20 March 2017, 12h30:
Autumn Equinox for the Southern Hemisphere
Today is the autumn equinox – it is the day of the year where the hours of light and night are equal for both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. In the south we are experiencing a slowing of the season as we move to winter, whereas our Northern counterpart is experiencing a quickening as it moves towards summer.
The autumn equinox is aligned with Air, an ubiquitous entity made up of many different substances both alive and inanimate. Air allows for movement, as the wind dances through the leaves of the trees and carries aloft the omnipresent sounds of life around us. Air embodies expression, not only the spoken word and how we vocalise our thoughts and feelings, but it also embraces listening to all of life’s languages, including that of your intuition and that of our own bodies as we move through life. This communication can either be corrosive when used to subdue (shadow aspect) and inspirational when shared (light aspect). Thus, this leads to our main theme of today’s article.
We are all familiar with the everyday and automatic forms of communication; the physical (body language and vocalisations – some discernable, others not so much), the emotional (our feelings which guide us and sometimes mislead us) as well as mental (constant mental chatter and thoughts take up most of our day, and mind space). The communication we focus on the least is with that of our soul – through our spiritual connection. I am not referring only to a religious communication with a Divine, but rather an inward (not necessarily internal) communication with your own soul.
Psychologists refer to two types of consciousness. The first and more primal of the two (mostly controlled via your reptilian brain) is the unconsciousness or sub-consciousness (they don’t separate the two). This is the part of you that controls the normal everyday bodily functions, keeps you breathing, your heart beating and your organs functioning – it keeps you alive whether your aware of it or not.
The other is our recently evolved and thinking part, our conscious mind (controlled via your mammalian brain), which is responsible for your personal identity, your choices, likes, dislikes and generally is responsible for the person you are currently. Most of us are in automatic mode here – we go through our daily routines (likely in a total rush) and we don’t challenge ourselves beyond the mundane needs and wants of our current lifestyles. It is comfortable and easy.
There is another type of consciousness to which the Hindus refer as ‘The Watcher’ and one which psychologists don’t formally recognise (oh BTW, psychology wasn’t recognised as a formal science until 1732! Up until then it was also classified as a pseudoscience, much like metaphysics today…) – this is called the Higher consciousness/awareness or our connection to the Divine (in whatever form it may take). The Hindus call it The Watcher, because it sees, hears and remembers everything in our lives. It is also an ancient entity, one that can draw upon the Universal Consciousness (see Carl Jung’s works). It is a very creative entity able to problem solve in abstract and often obscure ways. The challenge we face is how to communicate with this entity, to draw upon its memory data-bank and its collective database. Little do many people realise, but when you go into a ‘zone out’ moment, like those experienced on a long silent drive, a sudden epiphany, an intuition, experience a ‘sign’ or a Déjà vu moment– that is when you have made a temporary and/or spontaneous connection to this aspect of yourself. Passive communication like this doesn’t require much effort, but active communication with the Higher Consciousness is a skill. All skills can be learned, practised and applied.
Thousand-Hand Guan Yin Dance
performed by deaf dancers
Yet, there is no guideline or rulebook for this type of soul communication, but fortunately a lot of different people have developed ways in which open the door to allow a quick peak into this place. Many of these communication tools also fall within the esoteric and metaphysical realms. Here is a list (not nearly complete – will likely add to the list in future posts) of tools which facilitate communication with the Higher Consciousness – you’ll have to work through them and find out which works for you. Including these in a spiritual ritual helps with everyday practice and conditions you to being open and receptive to what comes through. Sometimes it can be quite scary, such as during shadow work and at other times it can be wonderful such as when you gain insight into a specific situation or topic at hand. As I go down the list below, the messages you’ll receive become more abstract and obscure. Some of their meanings may take years to decode, which becomes a very personal and subjective process. This is why it is important to keep a journal on these so that you can review and add new insights as you go along your journey.
Tools for communication with the soul:
These tools are not instant gratification or quick fixes, neither are these tools medical treatments. They are part of a holistic health and stress management system – as with anything worth doing they take effort, time and most of all patience! Take small steps, go at your own pace no matter how fast/slow and try to keep a journal so that at the end of the year you can reflect back on your progress with much smug satisfaction (*Ahem* … also you forget some brief moments of insight and it is wonderful to be reminded of them again).
Meditation is the simple act of consciously focusing on one thing. It is not about ‘emptying’ the mind – there is no such thing as the mind and its thoughts are inseparable. Here you sit (or walk), usually in solitude, and concentrate on your breath. You focus on the movement of your diaphragm as you breathe in and out. This is not easy and is an on-going practice with no momentous end result. Awakenings during meditation comes in waves, much like thoughts themselves, mostly brief moments and on occasion spectacular insights. The main aim of my meditations is to reap many of its physical and mental benefits (of which you can read here). In my practice I am not specifically aiming for Enlightenment and to my mind, once reached I assume one ‘transcends’ i.e ceases to exist in a bodily form … Anyways, there is an extended discussion on enlightenment here. The main thing here is to take small steps; start with 2 minutes three times a day, such as after waking, after lunch and before bed. This can be increased weekly, monthly or completely at your own pace. Remember there is no rush, no deadline or milestone. Keep it flexible; do not be robust about your meditation ritual as this will only demotivate you to do it.
Whirling Mandala (active meditation) performed by creator Zia Nath,
based on Sufi Whirling and Indian dances
Some posts I have made to assist you with meditation that can be found here:
#1 Meditaion Visualisation Aids
2) Cognitive Reprogramming
Sounds very impressive, but simply put; it is the process of actively retraining the way you think. The first and most important step is that of positive thinking, which is the use of affirmations, quotes, inspirational pictures, mantras or crystal therapy.
I call these the ‘Light bringers’.
Affirmations & Mantras: Reciting positive statements (such as “Everyday, in ever way, I am becoming better”) regularly and can be integrated as a “ending off” step in your meditation ritual. These can work wonders on your general outlook for the day & your life. Change them up regularly so that they do not become monotonous and lose their effectiveness.
Quotes & Pictures: I have several dozen inspirational, beautiful, thoughtful, relaxing, and ‘do no harm but take no shit’ quotes and pictures on my cubicle wall at work. I read and look at them regularly (I have a large collection on my Pinterest board that I select from and printout) and even when I don’t actively look them, The Watcher sees and knows of them. This adds another layer of positive reinforcement to your thinking and daily attitude.
Crystals: Crystals are beautiful to look at and are scientific marvels as each has a perfect arrangement of atoms (Seed of Life Geometry, Metatron’s Cube), which is shared by all things in the universe. They scatter and reflect light and each have their own metaphysical meanings (traditional or personal). Similar to the quotes, they are always there to remind you to stay positive and to bring into light the shadow. They add a physical layer to cognitive reprogramming since you can pick them up, hold them and gush at their light displays.
Some posts I have made to assist you with crystal healing that can be found here:
#2 Rose Quartz
3) Divinatory Tools
Divinatory tools are thought of as only fortune-telling devices (a passive use by the seeker). But the tarot, oracle cards, I Ching and runes (to name but a few) can be used actively by the seeker as a spiritual tool. Here you actively participate in setting the intention that you seek. For example;
Thought of the Day or Week or Month (or whenever you feel like!): Here I draw a number of cards or runes (or both) randomly after my evening meditation. I do not look at them, instead they go on my table (with all my other spiritual paraphernalia, an altar of sorts if you like) and I look at them the next morning. During the day I think back on them and their message for the day – for instance, let’s say I would draw Stagnation; then I would look for things I do that have become stagnated, maybe it’s the way I think or do a particular thing. Where am I repeating the same pattern in hope for a different result and how can I change my outlook to restart the thoughts and productivity process or maybe to open the channels and let energy flow again.
Creative Problem Solving: When you get stuck on a project or come down with some form of writer’s block, I have found divinatory tools a wonderful way to get the mind out of ‘fighting itself inside the paper bag’ and back out towards being productive. Grab your cards or runes (or whatever, mix and match if you like) and draw some at random, then lay them down and try to interpret them in relation to your problem. Try to think of everything and anything (obvious and abstract) that the tools are telling you, start mind-mapping or jotting down impressions (words, pictures, colours, scents) even if it is unrelated to the problem – at some point you will find a small thread of inspiration that will lead to a string of solutions (and I have found that it even leads you to solutions that you can apply elsewhere and not only to the problem at hand).
Magick: The Elder Futhark runes lend themselves especially to what is known as ‘magick’ (and no this is not the Charmed type, but exploding potions and demons, of the personal kind, would be fun). This is more of a personal thing and takes on many different forms depending on who you talk to. Here I refer to energy techniques, especially for everyday use and during shadow work. The runes or cards can be used singly or in combination to generate a desired effect or give guidance by selection of a specific set of runes/cards by the seeker. They main thing is that this is not a random process and you choose what you want or need to happen, for instance you require good communication during an oral or public speaking (choose the rune Ansuz to take with you for the day) or you require protection during a ritual then call forth Thurisaz in your mind’s eye. These are very basic examples, but these will progress naturally towards more complex scenarios and become applicable to more areas in your life as you become comfortable with the tools.
I have found that regular communion with the soul through meditation and personal magick adds an extra facet and special dimension to my everyday routine. I can take them anywhere and use them at any time, I can do and create whatever I like. Even if you only use your mind’s eye to conjure up the image of your rune/card or crystal it is enough to effect what you require. The more you use and practise with them the more you condition yourself to their effects and the more potent they become! Lastly, do not be afraid of creating some of your own magick! It is deeply personal and truly fantastic!
Related External Links:
Zen Habits: Meditation for Beginners, 20 Practical Tips for Understanding the Mind
Whirling Mandalas & Other Sacred Dances @ Realms of Dance
-Communing with the Soul-
All Natural Spirit
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