It’s been brought to my attention that I can be somewhat vague or covert even in my descriptions of what a training session actually entails and what it has to do with Wicca or magic in general. Now, I do try to elucidate on my own experiences by paralleling experiences from previous ones in magic and also those of, certainly more knowledgeable (if not necessarily wiser) folks than I but that doesn’t mean squat if you don’t know what it is I’m experiencing. So, with this in mind and a complete and unresounding nod to those around me who have surfed these waters more deeply than I, I will endeavour to do better in this post!
Due to a heavy workload in the run up to the Christmas break when my Hairy Pagan friend asked me along to do some training with a difference over the weekend I dropped all other plans and ran for it. We’d been gearing up for some of the exercises for a while and so it was about time we grabbed the bull by the horns.
SATURDAY 07, 2013.
Y’all remember a few posts back when I said that I was accustomed to traveling all day for ritual practice and training but somehow I always felt more tired and exhausted from the travelling rather than the work done? Well, I did and I’ve also been on various workshops and gatherings with talks and ideas for enriching your life but to be honest it was all pseudo-spiritual masturbation from what I could see. None of us were getting any wiser or more spiritual and to be honest I’ve been adopting a more existential/humanist perspective on my own Path because of it.
We started off with an hour’s work of meditation and mindful movement to begin with. This involved listening to Jack Kornfield and Thich Nhat Hahn from YouTube, and I have to say that I have noticed that I fight the process less now that I’m working on breathing a bit more. Just to make sure we did some Limerick Exercises, which are breathing exercises devised by my Hairy Pagan friend in order to help the practitioner into an altered state but not be too out of it (we’re just getting started remember)! In homage to how we first began training we took advantage of some good weather outside and went weapons training with the sword. Working with the sword came much easier (even if I was given a wonky sword! 😀 ) Its at this point that we took some time to reflect and we both realised that I was getting fitter, in that my breathing levels are much higher than when I’d first walked in the door over.
Before we broke for a short tea break we did some more work from our Breathing exercises which included working on oxygenating the body and visualising the 7 Chakras as one breathes in and out. In order to wind-down there is the Goddess and God breathing. The final stage [sic] of the breathing exercises involves a silent prayer or intend with each in-breath and out-breath for oneself, then one’s training partner and finally for those around us. Now you may have copped that there is a process which is rather reminiscent of ritual structure here in that there is the physical-mental connection of the self and then building within as one raises energy to the Divine as one directs or channels one’s intent for a certain purpose – all this from breathing isn’t exactly news here but it is a rather unique approach I think? It also reminds me of the emphasis placed on breathing amongst initiates of the Golden Dawn system too.
My Hairy Pagan friend and I got to chatting on some research he’d discovered which maintained that due to the hostile environment of prisons teachers/facilitators of Mindfulness found they had to omit the Compassionate side of the techniques because people would be too vulnerable to abuse from other inmates. So taking on board the quote concerning the Two Wolves and which we chose to feed we decided to do some exploration of this. I found that when presented with the opportunity that my Zen-like nature dissipated quickly when I chose to feed the Evil Wolf (I prefer Wild or Lone Wolf) replaced by anger over issues I’d faced recently but upon reflection I realised that these situations were a representation of my own fears and insecurities.
After some food it was time to feed the Good Wolf (Tame or Pack Wolf) a while by bringing some energy to the place around us to develop the community through Zen walking and mentally chanting (I’m nuts but sane enough to realise it!) which brought me back mentally into my centered self – the calm self that wanted to help people again. It felt good. Towards the end of the night I reflected more on this aspect of my training and realised that as modern astrologers and magicians have turned Ares/Mars into a martial force associated with war and conflict the earlier versions have him associated with agriculture and the change to a proprietary sense of the land one works upon. I could see how a witch/magician cultivates the “land” around them metaphorically speaking and sometimes we need to prune the garden but we also need to be balanced for fear of over cultivating it as well. A wolf is still a wolf afterall.
All-in-all the day lasted from 12 noon until 12 midnight a full 12 hours. Though the feeling was as though we’d had several weekends crammed into this one day already.
SUNDAY 08, 2013.
We started off with some more mindfulness exercises from the Jack Kornfield and Thich Nhat Hahn material on YouTube, progressing into exercises 2 & 3 of the Mindgames which provided that little “jump-start” to that altered stated I’d mentioned before. With some Zen walking and compassion exercises today was all set to be very different pace than yesterday’s marathon of work.
We used a Pathworking exercise to help me get into a deeper level in order to work on the Psycho-Physical Exercises. These psycho-physical exercises would allow me to listen to my body more. At first I was accepted into the landscape of the Pathworking as I learned to project myself from my body to another space. There’s a lot that could be said on whether this is an Inner Kingdom or Astral Projection to an Inner Temple – but thats not really what the focus was on today.
The process allowed me to draw mental associations to my body in a way that before I’d have been able to ignore or fob off. I could see that I was feeling weighed down by a sailing anchor (I’m working on a lot of emotional stuff in general but this weekend is also bowing to this) which took on links to my lower spine (root chakra).
I wanted to learn magic as a tool on my spiritual path in the beginning, but having found the material to be ever present and the society I hail from seeing a dichotomy between the spiritual and the material has been very hard to cope with. I’m a Taurean Sun sign with strong ties to my relationships and even when I see that change is needed for everyone’s mutual benefit I can find it difficult to let go. This diminishes the flow of Chi around the body and means I start to shut down from the clues both physical and psychic* going on around me. Somehow I’ve gotten used to ‘seeing’/’feeling’ the crappy stuff psychically and I was also starting to feel guilty for ignoring it. Thanks to the work over this weekend I’m starting to make new associations.
* NB.: I’m specifically using the psychological implications here but the “extra-sensory” perception could so easily apply too.