Saturday, April 14, 2018

Introduction to the Two Powers Meditation

Guided meditations often have as specific intent: to show you something, to allow your mind to open to deeper thought around a topic or imagery, or to introduce you to someone, to name a few.

The Two Powers Meditation is a grounding and centering exercise that also guides the participants through basic energy attunement. The “guide” talks the participants through a series of images and energy movement practices in order to root them in the here and now as well as connecting them to the greater cosmos—all while maintaining a firm grasp on the self at the center.

Begin, seeker, with the breath…Centering
The beginning portion of the meditation guides the participants to feel themselves in their bodies, to mark their “you are here” point sin the cosmos and find the place within them that is the “center” of their beings.  It may be in a person’s abdomen where their center of gravity lies, it may be at their root chakra, it may be a quiet place in their mind that they have built over time as a point to regain composure. It is up to the individual to determine “where” their center is located. Taking a moment to simply breathe will slow down the thoughts in the mind and prepare the participants to begin the visualization.

Grounding: Connecting to the Earth Power
This first script of guided imagery leads the participants through a transformative process in which they become some sort of tree or similarly rooted, leafy being. Without beginning with “imagine you are a tree,” participants may elect to follow the imagery their mind selects for them based on personal experience and imagination. Some will see themselves as a tree naturally, some will become their favorite type of plant, and some will even remain humanoid while “growing roots“ from the portions of their bodies that are touching the ground (feet for those standing, feet and perhaps legs/rear for those seated). All of these are correct.

As the roots are sent downward, the participants are instructed to find water. This ethereal water beneath us is a metaphor for the power that lies within the earth, and by tapping this power to draw the energy upward, they allow their bodies to drain away the things that would distract us from the rite or working at hand. As the participants inhale and draw the water up, they may feel a cooling sensation in their “roots” that then translates psychosomatically to their feet and legs.  As the waters are drawn into the body, the physical manifestations may or may not accompany their journey, though many feel the waters as a “sense of heaviness” often ending in a tingling on their forehead in the third eye locale.

Drawing Down the Sky Power
The second half of the meditation is similar to the ground portion where the seekers went downward to find a pool of power, only in the opposite direction.  The guide has the participants, rooted to their seat, send their inner sight heavenward to connect with a “star” or “light” above them. Some guide may have the participants each choose their own star, while others may guide them to draw directly from the sun. Similar to the variations in growing roots, the type of upper-realm light energy is not an important distinction. It is of interest to note that the image of starlight chosen by the guide will be universal among the participants rather than chosen internally, making this a fundamental piece of creating the group mind necessary for working the rite.

As the participants reach outward from themselves, their grounding via roots into the earth will keep them from moving away into trance or falling out of sync with the other participants. Once the sky power is tapped, same as with the earth power, the rays of light are focused by the participants in their mind’s eye (using their imagination) to a single beam that shines down directly onto their heads. As this power touches the water drawn up in the first half of the meditation, the participants may feel the “water” changing, sometimes as a swirling sensation, sometimes as a warming of the “cool” waters. Others may find themselves looking at themselves from a third-party vantage and watch as steam arises from their flesh (however it may be appearing at that moment) as the heat from the sky power touches the water.  The psychosomatic sensations often travel down the participants’ bodies, sometimes faster than the guide describes, until they are spilling from their collective roots and into the waters of the earth.

Standing at the Center and Group Connection
The guide allows the participants to rest in this place where they are filled with both the earth powers cycling downward and the sky powers cycling upward, with each of them at the center of their own microcosm. After this connection is stabilized and the energy movements are fully controlled, the guide reminds the participants that though they are one at the center, they stand in a wider center, each one a single pillar in a “grove,” thus moving the entire group to the center of the cosmos in that moment.

Being at the center connected to one another is an important part of preparing those assembled to enter into the rite with a sense of purpose, relieved of the turmoil or mental distractions that were with them when they arrived, and primed for moving energy multiple times throughout the course of the service.

Solidarity Moving Forward: Ending the Meditation
The Two Powers ends with a releasing of the water and light energy and a rescinding of the roots to allow the participants to move about more freely and continue with the rite. This is habitually followed by either a group prayer or a song to maintain the headspace created by the meditation as the folk and ritual participants take their places and begin speaking and making offerings.

Liturgy: Placement in the Rite 
There are several arguments made regarding where the Two Powers fits into an ADF Core Order of Ritual. Some prefer this to be done prior to the processional to prepare the folk before any part of the rite begins. Others wait until the Earth Mother and Sky Father/Inspiration are called prior to tapping into the powers.  There is merit to both of these methods, though the recommendation is to look at the purpose and structure of the rite as well as the makeup of the congregation before making this decision.

Important questions to ask include:
Are there children present? What ages?
Are there a lot of other people around (public space, etc.)?
Are there a lot of other noises (busy roads, etc.)?
Are there other guided meditations present in the script, such as a gatekeeper meditation?
How long is the rite and for how long are you allowed to use the space?

There are several other forms of grounding and centering that folks have used, and as long as the imagery and purpose are clear and relevant to the rite that follows, these options will provide the same types of results. Variations to the script include the addition of hearth-specific imagery, place-specific terminology, Earth Mother and Sky Father imagery, and thematic seasonal elements. Common alternatives include the Blood, Breath, and Bone meditation, Tree Meditation, among others.