As part of the Dedicant Path, meditation is stressed as a way to increase focus and mental control and as a way towards trance and strong visualization. These are all elements necessary for successful magic, but also have other benefits, like stress reduction and lower blood pressure and better sleep.
I’m not very good at “trance” style meditation. Ok, I’m not that good at sitting meditation either, but that one seems to be easier to do with no practice. You just need a place to sit. For trance or journeying meditation, you need somewhere to go. While I suppose I could go looking for some published guided meditations (and I do already use the Two Powers meditation as a recording), I’m working on building a Mental Grove – a place I can start from in trance journeys as a way to enhance my focus and meditation.
I figure if I do this frequently enough, I’ll have created enough of a memory that it will become automatic to go there, and I can work on journeying outside my Mental Grove as part of my other devotions. I’d eventually like to use this as part of my way to discover/reconfirm my Patrons. The God and Goddess that I worked with as a solitary, before I was doing coven work, are actually from two different Pantheons (Irish and Gallic), though related, and I know that’s generally frowned upon in ADF, plus I’d like to be more open to other Gods and Goddesses.
But that’s for later.
I started this process after I’d done a 10 minute sitting meditation, doing the Fire, Well and Sacred Tree chant that I described yesterday in my meditation journal. From there, I started building, in my mind, a grove of trees, centered on a giant, ancient oak – the sprawly, long limbed kind that we have down here in Texas. This tree is enormous and gnarled, but still very much alive, and its branches reach out and touch the ground in some places. I walk through the clearing around it and up to the big tree, and I duck under the branches.
That’s as far as I got on the first day, except that I very clearly saw a Stag there under the tree.
The next night, I did a sitting meditation again (though probably only for 5 minutes, I didn’t time that one), and then rebuilt the grove in my mind, this time going up to the tree itself. Next to the roots of the tree, welling up from some rocks, was a spring of water. Beside the water I kindled a small fire in a circle of stones. (My rational brain says NO DON’T LIGHT A FIRE UNDER A TREE, but this is an imaginary exercise, so I tell that part of my brain it’s OK, that no trees will be harmed, because it’s a magical fire. My rational brain needs to be talked to gently, or it gets a little out of control.*)
From there I sit down in front of the Fire and the Well, under the branches of the Tree, and I allow myself to look around. I saw the Stag again, and a Rabbit. That’s as far as I got the second day.
I skipped a few days after that, because life got crazy, but then last night I did the full Mental Grove ritual and allowed myself to really look around. The Stag returned, but this time there was also an Owl in the branches of the tree. I did not speak to them, but they seemed to be comfortable with my presence.
I’m looking forward to continuing this, if only because I find it extremely calming. It’s obviously not a replacement for getting outside into actual nature, but I can’t always get away from neighborhood noise. Also, in my Mental Grove, there are no mosquitoes. I’m hoping to build a strong mental memory around it, and then see what’s around outside the little Mental Grove.
I’m excited to see what I find.
*now I sound like a barking moonbat. I promise, I’m only the good kind of crazy.