Saturday, November 9, 2013

Meditation


The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.  Probably all Witches meditate, more or less, to some degree.  They use these skills when they use a grounding technique, do creative visualization, take a trance journey, focus on a spell or create ritual.
Meditate is one of the Thirteen Goals of a Witch.  Religions and religious movements which use magic, such as Wicca, Neopaganism, occultism etc., often require their adherents to meditate as a preliminary to magical work.  This is because magic is often thought to require a particular state of mind in order to make contact with spirits, or because one has to visualize one's goal or otherwise keep intent focused for a long period during the ritual in order to see the desired outcome.

Meditation practice in these religions usually revolves around visualization, absorbing energy from the universe or higher self, directing one's internal energy, and inducing various trance states.  Meditation and magic practice often overlap in these religions as meditation is often seen as merely a stepping stone to supernatural power, and the meditation sessions may be peppered with various chants and spells.

Most of the ancient religions of the world have a tradition of using some type of prayer beads as tools in devotional meditation.  Most prayer beads consist of pearls or beads linked together by a thread.  See March 2013 posting for more information.

Today, there are many different types of meditation practiced in western culture. Mindful breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and yoga meditations for instance have been found to provide cognitive benefits such as relaxation.  With training in meditation, depressive rumination can be decreased and overall peace of mind can flourish. Different techniques have shown to work better for different people.






 
Meditation should be done on a daily basis. It does not have to take very long; five minutes can be enough. There are no hard and fast rules for the length of meditation, however it makes sense to ease into it gently.  The same goes for where or how you choose to meditate. Some prefer natural places, lulled by birdsong or running water and the sounds of the forests.  Others do it at home, your altar may be the ideal place to meditate, or on the train or bus going to or from work. (please not while driving) Some prefer to do it whilst walking the dog or a long solitary walk at sunset.  Find a comfortable position.

There are two basic kinds of meditation, the first is active.  This means that you take a symbol, picture or phrase and mull it over in your mind to the exclusion of all other thoughts.  The second kind, is passive, here images and thoughts are allowed to rise in the mind as they will, formulating around a set mantra, symbol or idea.  Subjects to meditate upon include Divines, color, number, life, flower, death, a word or a person, etc.  If you light candles, smug sticks or other fire elements, please be careful. 

Some start by closing their eyes and become aware of their breathing.  Breathe deeply for several minutes.  If any thoughts come into your head, let them come and go, like soap bubbles floating through the air.  If you find yourself absorbed in a particular though, just release the thought, return your awareness to your breath, and rejoice in your return to the present moment. Relax.  Commune and talk with the deities.  Roll the prayer beads through your fingers. Toss around symbols in your head.  Place your hands and/or feet in a bowl of warm water.  If you wish, chant one of the names of the Goddess or God or a group of them.

End your session by offering thanks. Try to think of at least 10 things you are thankful for; your list can range from minor pleasures (I’m thankful for my neighbor’s help yesterday) to major issues (I’m thankful I have enough food to eat.)









There are many mediation apps, books and music available.  If you are new to mediation, don’t feel intimidated.  As a Wiccan, you may not realize that your regular practice incorporates forms of meditation; the grounding technique and focusing on a spell are just two rituals that can put you into a meditative state.  Your meditation practice is meant to be relaxing, not stressful.  Allow yourself to let go of any expectations or specific results.  Relax.

 

We come from the Goddess, and to Her, we must return.
Like a drop of water, running to the ocean.
              Like a blade of grass, growing on the Earth.

             We come from the God, and to Him, we must return.
             Like a spark of fire, rising to the sun.

              Like a breeze, blowing to the Divines above.

 












 

The Wicca Handbook by Eileen Holland.
A Practical Guide To Witchcraft and Magick Spells by Cassandra Eason.
Wicca A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham.
Meditation - a Wiccan basic by About.com Guide.
Wiccan Meditations: The Witch's Way to Personal Transformation by Laura Wildman.



 
 



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