Ritual And The Imaginal Realm: Benefits

RITUAL AND THE IMAGINAL

What is the imaginal realm?

The imaginal realm, the realm of sleep dreams, day-dreams and our conscious attempts to enter that realm, mean that it is a powerful place of energy and transformation. It is within and without!

We looked recently at creating a Focus Table for our ritual, but aswell as a focal point it could be seen as an ‘energy enhancer’, a place were we really appreciate the benefits of intentionality.

One way of using both the imaginal realm and that Focus Table, was in the recent spiritual exercise. It was an outline entry into the imaginal realm, a sort of Imaginal Realm 101, but, nevertheless, a profound and beneficial one, and I’d encourage you to try the exercise. It may be best to read and re-read the exercise so that you can do this alone and are familiar with the words. It easier if someone is narrating and guiding you – and this is where I work one-to-one with clients, even via the internet – but do try it by yourself.

‘A Word For The Week’ Spiritual Exercise

Sitting in a room, make yourself comfortable and ensure that you won’t be disturbed for this five minute exercise. Close you eyes, breath deeply, slowly, and imagine.

Imagine that there is a new door in one of the walls of the room, and its ajar. In your mind’s eye, imagine yourself walking towards it (even though, physically, you are still sitting on that chair in your room). And so, you walk towards the door, open it wider and walk through it.

You see a staircase in from of you, going up, with red carpet on it. There’s wood panelling on the walls, and as you climb the stairs you smell a mustiness in the air of old books. A different smell, but not entirely unpleasant.

You get to the top of the stairs, and peer through glass doors, at an old library – the kind that has bookshelves almost to the ceiling and which need a ladder for the uppermost books. You pull on one of the door handles and enter the library – The Great Library.

In your heart your intention is to find a book that will give you a ‘word for the week; in its title, on the book’s spine. As you look around, one book grabs your attention. You take it off the shelf, inspect the spine, and there – there is your word for the week.

You put the book back on its shelf, turn and pull on the door handle, and go through the library stairs. Walking down slowly, you notice the door to your room coming ever closer. You go through that door, and sit in the chair, exactly where you started.

Now you can open your eyes. The exercise is almost over, but to ensure you adequately ‘ground’ yourself (back) in the physical reality I’d suggest you give yourself a round of applause, as any kind of physical action acts as a good grounding ‘mechanism’.

Now, the word! What was your word?

If you have a word that you would like to share do email me. If you know the relevance of the word, and wish to share that too, please do so. If you’re not sure about the word’s meaning, I’ll certainly work with you if you email me, as ‘unpacking’ the results of what happens in that imaginal realm is also part of the work I undertake.

Ofcourse, in one to one sessions, similar to the abovementioned, clients have visited ‘the power station’ for physical or spiritual energy; the ‘field of dreams’ to ‘solidify’ their aims and hopes relating to work, moving location or some other significant decision; the hall of cledon’ for a one-word decisive answer; or a myriad of characters, helpers and allies. In one-to-one sessions, online with Tadhg, where would you like to visit, inwardly in that realm, who would you like to meet?

The interesting thing about the imaginal realm, also, is that is can also be the realm in which to do imaginal rituals as well as doing similar rituals in the physical world.

What is ritual? Here’s an anecdote to explain it.

‘And so, the person standing twenty feet in front of the crowd, stretched out one arm, and with something like a hiking pole in his hand, etched a circle in the soil as he turned in a clockwise manner. The group knew the significance of it. A person said to me, ‘It’s symbolic. Within that circle is sacred space, sacred time, and that’s different from mundane time. Well, It’s time to step into the circle. Ofcourse when you do step into that circle, and later step out, just remember that, as you do so, everything is really sacred. But for now, we do the ritual to help us focus on what’s necessary at this time’’

It has been said that ritual is mumbo jumbo, powerless and done to appease some angry god or the random forces of nature. But this this misses the point wonderfully.

Ritual has power, and is effective, and beneficial.

With clear and concise words and symbolic actions I can say something out loud, and in saying it out loud it seems to clarify my thinking. In doing some symbolic action, ritual, it gives me some kind of peace. I may say ‘bless you’ if you sneeze’, or I may throw a pinch of salt over my shoulder each time I use it, but it’s not mumbo jumbo. It helps me, even if it means I smile when I throw that salt over my shoulder.

Powerless? Not usually. The exchange of rings in a wedding ceremony, the drawing together of the curtains at a crematoria chapel, the lifting up a glass to toast someone contains some form of meaning, and therefore some form of power.

And who is it for? Well, however we see the animating force of the universe, it seems to me that the Universe needs no single human on a planet of eight billion to do anything for it/him/her. But, we get something out of it. The Universe doesn’t need it, but I do believe the Universe may encourage us as it sees us using positive words and actions for the benefit of all sentient beings, and for creation itself.

It’s as if the Universe is a master painter, a classical painter, and its work is creation. And, then the Universe says to us, ‘Here. Here’s the brush and palette, and there is a little corner down there that I’d like you to finish off, and make this masterpiece complete. Perhaps, that is ritual?

Ritual then, can be an individual activity in the physical realm or a group event, but it can also be something that you do in the imaginal realm – infact, utilising the imaginal realm in the way can enhance your ritual. In this way we can undertake rituals for a number of reasons – one which as suggested recently as a spiritual exercise was to use or focus table to send good energy, light and love and healing to all those affected by the coronavirus. This could be a ‘purely’ physical ritual, but I’d like to suggest that you do that as a start, but spend some time going inward, always ensuring you ‘ground’ yourself after with some kind of physical action (ie applause etc).

There’s much more to say about ritual in all realms, and the one-to-one work I undertake, and this will feature in articles and in the Thought For The Day over the next week or two, as well as appearing on a slightly revamped blog, here, to outline one-to-one services etc.

The Soul’s Cry Or A Zen-like Experience At Sainsbury

20190926 THE SOULS CRY OR A ZEN LIKE EXPERIENCE AT SAINSBURY FULHAM

The last twenty-four hours has been a helter-skelter ride of events, and emotions, and confusion. And yet, the day has been an enormous learning-curve for me, and an encouragement to action. Isn’t that life? Living?

This is how it started.

In the early hours, and I know it was 2.22am for that was the time on the digital clock display, I woke up from an odd dream. I had dreamed that I was attending some kind of spiritual ceremony and had fallen asleep. Is it possible to dream of falling asleep within a dream? It seems so. The really bizarre thing is that as I fell asleep in that dream I woke up in reality. Having woken up for about half a minute, I then fell back to sleep and the dream commence where I had left it. Had I actually woken up? It is all so confusing.

‘Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night.’ Charles Fisher

But, it seems I had another dream just before waking up as the alarm sounded.

In that dream I was kneeling in front of someone. They were seated and I was kneeling, and blessing them by anointing their feet with oil. As I looked up, and looked over their shoulder, behind them, it was as if their life played out like an old home cine projection on the wall or as a series of black and white or sepia photographs – many showing tragic events in their life. The words ‘grief-bearer’ – someone who draws alongside those in great need, in times of grief and tragedy – sounded in my mind.

‘Am I a grief-bearer?’, I asked myself. It seemed like a deafening, ‘No’ resounded in my head, and it was clear that the person seated in front of me was the grief-bearer, and was in need of ‘shedding’ some of the grief that that person had absorbed from others.

‘… you are the Grief Bearer. You take some of the pain onto yourself when you enter in with a family. You take their grief. Some of it goes with you.’

‘I stopped for a moment. It is exactly like that. Some of the pain from each heart enters mine, and we carry it together. Every life I’ve had the privilege of honouring goes with me…both the gifts, and the heaviness. It is a rare gift to be seen and understood by another. And, I will be honest. Few people see me these days…few grasp the heart of what I do, and the consuming craziness of this calling.’

Kelly at Sufficient Grace Ministries.

I have no idea who this ‘grief-bearer’ really is, and recount the dream here and now only because it may be you? [Should you wish to reply to that question, please contact me one-to-one].

Later that day, just before lunch I did some shopping at a large, local supermarket.

Having gone to the check-out counter with the least number of people, I prided myself at being as fast at packing the items I bought as the check-out person was at scanning them. Witty banter ensued. I went to ‘drop’ my card on the card ‘reader’ as instructed, but it wanted me to ‘swipe’ the card. A feeling of dread made me almost shudder.

And, yes, for the fifth time in almost as many weeks, it bleeped, and up came the word ‘signature required’. I have to admit I was not best pleased. A line of people were now behind me and it was asking for my card, a signature and verification by the shop’s staffmember. I tutted (which is what we Brits do when we’re annoyed).

‘You know’, I said to the pleasant check-out person with whom I had exchanged a joke just seconds before, ‘All these people will think I have insufficient funds, and that’s not the case’, I said emphatically as I frowned. With a smile, she uttered words that I had said countless times to others, and which caught me by surprise. She said, ‘Does it matter what others think?’ Ofcourse not, I thought, smiled and suddenly felt buoyed up by her zen-like wisdom and warm smile.

‘When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.’ Maya Angelou

Still later, having gone home, unpacked the food, and hotfooted it to my favourite café I met some very good friends, and very soon we were talking about history and politics.

As usual, we didn’t see eye to eye, but we’re good friends. One person adamantly enforced their views, and rather like friendly ‘sword fencing’ I did the same as regards my view. They ‘sword fenced’ more so, and so did I. And so it went on.

I felt as though I was about to win an academic point, when it was as though I could look upon their soul. I looked into their eyes and  it was as if a mist cleared just for a moment, and I could see the ‘real’ them. I glimpsed their immortal diamond of a soul. And their soul was crying out.

Initially, I thought my responsive ‘sword fencing’ was the cause. But, it ‘felt’ deep down, that their ‘sword fencing’ was their soul’s cry for help and I had merely retaliated in kind, rather than respond deeply to meet their hitherto invisible and unmet need.

I felt a huge amount of anger. Not with them, but with me. How could I be so foolish as to engage in a friendly-but-deepening-verbal-argument when it was their soul calling out to mine all along? How blind could I be?

‘I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.’ Jana Stanfield

I now know that sometimes some people’s barbed comments, which may provoke us, may be (and usually is) their soul’s cry. My course of action to draw closer to them, lovingly, and to support them was affirmed.

And, that was part of my day – hectic at times, confusing at times, but wonderfully and humbly enlightening at other times.

The last twenty-four hours has been a helter-skelter ride of events, and emotions, and confusion. And, this is how it ended: in silent, deep meditation with the feeling that something had be ‘discovered’, and a work set before me. It seems to me that the more aware we are, the more we will notice these liminal openings, but in equal measure may become complacent about them and miss them at other times. And so, so great is the need for each other, for living in the world, for times of meditation, liturgy, poetry, story-telling, music, celebrating the seasons, and ritual, and a whole myriad of other ‘tools’ that encourage us to be still and go within, and so become more aware.

‘The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.’  Khalil Gibran