relaxation

Finding Your Own Way

December, 2018

Chapter 8

The Shamanistic Path

I add this section for those who are interested in the spiritualistic or shamanistic aspect of meditation. This is simply an introduction to the world of the shaman. For those who wish to delve further, I would advise finding a reliable teacher to help them. In the last twenty years, there has been a widening of interest in the healing and spiritual practices of our ancestors and many have found a pathway back to a more earth-centred method of teaching and healing.

As always, trust your own instincts. Find out as much as you can before becoming too closely involved with any particular individual. We all go through challenging times, – but if this person is not handling the important aspects of their lives very well, then perhaps they are not for you.

If they care more about money than the work they are doing, then they are most likely not the right person to teach you. If they take on too many students, then they may not be able to give the support needed. Many shamans offer healing and counseling. If you are interested in learning from someone, then this may be a good way to find out if your paths are compatible. Even a good shaman may not be suited to you personally. Be prepared to take the time needed to find a way forward. A good friend who is a powerful shaman told me that the teacher will find you when you are ready. We work on ourselves and the universe guides us to where we need to be. I am always suspicious of weekend courses which promise to turn someone into an instant healer /shaman/counsellor with a nice shiny certificate.

What we know of the early religious practices of mankind is based largely on cave paintings and a few archaeological discoveries. Most anthropologists base their conjectures loosely on the tribal cultures which still existed in remote places up until quite recently, – before becoming overrun by modern society.

It is widely believed that shamans have existed as a separate class for at least 30,000 years.

It is my own belief that many men who were unsuited to hunting became shamans. In many ways, their initiation was as tough as that of the warriors in many cultures. Often they were buried for several days to symbolise a journey to the underworld.

Those with minor disabilities which would have made them unfit for hunting were able to help their tribe by performing rituals for success and journeying inward to help find the best places to hunt for game. They would then be on hand to protect the camp during the hunt and use divination to resolve any disputes. Contacting the ancestors may have been an important part of their duties and healing diseases by the use of herbs, and in serious cases, ‘soul retrieval’

In soul retrieval, the shaman enters the underworld to find the lost soul of a tribal member. The afflicted may have a mental illness or a fever or be near death.

The shaman must be confident and courageous, or he too may become lost in the vast realms of the underworld and perhaps never return.

I would find this idea quaint, – apart from having witnessed the effects on what could easily be called “loss of soul” on a good friend. He became lost during a badly constructed ritual for past life journeying which was popular in the 1970’s. Something rather nasty returned in his stead.

It took most of the night to evict the ‘entity’ and return this young man and he was never quite the same again. I am aware of the theory of disassociated personality complexes, but it is hard to call them that when they read minds and try to tear your throat out. This is why it is best to get a teacher before tackling more advanced work. Always set your boundaries and your intent. Use whatever help is available to you and meditate in a safe and a sane way. Take things slowly and easily.

My own ideas on how early shamanism was structured, are based more on my own experiences than on the little that is known of early man. Because a group of people may live a nomadic lifestyle or exist in buildings suited to their locality, made of straw and mud, – it hardly proves that their culture has not advanced in 30.000 years.

In 1980, I went to see a small collection of artifacts, taken from Newgrange, Ireland, which were on display in a private library in Dublin. I went with a friend, who I will call Susan. We were invited to go there by the leader of a Rosicrucian group we were involved in. All we were told was to look for an item listed as a ceremonial mace head and see what connection we could make with the object. It was an egg-shaped stone with spiral patterns and a hole through it, large enough to fill a man’s hand.

As I gazed at the object, I found myself back in Newgrange, sometime around the building of the passage tomb. A young man dressed in furs sat in front of a fire using the object to grind something in a bowl. He had a clubbed foot. When I commented on it, he laughed and told me it was why he was chosen to be a shaman. When I compared notes with Susan, it turned out that we had shared the same experience. Our accounts of the vision matched perfectly. Oddly, I forgot about this experience for many years until the memory came back to me one day. I wrote the poem below to remind myself of the journey.

Trance is a powerful tool for spiritual exploration.

It can be triggered by many methods.

Hypnotism is the least trustworthy and most dangerous method.

Wounded Heart

Do only fools and cripples live in longing for the light?

Are wounded hearts the only ones who venture deep into the dark to draw aside the veil?

They, who wander aimlessly in woods and fields, to search for wisdom long before the dawn,

Have pity for the poets and the artists who have felt this sense of exile since the day that they were born.

A simple, egg-shaped stone, small enough to fit inside my palm, became the key.

I gazed upon the spirals on this artifact and little did I realise the tale it had to tell.

My friend and I transported back in space and time to when it last was used.

At Newgrange barrow, we both stood, amazed, astounded and bemused.

The shaman sat before a fire, with robes of fur, and mischief in his eyes.

Grinding herbs with stone and bowl, our sudden apparitions seemed to cause him no surprise.

It happened forty, and five thousand years ago, I scarce remember all he had to say.

But one thing stood so clearly in my mind, it stayed with me until this very day.

He seemed quite young for one so wise, with a boyish face and long dark hair,

But, when I gazed upon his crippled foot, he quickly picked up on my stare.

I commented upon the injury at which he saw me glance,

He laughed as if I was a clumsy child, and asked how else would he have had his chance?

The wounded walk the lonely path, and fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

The blind can see the things which normally are hidden by the light, – their vision knows no end.

The beggar and the vagabond have riches that a king will never know.

And when the journey has no maps or charts, the child within us knows which way to go.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge on Amazon

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

December, 2018

Winter Solstice Meditation

(Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash)

The Winter Solstice has been a time of celebration, merriment, and relaxation across cultures for millennia. The shift into winter has always brought a turning inwards for myself. The change from Sagittarius to Capricorn is a great way to use this energy for forward movement, instead of downward spiral. This is a great meditation for the Solstice, the couple of days before or after, or whenever you need a boost of inspiration and drive. If you are solitary and prefer to listen to the meditation, you will find that option below.

Find a comfortable position where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and feel where you are making contact with the ground. Feel a root come down from your feet or the base of your spine and burrow into the cold soil below. Feel the hibernating animals all around you, tucked in for the winter. Let the safety of the earth enfold you as you let go and fall deeper into yourself and the arms of Mother Earth.

You are in a winter field at night. You see a centaur, half man, half horse emerge from the tree line. He approaches you with eyes that are both wise and wild and smiles a confident and knowing smile.

“Where is your passion leading you next?” he asks as he takes off his quiver of arrows and hands them down to you.

What comes to your mind first? Do you embrace it or doubt it? Let other passions arise and be aware of your ego’s reaction to them. Does intuition or fear hold you back from any? Are some on fire, already filling you with excitement at their prospect?

See each arrow as a potential direction that you can explore, and choose the one that is singing loudest to your heart. As you pull it from the quiver, the arrow-head bursts into flame. The centaur smiles at you again and he hands you his bow, pointing off to the distant mountains and says, “Take your aim and fire.”

You notch the arrow and pull the bow back. You take a deep breath as you aim towards the mountains and as you exhale you let the arrow loose. You both watch it zoom across the darkened landscape until it hits high up on a mountain.

The centaur nods in approval and reaches his hand down to you saying, “Jump on, let’s go get it!”. You swing up onto his back and he takes off at lighting speed in the direction of the fire you lit on the mountain.

You are full of excitement and elation as you gallop across the land at an amazing speed. You keep your eyes on the blaze and you feel your passion growing as you near it. How does it feel to run unwaveringly to your dream?

Sooner than you thought possible, you’re at the base of the mountain. You notice a goat standing on a rock next to the path that leads up the mountain. The centaur turns to you and says, “This is as far as I can take you, he’ll show you the rest of the way. Remember your excitement when the path gets challenging. The view from the top is worth the work.” You slide down from his back and approach the gruff mountain goat, who with barely any acknowledgment, turns abruptly, jumping from his perch and trotting up the rock path ahead.

You take a deep breath as you gaze up the path. You see high above you the flickering of the flame you lit. How do you feel standing at the base of the mountain, looking up to where you long to be? Honor that feeling, and then start your ascent.

The path quickly becomes very steep. You’re thankful for the mountain goat leading you. He finds a way over any challenge, taking only a second to assess the situation and then calmly finding a solution. Any resistance you were feeling melts away as you take on his determination, finding a way up or around any difficult terrain you encounter. Anytime exhaustion begins to creep in, you shift your gaze from the path in front of you, to the glow above and you remember the excitement you felt rushing towards that blaze, when anything seemed possible.

You’re keeping pace with the mountain goat now, and where he seemed serious at first, you now see through his determination to the joy that is rising as the fire gets brighter and brighter as you climb. He is proud of the work you’ve done and so are you. You find yourself smiling as the warmth of self-confidence rises up through your solar plexus, up through your heart and fills your whole being. As you bask in that glow, you crest a peak and see your fire burning right in front of you. Feel the exuberance of success! You’ve made it! Take a moment to sit with the fire, giving gratitude, releasing any fears, and receiving any messages.

When you are ready, you shift your gaze from the fire to the horizon and notice that dawn is breaking. The sun has returned and the long night has ended. Feel the first rays hit your face and take that warmth and the warmth of the fire into your heart. Feel it grow and expand in your chest. Know that it will keep you warm through the cold months ahead as the sun, and you, get stronger and stronger each day.

Take a deep breath and feel the ground beneath you. Wiggle your fingers and toes, feeling yourself come back to your body. Keeping your eyes closed, wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug. Feel the warmth that is still glowing in your heart. Take a deep breath, release your arms, and open your eyes, knowing that you’re ready to take on anything to reach your dream.

***

About the Author:

Rebecca Coates is a Tarot reader, massage therapist and fire dancer. She has been in a coven for the past two years and is about to embark on a journey around the United States and is looking to meet other witches and lovers of magic. Visit beckycoateslmt.com to connect with her.

Finding Your Own Way

November, 2018

Chapter 7

Meditating With A Spirit Drum

One of the easiest and most effective ways to meditate is by using a ‘spirit’ drum.

Having been a part of many workshops and drumming circles, I can personally attest to the simplicity and effectiveness of using ‘spirit’ drums for healing and journeying.

If you have a few interested friends and somewhere to go to practice, – you will find that it is an amazing and uplifting experience.

Should you wish to form a circle, you will find that spirit drums vary greatly in price.

A lot of people use ‘bodhrans’ instead, as they are cheaper and can be bought from most music shops. They are hand drums used in traditional Irish and Celtic music.

If you look online, there are many useful videos to get you started. Compact discs are also widely available with shamanistic drumming and Spirit music. I would recommend Native American drumming tracks, but that is just a matter of personal taste, – there are drumming tracks available from many cultures.

If you decide to drum in a group, the biggest obstacle to success will be your own self-consciousness. Having just a small group of two or three close friends will help.

The rewards of overcoming your initial feelings of reserve are well worth the effort.

In a drumming circle, the energy of the drums take over, and the rhythm takes on a collective life of its own.

It is always a good idea to set out your intentions before drumming. Whether you wish to feel uplifted, journey, or send healing to someone, – make your intentions clear before beginning the drumming session. Imagine yourself working within a golden circle of love and protection.

Upload a few tracks online until you find a beat that appeals to you and practice it quietly in private until you feel confident with it. There is no great art or skill required. The most powerful beat is a simple steady rhythm of single beats on the drum. This is called a shamanistic beat.

Spirit Drum Meditation

To begin, choose a quiet area where you will be undisturbed.

Take several deep breaths and tell yourself to relax.

Take a little time to read the poem below and to absorb the images from the artwork

You may play a drumming track quietly in the background if you wish, but it is not essential.

Imagine a golden sphere of protection around you as you work.

Begin with the third eye meditation.

As you breathe out through your third eye, visualise a shining path ahead of you.

Allow yourself to be drawn onto this path.

You can see a fire ahead of you, in the distance, and you walk slowly towards it.

If you see any creatures nearby, take note, as they may be important to you later on in your journeys.

You will see a group of figures around the fire. Some may be drumming. Some may be dancing. How they appear to you will depend on what it is you need to learn on your path.

Spend some time by the fire and take note of whatever you experience there.

Stay near the fire until you are ready to return.

Turn back and walk down the path and you will find yourself back where you started the meditation. Breathe slowly and easily and open your eyes when you are ready.

If you feel uncomfortable at any stage of the exercise, simply open your eyes and you will return to your room, safe within the circle of light.

Finish the meditation by thanking your subconscious mind for its cooperation. Also, thank any Deities and helpers. Then draw the golden circle back to you and close the session.

What you experience and where you go on this journey will vary greatly according to your personal needs. It is always helpful to spend a few moments in setting the boundaries for your journey before you begin. What is it that you wish to achieve? What type of journey are you expecting? Is there some challenge or personal goal that you wish to focus on?

This meditation is particularly powerful when done in a drumming circle.

Be sure to have a drink and a snack before travelling home or handling any machinery.

Write down anything you saw, heard or felt. Especially, note any creatures that you encountered.

Drumbeats

The drums are beating softly in the distance,

Like a peaceful heart. they draw me to them,

leaving life’s conundrums far behind.

Like poetry, with inspirations, much too large for words,

The rhythm opens up my soul and fills my mind.

As I sit and write, the rhythm of the drums still beats within my heart.

In the forest of my mind, I see the shamans dance and whirl.

Orange flames that go so high, they almost reach the moonlit sky.

Somewhere in the Once, or in the Now, they beat their drums for me.

And now the healing magic of their chants is reaching out to me.

Wolves with emerald eyes are in the shadows.

I can hear the eagles piercing cry.

Brother Bear is everywhere, and I can also see.

All the spirits of the native forest watching over me.

Lending me their powers, so I can live the life I never thought could be.

There is poetry in every beat, and magic in the rhythm of the drums.

Through the cadence of his chants, I find the link, the shaman comes.

Healing for the body, for the spirit and the mind,

As I leave this world of consternation far behind,

and find again, the wisdom and the beauty that was meant for all mankind.

This is another meditation for the spirit drum which came to me a few years ago.

It is almost impossible to meditate without finding a great connectedness with the wider universe and the earth around us. This poem is a warning about the way we are treating the earth.

We are all interdependent, – if a single species dies, then we are all so much poorer and so is the legacy that we leave to our children. If the earth dies, – then we die with her.

Whether we have one life or many, we have a duty of care for the planet and those around us.

As we develop through meditation we will feel this much more keenly.

Reaching out to the world and the people, plants and animals around us will bring us much joy.

However, our increased sensitivity brings with it a need to learn to protect ourselves, and a tendency to avoid certain people and situations. Unexpected changes will begin to happen in our lives, as we move into areas of activity that were once difficult to even imagine.

Be prepared too, for resistance from family and friends as you move away from old habits and develop new areas of activity. Much of it will be in a misguided spirit of over-protection, so be patient in your dealings with those who fear the changes in your life will begin to balance out as you forge a new agreement with your subconscious mind. You will be forging a new path in life which is based on your own needs and not the expectations of others.

A Warriors Tears

What will we make of the world when the last rose has died?

When all alone we stand upon the naked earth where once the weeping willow cried.

Where once the sparrow chirped upon the leafy bough,

And now, across the barren wastes, the wind blows soft and low

And when our world has gone,

Where will we go?

Where vast majestic rivers flowed, now runs a ragged little stream.

No fish still swim within its dark and murky flow.

No dragonflies above the bare, baked clay that guides its weary way.

No butterflies delight our eyes with a colourful display.

And when our world has gone,

Where will we go?

Take the seeds of mother earth and scatter them wherever you may go.

We can plant ten trees for every tree that dies.

Cut the fences, chop the posts and let the buffalo run free.

Take the earth back from the greedy; let us share it as we did in days of old.

For when our Mother dies,

Where will we go?

I channeled this in a couple of minutes. The first two verses came in an instant. I added the last verse after a moment’s reflection as a reminder that there is always hope.

For those who drum, it chants well to a basic shamanistic beat or, “drums across the water” (such as you might hear in an old cowboy movie)

My wife, Tina, told me to sing it, and I grabbed my drum.

To my amazement, it just flowed through me. It was a very powerful experience.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge on Amazon

Finding Your Own Way

September, 2018

Chapter 6

The Third Eye Meditation

The ‘third eye’ is positioned behind the forehead just above the bridge of the nose and connects to both halves of the brain. Believed by Rene Descartes to be the seat of the soul, it is widely written about in eastern and in ‘new age’ philosophies. It has strong links with sleep, hibernation, libido and ageing. It is believed by many to be a doorway for astral travel to the inner and spiritual worlds.

An interesting fact to consider is that blue light and modern electric lights reduce the effectiveness of the pineal gland and interfere with sleep patterns.

Red light, – such as candlelight and firelight have no such effect.

Whether we believe astral travel to be a journey to different worlds, or simply an imaginative exercise, has little bearing on its effectiveness. Meditating on the third eye increases our use of intuition and allows us to access guidance and wisdom in the form of many different archetypal figures from our unconscious mind. I know from experience that this wisdom exists and can be tapped by meditation. I will leave the decision on its ultimate source for the reader to make.

Third Eye Meditation

Relax, close your eyes, and breathe as slowly and as deeply as is comfortable, in a dim room.

Candlelight or a dim red light is best for this exercise.

Breathe in golden light through the crown of your head and push it deep into the earth.

Imagine it drawing down any tension and worries into the earth as you breathe.

Create a sphere of golden light around your body, encased in a mesh of fine golden filaments.

Remind yourself that it is protecting you and allowing only positive influences to enter your mind during meditation.

As you breathe in, imagine your body filling with golden light.

As you breathe out, imagine it flowing out from you at a point just above and between both eyes.

Breathe in from the crown of your head and allow the golden light to flow through you down to the earth.

Breathe out through the third eye and become aware of it slowly opening.

Soon you will become aware of colours and a feeling of deep relaxation.

Take note of any other sounds, smells or sensations.

At this stage, many see a tunnel stretching out from their forehead.

If you are ready to journey, then think of a person or place that you wish to visit.

Allow yourself to be drawn through the tunnel and be aware of anything you experience in a calm, relaxed and non-judgemental manner. Simply allow the images and sensations to flow.

If you are not ready to journey yet, then simply continue the meditation for a while and take note of any images that come into your mind.

If you drift into sleep, then be sure to write down anything which you can recall later. If you had a question, then the answer may well be in any dreams you have during your meditation or over the next couple of days. Also, be aware of any ‘coincidences’ that occur after asking a specific question.

You may well receive your answer in apparently random comments by friends or on the media.

Portal Worlds

Cold still waters.

A silver sheen to azure depths that mixed the oceans and the sky within the endless vault.

Stony heights of iridescent blue stretched up into eternity, beyond my visions reach.

It seemed as if I stood upon the threshold to a million worlds,

Which were, somehow, hidden within the earth.

Apprehension gripped me,

As I paused to choose the path ahead and gauge the measure of my visions worth.

Not one path seemed easy to ascend,

Nor could I be sure, – what waited for me at my journeys end.

I stood perplexed, – my feet as frozen as my will.

I could not choose, but yet I must!

And let the journey be just what it will.

The time has come to learn to be,

the very best I may yet be.

I seek the guidance of the higher worlds.

I seek to turn the grit of life,

Into the beauty of sweet Wisdom’s pearls.

I felt my guardian angels touch, and I was lifted up.

My heart rejoiced that I was not alone.

As we flew up to the heights, all sorrow fell away,

And in her loving arms, she carried me back home.

Was this a vision, or a memory or another life, –

I cannot really say.

For as we rose into the distant lights,

We left behind the tiresome thoughts, I carry through the day.

***

We may travel to many places, past, present and future when using the third eye meditation.

Try to always take note of your visions and experiences for later reference.

What is experienced will vary greatly from person to person and for every journey.

Make a point of alternating with a basic relaxation technique to allow yourself time to assimilate your experience.

It may take a while to become effective in using this visualisation. Do not assume that it has not worked, – if you either fall asleep or have simply had a calm soothing experience.

You may also confuse yourself by constantly repeating the exercise without giving yourself enough time for the information requested to become known to you by various means outside of your meditation period.

In the rare event of having a disturbing experience, simply open your eyes and slowly return to normal consciousness. Have a drink and a snack. Take a break for a few days and then keep to the basic relaxation exercise until you feel ready to travel again.

Developing our own path takes time, and nothing will come to us before we are ready for it.

Just approach these meditations in a relaxed easy-going manner and you will gain great benefits from them in a surprisingly short period of time.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge.

 

Finding Your Own Way

August, 2018

Chapter 5

Setting Boundaries

Not every adult believes in the existence of the spirit worlds, but almost every child does.

That we still have that child within us and are influenced by forgotten beliefs, has a major impact on the results of our meditation. If we wish to ensure that our journeys are positive and uplifting, it is best to set boundaries before we begin. The poems and art in this book will naturally tend to lead to the areas mentioned and always have a positive aspect. However, as we forge our own path to mental and emotional balance, it is best to have this ability completely under our own control.

Keep an open mind about the imagery and words used. This is not a book which favours any belief system. I have witnessed many different beliefs helping people who needed to make a change of perspective at that point in their lives. I am a pragmatist. I have only included those things which I know to be helpful. I leave it to others to argue as much as they wish about “absolute truth”.

The Auric Egg

This exercise has many applications apart from setting boundaries during meditation It will help the reader in stressful situations and in dealing with those who would try to overpower our emotions and sensitivities. Once mastered, I would advise using it in any situation in which we feel anxious or threatened.

I once had a student who believed he had to enter some type of bird’s egg and complained about the yoke being in his way, so I will try to describe the auric egg in as great a detail as possible.

Before you start the exercise, take a few moments to peer at a fine mesh colander or a flour sieve.

Try to picture the fine mesh in the shape of an egg with the wide part at the bottom. If you find it easier to do so, – just imagine it as a sphere around you.

It is best to start this meditation with the treeing exercise. (section 5)

Feel the light from the sun pouring in through the crown of your head.

As you picture the light from the sun filling your body, begin to push it out from your solar plexus.

As you breathe in, push the light out until it forms the shape of an egg around your body.

See the light turn to gold and form a shell around you made from fine golden filaments.

Tell yourself that this light will let nothing negative or dark enter your mind. Only positive thoughts and feelings are allowed through it. All else is filtered out.

Take your time. Spend as much time as you need to master this.

If you have trouble in visualizing, then think of yourself in a warm, safe bubble. Feel the warmth around you. Tell yourself that you are loved and protected.

If there are any smells or sounds that you associate with comfort and safety, then take the time to remember them.

Remember… there is no rush and no pressure. It may take a few attempts for some people to get this exercise flowing smoothly.

Was there a special place where you felt safe? Remember that.

Was there someone in your childhood who was a protector? Remember them. Say their name. Remember how you felt when they were around. Fictional characters will work too!

Even if you visualize well, adding these memories will make what you are doing easier and even more effective in setting a safe boundary for your meditations.

Then allow your mind to wander.

Now might be a good time to start keeping a record of your thoughts and feelings.

Paint the Sky with Summers Hues

Paint the sky with the deepest blue,

Paint your world with all the brightest colours and the lightest hues,

Golden corn and buttercups, a gleaming yellow sun,

Silver streams that sparkle, – cool and clean as when the world began.

Sweet green grass and roses of the deepest red,

Shady fern-filled forests with the softest, mossy pillows where you rest your weary head.

Why imagine gloom and doom,

when you can paint your future with your brightest hopes instead.

The ocean beckons us with promises of warm dry sand that trickles through our hands,

A bucket and a spade create a fairy castle or a soldier’s keep with turrets and a moat.

The simple joy of lying on the beach and listening to the waves,

and love hearts on the sand, that wash away as quickly as we write.

Long mild days to trek, to travel, to explore,

or lay and bask; – I dare to question, who could ask for more,

The heaviest of hearts can find that on a summer’s day it lifts.

The rich and poor alike can both enjoy the summer’s gifts.

Summer is a season and a place deep in your heart.

Summer lasts forever when our final winter thaws,

Even in this fleeting, fickle world of pain and flaws,

Summer is the journey of a heart that needs no laws.

Summer is that secret place of calm within the storm,

Summer is the goal of those who seek to live beyond the norm,

Even as the icy grip of winter howls, and swirls around our homes,

Summer is the warmth within our hearts and hope of better things to come.

Just take a few minutes to absorb the images from the text and the art.

 

This meditation will help boost optimism and courage. It will help us to see beyond present difficulties and start to manifest more positive and helpful responses to challenging situations. Nothing material lasts forever in this fleeting world, especially not hardship or misfortune. What does last are the valuable lessons that we learn, and the joy in our hearts from happy times. The wheel of life will turn. Winter thaws into spring and then the summer comes.

Now is the time to remember all the good in your life and all the times that you felt loved and protected. This will help to release the energy from your subconscious mind and free you to find the best solutions to any obstacles in your journey to a happier and more balanced life.

Take the time to compile a short list of your successes in the past and present. Remember books and films where the main character won through after many difficulties. Concentrate on the positive things in your life and only on actions you can perform immediately to help the situation. Then tell yourself that you have done all you can for the moment and relax until a solution comes to you from within.

This meditation is very helpful for increasing the effectiveness of the Auric Egg exercise.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge.

Finding Your Own Way

July, 2018

Chapter 4

Western Meditation Techniques

There are thousands of books on eastern meditation, but I wish to concentrate on the western traditions as they are less well documented and require much less time to master. These traditions have been hidden for hundreds of years until the early nineteenth century. Some were the sole province of the religious orders and others were carried on in secret, by various groups and individuals. Although the reasoning behind the various systems may seem flawed to the modern mind, I can assure the reader that these exercises work. My own belief is that these were discovered by trial and error and whichever techniques worked were passed down to others, enmeshed in whatever ideology suited the teacher. Also, I have found, through personal experience, that there is a huge fund of knowledge within the collective unconscious mind (Carl Jung) that we can tap into during dreams and meditations.

The Treeing Exercise

This is a well-known meditation and it covers an important area of western tradition.

It helps us increase our feeling of ‘connectedness’ with the earth and gives us greater control over our altered states of mind as we journey. It is always a good idea to begin any meditations with the treeing exercise. As the name suggests, it helps us anchor ourselves emotionally before exploring our inner worlds. It also gives a great feeling of calm energy and optimism. This can be used anywhere, either sitting, standing or lying down. Sitting against a large mature tree during this meditation will certainly add to its effects.

Close your eyes and breathe as slowly, and as deeply as is comfortable.

Imagine that you are a tree.

Visualise the sun above you are pouring light and warmth onto your crown and branches.

Feel the warmth flowing through you and down into your legs and feet.

Picture your body filling with bright light.

Imagine your feet are rooted to the ground.

In your mind see the light form tendrils which push deep into the earth, like the roots of a tree.

Push the tendrils deep into the earth as the energy of the sun pours through your body.

See the tendrils spread out into tiny roots and anchor firmly into the soil.

Now, as you breathe in, draw the light of the sun down your spine and deep into the earth.

As you breathe out, draw the energies of the earth up through your roots, along your spine, and through the top of our head… sending their vibration through your body and out to the universe.

As you breathe in, feel the light flowing down into the ground and clearing and tension and pain from your body and into the earth to be transformed and healed.

When you feel totally relaxed and energised, then you may continue to another meditation, or slowly open your eyes when you feel ready to do so.

Seeking Peace in a Garden of Roses

Morning sunlight sparkling on a single drop of dew,

Light cascades like a rainbow on a rose.

Toes curling on the cool, wet grass.

The world is still asleep.

You walk in solitary silence, but you are not alone.

You share your thoughts and cares with One who truly Knows.

The One whose Spirit warms your blood and fills your heart.

The One who pours Their love into your very bones.

And you are blessed.

Memories come back to you unbidden,

Happy times that filled your heart with joy.

The chattering of your brain is stilled,

The worries and the sorrows drift away.

Then slowly, gently you become aware of now,

You face the world without the needless furrows on your brow.

And you are blessed.

Touch the rose with tenderness,

Kiss it gently as you taste the dew upon your lips.

Breathe in deeply as you fill your lungs with beauty.

Taste the fragrance of the morning garden,

Heady with the scent of earth and grass and summer flowers.

Stretch and raise your hands up to the sky,

and know that you are blessed.



 

This is an ideal meditation to follow the ‘treeing’ exercise. It can bring a feeling of relaxation, expansiveness, and connection to nature. It will increase our feelings of calm and inner peace.

Sometimes we are not ready to face our feelings head-on. Perhaps we have been under a lot of strain and feel tired and depleted. Too many demands from life may have left us feeling drained and ’empty’. Issues with friends and family that we have avoided dealing with may have exhausted our energy, – leaving us in no fit state to deal with them. Be gentle with yourself. We all hide away from things that are too painful to deal with. Simply take the time to heal and regroup your energies before tackling difficult issues.

We sometimes need to take the time to rest and nurture ourselves. Sadly, it is not always possible to take the time needed to do this. Use this meditation to take your own personal “mini-break” when you get a few spare minutes.

Breathe deeply and relax as you exhale a few times. Then take a few minutes to absorb the poem and gaze at the picture. Then use the relaxation exercise or one of the other meditations in the book and allow your mind to take you to a pleasant safe place where you will find inner healing and often, wisdom and guidance.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge

 

Kiara

Distant Shores

From the Muse

Finding Your Own Way

May, 2018

Chapter 2 in Our New Series

(Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver)

First steps…

What is most urgently needed, in these hectic days is peace and calm. Meditation is not the difficult task that it is often made out to be, – so, for this first exercise, we will use the relaxation technique as a stepping off point. Tense and relax a few times then read the poem and spend some time in looking at the image, before beginning the relaxation technique. After you have totally relaxed, simply allow yourself to remember the images and the moods associated with them. Let them flow through your mind without any judgment or analysis. Do not worry if you fall asleep and miss this step. You will have begun the work as you rested and healed. You can always return to this section after mastering more advanced techniques.

A Meditation for Seeking Calm and Meaning in Our Lives

A Rose in Sunlight

Rays of sunlight, glancing briefly through the trees, dazzle a solitary,

pale, blue rose.

Surrounded by her sleeping sisters, fragile petals kiss the frost before the others rose.

Scattered on a deep green bush and nestled safely in their buds,

they wait for warmer days, while she has rushed ahead.

She sheds a single dew-drop tear, for beauty all too soon to fade,

Before the summer comes to pass, her pretty petals will be shed.

Weep not, sister rose,

Your beauty has not passed unseen.

For, all too soon, we both are destined to return

to where, deep in our hearts, we’ve always been.

Back to that place, for which our spirit yearns,

where hunger never bites, nor desert burns.

 

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

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.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Click Image for Amazon Information

Kiara

Distant Shores

From the Muse

What your Pagan Teacher wants you to know … About Meditation

December, 2017

What your Pagan Teacher wants you to know …

 

 

About Meditation

Meditation is a weird thing. It is seen as this perfect thing that a few people can actually do. In reality even after 30 years of meditation there are days I struggle. Not because I’m bad at it but because life happens!

Much like falling asleep (a different kind of brain activity) there are layers and stages to meditation.

I am sure they have proper names and titles somewhere. This is how I experience them, still.

Brain Radio.

Brain radio is the weird ambient noises inside my brain often a mix of 80’s cartoons, toy advert jingles, and random chunks of some song I heard and didn’t like on the radio 20 years ago, along with odd question and ideas.

Brain radio can be a distraction. It can give you colours and shapes for your attention to chase. It is actually useful sometime too. If I am “stuck” for an idea or creative thought just sitting in this stage and watching the random chatter can produce what I’m looking for without looking.

If you get past this phase you can go into the next phase.

The Itchy Fidgets.

Suddenly everything is itchy. Your clothes are made of burlap. Your bra is digging in. Your knee hurts. You struggle to get comfortable. The clock is too loud. What is that smell?

The itchy fidgets is actually you being aware of something you usually ignore, your body. In this sense while irritating breathing through it and ring your attention to it can give you a new understanding of how you are feeling.

The truth is your bra was digging in long before it bothered you. Your knee always hurts. You are just more in your body than usual. It is a stage not the end point. There are days when I get stuck here. I give myself permission to let it go. To breathe through it. To soften. This state is its self a meditation, just like the previous one. It is a place that yoga, tai chi and dance dwells. Movement can help. Sometimes the reverse, stillness. It’s a stage not where you need to end up, but if you do, don’t berate yourself too much.

The Nothing.

This a peaceful and pleasant place for many people and for other terrifying. It is like almost sleep. It is soft and calm and relatively empty. Sometimes images or thoughts come but they have a different quality from other states. This is a balance of dreaming and awareness. This is the place most people think of as “meditation” lives. The thoughts often symbolic, paradoxical and beautiful. There may not be any thoughts at all.

The Nothing is the place people seem to aim for without understand all parts are part of the process. It is also a place that people fear. I have seen students struggle like they are drowning after working so hard to get into the water! I don’t know if it is fear that is usually there and they suddenly discover it. I don’t know if it is feel of voids in general (must fill everything with light and bright). Fear of death (is the nothingness like death?) This place is one of peace for me. I know “I think therefore I am” is not true for me. I am comfortable and happy in thought-less nothingness. In a book I read it was described as heart stone. I like the weight of that idea. A sense of drawing one’s self into a core point.

Lucid Dreaming or Journey Work.

While it is possible to move into this state other ways it is underneath the Nothing. The Observer self or awareness become less tethered. You can journey inside your inner landscape (you are a universe after all) or outside of yourself. You may find yourself in a pleasant or significant landscape. If your journey often enough you may have a starting point you can come to easily and return to easily. Yet the quality of the journey, and how tactile and “there” you are will be down to your own psychic muscles and ability. Practice as always makes better. Still there is no guarantee you will find your Narnia a peaceful beautiful safe place. There may well be terrifying and conflicting part in this space too. That doesn’t of course make it less worthy or valuable. What we fear, what we loathe dwells within us too. True spiritual and even magickal progress comes from working inside our own darkness as well as our own light. Sometimes it can be difficult but that makes it no less worthy. Being present and breathing through what you experience and allowing it to teach you is important. Beyond this is another place.

The Everything.

If you have never experienced this state you can not understand it in words, mine or other peoples. Connection. Infinite. Tapping into the cosmic brain. Light. Love. Everything.

Meditation is a journey. One to try and take every day. Much as it would be amazing to walk around touching the infinite everyday it doesn’t get your food shop done. Different stages on the path are just as valid and important as each other. Yes it is bliss to touch deep within and without the self. Yes it is amazing but you must also be a messy human too! One who likes dirty jokes and food and dancing.

Meditation is like mentally and spiritually going to the gym. If you didn’t get as far as you wanted try doing more later. Don’t give up or berate yourself if one of the stages is sticker than usual. It shows you where you might need to do more work. That’s all. If your thoughts are distracting, look at them. What are they trying to tell you? Are you itchy? Does your knee always hurt? Maybe see someone about it! Is the Nothing your only goal, or terrifying? Examine that.

When I teach I work a lot on person growth, and meditation. I have caught a lot of flak over the years. “Oh it’s just meditation, teach me something exciting/magickal/proper/” and all I do these days is shrug. Scrying, divination, astral and journey work all come this place of altered consciousness. Meditation is one of the 8 paths to ritual magick. There other ways to attain different consciousness, but in terms of reliability, legality and safety it is by and far the best. Meditation is an amazing tool, with a diverse and complicated array of effects. After thirty years I can still see only a fragment. The practice is not for any one kind of person or group. It doesn’t make you perfect. However it does give the space and tools to heal ourselves in deep, changing and profound ways. Imperfect practice and bad days are going to happen. That doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong or that you haven’t meditated. Show up. Give yourself the attention you need. Forgive your bad days.

Keep breathing and work through it.

A Time to Talk to Dead People Meditation

October, 2017

 

Samhain is famed to be the best day of the year to talk to those who have crossed over, and in this October’s meditation, we’re going to do just that.  Whether the dead talk back is up to you (and them.)

 

Before you begin this meditation, think about who you’d like to talk to and what you’d like to say.  What emotions do you need to express?  Are you hurting?  Angry?  Or are you peaceful and excited to take the opportunity to communicate with a lost loved one?

 

There is no wrong answer.  If you are hurting or angry, this meditation could help bring you peace.  If you are already at peace, this meditation could bring you something close to joy.

 

If you can get a picture, a personal belonging, or a gift the departed gave to you before they died, or all of the above.  You can limit yourself to trying to contact just one loved one, or to a handful.  I don’t recommend trying to talk to more than five or six in one session – it can get confusing and even draining.

 

To prevent the draining, bring a potted plant, cut flowers, and/or a familiar, plus incense/sage, crystals if you have them, and one or more candles in colors that make sense to you into your meditation space.  Spirit energy can draw on all of these things to communicate with you rather than drawing from your personal energy.

 

Smudge yourself and your space and declare your intentions that only beings of love and light may join you in your meditative space.  Ask your guides, totems, angels, and/or deities to surround and protect you during your meditation.  Then close your eyes, take three slow, deep breaths, and relax your body from head to toe.  Lay down if you it will help you to relax.  Visualize your throat chakra glowing bright blue, shining brighter and growing larger as your spirit and awareness travel into it.

 

Relaxed and fully present in your throat chakra, safe and open, call your loved one to you.  Tell your loved one what you feel you need to say.  You may see your loved one’s face or an image of something you associate with him or her.  You may hear a voice or just know the words or information the spirit wishes to pass on to you.  You may feel a warmth, a hug, or emotional sensations in addition to your own.  You may smell a familiar fragrance or taste a food or beverage.  You may also get absolutely nothing that you recognize, and that’s okay.  Know that your loved one heard you.  If you get any kind of response, write it down when you come out of your meditation.  If you don’t get any kind of response, ask your loved one to respond to you in your dreams or to give you a message in your daily life and to make you aware of the message and who sends it, and know that it will be so.

 

When you feel ready, bid your loved one adieu, and withdraw from your throat chakra.  Watch the shining blue orb contract until it fits within your throat once again, and allow your awareness to come back into your body.  Take three slow, deep breaths, then open your eyes and write about your experience.

 

Repeat this mediation as often as you like, and for as many departed loved ones as you like.  Make sure that every time you come back to yourself, you smudge your area again and eat and drink something to replenish your own energy and bring you back into your body.

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