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Archive for the ‘Meditation Journal’ Category

Sitting (or lying down) meditation every day this week again, or almost (I may have missed a weeknight). I do these meditations at varying times of day, though most commonly in the evenings. I light cedar and sandalwood incense, do the two powers meditation standing at my altar, and then lay on the floor for 15-30 minutes and try to focus on breathing. I’m definitely feeling a good response (mentally) to the mindfulness parts of my practice.

I haven’t had any close encounters with Freyr (or Anyone else) since I started having some mental health troubles about three weeks ago. I am pretty sure these are related – though I am frequently talking to him, I don’t have the same mental space that I would usually expect to have for him to really speak up. (Also it’s possible that he just said hi, and is content to let me continue with my daily devotionals for now) Still, I’m working to get back to a more balanced mental state so that I can resume more focused meditations.

I am intending to do some focused meditations and ask to be introduced to the other Vanir at some point, but that needs to happen after I get some of my real life issues straightened out. While I can take some amount of comfort from my spiritual practice, I’m not in a place where I can really do challenging things right now.

As an aside – this post marks 5 months since I began journaling my meditation and mental discipline experiences. (My first journal entry was November 5, 2012, and today is April 8, 2013) I haven’t decided fully, but I think I may continue the practice of weekly mental discipline journaling. It both gives me some structured time to reflect on the practice and reminds me to continually think about what I can be doing to deepen my connections. Since this is both about my meditation practice and my practice of spiritual connection with the Kindreds, I think it’s valuable. I’ll be using these five months to write my mental discipline essay, but I think the journaling practice is a good one for me to continue, especially since I’m currently intending to pursue the Initiates Path after completing the DP, and that will require extensive journaling for the Trance and Divination requirements (at least).

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I did sitting meditation every day this week, as part of a re-set of my mindfulness practice and in an attempt to help with some mental health issues. I did 15-30 minute meditations, usually starting with 10 minutes seated and then moving to lying on my back on the floor. I’ve found I definitely have better luck meditating lying down than I do sitting up, at least when it comes to getting to that state of calm half-awareness.  I think partially this would be alleviated by sitting on a cushion instead of on the floor itself, so we’ll see if that helps this coming week.

I usually end my meditations with the Two Powers, which I’ve found feels very different lying down than it does standing up in ritual. Not sure that one is “better”, but I feel more grounded when I’m lying down for sure.

I continue to light incense to Freyr several times a week, and have started including a short prayer to him in my morning devotionals (beyond just saying “good morning”, as He asked).

I have also continued to see the Crane in my mental grove at night before I go to bed. In that light, I’ve downloaded some of the materials for the Order of the Crane and will be reading through them to see if this path is for me. I’d also like to do some focused meditations with Garanus in mind – he is not a Nature Spirit that I’ve worked with much in the past, though I have worked with and talked to local great blue herons and green herons in my area. The one major conversation I had was about the state of the waterway behind where I live, so it was not a devotional relationship like the Order is.

One noteworthy meditation this week had a little visitor. I was lying on the floor, in a sort of half-trance state, moving between my  breath and my mental grove, when something MOVED on my ARM. I looked down, and there was a tiny green anole lizard on my arm, apparently having let himself in through the open window. (I’m not sure how, there’s a screen) It definitely ended the meditation, as I then chased him around the room for 10 minutes before catching him and putting him outside.

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I’ve finished 20 weeks of documented meditation! Yay!

I went back to check though, and my first documentation was on November 5, and I don’t want to lose credit for this because I did “20 weeks” instead of “5 calendar months”, so I’m going to do another two weeks just to make sure. Since I’m doing a lot of meditation right now, that’s not too hard, I just have to remember to write it all down every Monday.

This week I did several sitting meditations (some were very short, so I’m not sure how to count the little 3-5 minute ones, versus the usual 15-30 minute ones). I included one meditation that included the Two Powers, and combined that with Embrace the Tiger, Return to the Mountain moving meditation – I really do wonder if they serve the same purpose. I’ll definitely be writing about that practice as part of my Two Powers/Grounding and Centering essay, since it helps me so much to balance the powers around me, and involves drawing in energy and balancing it within my body.  (I’ve also discovered that there’s enough room in the larger bathroom stall to do this moving meditation at work, which is useful, since I am both very stressed and extremely visible at work. I share a cubicle with three other people, and it opens across from the break room, so it’s a high traffic area.)

I’ve returned to a focus on my mindfulness practice, since I’m struggling with some mental health cycling, so I’m trying to do at least 15 minutes of sitting meditation daily. This, when combined with more trance-like visualization meditation (like the Two Powers, or visiting my Mental Grove) has been really powerful for me, and will probably be the one practice that I continue doing with solid regularity after I finish my “requirement” for the DP.

This week also included my Ostara celebration, and the devotional aspects of that ritual went very well. I’ll have a full write-up tomorrow.

Also, of note this week, when I was sitting in my Mental Grove, I was visited by the Crane. I’m not sure if this is “just” because I’ve been reading about the Order of the Crane (and considering joining it), or because there are bigger subconscious forces at work. I’ll be seeing if I can nurture that relationship. Usually in my Mental Grove I see animals and spirits that I have relationships with, or who are symbolic of the Gods, so this would fit into that pattern if the Crane is seeking me out as well as I am seeking to see if that path will be right for me.

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Three sitting meditations this week, between 15 and 25 minutes each time. I also did a small ritual to share the bottle of raspberry mead that I promised in my Connections post. I poured out a good glass for me and one for him, and his got poured out over the garden while I sipped my own.

I did not do an official Tea with the Kindreds this week, but I got a lot out of my sharing of mead, so I guess that kind of counts. It was a little different in format, but still serves to strengthen my ties to the Kindreds.

Also, for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure the God I’m talking to in my meditations is Freyr. This is supported both by the interactions I’ve had and the reading I’ve done, and the more I read, the more drawn to him I feel. I’ll be making a special note of this in my equinox ritual this week.

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>> In which the Druid in the Swamp reveals that she is, in fact, a complete barking moonbat. Enjoy. <<

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Breathe in, Breathe out.

I am breathing in a long, slow in-breath. I am breathing out a smooth, calm out-breath.

Breathe in, Breathe out.

You’re still thinking about breathing.

Breathe in, Breathe out.

Find the stillness. Think about trees. Remember the mental grove? Big tree. Oak tree, loooooong limbs that stretch out all around, breathe into the limbs, breathe into your toes and grow roots, breathe in, breathe out. Be inside the tree, reach out to the water and the sky, breathe in, breathe out.

Still thinking.

Breathe in, breathe out.

That’s better.

Stop thinking about better. Just breathe, dammit.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Hi.

!

Uh.  Hi? Hi! What am I supposed to say now? Who are you?

You know who I am.

Really? Ok, well I figured I was still guessing. I’ll guess that’s right for now, or at least stick with it.

… now what am I supposed to say? Oh great… thing… god? You ARE a god, right?

<laughter>

So I’m supposed to be talking to you. I guess this is like praying, right? I introduce myself and say hi and then tell you all about… what? My desk job? How boring am I, really. I’m glad you liked the cedar incense though. Do you like the pine as well?

<pause>

I like the pine AND the cedar. Maybe I’ll burn both together?

<pause>

Ok, mental note to buy more cedar incense. Um. Now what do I say? Do you… uh… do you like tea?

<laughter> Yes, I like tea. And honey and mead, but you knew that already.

I did? Oh. I guess I did, yeah. Ok, so honey with your tea. What about cider?

<pause> Mead is better.

Ok, Mead. Though you won’t mind if I drink the cider myself right? And maybe share some?

Of course that is fine.

If I can find some, I’ll bring you some raspberry mead. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s amazing. I guess I get to learn about meads now, too. Hey I have tea every morning, maybe I can … um … say something when I drink it? If you don’t hate my office building? Which would be OK, I kind of hate my office building.

<laughter> Just good morning is a start.

I can do that.

>>To be continued (maybe) <<

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Four sitting meditations this week, about 20 minutes each time, usually focused on breath, or on trees. I also did the Two Powers in two of them, near the end once I was feeling settled. I tried out a new meditation as well, from a book I’ve been reading about mindfulness. Basically it’s a mindful body scan, breathing in and out of your body from head to foot. I’ve been doing this at night as I’m getting ready to fall asleep, and I think I like it.

Did Tea with the Kindreds on Sunday as well, and I think that went well. It wasn’t as conversational as past weeks, but I didn’t feel like I had as much to say (if that makes any sense). I lit cedar incense, since that seems to be a favorite, and shared a mug of tea.

The connection with the spirit that has been visiting in my meditations comes and goes – I’m trying to find ways to reach out that result in more contact, and trees seem to be a good way to do that. I’ve had several mental images of trees come up when I’ve been meditating, so I’ve tried to continue that theme. I’ve also had mental images of an area I spent a lot of time as a child. In the house I spent my elementary years in, we had a large, heavily wooded area at the back of the yard, and there was a small clearing there, near the edge. I used to call it my “nature sanctuary”, and I’d play and make little nature offerings there – which is pretty pagan, but my parents must have just thought it was cute. Anyway, I’ve had that place come to mind several times as well, which has been comforting in a way. Whoever this spirit is, He has a strong connection to trees and nature in some way.

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Three sitting meditations this week, plus tea with the kindreds. Nothing particularly noteworthy about any of it. I’m becoming more sure of the spirit that has been visiting during my meditations, though I didn’t feel like I made particularly strong contact this week.

I think mostly this exercise has become very perfunctory – I’m doing the exercises to complete a requirement, but I’m not getting a ton out of it right now, because I haven’t had a ton to actually put into it. This is a common thread in most of my practice of Druidry over the last few weeks, related directly to other things in my life. I’ve got some thoughts about that to post later.

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Not a lot to report this week. I did two sitting meditations that went reasonably well. I spent more time this week thinking about meditation than I did actually meditating. While this is somewhat fruitful and brings some measure of insight, I think I need to channel that impulse into actually doing more meditations.

I did not do Tea with the Kindreds this week, simply because I forgot on Sunday to sit down and do it. I remembered as I was getting into bed last night, and by then it was late, and I start work very early. I’ll be sure to do it this week, maybe more than once. I’m hoping to have a little extra time tonight after work, so I will probably do a mini-Tea then. Since I usually do my weekly rune drawing while I’m doing tea with the kindreds, I didn’t do that part either. Yesterday was just nuts! I’ll do that drawing tonight instead.

Last week’s rune was Kenaz, which I read as “pain” – which turned out to be actually pretty applicable to my week. I had an appointment with one of my doctors. It was a rather surreal sort of visit, as I was told that I should continue to do something (in this case strength training exercises) even though they caused me increased joint pain, since it would be protective in the long run. While I understand the point, it’s still pretty hard to get up the enthusiasm to exercise when I know I’ll just be taking pain medication to help deal with the aftermath (not muscle soreness, actual joint pain).

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3/4 of the way done recording my meditation experiences for my mental discipline requirement!

Another 3 sitting meditations this week, plus Tea with the Kindreds. All went well enough, though my focus is still inconsistent. I did a slightly different version of the two powers this week, this time combining the two powers script with a tree visualization (roots stretching down, leaves reaching upwards). I think I liked it better than without the tree visualization. I like trees, and I’ve been doing various tree visualizations for years, so the combination feels very familiar in a good way.

I encountered the same presence in Tea with the Kindreds this week that I’ve encountered a few times before. Mostly I just said hello and that I was pleased he was there. He and one of my cats have now been introduced as well, since Max came and sat on me in the middle of my tea. I get a very positive energy feeling from these encounters, which is encouraging.

I also thought I might start drawing a rune a week, to help familiarize myself with them more. This week, of course, I drew Kenaz – a notoriously difficult rune to interpret. The question I asked was “What do I need to focus on this week?”.

Kenaz: Torch, Ulcer, Cheer, Pain, Death

Kenaz can be read either as torch (from some rune poems) or ulcer (from other rune poems). I get a generally negative feeling from this rune this time, so I’m not going to jump immediately to the more positive interpretation. I think, though, I understand what this particular rune drawing is trying to say. Not that I am supposed to focus on pain in a wallowing, self-defeating sort of way, but that I should focus on managing and dealing with pain (something I deal with frequently, as I have chronic pain from a joint disorder, as well as dealing with mental illness). It’s not exactly a happy omen, but one that I probably needed to hear.

I’ll try to remember to check back in with this rune throughout the week, and see if my gut reading about it is correct. (On a much more mundane note, I’m going this week to see the specialist who is helping me with pain management as well, so there may be some of that referenced in the reading.)

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Three sitting meditations this week, with varying degrees of focus. The only one that really didn’t work was done when my husband was on the phone in the next room, and the cats were trying to claw open the door/yowling outside the door. It was just too much distraction, so after 10 minutes of that I was more annoyed than when I’d sat down. I don’t usually need true quiet to meditate, but I was already agitated, so I couldn’t even get focused on my breath.

I’m not doing the Two Powers meditations as much lately, at least not “officially” – I do still ground and center in my sitting meditation, but it’s less of a visualization than the full Two Powers. I still visit my mental grove each night before I fall asleep, using it as a way to help me relax and not get too caught up in thinking.

I also did Tea with the Kindreds this week, and it went OK. No great revelations, but I am definitely feeling a presence(s) while I do it. More so than in my formal Ewemeolc ritual, which is interesting. I’m hesitant to name them, since I don’t want to be wrong or jump to conclusions, and since they tend to be slightly different each time. I’m trying to be as communicative as possible, and make frequent incense and food offerings to try to open up the connection. I don’t know if this will end up as a patron relationship or just someone I develop a working relationship with.

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