Find a quiet, comfortable space in your house, or outside, to sit in a relaxed position. Warm up your vocal chords with any number of practice sounds. When you are ready, say this chant six times, in a low tone, allowing your body to feel the vibrations coming from your words:
“Me, me, me….
I’m taking time for me….
Today is Monday….
I feel a breeze….
I hear the sounds….
A bee buzzed by….
A leaf hit the ground….
Me, me, me….
It’s only me….
My spirit is free….
Just happy to be….
Me, me, me….”
After saying this chant, you should feel refreshed and relaxed.
A Witch’s Week of Spells and Activities
So exactly where should you begin? Do you have to sit in a lotus position, like a human pretzel? Should you press your thumbs and index fingers together and chant OM? Well, first of all, just relax. If you can do that much, you’re well on your way. The following directions offer suggestions and guidelines to help you get the most out of meditation. You don’t have to follow them exactly. Trust your instincts; if something feels awkward, don’t do it. And remember, give yourself a chance—meditation isn’t something you’ll master overnight.
Let go of any preconceptions about how fast you should be “getting it,” or what kind of magickal experiences might result. If you set a lot of expectations for yourself, you’re likely to be disappointed and make learning more difficult. Meditation isn’t something you strive or push yourself to excel at. You ease into it.
Find a convenient place and a comfortable position that you can sit in for a while. The more comfortable your body is, the easier it becomes for your mind to direct its attention toward the purpose you’ve intended. At first, your mind is going to jump about from thought to thought, like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. Everything from a little twitch in your leg to a dog barking down the road can potentially break your concentration. That’s why meditation is considered a discipline.
Close your eyes and give yourself permission to put the world around you “on hold” for a bit. Breathe slowly and deeply; pay attention to your breath. It may help to shake out your arms and legs or stretch a bit before you sit down to meditate. Some people like to do some light exercise, such as yoga or walking, to release tension prior to meditation.
Begin by committing yourself to just five minutes of meditation a day, then increase the amount of time over a period of weeks. Just sit quietly, with your eyes closed. At first five minutes may seem like an eternity, but soon you’ll stop glancing at your watch and simply enjoy taking a brief time out to relax.
For many people, the word meditation conjures up images of Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged, intoning “ooooommmm.” However, meditation in one form or another has been a part of every major religion throughout the world. In the past few decades, conventional Western medicine, professional sports, correctional facilities, and the business world have also discovered the benefits of meditation. Meditation is sometimes described as listening to God, whereas prayer is talking to the Divine.
When you meditate, you empty your mind of all thoughts and become receptive, allowing impressions and inspiration—from your subconscious or from a higher source—to flow into your awareness. The body’s processes slow down. You feel calm, relaxed, and centered.
According to Jeremy Taylor, a seventeenth-century English prelate and author, “Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit.” Perhaps that sounds somewhat lofty, but meditation isn’t a high-and-mighty process, and you don’t need to be a monk to do it. In time, with a little practice, virtually anyone who wants to can learn to meditate.
Meditation enables you to contemplate ideas at a deeper level and better comprehend them. In meditation, you can explore the great mysteries that have engaged human hearts and minds for eons. Some people choose to ponder a single concept, word, or image, such as the Zen saying “one hand clapping,” during meditation. This technique strengthens your mental muscles and expands your perception.
Witches find meditation useful because it helps them gain mental and emotional clarity. Daily meditation clears the clutter from your mind, balances the relationship between the inner and outer worlds, disperses tension, centers the spirit, and creates a positive atmosphere for working magick. From this hushed state of the body and soul, you can channel energy more easily. Stress and anxiety dam up flow of creative energy. As practitioners you know, a clear, still, focused mind and a quiet heart are necessary to perform effective spells.Excerpts from:
In this trance journey through the deep earth , you will discover the realm of Hecate, the Crone Goddess of Wisdom. She is the dark face of the goddess, and many fear her. It is Hecate who attends women in childbirth, and it is she whom we will face at the end of our life’s journey. Take this opportunity to name and face your fear. Is it advanced age? Death? To create positive change, you must honor her with respect to receive her blessing and aid.
• You are standing in a vast and empty field. The last of the harvest has been cut and gathered and stands drying in the barn . In the distance, an orchard of apple trees stands fruitless, save for the last few fallen apples of the season that rest on the ground as if the very wind has made an offering to the earth mother.
• You face the setting sun, which sinks lower in the sky, illuminating the painted leaves that rush by. A strong wind from samhain the east is at your back, and the tumultuous journey of the swirling leaves echoes a feeling from deep within your soul.
• You feel the earth start to tremble. It is as if you are standing on a fault line and the tectonic plates have begun to shift . You experience a sense of exhilaration, as if a mighty change is about to occur. Your intuition proves to be absolutely correct.
• You watch in amazement as the earth opens before you. What began as a rumble , then a crack emanating from the very place where you stand, turns into a deep chasm. You peer inside, noticing the vast network of roots still clinging to the earth from stalks long since cut.
• You take a step into the gap in the earth. You notice small tunnels made by burrowing insects and small animals. A family of chipmunks huddles together, bracing for the coming cold. You feel no fear, only curiosity as to the secrets of the dark earth.
• You are compelled to go further. You step carefully, loosened rocks tumbling on ahead to unseen realms. You notice the colorful striations in the rocks as you descend. Pockets in the matrix reveal glittering crystals, so perfectly formed they look as though they had been deliberately placed along your path.
• Light begins to fade as the surface of the Earth retreats into the distance, but you forge ahead, led by the sensation that a great mystery is being revealed to you. You feel the pulsating rhythms of the Earth itself and a great truth is affirmed for you. The earth is alive and teeming with life. As it is above, so it is below.
• You are enveloped in the darkness, when, strangely, you begin to perceive a light . This seems as strange and fantastic as the journey you are presently undertaking. The faint light of a gently glowing ember guides you along your path until you find yourself unexpectedly facing a woman. Her hair is long and white, and her face is etched with the songs and stories of a thousand lifetimes. You recognize her instantly. She is the grandmother of all, the ancient crone of your imaginings.
• You stop and stand before her in awe. At her feet is a large black cauldron. Beneath the cauldron is the fire that led you to her. Without speaking, her voice appears in your mind and she asks you why you have come to her. You reply, “I seek to learn the mysteries of the earth and to honor you with respect.”
• She nods and stirs the cauldron and asks, “Who are you?” You pause because you know her question is more profound than it seems. She is not asking your name. She is asking you to name the desire of your soul, to make a connection between yourself and the divine, to acknowledge yourself as an integral part of the earth you have chosen to penetrate and explore.
• You answer wordlessly, “I do not know.” She stops stirring the cauldron and bids you to gaze into its depths. You do not know the liquid that it contains, but it swirls around as though she was still stirring it.
• You see your own face reflected on the surface, and as the surface churns, your appearance begins to change. You see yourself as a very young person, full of energy and vitality. Then the image begins to change again before your eyes. You see yourself as a mature person, fulfilled and happy.
• Another spiral sweeps this vision from your eyes and you are revealed this time as an old person with the light of a lifetime dancing in your eyes. You look up into the eyes of the crone and you hear a voice inside your head. You are not certain if it is your own voice or that of the manifestation of the goddess before you, but you cannot argue with its message: “I am the Maiden, seeker of Wisdom. I am the Mother, giver of Wisdom. I am the Crone, keeper of Wisdom.”
• You understand that this truth has been revealed to you through the woman standing before you. She is the woman you will one day become, just as surely as the reflections in her dark cauldron are aspects of yourself as well. By approaching her with honor and respect instead of fear, you have enabled yourself to embody this truth and you know it is now time for you to leave the underground realm of darkness and mystery.
• You now realize that in the span of your own lifetime, however long or short, you have already learned many things, taught many things, and have much still to learn. As the maiden, you learned how to navigate through all of life. You began life as a helpless infant and learned independence. At the same time, you taught your parents how to nurture and ultimately how to let go. As the mother, you nurtured dreams of your own and shared your wisdom with others . As the crone, most of your lifetime lies behind you. You own all of your achievements, triumphs, and trials. And there is still more that you desire from life. You have already died and been reborn many times within this one lifetime.
• With this realization, you face her one last time. Her visage vanishes before your eyes, as does her cauldron and its reassuring glow. You are alone and standing in near-total darkness, yet you feel a comforting warmth about your shoulders. You turn around and see that the glowing embers that lit the cauldron have been replaced by the waning rays of the setting sun, seemingly miles away, dancing on the surface of the Earth as you remain far beneath.
• You begin the slow ascent back up to the surface of the world. You pass by the glittering gems hidden deep within the matrix, a tangible testament to the power of change. Years of pressure and temperature changes have yielded something unique and beautiful in a purely natural state, a treasure meant for your eyes alone.
• You climb higher and notice again the colorful striations in the compacted soil and marvel at the intricate network of deep roots that penetrate the dark earth, as complex and thick and sturdy as any oak branch that weaves its way through the sky. The earth is living all around you, home to insects and small animals and all kinds of plants, forming delicate connections never seen by light of day or by the light of the moon.
• You emerge just as the sun makes its final descent below the horizon, bathing the field in the magical purples of twilight. The brightest stars are becoming visible now. You notice that the wind has shifted and now blows from the west.
• You smile as you stand among the swirling leaves that come rushing towards you. Your change has come.
Provenance Press’s Guide To The Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations Judy Ann Nock
PHOENIX RISING MEDITATION
As we honor the dead on Samhain, it is important to acknowledge the intensity of emotion that comes with confronting death. Use this meditation if you are confronting grief or another emotional situation that requires insight and compassion. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Ground and center your energy. Breathe rhythmically as you imagine yourself in a topiary garden, standing among tall hedges.
• Beneath your feet is the soft earth, blanketed with the tender green of lush grass. You wander among carefully trimmed bushes with leaves so dense that you cannot see through the hedges. They are unusually tall, and you cannot see over them. You cannot tell where one ends and another begins. It is as if living walls surround you.
• You take cautious steps along a turning path that does not seem to end. Time feels suspended. Each step could be a hundred steps, and you feel as though you have been wandering far too long. If you have made any progress at all finding your way out, it is indiscernible.
• You feel lost and confused, each new direction looking exactly like the turn that preceded it. You begin to feel that you will never leave this garden. Although it is beautiful, it is too overwhelming because your feelings of uncertainty and loss are dominant.
• Suddenly, above your head you feel a cool breeze that gradually begins to strengthen in its intensity. Your heart begins to pound, so loud that it seems to be outside of yourself. You then realize that the sound is not coming from within your own body, but rather from the wind that you feel above your head.
• You turn your gaze upwards and are amazed to learn that the sound and the wind are the beating of powerful wings. Above you flies the form of a creature, the likes of which you have never seen. It is a bird! A fantastic bird, so large that the gigantic hedge seems no more than a tiny perch beneath the great expanse of its wings.
• From its majestic wingspan, the mighty flight feathers project with a multitude of shining opalescent hues. You see brilliant blues iridescent with shades of rose and violet. Your eyes follow this amazing display of color to the soft down feathers at the base of the wings. They appear velvety and are a deep royal purple. Elegant curling plumage like that of a bird of paradise extends to the scarlet tail feathers.
• Your jaw drops, and the creature alights on the top of the hedge and cranes its graceful neck, folding in its wings and bringing its face very close to yours . In its golden beak, you see the radiance of the sun itself. The metallic color blends in with the delicate feathers of its face that range from shimmering gold to a shining yellow. On its crest, you can see deep reds that change to bright orange and rosy pinks. But you are most struck by the eye of the phoenix. It looks at you so intently with eyes the color of the Mediterranean Sea; the irises are clear bright blue and watery , the pupils, only a slightly darker blue.
• You are awestruck and mesmerized by its eyes. You begin to see reflections appear, and you know it is because this gentle creature is feeling the uncertainty in your soul, and reflecting this back to you with kindness and compassion.
• You see familiar images, as if you are gazing into a pool of blessed water. Faces of loved ones. People who have helped you in the past. Tender memories that you had once forgotten now come alive. The phoenix meets your gaze and sheds a glistening tear. The tear falls over you and you are bathed in a fragrant aspersion of comforting empathy. You realize that the phoenix is feeling what you feel.
• On some level, in your distress you have summoned the phoenix to come to your aid, and indeed it has. Carefully, it lifts you on to its mighty back and spreads its shimmering wings.
Together, you soar upwards through the clear blue sky, the winds of change touching your face causing tears of joy and release to stream from your eyes. You turn your head to look down.
• Beneath you, you see the labyrinth that you previously stumbled through, only now from your lofty vantage, you can easily see the way out. You are free of the maze and its resolution is obvious.
• Unexpectedly and without warning, you are standing in the garden once again. The phoenix is high overhead and you squint your eyes against the glare of the sun. It becomes more and more difficult to see as the sun seems to shine brighter and brighter until the fantastic bird is no longer discernible at all.
• You can barely see its outline against the sun when suddenly it seems to erupt in a fireball so large and bright that it makes the light of the accompanying sun seem pale in comparison. You shield your eyes and turn away, but the image seems burned into your retinas . Every time you blink, you see the phoenix.
• The sensation begins to fade a little, and you take your first steps. You are confident and reassured now. Every few steps, you see the light of the phoenix behind your eyes. You understand that this light is leading you along the pathway out of the labyrinth . You simply follow it. You are on your way home.Provenance Press’s Guide To The Wiccan Year: A Year Round Guide to Spells, Rituals, and Holiday Celebrations Judy Ann Nock
Take a seat and clear your mind of what fills it now and concentrate on the following meditation:
As you are sitting, close your eyes and feel the yellow of the sun..Reach up with your arms and let your fingertips touch that yellow..Now, lay back, with your arms extended and become a ray of the sun..As we all lay in a circle, we form the sun – we are all rays of this vivid starburst.
Look down to the Earth and see the fields ripe with the summer’s abundance..Find your self in the center of this abundance holding a large willow basket, eager to begin your autumn harvest.
Step first into an expanse of sweet corn..See the erect, regal, green stalks of
corn..Observe a ripe ear on a particular stalk which extends to you..Under its scruffy whiskers kernels that sparkle like gold shine through. You are reminded of your own riches – both tangible and intangible..Reach out and pick this ear and put it into your basket.
Leave the corn field and enter an orchard; an apple orchard..See the beauty of these trees, these majestic symbols of the Goddess..Feel the fullness of her boughs – full of ruby red apples of knowledge..Reach up, way up, and pick two. Put one in your basket and eat the other. Taste and enjoy this fruit – for in this garden tasting an apple is not forbidden.
Now move toward an onion field which beckons you..Once green, now browning spikes point up to you, tempting you to dig below…Pull gently and the ground gives birth to aniridescent, opal bulb, full of body and character and strength..A vegetable with the power to make you feel the power of tears..Add this to your growing harvest.
Notice ahead thick bushes of ripened raspberries..Sharp brambles protecting their precious, succulent garnets..The sweet nectar of these berries remind you of your own sensuality – your own ability to feel, express, extend all that is soft and loving and warm to others..Take your time here and pick plenty of these supple jewels for your basket.
Step away now and look around you..Find a patch of fruit or vegetables that appeals to you..Enter it, admire its offerings, select a precious gem of your own to harvest..Choose a resource to sustain you in the rapidly upcoming time of cold and darkness…Capture some warmth and light and savor its presence.
With your arms now laden with this basket of bountiful treasures, it is time now to rest..Take your harvest to the grassy knoll in the sun just beyond and sit and bask in the glory of its healing heat..Rest in contentment knowing you have collected that which you need to give you strength and nourishment in the winter days to come.
Put yourself back in the sky now..Become the sun once again..Shine down upon yourself and your gatherings..Absorb the energy of the fruits of your labors, bless these seeds you planted in the Spring and nurtured to fruition through the summer..Be the sun..Shine down upon all that is good and good-giving..Give the light of hope to all you shine upon.
When everything you have touched with your rays is full of your brightness, open your eyes and rejoin your circle.
For the meeting with Bast you will need a table or shelf to use as an altar. On this place an image of the goddess. It doesn’t have to be a statue of Bast, a picture of a cat or suitable cat ornament will do for now. On either side of this place two candles, preferably purple, blue or silver. A vase of blue, purple or white flowers would be appropriate as would some kind of incense and holder. You will also need a small candle in a colour which you feel best represents you. This should be placed in front of your representation of the goddess. Some perfumed oil with which to anoint your personal candle is also needed. Bast likes flowery perfumes for oil and incense if possible.
Traditionally Bast is seen as a gentle goddess. She enjoys music, dancing and perfume. She is Goddess of love and joy and dancing. She is the gentle, nurturing warmth of the sun and the cat who can be picked up and stroked. However, we have to remember that, just like a cat, she does have a fiercer side to her nature as well.
Light the altar candles and the incense.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
When you are totally relaxed, open your eyes, and light your small candle. Now, close your eyes once more, clear your mind and see only a black void before your inner eye. Imagine that blackness turning into fog, which swirls around you. Gradually, the fog dissipates.
As the fog clears, a scene is revealed before you of a desert landscape of reddish sand. Nearby, you see the mighty pylon of a temple.
Walk towards the temple. Feel the heat of the sand beneath your feet, and the hot sun on your body. How are you dressed in this world? Take note of your surroundings. Use your inner eye to look around. What can you see? Although you are being led in this visualisation, there is still plenty of space for you to add detail. No two people would ever see exactly the same imagery. Begin to build up your inner world. Make it real in your mind.
Now, walk to the pylon and take a few moments to examine the walls rearing above you. Do they have carvings on them, or are they unadorned? Take a deep breath and smell the air. Incense smoke is drifting out from the temple; its heady aroma fills your nose. You can hear faint music; the bleat of pipes and the low beating of drums. Enter beneath the shade of the pylon gate, cross a courtyard, and find yourself in a vast chamber of stone columns. It is quite dark, but on the floor there are bowls of burning oil that emit a flickering light. Here, the air is cooler and refreshing, and the smell of incense is complemented by a strong fragrance of exotic flowers. Perhaps there are people here – priests and priestesses – or perhaps you are alone. Again, spend a few moments looking round. Go to touch one of the columns; feel the rough texture of the stone beneath your fingers. As you look round, add your own details to the scene. Make it come alive for you.
Now, you walk across the hall of columns and pass through a door-way. You find you have entered a small shrine. Against one wall is a large black basalt statue of a seated cat, the sacred cat of Bast. The statue has golden earrings and a collar of faience. Bowls of incense smoulder before her and she is flanked by flickering flames. You see priests and priestesses are in the shrine. They are surrounded by cats, some sitting on the floor, some lying in niches in the walls. The air is full of the music of the cats; their purrs and cries. Pause to pay respect to the sacred cat of Bast. You can talk to the priests and priestesses if you like. They may have something to tell you, or a gift to impart. Stroke the cats around you.
After a few minutes, say farewell to the priests and priestesses and leave the shrine by another doorway. You find yourself in a corridor with painted walls. Again, it is quite dark, but you can see where you are going by the dim lamp-light glimmering on the floor.
Presently, the corridor opens out into a vast room, lined by columns. Ahead of you, at the other end of the chamber, you see a flight of golden steps that leads up to a life-size golden statue of the goddess. She is a cat-headed woman, carrying a sistrum, surrounded by kittens in gold. She wears a long sheath dress and a necklace around her throat, but her feet are bare. The steps are covered in cats, sleeping, grooming, playing. The room is full of soft, but lively music, played by priestesses on flutes and drums and rattles. Other priests and priestesses dance sinuously to the music, like cats themselves. The floor is covered in petals and as you walk upon them, they release their rich fragrance.
Approach the foot of the stairs and gaze up at the goddess. Visualise that gradually, the statue comes alive. The eyes become living eyes, and slowly, the rigid gold turns to furry skin. See the goddess descend the stairs towards you, her eyes full of benevolence and peace.
While this is happening, cast your inner eye back to the room where your statue of the goddess stands before the anointed candle. Imagine that the light of this candle shines into the statue, which is an extension of the senses of Bast in the temple. Through the light of this candle, Bast can see your soul, and recognise you.
Now, spend some time speaking with the goddess. She is a friend to you. She may show you things, give you a symbolic gift or simply offer affection. She may have words of advice for your work to come, or ask you to do something for her in the real world. Let your mind wander freely.
After a few minutes, bow to the goddess, thank her for this audience, and say farewell. See her begin to retreat up the stairs. When she reaches the top she assumes her normal position and turns back into a sleeping statue of gold.
Now, walk back through the temple, bidding farewell to the priests and priestesses, and all the cats. Go out into the desert.
Imagine you are walking into a fog, which gradually turns into a black void. After a moment, the fog begins to clear once more and you are back in your own reality. Open your eyes when you are ready.
Bast Incense Recipe
by Eloise Coquio
With this incense I decided to incorporate both solar and lunar influences to reflect Bast’s dual attributes as both a sun and moon goddess. I was influenced also by her love of perfume and her various magical focuses such as love, happiness and fertility.
3 parts Frankincense
2 parts Gum Arabic
1 part Myrrh
1 part Catnip
1 part patchouli leaf
1 part Rose petal
1 part sandalwood.(Red or white)
1/2 part lavender
1/2 part Orris Root
2 drops each of Ylang Ylang and Carnation oil
Many thanks to Storm Constantine and Lady of the Flame Iseum for this meditation. If you wish to quote from or reproduce it on your website, please give credit: Copyright (C) 2000 Lady of the Flame Iseum