Saturday, December 3, 2016

Meditation: Visiting the Black Goddess at Imbolc

Our tradition uses guided meditation to help impress certain symbols on our members' consciousness. Below is our Imbolc meditation. It takes place at the Northern Gate of the compass, the place of air and midnight.  It is the home of the Black Goddess, whom we know as Kolyo. To use this meditation let yourself relax comfortably and picture yourself drifting downward and inward to the third realm, the lower realm. The third realm is a place of darkness and mystery.  Let yourself sink down into the third realm and rest there peacefully.

Meditation: Visiting the Black Goddess, Kolyo

You awaken in the darkness on a windy, snow-covered plain. The frozen ground crunches beneath your hands and feet as you rise and look to the North, trying to make out the shape of the gate you know must lie ahead in the darkness. A gust of icy wind greets you, making your eyes water.

The plain is nearly barren in all directions, with the exception of a naked Willow tree, its branches sparkling in the cold, clear starlight. You walk carefully through the frozen landscape, having made the tree your first goal.

When you arrive under the drooping branches, you find a staff leaning against the trunk. You examine the markings and decorations on the staff and then continue along your northward path, now utilizing the staff for greater stability on the sometimes treacherous and slippery earth.

A movement in the shadows catches your eye and you turn your head just as it reaches your side and brushes your leg. The cat stands for a moment, its back arched and looking up the path you are walking before lifting its face to look at you. It meows. You reach down to touch the friendly animal, but it bolts forward, just out of your reach. It meows again and takes a few steps forward. You follow, and the cat picks up the pace, jogging on its silent, padded paws.

A night bird swooshes very close to your head, startling you. You can see the faintest paleness of its wings, but you can hear no evidence of it, even as you watch it fly ahead. Far away, you think you hear the hoot of barred owl.

Looming ahead of you is a stony archway – two large rock pillars capped by a third massive stone. A dolman. Beyond this strange gate, you see nothing but more of the same night-covered and frozen plain. You could easily walk around this dolman door, but instead, you walk right up to it.  The cat rubs its side against one of the pillars, and you can see that the owl has perched on top. The dolman is covered with strange markings and symbols carved into the stones. Some are unfamiliar to you, but others have deep meaning in your mind. (Pause.) You see an owl with large eyes carved into one of the rocks along with the Willow tree rune and a cat.

Your ears perceive a whistled tune as you pass beyond the arch, and your eyes search the darkness for the one who is blowing the eerie music. You can see so little that you must trust to your hearing instead, and you follow the sound until you are aware of a small, darkly-cloaked figure standing just a few yards away. You are close enough now to hear her breathing.

The small figure holds up her hand in warning. “Come closer, Child. But be wary of your footing.” You walk forward more slowly, using your staff to judge the safety of each step. As you breech those last few yards between you and Her, you are aware of a wind that seems to come from the ground, and you realize that you are standing together at the edge of a steep and treacherous cliff. You brace yourself and know that you are secure, even at this height.

Turning your attention to Cloaked One, you can see very little of her face, as it is shrouded in both her hood and the darkness of the night. Her out-held hand is gloved. You cannot clearly see the color of her hair, although you can see an interplay of light and dark in the strands. She holds a staff, and sometimes it seems she leans upon it. At other times, it seems like a weapon she is holding at martial ease.

Her voice is clear and ageless.

She speaks to you. “This is a place of knowledge, of wisdom, and of strategy. It is a place of contemplation, a place of counsel. It can be bitterly cold here, and the Truth that you seek can be both illusory and fleeting.” (Pause.) She hangs a lantern from the end of your staff and lights the wick. “But knowledge and thought are not always cold comforts. They can be the light one needs on the darkest nights of the soul.”

She lashes a sharpened metal tip onto her staff, transforming it into a spear. She pulls a single arrow from the quiver at her side, removing the arrowhead and feathers. She holds the newly fashioned wand in one hand and holds up a single finger of the other. “Weapons are tools wielded for either attack or defense. But they are just tools. The most useful tools can be used in both peace and war.” She pokes you with her finger. “And the greatest tools are the ones that lie within.” She gives you the wand, grasping your hand for a moment and whispering a message only for you. (Long pause.)

You thank her, and after a moment more of looking at you, she turns back to look over the cliff. Knowing that the time has come to leave, you turn and walk back through the darkness.

You pass out of the dolman and cross the plain, led once more by the cat and owl. You pass under the Willow tree, returning the staff that you borrowed. Sitting down again in the frozen field, you close your eyes and breathe deeply, coming back to yourself.

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