Visualization – A powerful tool

imagine

One of the most important lessons I learned from OBOD was the value of visualization. As I’ve stated in previous posts, it’s the language of the subconscious. We can’t speak to our subconscious mind the way we can our conscious mind, or intellect. It’s a function hidden deep within ourselves that can’t be easily accessed, like hidden files on your computer. The subconscious does it’s thing without direct intervention, like an autopilot. Sometimes, however, what is written in the code of it’s programming no longer applies to our present circumstances. It needs to be updated. Visualization is the key to updating the subconscious.

visualizeHow to
The best way I know to use visualization is a little like meditation. The main difference is instead of emptying your mind, you fill it with what you want to accomplish. In effect, you are seeing in your mind’s eye the changes you want to happen in reality, seeing the story you write for yourself, and the happy ending, of course.

I’ve used this technique to great effect in my Druidic studies and OBOD lessons. It’s allowed me to literally change my perception of myself, my life, and my accomplishments. Without the ability to visualize and communicate with my subconscious, I would not be nearly as far along my path as I am now.

try-hardIt takes practice
Visualization does take practice, though. It may not be as difficult as rolling a boulder up a steep cliff, but it does take effort to become effective. People who have the most luck with visualization say the more they use it, the more effective it is, kind of like a muscle. A person who tries visualization who hasn’t done it before may not see immediate results. That’s okay. I don’t know of many things of value that come easily or quickly. When I started using visualization, it took about a week of daily practice before I started to perceive any results at all. Then, as the weeks went by, the results presented stronger and stronger until I had accomplished what I set out to.

Visualization is one of the things that is highly underrated in society today, but it can be a great tool in the tool chest of anyone seeking a spiritual path or to deepen their spirituality. For those who try it, keep at it. The benefits will come. You just need patience and confidence in yourself. You can direct the path of your life.

Blessings and light.

Quick Share – Prayer to the element earth

earth

This is the last of the prayers to the elements, but certainly not the least. I love this prayer especially because of the grounding effect it has. I feel so stable after reciting this prayer that I’ve added it to my elements rosary and use it whenever I feel the need for stability. It also comes from the website legionofpagans, as do all the element prayers I’ve shared.

ELEMENT – Earth

O Great Spirit of Earth, from which all life springs
Upon whom we rejoice and dance and sing!
From the North ye hail with your pulse of Life
You bring Strength and Security in our times of Strife
You are our Foundation and our Home from which all life grows
You nurture and ground us as your deep life force flows
With your beautiful greens and rich, deep browns
Your vibrant tapestry of life around us abounds
I bow before you as I honor thee
Lend me your comforting Stability
May I stay grounded upon my path this day
May I walk in your footsteps as I go my way
May we care for you and only take what we need
Let us not be driven by want and greed
May we cherish and honor the place of our birth
Our Blessed, Beautiful Mother Earth!

I hope you’ve found these prayers helpful. They are an integral part of my practice and a very important method of sharing love of the earth and all things in it.

Happy praying, everyone. 🙂

My Journey Book

journal

On every journey, it’s a good idea to keep an accurate record of where you go and what you experience. Call it a journal, a book of days, or a diary, it is a valuable tool in tracking one’s progress across a continent or a spiritual plane. For my journey, I’ve created a book that I hope will help me keep track of my journey down the Ovate path.

A physical record
I’m the kind of person who always does better when I can see where I’ve been. Pictures, letters, and momentoes have special meaning for me because they are a physical, tangible record of my life. Because of this, I’ve made a book, a journal of sorts, for my Ovate studies. I call it The Book of the Ovate. In it I have several sections representing the different types of work I’m doing, much like a Wiccan’s Book of Shadows. It’s a combination of printed pages of reference material from the Internet and my own handwritten accounts of lessons, revelations, and meaningful experiences. I’m very happy with the way it turned out.

Book of the OvateThe process was pretty simple. I created a cover in an art program on the laptop and printed it on card stock. Then, I punched holes with a hole punch to add those little brass fasteners for paper. That makes it easy to add or remove sheets as I need. The shine is from wide shipping tape I used to protect and sort of laminate the front and the back. Inside is a mixture of written and printed material in four sections. The sections are separated by card stock with the section title and a nice picture to represent it. I have a section for my Ovate work, a place for my rituals and related recipes, a dream and meditation section, and a section for herbal information. It’s getting kind of fat by this time, but that also represents the amount of work I’ve done already.

my penSpecial tools
One thing I did, and I’m very glad of, is I bought a special pen for use with my journal. It makes each entry a little more meaningful. I bought it from an Etsy shop called JDHomeGallery. This seller creates handcrafted pens and other beautiful items. I requested a custom pen made from white oak (top) and deer antler (bottom). Those materials have special meaning to me as a practicing Druid. Oak represents the sacred groves Druids used in training and teaching their craft. To me, it represents both sacredness and knowledge. The deer antler represents new beginnings and purification, as explained in the Druid Animal Oracle. Deer were also seen as a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds, as Celtic mythology believed this animal could move easily between them. When put together, this pen represents all that Druidry means to me, sacredness, spirituality, knowledge, wisdom, and new beginnings.

My book and pen have become an important part of my practice, and I’m very grateful to have them both. Together, they help me remember a few things about this journey I’ve chosen to undertake. First, that what I’m doing is important enough to have a special and specific place to record it. Second, I’m exploring something not everyone has the ability or temperament to, the spiritual realm. And lastly, it’s my very own with my specific stamp on it. No one else has these things, and that makes me very unique. I’m happy with that.

Chakra Work – Part 2

chakras

When I finished part 1 of this work, I had discovered my fears and examined them close up. Now it’s time to look at the behaviors these fears lead to. I’ve come up with several. These traits never show at home with my family, but only outside the house where I don’t feel quite so secure.

My fears tend to manifest in three main ways:

  1. I tend to keep myself secluded from, well, everything. I avoid gatherings, social functions, and pretty much anything that involves groups of people, no matter how much I have in common with them. I much prefer the safety and security of home.
  2. Not being able to relax around people. I always feel the need to be on guard. For what, I’m not exactly sure, but I suspect it’s a case of being prepared for the trauma my subconscious seems to think is always about to erupt.
  3. Not being my authentic self to others, or in other words, being too nice. I am forever being too nice to people, even when they don’t deserve it. I think this is because I’m always trying to avoid conflict. I hate conflict and drama.

control

Control
The need for control. It’s never far behind anything, is it? I find that my need for control doesn’t extend to other people so much as it influences my actions. Controlling my environment, or at least what environment I’m in, is the way I deal with feeling insecure, so I stay away from gatherings. Not being able to relax around people is me controlling myself so not to be vulnerable to insult or injury. Not being my authentic self is me trying to control the exchange between myself and someone else I’m not sure of.

What could I gain from letting go of this fear and control? Simply put, freedom. The freedom to be my authentic self. The freedom to enjoy and contribute at social gatherings. Most of all, the blessings of gaining good will, positive energy, and wisdom from people in the moment, something I have a very hard time doing now.

lessons from childhood

Letting go
The past taught me many lessons. The biggest lesson I learned was that lack of control led to fear, pain, hate, and doubt. I don’t ever want to feel those things at those levels again. My subconscious mind knows this and tries it’s best to protect me. It protects me by limiting my exposure to other people and uncertain situations. But these lessons no longer apply.

My subconscious is holding on to lessons learned that have no relation to the life I currently live. They are hindering me instead of keeping me safe, as they once did. There are several things I learned that can help me move beyond these lessons and put them, my fears, and my need for control to rest.

  1. Visualization – Visualization is the language of the subconscious. By using visualization, you can let your subconscious know what you need now when there is no other way to speak to it.
  2. Meditation – Meditation allows us to tap into our true authentic selves and use our inner wisdom to guide us where we need to go or in what we need to let go of.
  3. Ritual – Ritual allows us to express our thoughts and feelings in the physical world. It enables us to manifest our intent and purpose here on earth from the seeds in our hearts.

I’ll probably use at least two of these methods, if not all three, in exercises to clear my root chakra. That will be the next post for chakra work.

Quick Share – A prayer to the element fire

fire

This is the prayer to the element fire from legionofpagans.com. It makes up the third prayer of the prayers to the elements, and it’s one I use regularly.

ELEMENT – Fire

O Great Element of Fire! that Cleanses and Purifies
Ye that flickers and dances from Earth to Sky
Ye brings warmth and security with thy sacred Flame
From the South ye comes as I call thy name
Passion and Strength are born of thee
The flame of Life burns deep within me
By Candle, and Hearth and Blessed Bonfire
Work my will, By my Desire!
May you Light my path this very day
As I walk my life upon my way
I bow before you as I honor thee
Lend me your Strength, Passion and Vitality
That I may share with those I know
And your flame will burn and ever grow

I hope you enjoy these prayers as much as I do. They are an important part of my regular celebration ceremonies, and I hope others will benefit from them as well.

Happy praying! 🙂

A ceremony for renewal

IBR-1113189

Over the weekend I performed a ceremony for recommitting myself to my spirituality and Ovate studies through OBOD. It was a way for me to create in the physical world the intention of my heart. It was a ceremony for spiritual renewal, and it was wonderfully soul cleansing. I even felt better physically, as if I had gained strength and sturdiness with my feet firmly on the ground.

I won’t go into detail about the ceremony itself. It was a basic celebration ceremony using prayers and techniques I learned in the Bardic course. But the messages I received I would absolutely like to share. Please understand these are messages I received for me personally, and they have no special bearing on any other person or spiritual practice. 🙂

love yourself

The most important message I received is one I think everybody could benefit from. That is to love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes, to stray a bit, and to not be perfect. I think this one in particular came to me because I felt bad for not keeping up my spiritual practice every day. I never turned my back on it completely, but it certainly wasn’t the priority it had once been.

I needed to receive that message. It allowed me to let go of the guilt. After letting that go, I was able to more fully appreciate the ceremony itself and be more open to it’s other messages.

labarinthAnother thing I took away from the ceremony is that spiritual development is seldom a straight path. It’s more like the neolithic labyrinths etched into the ground with such care. They are never straight and narrow, sure in their course and meaning. They meander, they curve, they zigzag, and they take you on a journey that can lead to some very unexpected places. That’s what I realized my own spiritual journey has been like. It’s a very freeing message. To me, it means I don’t have to worry about my own plans or expectations. I can let the universe send me where it wants me to go. I can be completely open to new ideas and new thoughts instead of concentrating on the ones I expect to gain. I like that.

spiritual selfThe last big message I received was that the spiritual self as it relates to the spiritual realm is kind of like a blank slate. We can develop our spiritual selves in ways we may not be able to develop ourselves in the physical world. This doesn’t mean fantasy or daydreams. This has to do with our inner selves, our souls, our divine beings that can be taken in directions we choose. It’s important to be open to what the universe is telling us and where it guides us, but we can also choose our purpose. If we have a strong calling toward the shamanic or healing or teaching, these are things we should explore. Our spiritual selves may have important contributions to make in a certain area.

These were the most important messages I received through my renewal ceremony, and I thank the spirits, the elements, and the ancestors for their presence, their guidance, and their blessings. If you are interested in trying your own renewal/re-commitment ceremony, check out the Internet for some ideas. It’s a very empowering experience.

Love and light to all.

Quick share – an amazing pagan shop

alter_table1

My alter and spiritual tools are a huge part of my ceremony. I think most people practicing an alternative spirituality feel the same. Since I started my Druidry practice, I’ve been shopping with Cathi at Cat’s Magick on ebay. She has a ton of items, and she has a super store newsletter that gives great advice and lessons.

Stop by her shop if you get the chance. You’re sure to see something you really like.

Happy shopping! 🙂

Getting back in touch with Druidry

01 buddhas-enlightenment

As I’ve mentioned before, I was pulled pretty strongly away from regular spiritual practice by the healing and creativity that resulted of my Druidry work, which is pretty ironic. Once I realized I could actually be a successful and valued person in this world, it was kind of like a damn breaking. All the things I wished I could be were suddenly right before me, waiting to be realized, with nothing to hold me back. For the past year I’ve been completely out of balance with my business and self expression projects dominating my life. Don’t get me wrong. It’s been great. I’ve learned there is absolutely nothing I can’t accomplish if I really want it. I feel so blessed because that’s a belief I don’t think many people have about themselves.

magicBut now the tide is ebbing, and it’s time to make spirituality part of my daily and weekly life again. I’ve reestablished a weekly ceremony that honors and connects with the elements, the ancestors, and the realms of this earth (plant, mineral, animal, and human). I’ve resumed my monthly Ovate lessons, which I’m particularly excited about, and I’ve decided to renew my commitment to Druidry in a special ceremony that will be somewhat like my initiation. The important thing here to clearly state my intent and declare it to the universe, to bring my desires into the physical world with ceremony and ritual, thereby manifesting it into reality.

With an apple for renewal and mistletoe for sacredness, I will recommit myself to the study and practice of the Ovate grade. Candles, incense, meditation music, and prayer will all play a big part in my renewal ceremony, and I will try and reconnect with my spirit Ovate guide, Arrol, who first introduced himself last year during my initiation ceremony into the Ovate grade. I’ll write my mentor about it to let her know how it went.

I feel a very strong urge to do this ceremony but the urge is also to do it right. I’m taking my time, gathering my supplies, and waiting for the right moment to perform it because I feel this will be a very important moment on my journey. For me, it’s not about reaching the end. It’s about experiencing the journey itself, what happens, what I learn, how I feel, and what insights I can gain. It’s about learning what makes me tick, how I can be a better me, and how I can make the world better with my unique talents and abilities. I think I’m ready for that.

spiritual-journeys

Blessings to all who are on the same journey. I hope you find what you’re looking for, and I hope I do, too.

Quick Share – A prayer to the element air

air

Another prayer in my collection of prayers to the elements. This one also comes from legionofpagans.com and is to the element air. It’s one of my favorites and never gets left out of a ceremony. I also include it in my rosary to the elements. Here it is.

ELEMENT – AIR

O Great Element of Air, Of the Winds and the Breeze
Ye that carries the Birds and rustles the Trees
Bringer of Life! From the East ye hail
Where the sailor waits and sets his sail
I bow before you as I honor thee
Lend me your Strength and Prosperity
Ye that fans the Blessed Fire
Work my will, by my Desire!
Upon my path this very day
Aid me as I walk our way
Blow away all negativity
All doubt, and worry away from me
Mind be open, bright and clear
Free from lifes stresses and fears
This I humbly ask of thee
As thy winds blow and caress me

Happy praying! 🙂

Yoga – A great way to find balance

yoga_beach-sunset

Trying to lead a life that includes a healthy amount of spirituality can be challenging. I constantly feel pulled out of balance by a legion of daily tasks, business concerns, household chores, and family responsibilities. It’s hard to just sit and be, to find that place of peacefulness that lets me get in touch with my inner self. Yet, I know it’s vital to disconnect daily, even if just for a short while.

Thankfully, I found a practice that allows me to do just that. It’s yoga. Practicing in the morning gets me calm and centered for the day ahead. Practicing at night brings a peaceful sense of accomplishment from the day and settles me down to sleep. Either way, I get a much needed disconnection from the daily grind and the opportunity to appreciate myself as a being of light and love. Throw in a short meditation afterward, and it becomes a complete practice of physical and spiritual renewal.

peaceful-yoga1One thing I find really important about my yoga practice is to make sure I’m not disturbed. I turn my cell phone off, I close the door, and I make sure there are no videos or TV playing. Removing distractions allows me to look deep inside myself. It’s easier to find and connect with my authentic self, the person I was meant to be before life altered it all.

After removing distractions, the next most important thing for me is to set the mood. Meditation music and incense is a must. I may also light candles. These are the things that soothe and calm me. I find myself utterly carried away and deeply relaxed when the mood is right. The last thing I do is clear my mind. If problems or distractions crop up in my head, I imaging a cool breeze blowing them away like autumn leaves, and they bother me no more.

meditationOnce the postures are finished, I end with a short meditation of about five minutes. This is where the real spiritual benefit comes in. Yoga helps get me to the place where I can settle down and let things go. It’s one of the best ways to strengthen my spirituality. When my mind is calm, I believe it is assimilating everything I do with my core being. My body and mind get a chance to connect in a way it otherwise can’t. This is what makes it so valuable to me as a spiritual practice. It’s one thing to intellectually learn Druidry. It’s another to let it sink into your soul. I believe that’s what yoga and meditation do for me.

Yoga is a perfect accompaniment to any spiritual practice because it helps us find balance, calms our being, and allows us to get in touch with our deepest pure self. It takes no investment other than time and is best accomplished alone or with an intimate partner. I really love my yoga practice and couldn’t get along without. Give it try  if you ever feel inclined. You may be surprised at the results.