I have had to think on this post for a while. I have had some really amazing spiritual experiences this summer that have really added to the content of this subject. None of which I will probably be able to convey in writing that would actually do it any justice.
So, here goes.
As mentioned in my post on Drawing Down The Sun, drawing down the moon is the ritual in which the Goddess/Feminine is drawn into the person performing the ritual. It was once thought the Goddess energy could only be drawn into a priestess while God energy could only be drawn into a priest. This is now an outmoded idea. I believe that the energy that is called to you is the energy you most need at that moment.
I had performed a Drawing Down ritual of my own for the June 2, 2015 Full Moon. It was something I had never attempted before and was glad that I had others with me. As I had mentioned while writing my God energy posts, I really feel a connection with masculine energy. I was fully anticipating God energy, if anything, during this ritual. I did not expect the fullness of the Feminine that I felt. Maybe it is because I am now pregnant and am really feeling the connection with my inner Mother Goddess now. It was both beautiful and little terrifying. Since this ritual, I have been better able to feel the connection with energy work while performing rituals, meditations, and sometimes in daily life. Especially while cooking and baking. Really gaining a connection with my inner Feminine was one of the best things that I could have done for myself.
Now, I do need to mention (especially as I am writing this at a later date than the one posted) that the Drawing Down ritual was only the beginning of this journey. That connection was so very tenuous. I was privileged to be able to do some Goddess workshops and rituals at a Pagan festival in July. I did not realize before this that I had been slightly out of balance. Being able to combine my connection with masculine and feminine has been a boost to my spiritual growth and health. The workshops and rituals at Summerstar helped me to get a grasp on this and I now feel a balance. It is an amazing, calm feeling.
Now that I have started a relationship with the Elements (if a tenuous one with Fire), I felt it was time to up that relationship. Well, a little. I pretty much did more Elemental meditation. And it was a PERFECT week for it. It was so gorgeous outside that I was able to spend almost the entire day, all week, working on getting my herb garden set up.
I felt that sun beating down on me. Worked with that dirt. Reveled in the fresh air. I didn’t water anything, yet, but I did feel a happiness that I equate with Water.
It was pretty hard work. My arms are still sore. And admittedly, it was also the reason I fell behind on my blog posts. /sorrynotsorry
I have also been reading Earth, Air, Fire, & Water by Scott Cunningham. It is a sweet, simple read. It has some lovely little Elemental exercises and magickal exercises. A few of which I will be working on for my lesson in Week 7.
I used this week to pretty much reintroduce myself to the Elements. We’ve been really close buds in the past, but somewhere along the way… we just drifted apart.
Now, some acquaintances are meant to drift out of our lives. The Elementals are not one that should. Someone once told me that they loved science so much partly because of the Table of Elements. That table has everything (known so far) that creates life as we know it. This resonated with me because the alchemical elements, which are decidedly more simple, are also the essence of our lives.
Most of us who are on the Pagan path can usually feel a connection to one or more of the commonly used Elements:
I also connect with Spirit, but that particular Element is set apart from the others. If you follow an Asian path, you may also include Wood or Metal. I do not know as much about those Elements, so will not go into detail on them. At least not for this session.
Reconnecting with the Elements has been interesting. I have really always had a deep connection with Water. Air has also been pretty close to me. Earth has generally been a bit stand-offish, but we get along. Fire, now. Well, Fire and I need a little help.
It seemed easiest to start by focusing on each Element separately. Spending a little time every day meditating on the different aspects of each one and how they all fit into my life. This was easier when I was doing something that really connected with that Element. For instance, I would work with Water while taking a shower. Paying attention to how the water felt and looked. Taking notice of its changeable nature.
I have done some meditation in that fashion pretty much every day. With maybe slightly more focus on Fire. I really need to work on a better relationship with Fire. I have even found a maṇḍala that has torch-like pictures to color. I think we are starting to at least come to an understanding, if not a relationship. I can at least get my grill going. That’s a start and I will take it.
Guided imagery, guided meditation, creative visualization. All terms for a similar meditative practice. A really very enjoyable meditative practice. Just not one that I have a lot of time to do.
So, this week, I will be doing this at least once. Twice if I am lucky.
Creative visualization was my introduction to meditation. My high school psych teacher, Mr. F. was pretty progressive in our conservative Florida community. About twice a year, he would hold a meditation session for one class period. I kept taking his classes because of those. Meditation should be required for all high school students. I was able to focus better in class for the rest of that day. I felt more energized. I started doing it on my own. I guess Mr. F. was a bit of a meditation pusher. He gave us a sample and we went looking for more.
Guided meditation is sort of a story that unfolds in your head. Sort of. You will usually be given some sort of journey: through a forest, along a beach, in a desert, on a mountain, or on a prairie. Your guide will give you some general instructions, but it is up to you as to what or how you interpret those instructions. No two people will see the same forest path or the same mountain summit. If you are asked to swim in a river, you may suddenly become a fish or a frog. Don’t fight these. Your subconscious needs to play too. I say it is sort of like a story because what will usually happen in your head during these sessions can not usually happen in real life. In our reality, people do not suddenly morph into plants or animals. The landscapes (at least mine) are not found anywhere on Earth. They usually have some basis in my reality: the mountains in my meditation seem to resemble the mountains I know in my area.
There are a few ways to do a guided meditation:
Listen to a recording. You can purchase one on iTunes or Amazon, or find one on YouTube.
Have a person physically present to guide you. This works best if that person knows to read (a script is helpful) slowly. The reality in a meditative state moves differently. Sometimes more slowly, sometimes more quickly.
Guide yourself. This one is harder. It can be done with some practice using the above techniques.
As with any other meditative practice, breathing is key. I just can’t stress breathing enough.
There are too many available meditations for me to be able to actually recommend one. My absolute favorite ones are not available for purchase anywhere. I’ve looked. They were done by the above mentioned psych teacher. Ah well. I’ve had pretty good luck with a few other cd’s and digital recordings. The one thing I do recommend before purchasing one is to see if you can get a sample of the guide’s voice. Seriously. If you can’t stand the sound of the voice, don’t get it.
Movement meditation includes activities such as yoga (Hatha, in this case) and tai chi. Both of which I will be doing this week. I already know I enjoy yoga, but would like to get into the habit of doing it more often. For Tai Chi, I will be using YouTube videos. The only experience I have with Tai Chi is Les Mills BodyFlow. I am looking forward to the experience.
Movement meditation requires concentration on placing your body into certain positions. Which keeps your mind in the Here and Now – the very basis behind successful meditation. The more complicated the pose, the deeper the concentration. At least in regards to yoga.
You can also do simple movements: going for a walk, running, exercising. I am not sure about other people, but I find it harder to keep my mind in a meditative state while doing these activities. I have done it. Jogging and swimming are the easier ones for me. I have done it while walking, but it really took a great deal of mental work to keep my mind from wandering.
I expect the (Hatha) yoga to be a great deal of fun for the family. Kids love to imitate the positions. They think they are funny, so do them alongside the adults. Makes the exercise easier as I do not have to chase them around.
I am a little late getting this one up. I had a hard time deciding which direction to go from here. I decided on visual meditation.
Visual meditation is basically putting all of your concentration on an object. It could be a candle flame, maṇḍala, reflection of a candle flame (scrying mirror or water). Right now, I am working on coloring a maṇḍala.
The idea behind drawing or coloring mandalas is that you concentrate on the image and forget the outside world. Which is exactly what meditation is.
Tonight I gave it a try. And loved it. I was still able to keep track of my kids but lose myself in the coloring. For this project, I choose the picture that felt right to me. I then decided to pick colors at random. So far, I like how this is turning out.
I will also be working with a candle flame sometime this week. That one is a little more dangerous with little ones around.
Not sure what it is, but I have not been able to get past the outside influences. Which is something that I learned to do when I first started meditating. So, I need to figure out why my mind is so noisy and get it to freaking calm down.
Three kids wouldn’t have anything to with it, I’m sure…
My goal for this first week is to brush up on my techniques and to start a healthy meditation regime. My goal will be 5 – 10 minutes everyday. It is recommended to try for the same timeframe everyday. I may have to wake up 15 minutes earlier. Which actually kind of seems like torture.
I am also going to take the advice I found from WitchSchool’s class, Basic Meditation, and start a journal. I liked the idea of keeping track of how each meditation worked for me (or didn’t) and figure out how to improve my skills.
I managed to get behind on my weekly lessons with Eldest. So, I am posting a basic lesson plan for April to help me get back on track.
March 31: Description of grounding and why it is important.
April 7: Practice grounding (We will have some small grounding exercise every week).
April 14: Description of meditation.
April 21: Do a small meditation (about 10 minutes).
April 28: Discussion of what goes on in a Circle and why Grounding and Meditation are important to learn for Circle work.
Eldest will be going away for the summer to stay with my mom sometime in July. I am hoping to give him some small lessons he can work on while away from me. He can practice meditation and grounding when he goes to church with her. Hopefully this will help him to keep somewhat still and maybe focus on the priest. This would be nice if it works when he goes with Dad. Dad gets really frustrated when Eldest just wiggles the whole time hehe.