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Archive for March, 2011

A couple of odd things happened this last week.

Firstly, I have been dragging my carcase out of bed at 06:30 to do early morning meditations (that’s not the odd thing). Since I’m still finding my feet, I’m reading the Dorling Kindersley 101 Essential Tips: Basic Meditation and trying out different things here and there.

I was doing the door-and-stairs bit – visualise a door and go through it, descend the stairs you find and go from there – and I ended up in a corridor lined with doors. Picking a door at random, I opened it and entered. I found myself deep underwater and above a drowned city, barely visible in the murk below, and felt a terrible sense of unease – as if I were in a Lovecraftian horror. Not wanting to face the inevitable Shoggoth monstrosity, I visualised a door and departed. So far, so normal (for me, anyway)

Back in the corridor, I opened another door and entered into a cave. Tall and deep and sandy-floored, this is the cave I use when I go walkabout. I knew that the end of the cave leads down into the Lower World, but I avoided it; I haven’t been out on the beach much and I felt like exploring. Turning, I found that the cave had been blocked. The walls ware still brightly lit, as though the cave mouth was open to the sky, but huge boulders blocked my path. A voice echoed inside my head – ‘now you’re trapped, and will never be king’. I knew the woman whose voice I could hear and could call her to mind easily – tall and imperious, with alabaster skin and raven hair, and dressed in black from head to toe, like Morgana leFay in an 80s BBC drama.

Confident that I couldn’t be trapped there, I opened my eyes, and shut them again very quickly – I knew that I wasn’t fully in my body, but was looking at the world from just above and behind my head. I couldn’t just get up and walk off; I knew had to finish this properly, so I went to the back of the cave and through the tunnel into the Lower World.

When I started journeying, the books I read suggested forming a ‘safe place’ within the Other Worlds that you could venture forth from, or retreat to, and that’s where I ended up. It had changed some since the last time I visited, but was still familiar and – most importantly – safe. Salmon was waiting for me in the pool in the middle, and I knew that was where my exit would be found, so I waded in and spent a few, wordless, moment with him, before completely submerging myself, visualising my exit and leaving.

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At the public Vernal Equinox ritual/Full Moon Grove on Saturday, we did a ‘grow new habits’ spell. Once again, I had no idea what  I was doing and just went along with what I was told.

I thought hard about what I wanted to grow and spread the seeds around the ritual space, still thinking about my intentions, then returned to the circle. Since it was my first spell, I wasn’t sure it would work, so I added a bit of personal visualisation to reinforce the affirmations I’d been repeating to myself.

I visualised the seeds germinating, and the tiny shoots emerging from the soil … and promptly lost control of the visualisation. The shoots erupted from the ground, twined together into a large tree, came into leaf and presented me with a large, dark red apple. I took the apple and took a bite before returning to reality.

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It’s the second meditation session in six months that’s turned around and done its own thing, and – if the visualisation during the ritual is anything to go by – it seems to be getting more common. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I have a suspicion that I’m being called back to journey-work.

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Just before Yule, I was looking for a book to get more information on pendulum dowsing and the possibilities and avenues of enquiry open to dowsers (as opposed to a more introductory text). Confronted by dozens to books on the subject on Amazon (Cambridge is becoming increasingly bereft of bookshops in general, never mind Pagan bookshops), and with no way to decide which one would be best, based on my requirements, I opted to consult Quartz on the topic. She directed me straight to D. J. Conway’s Little Book of Pendulum Magic. I had Conway’s Celtic Shamanism book for a while and, although I liked it at first, it began to grate after a while and my opinion of Conway as an author decreased. I wouldn’t have purchased her pendulum book, but for Quartz’s insistence that this is the book I want over of all the others.

I reasoned that there’s no point asking for answers you’re not going to act on, hit ‘buy’ and waited. When the book turned up, it was exactly what I wanted. Score plus-one for dowsing!

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There are a number of considerations to be made when divining, the most important of which seems to be formulating the question.

I’ve amassed a number of guidelines to help formulate questions; most of them have been culled from Jessica Mac Beth’s book, which accompanies Brian Froud’s Faerie Oracle cards, but I’ve also been looking at a number of other online sources which corroborate MacBeth’s suggestions. I’ve reworded the guidelines to be applicable to pendulum dowsing, but they seem a fairly sensible ground to start from in any dowsing or divination practice (I’ll probably end up eating those words when I get around to Ogham or runic divination…).

Start with binary answers:

Bad: “Which job should I apply for?”

Good: “Should I apply for [job]?”

Unless used with a talking board or a chart, a pendulum can only really give two answers, so it can only answer questions with two possible outcomes. Anything else will give a confusing reading, if it gives one at all.

Don’t combine questions:

Bad: “Does [person] like me; and can I make him/her think better of me?”

Good: “Does [person] like me?” – “Can I make him/her think better of me?”

Any time a question has a conjunction in it (‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘nor, ‘yet’ or ‘so’) in it, check it to see if you can refine it into to two or more separate questions.

Specific questions are specific:

Bad: “Is it going to rain?”

Good: “Is it going to rain in [place] today?”

Use places, times, dates and names to make the questions as focused as possible. Get specific – vague answers result in vague questions.

Assume responsibility:

Bad: “Will [issue] be resolved in my favour?”

Good: “Is there anything can I do to increase the chances of [issue] being resolved in my favour?”

Active questions allow room for change and assume responsibility for the outcome. Nothing is set in stone except the past.

Act with integrity:

Bad: “Is [personA] cheating on [personB]?”

Good: N/A

Asking questions about a third-party is gross breach of trust; if a question would be inappropriate to answer by non-mystical means, don’t ask it.

Manners never go amiss:

Bad: “Tell me: should I take the job and move to [country]; clockwise for yes, anti-clockwise for no.”

Good: “Please tell me: should I take the job and move to [county]?”

I don’t know what causes the pendulum to move, but I believe that minding your Ps and Qs are the best course of action, especially when dealing with the unknown. Even if it turns out I’m talking to my self and my subconscious, a little self-respect goes a long way ^_~

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Although a degree of fluidity is necessary during penduluming sessions, I think that a brief list of topics I intend to cover would be best , in the beginning at least. I can use that to get an idea of how many questions I can ask before I start getting nonsense answers, prevent myself from getting sidetracked and check my questions before I pose them. Creating a whole conversation tree seems like overkill but, if the list of question is fixed, it presupposes the answers – in which case there’s probably no point in asking the questions.

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