“An essay focusing on the Dedicant’s understanding of the meaning of the ‘Two Powers’ meditation or other form of ‘grounding and centering’ as used in meditation and ritual. This account should include impressions and insights that the Dedicant gained from practical experience (300 word min).”
The Two Powers meditation is a form of grounding and centering used by ADF specifically as a way to create a stable platform from which to work ritual. Grounding and centering is a fairly common Neopagan practice that involves connecting with the earth energy and stabilizing your own energy – it is a form of meditation that allows the practitioner to enter a balanced energetic state from which to work ritual and magic (or just from which to continue their day). ADF’s two powers differ from many other Neopagan rituals in that they specifically call upon both the Earth power and the Sky power, pulling up energy from one and tempering it with the energy of another.
As I work within a (mainly) Norse hearth, I frequently connect to these powers via a World Tree mentality – that my body and mind become the axis of the world, through which the Earth and Sky flow freely. While this doesn’t specifically relate to any one Norse practice, I think it is reflected in the ADF cosmology of Fire, Well and Tree – where the axis is the tree, the Sky power is the fire, and the Earth power comes up from the well. I find this imagery particularly useful when beginning ADF style Core Order of Ritual rites, since I am using the images of the hallows within myself, as a tool of balance, and then using that energy to recreate those hallows as a point of ritual focus.
I’ve seen conversations on the ADF Dedicants list of people who connect with the Earth power as “hot” (due to the central core of the earth being molten and hot) and the Sky power as “cold” (from the coolness of space) but I prefer the more Earth based reflections of these powers. The Earth is cool, because when I dig my hands into the dirt it is cool and damp. The Sky is warm because the sun is warm on my face and warms my body and the land. I do not refer to either power as gendered, since I dislike the idea that “feminine” and “masculine” can be so easily matched to these powers. I think they are beyond gender, though I relate to an Earth Mother and to a Sun Goddess, so perhaps I can perceive both as female (in a way). I still prefer them to be genderless sources of power. I especially dislike the gendered orientation when referring to the powers as Chaotic and Ordering (since I don’t think masculine or feminine traits can or should be placed on that spectrum).
My personal work with the Two Powers started off very unbalanced. I had plenty of previous experience connecting to the Earth power, but had not ever tried to connect to or use the Sky power. I’ve corrected that through practice, though I still find it easier to connect to Earth. If I ever find myself having trouble with the Sky power, I can usually just step outside though – I live in a place that gets lots of very powerful sunlight! I tend to practice meditation either seated or lying down on my back, and I find it much easier to practice the Two Powers meditation when I am seated or standing upright, as it facilitates the feeling of being an axis between the powers. Adding hand motions to the Two Powers when standing before my altar was also helpful, as I used my hands to literally scoop the Earth power up into myself and then pull the Sky power down through my body. The addition of movement, especially in relation to using the mental image of a World Tree to complete this meditation, was really useful. I have also found that I do better with the Two Powers if I take time to center myself on my breath for a few moments before I begin the visualization.
My next step in using these Two Powers will be to use them as a source of direct energy for working magic in ritual. I am comfortable using them to ground and center, but I have not yet truly worked with drawing on those balanced energies as a source of magical power specifically. As I work more with these powers, I expect that my experience of opening the gates will become stronger, since I will have a better idea how to channel these Two Powers into that act of magical work.