Category Archives: Meditation

It’s almost like I planned it.

Last night, I led my coven through a guided meditation for our full moon ritual.  After much consideration and considering the astrological configuration (sun in Libra, Moon in Aries) for this full moon, I somehow fell upon the idea of making the focus of the ritual be about the third pillar of the Witches’ Pyramid, “To Dare.”  In the traditions I’ve seen, that pillar is usually associated with the element of water, whereas Libra and Aries are an air sign and fire sign respectively.

My idea for the ritual is to consider how Libra’s energy toward finding harmony and balance can actually become a source of blocking the need o push on and face the unknown and the fears that surround it in an act of daring.  The meditation suggested that Aries’s impulsiveness and impression could provide the necessary contrast and catalyst to push past and delve into the depths of daring.

After we finished the mediation, I realized that I had placed the setting of this meditation in a stone edifice (a high tower with a great room at the top).  The stone provided us with a link to the element of Earth, the missing fourth.  And the element was providing the foundation and stability for the working, as is its nature.

I laughed as I realized that without even planning it, I had created a nicely balance meditation in which all the elements were present and invoked in the work we were doing.  Pretty good, considering I don’t actually work much with the elements in my personal practice.

My experiences leading meditation

Earlier in the year, I helped to form a fledgeling coven with three other people.  Currently, our coven still consists of the four of us, as we’ve decided to work out more details of the nature and purpose of our coven before we start taking in other members.  But we’ve been meeting for study, discussion, and ritual on a regular basis since June.  It’s been a rewarding experience.

Last night, I had the privilege of leading the others in a short meditation.  I wrote out the basic meditation I developed and used in my last post.  It went well, and the others found the experience moving and refreshing.  We sat around and everyone shared a bit about what they experienced and what insights they gained from the meditation.  I always love that part of a group meditation exercise.

Towards the end of the discussion, Jenna asked me if I went on the meditation when I led it or if I was too busy being the “tour guide.”  I indicated that I didn’t go on the meditation, as I was too busy concentrating on what I was doing leading the group through the exercise.  However, her question did give me a chance and pause to consider what does happen to me when I lead a meditation.  While I didn’t find myself walking along or standing in the river, I wasn’t merely sitting there in a normal state of conscience.

It occurs to me that when I lead a guided meditation like that, I tend to enter into a meditative state of a slightly different sort.  I find myself focused on leading the others.  I find myself focused on the words I’m speaking, choosing them carefully.  (While I usually have a strong sense of where the meditation is going and what I’m going to say, I don’t have a script.)  I find myself feeling out the volume and tone of my voice, the cadence of my words.  I find myself intuitively gauging the rhythm of the overall meditation and the atmosphere of the room.

One of the things I’m always amazed about by this process is that the meditation itself seems to enforce it’s own pauses.  I often find myself about to speak after a pause, to guide the meditation along, only to have find myself not yet able to speak.  It’s as if there’s a gentle force keeping me silent, letting me know that it’s not quite time yet.  Then I get the sense that it’s safe to speak again, that the moment has passed and it’s safe to move on.

I know there are those who are quite adept at leading meditations and can actually make the same journey they are guiding others through at the same time.  At this point, I’m not there.  Maybe some day I’ll operate like that.  But for now, I find myself going to a different place, a place where the process of leading becomes my own meditation.

Meditation: Experiencing the River

McKenzie River white water parade

Image by Oregon State University Archives via Flickr

Close your eyes.  Take several deep breaths, allowing the tension to flow out of your body.  Feel every muscle in your body relax.  Take a moment to make sure you are comfortable.  Reposition yourself if you must.  Breathe.  Allow your focus to draw inward.

See yourself walking through a meadow.  The sky is a clear, beautiful blue.  The sun shines brightly in the sky, and a gentle breeze adds just a hint of comforting coolness to an otherwise warm day.

As you walk along, allow yourself to notice a soft, constant noise in the distance.  As you continue to walk, it slowly becomes louder.  It is the sound of a swiftly moving and turbulent river, the sound of water cascading and crashing against rocks.  Walk towards the source of the sound.  As you get closer, the rushing river comes into view.  You can see the white spray of the water as it crashes against the rocks sticking up from the riverbed.  The foam and eddies of the rapids make a beautiful sight to behold.

Allow yourself to stand beside the river and take in this site.  Notice how the water crashes against the solid rocks, but cannot move them.  It crashes down, and then parts to rush around the obstqacles, leaving a trail of foam and undercurrents as it rushes by.  The water can shape and wear at the earth in its way, but it cannot move it.

Consider the events and aspects of your life that are like this.  Consider those things that crash against you, but cannot move you.  Consider the forces in your life that can shape you and wear at you, but cannot bring you down.  Consider how they must eventually flow around and past you.

After a while, walk alongside the river, headed downstream.  Continue to watch the river and ponder.  Eventually, you get beyond the rapids.  You find yourself walking alongside a much calmer river.  Notice that the water still flows swiftly with a mighty current, but notice that it does so calmly and smoothly.

As you walk, you eventually come to a small path that leads down the riverbank.  You follow it and step into the flowing water.  Wade out into the center of the river.  The current is strong, but your footing is sure.  The water pushes against you, but you remain safely rooted on the firm riverbed.  As you wade into the middle, the water comes up to your waist.  Stand there in the current, allowing it to push against you as the water tries to flow past you.  It exerts a force against you just before it slips around you and flows past you toward the sea.

Consider again those forces and situations in your life that is like the water of this river.  Consider how they press against you, but cannot move you.  Consider how you are immovable, rooted to your foundation.

Feel the riverbed beneath your feet.  Consider its texture and composition.  Consider how it compares to the foundation of your life.  Consider those things that support you through life, that keep you rooted firmly as the waters of life push at you.

After a bit, wade back to the riverbank and climb back up.  Turn one last time to look at and consider the river.  Take a moment to thank the river for this experience and the lessons it offers.  Then turn and walk again towards the center of the meadow.  As you leave the river behind, notice how the sound of the flowing water begins to fade into the distance.  Notice how the sun dries the drops of water that cling to your body.

When you are ready, allow yourself to become increasingly aware of your body and your surroundings.  Feel your toes and fingers.  Wiggle them.   As you come back to conscious awareness and the present moment, open your eyes.