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I don’t normally share the details of my daily meditation outside of one of my weekly recaps. But today, in light of the power and poignancy of the experience I just had, I’m making an exception.

I started the devotional with the Two Powers meditation. I was a tree, the greatest tree ever to stand, and I pulled the water from the ground, through my roots, into my being. I felt the sun above me, and I felt the heat pour into me. The two powers mixed in the middle, and my tree-body tingled. I was ready to begin.

Each day when I approach my altar, I call out to Arawn, Welsh god of the Underworld, and ask him to join his magic with mine. With our magic joined, I ask for him to: take the candle flame and transform it, that it may become the Sacred Fire, the gateway to the Heavens; take the chalice of water and transform it, that it may become the Sacred Well, the gateway to the Otherworld; take the wand made of wood and transform it, that it may become the Sacred, World tree, connecting the Heavens and the Otherworld, standing as a gateway in the Middle Earth.

Once the gates are opened, I make my offerings to the Kindred. Typically, those are olive oil for the Shining Ones, oats for the Ancestors, & sugar for the Nature Spirits. Then, with a special candle lit, I offer up my heart to Brighid as a living sacrifice of my praise & thanksgiving, my respect and honor, my love and worship. I save her offering for last.

For a while now I’ve been heading straight to my tarot table after all of my offerings are made. Today, though, I did something different. I stood before my altar, still very much in the same space I’d been in during offerings, and I spoke out loud a request to the Kindred. I asked for their assistance as I shuffled the cards. I asked that they provide me guidance and direction, a clear point of focus, an Omen. Usually, I’d ask this after I sat down at my table, and I’d have to re-center before I did it. Today I never lost that center. My request came directly after offerings were made, and I think that may have had an impact on what happened next.

I shuffled the cards, just as I explained in the recap of Weeks 5 & 6, and I cut the three times. Then, it happened:

Two of Swords   |   Two of Cups   |   Two of Pentacles

Three 2’s!?

Somehow I knew after the second 2 that I would pull the third. Three 2’s. This is not ordinary. And, I’ve been pulling some of the same cards in every spread lately, which I take as a sign to me of one or more themes running constant through my life. But none of those cards weren’t present today. Today I was shown a different kind of message.

I read 2’s as cards representing choice. Interestingly, the only 2 not represented in this spread is the 2 of Wands, a suit most closely associated with Will, or making choices. There was no clear choice to be made; there was only the message given that I am moving into a climate of choice, and that I need to remain aware and alert.

I must be willing to suspend my intellect and trust my intuition (2 of Swords). I must remember that I have already chosen to be in the relationships I’m in, and now it is a matter of the heart whether or not I choose to experience the positive or negative aspects of those relationships (2 of Cups). I must maintain my balance, be clever and cunning, and – even as I stand amidst a raging storm – be light on my feet (2 of Pentacles).

This Omen was a true blessings from the Kindred. I just had to share it.

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.

Week 1

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.

Week 2

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.

Week 3

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!

For the past three days I’ve started my morning with a daily devotional. My altar, in place since before I joined ADF, is even more active and vibrant now. There are four fires burning upon it as I write this, and the fragrance of Frankincense still permeates the still, sanctified air. I’m reminded of what Church felt like at it’s best. That is what I have re-created in my little room.

My husband gave me a copy – a rather difficult one to find, I might add – of Skip Ellison’s book, Solitary Druid. The book is proving to be a very useful resource in these first few weeks of my work on the Dedicant Path. Early on in the book, in Chapter 4 (Living the Life of a Solitary Druid), Skip shares the inner workings of his daily ritual, including how he approaches the Gatekeeper, Mannanán mac Lir, how he gives respect to the Three Kindred, and how he makes offerings and requests to each of them.

I followed the ritual rather closely on the first day, making only a few substitutions. While I have respect for Mannanán mac Lir, and I acknowledge that he is a great force in the Spirit World – primordial, even – I feel called to reach out to Arawn, the Welsh God of the Otherlands. Arawn payed me visit in a dream earlier this year, an experience that shook me to my core, and I now believe that he was initiating a relationship with me. So, it is He that I call on to open the Gates. I also substituted olive oil for the whiskey Skip suggested as a favorite offering to the Shining Ones. We have none such spirits in our cabinets.

Reading a ritual off a page is awkward. The words are missing the fire of inspiration, at least that’s how it felt to me on my first and second day of my morning devotional.

Today, I made a change.

I prepared my offerings to the Kindred, as well as all of the other materials I use in the ritual (matches, fresh candles). With the book closed and my mind centered, I approached my altar. I spoke from my heart, reaching out to Arawn, transforming my candle in to a Sacred Fire, my copper chalice into a Sacred Well, and my wand into the Sacred Tree. I called on the three Kindred with more sincerity than I ever had before, speaking to them without pretense. My requests were made with kindness, and my offerings with true gratitude.

When I made my offering to Brighid, I felt immediate reciprocity; a warm energy surrounded me, and the calm feeling of creative light permeated the room.

I sat down and wrote, effortlessly.

Today’s experience was a blessing; a much needed sign that I do not walk alone on this path. There are spiritual forces at work in my life, and they are conspiring with me an abundance of good things.