Mental Discipline: Journal

23 October 2015
Tonight I led my first High Day Ritual as Grove Organizer for Raven’s Hollow Protogrove, and this Samhain wound up being one of the most powerful and effective rituals I’ve attended—much more so than the Samhain I led in 2013, with the energy building steadily and rapidly, rather than wavering, uneven, or choppy. I began ritual with a call to come together in unity, with a refrain of ‘we come … we come to the Well, the Fire, and the Tree,’ before leading the group in the Two Powers meditation to connect and center before commencing ritual proper. I often have difficulty participating in group meditation that I am myself leading, and that held true, but I got a bit deeper in than usual.

31 October 2015
The second of the three nights of Shadowfest—a Strega tradition celebrated by a local eclectic Pagan group—the Misfit Sanctuary—in honor of the ancestors. The Sanctuary Maiden led a meditation inspired by a dream that had come to her some weeks earlier, in which she saw the Beloved Dead making otherworldly preparations for the ritual. As the meditation began, I was taken to a dark hillside, the darkness being swiftly overtaken by hanging lanterns, roaring bonfires, enormous jack o’lanterns, and a multitude of kaleidoscopic colored lights, amongst which indistinct shadowy figures flitted busily. Music drifted in the air—the best I can describe it being a strange hybrid of Irish and Italian folk music, but slower and eerier, more ghostly—intermixed with the omnipresent sound of many cheerful laughing voices.

Then the Sanctuary Crone began the march from the main circle to the winter circle around the fire, and bade us ‘shed all attachments, titles, and pretenses’ in sacrifice to Dis, the Lord of the Dead, to present ourselves as our true selves, spiritually naked before Him. I must admit I had much more difficulty with this. I did my best, and managed to reflect at least on my ‘true self’, but I found the amount of time allowed for this far insufficient for the enormity of the task prescribed. The one thing I found particularly notable—as I mentally separated myself from all those things, one concept that I found I could not budge even a fraction was the Morrígan’s claim on me, that title of dedicant…the three conclusions that I am able reach from that are either: that is a level of identity from which I am emotionally unprepared to separate; that the Morrígan is Herself unwilling to relinquish Her claim for even a moment, and so would not permit me to do so (unsurprising); or that the connection is (or has become) itself an integral element of my essential and unadorned self. As these conclusions are by no means mutually exclusive, I find them difficult to distill further or choose between.

13 November 2015
I was working late when I came upon the terrible news of the Parisian terrorist attacks. Stunned by helplessness and grasping for something, anything I could do to contribute or minutely abet the situation, I sat at my desk, tracing Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen—the Japanese symbol for distance reiki healing. I visualized a doorway opening before my outstretched hands, and my spirit passing through it, as the door opened upon the reeling and blood-soaked city. I concentrated on pouring reiki energy through my body, through the door, into the focused circle of Paris, the still more focused circle of the Bataclan, the Stade de France, and the other areas under assault in Saint-Denis, and the more diffuse circle of the whole France itself. As the healing energy cascaded through my arms and down towards the wounded, the dying, and the bereaved, my arms and hands trembled and buzzed as though high-voltage electricity flowed through them, and I was filled with a sudden swell of deep grief. This was only for about five or ten minutes, but upon arriving home about an hour later, I was overcome by sheer exhaustion that persisted through the entire weekend and was unrelated to and inexplicable by anything else going on in my life.

27 November 2015
During my lunch break at work, alone in the darkened breakroom, practiced the Two Powers meditation for some fifteen minutes. Got some satisfactory results in filling and lighting the cauldrons, and it was pleasant to sit in calm quiescence for a time, but it seemed to be lacking.

19 December 2015
Our Yule Rite included the same section for meditation and establishment of group mind as before, which was mostly successful I think, but seemed to include a disturbed quality to it, almost comparable to staticky interference. As our Rite was centered around the enactment of the myth of the binding of Fenrisúlfr, and one could almost feel him prowling around the borders of our ritual space, such a disturbance is not wholly surprising.

23 December 2015
Having a lot of difficulty carving out time in which to practice meditation. I think I need to go and practice some of the OBOD meditation techniques; I enjoy the Two Powers and get a lot out of it, but having done little else for some while I’m starting to feel a little stifled by it. I remember when I was more active in OBOD my inner meditative life was much more varied and active, though it’s never been something I’ve been particularly good at (another entry in the category of ‘things I’ve never been very good at’ is regular journaling!). We’ll see if I can manage to set aside some time this week or next.

It does occur to me though that once Raven’s Hollow gets its weekly devotional rites going again next month, it’ll likely be very possible to get back into the swing of things.

 


26 December 2015
2 January 2016
9 January 2016
23 January 2016
30 January 2016
6 February 2016 Imbolc
13 February 2016
20 February 2016
27 February 2016
5 March
12 March

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