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MagickalArts

July 1st, 2018

Let Freedom Ring! Part One

The Cosmic Horae: Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

 

 

In Greek Mythology the classification of Goddesses known as the Horae composed two basic components of cyclic action. This name given of “Horae” was used to describe several goddesses whose primary function was order, balance and justice from the aspect of nature to the larger demands of Cosmic events. The earliest writing about the Horae is attribute to Homer’s Iliad as custodians of the gates of Olympus. These were the daughters of Mighty Zeus and the Titaness, Themis, Goddess of Divine Order. Early worship in Athens separated the six dominant Horae into two triads that in combination attended to the order of society from cosmic affairs to the human needs.

The first of these being the Triad of the three seasons: Thallo (Spring), Auxo (Summer) and Carpo (Autumn). These Goddesses were considered the guardians of the growing season and agricultural blessings were bestowed by their continuous and fruitful cycles. Their worship was predominantly within the rural communities, serving the needs of the farmers and those living more simply and closer to the lands. Their annual festival was held in Horaea.

The Second Triad was responsible for the right order and balance of the Cosmos; thus affecting also the balance of daily mundane life and order within society. These were considered the Cosmic Horae and in addition to recognition in Athens were worshiped in the main cities of Argos and Olympia where politics and wealth played their games of power. Even their parentage spoke of power being the daughters of Zeus and Themis, the Titaness of Divine Order.

In the Hellenistic and Roman periods the Horae became the four seasons and were considered to be the daughters of the sun god, Helios, and the moon goddess, Selene, each represented by the conventional seasonal attributes of Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall. Subsequently, when the day was divided into 12 equal parts, each of them took the name of Hora (meaning “hour”) and each was responsible for a section of time and the energies that would prevail.

The Horae carried aspects of their parents, which when applied together formed a cohesive balance and whole. The cycles of the seasons continue through the balance of order, justice and peace and the fates web the stories of birth and death for those of humanity who will live in accord with those cycles in keeping with the laws. The focus for this essay is the Cosmic Horae of the Second Triad; Dike, Eunomia and Eirene and their Mother Themis.

The Titaness, Themis

The Goddess, Themis was an ancient deity of the First generation of the creation myths. She is one of the twelve Titans and daughter of Uranus and Gaia. She was responsible for maintaining and overseeing Divine order and much like the Egyptian Goddess, Ma’at, she was considered the personification of order within the Cosmos. Cosmic order was the required state for justice and balance to prevail and from the natural chaos of creative endeavor, Hers was the power to restore and provide the necessary structure to keep chaos at bay.

Themis is often depicted as blindfolded and carrying the scales of Justice and we all are familiar with the saying that “justice is blind”. In this way her actions and determinations had no bias of who, what or when. It was simply a fact that order would prevail, at all costs. Her final ruling could be severe and her judgment was precise and specific in its application. Maintaining Divine order and justice also required that she sit in judgment of the newly deceased and make final decision of whether they would enjoy the afterlife of the Elysian Fields or be cast into the deep abyss of Tartarus and eternal torment. Therefore, it behooved the individual to follow the precepts of law and order in their earthly life and this was upheld by the control of her daughters, the Cosmic Horae seeing that justice was preserved in daily affairs.

Another of Themis’ roles was that of a visionary. She was the overseer of the Oracle of Delphi before it was dedicated to Apollo and held in his domain. And, much in the same manner that we adhere to the principle that “with great power (or insight) comes great responsibility” there is a necessary application of balance, order, ethical and justifiable communication required when sharing the insights of visionary and oracular sight. Misspoken words can produce chaos, fear and restrained action if not productive to an outcome that should be driven by free will rather than destiny’s pre-determined hand.

In some myths, Themis is said to have (wed) the mighty God Zeus and their union produced the Eunomia, Dike and Eirene who became known as the Second or Cosmic Horae. The Fates (Moiraies) were also said to be progeny of the powerful Zeus and exacting Themis and again the themes of order are played out. Clotho spun the thread of life on her spindle; Lachesis measured the amount allotted to each individual and Atropos chose the manner and time of death. Each, becoming an extension of the Cosmic order of life and death. Each carrying out the broader reach of their mother, Themis.

 

References:

1. Hesiod, Works and Days 212 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) 2. Demosthenes, Against Aristogeiton 25. 11 (Greek rhetoric C4th B.C.) : 

3. Hesiod, Works & Days – Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.  

 

Part Two Next Month:

The Executors of Divine Order

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

The Anti-New Age: What Western society is getting wrong about pursuing enlightenment

by Guest Writer Bénédicte Rousseau

 

 

The important thing is not to stop questioning, said Albert Einstein. In other words, considering that the human experience is rooted in the fragmentation of time and space, addressing the New Age movement starts with inquiring about the exact circumstances of its birth and development — a topic that has been written about extensively. Within the context of this article, I would simply like to mention that it is generally agreed that the New Age movement developed in the 1970s, mainly in the United Kingdom, and expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, mostly in the United States. Some people argue that New Age is done by now. Does this mean that we have entered some sort of anti- or post-New Age era? I have no answer to this question. What I know, however, in holy curiosity, is that words matter. Moreover, the use of words is subjective, even when it is believed that a common understanding of their meaning is shared. This article is no exception to the rule.

What does New Age mean? What does the new refer to? What are the essentials of the New Age philosophy beyond the large range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices it encompasses? Who are its leaders today, and what do they say? The New Age movement has an original intention of unconditional love, freedom, and oneness, which of course I do not oppose. It also has its share of false prophets and gurus, like most religions and philosophical movements. Nothing that raises an eyebrow so far. So, what would raise an eyebrow? Would the possibility of another road, one that may lead beyond what New Age is and what it is not, stimulate curiosity? A new road understood as a field of exploration, where opposites are seen as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a threat, where one does not debate but experience, where authentic spirituality paves the way; old as the hills, I know. But the circumstances are different. They evolve with time and space – and this changes the whole story.

We live in a world that, despite the glorious promises of technology, creates more and more isolation. The mechanistic view of humankind continues to develop, and this does not seem to be limited to Western society anymore. That would be too easy, and I like to think that we are all in this together. What kind of culture considers that the human brain responds in essence to a binary programme, which is central to the paradigm of artificial intelligence that is based on a mechanistic view of existence? What kind of culture destroys its home, planet Earth, to the point of becoming suicidal, and lets migrants die in the sea out of fear of opening arbitrary borders and losing economic dominance? Far from being against progress, I believe these are some of the questions of our times, and they have everything to do with spirituality. How do we learn to move from a model of ruthless consumption to one of partnership and renewed solidarity?

I have listened to inspiring New Age teachers and have enjoyed reading New Age books; certain New Age intentional communities have proven beneficial for many. There’s no doubt about that. The opposite is, however, also true. Nothing is positive or negative per se. Truths are born in the cradle of personal experiences and change over time, swept away in the dynamic flow of existence. I do not aim to say that every truth is acceptable. Indeed, we have to learn to stand, sometimes vigorously, against any situation that creates suffering — the privilege of the human incarnation. Moral responsibility and actions are important. I simply say that everything can be held with love and presence. Old as the hills, I know.

Like a tree, growing branches would be useless if my roots did not reach deep enough and were not strongly anchored in the ground (Shaman Express). I have personally found much healing and growth in the process of understanding and walking through the depths of my personal traumas and shadows, and this has only ever been possible with the help of others. Love, not fear. Faith, not hope. The human experience is fundamentally incarnated; so is spirituality. In other words, human beings are by definition embarked on a spiritual journey of their own by the mere reality of existence. From this point of view, there is therefore no experience, collective or individual, that is not spiritual. I believe that is true. Love, not fear. Faith, not hope. And in this humble exploration of the meaning of life and greater aliveness, we might eventually land on this path of an authentic spiritual journey, where it is understood that nothing has to be achieved, a path that has neither beginning nor end, where questions matter more than answers.

***

About the Author:

Bénédicte Rousseau is the co-author of the new novel, Shaman ExpressShe has a master’s degree in philosophy. After an unfulfilling corporate career, she quit her job and began traveling the world. She now is a student of the Foundation of Shamanic Studies, and is an active writer and explorer of diverse realities. For more information, visit www.benedicterousseau.com and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram at @benedicterousseauauthor and on twitter at @BenedicteRouss.

Shaman Express

 

DOES MY LIFE BELONG TO ME?!

 

We are on Easter Break. My 17-year old son needs to do revisions for his upcoming A Levels in Physics and Further Maths. He works best alongside someone so we divide up the kitchen table between us. I decided to write this piece because I had been pondering the question for some time. My son decides to play some music to help things along. “Is that Shakira?!” – “No Mum, it is Fat Rat! That is a DJ by the way. I doubt you know anyone I listen too…” I adore silence when I am writing but, as usual, it was not to be!

 

This may sound like a weird question with an obvious answer! Of course my life belongs to me, right?!

In theory it does yes, but being alive means making choices and choices bring commitments. The moment I choose to have children, those children are entitled to a large chunk of my time, energy and life force. The moment I choose to get married, a new unit with an overarching spirit all of its own comes into being: The Marriage (as well as two separate individuals). This is why the sum is always more than the parts combined. The dynamic multiplies again once a couple has children: there is now a Family, as well as two, three, four or five individuals…. There are now five people having relationships with four rather significant others.

The moment I choose a profession and invest in training in that profession I need to accept the demands and boundaries of that profession. Being a medical doctor, nurse or midwife will mean working night shifts in hospitals. Even a plumber will get phone calls about emergencies at all hours. An undertaker cannot so easily take time off either as people will not stop dying over major holidays.

As a shamanic practitioner I, too, used to get emergency phone calls at all hours. As a mother of young children working from home (with no hospital and no team to divide the workload) I eventually learned to take my home phone number off-line and to make an agreement with myself regarding what “opening hours” I operated and how many emergencies a week I can fit in at short notice (if any!) This is called drawing lines and operating healthy boundaries! (By now I also have a team of three people dividing up work in my practice).

So yes my life belongs to me but for my life to belong to ‘me and me alone’ I would need to stay single, not have children (or elderly parents) and perhaps embark on a life as a self-sufficient recluse in a very inaccessible area. (And when emergencies occurred I would have to deal with those on my own – or not be able deal with them and perhaps suffer serious illness or injury without receiving medical attention or loving care from another person). Yet, these are choices some people make to get away from the maddening demands of modern life. (A percentage of people have always done this, long before “modern” times, they have become trappers, sailors or “desert saints” and walked away from their communities). My own husband has one brother who went to sea at age 16 and reappeared years later with a Japanese wife (he then abandoned to raise three children completely on her own in Sweden). Today we call this commitment-phobia and yes, commitment is scary!

Yet, there is a level even beyond this web of social interactions, beyond being a member of a family and community. This is the point where people who follow a spiritual path may well see things differently from what is considered the norm in our society. Since western society embraced science as ‘our new religion’, the Church and priests have lost the control they exerted for many centuries. We no longer believe in Hell or live in sin. We don’t go to confession either. Only few people today believe that a male fearsome god will judge our souls once we die. In many ways this has liberated us and allowed a much higher level of individual expression, which can only be a good thing (to my mind). Having said, that: collectively speaking we have also lost the concept that we owe gratitude to our Maker and that we did not incarnate on this planet just to please ourselves and inflate our egos…

It is my personal belief, shared by many people following a committed spiritual path (of any description and not necessarily a religion!) that we come to Earth to be of service. That we all have unique gifts, our own unique energy, that is required at this time. This is because we all vibrate and operate in a larger Web of Life where all sentient beings are connected and together create (co-create) both reality and the future, the world our children’s children are to inherit.

Therefore I believe that I am here to serve and to evolve (meaning to learn, to grow in awareness) but I am also here to play my part in a larger whole. This means that I am currently wearing a human coat here on Earth for reasons beyond the personal level of relationships and raising children and so forth.

I have an on-going dialogue with my helping spirits about this and they say that I am here to be a spiritual teacher and teach others about living from a place of profound creativity and joyful creation. Along the way I also turned out to have a bit of a “freak talent” for healing work – but personally I see that as the journey back to creativity and living in joy. Being ill or dis-eased is the flip side of that coin. Once people re-discover their innate ability to create they can create healthy vibrant reality (as well as art, poetry or music etc.) and this will trigger the process of self-healing (activating the Inner Healer). Once I became aware of this key principle I switched my focus from offering one-to-one healing sessions to teaching larger groups.

The spirits making my life purpose crystal clear has been helpful because it has allowed me to focus and drop many things that are not my cup of tea in this lifetime. Out with dinner parties but roll on classes and powerful ceremonies!

The fly in the ointment is that “the hermit gene” runs strong in me. Before I fall asleep I fantasize about retreating to place far (FAR) from civilization and turning my back on the world. I am a profoundly solitary person, happiest alone in my studio or alone in the Forest. My idea of heaven is to be dropped in a completely inaccessible place with enough food supplies, fire wood and art materials for months – so I can immerse myself in creative process without distractions. It is when we are truly alone, without company, without internet, without external noise that we hear the voices of the spirits more clearly. So yeah, that is my dirty secret! I find it hard to always be on call. As a mother of three teenagers this is and will remain my reality – and I actively (happily!) chose it! The contradiction runs deep in me and this solitary trait runs in my family. My middle son has got a bad case of this “affliction” as well!

Having many students (and some clients) as well as children means working long hours every day again (often including weekends). I often look around me at people I perceive to have “easier lives”. Hang on! Let me rephrase this: lives with less pressure and way more leisure time. Here I am thinking of women who call themselves a “full time mother” of two teens aged 16 and 18 (with one about to leave home!) Or a woman whose children left home 20 years ago but she never returned to work (in the conventional sense). She shuttles between her garden and her yoga lessons. To my mind these are ladies of leisure. You may of course disagree.

On one level you could say: they raised their babies and their husband earns good money (so there is no financial need to work) – why not settle into a life of gardening and coffee mornings? Or another level I think: but aren’t they uniquely positioned to really make contribution to larger society? They have good health, many skills and financial security… they HAVE IT ALL! Why not use these things for the larger good of others than themselves?

Am I being judgemental here?? I know this is and remains one of my shadow aspects, (the flip side of being visionary) so it is a definite possibility. Not everyone has my driven personality and (what some have called) a supernatural energy level). Not everyone feels called to grapple with the bigger issues in our world (such as clearing family lines of centuries worth of accumulated trauma or contributing to paradigm shifts – or at least imagining that one is doing so!)

Cycling back to where I started, I think the question this article poses can only be answered by individuals in a very individual way. We all have different personalities, different star signs and different circumstances and dreams too. What I do know is that in my own life I continue to learn (fast and furiously) because I am a teacher, because I am in constant interactions with students and teens from a place of holding responsibility. It has been said that we teach what we most need to learn and probably my greatest passion in life is learning and becoming the best person I can possibly be, by the time I die. (And what I am in the process of becoming is not going to please everyone!)

I also truly believe that if everyone embraced life in this way – the world would be a better place. I am not going to apologise for thinking that! So… to answer my own question: my life force belongs to me (meaning I choose what – and whom! – I spend time and energy on) but my life ultimately belongs to Mother Earth and Spirit as much as it belongs to me personally. I am in service to Life – not the other way around. I would not have it any other way…

 

My son has decided to go on break. He says: “Mum, could you please take over as my dragon slayer for a moment because I need to nip out for a moment?!” Fat Rat has gone silent. Outside the window snow is falling upwards…

*Imelda Almqvist, Sweden, Easter Sunday 2017

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of Norseshamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Art Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

 

 

What is the Grail to you?!

The Grail stands as a beacon of hope and wholeness in the midst of the Wasteland created by modern Western materialism.  The potency of this symbol beckoning us back to living in harmony with both ourselves and the land around us is a myth very much of our time.  It speaks directly to wholeness and connection and reminds us that to bring the Wasteland back to fertility and lush abundance we must return to the Source that nourishes it.

Our modern Society and education systems gives us few really useful tools to take with us on the great journey of Life.  We need knowledge and understandings that we can directly apply to the challenges and traumas we face, that enable us to emerge empowered and strong, not weak and victimised. The Lost Wisdom of the Grail telesummit brings together a wide variety of Wisdom Keepers who are working to help humanity overcome the challenges it currently faces and envision a future where all are valued and flourish.

– Saira Salmon, https://www.sairasalmon.com/

Recently I received an invitation to be one of the speakers on a Telesummit in May 2018, titled The Lost Wisdom of the Grail, (https://www.sairasalmon.com/grail/) hosted by Saira Salmon. She has organised this summit from a strong personal connection to the Grail teachings and Grail mythology.

Saira’s question to me was: “How and where does the concept of the Grail appear in your shamanic work and classes?” This was a very exciting question to engage with!  My immediate response was to request a dream on this subject from my spirit team.


The dream that came was about “the wounded masculine” – linking it to the Arthurian tale of The Fisher King. In the dream I had to make my way to this wounded male figure (first I could not even see if it was a toddler or grown man). When I got there I realized that he was my father/son/husband/male friends all in one. The dream was asking me to reflect on where I need to heal my inner masculine (born a woman) to arrive at a healthier relationship of masculine and feminine in our world. (The external world is always an expression of our internal world!)

Over the centuries many scholars and mystics have arrived at different definitions of what the Holy Grail is or was. For me personally the crucial question is: what is the Holy Grail to you?!


For me, first and last, the Grail is a CRUCIBLE – a sacred container of transformation and transmutation – the big question is: are we willing to make ourselves a crucible (sacred chalice or Holy Grail)?!

For much of 2016 and 2017 I was working intensely with a mysterious figure who called herself The Poison Mother.  She came to me in Sweden and became one of my key allies over time. I made an art video about our work together by the same name:

The Poison Mother


As our work unfolded she told me that was familiar with her under a different name:  Norse goddess Sigyn (wife of the trickster god Loki). Her big question to me (to all of us!) is: am I willing to make myself a crucible for transmutation in the world? This means rather than avoiding “toxic situations” actually choosing to be there and using myself as a chalice (or Holy Grail) to be an agent of change in service to our collective consciousness evolving.


In ancient Sumeria this sacred marriage (or Hieros Gamos) was the central idea at the heart of their religion.  I just finished an art video exploring this mystery today:

The Sacred Marriage in The Great Below


Another Grail in Norse cosmology is the cup that the Valkyrie holds out to the warrior in the moment of death. She is also known as the “The Maiden with the Mead” and she is a supernatural being (a goddess!) and Mistress of Initiation. (I invite you to check out the work of author Maria Kvilhaug (http://freya.theladyofthelabyrinth.com/?page_id=35) who wrote a PhD dissertation on this subject!) This cup is said to hold the mead and her offering accompanies a sacred marriage between the Maiden and the “Hero” of the tale. He faces fierce trials and a descent into the Realm of the Dead to earn this privilege.

It is my belief that profound mystery rites of initiation involving women and feminine power are found at the very heart of Norse cosmology (more commonly perceived as quite a male-god dominated tradition!) The same thing is true for many other cosmologies that map an Other World. The details might be culture-specific but the concept and mystery teachings are very similar.

My personal intention is to call together groups of powerful talented people and harness the group power to retrieve those ancient mysteries and initiations! – If that works speaks to you – please check out my 2-year Seiðmaðr & Seiðkona 2-year program in Sweden (starting Summer 2019):

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450


For the Celtic peoples this ritual was about the sacred marriage of the king to the goddess of the land (Sovereignty). Without this marriage the land becomes a barren waste land (and look at what we are doing to the Earth and her creatures – we need to revive this mystery teaching!
This is the core of the shamanic teaching I am doing – putting ancient mystery teachings back into practice in the modern world with modern groups of people working in spirit-led ways, using the process of direct revelation).

When we lose these wisdom traditions our inner world becomes barren. Our external world becomes a wasteland, dominated by conflict, pollution and a lack of respect for all sentient beings. This way of being in the world brings dis-ease and disharmony with the great Web of Life (or Web of Wyrd in Norse cosmology).

Another question Saira put to me was: what is the Grail in terms of spiritual work with young people? In this context for me The Holy Grail is the safe sacred space – container – for young people to develop their own spiritual toolkit in partnership with their spirit allies. In our culture we make sure that children are looked after in the physical/social/emotional realm but often we leave them rudderless when it comes to the spiritual dimension. I obviously wrote a whole book about this (Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life) but to sum it up in just a few words… our children and young people need:

  • A viable spiritual toolkit to help them navigate the challenges life throws at them

  • Safe sacred space with kindred spirits – if their innate psychic /healing/shamanic abilities are to be nurtured

  • Rites of Passage offered by the Elders of our Communities – safe experiences of initiation and stepping through developmental portals in order to become fully-fledged adults who do not fear death.

Therefore The Grail is directly linked to a rich inner life, to sacred space held by elders and wisdom keepers, to a sacred marriage within ourselves but also between the archetypal figures of King and Sovereignty (Goddess of the Land)!


Are you willing to be a crucible for change and transmutation in our world?!

If this material speaks to you: please make sure to register for the Grail Summit and tune in. Expert speakers from all over the world will share their unique take on this material! And this summit is FREE!!

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon Books in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Art Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Chapter 3

 

Acceptance

The hardest lesson that we need to earn as human beings is acceptance. It is not a vague feeling of goodwill, nor a sign of weakness and vacillation. It is a powerful tool for expanding up our intuition and creativity. It gives us new insights and new options in many situations. It allows us to take a realistic and honest look at situations in our homes and at work and at many social events.

Where once we may have been victims of our own emotions and impulses, we begin to gain the ability to take control of situations around us. It is the key to unlocking a positive future.

As we learn to accept others without judgment, we begin to remove the emotional blockages to the exploration of our own inner worlds.

We learn to see ourselves honestly and without self-criticism. We can then begin to see, and deal with, our own hidden motivations and develop true spontaneity. To encourage acceptance, we need to release ourselves from our need for certainty. Remember, it is inconceivable, that we are always right, and others are always wrong. This basic truth is a good starting point.

I cannot emphasize enough how important a force like acceptance will become in our lives.

It is a key element in self-healing. It is essential for any true learning and personal development.

It is best to use a comfortable chair at this stage, to lessen the likelihood of falling asleep.

Again, just read the text and muse over the images. Then, allow the images and ideas to flow through your mind unchallenged, both during and after the deep relaxation technique.

If you wish, you can now begin to add some visualization techniques.

If your eyes open, just allow them to close again after a few moments.

As you breathe in, imagine a stream of golden light flowing down into your body from above.

As you breathe out, imagine it flowing out from your torso and forming a golden ball around you.

Repeat this a few times and return to your musings.

You may repeat the sequence a few times if you wish.

Allow yourself time to return to normal consciousness before driving or operating any machinery.

A drink and a snack are a good way to return fully to normal waking consciousness.

Be aware that time distortion often occurs during meditations. An hour may pass in what feels like a few moments, or time may seem to stretch, and a short session may seem to last much longer.

This section will ease your journey into later, more advanced, meditations.

Try not to rush ahead or work to any targets. The journey is what counts. Every single moment is what matters most. This is your journey and will unfold in your own unique way. You will discover a wisdom and guidance that will benefit you for your whole life as you begin to discover your own inner resources.

Certainty

Like a suit of armor,

Polished gold that gleams and sparkles in the light.

That Blessed Shield that keeps our ego safe.

No niggling doubts disturb us in the night.

No second thoughts to make our conscience chafe.

The Joy of never being wrong,

Those great eternal truths that beam down from above.

Our principles that keep us different from the milling throng.

When we love Certainty,

Its charms can keep us safe from any other love.

We feel misunderstood by those who do not truly Know.

Their dreadful ignorance and anarchy surround us every day.

If only we could set them on the path they need to go.

If only they could understand the things we try to say,

Then we could let them bask in our enlightened glow.

But then,

How can I teach the sparrow how to fly?

They seemed to know just what to do,

Before I ever had a chance to teach them how.

I often watch in envy as they dance and weave above us in the evening sky.

The crimson setting sun, that lights their antics, lights the furrows on my brow.

Streaking red and gold across the purple hills and dark green fields,

Its rainbow glory blinds my eyes and lets me see,

This world was doing fine before there ever was a Me.

*****

 

Once we start to meditate, we open a doorway to our unconscious thoughts and feelings. This may not always be a comfortable experience. Take things slowly. If you become unhappy with the experience stop and open your eyes. If you feel tearful for no apparent reason, do not worry. It is simply a release of energy. But if you find yourself becoming moody or unhappy, – just take a break for a few days. This will give you time to assimilate whatever is being released from your unconscious mind. This is a very personal journey, and a lot of the images that will flow into your mind may seem strange at first, – but they will tend to have a relevance to your life which will become clear in time.

Many of the images may even seem religious. This is because they are a part of our human history and have been experienced and interpreted by many people over the ages. It is your own personal reaction to the images that count. You will come across them in the guided meditations also. Again, this is because we all share many of these ancient images as part of our common heritage. As you learn to deal with these ancient images, you will come to realize that they can release energy into our lives. This is not a religious exercise. Meditation on these symbols will allow us to tap into skills and abilities and attributes that are dormant in our minds, – regardless of whether we are atheists, agnostics or members of any of the mainstream religions. Our journey is about finding balance in our lives between our inner and outer needs but doing it in our own unique way.

 

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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

Browned Butter Blondies

The first time I made “Blondies”, I was in fact making Chocolate Chip Cookies and I realized that I didn’t have enough time to bake four pans of twelve cookies on each pan, so I put the cookie dough into a lightly-greased 9×13 pan and a picnic tradition was born. This was many years ago – my son James was just a little guy. I have made many pans of “Blondies” – some with dark chocolate chips, some with white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, some with crushed peanut M&M’s, some with walnuts or pecans or even cashews – the variations are endless.

So, I was pleasantly pleased to come across this recipe for Browned Butter Blondies at The Food Charlatan, a blog I discovered recently. I love browned butter. I love its nutty aroma and the added dimension it brings to food. I usually brown butter for my popcorn – it really rocks – especially if you add a touch of garlic salt to the butter before putting it on the popped corn.

If you don’t know how to brown butter, I suggest you go to YouTube and check out some of the tutorials on how to do it. It’s much easier once you’ve seen it done in front of you. I was lucky – I learned as a young girl from my mother. It’s quite like scalding milk – you have to keep the heat at medium and you have to keep stirring – the fun part when you’re a child. It’s very easy to burn butter – just like milk – but the technique, once you have it down, is also quite easy. Honestly, it’s like riding a bike. When you’re first learning, you fall off a lot and scrap your knees and elbows – and maybe you cry a little bit – but suddenly you just know how to do it. And then you always know how to do it.

The first thing I did was start the butter to melting.

As I slowly melted the butter, I got out the other ingredients that I needed: brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt, and the chocolate chips. I didn’t have any nuts in my pantry except for the almonds that I snack on each day and although I personally think that all cookies and bars of this type ought to have nuts in them, I decided that I didn’t want almonds in this batch. I also decided that I didn’t feel like running to the store to buy any other nuts!

After the butter is melted, immediately pour it into your mixing bowl so that it doesn’t burn sitting in the hot pan! I let it cool for a few minutes before adding the brown sugar.

Remember to pack the brown sugar! When you add it, mix it well! But wow! This is like candy. In fact, this makes me think of making homemade butterscotch candy with my mother when I was twelve or so. That was a lot of fun. A lot of work but a lot of fun.

Add the vanilla and mix well. And then the eggs. I put the eggs into a bowl first because I’ve had too many eggs break badly and pieces of shell fall into the batter – and this is exactly what happened – there was a bad break and I had to pick pieces of shell out of the egg in the bowl before beating them. But at least the pieces of shell weren’t in the batter. It’s always easier to get pieces of shell out of the egg than out of the batter.

And then you add your dry ingredients – the flour, the baking soda and the salt. If you have a sifter like I do, add them in that fashion, but if not, just measure them into a bowl, mix well, and then add them.

Then add the all-important chocolate chips!! Yummy!!

The recipe didn’t say to grease the pan but I did anyway.

My pan was slightly smaller than 9×13 and I had to bake them longer than the 23-27 minutes that the recipe said it would take for “gooey” bars but of course, I have an electric oven and every oven is different, even the gas ovens that I prefer. Your oven might bake these faster than mine or it might bake them slower. And in a 13×9 pan, they might have been done in that time frame. But I am not complaining.

THESE THINGS ARE AWESOME. They smelled so great that I couldn’t even wait for them to cool to cut into them and try them out and of course the first one fell apart completely but then I had the most fabulous idea of putting a little ice cream on the top of it – yeah really – all it needed was some hot fudge sauce and whipped cream! But damn! Was that ever good!

(picture blurry cuz I was in a hurry to chow down)

After the pan cooled, the bars came out in perfect fashion, as shown here:

And everyone who had one of these Browned Butter Blondies raved about how good they were! Believed me! They are fabulously, magically good!

So – make this recipe! I’m not even phrasing this as a suggestion – I’m telling you to do it. Add chocolate chips, nuts, oats, even dried cranberries would be good! This is kitchen witchery at its finest!

References

The Food Charlatanhttp://thefoodcharlatan.com/browned-butter-blondies/

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

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