Tadhg’s Journal: A Treasure In The Darkness?

20170323 treasure in the darkness TADHGS JOURNALMy thoughts are racing right now, careering from acceptance, stillness and peace to fear, uncertainty, confusion and stressful worry – such are some of the emotions in dealing with someone so close and so dear to me who is now receiving palliative care.

If there was an ‘off button’, some way of stepping out of the current story in which I find myself, of changing this impending tragedy into a comedy, I would press it. It was the same when I had oesophageal cancer ten years ago. If I could have changed the circumstances as I went through it, then, I would have done. Alas, in the current situation as with that event ten years ago, there is no option of an alternative story-line.

And so, emotions career to the far ends of an opposing, invisible, and a seemingly indeterminate spectrum.

‘If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.’  Tom Peters

I have no easy answers if you have been, or are going through this kind of roller-coaster ride as a loved-one is prepared for the return ‘Home’. But, even as I write this, something, That Which Is Larger Than Ourselves, whispers into the confusion in which we are placed.

Entering into that inner sanctuary, the Caim, much-loved by ancient  Christians, Celts and Druids, and others, I sit. Outwardly, I sit, too, and with my eyes closed, I go ‘inward’, to that sacred space, deep ‘inside’. The Caim is a wonderful place from which to visualise others, to inwardly (or sometimes physically) to enact a ritual within that Circle, and send energy to them. Now, I’m in a place of darkness, even in the Caim. But, it’s not a brooding darkness of chaos or fear of the unknown. It simply is…..dark. A place to be alone with the Alone.  Yet another use for the Caim.

‘And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches..’ Isaiah 45:3a, The Book.

And, so, ‘I welcomed in the tender grace of unknowing and gave myself over to fertile darkness, despite the fears or voices that long for certainty or the ones which think they have already got it all figured out,’ said Christine Valters Paintner in her book, ‘The Soul Of A Pilgrim’.

Surrender!

In this inward -dark-but-peaceful place, in this Caim of Solitude I sit, and wait. Unspoken questions arise: Should I do this? Should I do that? What if….? It feels like a trillion thoughts are ‘firing’ all at once, beckoning activity, and yet someone – could it be The Friend – brings one over-riding thought to the fore (and, if there is an almost-thought, then this was one), like a distant memory that was embedded deep within but is only now surfacing, rather than an audible voice.

Hupomeme!

Hupomeme is an ancient Greek word, beloved of desert monks who were undergoing tough times. It means to stay with whatever is happening!

And that word was the seeming whisper in that Caim of Solitude, that inner sacred space, spoken by the Source of All. Leaving that Caim, I returned to the world of a trillion thoughts, of erratic emotion-swings, of uncertainties…but I know I have the experience and memory of an alternative realm of peace which is just as real, and maybe more real, that this one.

‘God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.’  Jalaluddin Rumi.

Four Things We Can Learn From The Corlun Dŵr: Celtic Mythological Beasts

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In ancient times belief in the wee folk, the goodly people, the fae and other Celtic mythological creatures abounded, and though, in the main, this is not the case today, we can still learn a thing or two from that belief; still learn a few things from them! Whether you believe in them in the physical realm, the imaginal realm only, spanning both realms, or as a ‘romantic’ or poetic idea, there is some wisdom here to uncover and from which we can benefit.

But, first a brief overview of the Corlun Dŵr.

Name: Corlun Dŵr [pronounced kor-lun door], Welsh for water sprite.

Habitat: As one would expect, being water sprites, it is said that the Corlun Dŵr inhabit and/or live near water, especially near ‘the edge’ of their territory, such as rock pools onelemental-222-left-left the beach, the waters edge at the seaside where waves crash against the sand, the river bank, and even in puddles of rainwater. And, perhaps, yes, even in your house, if you have a bowl of water on the table or if your house is connected to the mains water supply, sprites abound! All these places are liminal access points to their realm, and locations where they might be found. Wherever there’s water, there are water sprites.

Wherever water flows, life flourishes:
wherever tears fall, Divine mercy is shown.
(Rumi)

Appearance: They are thought to be shape-shifters. Although their natural state may be half way between a green, water-like amphibian and that of a human (see right), they can adapt. There are accounts of them becoming frogs etc so that they can draw close to humans and observe us – so, that’s one good reason to respect frogs and other animals: you never know when it might be a water sprite.

There are reports of them becoming human-looking  (almost).  In such cases you might be forgiven that they are human, except that it is said that their outer clothing is always sopping wet, and that’s a clue to them being a water sprite in disguise. Nevertheless, they are described as beautiful  beings.

‘Every wave is a water sprite who swims in the current, each current is a path which snakes towards my palace, and my palace is fluidly built at the bottom of the lake, in the triangle of earth, fire and water.’ (Emile Zola)

Traditional benefits: It is said that, though they are somewhat ‘shy’ of humans, drawing close to them can have benefits. They are renowned healers; they give protection; awaken our compassion and sensitivity; confer artistic inspiration and a creative imagination, and romance and sensuality, and more.

Other benefits: What can we learn from them, however we view them and their existence?  I would like to suggest four things:

Firstly, we can learn to use our imagination, our mind’s eye and not just see the world as ‘bricks and mortar’, but , whether we live in a rural or urban environment (and even if it’s the latter, its good to ‘escape’ to a riverbank, forest or the beach occasionally) we can benefit from cultivating a ‘child’s perspective’ of the world around us, sometimes. It’s about growing a different perspective, and having a beginners’ mind.

‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ (William Shakespeare)

Secondly, we can learn to value (more) of the nature around us – even if we live in a city. It’s about appreciating the beauty of the world, a gift from the Great Provider, and ensuring that we, collectively and individually, and in large and small ways, leave the world as good a place as we found it – and so pass that gift onto the next generation, as the previous generation did for us. It’s about appreciation and passing it on.

Thirdly, it’s about thankfulness. We live on a planet where the oceans contain over 96% of water-landscape-1160264_960_720the water on the Earth. Water abounds on this planet, and yet, according to our current scientific understanding, it may be the rarest element in the universe. And, therefore something to treasure.  We use it and, indeed,  depend on it for life, and yet we do waste it and ‘abuse it’. I guess, the third learning point is to value it and to give thanks to the Source of All. And even, occasionally, to take a glass of fresh water, meditate upon it, and give thanks as you take each vital energy-giving, healing, refreshing sip of water into our body. Thankfulness.

‘In one drop of water are found all the secrets of the oceans.’ (Khalil Gibran)

Fourthly, sometimes it’s good to have a focal point, a symbol, a picture in our mind’s eye of what could be, to galvanise our thoughts to remember something, to appreciate something or to do something. And, that’s where the Corlun Dŵr come in. However, you regard them – real in the physical realm, real in the imaginal realm, as a ‘romantic’ or poetic idea – they are a most useful and potent symbol to encourage us to appreciate water and the natural environment in all its forms. The Corlun Dŵr would like that. They are, after all, water sprites and are faithful, shy and somewhat reclusive Guardians of water.


 

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Your Journey: Becoming An Edge-Walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what’s the answer, fellow sojourner?

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

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

The Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End, Or Is It?

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

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

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

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

‘Thin Places’. Five Hints To Help You Find Them.

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‘Thin places’, to recap, according to ancient and latter-day Celts (and others) come from the belief that the distance between here and the Other, between Earth and Heaven is closer, and palpably so, at certain locations, certain times and specific events. They encourage us to pause, draw aside, breathe deep, be objective, and realise our status in the universe as someone who is much-loved, and give us that ‘feeling’ of awe and being embraced by an invisible – a Divine hug.

‘Thin places’ have been recorded all over the planet, throughout history, and in the Bible and other sacred text; and by light-workers, Christians, those of Other mainline faiths, Druids, ancient and latter-day celts, Wiccan and others.

For an introduction to them, do see my previous article: here

So, how do we go about ‘looking’ for hints of ‘thin places’ (locations, or certain times (yes, they may come and go), or certain events (either one-off events or perhaps ‘periodic’ events through ritual))?

I do believe that we encounter far more ‘thin places’ than we’re aware of, and maybe they are a daily occurrence. For example, as regards a location, I’ve found them at Stonehenge, north Wales and Waterloo Station in London, and other places. As regard times, they could happen in a place one day and not so, when you visit that place again. Events? Maybe you’ve witnessed a ‘thin place’ when you saw a young baby smile, or that ‘magical’ moment when two people said, ‘I do’, or as the temperature cooled as the sun set.

So, how do you increase your opportunity of findingthin places’? The following is an outline and is, by no means a definitive list, so do please add to it your comments (either at the end of this article or by emailing me). So, you might:

1. Research local places that have some kind of ancient spiritual or temporal heritage eg old churches or other faith buildings, standing stones, shorelines etc. As well as overtly spiritual buildings being ‘thin places’ you might be surprised that historically crowded places might be thin places, as people over the decades and centuries may have been unwittingly attracted to them, unaware. So, do check market places, historic castles, market places or crossroads etc. They need not be that far from you – maybe just around the corner, on in your living room?

‘…seek and you will find… ‘ (Matthew 7:7a, The Book)

Someone once said, ‘Seek and you shall find’.

2. Be alert. Thin places can occur without warning. That liminal space (a threshold experience) could occur during a traumatic moment such as the passing- on of a loved on, a baby’s innocent smile, the calm before a literal rain- storm, a change in wind when things, even bird-song, quieten in anticipation, and the air seems ‘heavy’.

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware.

(Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

3. Be aware. It’s amazing how, in ancient scared text, the numinous happened when people were resting under trees at mid-day, or dreamed about thin places (and both these references occur in the Bible). So, take ‘time out’ rest and relax in a place. Watch the world go by – metaphorically be in it, but not of it! Be an observer. Wait. If possible and safe to do so, why not day-dream? In that almost-meditative state you open yourself up to a wealth of possibilities. You might even try this at home. But, be aware of those odd happenings, synchronicities, that ‘warm’ feeling we get even if nothing physical happens.

If you’ve practiced meditation and know about ‘centering’ yourself (as in centering prayer, or apophatic meditation) then use that technique as a preliminary step to become receptive.

‘We are so busy, so occupied with many little things, that we are blind to the one great thing. Only in the pauses between things, in the brief contemplative spaces of just being, can we catch a glimpse of love itself. (Gerald G May)

4. Use your sixth sense. Ofcourse, our usual five sense will take us so far, and are good ‘indicators’, but are limited. However you regard it, use your sixth sense – that undefinable sense that seems to inform us without direct information, but fills us with a ‘heavenly confidence’. I’m sure you’ve had that feeling of something about to happen, but no physical indication apparent – check for that kind of electric ‘feeling’. It’s like a ‘Divine, invisible prod.’ The Presence.

5. ‘Open the door’. It has been said that within each one of us there is a ‘thin place’, add I believe that to be true. In one sense there is no dualism – no separation between here and the Other, or us and God. But, the physical world we live in does seem to ‘crowd out’ the numinous and so we need reminders to encounter ‘thin places.

Ritual can act as a reminder and open that door, meditation can. Indeed anything which we do with a deep spiritual meaning and with intentionality can open up that sacred space, liminal space, a type of temporary ‘thin place’. In doing this we open the door to that which the Divine has placed before us – it’s as though the Divine was knocking at the door and our response is to open it, by ritual, meditation etc.

The caim can also be adapted to suit this function. More about ‘opening the door’ will feature in a few posts over the next week or so.

So, what are you waiting for?

Go with a questing spirit, with a child-like excitement, and with intentionality. Go, expecting to find.

You might like to make notes or keep a journal of your adventures (remembering that even if we perceive nothing, it is still worth journalling what we’ve found, what we haven’t found, and our response to it, and ‘lessons’ we’ve learned).

So, what are you waiting for?

[Apologies: this is more than 200 words. Wrong ‘banner’ used. To err is human…’]

Celtic Wisdom: The Caim

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

It’s flexible.

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

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

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

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

That is, I use imagination.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making a caim

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

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

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

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

Stage 1: The Separation

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

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

Stage 2: Transition or ‘Gap’ Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, there’s more.

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

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

I inhale to, metaphorically, accept the return blessing.

Just a little more!

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

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

Stage Three: The Return

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s it. Well almost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I also usually journal

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

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

Regards

Tadhg

 

Appendix: For introductory set prayers (if needed):

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

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

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

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

Celtic Daily Wisdom: Liminal Space #1

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If you have ever travelled on the London underground (train system), and especially waited at stations built on the curve of the track, you are more than likely to have heard a periodic announcement as the train pulled in: ‘Mind the gap’.

Such an announcement, encourages due care and attention, lest anyone miss their footing and partially slip, unintentionally, into the gap between the safety of the platform, and the huge and powerful train!

The ‘gap’, then,  is an interesting concept, and as regards the ‘gap’  known  in deep spirituality, it is  a theme well-know to ancient and latter-day Celts and those of other faiths, especially but not only those ancient and/or nature-based faiths, such as my wican, and pagan friends, and fellow-druids etc.

Definition

To many, today, that understanding of the ‘gap’ is known as liminality or liminal space – from the latin word ‘limen’, meaning threshold.

‘I looked for someone among them who would…stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land…’. Ezekiel 22.30a (part), The Book

If you’re standing outside your house, for instance, you’re obviously outside. And, once inside your house, you’re obviously inside. But, you need to move through the doorway, walk across that front step, over the threshold, and that’s the limen; that’s what liminality is all about – partially in, partially out!

The limen or liminal space, then, is that glorious ‘in-between-ness’, and from a spiritual point of view, is one filled with power and potential, and where elements of the mundane and spiritual mingle. It’s from there that we can benefit.

It’s a place that some want to inhabit (occasionally), but some don’t. I’m assuming you do, so I’ll carry on writing. What follows is a brief introduction to liminal space.

The liminal can be encountered accidentally as we journey through life, but also intentionally, and in various ways. For instance:

Accidental Or Planned?

I live not far from Capel Curig in north Wales, and a fifteen minute drive from where I live is a wonderful family-owned bakery. I hadn’t been there for some time (as my ministry takes me far and wide), but upon entering the bakery I immediately happenchanced upon the wonderful aroma of bread being baked.

Immediately, in my mind and memory, I was transported back many years to when I was a small child and would visit my grandmother. She always seems to be baking fresh bread over the open fire, and the smell was absolutely gorgeous. It enveloped you as you walked into her house, in a sort of ‘aromatic hug’. Invitational.

Smell, it seems, can be liminal and transport us in our memory to re-experience wonderful and deep moments. It only lasted a few seconds, and I was ‘jolted’ back into ‘the present’, by the female baker asking me, ‘And what can I do for you, love?’. An accidental liminal encounter! (Though I like to think even these things are more than accidents in the grand scheme of things. Maybe planned by the Other?)

I had the privilege of conducting a number of hand-fasting ceremonies recently, and one only a couple of weeks ago. During part of the open-air ceremony the couple exchanged vows as they held each other’s hands, and I concluded with a prayer, wrapping cords around the couples’ clasped hands, and finally draping the stole I was wearing (or rather the end of it) over their hands.

At that point it was as if time stood still. In their garden, the air temperature seemed to drop ever so slightly, local noise (the coughs, joyful crying, babies gurgling etc) seemed muffled and yet birdsong could be heard in the distance; and it was as if there was an increase of ozone, that kind of ‘electric’-on-the-skin feeling, that one experiences from an approaching storm, and it filled the air. We were, and there was no doubt in my mind, ushered into liminal space – that space of power and potential, and where things happen, where we can encounter the Source in a profound way.

Some who attended, came up to me afterward, and asked what had happened. For many of them, it was an unknown but a most welcome experience. It was an intentional encounter of the liminal kind!

Yes, encountering the liminal can be by ‘chance’ or by intention.

Ways To Encounter!

It can be encountered in various ways. For instance: At the baker’s, mentioned above, it was smell; and part of my work is ushering discerning men and women into liminal space for healing, growth, meditation, transformation, house-cleansing especially and more, involving herbalism, especially of the aromatic kind, or the use of power-rocks ie intentionality.

‘…even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him [Paul] were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured…’. Acts 19.12 (part), The Book

As mentioned, I lead various ceremonies, and ritual and liturgy, because what we do and say can open us up to liminal space, and allow us to step into that ‘mid-space’ by moving over the ‘door step’.

Ofcourse, if ritual and liturgy are just done without thinking then little is achieved. But, if time and reverence is given to the event, and there is intentionality, then things happen and we are ushered into liminal space, that glorious ‘inbetween-ness’.

This is interesting to note when celebrating the Caim (intercessory) prayer – and more will be said about that in the coming days

‘There are things known, and things unknown, and in between are the Doors’. Aldous Huxley

Ofcourse, there are a myriad of other ways to access that threshold. For some it may be poetry, for others it may be music or spiritual writing, an awesome sight etc. And, the depth at which people ‘surrender’ varies. Some may only skate upon the surface, maybe fearing to go too deep. Others surrender to the experience completely, and reap the benefits.

‘The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless’. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Another part of my ministry is to usher people into liminal space and utilise the imagination by creative visualisation/active imagination, wherever they are.

Many often believe that the imagination is not real and not useful – advertisers and others know differently. Whatever we do starts with a thought that comes from afar; we allow it to mull around in our imagination or the imaginal realm as many call it; and it slowly ‘solidifies’ and becomes an physical action, though intentionality.

And so, I work with clients, moving them into that imaginal realm of power and potential, where they can encounter….well, they can encounter whatever they can imagine: archetypes, angels, their Companion or the Friend, the Source etc, maybe imagining exotic and beneficial locations to obtain answers, healing, growth, transformation etc in a wonderful ‘inner’ adventure.

A Metaphor?

Maybe these are metaphors for things so deep our words fail us, but symbolism in the imaginal realm can take us further? Maybe, it’s for that reason that much inspiration, contact with the Other etc is mediated through dreams and the imagination?

‘The man who has no imagination has no wings’. Muhammad Ali

It is in that liminal space, that the gap between the mundane and the Other, that things happen – power and potential, and awesome encounters take place.

Accidentally or intentionally you can enter liminal space; you can ‘fly’ and, you can benefit.

Tadhg

PS: Over the next few days, we’ll return to the theme of liminal space, and look at its various stages, examples of how it can be utilised by you or for others, and how it can be expressed (in liturgy, ritual, mediation, visualisation etc).

 

–oOo—

Do contact me regarding liminal space. Part of my work as an anamcara [gaelic/Celtic for ‘soul friend’] is to work with discerning men and women who want to obtain answers to questions, discover more (about themselves),  grow, mature and/or be transformed though creative visualisation/active imagination as a ‘vehicle’ to be ushered into liminal space via the imaginal realm, and/or who would like to enquire about a ceremony, herbalism etc – all forms of liminality..

Q&A #74/2016: Dear Tadhg…

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, this week’s selected question…

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

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

‘You are fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Sacred Text

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

There’s the:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards, Tadhg

 

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

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

The Voice…

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From an interrupted, shallow sleep I awoke early,
and walked into the night, as if called by a Voice deep within.

The Voice?
An elemental? An ancestor? My imagination? Bat kohl?

The air was cold and damp,
the darkness seemed to envelope me,
the trees ‘closed in’, and all was quiet.
Nothing stirred.
Nothing at all.
And with some trepidation,
into a forest clearing I slowly strode.

A fallen tree provided a seat,
and I sat, and waited.
The air felt ‘electric’ as though something would happen,
like a ‘silent storm’ approaching.
And I waited. And shivered.
Waited. And got damp.
Waited.
And then from within, or without,
almost undetectable, a quiet, loving, voice was heard.

The Voice.
Slowly, unhurriedly, powerfully, the Voice said:

“As above, so below,
there are things you should know.”

“Human words are powerful, they are a door,
your actions are effective, they are pure metaphor.”

“And so I speak of humanity’s cosmic task,
To be revealed, evidenced, enjoyed, without any mask.”

“And so, don’t just sit, but take heed and do,
these are worded-actions-prayers for many, and for you.”

“And so, again I say, as above, so below,
remember these things; they are things you should know.”

“Through prayer, does that which is unseen, unmanifest,
reveal itself and take form in the blessed.”

“And so, I mention,
with your hands at your side, walk humbly,
take seven half-steps forward, its a journey of intention.”

“And now, raise your hands in simple ‘surrender’,
and point both to Heaven, that domain of awesome splendour.”

“Widen your arms, and so scoop, and harvest
pure energy, pure ‘gold’, and be prepared to be feel blessed.”

“Draw in that power, by folding your arms like an ‘x’ on your chest,
and feel its benefits, its warmth; you’re at peace, at one, ‘at home’, at rest.”

“Then stretch forth your arms, and mould with your hands
as if a ball, that ‘globe-like’ power-blessing from the ouranic meadowlands.”

“With one foot leading, and with knees part bent,
sway back and forth, in preparation for that ‘goodness’ to be sent.”

“In your mind, name the loved-one, the recipient, the friend,
and in your heart, see them, imagine them, to that end.”

“‘Push’ with your hands, that power-blessing from you to them,
and sigh the sound of the ages, the ‘so be it’, the ‘amen’.”

“And then, your hands drop to your side,
power has gone out; but there is no lack,
for the power-blessing that went forth, also comes back,
in another way and at another time, and so you, too, are blessed.”

Having done everything as directed,
I stood there in awe.
The air was cold and yet I felt warm,
the night so dark but in my mind’s eye it seemed to glow.
The Voice had gone.

The Voice? An angel? The Deity? Awen?

The ‘Inner’ You [Part 3]

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Part 3: To boldly go….: In this last post on this theme (for a while) we’re looking at how you can access the imaginal realm (via liminality), what to expect and how it can benefit you. So, it is rightly subtitled. ‘To boldly go…..’, as we journey into that imaginal realm of power and potential.

If you haven’t read the previous post, please check here: The ‘Inner’ You [Part 2], but if you haven’t read part one do clock here: The ‘Inner’ You [Part 1].

As regards clients entering into that imaginal realm, Tadhg organises one-to-one sessions ‘in person’ or via Skype (wherever they are), and leads group workshops.

Here’s an outline of the steps of a typical one-to-one imaginal session, and benefits – they are brief – and it is just one way of accessing that awesome inner realm. Important words and concepts used are in italics.

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

Liminal entry protocol: In one sense we are always ‘in’ that imaginal realm, especially when dreaming or day-dreaming, and so the ‘clue’ to access it purposely is intentionality. That is, to put ourselves in a purposeful restful state. We always seem to function better when our minds are focussed and so Tadhg uses ritual as an initial starting-point, as a focus, and this could simply be that the discerning client holds a palmstone loosely in their hands throughout.

Tadhg guides each client – so, throughout the session a conversation can ensue and encouragement given. Tadhg uses specified words to encourage clients into that imaginal realm, that is to move them through the area of liminality, that threshold between here and there.

The ‘intersection’/location: Depending on the client and their wishes, Tadhg suggests that each client imagines an ‘intersection’ location, where they can orientate themselves in that ‘inner realm’ and from there explore and encounter.

For some, this could be a field with a signpost pointing in different directions, for others it might be a room with many doors through which to pass, for others it might be a stage where they can move about and so encounter, and for others there are a myriad of initial locations from which to start. It is the starting point for ‘inner’ experiences.

Encountering Inner Characters: In one-to-one sessions many discerning clients come with questions, requests for guidance, maybe the hope of healing, some wanting energy, and others come to experience inner growth and see these sessions as part of their maturation process.

And ofcourse, angels can appear in different forms with that imaginal realm – forms to put us at ease.

‘All God’s angels come to us disguised.’
James Russell Lowell

Many discerning clients come expecting to encounter characters of power, wisdom etc to supply answers, guidance etc.

Those whose ‘theology’ accepts angels, come expecting to meet their guardian angel(s), perhaps, or a specialist angel depending on their requirements. No prior knowledge of angelology is required as we can suggest, encourage and guide you. Such clients are rarely disappointed, and return to revel in these wonderful experiences of peace and harmony, and gain wisdom and understanding. In some cases, the presence of angels can assist clients working through trauma and tough circumstances. In some cases, client report wonderful feelings days after an encounter session. We call this residuality.

Others come to encounter their ‘higher self’ and through representation they can engage and learn from that ‘higher self’.

‘Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.’
Carl Jung

Some, and it does seem to be a greater proportion of men, come to encounter the archetypes that make up each one of us – our inner ‘psychic’ energies that denote our skills and traits, and of which we have, at least twelve. They can be encountered as characters of what they represent eg the sage, the shadow, the child, the magician, the wise lady, the trickster etc. Clients quickly become aware of their skills and attributes, and in some sessions they learn how to ‘borrow’ the attributes of other archetypes.

Experiencing Inner Locations: Whether its the ‘higher self’, angels or archetypes it seems these wonderful entities love to use symbolism – maybe that is the deepest kind of language that they know for what they want to convey to us. It certainly is the stuff of dreams, and is deep and moving, and memorable.

And so, apart from the straight interview technique with an angel, or ‘higher self’, or archetype – which is very beneficial and direct – do not be surprised it, as in a dream, you experience other locations.

Some clients wanting knowledge or guidance have been taken to a library and found the answer on in a book title. Others discovered inspiration for their dancing, writing or painting, which appears as a precious gem revealed to them by digging deep, whilst others have obtained energy by attending an ‘inner’ gym which is great for sportspeople or those convalescing.

Liminal exit protocol: Using a prescribed forms of words, Tadhg would guide the client back to the ‘inner’ starting point and then back into the physical realm. The palmstone, as a ritual, would be placed on a table by the client and the imaginal part of the session is ended. But, that’s not the end!

‘Unpacking’ and application: Because much of these sessions are a symbolic encountering and exploration – and as Tadhg can converse with clients throughout these session, he has made copious notes – the next step is a discussion to ‘see’ what it means to you. It could be that strange symbols, encountered has great meaning to the clients daily life.

‘Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.’
Philip José Farmer

For instance, at the end of an inner encounter, a client was given a lettuce! They had come with the express intention of finding out whether they should do something or not – whether to take a lucrative job. Although, there are no easy answers – forget anything like a ‘dream dictionary, they don’t work – with the discussion that followed it transpired that a bold granparent who had had a smallholding, and whose motto to this client when she was a child  was ‘do it, little one’, also grew a lot of lettuces. This was confirmation to her to accept the job. Tadhg also shared how, sometimes, in that imaginal world ‘word games’ are played to give a double-affirmation, and a lettuce could be ‘seen’ as affirmation – lettuce equals ‘let us’. It is saying yes! Ofcourse, Tadhg closed the session by urging the client to see this session as part of the ‘shall I take thsi job’ exercise, and she should also check details with professionals, friends and family, perhaps, as well as weighing up the pros and cons, herself.

Gifts, affirmations & residuality: In some cases, a physical gift is given by Tadhg. This might correspond symbolically to any ‘gift’ given by a character in hat inner realm, or treasure dug up. In one case, a sportsperson encountered an archetype in an inner gym, and latter, was given an amber-coloured orb about the size of a golfball. In discussion with Tadgh, after the imaginal experience, Tadhg deduced this was infact carnelian – good for physical strength and endurance, and just right for a sports person. In giving that person a carnelian palmstone, Tadhg showed them how to use it symbolically and uses affirmations when they needed an energy boost.

In all cases, Tadhg seeks to unpack the symbolism and apply it to each persons daily life, work etc.

‘When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.’
Carl Jung

Benefits: The benefits are many and varied. Some come with deep wishes and desires, others come for information or wisdom or guidance, some for healing, others for energy, strength, resolution of some tough problem, or to rekindle a friendship or relationship etc. These sessions are that versatile. And, Tadhg makes no charge for one-to-one sessions. It’s done on a donation only basis.

‘The imagination is man’s power over nature.’
Wallace Stevens

Even more!: One aspect of this imaginal realm not mentioned so far is the ‘blessing zone’. This exciting and amazing topic, including practical exercises, ritual and more, will feature over the next few days. Find out what your cosmic task is.

Tadhg

End note: Because we care, we always remind clients that, as regards healing, this is not the same as cure. Healing may be the acceptance of the way things are, an increase in positivity and determination, assurance of resurrection/ascension, of ‘overcoming etc. This work is complementary, and so those attending with ailments etc are requested to continue taking medical advice and medicines; and those gaining knowledge or guidance etc in sessions etc are requested to (still) consult a professional especially, but not only, in legal and financial areas. In all cases, common sense should prevail.

Confessio #6

01 confession 6 copy

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

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

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

So, what is prayer?

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

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

Dost thou understandeth me? You catch my drift?

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

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

But, thankfully, knowledge gave way to wisdom.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a two-way conversation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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