Foundations of Practice: Lesson Four
A Pathworking of the Seasons
Find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed and sit comfortably allowing your breath to establish an even and relaxed rhythm. Make note of any tension you may be holding in your body and as you exhale gently breathe that tension out; allowing it to drop around you like beads of water. Allow any thoughts that wish to have your attention to be acknowledged and then gently let go to pass as leaves in a gently flowing stream. Draw your consciousness up to rest in the space of your third eye and mid-forehead. See in this space a blank inner screen. You are sitting as observer and you take note of a small blue dot of energy that is central within that space. As you continue to breathe deeply and fully you see that the blue sphere is expanding and coming to fill the entirety of the space in front of you. You feel the energy of thousands of tiny blue dots comprising this veil of mist and you issue forth the intent of journeying through the Great Wheel of the Year. You take a deep breath of inhalation and as you slowly and gently exhale you step through this mist and emerge to find that you are standing in the center of a snow-covered moonlit forest clearing.
You see the silhouette of tall shapely trees just ahead of you and can smell the fragrant burning of wood wafting through the air. This is the night of the Winter Solstice; the longest night of the year. Anticipation hangs heavy in the air as all of life awaits the birthing of a new cycle of the Sun’s energy, the turning of the Great Wheel and the hope of renewal from the waxing light. You stand and wait in the silence. The darkness is thick and almost opaque in its veiling. You think on all that has brought you to this point of the Great Wheel and call to yourself the memories of lessons learned and shadowy places uncovered needing nurturance and cultivation. Each memory is illuminated from within and you feel the heat of your Inner Sun flaring out from center’s core; extending light filled streams of connection to each treasured sensation and image.
Tingling energy moves across your back affirming your growing anticipation of the promise held in the rising sun as you await the dawning of the Solstice Sun. You think on the moments of waiting you have witnessed at this same cycle of time the many years before and how each has held its own joy of new expression. You breathe into these thoughts, envisioning the flame of sunlight growing within yourself. You breathe deeply into the joy of being able to turn the focus of that light outwards as the sun gains strength in the sky above and you attune to that same solar cycle within.
You look ahead and see rays of filtered light flowing around and through you casting their long slim finger-like beams on the snowscape in front of you. The time is now. One more deep breath in affirming the strength of the dark that has come before, and you turn to face the rising sun. Dawn of the Winter Solstice has come and with its rising so too does the rising of your illuminated self; forever changed. The Light floods through this space and you wait as it offers clarity to what surrounds you. You close your eyes as sunlight streams strongly across your face and you feel the warmth of the newly risen Sun and know that a Journey of the Seasons awaits your stepping first foot on the path.
You open your eyes and now find yourself standing outside what appears to be a blacksmith’s shoppe. You can hear the rhythmic clanging of a hammer and smell the fires from the forge. It is evening and all is dark around you save for the light glowing from within and shimmering through slats of a wooden building. You step forward towards the open entryway and stand quietly observing a wiry built man bent over and working deftly as the glimmer of unpolished metal flashes.
Repetitively and with great precision, he places the unshaped metal into the forge, heating it and then pulling it out to the edge of the table, gently hammering it into the desired shape or at times simply allowing the red glow to cool before it is placed once again in the hot flames. This occurs for several times and with each heating and hammering, the metal takes on more of the shape of the blade. He looks carefully at what has been crafted and satisfied that this process is finished, he gently wraps the blade and places it aside allowing it to cool completely.
The blade having cooled, the blacksmith steps over to the grinder and begins to sharpen and finely hone the edges and point of the blade. You notice that this blade seems to glow and has a certain shine to it already, although it is not polished. You feel drawn to it, but remain standing in the doorway, hoping that you will remain unnoticed. He looks carefully at the edges and then plunges the sword into the heat of the flaming forge. Quickly the glowing red blade is retrieved and plunged into a water bath to speed the cooling and hardening process.
You see the Smith smiling as he lifts the blade upwards, knowingly and assured that it will have a certain amount of flexibility yet still retain its sharp edge. Now the sword is ready for completion. He selects the necessary parts of pommel, guard and hilt and with skill assembles all precisely and artistically. The sword is now complete and he lifts his gaze, staring directly at you, beckoning you to come towards him.
You are ready to speak, but he lifts a finger to his lips indicating for you to be silent and to follow behind him as he brushes past you. He steps outside and you turn towards him, both of you facing a sky that is now colored with the rising of the morning sun. He lifts the blade upward and it shines brightly as the first fiery rays of sunlight stream across it. The brilliance of its reflection expands and for a moment you close your eyes, the intensity is so great. You open them and see that the blacksmith is gone and hovering mid-air the sword glows red and pulses with heat that seems to course through you. The flaming glow fills the space and from its center the blade elongates and transforms into a woman of great beauty and flaming red hair. Her eyes glow like sunlit embers of flame and you bow in homage to the Goddess, Brighid. As she approaches you feel the power and strength of Her presence. You see that she carries the sword that you witnessed being crafted and you feel a gentleness about Her that offers you comfort as to how this Divine sword might be used. Brighid has come as the healing sword to offer her many gifts if you ready for her transformative energy.
You approach and kneeling before her you speak of what needs healing and transformation. Each word spiraling up and out like wisps of smoke heated and released by her power. You surrender to her all your doubts and fears and one by one each is dissected and removed from your being leaving you feeling light and unencumbered. When you have finished offering all that has troubled you, she bids you to look upwards and as she lifts her fiery blade warm droplets of healing water shower down about you. Compassion and warmth envelope you and you are held in the embrace of the Goddess as she quickens and enlivens you. You lay down and drift off into a calm and peaceful sleep.
You awaken to find yourself now in the middle of a dense and green forest just prior to dawn. You stretch and extend, feeling the cobwebs of restriction opening and giving way. The potent smell of earth fills your nostrils and the soaking heaviness of moisture fills your being as you drink thirstily.
You sense that it is dawn and sunlight filters through tree branches in slender slivers of thread as beads of dew sparkle like small diamonds strung upon the finest silk. You sit up and pull yourself up to standing, again stretching and reaching upwards with breath coming in long deep inhales and exhales. You take a few steps forward and the soft ground below gives ever so slightly under weight of your foot. Your senses are keen and alert and as you move forward, the light grows brighter with each step and you find yourself in a clearing. The ground is still covered in a light bed of thin mossy green and patches of dried grass and you know that this field will be full of flowers and butterflies in just a few weeks. This image flashes quickly before you and then returns to the space of fertile ground that will soon peak.
You close your eyes for a moment and feel the last nip of winter’s cold air pass over you, quickly followed by a warm breeze that is light and airy. The Spring Equinox brings the promise of balance and the coolness and warmth blend to become one. You open your eyes and see a few yards ahead of you the form of what appears to be a young girl. The sun is directly behind her and flashes brightly in your eyes, making clear definition difficult. You see that she is approaching you and you take a few steps forward in greeting to meet her.
As you move closer, you now have the impression that this form is not what you thought. There is resemblance to human form, but the energy and lightness of its quality seem otherworldly. As you move closer still you can now discern that this shape of a young woman is the movement and gentle breeze of seed, earth, and leafy grass moving and swirling. You stop and your eyes follow the path of this unusual sight. Every area of the field it touches responds with the bursting forth of small shoots of flower and fragrant grass. Every area it passes over transforms into haven and home for bee, blossom and butterfly. The fragrant breath of tiny buds wafts delicately in the air and the gentle shape of this breezy maiden of flora moves with focus and precision. You close your eyes and simply rest in this energy of renewal and growth.
You open your eyes, an exhilarated energy of electricity moves through you. The air is warm and sweet. Life is budding all around and May flowers stretch across a field of freshly paint greenery, the faint scent of their perfume on gentle warm breeze. Your heart beats rapidly in anticipation and you look out over sunlight space seeking your lover’s face. Another stream of electrified energy moves up your spine awakening all of your senses as you feel the heat of your lover’s breath at the back of your exposed neck. You turn to face your lover and two small suns flash with desire from the depths of eyes that have lovingly gazed upon your face in seasons past. Breath hangs in the air suspended in timelessness as you, the Maiden, reach out to your consort. Earth and Sun sigh into the release of consummate union and passion’s light burns with heat and intensity, as each lover’s flame becomes the singular flame that fuels the passion of Beltane. You feel the surging of renewal and the quickening of what will be brought forth at Summer Solstice’s Light. You close your eyes lost in the rapture of this union, basking in the spreading feeling of warmth and fertility throughout your body.
You open your eyes as the warming after-glow of creative action slowly dissipates and you begin walking through what is now a brilliantly lit field dense with flowers in full bloom. The Sun is high in the sky and you know the Summer Solstice is at hand. The blending of fragrant air and wildlife floods your nostrils and is sweet and heady in the ripeness of its offering. The noonday sun beats down enfolding you in its enlivening embrace and all around you are the signs of life that has been quickened by the act of creation and sustained by the life-giving light. You inhale deeply taking in the fullness of fragrance and the heat arising from soil. You begin walking into the forest, leaving the sun behind as shade and coolness surround you. Just ahead you see a small cottage and as the air is becoming decidedly cooler you step up onto the wooden porch and push open a beautifully carved door and step inside. The First Harvest has begun and the sacrifice of the God of Grain weighs heavy in your heart.
Take some time to look around. Engage all of your senses and drink in the sights, smells and sounds as you make yourself at home in this cozy cottage. As you continue with your exploration your eyes come to rest on a wicker basket shaped as a Horn of Plenty. It sits on a small wooden side table and contains within small scrolls of parchment, rolled and bound by an earthy green ribbon. You are curious about the contents contained within the Horn and what meaning they may hold for you. In keeping with the warmth and welcome you have felt from the time of stepping into this place you reach out and take one of the scrolls from the Horn. You gently unroll it and see what has been gifted to you. The scroll may contain an image, words or vision of a seen past or yet to come. Its contents will be in the form to which you are most connected. Regardless of the form, its intent and meaning hold the promise of a Full and Abundant harvest of all that has been nurtured and tended to this point of ripeness and readiness for taking up. This represents that which is both a gift to yourself and in turn will become a gift you share with all you meet. Holding your scroll you move to sit in a rocking chair just in front of the fireplace. As you gaze into the flickering and dancing flames you see the images of all the positive actions you have taken this year. All of the successes of those seeds of new beginnings planted and the ripe, lush fruit that has come to full harvest. Take some time to reflect on these bountiful positive qualities that are expressions of your highest, most fruitful SELF.
Some time passes and the flames in the hearth begin to diminish. You see that the scroll you were holding in your hand is no longer there and acknowledge that all of its information has been imprinted within. You now understand that you are the scroll itself and those actions, efforts and creations you produce are all held within your Being. All that is needed to sustain you through the future turns of the Wheel grows within. You have only to make the request to your Higher Self to release these gifts and the harvest of your own Horn of Plenty is available at all times. Your gaze is caught once again by the Horn of Plenty, and to your surprise in the place of the scrolls the hollow of the Horn has become a cornucopia filled with fruit, squash, corn, apples and nuts. The small table is filled to overflowing with all the bounty of the Harvest and somehow you know that this abundance reflects the many images you found within your own basket of plenty. You smile knowingly as you walk towards the door; gently push it open and once again step out into the forest. The sky is now lit by the brilliance of a honey gold sunset. The velvet of the night sky is minutes away and the hush and serene promise of a restful evening are just ahead. You pause a moment and stand looking at the sun as its last strands of light disappear beneath the rim of trees. As the darkness begins to envelope you, the sounds of animals and their evening activities echoes throughout the trees.
You are reminded of your place in the cycle of the Harvest and the impending changes of Fall into Winter. You are reminded of the sacrifice made at the second Harvest of many of the animals to insure that there is meat on the table and bellies are fed. You remember also the need for balance and the turning of the Great Wheel as the Autumn Equinox takes hold. You breathe into the thoughts of all of the animal kingdom and the varied forms and habits that are shaped. You see each of these spaces and animals now as a continuing stream of life. Allow this energetic strand of connection to build and become stronger and stronger in clarity. As you continue to breathe into this flow see yourself and the natural world as one. Envision yourself as part of this fabric of life and allow this vision to take the form that its wishes.
You may find yourself swimming in the ocean surrounded by sea otters, whales or dolphins. You may find yourself soaring high above a cityscape as you migrate to warmer weather. You may find yourself in the forest, deeply rooted and standing tall and strong amidst the mighty oak and grove of ancient trees. You may find yourself standing before Gaia, herself as she holds you gently within the valleys and peaks of her body. Breathe deeply and fully in this vision and allow it to move in and through you. Enlivening and informing all that you are. Allow a circuit of energetic flow to open between you and the vision held within the union of the objects of self and the world. Each inhalation receiving the gifts of this state of balance and union and each exhalation, returning the transformed synthesized form back to its origins.
You now think on your own human existence and the threads of ancestral connection that collect you to the collective consciousness of humanity. You stand in the darkness of the night, the Veils of Samhain have parted and you offer up a call of invocation to those ancestors you wish to help with the opening of your intuitive sight on this journey. Before the last utterance of name and word is issued you see that an opening has appeared between two of the largest trees just ahead. You walk towards the opening in the trees, passing through a gossamer like veil of multicolored energy. As you move forward you now see the flickering of light and the smell of wood burning growing stronger and brighter with each step you take towards this light. As you reach the edge of the trees you see that there is a small clearing centrally located and surrounded by another circle of smaller trees. There appear to be shadowy forms creating a circular shape. As you move closer, you can make out the shapes and forms seated near each of the trees and instinctively know that these are the ancestors you have called to aid you in your working.
A fire is crackling and hissing in the center and offers its light to this darkened space. You move towards the fire and see placed just in front of it a large cauldron sitting atop a very large and round tree stump. You move towards the cauldron and see that it has been filled with water that shimmers from the reflection of fire and candlelight. You look around, hoping to see more clearly the face of those observing, but they are cloaked in a veiling and you don’t have the clarity to see. You hesitate for a moment, unsure that you should be in this space and just as you are about to turn to walk away, you feel gentle yet firm hands on your shoulders. Words fill your mind, not spoken in audible manner but more of a telepathic knowing. You are told that you are welcome in this space and that they have been waiting for you to ask for assistance and guidance. You fell loved and supported and are told that you may return to this space at any time; that the wisdom of the Crone and the ancestors is always awaiting your call.
You breathe deeply and light begins to gather in the distance, soft, yet clear in its intensity. You know that this heralds the turning of another season of the Great Wheel. The Winter Solstice will soon be at hand and once again the cycle will continue. You breathe into this thought and a swirling of blue mist briefly surrounds you as the darkness and all the images quickly dissipate signaling your return to the physical world. You breathe deeply and gently offering up the intention of gratitude for all that you have experienced. You focus your awareness of the sounds of the space in which you began this journey and the feel of your physical body on floor or chair. And, when you are ready, gently flutter your eyes open and be present in the here and now.
So Mote It Be!