Meditaton Workshop - Continued Discussion

Hi everyone. I wanted to thank all of you who attended the workshop last night. Here is the continuation thread I promised for the workshop held May 27, 2020.

Let me start with some takeaways from the workshop. Please add anything you think of as well as any other questions or comments about meditation in a Druid context.

  1. Druidry is a Wisdom tradition (rather than a tradition of magic). Meditation helps in gaining wisdom of both the outer and inner worlds and is a part of virtually all traditional Druid traditions.

  2. It is helpful to meditate at the same time and place, especially in the beginning.

  3. Start out slow and don’t get discouraged if things don’t go perfectly every time. Aim for 5 minutes at first and then add on from there.

  4. Color Breathing can be challenging, but some found breathing the color blue to be calming and refreshing.

  5. Guided Visualization can be a helpful in discovering a topic or theme for Discursive meditation.

  6. A meditation app can be helpful to maintain motivation. I recommend Insight Timer (https://insighttimer.com/)

Please add to this list! Here are some other topics for discussion:

  1. How was the meditation experience for you?
  2. Which type of meditation was your favorite? Why?
  3. Which did you find the most challenging?
  4. What other meditation practices have you done?
  5. If you have a regular meditation practice, what suggestions do you have for people who are just starting out?

If people would like I could make Google docs of the slides and of the 5 part guided meditation I led and post the link. Let me know if that would be helpful.

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Unfortunately was unable to attend. Google doc would be great.

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My suggestion for those just beginning a meditation practice is to start small. Meditate for no more than 5 minutes at first. Wait to add more time until you can keep your mind focused on your theme (if you’re doing discursive meditation) or on your breath or other point of meditative awareness for the full 5 minutes most sessions.

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Hello Gang, I keep missing the workshops. Are they archived?

Google docs of the slides and 5 part guided mediation would be great. I’ve tried to meditate in the past, but find it very difficult unless I am in the flow, for example playing taijiquan in class. I am intrigued by the concept of discursive meditation and want to learn more about it, and how to start. Perhaps choosing as a topic a part of the SoP from my morning practice, and following my mind along the path it takes?

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I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to meditate together as a group, even though we were each apart and only meeting on Zoom. I learned much from the meditation session, just not what I expected! :slight_smile: For starters, I found that I can’t meditate at that time of night with enough energy because I’m more likely to fall asleep than if I were to meditate in the morning or early afternoon, for instance. This was also the first time that I tried coloured breathing as a technique and struggled with that as well. Out of the methods that we tried together in the guided session, mindfulness was the most approachable, and visualization was also pleasant. However, I was surprised to find that my mind wasn’t able to make the ‘leap’ from visualization to discursive! I couldn’t settle on a theme to explore deeply; instead, before that point, I was falling asleep (which normally doesn’t happen in my meditation). I have managed discursive meditation before, but only if I pick the theme before starting the session. Sometimes I struggle to even choose a theme.

Does anyone have advice on choosing a theme for discursive method and mentally exploring the theme in an organized, step-by-step manner?

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I would like to make a book recommendation on the subject of meditation here as well. Druidry and Meditation by Nimue Brown is an excellent intro on the subject as well as a guide to specifically Druid forms of meditation that gives much to explore even for non-beginners. I haven’t gotten through all of it yet, but the book provides multiple techniques that one can try, including something similar to discursive. The author provides detailed instructions on how to go through each form. The methods from the book I have found most useful so far involve breath meditation, physical self-awareness, and elemental meditation (involving the four classical elements). Some of the more difficult techniques involve pathworking and elaborate visualization; I haven’t gotten there yet but it excites me!

The breath meditation forms, in particular, are easy to pick up. The simplest form of this just involves mindfulness of breathing without counting numbers. Another form involves thinking of each breath as coming from the sky or wind, and this sky connecting oneself with the rest of Nature. Yet another form involves breathing in a positive quality, such as calmness, and breathing out a negative, such as tension or stress.

Does anyone have experience with other forms of visualization meditation, pathworking, breath-oriented methods, or even mantra methods of meditation?

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@Kathleen, I especially liked the insight that Druidry is a tradition of Wisdom rather than of Magic. Could this be one of things that distinguishes Druidry from, say, Wicca? I think I missed this insight during the workshop since I had to join a little late. Where can I read more about the subject of Druidry as a Wisdom tradition and learn about that?

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I would hesitate to say that at this point in history, just because “Wicca” has evolved as a religion to be a lot of different things. There was an interesting talk on Druidcast at one point that talked about the friendship between Gerald Gardner and Ross Nichols and how OBOD and Wicca were essentially their seeing the same thing in different ways based upon their particular personalities. Nichols approached it from an academic perspective and Gardner approached it from a sort of experiential perspective. At this point, both Wicca and Druidry can be both academic and experiential. There are quite a few books of Wiccan wisdom at this point.

The biggest distinction, I think, is that Druidry doesn’t have to be a religion. Wicca always is, and is in fact, a specific religion involving a God and a Goddess either in a dualism or in terms of the all the gods being aspects of them. Witchcraft is a practice with Wicca, not Wicca itself, so we can’t really use magic to define it. All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan.

But as with anything related to druidry, things get really murky. You can be a Wiccan and a druid. I was for quite awhile before I became more polytheistic. You can practice druidry as a magic-centered tradition. I often do. Magic is often about unlocking wisdom, so I don’t think you can necessarily separate them. Druidry isn’t always a religion, except when it is someone’s religion. It’s mine, after all. Yet, we have people here who are Christian, Buddhist, or any number of other things.

I would say that the biggest distinction between Wicca and Druidry is that they aren’t the same thing at all, except when they are.

That contradictory murkiness is why people have been asking the same questions for 60 years. It’s only gotten murkier as new orders and paths have developed.

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I am sorry to have missed the meeting. I had a work thing going on. I also use Insight Timer for discursive meditation. I find it to be very useful because you can set interval bells. I have a five minute bell for focusing on breath and color breathing, followed by the time for the theme exploration. I use it for unguided journeying if I have something I need to do afterwards. Time in the subconscious mind or in the Otherworld doesn’t move the same way.

I do quite a bit of journeying/pathworking/scrying meditation in addition to discursive meditation. Sometimes, I use a script or recording. There are some very nice elemental meditations by Philip Carr-Gomm available, and there are a number of books out there. However, once you get used to a particular method of entry, you can guide yourself through it with little difficulty. This could be the scrying method from the Druid Magic Handbook or various other methods taught by various books/instructors. They essentially all have the same sort of mechanism. You generally follow the same way out that you came in. You do the beginning and the end the same way every time, even if the middle changes drastically. Once you have the concept and technique down, you can use a lot of things for meditation. I know people who have really good experiences with Tarot, essentially journeying into the imagery on an individual card. The Druid Magic Handbook teaches a similar method of scrying with the elements and the Ogham. Ultimately, any symbol set could be used, or even just a photo you like.

I occasionally do basic breathwork/grounding meditations, but the majority of my meditation is broken in to discursive meditation and journeying.

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I will work on that today. I could also just post pdf’s here I think…

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Using parts of the SoP for topics in discursive meditation is something I recommend strongly especially for people new to the practice who are developing their own personal connections to the SoP. That is exactly how I put together my SoP practice, over most of my Candidate period.

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If people are using specific landscape/environmental imagery in their SOP, they can also explore those areas via meditation or journeying. That can offer a lot of insights and I think it adds a bit of punch to the every day visualization within the SOP if you are intimately familiar with those settings. It also helps to cement the concepts and the process in your mind.

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@Kei_J It seems that many of us meditate in the morning (including me)! Your experience is not uncommon (even among workshop attendees, lol). Color breathing is also a practice people struggle with. I my opinion, if a technique doesn’t resonate or prove to be useful it isn’t necessary to force it. If you think it could prove useful, carry on of course. You may find it useful in certain circumstances, but not in others. I often use color breathing when I scry, choosing the color according to which gate or other topic I am working with.

As far as choosing a theme for Discursive meditation, I would suggest using whatever it is your studies are focused on at the moment. It is very helpful with understanding symbols and underlying meanings of readings and prayers. In the Moon Path chapter of the Druidry Handbook there is a section called: Concentration and Meditation that may be helpful to you.

Druidry and Wicca have many similarities and differences, but I agree with @RocasCearcall that Wicca can fall under the umbrella of Druidry, since Druidry is not a religion but a way of life (kind of like Buddhism is described). And there are MANY forms of and ways of practicing Wicca too! Its really hard to make comparisons in global terms.

The difference between the way magic and wisdom are used in the context of AODA Druidry is basically the difference between seeking to control and gain power of the elements and nature (essentially externalizing internal power gained through wisdom) and seeking to deeply understand and work with the elements and nature, both inside ourselves and around us, gaining wisdom which is used to continue to increase and expand that knowledge. JMG tells a fascinating story about Merlin in the Druidry Handbook (in The Third Triad chapter) that I would suggest everyone revisit. Here are a few quotes from that chapter, which are what I based my insights upon:

“…Merlin’s wisdom and knowledge of the unseen are usually more important than his power to shape the world through incantations and spells…One lesson this teaches is that magic, in the strict sense of the word, isn’t essential to the Druid path…Classical and Irish sources agree that ancient Druids practiced magic, and some Druids today do as well. Yet the heart of the tradition lies elsewhere. Since the beginning of the Revival, the core element of Druid spiritual practice has been meditation, not magic. Like Merlin himself, modern Druids have made wisdom rather than power the center of their work…The Druid quest to understand and move in harmony with nature leads inevitably to a quest to understand our own nature, and meditation holds the key to this quest…Meditation and the quest for self-knowledge remain the living center of the tradition, and open the way to its deepest dimensions.” (pp. 126-127)

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Buddhism has 40 traditional subjects for meditation which work very well for discursive sessions. They start out with (1) earth, (2) water, (3) fire, (4) air, wind, (5) blue, (6) yellow, (7) red, (8) white, (9) enclosed space, (10) bright light.
You can google the subject and find more, if you are interested. I hope this helps. Good luck, I really enjoy discursive meditation.

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I started by meditating on each of the Ogham fews when I was a Candidate, then moved on to topics in the Druidry Handbook and the Druid Magic Handbook. And it went on from there. Right now I’m reading the books listed in the GCC manual and choosing themes to meditate on in order from start to finish of each book. Doesn’t have to be done that way, but it appeals to my somewhat obsessive nature to work in order.

It works best for me to meditate on a particular theme, then write down what I learned from that meditation, then pick the next day’s theme before I do anything else. This means I read the whole book first, then start picking themes from the beginning and work through the book that way.

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Here is the link to the Google Doc with the information from the workshop:

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@Joseph: We are announcing them here and on the forums. We are doing write ups of the workshops. Our next set of workshops will be at the end of June and beginning of July and will be open calls for Candidates and Apprentices :).

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@DanaD Thank you.

I am Looking forward to these. I read this and my interest perked up with this Question: Ooo, what does that mean?

:slight_smile:

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