Tadhg’s Ephemera: The Bright Moon. Full Moon On 10 May 2017

20170508 BRIGHT MOON 10 MAY EPHEMERAIt’s that time…the time of Spring, pleasant weather, the time of the full moon, and when many consider this is a good time for releasing what is holding them back and working on new commitments, both in spirit and love, committing to an engagement, hand-fasting or marriage, or making some other commitment.

‘The world’s favourite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.’  Edwin Way Teale

Essentials
On the evening of Wednesday, 10 May 2017 there is a full moon in the constellation of Libra (on the ESE horizon at 8.05pm from a London, UK perspective and rising gently to it’s ‘highest’ point that night just after midnight when looking southward).

This full moon is known as the Bright Moon.

Still others, though, such as other Celts, Celtic Christians, Druids and Pagan friends may refer to it as the Grass Moon, the Milk Moon or the Flower Moon.

‘Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.’ Psalm 89:37, The Book

It’s well and truly spring (in the northern hemisphere) and a time for growing plants and flowers,  and so, aptly, May is named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants. And, doubly so, at this full moon in May.

Myths About The Moon
There are a number of myths about the moon, as these are:

Ancestor offerings: In some Chinese religions, offerings are made to the ancestors on the night of a full moon.

A full moon makes you ‘crazy’: Ever since ancient times, full moons have been associated with odd behaviour, sleepwalking, or violence . The words ‘lunacy’ and ‘lunatic’ come from the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna, who was said to ride her silver chariot across the dark sky each night. In England, in the  18th-century those on trial for murder could seek a lighter sentence on grounds of lunacy, if the crime occurred at the time of full moon. Also, the book,  ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, was said to have been inspired by the strange , and yet very true, case of Charles Hyde, a London man who committed a numbers of crimes, all at the time of the full moon.

Even the BBC News reported, a few year ago, reported  that some British police departments have decided to add extra officers on nights with crime increases that occur at the time of a full moon (though there are many that think this may have to do with the response to opportunistic crime and more light at night be available for foul deeds because of the full moon).

Aliens on the Moon: In the 1820s,  Bavarian astronomer Franz von Paula Gruithuisen recorded that he had spied alien cities on the moon with his telescope. He called them Lunarians, and though many people derided his finding, he did at least have a modest-sized moon crater named after him.

Even today, there are those who believe their are aliens on the moon, maybe on the side of the Moon which doesn’t face Earth, and some believe images, from Chandrayaan-1 (an Indian Moon probe) appear to show a series of lava tubes snaking under the surface of the Moon, as it made by an intelligence, with thousands of scatted, perhaps, connecting caves.

It makes you think!

Full Moon ‘Releasing’ Ritual
This is a releasing ritual, releasing you from all that is holding you back. As with any ritual, it is an outward sign and activity of an inward occurrence. It can be done outdoors on the night of the full moon, but equally, it can be done indoors.

So, find a quiet place, and:

1. Light a candle (to denote entering into sacred space/sacred time). If you want, you can place crystals, power-rocks and other positive-tools around you.

2. De-clutter your mind of thoughts, clear your energy. This can be done by imagination, and so why not close your eyes and visualise that you are standing under a silver waterfall. As you so do, in your mind’s eye, imagine that all negativity being  washed away.

3. Take a few deep breaths to ‘center’ yourself, to move deeply within your being, and then ‘ask’ what it is that you wish to be released from. What is it that is holding you back? What is a limiting belief? What no longer serves a positive purpose in your life. In your mind’s eye, write it on a piece of paper. Wait for a short while.

4. As you breathe in, think of that piece of paper with that limiting belief written on it, and as you breathe out, imagine that that piece of paper moves into the candle and is burnt up. It no longer exists. Do this several times. [Remember, this is all taking place in your imagination, so please don’t actually set fire to anything you have with you!].

This type of breathing in/out with visualisation is like tonglen, in reverse.

5. After a short while open your eyes, fully enter this ‘realm’ by gazing gently at the candle for a few minutes. There is no rush. And then, to denote a closing of that sacred space/sacred time, blow the candle out. Wait for a few minutes. Doing things slowly, here, is good.

6. Ofcourse, this is a ritual, an outward sign or action of an inward occurrence, and you will still need to ‘do’ the necessary things in the physical realm to bring about a releasing of what is/was holding you back, and to work towards a positive outcome.

[Always concerned for you, I would ask that you do take appropriate professional advice if your ‘releasing negativity and embracing positivity’ in this ritual (and afterward) concerns money, land, health, relationships etc]

7. Keep a journal of your experiences in that ritual, what you did to ‘earth it’ and work towards releasing negativity and working towards positivity, detailing actions and how you felt at the time. It’s always good to look back, weeks, months or even years later.

Let me know what happens, if you wish.

‘May and June.  Soft syllables, gentle names for the two best months in the garden year: cool, misty mornings gently burned away with a warming spring sun, followed by breezy afternoons and chilly nights.  The discussion of philosophy is over; it’s time for work to begin.’ Peter Loewer

Gardening
Being a concerned about  nature, my suggestion is: that for those wishing to cultivate and benefit from nature, even a window box if you live in a city and haven’t got access to a garden, how about planting:

For shady, north-facing locations: English daisy, Fern (maidenhair, tassel, Boston, asparagus, Impatiens. Pansy, Parsley, Snapdragon.

Sun-liking, south-facing locations: Lavender, Marigold, Miniature rose, Rosemary (which is particularly good at attracting bees. We definitely need to look after bees).

‘May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.’ Fennel Hudson

And Finally…
…Wishing you a blessed May full moon, Tadhg

Power-Blessings 104: Mutual Support…In That Field Beyond: [4/4]

20170505 MUTUAL SUPPORT 4OF4 BLESSINGWe’re all different. We live in a world were the rights of the individual and individualism are writ large. And, though we enjoy many freedoms because of it – or am I just believing that because, like you, I was born into such a time as this – it can be rather solitary as an ‘aware person’, a mystic-Christian, a Druid, a hedge-witch, an ‘edge-walker’, or however you and I describe ourselves.

‘Be different. Be original. Nobody will remember a specific flower in a garden filled with thousands of the same yellow flower, but they will remember the one that managed to change its colour to purple.’  Suzy Kassem

At the end of this week of looking at Power-Blessings, we now turn our attention to looking at encouragement and, indeed, further encouragement to maintain, grow and advance the good work that we have been ‘called’ to do; to explore mutual support; to take it all one step further.

It would be easy to list good books, links to other websites and talk about ‘how to do…’ this or that, but I won’t. Each person reading this will be different, maybe so different (and that is a blessing) as to render all that irrelevant. But, it is important, I think, to share good practice (even if it is a different ethos or way of working to our own personal approach) because then we can learn from each other and adapt what we share to serve our local purposes.

‘Those who love peace must learn to organise as effectively as those who love war.’ Martin Luther King Jr.

A loose organisation, at least (unless you’re already part of one of the many, useful, groups of the internet that do provide support to ‘aware persons’,  mystic-Christians,  Druids, hedge-witches, ‘edge-walkers’ etc) may be beneficial. If you’re not part of such group, and I do recommend joining at least one that is closest to your work, then I’d like to hear from you. It’s all about mutual support – even if it’s a periodic email…but I’d suggest there’s more we can do.

‘Make connections; let rip; and dance where you can.’ Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard writes about Holy the Firm, in her book of the same name, and describes it as  substance that medieval alchemists and mystics etc were interested in. It’s a substance, they thought below earth, minerals, salts, and it acts as a bridge between the material and the spiritual world. Opinions vary as to whether it is a purely physical substance or a spiritual one, as it is between both! Perhaps, the thrill is in not knowing, and accepting it as ‘and/both’ (rather than our scientific age’s obsession with ‘and/or’). It’s like a sacred gap!

The late Thomas Merton (a Trappist monk), Cynthia Bourgeault (an Episcopal priest, teacher, author and retreat leader) and others talk of ‘le point vierge’ (‘the virgin point’, though it  sounds better in French, and is usually referred to in French). They describe it as the point, deep within each of us, were we can meet the Source of All in a real, and experiential, and experimental way; beyond pictures, beyond ideas and without metaphors intimately….in the post-ritual-activity stillness..’. It’s like a sacred ‘nothingness’; that is, no thing!.

This idea is taken up by Rumi, and precedes the above mentioned by many centuries. He wrote, ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass [even] the world is too full to talk about.’ It’s like a  sacred beyondness.

‘An important part of response to divine love, once it has been received, is to pass it on to our neighbour in a way that is appropriate in the present moment.’  Thomas Keating (Trappist monk)

So, how can we assist each other, encouraged each other  and grow, mature and advance our work. I’d suggest:

  • we share best practice by email, and
  • we support each other by meeting with like-minded people (and I’m currently thinking of what I can do with this idea, so do keep reading the articles here over the course of this month as ideas and events are formed and planned, and
  • we can energise each other, perhaps by setting aside, a time each month (maybe part of a ritual, or indeed the whole of a ritual) to think of each other, specifically, and to send positive energy, well-wishes, power-blessings, light etc to each other…but intentionally, named, visualised, specific.

What do you think of this, as a initial practice?

In thinking about that last idea and developing it here, in the work that I do, I want to set aside time just for you! Whether we call that space place between the physical and spiritual realm by the name ‘Holy, the Firm’, or as ‘le point vierge’ or as a celestial field far beyond our ideas of right and wrong…or as the Caim (my term and practice, here, for entering that ‘gap’, liminal space, sacred space etc).

‘Life is a full circle, widening until it joins the circle motions of the infinite.’  Anaïs Nin

In essence a Caim ritual is about forming a circle (or think of an energy bubble in your mind’s eye), visualising the harvesting of celestial energy, moulding it, and sending it, and being prepared for reciprocity, and the latter is a moving into that still-point, le point vierge etc). Ofcourse, it’s more than that (but, if you’re interested in the idea of finding out about a (simple) Caim, please see here and here).

So, I’m resolved to perform a Caim each new moon for you!

But, to make it personal and meaningful I’ll do that (only) if you email me and ask me to do so, and in so doing I’d ask for you do to similar for me. Ofcourse, your background, ‘tribe’ and beliefs will be different to mine, and therefore any ritual you do may be very different to mine…but I don’t think that matters. Infact, I’d expect that, and see it as a blessing of our ‘kaleidoscopic’ diversity and intentionality.

So, are you up for it? (If so, just email me, so that everything is confidential, and will be kept confidential. Email: tadhg@tadhg.cymru

Whether or not you do….you still have my gratitude on getting this far with this article, and receive a blessing from me right now to empower you (even more so) in the good things that you are doing.

‘I am a living member of the great family of all souls; and I cannot improve or suffer myself, without diffusing good or evil around me through an ever-enlarging sphere. I belong to this family. I am bound to it by vital bonds.’ William Ellery Channing

 

Tadhg’s Journal: ‘Drws I Fyd Arall’: Encounter Or Imagination?

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This morning, having gone to bed earlier than usual last evening, I was awake early. And, having done all that was necessary – ablutions-wise, it was still only 7am! At times when I can’t sleep, or awake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep (something which rarely happens, but I always feel is significant), or wake up (too) early, I always head for  Culpepper’s Wood, when in north Wales.

‘The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.’ John Muir

So, at about 6.20am this morning, with a couple of layers of external clothing on, and donning my faithful woolly hat, I ventured out for the short walk, only to be met by an oh-so-cold blast of air as I opened the kitchen door to leave the cottage. My…it was cold (and that was a British understatement). It was a good-to-be-alive, but please, ‘no colder’, sort of air-embrace. If I wasn’t awake before, I was wide awake then, and more so, as I ‘battled’ through the morning, freezing fog so common in these parts.

I slowly made my way to Culpepper’s Wood.

I’ve mentioned before, how as a child, my friends would avoid the area in the middle of Culpepper’s Wood which contained Y goeden mellt, the Lightning Tree (see here). We would all avoid it, except for me. I loved the power and mystery that both seemed to repel and invite, in equal measure, even as a child. And more recently, I wrote of a mysterious and meaningful ‘encounter’ there (see here).

Today, I passed Y goeden mellt, the Lightning Tree, having paused in its presence just long enough to be respectful, and walked further into the forest for another few minutes. Beyond the Lightning Tree is another area that all my childhood friends liked, and felt safe, and played in, as did I.

‘I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives…
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.’ Wendell Berry

It’s interesting how recollections as an adult of childhood occurrences can change over time. I was looking for two, very tall, thick silver birch trees. As a child, these were two huge trees, exactly 153 steps beyond the Lightning Tree (and I did measure the steps, then, but none of my friends at that time, would – they really didn’t like the Lightning Tree at all). Slightly fewer steps now, as an adult. And, there they were – looking a little thicker, older, weathered, both bowed a bit more that I can remember, and not-so-tall. Probably about fifteen feet in height, and still arched like an ancient door.

Ah, the door! As children, and our child-imaginations ran rife at the time, we called these two trees  Drws i fyd arall [pronounced ‘droo zi fid arrah’].

‘We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.’ Walt Disney

I’m not sure, as children whether some or all of us had access to some unknown source of esoteric wisdom (or maybe that’s inbuilt in children, and there’s a thought?), or whether we had all watched too many sci-fi programs on tv.

This was well before the days of Star Wars or StarGate (and the myriad of off-shoots), but comfortably placed in an era when ‘Lost In Space’ was first aired on tv.

Oh, how we all related to our-same-aged Will; and emulated the robot when it bellowed out, ‘Danger, Will Robinson’, as it seemed to do far too often; and how we hissed when Zachary Smith got up to no good. Indeed, it was probably one or more episodes in particular that might have been behind us calling these two trees, Drws i fyd arall. Zachary Smith was usually the one to find some alien artefact, conceal it from the rest of the team, try to use it for his own ends and end up with problems…only for others to resolve the problem at some cost.

There were several ‘Lost In Space’ programs where Zachary Smith had come across a alien’s ‘standing mirror’, which he thought was just a mirror, but unknown to him (initially), it was some kind of alien transport system – yes, stepping through the mirror would take you to an alien world that was totally different, and so you would know things have changed, or it would allow access to a parallel universe where only subtle changes might occur (and so you might now know that you’ve been transported, initially). It was cross between StarGate and Sliders, but many years before both – what a brilliant idea.

And so, early this morning, having walked on further than the Lightning Tree, there were the bowed, arched, silver birch trees: Drws i fyd arall.

It was like a home-coming. There they were. Drws i fyd arall as we called them, or in English, ‘the door to another world’ was right in front of me.

As children we had endless fun passing through these arched trees, that door to another place. Our imaginations ran riot. Today, I stopped to look, sat down, and dwelt on those old memories.

Each one of us has our own Drws i fyd arall, our door to another world. We might not want to imagine stepping through that portal to another level of existence (though you might find it fun and/or beneficial to try), but we might, as adults, distance ourselves from that, and call it potential or opportunity, or choice. That’s the grown-up thing to say. We might call it prayer or meditation. How we use it is important. Take prayer or meditation, for instance. One can dip ones toe into the water, have a shopping list of prayers, or meditate ‘lightly’ and reap some benefits; or one can dive deep and deeper still, and go beyond to be alone with the Alone. One is ‘distancing’ and partial, the other is all-embracing, powerful and culminates in an encounter.

I sat down, and stayed looking at Drws i fyd arall for about ninety minutes, until the sun came up at 8.05am. I was in no rush. And then stood, to head back to the cottage. Walking just a few yards, with so many wonderful thoughts in my head of childhood memories of what Drws i fyd arall meant as a child, and now as an adult, I looked back. It seemed to call.

As children, we would have no hesitation running through the two arched trees and pretending we had entered a door and everything was different, as though we were in a strange place – and after Brexit and events of the last few weeks, it seems as though we might have been transported to an alien world, in fact!

‘I have a thing for doors. I always think of them as a threshold to something new.’ Jada Pinkett Smith

But, it seemed to call. Turning and getting closer, there was part of me that wanted to walk through Drws i fyd arall or ‘the door to another world, and part of me that thought that to do so was ‘as silly as a box of frogs’. For some minutes, a mind-battle raged. Ofcourse, I knew that I wouldn’t literally be transported to an alien world if I walked through these two trees, and I knew the outcome (of passing through them or not) would be the same.  Or, would it? And so, I tarried for a few minutes, before trekking back to the cottage.

Ah, now you want to know if I once again walked through Drws i fyd arall or ‘the door to another world?

Well, I did! And it was fun! Frivolous! It brought back some great memories! And confirmed one thing: I may not have been transported to an alien planet, but by succumbing to Drws i fyd arall I chose to allow the ‘magic’ of the place to win the day and enter, for imagination to gain the upper hand on this occasion,  to embrace the unknown, and go forward positively with a smile on my face. For many people in these tough and strange times that might be such a change in outlook that it would be like them entering a different dimension.  But, maybe that’s what  Drws i fyd arall or ‘the door to another world’, is all about. A metaphorical-yet-real change of perspective that alters everything. A portal to another place (of attitude, rather than location)?

So, have you found your Drws i fyd arall or ‘the door to another world’?

 

Celtic Daily Living: The Three Realms

three-realms

We live in an age where  some   try to ‘package’ spirituality and sell it to us. How many times have you and I been asked to place our  hands on the tv screen and then send money, or type ‘Amen’ on a FaceBook page to receive a miracle? Many others, thousands upon thousands do it. They do it, without understanding  that miracles and grace they so eagerly want, infact flows to all, and is  acknowledged by those aware of it, and this occurs unconditionally.

So, how do we tap into that energy, that power, that grace-conduit, unbridled and deep spirituality?

I believe there are (at least) three realms, levels of existence.

‘Three is a magic number
Ya it is, it’s a magic number
Somewhere in that ancient mystic trinity
You’ll get three
As a magic number’

(Song lyrics)

Buddhists talk of three realms (which they call the Trailokya) consisting of:

  • the highest one described something akin to heaven (or four heavens, infact) called Arūpaloka;
  • the in-between one is the world of form (our Physical world) called Rūpaloka;
  • and a lower one, Kāmalokae. With respect to Buddhists, I’d like to build on, and slightly alter definitions, at least for this article.

Perhaps, we could view creation consisting on three realms for simplicity-sake, for now and we might ‘build upon and add to this later) sake. Certainly the ancient Celts were fascinated with numbers, and especially the number three! So, perhaps we could say there is:

  • the Realm of the Spirit (or the Ouranic Realm), and ‘under’ that,tic-tac-toe-1777815__180
  • the Realm of the Soul or Psyche (which unpacks thoughts using symbolism, dreams etc),  and ‘under that,
  • the Physical Realm, the one we all know the best.

If we don’t understand the relationship and power of each of these realms, then maybe our life will be less than it could be – like a car ‘firing’ with one engine cylinder dormant. It’ll move along the road, inefficiently, ‘lumpily’, you’ll have a bad journey,  not a good ride. Car engine damage eventually ensues.

Understanding and balance between these realms, then, and how they relate to our lives is what is needed. What do you think?

But, first a closer look at the three realms. The three realms are:

number-11. The realm of (the) Spirit: Some call this the Ouranic Realm:  My favourite mystic of yesteryear, the Lady Julian, believed that the ‘fall’ (if that’s how some interpret the early  Genesis story of humankind) did not affect humanity in this realm of (the) Spirit. We are therefore continually in bliss, come what may, and nothing can separate us. We can draw comfort from that.

The problem with  only living with this mentality, is that we separate ourselves from daily life, it could lead to arrogance, perhaps, and we really miss out on life’s lessons. We end up, then, as holy people, but unable or unwilling to relate to, or work with others, and that’s not really holiness at all.

Living a life with this realm in mind, as a balanced form of living, and living the otherconsciousness-1719995__180 realms as well, is what’s needed.

We approach this realm through participative religious or spiritual liturgy and ceremony/ritual etc, which is why the latter is important. It needs to be participative, as that ushers us into the liminal – that threshold between here and there – to access this realm (albeit in part, ‘at a ‘distance’ etc), whereas passively looking on is liminiod – a near miss but with only a second-rate feeling of encounter. How sad if many are accepting the liminiod and missing the ‘full-blown’ liminal encounter?

‘Love calls – everywhere and always.
We’re sky bound.
Are you coming’. Rumi

From here, good thoughts and ideas ‘descend’ to the Realm of the Soul, as if ‘out of the blue’.

number-22. The realm of the soul: Some call this the Psychic Realm: Don’t be phased by the last term; it really means the arena of the soul, the psyche, the area of mental faculties that we all possess. Hollywood has something to answer for, for its poor portrayal of this word and realm, and fear-mongering.

To only live in this realm will make us feeling we have achieved something, but without living in balance with the other two realm we only travel so far. Many people who subscribe to an organised religion may be operating only at this level, and wonder why things are not working out, are out of balance?

‘Change your thoughts and you change your world.’ Norman Vincent Peale

Maybe, what is needed is to live at this level, is study, reading, living it, understanding the symbolism of this level, but be aware that there’s more?

Prayer at this level is likely to be only a shopping-list type of prayer (and as part of a balanced prayer-life there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s more). Move beyond that to the stillpoint, and you suddenly encounter the Source of All and graze that realm of the Spirit! Absolutely wonderful. Meaningful. Powerful. A time and place of encounter! It is the place of the imagination and dream-images, symbols that ‘seep down’ from the Ouranic Realm. A place to enter, and stay a while. Yet, some fear it.

‘Everything you can imagine is real.’ Pablo Picasso

But, ofcourse, only operate at this level and we miss such a lot. It’s here, that I encourage discerning men and women into the Imaginal Realm (which is part of this major realm) in my LiminalPeople ministry.

number-33. The Physical Realm: This is the easiest one to understand. We can look around and see it, hear it, feel it, shape it etc. If we’re aware and living in cognizance of the other two realms, then things really happen.

To recap: Thoughts start in the Ouranic Realm, permeate into our Psyche, that Psychic realm – usually as pictures, desires, symbols as that is the ‘language’ of the soul and the imaginal realm, and then flow ‘down’ to the Physical Realm, and appear, are manifested around us, essentially.

‘This world is but a canvas to our imagination.’ Henry David Thoreau

Ofcourse, if all three realms are not operating in balance, if we favour one – and many people favour the Physical Realm and/or the Psychic Realm then ego takes over, and what is manifest is sadly ‘misshapen’, skewed, negative and short-lived, if it is manifested at all.

number-4Balance: Balance is need in our lives, and awareness comes first to know how to ‘dwell’ and ‘use’ the power and opportunities of each realm. What do you think?

One way is to use the Psychic Realm as a ‘half-way- step in our understanding of the other two realms. In that Psychic Realm, or the Imaginal Realm (as I call it with discerning men and women who attend my sessions, worskhops) we receive information and power from ‘above’ and that would be (1) the Ouranic Realm; process those symbols of meaning and power in (2)  the Imaginal Realm (and so we ‘work’ there in my sessions –  it’s rather like a guided and directed ‘day-dream), and use affirmation and intentionality for it to manifest itself in (3) the Physical Realm.

‘The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner.’ Gordon B Hinckley

If all three Realms are used appropriately, benefits follow. Live only in one or two Realms,balance-154516_960_720 like many in organised religion, and benefits and manifestation are difficult. We have a form of understanding but lack the power of all Realms working in co-operation. 

So, using the Imaginal Realm, that realm of the Soul, is one way forward for some to start or go deeper, and that will be the theme of the ministry of Tadhg’s  LiminalPeople and it’s website. It’s through the Imaginal Realm, as one way of many, that we can tap into that spiritual power and benefit. You can have a sneak preview of the first webpage of LiminalPeople now, at:

www.liminalpeople.org

Do bookmark the front page please, and I’m hoping it’ll be fully functional by 16 November, and you may benefit. More details in a few days about the website.

 

three-realms

‘A Close Encounter With Nwyfre Of The Third Kind?’ Or ‘The Truth Is Out There’.

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Words have power. With a word the cosmos was called into being, people were raised from the dead, and with our words events are called forth, promises are made, and the future unfolds.

There is a delightful and an ancient Gaelic/Welsh word, ‘nwyfre’ (pronounced ‘noo-iv ruh’), which is deep and profound, and full of power, and beneficial to know as it may change our perception. It is a word that allows us to ‘peep behind the curtain’ – that veil that masks what really is, from that which only appears to be so. It’s a ‘thin’ word.

There is a thick forest not far from where I live in north Wales, old and dense; ancient. I love it. As a child most of us, not me, would avoid part of the forest where it was thickest because of a feeling of intense fear. Perhaps part of our childish imagination at the time, or maybe more? That area, even more dense than the surrounding forest, contained, what we called ‘Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree, and most of my friends hated it, but not me.

‘The things that frighten us just want to be held.’  Mark Nepo.

I’ve visited there sometimes since –  and my respect for Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree has grown more and more over the years. For more about my earliest encounters with Y goeden mellt’, see here.

‘..stands a lightning tree.
It’s limbs all torn from the day it was born for the tree was born in a thunderstorm.’

(The Settlers song, ‘The Lightning Tree’.)

As an adult, I learned that Y goeden mellt has power, or is it power that we give it? Nevertheless, it was a place to visit when one was awakened in the depths of the night and one couldn’t sleep, or when it ‘called’ by it. Deep thoughts, meditation or was it a dream occurred some time ago, there, a ‘dream’ about the ancestors. It is a ‘thin place. See here.

‘Oh Trees, Trees, Trees…wake. Don’t you remember it? Don’t you remember me? Dryads and hamadryads, come out, come [out] to me.’  C S Lewis.

And, then last evening I went to Y goeden mellt, with a friend, at dusk. We entered the forest, walked for some time into the thickest part of the forest, and then moved into the usually unvisited clearing. And, there in the centre was Y goeden mellt, the Lightening Tree.

Under my breath – I thought it might ‘spook’ my friend if I did what I usually did out loud – I greeted the Lightning Tree with something like, ‘Hello, my dear and ancient friend’. And, I lowered my head, temporarily, as a sign of respect. I think my friend saw that nod, but he remained quiet.

My friend found the fallen tree trunk which makes for a comfortable seat – not too close, not to far away from the Tree, and sat on it. I sat beside him. We were both quiet for some time, as the light fell, in awe of the majesty of the setting.

‘What do you see?’, I asked.
‘Trees!’, was his reply.
‘And, what else?’ I asked.
‘Trees, trees and more trees.’, he said, smiling.

I thought for a while, and then said to him, ‘And what about nwyfre?

On hearing that word, he immediately  looked up, gazed at the sky and the tops of the trees, and said, ‘A little nwyfre, sure….and it’s nice’.

Nwyfre, traditionally and literally is to do with wind and the sky. If you can imagine fast flowing, light clouds in a blue sky, say, or the wind ‘howling’ of the tops of trees, then that’s evidence of nwyfre. But, it’s more – to those with deep awareness, insight, enlightenment, to those who are poets and those who might have a ‘romantic’ inclination, it’s more.

‘The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone….’ John 3:8a, The Book.

Nwyfre, at its deepest and most profound, and I would say its most real level, is: Spirit, and the connectedness of everything because of Spirit, and the flow of energy (love etc) between everything.

As my friend looked around, he saw a gnarled tree in a clearing and localised atmospheric pressure skipping cross the tops of trees. He declared it was ‘nice’.

No disrespect to my friend, but there is more.

As I sat, gazing at Y goeden mellt, memories, and experience(s), respect and the feeling of being in a powerful place flooded my mind. I realised (and realised this some time ago), that much of this was in my mind. Call it a series of inner experiences, a jaunt into the imaginal realm, or a particular use of ones imagination, call it what you will, I know such experiences have happened in the past, and unbeknown to my friend, were happening now.

For him, nwyfre was a natural event.

For me, nwyfre is that and more. I knew it to be real and deeper and more profound, albeit using different ‘senses’. We see, only what we expect to find.  And, as I looked around, and my imagination ‘fired up’, I could see the gnarled tree that my friend was looking at, but I saw Y goeden mellt, a powerful being, imbued with the same life-forced that flowed through me (and through my friend, even though he was unware of it). It was as if a trillion fire flies flew along its branches and roots like veins in a body, and then they flew outward to surrounding trees, lighting up the clearing with almost neon, golden, lights in a myriad, swirling patterns. Light. Energy. Love. Power. Connectedness. Oneness. Love…all, in my mind’s eye.

My friend, saw a gnarled tree. I saw more, as we sat there for about an hour in the ‘silence’ of the forest

‘There, in the silence that’s never quite silent, I realized that, if there are at least seven thousand wants to speak, there are at least seven thousand ways to listen.  Mark Nepo.

We were just about to leave, when my friend said, ‘That’s weird!’. Ofcourse, I just had to ask him to explain, and he did. He said that although it had got darker, he could see little blips of light in his peripheral vision. Not wanting to flood him with information about the deep meaning of nwyfre and wondering that, perhaps, he was starting to see reality at a deeper level, I said we should stay a few more minutes to see what happened. He didn’t agree. ‘It’s nothing’, he said, ‘just an illusion, just phosphene!’. And, with that he got off the felled log, and we hiked our way out of the clearing, with him in front of me. That was good, because, as is my custom Y goeden mellt got a nod from me and a barely-audible ‘good-bye’ as we left the clearing.

Back at the cottage, we talked about that experience. He was adamant that what he saw was an optical illusion. I wasn’t so sure, and said to him, ‘Perhaps it was more. Perhaps you actually caught a glimpse of nwyfre with your eyes, you mind’s eye?’

He replied, ‘Maybe, but whatever it was, it was nice’. I couldn’t leave it there, and said, ‘Only nice?’.

My friend, I believe, caught a glimpse of nwyfre in its fullness: Spirit, and the connectedness of everything because of Spirit, and the flow of energy (love etc) between everything, seen as an intricate and living web of light. He saw a glimpse, mainly dismissed it, but the ‘key has been dropped’. He had been introduced to that which ‘is beyond’, a ‘thin place of understanding’, and it’s up to him now to take it further (or not). I might just drop another key, prompt him with another encounter and learning opportunity. I might just invite him back, again, to encounter Y goeden mellt to witness nwyfre.’

‘Four hundred year old trees, who draw aliveness from the earth like smoke from the heart of God, we come, not knowing you will hush our little want to be big; we come, not knowing that all the work is so much busyness of mind; all the worry, so much busyness of heart…. ‘Mark Nepo

But, what about you?

In your mind’s eye, your imagination, in that imaginal realm that can be accessed in a number of ways ( such as through meditation, centering, deliberately entering a waking-but-day-dreaming state etc), you too, whether in a rural area or urban area can witness nwyfre in a way that is personal to you, and just as profound, wherever you are. So, what are you waiting for? Nwyfre awaits!

Your Journey: Becoming An Edge-Walker

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I’m an avid reader of books, and I like to read from a wide genre and different styles, so that I can get a broader glimpse of the world through the eyes of others from all walks of life. I’ve just finished a book written by a man that walked the  Amazon.

‘You have to just dive over the edge. You haven’t got time to mess about’. Ralph Fiennes

And, I’ve also just finished re-reading a book by Cheryl Strayed about her hike of more than a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Washington State in the USA. Great adventurers, arduous journeys, ‘highs’ and lows’ from people who had tough times, but who overcame obstacles, and thereby grew in many ways, and returned changed.

It got me thinking. In what ways do we – you and I – prosper when we leave our comfort zone and venture forth into the unknown, ‘to boldly go’, and move from the centre to the edge. The edge is where adventure and treasure can be found.

‘Only ever doing what feels comfortable is a form of suicide.’ Oli Anderson.

Our natural ‘default’ position is of being ‘centre settlers’, we enjoy our comfort zones, love the ‘comfrotable armchair’ of life, but unbeknown to us that armchair can be a most dreadful place, a place that’s so comfrotable that we’re lulled into a warm, cozy, false-sleep of complacency (if we spend all our time there) as the clock ticks on, and opportunity paases us by.

‘The most dangerous place is in your safety zone.’ Robin S Sharma

So, what’s the answer, fellow sojourner?

Caution: The following is to whet your appetite, and to encourage you to become an ‘edge-walker’, someone who doesn’t always stay within the confines of their safety zone, but ventures forth on an awesome adventure. Therefore, as you read this article and, maybe, proceed towards the edge, do so cautiously, ‘testing the waters’ as you go, using reason,  some logic, and lots of common-sense to ensure your safety, but don’t be timid about new experiences. Oh, and, yes, use lots of imagination, too. Great things happen at the edge, as you will find out….that is, if you leave your comfort zone.

‘Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.’ Haruki Murakami.

The Journey

So, what would a movement toward the edge, a journey into the unknown look like. There are a number of common stages, and these are:

1. The status quo: This is our home, where we are now! It’s where we are before we start out, it’s the ‘ordinary’ life, but a place where we experience the feeling of not quite fitting in. Do you feel that you don’t quite fit in?

2. The Call:  The comes a time when we receive a mysterious and/or unexpected invitation, message or challenge. It could come in the physical realm, or it could be an inner conviction, which calls us to something greater. It’s natural to query our capabilities, and some never get beyond this stage, sadly, because they seemingly disqualify themselves.

3. Meeting Your Mentor: As if by ‘magic’, someone who will equiip us with the nitial information to get us started, give us the necessary ‘tools’ for our journey to the edge, and give us great encouragement, will arrive. You may have heard the maxim, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear’. Well, it’s true. And, maybe for you, this stage is happening right now, as you read this article.

‘Don’t assume, this journey to the edge is only a physical journey to some remote land. For you, it could be an inner journey of discovery, just as every bit as real as a trek through a jungle, a desert, or up a mountain.’

4. Departure: Now, we leave. Ofcourse, thoughts arise as to whether we’re doing the right thing. Family and friends may query the logic of what we’re doing – they have, maybe, the best will in the world, but they’re not you or I, and they haven’t received our calling. But, we’ve answered the Call (though some do turn back even at this point, sadly), and we leave the familiar. We move over the ‘city limits’ into the liminal zone – over the threshold into the unknown. We depart, and take the first real step towards our adventure towards the edge.

‘Our journey could be a physical one. It could be an imaginal one, a real imaginal one. As Pablo Picasso said, ‘Everything you can imagine is real.’

5. Adventure, Trials & Allies: As our adventure unfolds, there may be trials along the way. Tests of somekind, perhaps. But, don’t worry, help is at hand. We will find allies along the way, too, who will possess just the skills or infotmation we need, to assist us. In the physical realm we will be assisted by people, locals and those with specialist knowledge. But, what of the imaginal realm? Why, then you are limited only by your imagination. Perhaps, as in our night dreams, we will encounter and be assisted by companions, angels, elementals, animals.? Who knows? All ‘energies’ within our psyche.

6. The Cave: Here is a totally unknown land or experience. It requires boldness on our part, but we’ve come this far, and so we carry on. In one ancient story, Jonah found himself being tossed about by the sea (having been thrown overboard), and a big fish, maybe a whale, comes swimming along. That’s akin to a huge (animal) cave.

7. Crisis?: It might be, not always, that things come to a head. We face a crisis along our journey, in our life. It comes ‘out of the blue’ and ‘knocks us sideways’! It might be that we have to traverse a huge desert. Perhaps it is facing a, metaphorical, monster or challenge, something we have to overcome. For Jonah, it was being swallowed by the big fish. A form of ‘death’; certainly a massive ‘jolt’ to his system, and humbling.

8. The Reward, The Treasure: After traveling so far, our efforts are rewarded and we find what we’ve been looking for whether it is in the physical realm or imaginal realm: this could be information, wisdom, answers, guidance, healing, growth and transformation etc. Perhaps, we didn’t know what to expect, maybe we were looking for transformation, but it is at the edge that we discover it.

‘We live at the edge of the miraculous’, Henry Miller

Here at the very edge – where things are totally different to home, we discover what you’ve been seeking.

‘For some in imaginal realm sessions with Tadhg, some have come with questions, say, and in that inner, imaginal realm, have been directed by an ally or two to an imaginal landscape eg an inner library, only there to discover the answer to the question that has been troubling them. Like a night dream sequence this inner journey can yield great benefits,

9. Going Home: The journey is almost over, and now the journey home (easier than the outward journey) commences. But, we’re carrying treasure, now. But, there’s more.

10. Different!: There’s more. We’re not the same as when we embarked upon the journey. We’ve grown, matured, maybe, even transformed. Something has changed. We’ve moved up a spiritual stage. And, maybe we ‘wrestle’ with how we will use this treasure and transformation: for ourselves and/or for others? Maybe, there’s another ‘battle’ of a different sort here? Nevertheless we resolve it, maybe with the help of allies, or the mentor, and journey home

11. Back Home: This is the final stage of this particular quest. We’ve returned home to the ‘ordinary’ world. We’ve grown, got treasure or some sort, matured, been transformed, faced challenges and overcome them, and even more.

12: What Next? But, there’s even more. We know two (more) things. Firstly, the treasure we have and the experiences we’ve had have shown us that we need to share them, share our ministry, with others and not keep them to ourselves. Our horizons and outlook have broadened. Secondly, in coming home to the ‘ordinary’ world, the familiar, our ‘eyes have been opened’, and as we look around, we realise that this place, home, isn’t ‘ordinary’ at all, but it extraordinary, and always has been (but, formerly, we never knew it).

Ofcourse, this is but one adventure. There will be others, and they, too, may follow the abovementioned steps but the experiences and aims will be totally different.

The End, Or Is It?

‘Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.’ Albert Einstein

Right now, you can go on an inward, imaginal journey of power and potential. You can become an edge-walker. It’s a journey to find answers to questions you might have; a journey to discover treasure which may be wisdom, guidance or healing; to explore strange, new, inner worlds of the psyche where answers and treasure manifest themselves like symbols in our night dreams; and where you can encounter angels, archetypes, animal guides, companion(s), all metaphors of energies encountered in dream (but, here, done purposefully), all by booking a one-to-one creative-visualisation, imaginal session with Tadhg in person, or via Skype.

‘When you get to the end of all the light you know and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.’ Edward Teller

You can benefit from a physical journey to the edge, sure; but you can also (just as much) benefit from that inward journey of adventure and discovery. If you have questions about that inner, imaginal journey, of using creative imagination or this article, do contact me by email at: tadgh@tadhg.cymru or, in the next 7-10 days await for the announcement about Tadhg’s dedicated website, which will give much more information. Details of that website will follow within the next few days.

The Imaginal Realm 1: Introduction [And The ‘Three Boxes’ Imaginal Exercise For You To Try]

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In yesterday’s Journal I mentioned about the imagination, and that as adults we seem to consider it a childish faculty, and that we seem to have lost that ability…or have we?

‘Children see magic because they look for it.’ Christopher Moore.

Here’s some thoughts about the imagination. Yes, we’ll look at:

– how we still use our imagination (even though we may think we don’t), and
– why the imagination is a blessing (but is misunderstood and underused), and
– how we can take the first steps in purposefully using the imagination.

And there’s more…

  • there’s a free ‘three boxes’ imaginal exercise for you to try, and possibly benefit from.

The Imaginal Realm 1: An Introduction

There are several areas where our imagination runs riot, even if we’re not aware of that fact. Yes, we still use our imaginations, even as adults (and can use them more so!)

‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.’ Albert Einstein

So, how do we use our imaginations (still)?

Firstly, advertisers know how to temp us. Take holiday adverts. We see a brochure containing photographs of a sun-drenched beach, read wonderful things about it, and then over a cup of coffee we ‘dream’ of ourselves on that beach. That’s exactly what the advertisers want – you imagining yourself in that setting. Yes, you’ve used your imagination, and in a good way, and in a profitable way from the advertisers’ point of view.

The imagination is powerful.

Secondly, when we dream when asleep, our sleeping mind is flooded with strange scenarios, smells, sounds etc. When asleep our imagination continues to function – yes, it actually never sleeps and is functioning even as you read this. But, the imagination, when we’re awake’ is ‘drowned out’ somewhat by the general busyness of the day – though it still functions, and still sways us – remember those holiday brochures?. But, when we’re asleep, and the body is immobile, and the busyness of the day is ‘a million miles away’, oh, yes, then the imaginal playground opens up and the fetters are off. Then, we revel in the imagination.

The imagination, active all the time.

Thirdly, there’s that half asleep-half awake realm, that we all experience, as we drift off to sleep or have ‘forty winks’. We might be conscious of our surroundings, but in our mind’s eye we might ‘see’ something in our peripheral vision, or hear something (so, I guess that should really be the mind’s ear, also). Interestingly, as an aside, it is in this state that one can experience the ‘exploding head’ syndrome’! Don’t worry- your head doesn’t literally explode, its just that, sometimes, you can be jolted out of that blissful half-sleep by a loud bang (which is ‘in’ your head, or mind).

So, in what way is using your imagination (more)
a blessing and bring benefits to you?

Your imagination is a blessing, and using it more (or allowing it to ‘play’ in the background) can bring many benefits, which would hitherto not ‘arrive’. For instance, it is said that August Kekulé, the renowned chemist, and very much into the research of chemical structure, was said to have dreamed the benzine molecule’s composition, which greatly aided his (and others) research.

I feel more and more every day, as my imagination strengthens, that I do not live in this world alone, but in a thousand worlds.’ John Keats

Our imagination as it ‘plays’ allows us to ‘think outside the box’, to ask ourselves ‘what if?’ and to see things differently, and so, increased our perception. According to the American Psychological Association imagination can also enhance memory – good news for everyone, but especially those with exams. It is said to make us more empathetic towards others, and promote self-growth and maturity.

‘The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.’ Henry Ward Beecher

Now, some may view the imagination with some distrust. This paragraph gets a little theological so if you want to skip over it, that’s okay. Some, and they still remain friends, have said to me that there are several Bible verses that speak against the imagination and the use of it, such as: Romans 1.21 and other places, where, in the King James’ Version, the word ‘imagination’ appears. But, a little research into this, shows that a more accurate rendering of the Greek word(s) is, infact, ‘understanding’, which is a different faculty altogether. In addition to this, although sometimes where the heart is mentioned it is in the negative, it is always (some might say usually) that the ‘challenge’ is in the ‘arena’ of the heart, and not necessarily the heart itself. Just a a couple of theological thoughts to show that, imagination, per se need not be frowned upon.

‘The individual imagination is not its own invention: its source is elsewhere’, and ‘We are from God and we carry in our minds and hearts the ripple of the Divine mind’. John O’Donohue

The imagination is a spiritual faculty and resource.

But, the benefits are even wilder than we first thought. Your imagination can affect your physical body. We know this can happen, for when we imagine something to be dangerous or scary (and movie-makers play on this when they make horror or thriller movies) our hearts speed up, our breathing increases, and we may feel shock or pain. There are times I’ve seen operations on tv and felt (albeit greatly reduced) some pain! I’m sure you can testify to that, too.

Wilder still. A university research team did some experiments, and the findings were reported in the newspapers. It seems that (merely) imagining exercise can have a beneficial effect on muscles. This is good news to all those ‘hitting’ the gym for sport etc, as combining physical exercise with an ‘imaginal gym’ can enhance performance and give one ‘the edge’ over others, potentially.

‘It’s an extraordinary result,’ says Dr Mosley. ‘The measurements showed it wasn’t due to muscles growing bigger, so it wasn’t to do with a change in the amount of muscle.’

So, how had it happened?

‘The electrical stimulation test gave the answer,’ he says. ‘These results showed by the end of the month of thinking, our volunteers were using more of the muscle fibres they had always had.

‘Our volunteers had gone from using 50 per cent of their muscle fibres to using 70 per cent. They didn’t grow more muscle, but they were much better at using the muscle they had.’

See this link to the newspaper article [here].

So, imagination can enhance untapped efficiency of muscles – to make them more efficient, and from those results, muscles can be up to 40% more efficient!

The imagination can give physical and practical benefits.

Good news for sportsmen and sportswomen, especially footballers, weight-lifters, wrestlers and those requiring strength and stamina etc, if they use imaginal techniques.

How we can take the first steps in purposefully using the imagination?

We can use our imaginations in many ways, and gradually build up our imaginal-prowess! Wherever you are in the ‘use of imagination’ stakes, there is always more. There are always more benefits we can access, both for ourselves and on behalf of others, as energy-workers will know.

Imagination, as a link to that imaginal realm of power and potential, can feature in our prayers, good-wishes, positive-thinking, energy-working, ritual by fellow Christians and fellow Druids, and when we use the Caim [see here], when we move or unblock energy and/or bless others for healing and other positive outcomes.

The imagination is a powerful tool.

‘In difficult times you should always carry something beautiful in your mind.’ Blaise Pascal

For sometime I’ve worked with clients using creative visualisation, imaginal-awareness, those dream-like states for their benefit in one-to-one sessions, mainly.

Exercise: But, here’s one practical exercise to ‘ease’ you into this, and which may benefit you.

‘Everything you can imagine is real.’ Pablo Picasso

And, during November, I’ve decided that will be a separate ministry called Liminal People. I’ve worked with some people in this area over a number of years, but now it’s time for it to separate, to come of age, with its own internet website and expand.

So, Liminal People will organise one-to-one sessions in person or via the internet eg Skype, and organise workshops. Using liminality – that threshold or bridge between here and the other, and using your imaginal powers – I would (continue to) guide clients into that imaginal realm of power and potential, so they benefit.

‘Believe that you have it, and you have it.’ Latin Proverb

Some of my clients, in the past, have wanted to interview and ‘adopt’ an archetype (those powerful personified-attributes we all posses and which ‘power’ our skills and attributes ), others wanted to encounter angels or their animal guides, still others wanted to explore that inner world of the psyche for the purposes of growth, maturity, healing, or because they are inquisitive etc.

So, how about booking a session to enter that imaginal realm, and encountering your guardian angel?

Or booking in to an imaginal gym? [Remember those university research results] to complement your physical gym work?

Or how about wanting to explore strange new inner places, discovering inner’ treasure’, being guided by inner companions, and more?

Everything is possible in that imaginal and highly symbolic realm, and whether one prefers a poetic and symbolic imaginal realm experience, or a more prosaic one, there is room for all ‘adventurers’; and maybe, however we describe the imaginal realm it is a metaphor (and contains metaphors as symbols), a representation of something that is far too big for us to imagine at the present, and so we’re all given (different) glimpses of it.

And, in entering that imaginal stream of power and potential, we benefit. That is, if we enter it.

‘Imagination is an almost divine faculty which, without recourse to any philosophical method, immediately perceives everything: the secret and intimate connections between things, correspondences and analogies.’ Charles Baudelaire.

That’s where Liminal People will come in. And more details of that will follow every few days over the next two weeks. But, if you want to email me with questions etc, please feel free to do so at: tadhg@tadhg.cymru

The ‘Three Boxes’ Imaginal Exercise For You Tryxercise

Exercise: But, here’s one practical exercise to ‘ease’ you into this, and which may benefit you. Try it. Even if you only think it’s fun. I do believe at all levels it is useful. It’s called the ‘three boxes’ exercise

Take time to sit comfortably in a place where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes – that’s all this initial exercise will take. Close your eyes, breath deeply and then relax. And just try not to focus on any competing thoughts. Just remain silent for a minute or two. Then imagine that three boxes appear in front of you. If you believe in angels you can imagine that your guardian angel left them here for you. If you believe in elementals, then a friendly elemental left them for you, or your companion, or the universe, or an archetype, whoever you might believe left them here for you, has left here for you.

But, the boxes are in front of you. Let’s say, that you’ve had a tough day, and need encouragement for tomorrow. Then, in your mind, ask the one who left the boxes for you, to put a word or symbol or object in the middle box. A message from them to you. A positive message, a word, symbol or object for encouragement for tomorrow.

So, ‘….please leave an encouraging word, symbol or object in the middle box, a message for tomorrow’

And then wait. Savour the moment. Enjoy it. There is no rush.

Okay, slowly open the middle box. What’s in there? A word? Perhaps typed? Or the actual sound of a word is liberated when you open the box? A picture? A symbol? An object? Slowly consider what it means. By all means lift it out of the box, if possible. There’s no rush. Explore. Take your time.

Don’t forget to show gratitude by thanking the one who left the ‘message’ for you. Then, slowly you can open your eyes. That’s it. You might like to ponder upon the word, symbol or object left for you, and ascertain what it might mean.

Ofcourse, this is only a basic level exercise, and there is more, much more. Other exercises might encourage you to meet to one who left the boxes, to ‘interview’ them, and interact, to visit ‘inner’ locations’, and inform you about residuality, or to meet other characters etc. Finally, as regards this exercise, if the results are confusing to you, do email me.

‘A prison is never narrow when the imagination can range in it as it will.’ Marguerite of Navarre.

Celtic Wisdom: The Caim

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The caim is a profound ‘circling’ prayer used by ancient Celts and others over the millennia. It is still used by latter-day Celts, some Churches who value its benefits, and by some wiccans, pagans, light-workers, mystics and fellow-druids friends known to me. Even, Evangelicals.

Yes, it can be used by anyone who knows the value of prayer.

The word caim is gaelic, and it has to do with ‘protection’ or ‘sanctuary’; it is derived from the root word meaning ‘circle’, to bend, or turn, and this becomes apparent when you start forming the caim.

Introduction

The rudiments of forming a caim are known to us, but much detail was not recorded or has been lost in the mists of time. I like to think it was the former, and that those who used the caim of old, didn’t want to legislate the minutiae of what should be done.

Rather, they wanted to pass on the idea and deep spiritual concept, the essentials, so that it could be purposely adapted to suit the group or individual using it in the future, and its contents changed to meet the circumstances or need of the pray-er, and so would remain vibrant.

It’s flexible.

Many, today, use a minimalist approach to the caim. This is:

  • making a caim and
  • using one of the prepared three-fold prayers, see the appendix, especially (but not only) when incorporating it in a formal, group service of some kind, and
  • closing the caim.

The minimalist approach is good, and is a great place to start, but there’s so much more to it, and so I’d also like to take your further on this exciting adventure.

Bearing in mind we have been left the essentials of the caim, I’ve found most benefit is derived, for me, when I ‘fuse’ it with something else: with creative visualisation to form an innovative variation.

That is, I use imagination.

In using imagination, I see this as thought-intentionality, to complement my words of any prayer said. I would encourage you to try the same.

Imagination? The I Am has given each one of us a great imagination, one to be used. Indeed you use your imagination when you watch tv. You might be watching a thriller or ‘spooky’ movie and suddenly someone or something jumps out of the shadows in the storyline, and you flinch. You do that because you’re engrossed in the movie; yes, your imagination was at work. It’s as though you were ‘in’ the movie. Such is the power of imagination.

Imagination is also at work when advertisers show you sun-drenched beaches for your prospective holiday on tv or in the newspaper. You imagine you’re there. You also use your imagination, when, say, you’re planning a big event and need to think about the decor, food, gifts etc. Or, maybe youre an artist, a writer, like to journal, or are a musician, or even just ‘doodle’? None of that would happen without imagination.

And, you can use your imagination here, in the caim, as a force for good. You can use it to draw near and encounter, to bless others, and bless yourself in a ‘visual‘ manner. It’s a win-win situation.

It may feel strange or ‘forced’ at first, but do persevere and do try it several times. Don’t be too analytical as you experience the caim (as to be analytical means you ‘jump out’ of the experience – a sort of ‘are we there yet’ event, which usually means ‘no’!). Don’t make it into a chore, but, rather, enjoy the adventure.

Many times my prayer time resembled a shopping list with the word ‘Amen’ tacked onto the end. I wanted something more. Something deeper. To spend more time with the Holy One. To ‘see’ afresh, in my minds eye. The caim was one answer.

So, find a place where you won’t be disturbed, and,  do mute the mobile phone. Take some time to centre yourself – that is, to slow down your mind and just lightly enter that ‘inner space’, that dreamy-state of the mind. Relax. You are always in control, but surrender. At this point, it is best to keep your eyes open.

Making a caim

As you stand (and it can be outdoors or indoors, in a room in your house etc) extend your arm, point to the floor, (say about four to six feet away from your body) and slowly turn your body through a full circle. There, you’re inscribing an invisible, imaginal circle, the caim.

As I stand in a candle-lit the room (and one that I use as a study, a sanctuary, and where discerning men and women come for liminal sessions with me), I stand and quieten my mind. There is no rush.

After a few minutes, I point to the floor. I have already marked out a circle, about six foot (2 metres) in diameter, with rocks (which are just smaller than my fist, and which can be removed later), and slowly I turned my body, revolving 360 degrees. I like to face east, but the choice is yours. I start off facing east and end up facing east. I also like to turn deosil, clockwise to begin the caim.

Sometimes I have a chair in that circle of stones to use after turning 360 degrees, but today I’m standing.

Stage 1: The Separation

Now, it may be good to close your eyes as you enter into the first of three stages, the first being: separation. This is a leaving of worldly distractions, of slowing those thoughts down, and journeying inward to that place of peace, power and potential. You are still in control, but you make an effort not to focus on distractions. Trust me, you will get thoughts of what else you could be doing, who you should have telephoned, or what you should buy at the shops etc, but let them go.

My eyes are closed now, and in my mind’s eye I’m imagining that I’m journeying inward to a comfortable and safe place, a place that is full of power and potential. I slow my breathing, quieten my mind, and over the next few minutes enter a state of ‘rest’. I’m metaphorically journeying toward the Source, God.

Stage 2: Transition or ‘Gap’ Time

The space that you’ve entered is liminal space, the imaginal realm. Some like to call it the realm of the imagination, and that’s okay. For me, I like to call it the imaginal realm, as in our culture, when one talks of the imagination it is perceived as a place of pure fantasy and unreal.

That place, the imaginal realm, to me, is as real as the physical realm.

It is an intermediary space between the physical realm (which we can all relate to and understand – it is the place of the body) and the ouranic realm (the place of the spirit, where all that is good and holy originates).

‘ I looked for someone among them who would…stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land…but I found no one. Ezekiel 22: 30 (part), the Book

The imaginal realm is the place of the soul. To me, it is ‘the gap’, a place of encounter that the Ancients boldly wrote about.

I feel safe, I feel ‘cocooned’ from all that is happening in the world about me. I am at peace within this circle. For me, I have inscribed a circle of the floor around me, but it is a circle when it touches the floor; I perceive it as a bubble of power, big enough to encapsulate me and more. It is, to me, the ‘closet’ or ‘room’ that  the Christ said we should enter.

Some, may like to pray an already-written prayer (only) at this stage (see appendix), and then move onto the final stage, that is stage three. This is the minimalist approach, but I like to go deeper. How about you? There is nothing to fear.

If we accept that there is place of Bliss which is, symbolically, a higher plane, then we need to use some of that power. And so, I raise both hands for about a minute, and visualise the blossom of golden trees, and the pollen of golden plants falling on me, power from on high. Not mine, but belonging to That Which Is Bigger Than Ourselves.

There is no rush. Just enjoy the experience. If you find it difficult to visualise, or if nothing seems to happen, do continue, and don’t worry. Even if we don’t experience anything, I do believe things are happening, and I do believe it’s our intentionality that counts, and all this is rewarded by the great Rewarder of All.

The woman in great need, pushed through the crowd and, ‘…came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.“Who touched Me?” Jesus asked. But they all denied it. “Master, said Peter, “the people are crowding and pressing against You.” But Jesus declared, “Someone touched Me, for I know that power has gone out from Me.”… Luke 8:45-46 (part), the Book.

We’re in a place of peace, power and potential, a place between the physical realm and the ouranic realm; and each of us in that place are intercessors. We’re standing in the ‘gap’ between the physical realm and the Other.

I lower my hands now. And wait for a minute or two.

Now, I like to hold my hands, gently, in front of me, as though I’m holding something. In my imagination I am holding something – a power-blessing. I like to mould it, and shape, and imagine it to be the size of a football.

Hopefully, you’ve already decided who you’re going to prayer for. It could be for a specific person in need, an event that has happened that has caused a major upset, or it could be a prayer for a future event, the locality, a sad event somewhere else on the planet, it could be an ecological need. Whatever the need is, the caim is a good spiritual ‘tool’ to use.

Whatever the need is, I imagine it outside this safe ‘bubble’.

And then, I like too ‘push’ that power-blessing in the direction I’ve imagined that that person or event to be. You don’t have to be locationally accurate – it’s the intention that’s important.

And, just to redouble my effort, I imagine that I have to use my body to sway back and forth, gently, for a minute, as if you really ‘push’ that power-ball of prayer-blessing to the recipient or location. I don’t do an exaggerated ‘push’ as though I’m meeting resistance – there is no resistance, here – but I like to be intentional about that ‘push’.

You might even want to vocalise who, or for what, the power-blessing was for, and the desired outcome. ‘Help [name],’ or ‘Heal [name] etc.

And, off it goes….and arrives immediately. You might imagine the desired effect already taking place, even though it may take some time in the physical realm to come about. This is faith.

And so, I lower my hands. And relax. The power-blessing has gone out. I give gratitude in my heart to the Parent of Lights, for enabling me to be a conduit.

But, there’s more.

As I stand, and continue to face the direction that that power-blessing was sent. I wait for a minute or so. With my arms out, at shoulder height, I wait. I breathe deeply several times in anticipation, believing that what was sent out, comes back – although it may work its way out in my life in a different way to that original power-blessing, I do believe it comes back as a ‘gift’ so that we also benefit.

I do believe a blessing comes back to the sender, in one form or another, immediately or some time in the future. And, that’s one good reason to send out something positive, rather than something negative.

I inhale to, metaphorically, accept the return blessing.

Just a little more!

Time for more gratitude to the Power who supplies all that we need. Here you can add vocal prayers, vocal praise, vocal gratitude. I, then, lower my arms.

It’s about time for us to return and leave the imaginal realm, that liminal place.

Stage Three: The Return

This is really a reversal of stage one, and is something that need not be rushed. Take a minute or two to still your mind. Just bask in the closeness of your encounter…even if you can’t feel anything. The Friend is close.

As you stand there, allow your breathing to return to normal, slowly open your eyes, perhaps not focussing on anything in particular, but just ease yourself back to that former state.

With my eyes open, I point to that circle, I used stones, but you can point to where the invisible circle, the one you inscribed earlier, is.

Slowly I turn my body through 360 degrees. I like to face east, and so face east once I’ve gone full circle. But, I move in the opposite direction this time – anti-clockwise (or widdershins, as it is known) – to close the caim.

And then I wait for another minute, and leave the circle.

If the outline I’ve used seems overly complex, don’t be deterred. It’s the way I choose to use the caim, and it comes naturally, having done it many times. Use it as a framework, but not as a rigid formula. You will develop your own ‘habits’, and then you’ll find, over time, most of them, as you perform the caim, will change, but that’s okay. You cannot make a mistake. It’s all about intentionality.

The caim is a spiritual ‘tool’ for you to use – one amongst many – and not a magical formula that won’t work unless you get it absolutely right. Adapt it, and use it to best serve you needs, and that of others.

That’s it. Well almost.

A Gesture To ‘Ground’ The Power-Blessing, And More

Having sent out an power-blessing, there is always some work to be done, to work towards making the prayer come about, in the physical realm. I do believe the One Who Answers Prayer does indeed answers prayer, but I also know that people like you and me, are used to bring it about, and that is an amazing privilege.

It doesn’t mean that you have to do everything to bring about that specific power-blessing, but just be open to work towards it.

We need to do something in the physical realm, after using the caim. Even a small gesture is good.

For instance, if you’ve prayed for someone to get though their exams, the action now needed might be that you give them some verbal encouragement, rather than, say, spending days teaching them. If someone is not well, maybe a get well card could be sent to them. If you’ve prayed for assistance to rectify an environmental calamity in another part of the world, you don’t have to sell everything and visit that place, but it could be that you might consider sending a small amount of money to a relief agency, as a gesture.

You don’t have to do it all by yourself – a small gesture to ‘ground’ that prayer-blessing, and ‘cement’ that intentionality, maybe, is all that is needed.

And, all action should be legal, decent, honest, borne out of love, and with a healthy ‘dollop’ of common-sense added for good measure.

I also usually journal

I like to record what I’ve used the caim for, and what I’ve done, practically, ‘to ground’ that prayer. It’s always good to look back, and see what a difference you have made, or may have made, and add the outcome to the journal. If you see no tangible outcome, then write that at a latter date, but I do believe you can, and have, made a difference, even if you can’t see it.

If you want more information or have a question, or have tried the caim (perhaps for the first time and want to share your experience), please do contact me. I also lead workshops about the caim and other liminal events (in physically locations, as well as online via skype, individually and in groups).  Email: tadhg@tadhg.cymru

Regards

Tadhg

 

Appendix: For introductory set prayers (if needed):

If you’re praying for a need that you have, you might like to pray, as a start:

Circle me, Lord. Keep protection near and danger afar.
Circle me, Lord. Keep light near and darkness afar.
Circle me, Lord. Keep peace within; keep evil out.

If you’re praying for someone else, you might like to pray:

Circle (name of the person in need), Lord. Keep (name the good you want revealed) near and (name the negativity you want removed) afar.
Circle (name of the person in need), Lord. Keep comfort near and discouragement afar. Keep peace within and turmoil out.
Circle (name of the person in need), Lord. Keep hope within and despair without.

Q&A #74/2016: Dear Tadhg…

022 dear tadhg 6 copyPreamble: It seems to be a lovely ritual now, but when I’m in my little country cottage in the wilderness of north Wales where I live (when not in the City), I like to draw aside with some of the questions asked of me during the week.

At those moments, very early in the morning and before breakfast, I walk about a mile to my favourite location, sit, gaze from the rockface to the vista spread before me, and initially remain silent in awe and meditate, like the Anamcara [literally, ‘sould friends’] before me.

After sometime, I read the question(s) put to me that week to myself, and wait, and rest in complete silence, and ponder.

Awen or inspiration seems to drift upon the wind in this country, and when an answer comes, I record it on my trusty handheld recorder for later transcription. Any train of thought, then, is not interrupted by writing.

I hope the answers I give help the questioner, as I certainly benefit from the clarification each question gives me. In this way, I believe, we all benefit, as ‘iron sharpens iron’, and are blessed.

Ah, this week’s selected question…

Question from a discerning person: You’ve mentioned, Tadhg, using imagination for growth and maturing. I’m finding it difficult. The imaginal exercises – that I did with you in one-to-one sessions by Skype worked well – but in daily life I still find myself getting really annoyed, getting upset by events, and though I’ve been part of an organised religion for years, I really am immature sometimes. Help!

Answer from Tadhg: There are probably a few things going on here. When using imagination or creative visualisation to enter that imaginal realm to interact with your ‘self’, you’ll probably remember I talked about several ‘yous’. Yes, you are a wonderfully, complicated being.

‘You are fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Sacred Text

For brevity sake, imagine that there are two ‘inner’ yous.

There’s the:

  • defensive person, and many like to see him/her, in their minds eye, as a funny character. His/her role is to protect you, to encourage you not to take risks, and if others upset you, his/her role is to make you feel better by (usually)blaming them. You could call this the lower or ‘small self’, and there’s the,
  • noble you. Maybe shyer, quieter, sometimes elusive, but also so strong and powerful, able to stand still and stand tall, whose character is peace and love etc. I like to encourage clients, when in that imaginal realm, to see this as a being of light, and you could call this a ‘higher self’.

The challenge in daily life is to whom should you ‘listen’?

It seems our default position, in our daily life, is to listen to the ‘small self’, after all he/she has done us proud over the years and is surely a friend, if somewhat ‘small-minded’ and limited. And there’s the clue.

If you need a quick and limited response, say, to avoid a car crash or avoid somekind of danger then the ‘small self’ is perfect and will serve you well, and will give you a quick and decisive reply (and response) to get you out of trouble. The ‘small self’ is great for quick-fixes, but is lousy for a mature response and growth.

What to do now? For a more mature response, I would suggest that, when appropriate, that you spend more time in that imaginal realm in the company of a ‘higher self’, and there are various techniques we can both explore at your next one-to-one session with me.

The ‘higher self’ is whispering to you softly in the silence between your thoughts.
Deepak Chopra

Also, in daily life, you can (when safe and appropriate) ‘day-dream’ or meditate (the way we explored some weeks ago) and so be in contact with a ‘higher self’; and so, bit by bit, that calming, mature nature will grow. When you want that ‘higher self’ energy and response you can also ‘affirm’ (by using an outward physical action to obtain an inner, beneficial reaction).

‘…though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day…’. Sacred text.

The feeling of not making progress arises when we try to obtain a ‘higher self’ response from the ‘small self’. As some say, ‘it aint never gonna happen’.

If you can think of the ’small self’ as a child, and the ‘higher self’ as the adult then it makes sense. It’s no good expecting adult behaviour from a child, nor answers about complex mathematical problems from them.

And yet, many try to ‘redeem’ or change the ‘small self’, and expect more from him/her than it can deliver, and it doesn’t work. The poor ‘small self’ doesn’t have the capability to give you a ‘higher self’ response. Don’t confuse yourself by working with the ‘small self’, when you need to be working with the ‘higher self’.

All the great teachers have left a similar message: Go within, discover your invisible higher self and know God as the love that is within you.
Wayne Dyer

I would suggest you work with the ‘higher self’ in the imaginal realm, when it comes to growth, maturation and transformation.

Regards, Tadhg

 

Please note: All questions asked will receive a reply directly, but one, anonymised, question will be selected from time to time and appear here with my answer. If you have a question, do please ask. Tadhg can be contacted at: tadhg@tadhg.cymru

Similarly, if you have any comments or thoughts about today’s topic, please do share.

Confessio #6

01 confession 6 copy

One of my confessions is that…I find prayer, which is so useful and beneficial, so boring, or at least I used to. Infact, had I come across a piece on prayer like this, a few years ago, I would have stopped reading by now.

I disliked prayer intensely, then. Not, the actually ‘communing’ bit, but the actual doing it in a group, church context. I would rather have had root canal treatment than take part in group prayer…

…until, I re-defined, or properly understood, what it is!

So, what is prayer?

Years ago, I think I probably had the view that prayer was a way to coax God to do what I wanted, regardless.

My earliest recollections of ‘corporate’ Christian prayer, years ago, whether it was before the evening church service or for some special event, was of meeting with a motley group of much older people, in a little, darkened room, the vestry, which was badly in need of decoration, smelled of dust, and was cold, damp and uninviting. And, the language? I don’t mean swear words, but all those ‘thees’ and ‘thous’, as if God spoke like middle-class England did some three hundred  years ago?

Dost thou understandeth me? You catch my drift?

If that room and prayer was a food it would be cold semolina pudding. It didn’t encourage me as an older teen to pray.

The collection of prayers, as one person prayed and then the next in the circle prayed – always ‘intimidating’ and artificial as I might not want to pray next in the queue – seemed to be fear-based, a ‘warding off’ of something, rather than something more positive, say, of inviting God ‘in’. Although my theological understanding now is that even that is unnecessary as God is already here, there and everywhere, and it is the Deity who invites us, anyway!

But, thankfully, knowledge gave way to wisdom.

Now, a few years older than a teen – cough, cough – okay, may years older, my understanding of prayer has changed, so that I regard it as a conversation with the deity, and two-way, at that! That last claim still raises a few eyebrows from my local evangelical Christian friends, some of whom look at me with that ‘humour-the-poor-fellow-as-his-mind-is-obviously-addled’ look. Inwardly, I look at them and think, you don’t know what you’re missing, and that, too, forms part of my prayer for them.

But, I’m ‘so old’ now I really don’t care what they think of me. I’m having a great time with my redefined view of prayer. Don’t stop me know, Queen (the band) said in another context.

Right now, I’d like to suggest three forms of prayer.

I know there are more than three, and it depends what you’re really looking at, as there are different ways to slice a cake, but, here’s three forms or stages of prayer to think about, that I’d like to offer.

The first is vocal prayer. This might be the staple diet of many, and/or it might be seen as the first stage in prayer, and one that is commended. It’s certainly the only stage of prayer that was used in that dust-laden vestry. It’s where we might say aloud our prayers, and it includes prayers that we ‘say’ silently as thought-prayers, inwardly, and might consist of list of needs for us or others, or things to give gratitude for.

It’s a two-way conversation.

It could include adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. It could also use spontaneous words or formulaic, written prayers of old. I’ve also discovered contemporary language is acceptable to the Deity!

The second is imaginal prayer, along the lines of that attributed to St  Ignatius. Here, the imagination can ‘dance’. I sometimes like to read a holy text, and then imagine that account and myself ‘in’ it. What would I have heard? What would I have seen? What would I have felt? What would I have done? What would it have been like to listen to, say, Jesus, deliver a parable? Imagine!

Maybe to counter that old view of prayer I had years ago, and to ‘combat’ the sedentary nature in many places, I also – and this happens only when I’m alone, I assure you – like to move about!

Yes, in this second level of prayer, actions are possible. I discovered that if the prophets of old in the Book can use ‘enacted parables’, and Jesus used ritual, then I (and that includes you) can use movement in prayer, though you might like to call it ‘dance’ or ‘exaggerated ritual’. Infact, you might want to keep it a secret like me – though it’s a secret no longer.

It’s dancing with the Deity. You can even ‘lead’, such is the Deity’s grace and humility, and desire to ‘connect’ with you.

Yes, with my eyes closed, I imagine that when standing, and with my hands raised in ‘surrender’ in prayer. Orans is what the ancient Believer would call this; it’s very similar to the   I am being allowed to ‘harvest’ some heavenly power.

It’s a moving out of normal ‘time-space’, into the liminal, where things happen!

When I then place my hands on my heart, that power is ‘linked’ to the person, metaphorically, on my heart at that time. When I mould my hands around an invisible ball in front of me, I like to imagine that that prayer-power is almost ready to ‘go’. And then, adopting a zen-like pose of putting my weight more on one (slightly bended) leg, I use both hands, open-palmed, to ‘propel’ that prayer-power in the direction of the person prayed for. I would also say a brief verbal prayer for them.

Sometimes prayer can be too brief, too easy, too shallow. This helps me, and it might help you. Ofcourse, you can vary and/or adapt the ‘dance’.

Afterwards, I take my time to ‘return’ to normal time-space, and I let my hands ‘hang loose’.

I know some may find this totally unnecessary and time-consuming, or even bizarre, but I find it beneficial, and much better than sitting and just saying ‘Bless Fred, he’s not at all well!’.

The third way is that of the prayer of silence or the prayer of Presence. It’s a going deep, and deeper still. I imagine at first, maybe being in a forest and I’m walking along a path to encounter the Deity. In this type of prayer, I quickly, purposely, lose the idea of ‘picture-thought’, and just rest. Thoughts come and go all the time – but they’re metaphorically like ships on the horizon and I pay them no attention to them. Grab onto a thought and you ‘jump out’ of that ‘no-thought’ space.

This prayer is the way of just sitting, relaxing, resting, being. Revealing in the Deity’s Presence.

It is being in the Presence of the deity. Bask in it. No effort is needed. The interesting thing is, that the moment you ask yourself, ’Have I encountered yet?’, then you haven’t, because that’s a thought, and you’ve moved out of just resting, just being, just being in the Presence. Similarly, if you work at it, you’ve missed the point. Understanding that you’ve been in the Deity’s Presence is in hindsight, and never during the event. It’s known only after the event, when one thinks back! And it’s awesome! It’s apophatic meditation (or contemplation, however you use those words) or centering prayer.

Some find this third idea of prayer odd, unnatural, and some of my evangelical friends say it is ‘rather un-christian’, little realising that it was the ‘staple diet’ of many Believers for over a thousand years before the Reformation – but, sadly they trace their knowledge and understanding of such things only as far back to their particular denominations start-date, some three hundred years ago or less.

Oh, they don’t know what they’re missing.

No, this third level of prayer, basking in the Deity’s Presence is very similar to that of human lovers. Initially, in most young relationships there is the ‘whispering sweet nothings’ stage when just the voice of your lover is exciting; then there is the working together and planning together stage, dare I say imagining together; and as the relationship grows and matures there is ‘silent-togetherness’ stage. Then, just being in each other’s presence is more than enough. No words, no actions, no thoughts are necessary! Just being together is everything! This is the third level of prayer, that I would recommended – that of encountering God as the all-embracing, Loving Presence, available to all!

So, there you have it. I hope, in my praying, things are more dynamic, lively, interesting and relevant.  I certainly feel as though I’ve taken the J-Cloth and Fairy Liquid to my previous notion of dusty, old, irrelevant and archaic prayer, and swept away the prayer cobwebs of shallowness. Hmm, I feel better already!