Sun Mirror Meditation

CIChmMjXAAAIKnkI thought it might be interesting to share some of my own personal visualizations from the Sun Mirror meditation that I’ve been doing in the past few months. The uses I found for the mirror have been a curious combination of healing, charging/energizing, and prophecy. I’m not quite sure how that last bit is going to work out long term, but we’ll see. For now, just some thoughts and images that have skated through my mind while using this technique.

Beli Mawr, ignite my passion. This is the Root, the hard bones of the earth, and the flesh of the soil and falling leaves. It needs to be solid but still able to flow, to convey blood and sap to the whole. The Root dwells in darkness, hot red warmth that seethes beneath the surface.  It is the strength of the Land, the cup that holds the healing waters.

Beli Mawr, inflame my heart. The Heart of the Sea, a pearl precious beyond measure. If the Root needs to flow, then the Heart needs to overflow. Fire burns away the chains locked around the heart, leaving one to love fully and freely again. Wayland the Master Smith fills the gaps between the shards of your heart with molten gold. He says “The metal needs to be soft. You have a heart, not a sword.”

Beli Mawr, illuminate my mind. The Mind opens to the Sky. See with clarity, strengthened by the will of the Land. Be crowned by the circle of light, your own true will coming to the forefront. Know that emotions hide behind logic, and pulling the veil of reason aside will reveal someone’s true motives–including your own.

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Experiments with the Sun Mirror

18208165226_463cd981d4_zWow, what a change I’ve noticed in my energy levels when I’ve been able to do even a few moments with my Sun Mirror in the morning.  The mirror work in and of itself was inspired by Levannah Morgan’s lecture on DruidCast episode 98, which is worth multiple listens if you’re interested in this kind of magical/energetic practice.

The first energy system I ever worked with was qigong’s Three Dantian, and that’s pretty much what I still stick with today (although Kristoffer Hughes has a fascinating Welsh energetic system which I’d eventually like to explore further).

I’ve been invoking Beli Mawr since we’re passed May Day. It’s likely that I will invoke Sunna in the winter months. I’ll likely do a formal dedication/consecration of the mirror as a working tool on Solstice, but even without the formalities, it’s been extremely effective for getting the nwyfre flowing in the mornings.

Stand or sit with the sun at your back. Use the mirror to focus a beam of light first on your Lower Dantian (roughly where the uterus is located), then on your Middle Dantian (heart), then on your Upper Dantian (third eye).*  At each cauldron, say:

Beli Mawr, ignite my passion.
Beli Mawr, inflame my heart.
Beli Mawr, illuminate my mind.

I haven’t really found a satisfactory way to perform this exercise when it’s overcast, unfortunately. However, it’s quickly becoming a foundational element of my practice, and I imagine it will prove invaluable when the winter doldrums strike in early March.

*PLEASE DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE REFLECTION OF THE SUN. THIS IS WHY PIRATES WEAR EYE-PATCHES.

Practicing Together #10

Seed thought taken from Leaning into Mystery’s “Practicing Together” weekly series.

I noticed  the hawthorns blooming. I noticed the swans in the southwest, the red winged blackbirds in the north, the wood ducks in the northwest and the woodpecker in the east. I noticed the hum that comes from the land in the spring and summer, and discovered a new path through the white pine grove that I had never seen before.

This week, I invite in clarity. Clarity of purpose, clarity of motivation, clarity of action. I invite in the Dawn Shiner, and the true seeing that he brings.

Ways this could happen: Color breathing white and yellow. Entering the Eastern Gate in meditation. Invoking Mercury and the Sun in my morning practice.

What went well: Embracing spontaneity served me very well. I was able to adapt to different needs during our grove Beltane ceremony, and take advantage of the coincidences and synchronicities that where available to me. This resulted in an open, sensitive ritual, and an impromptu meal of garlic mustard pesto later in the week!

Updates: More oghams gathered—hawthorn for Huathe and a new piece of pine for Ailim. I’ve decided to leave the bark on the fews, which means I also need to replace the willow stick. Both it and the old pine few have taken up residence in my crane bag, though, so nothing is wasted.

Practicing Together #4

Today’s sunrise

Seed thought taken from Leaning into Mystery: Practicing Together #9.

I noticed that what I put out into the world is what I get back. This is hard if you’re in a bad mood! I also noticed that toddler snuggles are some of the most powerful banishing magics on the face of the planet. 🙂

This week, I invite in creativity and groundedness. I need to be able to create to work on the series of planetary paintings, but I need to have the follow through to get one done each day. Art is a hard mistress, dontcha know?

Ways this could happen: Using the Hours app to schedule creative time in accordance with the planetary days and hours. Getting the draft designs done before those hours come around (the outer planets are already handled, thankfully).

The Sun

What went well: I started by inviting lightness into my life with candles on the altar and by playing with a singing bowl or wind chimes throughout the day. I took extra time to make sure my son was well tickled. And I was finally in a headspace to begin creating the planetary paintings for my altar area. The goal is to do one a day for the next ten days, in the corresponding planetary hour. The first one, the Sun, was completed yesterday—this really brought light into my life! The painting also has Agrippa’s sigils and squares, as well as Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery sun sigil painted on the back. This went very well indeed!

Updates: Wrote Ovate tutor! With any luck she won’t fire me from the grade. ;p  It felt really good to get past this block (which for those keeping count was 16 months or so), write up the gwersi and begin moving forward (in circles?) again on the Ovate journey. Still didn’t actively work on SS homework, but I feel like this planetary stuff I’m doing will contribute to that in the long run, so I’ll give myself a break there.

Celandine (greater)

There was a strange and cheerful plant that showed up in my father’s garden one year. At first there was only one, proudly crowning the top of the compost heap that dad hadn’t gotten around to turning yet. As it turns out, that was the advance scout. Soon the whole vegetable patch was in a pitched battle with this sunny broadleaf weed. Happily, my father was a hippy professor ahead of his time, and refused to use chemical pesticides. Unfortunately, it meant much of my summer was spent pulling out this tenacious little opportunists who stained my hands yellow with its sticky sap. We had no idea what the stuff was, so I dubbed it “Yellow Root.” To this day, it retains a small foothold on that plot of NJ dirt, but never quite to the degree it did that first summer.

In a way, “Yellow Root” was what first spurred my interest in plant lore. For years, I wondered what it was really called, but couldn’t find out the answer. No one was interested in the name of some weird little weed. But I played with it, got to know it, crushing the roots to make dye, using the leaves in childhood potions. Eventually I did find out what it was, but it was a journey that took me far from home.

The answer to my question lay thousands of miles away in a French cloister that had been replanted with period vegetables and herbs. It was in the poisonous/medicinal section that I saw something which looked like my yellow-rooted plant from NJ. I just had to know, so I waited until my parents had gone around the corner, stepped over the low fence, and plucked a leaf. Lo and behold, the same telltale yellow sap welled up from the break in the stem. I now had a name, courtesy of the little plaque stabbed into the dirt in front of the plant: Chelidonium majus.

Perhaps most remarkable of all, for the first time in this series I actually agree with Cunningham! He associates celandine with both Sun and Fire, and I an firmly in accord with him on both points (2003, 77). He goes on to say that it can be used for protection, escape, happiness, and legal matters. I would use caution, as personally I think of celandine as an agent of truth—so if law and right are on your side, by all means carry some around with you. Otherwise, it may end up bringing any unpleasant truths to light. (As a side note, if you work with celandine magically, wear gloves and keep it in a satchel as its sap can be a skin irritant; it is also poisonous, so use caution.) Meanwhile Beyerl asserts that there is no magical tradition associated with it (1984, 78), so intuition is a must when working with this herb.

And next week, another sunny, fiery weed: dandelion!

Agrimony

The plant is found abundantly throughout England, on hedge-banks and the sides of fields, in dry thickets and on all waste places. In Scotland it is much more local and does not penetrate very far northward.

Agrimony has an old reputation as a popular, domestic medicinal herb, being a simple well known to all country-folk. It belongs to the Rose order of plants, and its slender spikes of yellow flowers, which are in bloom from June to early September, and the singularly beautiful form of its much-cut-into leaves, make it one of the most graceful of our smaller herbs. (Grieve 1931)

It feels appropriate to begin this year-long project with agrimony (Agrimonia eupitoria) since it was the first herb I studied when I entered the Ovate grade in 2010. This past summer, I was lucky enough to be gifted a baby agrimony from my Grove Mother’s garden. It seems to have pulled through the drought, but I won’t really be able to tell how it’s doing until spring. Once I indulged in picking a leaf and crushed it to release a wonderful lemony-apricot scent. I’m looking forward to having a hearty little patch in my walkway garden!

When I initially started wandering down the Neopagan path, sage and sweetgrass were the go-to cleansing and brightening scents herbs. Once my interests took on a more Celtic flavor, I found myself wondering if there were European equivalents for these plants. Agrimony was suggested as a substitute for the latter, because of its lightening qualities.

According to Cunningham (2003, 27), agrimony is a masculine plant, associated with the element Air and ruled by Jupiter. It is effective for both protection and sleep, and is excellent for banishing negative influences, especially when combined with mugwort. Beyerl (1984, 55) states that most of the traditional lore surrounding agrimony associates it both with sleep, and as a counter-spell herb.

While I do not yet grow it in the quantities I need for a steady incense supply, I have found an extract of agrimony to be effective in helping combat the winter blues.* It’s a very sprightly plant, willing to help and chatter away as the mood strikes it. Because of its cleansing and astringent properties, I would argue it’s more fiery than airy (as Cunningham says), but it’s more the fires of the Sun than those of man.

*It should go without saying, consult a healthcare professional before following any suggestions from the blogosphere! To misquote Bones McCoy, “I’m a druid, Jim, not a doctor!”