meditation

Mindful Meditation

November, 2018

Samhain Mindful Meditation

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

Items you will need:

-a quite room to be completely alone in

-a comfortable seat

-writing utensil & paper

-cauldron or fire pit

-special box for safe keeping

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

About the Author:

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

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

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

Spirituality Without Religion

October, 2018

Spoiler alert: this piece is not really about Spirituality without Religion. The way of the shaman is certainly not exempt from paradoxes and miracles.

It was August 5, 2018. My Chinese calendar predicted it would be an auspicious day for rituals but a bad one to embark on a long journey. Rituals it was. I went to my favorite café in Bangkok, the city where I was living, and put fingers to keyboard.

It had not been a good week; I had submitted a piece commissioned by a website that receives nine million unique visitors a month, and it had been turned down. My agent pitched the site for an article about living in intentional communities. I was happy to write about that topic, since I had lived in a spiritual, environmentally friendly community in Scotland and had first-hand knowledge of what the experience of communal living was about. Moreover, my first steps in shamanic practice took place during that stay, so it was a subject dear to me.

However, the editor of the website had understood that the piece would go over actionable strategies for people to create more intentional and meaningful relationships in their own communities, like setting aside time to walk around their neighborhood, join new groups, etc. Would I be open to pivoting the piece to touch on this idea?

It had not been an easy piece for me to write; the website preferred articles written in third person, very much “news you can use” and tips with quick, easy takeaways about how to improve the lives of their millions of unique visitors. About 700 words was best. Which was exactly the opposite of what I do: I write long articles, in the first person, reflecting on the perplexing circumstances of modern life, concluding in general that the world is a very confusing place and that most of the questions we ask ourselves are probably wrong. I wish I had easy takeaways to offer; I would be the first one to benefit from them. It is a happy day when the unique visitors to my site reach two digits.

Still, I wrote the piece, but it was turned down. Of course, I was open to pivoting the piece. I was in the middle of the promotion of the recently published Shaman Express, a novel I cowrote that had sold less than one hundred copies in its first month. Any chance to promote the novel was welcome. Take every opportunity you can to post your writing to different platforms was the advice of a blogger writing about how to make a living as a writer. When you first set out to freelance, you’ll have to stomach crummy pay, cantankerous editors, and take on all assignments that come your way. Let’s be honest, in the beginning, you can’t afford to be picky was the more radical advice of another blogger writing about going freelance. I spent the following week honestly trying to pivot the piece to touch on this idea of the neighborhood.

I started by reviewing my most recent experience walking around my neighborhood, which at the time was funky Banglamphu in Bangkok. I spent the first month in a cheap, murky, no “chocolate on the pillow” hotel. I divided my time between writing at a the café downstairs and attending a spiritual group that had me absorbed to the point of firmly believing that everything that surrounded me was a transient, repetitive cycle of suffering based on attachment. Why generate additional suffering by creating attachment to my neighborhood? Then I moved to a condo for the following two months, apparently built for the sole purpose of sheltering young and fleeting Airbnb travelers. After a few days I started recognizing some faces at the next-door Family Mart where I did my late-night shopping. Still, we would not greet each other in the elevator. And I did not use the gym; that alone qualified me as an outcast. No good luck in drawing from my experience here either.

Before setting out on this trip, I lived in a house in Buenos Aires for several years. I could think of only two times in which I had connected with the neighborhood. The first one was a failed attempt at bribing the neighbors with bottles of wine on the eve of my fortieth birthday party. The strategy did not prevent the neighbors from calling the police, in fact repeatedly, with a noise complaint. It was a loud party. The next occasion that I reached out to them was when the Armenian church across the street installed a cellular antenna the size of the Eiffel Tower in their backyard. I attempted to gather signatures to file a robust complaint against the cellphone company that owned the antenna, with the hope that the lucrative agreement between church and big business would be terminated. I asked my pious neighbors to choose between brain cancer hazard, the naughty neighbor I had been, and the powerful grip of the Armenian patriarch. Naturally, I ended up filing the complaint alone. This did not make me any more popular in the neighborhood and killed my chances of being admitted to the Armenian kitchen supper club.

The harder I tried to pivot the original piece, the more evident it became that more than a pivot, I had been asked to perform a quadruple somersault. If you have nothing to say, there’s no point in singing it was the advice of yet another blogger who writes about tech, culture, and startups. To make matters worse, or perhaps better, I had started to study The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I learned that, surprisingly, once we get accustomed to the omnipresent possibility of death in life, we feel greatly liberated. So I resolved the article conundrum by deciding that no matter how strongly I wanted to promote Shaman Express, I had to be honest and not write that piece. The sense of immediacy of freedom was exhilarating.

Then came the possibility of writing about Spirituality without Religion for PaganPagesOrg. My initial idea was an inflammatory article against the Roman Catholic church. I gathered all sorts of evidence and set to reading Catherine Nixey’s The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World and Betthany Hughes’ “Ruination in the Name of Jesus.” Simultaneously, I reread the Vatican documents A Christian Reflection on the New Age and Aspects of Christian Meditation, where the Vatican sternly warns its adepts against mixing Christian practice with Eastern approaches to spirituality.

I might have moved from the murky hotel to the Airbnb condo, but I was still attending the same spiritual group in Bangkok and studying The Tibetan Book of the Dead with renewed energy. I was being taught about such spiritually edifying principles as belief means reliance, not defiance. I had sat in meditation to be rid of negative thinking, intolerance, and cynicism. My spiritual teacher showed me money, fame, food, Facebook, fantasy, series, social media, sugar, gaming, gossip, love, lust, work, war, pain, power. The list is without end — and so is the condition. I had even tweeted, We realize that all compulsion is only based on the illusion of substantial continuation, enduring substance, binding essence. Hence, I could not respond to the opportunity of writing about Spirituality without Religion with the cheap line of debasing the world’s oldest continually functioning bureaucracy.

Cornered, I asked for guidance in meditation. I reflected on how to bridge the infinite void of separation. Bob Thurman, in his translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, explains that there are no boundaries to our interconnectedness with limitless dimensions and universes. Buddhism can only have drawn this from shamanism, the earliest form of spirituality in the planet. Later that day, my spiritual teacher talked about a God, not in a religious dimension, but as a form of spirituality that was different from the one I had departed. It implied a connection with the Universe. It was about a psychospiritual change and awakening. He talked about a higher force that we can all plug into, nothing at all like a human relation in the Judeo-Christian system of belief. Not an out-of-body experience either, but a practice that needed training to be perfected. We could find it where we thought there was no possibility of anything to exist. The spiritual part is rather the absence, the space around it, not the object itself, he taught.

He then proposed I should create a balance sheet. On one side I was to list all the reasons I could for believing in such higher force, and on the other side a list of all the reasons for disbelieving. I came up with this:

Reasons for believing:

1. The direct experience of the divine in meditation, yogic practice, and shamanic journeying.

2. The guidance of Helping Spirits that present themselves as friends, fellows, and teachers, recognizable from previous lives.

3. The intuitive knowledge of previous lives in such encounters and thus of the fallacy of separation.

Reasons for not believing:

1. Playing the atheist as an intellectual stance.

2. Scientific information.

3. The toxic political play of major religions, namely Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

My teacher nodded and explained that religions are man’s attempt to organize the spiritual experience. Organized religions, even if organized in an honest, earnest, well-meaning attempt, are always corrupt, because they are about men. A futile attempt indeed, because we know that the spiritual part is rather the absence, the space around it, not the object itself, he insisted. In this quest for spirituality, what we need is to have no escape, so we can experience what happens. Time, then, acquires a different dimension. Space has a different dimension. There arises a new possibility in Spirituality, where before it was just a necessity.

“Very well,” he concluded after reviewing my notes, “your first column is Spirituality, the second column is Religion. That is how you can have Spirituality without Religion.” I was speechless; my teacher had just written the article for me. Spirituality, not Religion, is the faster road to that greater freedom we all seek. The way of the shaman is certainly not exempt from paradoxes and miracles: he who is blessed with the guidance of a wise teacher shall learn to perform formidable pivots.

***

About the Author:

Omar Beretta is the co-author with Bénédicte Rousseau of Shaman Express. A former lawyer, yoga instructor and publishing company owner who – after a near-death experience – left his corporate career to practice yoga and shamanism, Beretta is now a traveling writer. For more information, see www.yacarevolador.com

 

Shaman Express

Book Review – In Focus Meditation: Your Personal Guide by Jacqueline Towers

October, 2018

In Focus: Meditation

Your Personal Guide

 

by Jacqueline Towers

© Zambezi Publishing Ltd.

imprint of Quarto Group

page count 144

One of the first things Ms. Towers says about meditations is “meditations aren’t something you need to work because they just start” I like the way this book is laid out, Ms. Towers has done an excellent job of presenting this material.

In the first chapter, entitled “About Meditation,” Ms. Towers lists 12 benefits of meditation and eight different techniques. Of the eight different methods of meditation, not all of them require you to quiet your mind. (Which is a good thing, because I never have a quiet mind.) In chapter 3 on equipment and products for meditation, the author lists a few meditation cushions or zafus that you can use. In chapter 3, she also includes a list of incense or essences, and these she has broken down into wood or mineral, fruit or plant.

Chapters 4 through 15 are about the different types of meditations. Ms. Towers has them broken down, in such a way that if you are looking for a meditation on chakras, or knowledge, or angelic, or emotional, they are easy to find. One of the meditations in chapter 7 that I found interesting was the Flower of Life. I have several flowers of life around my desk where I work, and where I do most of my reading, so it was easy for me to envision this image while meditating.

In chapter 12, Ms. Towers starts talking about psychic techniques, and how meditation can help you heighten them. The author also talks about how psychics use meditation before doing readings. Chapter 13, Ms. Towers writes about using a meditation to do a past life regression. While reading this meditation, I went into the meditation and was able to explore part of a past life that comes to me during a dream. So, I can say without a doubt, this meditation works.

In chapter 14 Ms. Towers covers mindfulness meditation. The author includes information about mindfulness, yoga, and even doing a meditation upon the five principles of Reiki. Within the five principles of Reiki meditation, the author breaks it down even further into helping you meditate on why you may have an issue with one of the five principles.

In the last chapter, chapter 15, Ms. Towers has a meditation with candles. In this meditation. She explains how the flames may behave during your meditation and what that can mean for you. She also covers Christian contemplation, Buddhist meditation, cosmic ordering, and astral travel. In Focus Your Guide to Meditation is a well-written book, and it’s laid out intuitively. I’m glad I can add it to my library, I hope you will be too.

In Focus Meditation

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

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.

“The Horn of Plenty”: A Pathworking for Lammas

August, 2018

This Pathworking is meant to connect us with the deeper meaning of the First Harvest of Lammas. We have sown the seeds of our will and making at Ostara, nurtured and tended to their needs; seen them in bloom at Litha and are now ready to reap what has grown and is viable to sustain in the darkness that lay in the winter months ahead.

For the most effective use of this pathworking I would suggest reading it through once to set-up the initial energetic connections. Then, take some time to record the pathworking, reading it in your natural voice. Be sure to offer up timed silence in the recording for those areas marked as a pause. A brief pause would be approximately 4-5 minutes and a longer pause would be 15-20 minutes. Taking these additional steps, creates an even deeper level of connection and as you listen to the sound of your own voice you will respond in a way that opens additional pathways. May your journey of this harvest be blessed with a cornucopia of bounty.

The Horn of Plenty”

Take a few deep breaths, filling your lungs as you inhale and gently breathing out in release as you exhale. Allow your body to rest comfortably on the surface on which you are sitting. You should feel no tension or strain in any part of your body. Gently breathe into any area that feels tense or is holding unwanted energy, allowing it to slip away as you exhale into a more relaxed state of being. Allow your breathing pattern to establish its own rhythm and take note of the gentle rise and fall of your chest. Acknowledge a deeper feeling of relaxation with each exhalation…brief pause.

Turn your focus now to the space behind your closed lids and create an inner screen upon which various images may be projected. This is your gateway into a meditative state of peace, calm and tranquility. A fine mist of indigo blue energy fills the screen, pulsating with particles of light and energy. You are drawn to it and in your mind’s eye you see the projected image of yourself approach the center of this screen and gently step through. You emerge at the edge of a wooded forest. It is dusk and the sky is ablaze; bathed in reds and oranges that cast a serene glow on all it touches. The smell of autumn is in the air and the leaves of the trees are a palette of reds, browns and golden shades. This is the time of the first harvest. The time when that which was seeded in the Spring, and lovingly nurtured throughout the Summer is ready to be gathered and drawn inwards to nourish and sustain in the winter months ahead. You walk forward on a narrow path between the trees and each step forward produces the sound of crackling leaves echoing from tree to tree. A gentle breeze carries the scent of apples, pumpkin pie, corn pudding and bread baking. You pause in movement forward and take a moment to enjoy the aromas and sounds that surround you…brief pause.

You begin walking forward again and are drawn to a light just ahead. You step into a small clearing and see a thatched roof cottage a few yards in front of you. A curl of smoke spirals upwards from the chimney and the glow of amber colored light can be seen through the windows. Instinctively you are drawn to this place. A sense of familiarity fills your being and you step up onto the porch. Pumpkins, gourds and tied bales of hale adorn the entryway. The thick scent of fragrant wood burning in the hearth, and the front door slightly ajar beckons you to come in. You reach out and gently push the oaken door open. The inner room is small, yet inviting with amber colored hues, tabletop baskets of apples and a crackling fireplace filling the panorama of view. Take some time to look around. Engage all of your senses and drink in the sights, smells and sounds as you make yourself at home in this cozy cottage…longer pause.

As you continue with your exploration your eyes come to rest on a wicker basket shaped as a Horn of Plenty. It sits on a small wooden side table and contains within small scrolls of parchment, rolled and bound by an earthy green ribbon. You are curious about the contents contained within the Horn and what meaning they may hold for you. In keeping with the warmth and welcome you have felt from the time of stepping into this place you reach out and take one of the scrolls from the Horn. You gently unroll it and see what has been gifted to you. The scroll may contain an image, words or vision of a seen past or yet to come. Its contents will be in the form to which you are most connected. Regardless of the form, its intent and meaning hold the promise of a Full and Abundant harvest of all that has been nurtured and tended to this point of ripeness and readiness for taking up. This represents that which is both a gift to yourself and in turn will become a gift you share with all you meet. Holding your scroll you move to sit in a rocking chair just in front of the fireplace. As you gaze into the flickering and dancing flames you see the images of all the positive actions you have taken this year. All of the successes of those seeds of new beginnings planted and the ripe, lush fruit that has come to full harvest. Take some time to reflect on these bountiful positive qualities that are expressions of your highest, most fruitful SELF…longer pause.

Some time passes and the flames in the hearth begin to diminish. You see that the scroll you were holding in your hand is no longer there and acknowledge that all of its information has been imprinted within. You now understand that you are the scroll itself and those actions, efforts and creations you produce are all held within your Being. All that is needed to sustain you through the future turns of the Wheel grows within. You have only to make the request to your Higher Self to release these gifts and the harvest of your own Horn of Plenty is available at all times. You have received all that is needed at this time and you once again stand. Looking at the beauty of the room surrounding you there is a quiet acknowledgment that this is now your private space to which you may return at anytime.

Your gaze is caught once again by the Horn of Plenty, and to your surprise in the place of the scrolls the hollow of the Horn has become a cornucopia filled with fruit, squash, corn, apples and nuts. The small table is filled to overflowing with all the bounty of the Harvest and somehow you know that this abundance reflects the many images you found within your own basket of plenty. You smile knowingly as you walk towards the door; gently push it open and once again step out into the forest. The sky is now lit by the brilliance of a honey gold sunset. The velvet of the night sky is minutes away and the hush and serene promise of a restful evening are just ahead. You pause a moment and stand looking at the sun as its last strands of light disappear beneath the rim of trees. As the darkness begins to envelope you, the veil of blue mist forms just in front of you.

You step through and once again return to the place of your inner screen; seeing the form of yourself stepping through. You feel the calm re-entry into this space as the screen gently fades and your focus of your consciousness returns to your breath and its serene rhythm. There is much information that you received on your journey and you know that the days and weeks head will reveal more; but for now you offer up gratitude for all that has been received. Allow yourself to slowly and gently shift your awareness and return to the physicality of sitting in this space. Each inhalation brings awareness to the feel of your body resting in chair or on floor. Returning to awareness of the gentle rise and fall of your breath. And, when you are ready gently flutter your eyes open and be fully present here and now.

Brightest Blessings

***

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.

Mindful Meditations

August, 2018

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

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

 

Fire Meditation

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

***

About the Author:

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

Book & CD Review – In The Light of Meditation by Mike George

July, 2018

Book & CD Review – In The Light of Meditation by Mike George

In Short: Helpful meditation primer – yes; authentic vedantic teaching – no.

Meditation was first introduced to the West from the yogic traditions of India. Even before The Beatles courted the teachings of Indian gurus, vedic philosophy had been brought to the Europe and America by Theosophists in the mid-19th century and yogis such as Paramahamsa Yogananda promoted vedic meditational practices (in the form of Kriya yoga) to westerners in the 1920s. However, a look at most literature on meditation today will reveal a strong dominance of a Buddhist or indeed a secular approach. Especially Eastern Buddhist traditions, with their focus on mindfulness meditation, are appropriately secular minded for the western audience. The de-emphasis on metaphysical doctrines such as reincarnation and karma allowed chan / zen traditions especially to be readily digestible in the West, so when scientific data started coming in on the benefits of meditation, the appetite for self-improvement boosted mindfulness meditation in particular to the status of a “mental workout”. As more scientific data has accumulated, over the last thirty years it has become the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of meditation practice that have become the reason to meditate. Even Buddhist journals such as Tricycle wax heavily on the neurological benefits of meditation and on secular Buddhism.

None of this is a bad thing, but it is what makes In The Light of Meditation stand out of the landscape. It teaches meditative practice from the yogic tradition of India. The secular is absent, spiritual development is central to the agenda and explicit in the teaching. The meditation taught by the book is from the Raja yoga tradition. The purpose of Raja yoga is to become aware of one’s spiritual nature and one’s connection with the divine (however one understands that for themselves), learning to recognize the divine flame within us.

So be warned – if you feel slightly allergic to chapters titled “Knowing and Understanding God”, “The Soul World”, and “Where do we go after death”, then this book will not be for you. While the book explains metaphysical concepts such as reincarnation and the workings of karma, it tries not to be necessarily religiously aligned and I don’t believe the exercises contained will necessarily contradict any other religious observances you might have. Rather than advocating offerings to any specific deity, the author has made an effort to couch the lessons with the Westerner in mind and direct the reader’s attention to the Divine, the language used sometimes even comes off as Christian.

In the Light of Meditation is designed to be a full 10-week meditation course in a book. I think this is well thought-out, since it is an appropriate amount of time to start noticing the benefits of a mind-body practice (it takes at least a month to make the relevant synaptic connections). Each chapter is an individual lesson designed to be read (and re-read) and digested over the course of the week. The meditation sessions start off gently at 10 minutes long, which is about the length that I started my meditation with, with instructional guides for you to read over before and while following them or preferably following on the supplied CD. Similar to many workbooks, additionally each chapter also has an FAQ, an encouraging personal experience testimonial, and various exercises such as visualization, ritual, or journaling prompts to help you integrate and reflect on your learning and to ground the meditating work in you life and psyche.

Something I found unique in the book was an email address provided for assistance for the beginner meditator. This address is staffed not by the author only, but by a number of experienced meditators at the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, with which the author Mike George is associated with. While I did not “test” the email contact myself, this seems like it could be an invaluable asset for the beginner who cannot get meditation teaching in person.

Overall the production value of the book is high. It is beautifully designed, every page has the detail and charm of small illustrations or patterns, while the layout is kept streamlined and readable, not too broken up like many educational or coffee table books. Some books lend themselves well for summarizing with bullet points and notes in the margins. I am a big fan of the free public library for this reason – browsing through books, writing notes down to reflect upon later. This book is not so amenable to this approach though. The narrative nature of the writing and instructions don’t lend themselves well for quick notes to be practiced later; the design of a self-study course requires you to follow along over time. That said, for a workbook – and it is assuredly a workbook – it has an eminently readable flow and even comes with a CD with 15 tracks of commentary and guided meditation.

The book is not without its problems, however. As I mentioned above, the author is affiliated with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. This is not Raja yoga from a traditional lineage. The yoga practices taught are based on the teachings of Dada Lekhraj Kripalani (1876-1969), a diamond merchant turned guru who founded the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in the 1930s. Some of the teachings of the organization definitely contradict standard vedantic teachings. Their profound misunderstanding of the yugas (vedic ‘ages’) as only 5,000 years long and each cycle repeating the last exactly, seems to be at the root of such mistakes as making specific predictions of apocalypse, predicting that Sri Krishna will incarnate onto Earth around the year 2036, or a vague skepticism of dinosaurs. After all, if history does not just repeat itself, but repeats exactly, and it is comprised of four ages 5,000 years long, how on earth does a Jurassic Period make sense? These claims are not made in the book, but they are why the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University is on CenSAMM’s (Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements) list of Millenarian and Apocalyptic Movements. The Brahma Kumaris also have a troubling belief in revealed truth, wherein the teachings of the founder Dada Lekhraj Kripalani were the direct words of the Divine. All of these are red flags to me. On the other hand, the organization has been a very positive influence on the position of women in India, with many women in top leadership roles. And the meditation instructions in the book seem worthwhile to me.

Nonetheless, I think the book is designed well. I think ten weeks spent on this book will generally be a good way to find a spiritual focus in life and in your meditation practice as well. However, just follow it with common sense and know that not all the teachings are traditional Raja yoga. Don’t stop questioning; find that is worthwhile and discard the rest.

In the Light of Meditation: A Guide to Meditation and Spiritual Development, with CD

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

The Sober Pagan

July, 2018

A Home Group, Finally

I have finally found a home group! I knew as soon as I walked into the room that this was going to be the group for me. The time is perfect – 7:15 a.m. – it meets Tuesdays and Thursdays – it’s easy for me to get to – the meeting room itself is lovely – very Zen, although it’s a room in a Presbyterian Church. But it has large windows that look out on a courtyard with flowering trees and well-tended gardens and places to sit and meditate – much like any Buddhist Temple might offer. I felt at home immediately.

This spring I have struggled through one of the worst depressions of my life – at least, in last ten years. I had trouble getting to the store for basic groceries, let alone getting to an AA meeting or anywhere else. My entire spirituality suffered. I was amazed to find that I didn’t want to live anymore – and I was sober.

There were many dark days and many long sleepless nights.

Even though I thought I had lost my faith, yet I sat in meditation. Sometimes I sat for hours. It seemed like my brain had stopped to utter stillness but it was simmering like a sober stew. I needed that time of quietude. No sound except the chirping of the birds, vehicles driving past the house and children laughing as they walked to the corner to wait for the school bus. I didn’t dwell on any of this – I just noted each sound and let them go.

My son’s father came to town on route to somewhere else. He has over ten years in AA and is a social worker – he works with the homeless in Florida. He is Buddhist and has many years of practice. We spent the afternoon together, talking and meditating.

The next day, I started going to meetings again. The next week, I found this particular meeting – my new home group.

Soon after this, my son – who has six months sobriety – moved back in with me. I am so grateful for his sober support.

It is still a daily struggle. I have to admit that. At least once a day, I have a wicked bad jones. Something always triggers me. It can be almost anything. The weather – the time of day – a certain smell. I white-knuckle it hour by hour. Then – it passes – and I am so grateful that I didn’t give in.

I know that I have complained about AA for years and found every excuse under the sun not to go to meetings. But now I actually look forward to going to the meetings on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I haven’t felt like this about a meeting in over ten years.

Now I wonder – will the Goddess come back to me?

***

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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