Tag Archives: druiry

Druidic Meditation

I’ve been interested in meditation for most of my life. The one thing I’ve known for a long time that I don’t want is an eastern-derived practice with mistletoe stuck to it. Meditation that comes out of Hindu and Buddhist traditions has certain underpinning ideas about the nature of reality and the goals of meditation, and these do not work for me.

Having done a lovely Contemplative Druid day at the weekend, I had a lot of time in situ to contemplate what Druid Meditation is. What we do in that space connects well with what I’ve been doing for years. There was a bit of a ‘eureka’ moment for me when James Nichol spoke of how this practice creates stillness on the inside, but not to take us out of the world. Here are some extensions on that line of thought.

We slow down, and in slowing down are able to go deeper, or wider. We notice more and have the time and space for really involved thinking and feeling responses to whatever we’re experiencing.

In the silence of the circle, what we tend to get is a very softly held deeper kind of connection with each other as human beings, and a deepening of experience of the space, the day, the season. Usually the centre of the circle is a small altar with a light and seasonal representations, and this encourages seasonal reflections of what happens both outside and within us at this time of year. Space to share those diverse responses and to contemplate each other’s way of being in the world increases mutual understanding and eliminates dogma. Personal truths sit side by side and are honoured.

During the day we’ll go into various contemplative activities – sound, art, and movement may all feature. These will be things we undertake together so again there’s that sense of deepening connection. We may go outside, and encounter the wilder part of the area with an open heart and more scope for seeing. We look deeply at things. Often the consequence is inspiration and there will be words, poems, images and intentions that form through these experiences.

Druid meditation is an expanding of relationship  with the self but also between participants, between participants and space. It’s a nourishing, nurturing practice that explicitly invites inspiration (Awen space is something we hold deliberately). There’s no intention to develop shared meaning, we share in order to witness, know and support each other. There’s no particular outcome that anyone is aiming for. In slowing down, paying attention, reflecting, looking back, looking forward, looking around, we will all find something and it usually turns out to be something we needed.

There are very few rules in these practices. We hold silence as the default, but there’s room to speak and share when something important comes up. Empty noise is eliminated and replaced with more soulful exchanges. We don’t do interventions for each other, although in some of the spaces, we can tackle each other’s questions if it makes sense. Not that there are any ‘right answers’.

I find it a very generous, allowing way of meditating. In some sessions I just sit with the quiet and let my mind wander where it will, enjoying the quiet companionship of everyone else as they do whatever they do. It’s a releasing process, allowing me to sort out the inside of my head in a more organic, less pre-defined sort of way. It permits whatever happens to happen, and that creates a great deal of possibility. It encourages inner stillness and calm, but I notice repeatedly that deep thinking and profound emotional responses often follow – for myself and others – because we allow ourselves to engage with anything that seems interesting in that space.

Making Sacred, gods, reality and finding a place to stand

There was Red’s inspirational blog here – http://theanimistscraft.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/to-make-sacred/ and some fine comments on this blog too – Tony talking about sacrifice as making sacred, Jenny talking about that in terms of transformation. I’ve been aware over the last few days of a need to go deeper, asking questions of myself and trying to figure out how my thoughts fit. Cat commented that she sees my blog as a much sacrifice as her own. I don’t.

I can say with all honesty that I think about what I do, and I put a fair amount of effort in trying to do the right things for the right reasons. I have a sense of the sacred, closely tied to my sense of the numinous. It’s all about the poetry, the flow of awen, accidental art, and about the best of what we are and can be. I could spend a lot longer trying to pin that down, but hopefully it will suffice for today. That sense of sacredness has the potential to permeate all things. Spirit, and wonder, can be anywhere.

Now, my world view has plenty of room for gods in it. I’m comfortable with the idea of there being deity. I just don’t experience deity at the moment. There was no sense of the divine in the periods when I was brought to my knees in pain and fear. I have been through plenty of dark nights, but it’s always been people who have brought me through, not gods. I look for my sense of the divine in the world around me, and the people around me. So I do all manner of things in the context of relationship. The idea of offering up something to the gods, is beyond me. I’d have to believe they might care what I do, and I don’t think they do. That leaves plenty of room for other people to have entirely meaningful relationships with deities where that offering up has resonance, but I do not have that in my own life.

I’m deeply wary of dualist thinking – sacred and profane, mundane and magical, all those ways of cutting the experience of life into tidy pieces. How can I make something sacred? How can I make it not sacred? The only space for difference that I see lies not in the object, or the moment, but in my own understanding of it.

Since starting out with Druidry, I moved rapidly towards wanting my sense of spirit, of wonder, my ideals, aspirations and ways of seeing the world, to be part of every aspect of my life. I take it with me into checkout queues, public toilets, courtrooms. In the most banal situations, I’ll find the flower pushing through the cracks, the dash of humanity, the unintended poetry. I’ll find something with heart and resonance, because I refuse not to. But I can’t make anything sacred, I can just choose to experience it as sacred.

I think so much of how we practice, especially round ideas of prayer, service, sacrifice, communion, depend on what kind of relationships we have with the divine. If any. A person who experiences deity is in a very different place from one who does not. I don’t know if it’s possible to tease out ideas and ways of being that embrace both the deist and the atheist, that have room for those who love gods, and those who suspect gods might exist but who don’t have relationships, and those who suspect that all the gods are bastards. (I have days…) Who do we offer to? Who do we pray to? And why? These are such huge questions, and I am nothing like close to having answers for me, much less anything to offer anyone else. I will keep questioning and see what comes.