Tag Archives: meditation

Grandmother Winter Challenge

Free Image from Pixabay
Free Image from Pixabay

The crisp air of winter crawls up my nostrils.  I watch the steam from my cup clash with the breath streaming from my mouth. Great grandmother watched the signs of the seasons, she said that that fogs during the autumn indicated how many times it would snow.  Already, there have been two foggy days.  With the cold comes Grandmother Winter.  I dreamt there was a knock on the door.  Without hesitation or concern for who may be on the other side, I opened the passage into my home.  Snow drifts were piled high, the wind howled and I felt her presence as she rounded the bend to my door.  Clad in a heavy cloak, slouched over with a twisted cane was an old petite woman with eyes dark as coal and skin reminiscent of the deep cracks in bark.  Here, before my eyes stood Grandmother Winter.

This time of year I prepare, I go within.  For the next month, beginning this evening I’ll set the intention to connect with the dark, with silence and see what it has to show me.  From tonight until the eve of December 21, I’ll be documenting my experience here on my blog for the sake of accountability.  Deciding to use my beautifully illustrated oracle cards by Stacey Demarco, I drew the Skull of Darkness, beckoning me into the shadows to explore my own nature.  My runes revealed Isa indicating the need for stillness and receptivity.

Skull of darknessRecently, I’ve found myself amused at all the challenges floating across the internet.  Over the past week, the mannequin challenge has been on the news, on campus and during my daughter’s birthday party, in my living room!  In the spirit of challenge, I charge my readers to complete the next 21 days with me and share your own thoughts and experiences along the way.  How will the divine feminine appear to you?  What do the Shadows have to show you?  What might you discover in the darkness?  Let’s find out!

Meditation First Steps

Training The Mind Is Mandatory

As a beginner, I recall feeling a little confused about what meditation was.  A woman I knew said she meditated while out walking.  The father of a friend of mine sat in a private room in the evening and meditated.  He told me he did it every day and it helped to “quiet” his mind.  Others I’d encountered meditated while dancing or writing and a few mentioned meditating with visual images. What exactly was meditation and how did I begin?  What was the best way for me to meditate?  What did it mean for me personally and How was it going to affect my work as a witch?  These are questions that are answered most easily with only three things; time, practice and exploration.

If you look up the definition of the word meditation on google you pull-up the following: The action or practice of meditating.  Various synonyms are listed:  contemplation, thinking, deliberation, concentration, and musing.  I find these words lacking in adequately explaining meditation in a way that appeals to the senses.  My first attempt to meditate came with the simple, beautiful act of breathing.  To begin, I put away distractions and sit somewhere comfortable in dim lighting.  I set the intention to stay aware of my thoughts but not to engage them.

Tools such as the athames, scissors, cauldrons, and more are wonderful, but the mind is the root to any connection or working.  Developing the mind helps the witch to discover her own talents, to connect to the Otherworld, to cast effective spells, protect the energy body, replenish energy, to stay grounded and connected to self and to explore new pathways.  Beyond witchery, meditation is a useful tool for anyone who desires to live mindfully. On a personal level, it is wonderful for dealing with stressful situations.  If I am faced with an indecisive moment, feel confused or have any big decision to make, meditation helps me to stay calm and often helps me discover solutions.

The First Meditations -What To Expect

In the beginning, my mind chattered away constantly.  I found it very difficult to sit still, my skin crawled and muscles twitched.  Three minutes was a serious achievement.  With time, three minutes became five and five became ten.  Now, I am able to meditate for over an hour.  It is important not to overwhelm yourself.  Start with a few minutes and work your way up.  It helps to build confidence and willpower.

Discover Your Own Way To Meditate

The only way you will ever know how to meditate is to do it.  One aspect of the developing your personal craft is to discover what techniques work for you personally.  In this case, the knowing grows with the doing. What follows below are a few of my meditation tips.

  1. Find a place and time where you can be to yourself.  You don’t have to wash the dishes or do the laundry first, set the firm intention to meditate for your well being
  2. Start meditation simple.  Just breathe and watch the flow of your breath.  If you have thoughts, let them move away like currents carry things down rivers.  Each time you notice them, just return your attention back to your breath.  It is tedious in the beginning, don’t give up.
  3. Don’t force or control your breathing -just watch it.
  4. Start with a few undisturbed minutes at a time.
  5. Don’t lay down in the beginning.  I admit, I love to lay down but when I attempted this, I’d fall asleep every time.
  6. Try meditating indoor and outdoors I love a screened-in porch, the buzz of mosquitos and bite of ants is very difficult for me to get past.
  7. Try meditating in as much silence as possible for a while and then meditate with music.  See if you notice a difference in the way your mind and body responds.
  8. If you are a dreamer, meditate before you are exhausted to boost dream recall or set dream-working intentions.
  9. Keep a meditation journal to note your personal research, techniques, amount of time and locations that you’ve meditated in.
  10. Relax, place your attention on something that feels good and use it to enter a meditative state of mind.   As an evening routine, I’d brush my hair with a soft bristled brush.  I found myself slipping pleasantly into a meditative state of mind while performing this simple act. Another example is playing piano, I still consider myself  a beginner, time slips away when I play and it leaves me feeling peaceful when I play -even if I am only making up my own music.

While I am not an expert, I will say, I feel deeply that any person can greatly benefit from meditation as a daily practice. Take my tips with a grain of salt and try things for yourself.  It is the only way you will ever know what meditation will suit you best. After some time, you may develop your own personal rituals that go along with your meditation such as a particular song, smudging with dry plants, or lighting candles. Be creative, gbe patient with yourself and most of all, have fun and good luck at building your practice!