Ideally, this series of posts, “On Meditation and Devotion” will come weekly, and serve to summarize the daily entries I keep in my hand-written journal.
On December 27th, 2010, I performed my first ADF style daily devotional. I read, near verbatum, the ritual that Skip Ellison shared in his book, Solitary Druid. I proceeded through the ritual, not sure if my words would be heard. I called on Arawn – the Welsh God of the Underworld, who first made his presence known to me in a dream I had last summer (an experience worth unpacking in a future blog post) – and asked for him to open the Gates. I made offerings of lavender to the Spirits of the Land, oats to the Ancestors, and olive oil to the Shining Ones.
After making offerings, I sat as my desk and, honestly, didn’t know what to do next. The book calls for meditation, and my intention, before I decided to perform a more formal devotional, was to write. But, I was unclear if writing would serve as a “meditative” act. So, I did little else during this first ritual. I closed it out according to the book, and documented my experience in my journal.
I arrived at my altar every day during this next week and did much of the same things as on the first day. Once I got off the page, I discovered that performing this ritual, especially when centered around expressing to the Kindred my praise, thanksgiving, gratitude, honor and respect, was a very natural experience for me. I know how to do this. Liturgy just makes sense to me.
Starting on January 4th, 2011, I began exploring meditation more deliberately in my daily devotionals. There was, to be fair, a meditative spirit to the liturgy during the first week, and I worked to slow my breath, center myself and free my mind of distraction. But, during Week 2, things changed and my meditation became more focussed.
On the morning of the 4th, as described in my journal,
“I traveled…to a place where the Land, Water and Sky met. I heard my breathing, and the sound became the crashing of the ocean on the shore. Each inhalation was the pulling back of the water, and each exhale was the water slamming on the sand.”
The thought occurred to me (a thought I was having in that place and not before my altar, if that makes sense) that I should be doing some sort of ritual there. I imagined an altar, but it seemed out of place. No symbols I imagined seemed to fit, and it occurred to me that enacting the ritual I used to open the Gates may not be the one I was feeling called to perform in this new, mystical space.
I didn’t know what to do, so I raised my arms and said “Thank you. I’d like to come back.”
I brought my awareness back to my body and closed out the ritual, profoundly grateful for this experience and a little mystified as to what it meant.
I continued to visit this place throughout the week, exploring a bit further the landscape, but never straying far from where I first appeared (a cave near the point where the Land meets the Water and Sky). Once I smelled a flower, which I think may have been a calendula. Another time, a memory surfaced, along with an insight into the relevance of that memory in my current life. Each day brought a new experience; a new mystery.
In my post, Turning Over A Good Omen, I wrote of a sign I received from the Kindred. During Week 3, starting on January 10th, 2011, I brought the tarot into my daily devotional. Read this post for a glimpse into how this change of routine brought with it a profound experience of connectedness to the Great Ones.
I did not visit the Sacred Place in my meditations this week, but I did have a revelatory experience that I believe was a precursor to incorporating the Two Powers Meditation into my daily devotional.
From my journal entry of January 14th, 2011:
“A more centered mediation/ritual this morning. The Hallows are still open as I write this. When I look through my mind’s eye, the Fire is raging, the Water deep and moving, and the Tree wide and surrounded by a mist. It occurred to me as I sat down to shuffle, after perhaps the 5th or 6th turn, that when I stand with the Flame overhead and the Waters reaching up into my feet from the earth that I am the tree which holds the Middle Earth.”
For anyone who is aware of the Two Powers Meditation, you will recognize this vision.
The following evening, while reading through Our Druidry, I decided that I was ready to explore the Two Powers Meditation for the first time. When I read through the descriptions of the Earth Power and the Sky Power, and how the energy is circulated through the body, I was flabbergasted! I saw this! This came to me! What a blessing!
Perhaps the Two Powers Meditation is the ritual I felt called to do in the place where the Land meets the Sky and the Water!