Power & Practice: Blessing 101: When? Now? Are You Sure?

20181021 BLESSING 101 WHEN NOW ARE YOU SURE

Here are three accounts from my journal about blessing and awakening, which I believe may have parallels with your life, albeit the working-out may be different for all of us as individual Celts, Pagans, Christians, Druids etc. But, as regards the theme and nature of blessings, its timing, power and efficacy, do read on.

‘A blessing is the very soulfire made manifest’. Blessing: The Art And Practice. David Spangler

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There was a time, many years ago, when I was, as they say, ‘wet behind the ears’. At the age of eighteen years and during the summer breaks between college terms I would assist in the church office. The church was a sleepy, little church, where nothing much seemed to happen, and if the telephone rang I was told it would probably be a utility company chasing an unpaid bill, in which case I was to make a note and pass it to the treasurer when I saw her next. It seemed like a good thing assisting in the office as it gave me something to occupy myself and meant I’d have some work experience, and it was a worthwhile summer endeavour.

At that time, my assistance was administrative only, that is until I found myself alone in the church office, and the telephone rang, and it wasn’t a utility company.

Caller: Hello, this is Charing Cross Hospital. May I speak to the Pastor, please?

Me: I’m sorry, he’s away on a church conference for the week. Is it something I can deal with?

Caller: Are the Church elders available?

Me: They are normally here at this time, but I’m afraid both are out of the office right now leading a service at a school at the moment. Could I be of assistance?

Caller: We have a male patient who is in a critical condition and is asking for someone to visit for prayer. Could you come quickly, please?

It was one of those ‘jarring’ moments when time seemed to stand still. I knew I had very little religious knowledge, certainly didn’t have any official church credentials, and yet here was a call, as it were, from out of the ether, a cry, a call for help by an unknown person who, I was told, was in a critical condition. Within the space of one second my mind seemed to come up with every possible disqualification not to attend that I could imagine, and yet I found myself saying, ‘I can be there in twenty minutes. Can you give me the details, please?’

Who can bless?

There were at least a dozen reasons for me not to go, but the only one that mattered was that someone’s life here on earth was about to expire, they had got the hospital to call on their behalf and fate, the universe, or God had ensured that that call had come through to me, and I didn’t want that person to die alone.

I got to the hospital, saw the middle-aged man in need in the critical care unit, introduced myself, took his hand, listened to him, prayed and blessed him. Ofcourse, there was more than that, as I left the ward sometime later I felt both concerned for that patient and yet quietly assured that I had responded appropriately.

Who can give a blessing? Well, as I was (then) part of an organised hierarchical group the leaders could and do bless. It’s true that they sometimes delegated on an ad hoc basis, but what was one to do in an emergency when they weren’t around? The answer in my mind is: any action based on love is acceptable, and indeed, necessary.

At that young age I was thrust into the heady world of life and death, hospitals and ensuring unhindered access in that time of emergency. Doors opened, and it was as if I had a companion beside me to empower me and guide me. I do believe the universe, my guardian angel, my favourite elemental, my coimimeadh, or God was with me that day. It was one instance of being nudged into awareness.

There is an account in the Book where Peter miraculously escapes from prison and goes to the house of Mary the mother of John. He knocks and Rhoda goes to answer the door. It’s almost comical in that she is so surprised, she leaves Peter outside.

It says: Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his [spirit, though some say, angel].” Acts 12: 13-15, The Book

Oh, you may have noticed the word coimimeadh? To ancient (Irish) Celts and Druids this is a mysterious being, an ‘other-us’. The coimimeadh (pronounced koym-imah) according to the Reverend Robert Kirk (writing in the seventeenth century) is our ‘co-traveller’. He thought that it is part of us (our soul), who walks beside us, generally, but sometimes can even go walk-about (in which case you, too, can be bi-locational).

We are guided into awareness and action by That Which Is Unseen, and this belief is global and spans may tribes, belief systems and cultures.

‘All blessings come from a single source: the soulfire of an intelligent love and compassion willing to give itself’. Blessing: The Art And Practice. David Spangler

Who can bless? You and I can bless.

Dau/2
There was a time when, many years ago, when, at the age of nineteen I found myself clearing away things that had been used in the church service. The service had ended half an hour earlier, and there was no one was about, just me, or at least so I thought. It was late, a December evening, and it was pitch black outside and only minimal lights were now on in the worship area of this old, rustic, heavily stone-clad, somewhat dusty building. Dark shadows abounded within the building.

As I stepped onto the dais, the platform, there was a polite, somewhat high-pitched cough from the far row pews, and as I looked I could see the outline of a young lady in the shadows. Without wanting to act surprised, I slowly made my way to the back and politely asked if I could assist.

Person: I need a blessing.

Immediately I thought, how should one bless?

Me: Ah, I’m the only one here now. The Church leaders have now left but you could contact them tomorrow if you need. I can give you details.

Person: I need a blessing now. What’s to stop you blessing me?

Me: Nothing. Nothing at all.

For the next ten minutes this young woman spoke about a recent family tragedy of heart-rending proportions. All I could do was but listen as she unburdened herself. She took my hand and asked me to bless her. As I said the words, ‘Bless this young lady…’. She cried out, wailed loudly, rocked as she sat on that pew, and sobbed like a small child as her grief tumbled  out like a breach in a dam.

It was one of the moments that one just knew that what was needed was already being accomplished in the life of that young lady, even without (more) words. Who knows what was happening in the spiritual realm? More minutes passed by.

Person: I feel a little better, I have to go.

Me: I’m pleased I was able to help, but do ‘phone the Pastor tomorrow, please.

With that, she left.

‘Every time you create safety and reassurance where before there was fear…love where there is loneliness, comfort and encouragement where there was despair and depression, you are being a blessing.’ Blessing: The Art And Practice. David Spangler

How does one bless? It seems in many cases we are guided as we surrender to the moment, and sometimes just being there for someone, listening to them, is all that may be required.

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Ofcourse, since that tender age the learning experiences of awakening have continued over the years. We never stop learning. We never stop experiencing, if we are open to new experiences.

There was a time, just a year ago, at the age of sixty-two years of age (yes, I am as ‘old as dust’), when I was sitting in a café in Clapham Junction, London, reading a great, deeply spiritual book, and as I sat at a high bench table that faced the huge pane of glass that allowed me to look out onto the busy high street, I had that feeling of being watched. I carried on reading the book and ‘endured’ the strange feeling for a few more minutes, then looked up and there, outside, looking at the cover of the book I was reading (it had a butterfly on in denoting new life) stood a middle-aged woman. I smiled, she smiled. At that was it, or so I thought.

My glancing up was only fleeting, and my eyes were soon buried back into that fascinating book. Except, that that feeling of being watch manifested itself, again. I looked up and looked out at the busy high street, but the woman had gone. Except, the feeling was still there. Yes,  she was now behind me.

Woman: I just had to come in because I was intrigued by the cover of the book you’re reading.

Me: Ah, It is a fascinating book.

Woman: What’s it about?

It was at this point that I was conscious of the fact that a few other people in the café had noticed the peculiar event and were also listening intently. Not one for being shy I explained as best as I could – without understating or overstating the book, trying to use everyday words so as not to seem from another planet, and yet try to convey the awesome spiritual nature of the book to the woman.

However, events overtook all this, and within a few minutes we were chatting, back and forth, sipping coffee and talking as though we had known each other for years. We must have chatted for about half an hour and then she left. She seemed to enjoy the conversation and got something from it, but it was as she left that I realised that I, too, had been greatly blessed by her and her uplifting and stimulating conversation.

What is a blessing?

A blessing is not meant to ‘impress but to touch and to connect. It could take whatever form would make that connection’. Blessing: The Art And Practice. David Spangler

Who can bless? You can. How should one bless? In any appropriate way, being open to being guided by That Which Is Bigger Than Us. What is a blessing? It is whatever makes that soulfire connection manifest.

 

Tadhg, On The Road To Matlock. The Ministry Of Baby-Naming & Healing The Land

20180814 TADHG ON THE ROAD TO MATLOCK

I love rituals and what follows are a few thoughts about the use of water and other ‘tools’ in ritual, especially with a couple of upcoming events.

  • I’m leading a baby-naming ceremony, and then
  • I’m conducting a healing of the land ritual, and more.

And, both events are taking me to the wonderful area of Matlock, England in a couple of weeks.

But first the ceremony: It was with the greatest of pleasure that I accepted James and Caitlan’s invitation to lead their new baby’s naming ceremony which takes place a couple of weeks’ time. (Yes, I’m on my way to the Matlock area of England.) Caitlan and James had asked me for a blended ceremony and one that was full of Celtic and Druidic meaning. As is usual in these matters all three of us (James, Caitlan and myself) were involved in outline planning so that it will be a special, meaningful, memorable and bespoke day for them and their baby.

And, all this got me thinking about rituals for babies and, because James and Caitlan wanted their baby to be sprinkled with water, it also got me thinking about the meaning of water in such ceremonies.

’In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.’ Kahlil Gibran

We might each have our particular way of opening and closing rituals, of casting and closing circles of sacred time-space, but what about the contents, the part of the ceremony that is peculiar to the requirements of the day, and what about the meaning behind it? Intentionality is all important.

‘Life in us is like the water in a river.’ Henry David Thoreau

Water is life. Without it we could not survive. Indeed, the human body is made up of roughly 60% of water, with the lungs and brain amounting to considerably more. It’s fitting then, that at a baby’s first ceremony water should be involved. And, so here are a few thoughts that might prove useful, in part, to you as regards baby naming, rituals involving water, or perhaps, to ponder upon now, and some ideas that will be used in this wonderful ceremony in two weeks’ time.

At that future ceremony, I mentioned to James and Caitlan that I would welcome guestsmatlock baby-20339_960_720 and give them an outline of the major events within the ceremony. This is always useful to do in public events, so that guests aren’t caught unawares or embarrassed, and can feel at ease. It encourages guest to relax and feel ‘at home’ with the more mystical and deep meaningful parts of the ritual.

And so, there should be phrases of welcoming and explanation, perhaps then casting a circle or caim, or some aspect of entering sacred space-time, that liminal space where each will, hopefully, encounter.

Ceremonialist:
Let us bless this water to be used in this naming ceremony.

From the imagination of the Great Provider,
we think upon the gift of water poured into that primeval sea,
in which life was first formed, and moved upon of the face of the Earth.

We value water that comes to us in nature’s cycle, in rainstorms, and provides each one of us with nourishment and life.

Blessed be (this) water,
in a profound and truthful way, our first mother.

Ofcourse, there will be more wonderful words, awesome ritual and a sacred-time event as the baby is given her name. The above mentioned is just a glimpse of what is to come. And, they’ve asked me to don my alb (complete with cincture and stole) to underline to all the ‘different’ and joyous nature of this event. It will be a wonderful time for all, and a memorable one, with fond memories for the parents to cherish for years to come.

But, there’s more!

Secondly, the ‘work’ or ministry: Just a few miles away from Matlock is the Peak District National Park, and it’s there that I will both rest and work. I’m spending a few days ‘communing’ with nature, basking in a company of elementals and ‘recharging my batteries’. I love nature, and that spending a few days in that National Park will be blissful. But, there’s even more.

Part of that time will be ‘work’ or ministry. Whilst there I intend to ‘crystal plant’. I am MATLOCK RAINFOREST JASPER 1111 Untitledmost concerned about the ecological ‘stress’ we place the Earth under, and this not only shows in bizarre weather patterns, but in food shortages in various parts of the world, and abroad and ‘at home’ it shows, sadly, in the impact upon animals, insects, plants and trees.

‘Energy work is priceless. It makes every day extraordinary and transforms the mundane to the holy.’ Silvia Hartmann

Healing of the land is needed.

Whilst in the Peak District National Park, I intend to seek out a quiet spot and undertake a short but profound Land Healing Ritual. This will involve a few words, an opportunity for me to offer my flute-playing as an offering, and there I’ll pour out some of the nearby spa water (from St Anne’s Well, Buxton) as a libation, and then bury a small Rainforest Jasper gemstone 9see small photograph) which is renowned for emitting gentle energy and healing the land.

In this small way energy is raised, a blessing is given, healing can take place and one person (or more, if you join with me at that time in thought, wherever you are) will have made a difference. A blessing, said John O’Donohue ‘…is a powerful and positive intention that can transform situations… Whenever you give a Blessing, a Blessing returns to enfold you.’

‘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.’

Over the next year it is my intention to ‘crystal plant’, be part of raising the power, be involved in blessing in several parts of the country as a healing ritual for the land, and I would encourage you to consider doing similar, if you can (physically or imaginally).

Fellowship: And then there’s a third reason. Ofcourse, I’m going to be in thematlock coffee-690054_960_720 neighbourhood of Matlock from 22 August to 29 August, and would welcome some company if you’re nearby. I’m sure we would have a great time of fellowship if we met at, say, a local café for an hour or so. Do let me know if you live nearby (and then I’ll email/text details nearer the time). Yet another awesome reason to make the most of my jaunt to that fantastic part of England.

Do our rituals make a difference? I believe they do, and so I would welcome your positive thoughts at that time. In a few weeks I’d also like to outline a Land Healing ritual that we can all, wherever we are, take part in and truly make a difference.

 

20180814 TADHG ON THE ROAD TO MATLOCK

Enjoying The Journey One Step At A Time: Celtic Thought

20170721 ENJOYING THE JOURNEY ONE STEP AT A TIMESomeone once said that when we point the finger in judgement on others, there are three fingers pointing back. With that is mind, I sat on the covered porch at the back of the house today, having a mid-day snack and listening to the radio. The weather wasn’t too good today: the temperature’s had dropped, it was cloudy and raining. But, this is to be expected. It’s Wales.

Did you know that in this part of Wales it rains for about 330 days each year – albeit light drizzle and sometimes during the night and so it’s not noticeable, but it rains a lot. And I love it. We get our fair share of heat and sunshine, too, but at some point throughout a twenty-four hour period it will rain.

Listening to the radio, and as is common these days, it seemed doom and gloom was everywhere. I know there are many good things happening, and that if we just listen to the mass media our views can be skewed, and we can easily end up with ‘mean world’ syndrome – thinking that everything is horrid.

‘If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.’ (Rainer Maria Rilke)

As the radio newscaster talked about public borrowing, the rise in inflation, the rise in crime, and the uncertainties of ‘Brexit’, and the ineptitude of some politicians, my mind wandered as to possible solution. Ofcourse, the answer was for them to ‘sort themselves out’, ‘they’ should be more pro-active, ‘that group’ should desist, if only the government would do ‘this’ or ‘that’, and so my thoughts raced. The fault was them! Not me, ofcourse. At least that was one train of thought.

I came across an interesting story – and you know I love stories – and here’s one by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that I’d like to share with you, and it’s one that made me sit up and think. It goes like this:

A scientist who ‘wrestled’ with some of the world’s toughest problems was resolute in finding the means to reduce them. He would spend so many, many days in his laboratory searching answers for the challenges that he was working on.

One day his seven year old son invaded his sanctuary wanting to help him with his work. The scientist, nervous by the interruption, asked his son to go play somewhere else. But, his son protested, and so his father thought of something that would keep the child busy.

Suddenly, he found just what he needed. A magazine with a map of the world on one of its pages.

With a pair of scissors he cut the map into pieces and together with a roll of tape gave it to his son telling him, “Since you like puzzles, I am going to give you the world all cut up for you to repair without anyone’s help.’

He calculated that it would take his son about 10 days to reconstruct the map.
However, after only a few hours, he heard his son’s voice calling him, “Daddy, Daddy I’ve finished.’

At first his father didn’t believe him. He thought that it would be impossible that at his age he was able to reconstruct a map of the world that he had never seen before. He looked at his son’s handiwork, and the pieces had, indeed, been put back in the right places.

How was that possible? How could a child do this? The father dumbfounded asked his child, “My child you did not see what the map looked like, so how did you do it?’

‘Daddy,’ the child answered,  ‘I didn’t know what the world looked like, but when you took out the map from the magazine to cut it, I saw that on the reverse side there was the figure of a man. So I turned the pieces over and step by step began to reconstruct the man that I had seen and did know. When I was able to reconstruct the man I then turned the page over and saw that I had fixed the world.’

Ofcourse, the ‘blaming others’ train of thought, so easy to do, decreased and another train of thought sprang to mind. If we want to change the world, if we want to ‘fix the world’, then we need to ‘reconstruct the man’ (or woman) – that is, we need to start with ourselves.

This is not to say that we berate ourselves, not to say we have to be tough on ourselves, but that gently, lovingly, progressively, slowly we see ourselves as ‘a work in progress’, and daily make positive changes to grow, mature and be transformed. We don’t need to wait until we’ve made it or are perfect, and so we can start right now (if we haven’t already done so). And, it needn’t be a chore. There is much to do that is a delight, and other things that only you can do. Yes, you have a calling (to do, or to discover), and once we’re on that ‘journey’ of making a change in our lives we’ll also find that we’re making changes in other peoples lives and making a difference in the world.

‘Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.’
Marianne Williamson

What kind of difference will depend on you and I, and the part of the world we live in. But, I do believe we start with ourselves, and then by what we plan to do a major change will take place in the world, bit by bit, one step at a time. And it doesn’t stop there. I do believe, even without our knowing it, almost by ‘osmosis’ our lifestyle will ‘rub off on others’ and by just living that lifestyle positive changes around us will happen.

Haven’t you even been in someone’s company and they’ve just exuded life and love even without saying a word? By them just being close, a positive effect is wrought. Haven’t you been to a church service, a Druid ritual or listened to a piece of music and been inspired to ‘do’ something or to ‘be’? Or, it could be for us to pause, periodically, or stop, or surrender, perhaps? These are glimpses of energy – ouranic energy – portals to the Other, and the Spirit flows, and opportunities that do a wonderful work in us ripple outward in observed and unobserved ways. But, it starts with us, doesn’t it? All of us!

‘Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ (Revelation 21:5, part. The Book)

So, as I sat on the porch listening to the radio the predominant thought was then, that it has to start with us, and bit by bit, one by one, slowly the world changes for the better. It sounds naïve, but what have we to lose. We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

As the child in that story said: ‘When I was able to reconstruct the man (or woman) I then turned the page over and saw that I had fixed the world.’ A new, transformed world is coming. Indeed, it has already started growing within this one, and it starts with us. But, don’t beat yourself up. We’re a work in progress. Enjoy the journey.

Happy Band Of ‘Amphibians’, We: Celtic Thought On Authenticity

20170705 HAPPY BAND OF AMPHIBIANS WEIt’s noon here, and I’m in the garden overlooking the distant hills and mountains of north Wales, and it’s idyllic. I’m munching away on the thickest and most mouth-watering tomato and cheese sandwich you can ever imagine, and there’s the obligatory book and a steaming cup of delicious coffee on the table, too. The weather is wonderfully hot, especially hot for the UK. It’s bliss. I’m in that ‘place’!

I took a telephone call, and that ‘pulled’ me out of the soporific, wonderful, state I was in. It happens. The ‘place’ seemingly ‘evaporated’.

The caller said I needed to make a major legal decision, and I made it. Reluctantly. I would have preferred more time, but that can be a luxury, sometimes. The caller acting on my behalf was pleasant enough, and knowing where I was and what a beautiful part of the country this is, ended their call by wishing that they had such a genteel lifestyle as I had.

And that got me thinking. Always a dangerous thing to do. Do they really know me?

How often, when we get snippets of information do we fill in the ‘gaps’ in a glorious and imaginative fashion, albeit not a very realistic one?

‘The problem is that perception is reality.’ (John Rowland)

Here’s some examples from tv, myth, history, and my life:

I loved those old Robin Hood tv series, and the latter-day ones, but honestly, would Robin Hood really have had all his teeth, would Maid Marion’s dress be so white and her hair so coiffured?

As a student of various ancient spiritual texts, it’s easy to think that Luke the physician ran around Palestine wearing a white coat and with a stethoscope, when probably, he was more akin to an ancient herbalist.

We fill in the gaps, and somehow don’t quite make the leap as regards context and that imaginative inner ‘time travel’ back to those former days to understand what life was really like in only partially complete. Well, unless we really, really, really try!

One of my heroes from English history is Oliver Cromwell. A brave and noble man, many believe, and his statue is outside the Houses Of Parliament in London. But he’s painted with a wart or two on his face, and he wasn’t always noble. To our Irish brethren at that time, and to the Leveller’s of his day he was ruthless, and he killed so many of them.

Be careful when filling in those information gaps!

We see paintings, some of them online, about ancient Druids and Celts, Celtic-Christians and others from yesteryear, and we ‘see’ them depicted through twenty-first century eyes, and in doing so we miss much. Their wisdom surpasses ours, but in many respects their knowledge and (sorry to bring this up) their personal hygiene probably left a lot to be desired. Yes, even Jesus had goat dung between his toes, probably.

We fill in the gaps, and unknowingly factor in modern-day living and thoughts. Authenticity is the goal.

It’s easy to ‘see’ the ancients’ lives though ‘rose-tinted spectacles’. And this goes on even today. Remember that phone call I mentioned earlier, where the person wished for a genteel life such as mine?

What I wanted to say to them was: I want to be honest with you. I’m an ‘amphibian’. And, you are, too! True, I have times of luminous awareness, liminality and can almost ‘feel’ angels at play around me, like you. At other times, I don’t. Then, I have to shop in the supermarket and compare prices, nurse a burnt finger – yes, I burnt my finger on the cooker cooking a nice piece of fish, today – and have to ‘wrestle’ with tax forms, ‘official’ phone calls that demand urgent action, and the world seems to press in so tightly. On those occasions I don’t feel so ‘sagely’ and ‘genteel’. On top of that, in my life, I’ve had cancer (leading to three cycles of chemo, an oesophagetomy and radio-therapy), also had an unrelated thyroidectomy, two broken ribs last year, and now I’ve got a burnt finger.

I’m a work in progress, that’s what I wanted to tell them. And, I know you’re the same as me – the details may change, but we have a share in that ‘common human predicament’.

Those ancients were great people, of that I’m sure, but they had tough lives, and were people of their time. I look around at Church folk and Druids, and Celts and Pagans and others today, and whatever untroubled lifestyle they may ‘exude’ (intentionally or accidentally), I know better. I know that they, like me, you – us – have had (and still have) tough times in our life. Those who are closest to me know my foibles, and I know theirs, and you know what? I love them even more!

But, that’s what makes us all human. That’s what makes us fascinating.  And, that means I can relate to you, bless you, and you can relate to me and bless me.

We’re all journeying together, you and me, today, and those of yesteryear, on one conga-line dance from here to eternity.

‘…know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of
Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you
are almost home. (Anis Mojgani)

As a sat there, having ended that ‘phone call, and munching on that sandwich – and it was so delicious – the thought that ran through my mind was: authenticity.

The ancient Celts and Druids were a ‘gritty’ people, living in tough times, in touch with nature in all its green and yes, its brown and soggy bits, but they were an authentic ‘breed’, and don’t we love them for that? I want to be authentic, too, and my prayer, wish, energy-sending ‘push’ for you is that you, too, are authentic. Warts and all. For then I can relax in your company, and you can take me as I am, and I will take you as are you are, and we’ll journey onward together toward Caer Wydyr

‘Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.’ (Zen quote).

Being an ‘amphibian’ human is all right. And the journey is a good one.

In Dark Times, Shine 1/5: Distinctiveness [Celtic Thought]

20170220-in-dark-times-1-celtic-thoughtIf you read the newspapers, watch tv or listen to the radio there seems to be more ‘darkness’ about than ever. Is there more confusion, fear and bitterness in the world, or are we just more aware of it?

Putting ‘fake news’ aside, just what is going on? I know a lot of people are unnerved by recent events, and maybe not without just cause, and it does seem the ones in ascendancy just get angrier and angrier, and that can spill over and affect us all.

‘It’s the end of the world as we know it…’, so sang R.E.M in (would you believe) 1987

What Do We Do?
keep-calm-shoppingAs a Brit I am reminded of the resurgence over the last few years of those war time posters (and cups and mugs etc) that say something like ‘[something witty here] and ‘carry on”!  I think there’s some truth in that. So, we carry on? Yes, but there’s more!

‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.’ Seneca The Younger

I do believe it’s not the end, but the beginning of something new. Sadly, Seneca got there before me, in saying that!

As a latter-day Celt, and speaking to you as a Celt, Celtic Christian, or Druid etc, we come from a long line and tradition that has ‘weathered’ many storms of change in the past. Times change. Truth remains. Indeed, in one ancient text it refers to such changes and perception of extreme and seemingly unusual feelings as being like birth-pangs. It’s a beginning of something wonderful and exciting – a call to people of vision – but  it’s not without pain, confusion, fear and some much-needed adjustment. But, take heart!

‘Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living
In better conditions.’ Hafiz

We Carry On…
What so we do? I would suggest that we do not give into fear, are not provoked, and, at least ‘carry on’ in doing good. Let your light shine! But, there’s more.

…And Then Do More
hand-pixabay-1331323_960_720If we think in terms of light, love, positivity, good deeds, self-love, other-love, good-thoughts, prayer, wholesome  action, and yes, even ritual, then perhaps there’s scope for us to do even more (not necessarily in terms of the amount we do (but if you want to, that’s okay, but don’t overdo it)), but in the quality, passion and effectiveness of what we’re doing)! Yes, maybe we can step it up a gear!

Of the eight billion people on the planet, the Source of All has made you unique. There is no one quite like you, nor is there anyone with quite the same gifts, talents and calling. You’re different, and different for a reason.

‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’ Dr Seuss

So, be distinctive!

Now, once you know your distinctiveness and calling, then you can be ‘subversively’ good and be distinctive, and when someone notices your words or actions you can minimise the effect. In this sense subversive is used to mean action against the system of brokenness and fear and confusion by thinking, saying and doing good things. Even so, the response may not always be positive from other people, and  that’s one good reason for the low-key approach.

The other approach is to be openly distinctive and throw caution to the wind. Flaunt it, or at least don’t be covert. However, do bear in mind that, ‘Notwithstanding how good you are, you…[may]… be perceived as bad by the masses when you take the extraordinary steps that lead to distinctiveness…’.  said Ernest Agyemang Yeboah. Be cautious.

And Then…
hands-1926414_960_720However, we probably all need some energy – however we define it – for new work, or greater work, or deeper, or prolonged work. We can only give from a position of strength – in the sense if we have no energy or are exhausted, if we have nothing to offer that is refreshing or vibrant, then…..well, we will have nothing to offer, nor the ability to deliver it. Be prepared to do what you’re called to do, but do ensure that you have the energy and resources.

‘Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done’. Benjamin E Mays

Of course, this begs the following questions:

  • Do we know who it is that calls us?
  • Do we know our gifts and attributes?
  • Do we know what it is we’re called to do?

You might like to answer those questions – keeping it to yourself – to clarify the ministry or path you’re on and/or to act as an encouragement to spur you on (further). If you wish to email questions, or answers to these questions, specifically, by all means email me at: tadhg@tadhg.cymru]

‘Let your light so shine…’ Matthew 5:16a, The Book

Empowerment

Once we know our distinctiveness and calling, then power and energy ‘to do’ is needed. Tomorrow, in part 2 we’ll look at individual empowerment.

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Of Pond-skaters And Kingfishers: Spiritual Stages & Progression

161227-pondskaters-1-celtic-thoughtIt occurred to me that, in one sense, that there are two sorts of people, whether they be Celtic, Celtic Christian, Druid or of another tribe or faith family.

The two sorts? Pond-skaters and Kingfishers. And, here’s why:

Pond-skaters: Pond-skaters are wonderful little insects that walk on water. With large and wide legs, relative to their body and weight, they can manoeuvre across the surface of ponds, and no doubt obtain all the food they need to satisfy them from other insects who, similarly, live in their 2D world; a world of north-to-south or east-to-west, or any combination of degrees, but always on the surface of the pond.

People who are like pond-skaters, are similarly living in a (spiritual) 2D world. Believing they can navigate anywhere, they too navigate north-to-south or east-to-west, or any combination of degrees, but always on the surface of their belief. It’s all they’ve known. They cannot, ofcourse, navigate anywhere living in that restricted in 2D realm, but they think they can, and so limit themselves unknowingly. They may be content and so not experiment. They may even be unaware of another dimension, and so not try.

Such people know their Christian liturgy or Druidic prayers and ritual, or that of another faith, but see it as something ‘mechanical’ or ‘magical’: if I do ‘this’, then ‘that’ results automatically. If I do this, because it’s expected, then a benevolent result will….ummm result. They, as ancient text states, ‘hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power’.

Such people, may not even try to go deeper, but prefer just the ‘outwardness’ of ritual and prayer, and thus declare those who have gone ‘deeper’, those that are Kingfishers, those who are different, to be heretics, and therefore ‘write them off’, ignore them, or even declare them as dangerous.

Kingfishers: And, this brings me to people who are like Kingfishers. Those people who have undergone a change in perception.

Kingfishers are marvellous birds, well-adapted to fly at great heights and then descending at speed to catch a fish, dive deep into the water – yes, they break the surface of the pond and go deep. Kingfishers operate in air and water, in two realms, they move about in in 3D: they can navigate anywhere, they too navigate north-to-south or east-to-west, or any combination of degrees, but they have added the high-to-low dimension, and so thus have greater freedom that only Kingfishers (and not Pond-skaters) can experience.

Kingfisher-type people are those that love the outward appearance of ritual and liturgy (like Pond-skaters), and have the added dimension of going ‘deep’, of peeking behind the veil, and of being open to encountering the Source of All to whom that ritual and liturgy ‘connects’, albeit just a glimpse of the Source, ofcourse.

Kingfisher-type people would have a tough time relating their experiences to Pondskater-type people, and so it may be best, if you’re a kingfisher-type person, not to even try in earnest (though a hint, an encouragement to Pondskater-type people would be good, so long as it’s not too obvious – remember, to Pondskater-type people, Kingfisher-type people are heretics, and are therefore dangerous).

There’s more: James Fowler says something about this, and divides the growth of personal faith into seven stages, with a major division between stages three and four. Two things are noteworthy.

To bridge the gap between stages three and four, and so become a kingfisher-type person, demands some ‘judder’, some huge challenge in ones life (such as a close death, trauma, major illness etc, and an eventual overcoming of it and moving through it), and not everyone passes through this ‘judder’ to stage four and beyond. The other interesting fact that Fowler mentions is that each stage cannot comprehend the stage above it (especially at stage three when a major change needs to take place to enter level four, and so those especially at level four look as though they have ‘lost it completely’ to those at level three).

A question for you: So, are you a pond-skater of kingfisher?

It could be said that one sign that you’re a pond-skater is if you haven’t read this far (and so you won’t be reading this) and have already dismissed the abovementioned out of hand or branded me a heretic. If however you honestly recognise yourself at this awesome level, do contact me.

In all probability, if you’ve read this far then maybe you’re a kingfisher-type person, at Fowler level four, maybe, or beyond. Do contact me, because stages five and above promise much, but each transition to another stage has it’s (minor) challenge(s) to work through, lest ‘arrestment’ settle in.

And, so there you have it. Pond-skaters or Kingfishers. What do you think?

An Encounter With Nwyfre In London?

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I’m still in London.

There is a forest not far from where I live in north Wales, old and dense; ancient. I love it. And there, after a long, winding trek through the thick forest is a small clearing stands ‘Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree. (See here).

But, I’m still in town, still in the city, and won’t be back in Capel Curig for at least another few days. And yet….deep in my spirit there’s a restlessness. There are several places where I’ve experienced nwyfre (pronounced ‘noo-iv ruh’) , and one of those it when in the presence of that Lightning Tree.

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

‘Time and attention are the most precious gifts we can give.’ Rob Liano

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 them. 

And so, feeling a fair amount of ennui last evening, I went for a walk along the banks of the River Thames in the heart of London. It was late and the air was now cold, very cold, and the wind was howling over the rooftops of nearby high-rise buildings, making a wailing sound like some kind of invisible bansidhe (pronounced ‘ban-shee’). Oh, the wind moaned a deep, mournful, relentless groan.

I felt small in comparison to the power of the wind that raced across city rooftops and shook the trees. I felt separated, as something of a different order altogether to that barometric pressure that moved noisily, and yet invisibly, nearby. And yet, connected. That’s nwyfre!

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with… the Spirit.’ The Book  (part)

Gazing at the river, only dimly lit by street-lighting, I breathed in – air. Nwyfre! The same wind that blew high above me, that howled across the rooftops, that had come from unknown parts in its journey to who knows where, was now in my lungs and coursing through my veins. I ‘discovered’ that I am no longer separate because of nwyfre! That which was outside, literally, is inside of me. We are encompassed by it. Cocooned. Connected.

‘The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.’ Carl Sagan

Walking now, to keep warm – it seemed colder than ever, and fog was moving in – I ‘discovered’ also that I no longer felt that small. Nwyfre! Not separated, not small, but knew that we are all connected. Connected and powerful. I experienced that at Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree in Wales on many occasions when surrounded by a forest, and in solitude; and now in the heart of London – surrounded by eight million soul – I experienced it once more.

I ‘discovered’ a third fact. And this one that affects you, wherever you are. You too, can experienced that connectedness of nwyfre. In thinking of spiritual experiences many think of out-of-the-way and difficult places to visit, but it doesn’t have to be only that way. Where you are, right now, is as special, as sacred, and as holy as Y goeden mellt, and so is every place, too.

‘We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibres connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibres, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.’ Herman Melville

In the heart of London I experienced the connectedness of nwyfre, and wherever you are, you can too. Ofcourse, if our minds are too busy, we’ll miss the invitation of nwyfre. It seems we have a choice.

‘When you make a choice, you change the future.’ Deepak Chopra

It was now bitterly cold, and as I headed home – about a four minute walk from where I was at that point, I looked at  the lights in those high-rise apartments, the glow of tv screens ‘playing’ on curtains and the apartments’ ceilings, and the general busyness of the metropolis, and felt saddened that unwittingly some had made a choice, and had missed the opportunity of encountering nwyfre. And, the really sad thing is that they never even knew that they had already made a choice.

‘When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.’ William James

 

Ephemera: It’s Time To Celebrate The First Day Of The Celtic Advent Season

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For Celt(ic Christians) in the 6th century, today was the first day of the Celtic Advent season, some forty days before Christmas. It mirrored Lent which leads up to Easter. The Celtic Advent was (and still is) a great season.

So, happy Advent-tide to you and yours. Be blessed.

‘It is now, at Advent, that I am given the chance to suspend all expectation…and instead to revel in the mystery.’ Jerusalem Jackson Greer

In a time when the commercial side of Christmas has a tendency to take over, I like the idea of celebrating the beginning of Advent, today, knowing the Mystery and ancient continuity behind it. It also gives us a longer time to prepare for the coming of Christmas, that is, the real, deep, moving, comforting, spiritual aspect of Christmas, and the meditational aspect of preparation of what is to come.

This Advent, then, can be a time to rest, to accept the struggle, the darkness of the season with short(er) days and longer nights as a reality and see that as a metaphor for our own inner struggles and uncertainties. It is a time for complete honesty and authenticity before the Incarnated One, and a time of expectancy – yes, ripples in time, from the future flow this way, to us; veritable waves of comfort and joy. Christmas is coming. Advent is here!

‘All the element[s] we swim in, this existence, echoes ahead the advent. God is coming! Can’t you feel it? ‘ Walter Wangerin, Jr.

And so, in the 6th century, they would light a candle each day to celebrate the (Celtic) Advent – and there’s an encouragement to us all, perhaps to light a candle, if only for half an hour each evening during this season, and gaze upon it and ponder on the meaning of the Embody-ment, the coming of the Christ at that first ‘Christmas-time’ (and, daily, into our lives!).

‘Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent.’ Edward Hays

‘O’ antiphons sang at this time, was another early Celtic tradition. An antiphon, from the Latin ‘antiphona’, meaning ‘sounding against’, was a repeated line of the Bible used as ‘bookends’ to the Psalms in daily Prayer, helping those gathered remember important and relevant parts of Sacred text relevant to this season. Most people would recognise a version of these antiphons as the verses of the Advent carol O Come, O Come Emmanuel. They are still prayed in many churches – as they have been for more than a millennia and a half. Continuity.

I love continuity, especially as you and I, in part by lighting that candle, or singing (or speaking) those ‘O’ antiphons and/or carols and/or Advent prayers,  enter into the stream of the ancestors, that great cloud of witnesses as we do so.

May this eternal truth be always on our hearts,
that the God who breathed this world into being,
placed stars into the heavens,
and designed a butterfly’s wing,
Is the God who entrusted his life
to the care of ordinary people.
[He] became vulnerable that we might know
how strong is the power of Love.
A mystery so deep it is impossible to grasp,
a mystery so beautiful it is impossible to ignore.

(Poem/prayer: http://www.faithandworship.com used Under Creative Commons Licence)

So, a really happy Advent-tide to you and yours. Be blessed.

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.

 

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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.