Darkness, Ritual And Cosmic Consequences

20170524 DARKNESS RITUAL AND COSMIC CONSEQUENCES1

‘So much of the world is plunged in darkness and chaos…

So ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.’

(Leonard Cohen)

If the negative things of the world can be represented by darkness, then great darkness visited Manchester on the evening of Monday, 22  May, 2017. The families and friends of those who have lost loved ones, need this time to grieve and receive support, and they in our prayers, I’m sure.

But, what can we do?

Those who live in Manchester are rallying around and doing a stalwart job. They are no strangers to terrorist attacks. It was in June 1996 that an IRA bomb injured over 200 people there. During that time I was  in London, and London itself saw a large number of IRA terrorist incidents, and on one occasion I was just three streets away from a bomb explosion.

But, what can we do?

The are parts of the Press who have their own ideas about what to do, and it appears that in the online comments’ section of online newspapers, and even on FaceBook some people have their own ideas about what should be done. ‘Send all radicalised people back to an Islamic country’. ‘The UK should close its borders’. ‘Build a wall’.

But, not all terrorists are Muslim, and not all Muslims are terrorists; and from the Muslims I know, they, too, are upset and confused by it all, and they are peaceful people. And, not all terrorists are from ‘outside’.

There is anger in the air, and that is to be expected. But, we each have a choice: to give into fear or rise above it.

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

(Hafiz)

Richard Rohr in his book ‘The Divine Dance’ writes about this, and alludes to the two archetypal trees: ‘The tree of knowledge of good and evil’ and ‘The tree of Life’.

He confesses that he has generously ‘eaten’ from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It’s the way that  leads to judging others, that allows our egos to ‘promote’ ourselves whilst looking down on those who are different, to making rash comments based on temper and self-centredness. It leads away from Light, and away from the Flow of the Spirit. It distances us from all that is holy.

He says it comes natural to him. If we’re honest, it comes naturally to us all.

But, he goes on to talk of another metaphor. Another choice we have. The tree of Life. This way leads to life and understanding, positivity, love, compassion, and puts us (back) into the Flow of the Spirit. It is altogether inclusive, holy, transforming and worthwhile.

He talks of a choice in one sense between the two archetypal trees, and yet his choice is reduced. If he has taken a stand to side with the Light (and we might have, as well), then the metaphorical tree of Life is the only real option. It alone leads to Life and positivity, and that which is wholesome. It alone is in the flow of the Spirit. It alone puts things into perspective and then we ‘see’ others and nature in a different light. It raises out sights.

‘…God is no longer small, punitive, or tribal. They once worshipped their raft; now they love the shore where it has taken them. They once defended signposts; now they have arrived where the signs pointed. They now enjoy the moon itself instead of fighting over whose finger points to it most accurately, quickly, or definitively.’

(Richard Rohr)

And yet our egos rebel. Do we need to succumb to the rants of our egos? No!

But, what can we do?

Sometimes, we just need time to compose ourselves, to still that inner (and ‘lower’) voice – the reptilian part of our brain that responds in a knee-jerk fashion. Sometimes, a little time is all we need. Time to slow down and look ‘upward’.

For me, and I know it is the case for many Christians, Celtic Christians, Druids, Lightworkers and Pagans, and others that I have talked with, prayer and/or ritual is the way to slow things down and put huge events into perspective. It is a way to lead us into that Flow.

Prayer and/or ritual slow us down. We get the privilege, then, of time to think. Time to reflect and make a measured response based on compassion and mercy. An opportunity to put things into perspective and appreciate that there is a higher (and wider) realm of connectedness that, albeit invisible to us, is real and powerful and effective in this realm, if we align ourselves with it.

To the mystic Christian, Celtic Christian, Druid, Lightworker and Pagan etc they ‘see’ this awesome ‘invisible’ realm of Light and Life, and benefit; the onlooker-sceptic sees someone seemingly doing something that is ineffective and ‘odd’, and sees no benefit.

I venture that prayer and ritual ushers into that liminal realm of power and purpose, and is effective in ways known and unknown to us, and it does  changes things. But,  to the sceptic, I would say that it is still effective because it (also) changes things….it changes us, too.

For it’s there that we deliberately step into the Flow of the Spirit, and its then that change and transformation takes place. A small physical action, ritual, with cosmic consequences. That ‘space’ or moment in time gives us the opportunity not to dehumanise others, not to rant or give in to quick and callous thoughts, decisions or action. It changes us, if we allow it.

But, what can we do?

So, tonight (and this never precludes positive, physical action and work(s of mercy) which are also still necessary)),  I’ll perform a ritual, light a candle, send energy and would encourage you to do that same. Never tire of prayer and/or ritual. It is effective. It is making a difference in, and to, this world. You can make a difference.

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it’. John 1:5, The Book

There is more. Mae mwy (as we say in Welsh). There is always more (to prayer, and ritual, and light).

 

Le Point Vierge: Regarding The Soul: Haiku #8

20170519 LE POINT VIERGE REGARDING THE SOUL HAIKU #8As you may know, I’m fascinated by the traditional haiku – those short Japanese poems consisting of three pithy lines; and the lines containing firstly five syllables, then seven, then five.

Below are a number of verses to a poem, with each verse being a haiku, and each (hopefully) seen as progressive, and saying something (albeit brief, and poetic) about our awesome, complex, mysterious ‘composition’ as humankind.

Flesh and blood yet flow
within our soul’s great embrace.
Animated dust?

‘Yet more!’, the sage says.
The soul, the immortal light,
is the precious ‘you’.

Where the soul resides,
time and timelessness exist
in a paradox.

There, le point vierge,
a meeting place of the soul,
Wondrous rendezvous.

The ‘go-between’ soul
encounters, there, the spirit,
always faced to God.

butterfly 111 animal-2028155_960_720In liminal space,
there we dance the dance of Love.
Graceful theosis.

Triune personhood,
as above, e’en so below.
You, mirrored Spirit.

 

20170519 LE POINT VIERGE REGARDING THE SOUL HAIKU #8

Celtic Lifestyle: Time For Our Souls…

20170518 TIME FOR OUR SOULS CELTIC LIFE4STYLE

‘I know you’re a Type A personality, but right now you really need to slow down, or even stop for a while’, was a phrase I overheard recently. It wasn’t directed at me (as I think I probably qualify as being a Type B personality), but it was well-intended, and in hindsight it was probably exactly what that person needed to hear.

I know we all live in a busy society, but my encouragement to myself and yourself (so far as is possible and practical) is to slow down and find the opportunity to stop for a while. Ofcourse, this is not a reason to do this when we’re working in paid employment clients depend on us, or when it is otherwise inappropriate, but a ‘nudge’ to find time at other times, or even ‘gouge’ out time, then, to slow down and even stop for a while, may be beneficial to each of us.

‘Busy is the enemy of peace. Busy takes us away from our purpose…Busy means life’s joys and surprises can’t find a way into our lives because we’re moving too fast to see and experience them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to move so fast that I miss my life.’  [Lara Casey]

The ancient Celts, Druids, proto-church Christians and other ancient people lived life to a much different timescale to us, and we have many things to (re-)learn from them. Indeed, they even to a different time-measurement than us. Could it be that we really are missing out by being so busy all the time?

‘Faster is fatal, slower is safe.’ [Amit Kalantri]

A half-way decent fictional movie – I do like Robin Hood – was on tv recently, and  it was spoiled for me when one of the protagonists lined people up and gave them orders to see him, privately. Each one was told by him to report to him ‘ten minutes later’, that is ten minutes after the previous one! Would the Sheriff of Nottingham, some six hundred years ago, be using time in that way? I don’t think so. Time measurement may have been in hours, then, or even half hours, but probably not quarters of an hour or so many minutes. It’s only since the advent of clocks and wristwatches (and railway timetables, apparently) that we, as a society, have been obsessed with the measurement of time to the minute, to such a precise scale. And yet, in looking back it ‘feels’ like it may have always been this way. To the film’s script-writers it obviously seemed like a normal thing to do – to schedule visits to the Sheriff of Nottingham down to ten minutes – but it wasn’t always that way. Nor for our society.

‘Stop talking, stop thinking,
and there is nothing you will not understand.’ [Seng Ts’an]

There’s an interesting story, that goes like this: An archaeologist once hired some local  tribesmen to act as bearers  and paid the to lead him to an archaeological site deep in the mountains. After they had been moving for some time the tribesmen stopped, put down their cargo they were carrying, and insisted they would go no further. They sat down and waited. The archaeologist grew extremely  impatient, and then  became angry. But no matter how much he cajoled them, or even bribed the tribesmen with more money, they would not go any further. Then, some hours later, and without any prior announcement the local tribesmen changed their attitude, picked up the cargo and set off once more. When the bewildered archaeologist asked them why they had stopped earlier, and had refused to move for so long, the tribesmen answered in matter-of-fact manner, ‘We had been moving too fast, and had to wait for our souls to catch up.’

‘…life  always seems vacant and diminished when I accelerate beyond my capacity to feel what is before me.’ [Mark Nepo]

Could it be that we’re all too busy? It may not be the case for you, but it’s always worth periodically checking to ascertain if we’re moving to fast, and need to ‘wait for our souls to catch up’. A busy diary is not necessarily the mark of an efficient or important person, though our egos would like us to think that.

Here’s something you might like to consider: Take some time to think of four things that you must do today. Carefully, relinquish three tasks. And then give yourself fully to that one task.

I admit writing the abovementioned is a risk, and I do advocate using ‘sanctified common-sense’ in doing this exercise, as it may need to be adapted, or it may not be feasible to do it today, or because doing it will cause great offense or pain to others. That’s where we may need to adapt, but I’m sure you get the point. But, if not today, what about tomorrow?

What is this life if, full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
and stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
and watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare.

[W H Davies]

Maybe it’s time to wait for our souls to catch up?

 

The Telling Place: Ritual And Anamnesis

20170515 THE TELLING PLACE RITUAL AND ANAMNESISI am an avid fan of ritual and liturgy. Not for any ‘spooky, or old-fashioned, and ‘quant’ reasons, but because ritual and liturgy, like a good piece of music, can usher us into a state of deep thought and meditation, waft us into the liminal realm of the imagination and on into sacred time-space; a ‘thin place’ [known as caol áit, pronounced ‘kweel awtch’ in Gaelic]. It has energy. It is status-declaring. It ushers us into (an awareness of) the Presence.

The sun had set. A chill had set in, but the air was still. No birdsong could be heard at all. And so,  a  group of twenty stalwarts sat in a circle, around the open fire, as the bodhrán sounded a slow drumbeat. One person nominated to lead the event, the Guardian, stood and moved in a clockwise direction, pausing at the four cardinal points, before moving to the centre of the circle. He invoked the energy of the Source of All.

It has been said by some modern-day scholars that ritual is outdated, and nothing more than a futile attempt to ensure the safety of an individual, who, when invoking the presence of an overpowering god or God, is fearful. Or, it’s to appease an angry god or God. I’d like to suggest something different. For me, ritual is a reminder that we continually stand in the presence of the Source of All, a wholly benevolent Power, and ritual acts as a reminder to us of that fact, and that this is a special time set aside to draw even closer, and/or to be aware of that fact. Ritual, then, is for our benefit. To (re-)empower and (re-)enable us.

Everyone waited with expectancy. All could perceive the flames from the fire, but little else. Night was drawing in. And, yet what our eyes couldn’t see, was more than made up by our ‘imaginal eyes’, our mind’s eye, the eyes of our hearts, our imaginations. Some saw ancient archetypes of power ‘skip’ from the flames, others elementals that moved in and out of the circle from the surrounding forest trees in a joyful manner, and still others ‘saw’ elusive power-animals at their sides. Some ‘saw’ nothing, but felt an almost over-powering tangible presence of benevolence descend, and embrace them.

There is a physicality to ritual, but it is more. If ritual is just a series of moves and words, and nothing else, then it’s akin to a Harry Potter spell – the kind, in that movie, where one has to be careful to get everything exactly right, otherwise, who knows what might happen? Ritual is a series of actions and words, and to be enjoyed, but it’s more. Left at that level, it is pure ‘theatre’.

It’s physical, but imaginal, too. Perhaps most of the ‘action’ takes place in the realm of the soul, that imaginal realm. It’s ‘in’ the imagination, but no less real (and some of us might say more real!) And, then there’s intentionality. If you didn’t get the ritual right, don’t worry. I do believe our intentions are most important, and that the Source of All honours our intentions.

The Guardian of the circle spoke of the illusion of time and space, and how we view it as linear. The Guardian also spoke of connectedness, of the ‘Great Chain Of Being’, or being ‘at one’ with our forebears, the Ancestors. He raised his hands, momentarily, and declared that the Ancestors were here! The drumming stopped.

You, like me, are probably ‘amphibian’. We, seemingly, live in two realm. We live in a world of dualism, separateness and individuality, and yet, deep within us we each yearn for connectedness and deep spirituality, as though that was our ‘default program’. I do believe it is.

We are connected.

Someone one said that what we do to others, we do to them. Connectedness.

Some say that if a butterfly beats its wings on one side of the planet, it might lead to a tornado elsewhere. Connectedness.

Scientists tell us that each one of us is made of atoms that, at one time, were inside a distant star that exploded – yes, we really are star dust. Astronomically, connected.

And, our ancestors? We wouldn’t be here if it were not for them, and many of our innate characteristics, unbeknownst to us, probably come from them in one glorious time-spanning family tree (of which we’re all part). Connectedness. Our ancestors, are here. If you don’t believe in ghosts, perhaps they’re here in actual spirit or presence, or in essence, or in our DNA (or all of those, and more)?

In this ritual, it felt as though we had been pulled out of physical time, as a group, and  into sacred space-time, and were propelled back in time to engage with the Ancestors in story. Or, was it that they had joined us? Or, was it that space-time does not exist, but the ritual, using metaphors, and using the illusion of pulling us out of physical time had given us an awareness of them in the ‘now’? Already there? Already connected, but unaware? I believe so.

This remembering is called anamnesis: a remembering that makes the original event present to the believer. In a very real sense, ritual negates time and space. The Passover Seder starts with the question, ‘How is  this night  different from all other nights?’ Ritual, then, brings the participant into that timeless realm of the sacred in which the time and space that separates the participant from the original event just disappears. It’s not just remembering. It’s a re-experiencing and a re-connectedness to that former event – in this case story and the Ancestors. Anything less that that, is merely mimesis, an imitation or re-enactment. Sadly as regards the latter, (especially, but not only in organised religion(s)), a lot of mimesis goes on in ritual.

A slight wind blew through the encircled people. In a low voice, the Guardian said that this time-space was a Telling Place, a place of story, myth and ‘magic’. Like a ‘thin place’ as Celts and Druids of old would have known it. For the next twenty minutes he told an ancient story of birth, and death, and re-birth. A story that was as old as the cosmos itself, and full of hope, and evident in the sacred text of many cultures. He went on to say that some know this as Saṃsāra, others know it as Moksha, and yet others know it as the Paschal Mystery. He said it was ‘built into the very fabric of the universe’.

As a Druidic-Christian, an inclusive and sociable person, I enjoy meeting new people, leading events, sharing deep spiritual truth, and listening to others. It’s by listening and then sharing, like iron sharpens iron, that we grow. In many cases, we’re saying the same thing, but using different words, or coming at it from a different perspective.

After twenty minutes the Guardian concluded the story and sat down, and some others from the circle, as they felt led, shared ancient stories, stories of life, and some shared parts of their life-story.

Our stories are as important to the Universe as its story is to us. Could it be that we are the product of the Universe’s wish to be self-aware? If so, there is a wonderful circularity there. Like an electric circuit that is complete and working. The Universe gave birth to us, so that ‘it’ could be aware of itself, and see itself, and did so by (even) including us as part of the Universe. The idea, then, that we’re separate is an error. We’re included in the cosmos, in nature (or as some might say, ‘life, the universe and everything’), but some, sadly, are unaware of this fact.

After a few minutes had elapsed since the last story-sharer had finished and sat down, the Guardian stood. The bodhrán sounded a slow drumbeat as the Guardian moved in an anti-clockwise direction, pausing at the four cardinal points, and ‘closed’ the meeting by moving back to the centre of the circle and raising his hands momentarily. The drumming stopped. Everything was still, and oh-so quiet. He said a short blessing-prayer and sat down. Slowly, ‘normal’ time and interaction resumed.

And so, we re-entered physical time. Ofcourse, we all knew that what we had experienced was still true, and still with us. But, we also knew that as humans, and living in the world we do today, that we need to ‘compartmentalise’ our awareness.  True, we can obtain glimpses of ‘real’ reality as we go about our daily life, but we also acknowledged a different mode of ‘operation’ when working in the office, the factory, when driving, or formulating a shopping list – all necessary activates that ‘pull’ us away from deep awareness. Regrettable, but perhaps understandable in living in this society. Nevertheless, That Which Is Larger Than Ourselves is on your side (so, don’t feel awful about it…but cherish those times when you can fully enter into that liminal space and/or the daily glimpses you might experience). It’s okay to be an ‘amphibian’.

However, you and I know that there’s more. And, the sharing of stories is a great way, an awesome way to exercise liminality, and enter into that Telling Place that transcends time and space. I do believe it’s about time I organised another Telling Place event.

Ideas, Liturgy & Ritual For The Celtic Month Of The Hawthorn Tree

201705012 IDEAS LITURGY RITUAL FOR THE MONTH OF THE HAWTHORN TREESaturday, 13 May 2017 sees the start of the new month, the Celtic month of the Hawthorn Tree, and it’s a great time to celebrate. Don’t forget that the ancients started their day the evening before, from our perspective – so if you want, you can celebrate the event this evening, but for me, this time, it’s Saturday evening. You get to choose. And some depending on what they’re doing are celebrating over the whole weekend. So, why not you?

Essential Data: Celtic Month of the Hawthorn Tree: 13 May – 9 June. Celtic /Gaelic Name: Huathe (pronounced ‘oo-ah-huh’).

I’m sure you have some great ideas for celebrating the new month, but if you haven’t, or if you wish to add something different, do consider the following ideas, liturgy and ritual (as suggestions, and adapt as best suits your requirements).

This new month, now officially summer (in the northern hemisphere) is about power, spiritual growth, God-given sexuality (apologies to the ‘children of Augustine’), and God-blessed fertility. To ancient Celts, Christian Celts, Druids, Pagans and others it was a great time for hand-fasting, engagements, marriages and the starting any kind of creative activity (eg new work, new projects, new hobbies, new starts etc), and to latter-day ones, it still is!

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Behold, he is standing behind our wall,
Song of Solomon 2.9a, The Book

IIDEA1DEAS
Why, to celebrate this new month, you might like to:

  • undertake anew hobby (you know you’ve always wanted to do [insert here the positive hobby, pastime etc- take up a sport (or lose weight (for yourself, if you wish, and not because of media or societal ‘pressure’, or indeed put on weight)
  • make a definite time and date to visit a local art gallery or museum (and take in the creativity of others, and appreciate great art), or go to a jazz band evening (or equivalent)
  • give yourself quality time by visiting a park or one of those ornate gardens (or even a forest), and why not go with family and/or friends and make it into a picnic too, and appreciate good company and being in the midst of nature
  • slow down and choose one task that you do, dare I say an everyday task, such as drinking tea, cleaning the toilet or washing your face, and so it slowly, joyfully and with awareness, as a holy act of serving
  • watch an eco-conscious movie or documentary on tv (one evening or anytime if you’re unable to leave the house easily)
  • make a donation to a woodland-orientated charity, or an animal charity for threatened species etc if able to, and/or send a blessing.

IDEA2LITURGY
You might like to take some time to use (and/or adapt) some of the following liturgy and poems to celebrate the new month, and take time to savour the turning of the wheel in everyday life and ‘mundane’ tasks.

I will wash my face
in the nine rays of the sun,
As Mary washed her Son
in rich fermented milk.
Love be in my countenance,
benevolence in my mind,
dew of honey in my tongue,
(and) my breath as the incense.

[From: Carmina Gadelica]

And/or

God, we are truly bearers of the light from above, within and around us. Help us to be bearers of that light to others who seek a vision of the goodness and beauty of Your Creation. We ask that you help us and our creative work to be witnesses to your love, your kindness, and your care for us. Continue to inspire us with the gift of your imagination. Amen.

[Grace Episcopal Church, Paris, TN (USA))

 And/or
Today as the new month begins
I hope for (you) wonderful things
That a new page is turning
And fresh times will come
I wonder what this month will bring.

I pray for (your) days to feel bright
For (your) sleep to be sweet in the night
For (your) health to be full
And (your) dreams to come true
May your/my heart feel happy and light.

Used with the permission of Prayerscapes

IDEA3RITUAL
If you’re a ‘solitary’, or finding yourself alone at the beginning of this new month, here’s an idea of celebrating this month of creativity and new starts in a simple and profound way. Such as:

  • Initially, draw aside and find a space where you won’t be disturbed (for a short time, perhaps half an hour or so).
  • Perhaps darken the room, make yourself comfortable by sitting on the floor (a cushion might be a good idea, too), and enter into sacred space, and so, after a few minutes…
  • light a small candle
  • close your eyes and ‘centre’ yourself (by not dwelling on extraneous thoughts, and by breathing slowly and deeply (and perhaps concentrating on your inhalations. Some, at least for the first minute or so like to ‘focus’ on a single abstract word (like love, or grace, or peace)), but only for a short while
  • for the next few breaths (and, don’t count them, because you’ll ‘jump out’ of sacred space), say the word of one thing creative act, project or achievement that you’re grateful for as you exhale, and as you exhale that spoken word imagine it as ‘energy’ going out to the Universe, the Source, God with gratitude, and then after a few minutes…
  • for the next few breaths (and, don’t count them, as it doesn’t need to be precise), imagine that you’re inhaling energy, positivity and creativity from The Universe, the Source, as a metaphor of ‘topping up’ and increasing your creative energy (and you might even want to speak the word ‘increase’ or similar), and then after a few minutes…
  • for the next few breaths, as you exhale, say the name of one person (or two or so in following exhalations, but don’t rush anything) that you would like to send some of that creative energy onto, so that they might benefit, and then after a few minutes…
  • spend a short time just being still, and then slowly open your eyes, perhaps say a word or two (or three) to close this sacred time/sacred space (such as ‘Amen’, ‘So be it’ or similar), and then,
  • extinguish the candle. It’s a good idea to wait another minute or so, to fully enter into the physical realm again, as there’s no rush, and the longer you linger, the more you spend in that blessed.

An after thought: Don’t worry or be concerned about giving away some of that creative energy, as I do believe that life is about sharing, and whatever energy and blessings(s) you give out will come back to you and in abundance.

‘If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.’ John O’Donohue

So, enjoy this new month of the Hawthorn Tree, and blessings to you and those whom you love, Tadhg

 201705012 IDEAS LITURGY RITUAL FOR THE MONTH OF THE HAWTHORN TREE

Ephemera: The Celtic Month Of The Hawthorn Tree [13 May – 9 June]

20170511 CELTIC MONTH OF THE HAWTHORN TREE EPHEMERAWe’re coming to the end of the Celtic month of the Willow Tree, and Saturday, 13 May 2017 sees the start of the new month, the Celtic month of the Hawthorn Tree.

So, this is a great time to celebrate in some way – and don’t forget that the ancients started their day the evening before, from our perspective – so if you want, you can celebrate the event this coming Friday evening, but for me, this time, it’s Saturday evening.

Essential Data
Month: Hawthorn Tree
Dates: 13 May – 9 June
Common Name: Hawthorn
Celtic /Gaelic Name: Huathe (pronounced ‘oo-ah-huh’)
Scientific Name: Crataegus Monogyna.

About The Tree
The Hawthorn can be a shrub in a hedgerow, or grow into a  tree, with mature Hawthorn trees reaching a height of about 15m, and they are characterised by their dense, thorny habit. The bark is brown-gray in colour, and is knotted and fissured, and its twigs are slender and brown, and covered in thorns.

‘Poetry and imagination begin life.
A child will fall on its knees on the gravel walk
at the sight of a pink hawthorn in full flower,
when it is by itself, to praise God for it.’

Florence Nightingale

The flowers of Hawthorns trees are hermaphrodite, that is, that both male and female reproductive parts are contained within each flower. Flowers are highly scented, are white or occasionally pink in colour, and have five petals, and grow clusters.

hawthorn_flowers

Hawthorn tree flowers

Once pollinated by insects, flowers develop into deep red fruits known as ‘haws’.The Hawthorn is of great value to wildlife. It can support more than three hundred varieties of insects. It provides food for caterpillars of many moths, its flowers are eaten by dormice, and provide nectar and pollen for bees. It provides food for many migrating birds such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals.

The dense foliage also makes it a fantastic nesting shelter for many species of bird.

Health Benefits (Complementary)
The flowers, leaves and fruits of the Hawthorn are said to have properties that reduce blood pressure and stimulate the heart. They can act as a mild sedative, and can assist with relieving migraine, menopausal conditions, angina, and insomnia. Ofcourse, the aforementioned is from a traditional (and non-scientific) standpoint, and should you wish to try Hawthorn as complementary medicine do consult a qualified herbalist, and in all cases check with your (allopathic) health practitioner, first.

Oh! come to see me, when the soft warm May
bids all my boughs their gay embroidery
wear,
In my bright season’s transitory day,
While my young perfume loads the enamoured air.
Oh, come to see me, when the sky is blue,
And backs my spangles with an azure
ground.
While the thick ivy bosses clustering through,
See their dark tufts with silvery circlets
crowned.
Then be the Spring in all its pomp arrayed,
the lilac’s blossom, the laburnum’s blaze,
Nature hath reared beyond this Hawthorn glade
No fairer alter to her Maker’s praise.

George W.F. Howard

Folklore
Many consider it unlucky to bring it into the house, and others equate it with illness and even death. In Britain, for instance, in medieval times it was said that hawthorn blossom smelled like the Great Plague. Botanists, interestingly, have since found that the chemical trimethylamine in hawthorn blossom is also one of the first chemicals formed in decaying animal tissue. And, so it comes as no surprise that hawthorn flowers are associated with death.

But, for me, the Hawthorn is, and should be considered, a wonderful, holy tree (especially, but not only, when treated with respect). I do think the Hawthorn has received ‘bad press’ over the years.

In Ireland, for instance, Hawthorn trees have always been thought of as faery trees. And, so as not to attract the attention of the fae, unnecessarily, nor wishing to upset them, the Hawthorn was sometimes known simply as ‘gentle bushes’, or ‘May’.

Clouties_near_madron_well

Cloths tied to a tree near Madron Well in Cornwall

Hawthorns also often stand over holy wells, and these were viewed, traditionally, as  thresholds of the Otherworld, where pilgrims festoon them with ribbons, rags and other votive offerings. These wells were called Clootie wells and the strips of cloth or rags tied to branches were part of a healing ritual, or as a prayer-token on half of someone else.

Hawthorn, it is said, can be used for protection, love and marriage.

Britain’s most famous Hawthorn Tree is the Holy Thorn of Glastonbury. It is said that Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of the Virgin Mary, arrived at a hill overlooking Glastonbury Tor with two holy vessels containing the blood and sweat of Jesus. Joseph thrust his staff into the ground, where it sprouted and immediately grew into a Hawthorn tree, where ‘descendant’ trees still stand on that hill. These particular hawthorn blooms twice a year; in May and again about Christmastime. Traditionally, a sprig of one of these Glastonbury Hawthorns trees is sent to the Queen, who is said to decorate her breakfast table with it on Christmas morning.

And, there are legends that the crown of thorns worn by the Christ at his crucifixion was made of Hawthorn, which makes it both ‘lucky’ and ‘unlucky’ depending how you interpret that Paschal event.

Celebration?
Tomorrow, we’ll look at a few ways to celebrate the upcoming new month.

Blessings of the Hawthorn, Tadhg

 

20170511 CELTIC MONTH OF THE HAWTHORN TREE EPHEMERA

Beneficial Celtic Lifestyle: In Praise Of Urtica Dioica Or Be Nice To Nettles!

20170509 IN PRAISE OF URTICA DIOICA CELTIC LIFESTYLEI’m about to commit a gross error. Yes, for some the humble Stinging Nettle is a weed. There, I’ve said it…..the ‘w’ word. But, only to get that out of the way, right at the beginning.

The definition of a weed, is essentially, any plant that you don’t want to grow!

At the far end of my garden, in the wilderness of north Wales, well, actually just over the unmarked and unannounced boundary of my garden, is a rivulet. On the far side of the rivulet there are ancient trees, shrubbery of all sorts and gorse bushes. Indeed, that wilderness starts just before you leave my otherwise human-cultivated garden, and I like that.

To have some wilderness apparently ‘encroaching’ into my garden, actually reminds me that I’m very much the ‘guest’ in this wild and ancient countryside, and that is extremely humbling.

And so, therefore, in my garden, there is about one-fifth of the land, at the far end which isn’t human-cultivated, and so it grows wild, and that’s where there are some rather nice, wonderful and much under-rated stinging nettles. Yes, I’m happy with them there, and I’m pleased they are growing there…and so by definition they are not weeds! I’m pleased about that, too, especially as the humble stinging nettle gets bad press.

nettleAs a Druidic-Christian I am enthralled, in awe, captivated and even mesmerised at times by nature; dear wild, green, profligate, the absolute ‘fecundaceousness’ of nature.

My encouragement to you, then, is to take time in forests and wooded places, and if in the city, to visit parks, and in the UK to visit ‘commons’, those places where parts, if not all, are ‘overgrown’ and nature is wild, and then look out for stinging nettles, and appreciate them. Really appreciate them.

‘When the nettle is young, the leaves make excellent greens; when it grows old it has filaments and fibres like hemp and flax. Chopped up, the nettle is good for poultry; pounded, it is good for horned cattle. The seed of the nettle mixed with the fodder of animals gives a lustre to their skin; the root, mixed with salt, produces a beautiful yellow dye. It makes, however, excellent hay…And what does the nettle need? very little soil, no care, no culture; except that the seeds fall as fast as they ripen, and it is difficult to gather them; that is all. If we would take a little pains, the nettle would be useful; we neglect it, and it becomes harmful. Then we kill it…My friends, remember this, that there are no weeds…there are only bad farmers.’

Victor Hugo

I accept that Stinging Nettles, like other plants that some people would prefer not to grow, can spread rapidly and need cutting back from time to time, but they are wonderful plants.

Yes, I cut back that part of the garden, and prune trees in that area, periodically, always ‘asking’ beforehand. It would in discourteous not to do so! For some, ‘asking’ is necessary, especially for those for whom elementals inhabit such areas. But, even if one relegates such a belief to a romantic or metaphorical concept, ‘asking’ is still necessary, I believe, as it puts things into perspective: In cutting back undergrowth, I need to ensure that I am sympathetic to nature, to the wildlife and insects that live in and off of such plants, and am not reckless. ‘Asking’ ensures that I am not ‘doing my own thing’, but am in empathy with nature around about me. It encourages and enhances reflection, and that cannot be a bad thing, and encourages ‘oneness’.

The week, 21-27 May is, traditionally, ‘Be nice to Nettles’ week.

Did you know, for instance, that the Stinging nettle is called Urtica Dioica, which comes from the Latin meaning ‘two houses’. This refers to the fact that both the male and female flowers are normally carried on separate plants. Don’t you find that interesting?

It is also possible that the term ‘nettle’ is derived from ‘Noedl’, old English, meaning a needle – referring to the stinging mechanism in the nettle leaves.

That’s the thing about Stinging nettles, they do indeed…..sting. For the chemists amongst you, you may like to know that the plant, which is covered in tiny hairs, when touched break off and ‘transform’ into needles that can inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid into the skin. Yes, they sting, and so I wouldn’t advise you go too near. However, if you do get stung, it is said that the leaf of a (nearby) Dock leaf will quell the pain.

butterfly1Did you also know, that Stinging nettles are much loved by butterflies, such as Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies, as well as attracting aphids which are necessary in the food-chain for birds.

‘Butterflies are like angels kisses sent from heaven.’ Malia Kirk

If you have a garden, could you ‘allow’ a small section just for the stinging nettle (or other wild plants), and if you live in an apartment, why not be ‘wild and reckless’, avant-garde and radical and grow a stinging nettle in a pot? Okay, others may find that strange, but now you know different. Now, you know the value of that plant to nature and butterflies, specifically.

Did you also know Stinging nettle tea (and you can always ‘pop’ into a tasty additional tea bag to improve the flavour) is said to have beneficial health properties (of the complementary kind!). Stinging nettle has been used medicinally since at least 3 B.C. And, in medieval times, it was used to treat pain in joints, as well as act as a diuretic.

Today, many use Stinging nettle tea as it is seen by some as a diuretic (water-reducing), and is regarded by many as an analgesic (pain-reducing), paradoxically, and as a depurative (cleansing the body of toxins, and is therefore beneficial to the kidney and liver).

tea1If you want to enjoy a cup of stinging nettle tea, I’d suggest you buy some, say, from Holland & Barrett (rather than make some from the raw plant, unless you’re a qualified herbalist), and if taking prescribed medicine do check with your doctor or health practitioner – there are a few ‘contraindications’ depending on what other medicines you’re taking. But, what a wonderful way to start and/or end the day with Nettle tea?

In ending this, and it could be that you’re (still) not enamoured with the wonders of the Stinging nettle though I can’t imagine why – they are truly wonderful – then, my final encouragement is to urge you to look again at the awesomeness of nature, and especially those parts which mankind has designated as a burden or unlovely. See with a beginner’s mind, become as little children as one commentator on humanity said, and treasure nature in all its beauty – Stinging nettles, as well. Be nice to nettles, please. Brother Nettle, as St Francis might have said! That seems a (more) enlightened, aware, Celtic (Christian), Druidic and Pagan approach. What do you think?

Happy planting, Tadhg.

20170509 IN PRAISE OF URTICA DIOICA CELTIC LIFESTYLE

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

 

Power-Blessings 103: The Joy Of Responsibility : [3/4]

20170504 RESPONSIBILTY 3OF4 BLESSINGIt was a dark and  stormy night. It was late November, it was seven o’clock on a cold and wet, rather inhospitable Wednesday evening, as I entered a large hall belonging to a faith-group, ready to deliver a talk to a group. I was told to be prepared to address a group of 60-100 people, and so I was ready.

When the time of the talk arrived, it was clear that the rain, the cold, the inhospitable weather, the fact that the nation’s favourite ‘TV soap’ was being aired on (and the series was at the point where a major cliff-hanger was about to be revealed), and a major football match (soccer, to my American friends) was about to start, had taken their toll on the attendance figures in this hall. I stared from the front at seven people.

I wasn’t upset, as I do believe the people that could benefit from the talk were there. It wasn’t even that my ego needed ‘massaging’. But, a change had to be made to my plans.

With a group of 60-100 a talk could be given from the front, with say, questions at the end. All rather formal, pre-planned, and somewhat ‘distancing’, but probably the best and most proficient way to deliver a talk to 60-100 people. But, not to seven people.

Be prepared to be ‘underwhelmed’.

How we conduct a blessing depends on the circumstances, even the number of people involved. In taking that talk as an analogy, we have to adapt. What would work in some circumstances, will not work in other circumstances. We need to be aware and adapt.

‘The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.’  Mark Twain

In that talk, rather than stand at the front and deliver it in the style of a monologue from a distance, I got the few people to form a circle, rearranging their chairs and including one for me, and we turned the event into a dialogue. I delivered the talk but paused occasionally and included everyone by asking open-ended questions, by making it informal, and more ‘cosy’. It worked.

How we deliver a blessing will change.

Over the last couple of days we’ve looked briefly at what a blessing it, initially looked at intentionality (see here), and then looked at examples of the source, or the Source of power-blessings (see here). So, when to bless, and how to bless, and the responsibility that follows it are just as  essential, and a few thoughts about this follow.

If a person asks for a blessing, then you can gauge how to deliver that blessing. If you’re in their home, it may just be a whispered prayer, or if they’re used to and expecting something more vocal then it could be a moderately loud blessing, set words or improvised prayer-blessing.

In a formal setting, such as in a service or ceremony it may be also more ritualised, with physical actions appropriate to the circumstances.

‘Create inclusion – with simple mindfulness that others might have a different reality from your own.’ Patti Digh, Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally

But, never inappropriate, and do anything never likely to embarrass the one being blessed. Even if it means, and it may be  good idea, to explain what you intend to do, so that their are no surprises as the ceremony unfolds.

After all, we want to be inclusive, and not exclude or ‘distance’ people.

In a café I might see someone nearby, someone unknown who I feel may benefit from a blessing. In such cases I’d probably visualise a power-blessing going from me to them, perhaps as a ball of light – about the size of a golf ball. Why not? Visualisation is important, as it is part of intentionality which is all important. If that ball of light is a metaphor, and I believe it is, then it could be an imagining of an actual happening, and I believe it is. Faith.

It may be okay to send someone a blessing incognito…but not always.

There are times, especially if you know the person and you would like to bless them, to ask, first, and really listen to them. It may be awkward for them, they may be unfamiliar with blessings, and to launch into blessing them without their consent may not only upset them, it may put an obstacle between you and them (and that’s the exact opposite of what a blessing should do), and you may be left half-way through blessing them and look faintly ridiculous. Ofcourse, we want to act responsibly, and there is no pressure – or shouldn’t be. Do watch out for the ego!

There are times when it’s best to ask to bless someone.

‘Never allow your ego to diminish your ability to listen.’ Gary Hopkins

Oh, I know several people, especially at formal gatherings when dozens of people are expected, do like to dress up for the occasion. And, why not? If it’s appropriate and ‘adds’ something to the occasion it may be something to encourage others to do, or to do, yourself!

To give a blessing, means first, create a space and to enter into liminality (to cross over that ‘threshold’), and to do that requires preparation and an act of significance. In terms of many churches this may involve the officiant entering the chancel or at least a raised platform, the dais; for Druids and others it may be casting a circle and entering it; for others it may be the donning of ceremonial clothing. All denote the movement into liminal space, sacred space, the ‘blessing-space’. But, it’s done in such a way as to be appropriate and helpful. But, what if you haven’t got your special attire or ‘tools’ (and for this, some use a small bell or incense, candle etc, depending on the formality of the setting)? What then? Ofcourse, you can still bless, because in essence..

…It’s best to keep it simple, anyway.

In blessing responsibly, we might be led to pray for people at a distance, perhaps for people in other lands, for endangered species of animals, for some area of the world where calamity has taken place. Then do it. Do it in an appropriate way – which will be different depending on whether you’re at home or at a public event and are scheduled to bless, depending on whether it is an event with small numbers or large, and whether it’s formal or informal. Adapt. Always try to be inclusive, and involve others. It’s not just ‘theatre’.

‘When everyone is included, everyone wins.’ Jesse Jackson

Be encouraged to bless.

But, it may be a lonely task. In many cases you may have questions that go unanswered, may not see the end result of your blessing (and that’s okay, really), or you may find that much of what you do is behind closed doors (and, that too, is okay, as it’s only the ego that wants to hog the limelight). Known or unknown, whether you have blessed a thousand times or are endeavouring now to do your first blessing, it’s okay. The power behind a blessing comes from far beyond, and it isn’t our power that is the force behind it, anyway – and that’s awesome to comprehend. The Source provides the power behind an energy-blessing. And, that means, that usually, it’s best to bless and leave the outcome to the Source, and not be too ‘prescriptive’ about what we’d like to see.

‘Spoken words have power beyond measure.’ Debasish Mridha

We, then are much like conduits, placing ourselves in that power flow from the Source, as intermediaries – and their are benefits to us.. We are like conduits. Whatever happens when we give a blessing – and, don’t expect those we’re blessing will necessarily ‘feel’ anything (it might happen, it might not), the blessing is effective (maybe, in some positive way unknown to us) because it depends on the power-source, and that’s not us, but the Source of All. Always, positive.

It’s not about us. It’s about the Source. What do you think?

So, what’s stopping you?

‘If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.’ John O’Donohue

Tomorrow, having mentioned that blessing another, others, events, animals, the planet etc can be a lonely exercise or ‘calling’, we’ll look at further encouragement, ‘teaching’ and mutual support. How can we assist each other?

Power-Blessing 102: The Source: [2/4]

20170503 THE SOURCE 2OF4 BLESSINGYesterday we briefly looked at the definition of blessing and intentionality, both vital starting places, and essential on our journey into the realm of power-blessings (see here).

Today, we look, briefly (and it is only a brief overview of a vast theme), at the energy behind such blessings, what it is, and why and how it can be visualised.

‘Your longing desires to take you towards the absolute realization of all the possibilities that sleep in the clay of your heart; it knows your eternal potential, and it will not rest until it is awakened. Your longing is the divine longing in human form.’ John O’Donohue

There is a school of thought that says the universe is a ‘vast sea of energy’. Not just ‘up there’ and out in the furthest reaches of the galaxy and beyond, but also in the space and locations we inhabit, and, indeed, the matter out of which we are made.  All of it is energy of one sort or another.

Connectedness.

That means that we’re part of the universe and have access to its power. But, there’s more. Ken Wilber calls us ‘holons’. A holon (Greek: ὅλον, ὅλος, holos, meaning “whole”) is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. The word was used by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machine (1967).

Part and yet whole/all.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25;40b, The Book

We have our own intrinsic energy some say, and others might say the whole lot is ‘borrowed’ and comes from somewhere else, but it seems that we can share that energy, and it can be depleted, and be refilled. Refilled, from where? Opinions abound about ‘external’ sources.

Our energy? Another energy?

Some might not put too time into wondering where this source is, so long as the cycle of energy use, depletion and refilling is accomplished. Others, might say it comes from Universal energy, those who are from a sylvanic persuasion might say the energy comes from elementals or nature around us, others might say it comes from somewhere else, such as from angels or other benevolent beings of importance to the individual).

In each of these, if pressed, one would get a ‘picture’, or at last a good description of the source. Ofcourse, imagination comes into play here. Those who believe in a Universal energy store-house might picture a galaxy or the vast reaches of space, elemental energy-users might imagine a welcoming forest or forest inhabitants, an elemental and so on.

External and yet, internal.

‘The most important matter for a practitioner is to be able to break through the veil of the material plane in order to enter the ultimate dimension and see the interconnection between us and all other phenomena in the world around us.’ Thich Nhat Hanh,

So, when I put forward an ‘Ouranic store-house’ of energy ‘above’ us, and I do, I’m using picture-language, imagination and metaphor to describe something that, as those others already mentioned have found, is difficult to put into words, and we may well be describing exactly  the same thing in different ways. So, please don’t be upset if you have a different view to me – we can still learn from each other, and support each other.

It’s metaphorical.

Ouranos is Greek for the sky, or some would say heaven (and therefore, the Source, for me, is God. However, the use of the word ‘God’ is much overused in our society, so I go ‘further’ and would say the Source is the Christ – who manifested ‘himself’ initially 15 billion years ago, and works also through the universe, nature, events etc), and for me this is apt. That’s where, I believe, all real power and energy comes from. That’s my metaphor.

Ofcourse, the more I describe that sore-house ‘place’, the more inaccurate my description will be. Who can sum up the infinite vastness and majesty of spiritual places, such as heaven, using mere words? Rhetorical question. If we can imagine it, it must be much more.

But, (somewhat cheekily) I’d like to declare that I visualise that heavenly or ouranic store-house of energy as a wonderful meadow, tall with ripe corn, just waiting to be harvested by anyone that needs or wants it, and the Field-Owner is happy with you and I harvesting its energy – infact, it is grown for that specific purpose.. Now, ofcourse, it is more that that, but maybe on this occasion an insufficient ‘picture’ is better than none? Metaphors really are important.

What if earth
Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?’
John Milton, Paradise Lost

However, you describe it, I do believe we can ‘tap’ into that energy to fill (or refill) ourselves with the express purpose of passing that energy, those power-blessings on to others. There are a number of ways to ‘tap’ into that energy, such as one (or maybe a mixture) of the following

  • meditation (kataphatic)
  • good works
  • visualisation/imagination
  • intentionality
  • ritual (and you might like to get an inkling of power-ritual in this article poem – click here)
  • liturgy
  • prayer
  • meditation (apophatic) etc.

So, for instance, in using ritual I unusually use my imagination and enter, liminally, into that blessing-place; and also physically might wear something special, or light a candle or ring a bell  to signify the entering of sacred space. All metaphors – but important because they declare intentionality. Never diminish the imaginal (realm) or (physical) ritual, or liturgy. They open and close the path to amazing energy, and are the ‘carrier waves’ of power-blessings (as we will see tomorrow).

So, such energy comes from that store-house, for me it’s an ouranic store-house, but it’s more! Energy sounds so impersonal, just a matter of physics and mathematical equations, but I believe it’s more.

Personal.

Whether one accepts the idea of an Ouranic store-house, Universal store-house, elemental store-house etc, I do believe it’s more than just being zapped with energy. The Giver is Personal, the Power is Personal, it’s deeply experiential and meaningful, and our use of it as a conduit to other people, animals or nature etc is Personal.

That has repercussions when seeking that energetic infilling or refilling ourselves and using it for others. Responsibility is not a word that many like, but with tremendous power, responsibility is needed.

‘Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? [We are like] children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness…we should all be wearing crash helmets.’ Annie Dillard, Teaching A Stone To Talk

How to exercise that power, the ways and how to do so responsibly is the theme of tomorrow’s article/blog.