we can begin to realize what a normal level of tension should be. Regular practice will quickly allow us to relax at our own command.

The effects are far-reaching, – allowing us to gain control of many situations in which we were previously at the mercy of our emotions, and the manipulation of others. It is also the first step in effective meditation.

Basic Relaxation

This exercise is best carried out, initially, in a lying down position. With practice, it can then be done sitting down. After a while, the reader will be able to relax totally in most situations with a single simple command to relax. A walk in the woods can become a healing meditation.

In the first attempts at relaxing, there is a risk that the reader may fall into a deep, healing sleep.

Make sure that there are no candles burning, or anything that may become a hazard should you do so. Also make sure that you are warm, comfortable and are not going to be disturbed. Turn off your mobile phone and inform anyone in the house that you are unavailable for a while. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Lie flat on your back in a comfortable place. Feel free to use a pillow if it is more comfortable.

Take a deep breath.

As you breathe in, tense your whole body.

Breathe out and say “Relax” in your mind as you let go of the tension.

Breathe in and tense… Breathe out and relax.

Breathe in and tense …. Breathe out and relax.

Repeat this a few more times. Each time, tell yourself to “Relax!”

Allow yourself to breathe slowly and easily

Now turn your attention to your body, starting at your toes.

Wriggle your toes and tense them. Then tell them to relax as you let go of the tension.

Then relax your feet. First one foot, then the other foot, then both feet at the same time.

Tense and relax.

Then your calves, each one, then both. Then tense from the tip of your toes to your calves and relax.

Work your way up to your thighs. Tense and relax.

Again, become aware of your body from your toes to your thighs and tell yourself to “relax!”

Work your way up your torso. Tense and relax.

Then up to your shoulders and down your arms.

Wriggle your fingers, then tense and relax.

Pay careful attention to your neck muscles. Tense and relax.

Then the back of your head, tense and relax.

Then become aware of your facial muscles. Tense and relax.

Then focus on your forehead and the top of your head.

Take a deep breath and tense your whole body.

Then, as you exhale say “Relax!”

Just let everything go.

By this time, you should feel very heavy as if you were melting into the surface beneath you.

Repeat a few times, depending on the time available.

This simple exercise often results in discovering hidden attitudes and fears which are held in the muscles as “memories”. It does this by releasing the habitual tension that holds the energies in place in our bodies. Regular practice can loosen the grip of unconscious negative expectations on our health and interactions with others. I would recommend keeping a diary and noting any dreams or reveries as well as day to day events.

I would also recommend practicing this until it becomes streamlined, before moving on to any of the other meditations.

***

About the Author:

Finding Your Own Way by Patrick W Kavanagh

Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Click Image for Amazon Information

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

Also available at most retailers by Patrick W Kavanagh

Kiara

Distant Shores

From the Muse

5 Easy Tips to Help You Relax

October, 2017

With all of the technology available to us today, you’d think life would be easier. Certainly, we don’t have to do many of our daily chores by hand if we choose, but still, stress remains one of the biggest threats to health (source).

So what can be done to manage stress?

The first important thing is to recognize that we might not even realize we are being affected by stress. So it’s important to work some practices into our daily routine that help us deal with the stress that we may not even be aware of.

The biggest problem with this for most people is finding the time. So here are five easy ways to help manage stress levels as part of daily life.

#1 – Meditate

In its most simple form, meditation is setting aside some time to spend in quiet contemplation. Scientific research indicates that meditation can have a significantly positive effect on stress.

Meditation doesn’t have to take long – even five or ten minutes is enough, it’s portable, and doesn’t have to be complicated, although it is a skill that takes practice to develop. A good way to start is just to sit in a comfortable posture, with your hands resting gently in your lap.

Close your eyes slightly or fully, and focus your attention on the pattern of your breathing. Try not to think about anything other than your breath. Some people use the technique of recognizing any thoughts that might come into their mind, and gently pushing them aside, or allowing them to float out of the mind while returning their focus to their breathing.

Alternatively, you could try a guided meditation, many of which are accessible online, like these (source).

2# – Get outside

Being outdoors in the open air, and spending time in natural places helps you to recharge and appreciate the simple things in life. It is possible to do this virtually anywhere, and beaches, woods, forests and even city parks or the tiniest copse of trees are all fabulous places to be.

Clinical studies have long proven that spending time outdoors, especially in the sunshine, and walking are both highly beneficial to health, reducing stress, anxiety and depression (source).

Walking barefoot – making sure that it’s safe to do so first – helps to connect with nature and become attuned to natural cycles. Observe the beauty and harmony, and the natural forces at work.

In daily life, make detours that take a more scenic route on your way to work, use your lunch break to get out into nature, and make family walks part of your regular routine.

#3 – Eat Chocolate

This is the yummiest stress buster ever! Studies have shown that daily consumption of 40 grams of dark chocolate (and to a lesser degree milk chocolate) can significantly reduce stress levels.

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (above 75%) has also been shown to decrease blood pressure, risk of heart disease and diabetes. This serves to illustrate the fact that treats in moderation really can be good for you (source).

#4 – Do Some Gardening

Once you’ve made short work of your daily chocolate quota, it’s time to head into the back yard. Not only can you work off a few calories, it’s also good for reducing stress.

Numerous studies have shown that caring for plants, weeding and tidying the yard can have numerous significant benefits to health, including reducing stress, anxiety, depression and increasing life satisfaction and self-esteem.

So whether it’s your window box, someone else’s yard, or even a corner of a park or woodland you regularly visit, a daily dose of gardening – even just for a few minutes – is definitely on the stress buster list (source).

#5 – Laughter is the Best Medicine

You know those moments when something just tickles you, and you start to giggle? Moments later, you find the giggle gradually escalating into a fit of laughter that you just can’t control…doesn’t it feel great?

There’s a reason for that. Laughter is thought to release endorphins – chemicals that make us feel good, and has been shown in research to help to decrease stress, anxiety and depression, and give increased quality of life.

So make it a habit. Find a memory that makes you laugh, or a joke, or spend time watching what the children are up to when they think you’re not looking – anything that gives you that feel good factor. And when the laughter comes, don’t hold back…just let it out! (source).

***

About the Author:

Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.