This post is taken from my journal of the third and fourth days of my ten-day fast and meditation to gain clarity on my career path.
Wednesday, Septemper. 8, 2010
Dreams.Along with my eldest daughter’s Waldorf teacher, I am co-teaching a bunch of… 4th graders? In the dream, which appeared to be set a few years in the future, it has become increasingly difficult to teach children, and the world is changing so quickly; so she is using multimedia now, even though that is not the Waldorf way. We were watching movies about the earth’s dissolution, but every movie included bits about what people were doing to help out.
Continue reading “Reconciling Dreams and Reality III: The Dragon and the Jewels”
This post is taken from my journal of the second day of my ten-day fast and meditation to gain clarity on my career path.
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010
Today I was feeling a little odd, or a little off, from the raw vegan fast. I didn’t have many cravings, but was often pretty hungry and felt a bit unbalanced, light … ungrounded. I had some tea, and that helped a lot.
Anyway: today we had a little breakfast at home, and then went to the grocery store. Afterwards we went to the café and wore ourselves out with work, then came home, had a light dinner, and went for a walk. Lots of our talk today was about planning our trip down south, as well as the insanity of Beck’s recent “restoring honor” rally.
Dreams and Meditations
My dream last night was something about going to an underground bunker, decorated in a Victorian or steampunk style, like the hideaway of Captain Nemo. I was traveling with a bunch of weird social outcasts — mutants and half-animals and the like. There was a long dream sequence of going through the wilderness — looking rather like a rocky moorland — with our guide, and finally reaching an elaborately hidden entrance to Nemo’s headquarters.
Interestingly, this was the second night in a row I dreamed of half-beings, mixed-up beings. Hmmm…
Continue reading “Reconciling Dreams and Reality II: The Pool of the Moon”
In September of 2010, shortly after making contact with the Bear guide, I was struggling to reconcile my career with my heart. This is a struggle a lot of people have, but my situation was much easier than most: I have an excellent job that I like a lot. In fact, perhaps you’re wondering how I could possibly dare to want more, when so many people on Earth suffer from such want and dissatisfaction. Well, I answered that question earlier this year: basically it comes down to the fact that none of us really deserve anything we have, good or bad, and it is simply unhelpful and false for us to think of each other as being in competition. After all, if I seek more fulfillment in my work, that in no way prevents other people from finding fulfillment in theirs.
Continue reading “Reconciling Dreams and Reality I: Balancing the Sun and Moon”
In 2009 I almost had to choose between my fiancée and my children.
I was recently divorced, and had just met an extraordinary woman; but she lived five hundred miles away. Ali was in Pittsburgh, and I lived in Massachusetts, near my children, my ex-wife, and her fiancé. At first I resigned myself to a long-distance relationship, and had little hope that it could become serious and long-term. But then I found that, completely by coincidence, my ex-wife’s fiancé’s parents lived in Pittsburgh as well; and this confluence, plus Pittsburgh’s lower cost of living, better employment prospects, beautiful mountains and rivers, and moderate climate decided all of us that we should simply move everybody wholesale. So I went ahead and moved to Pittsburgh.
But then, when my ex-wife was partway through planning her own move, suddenly things were up in the air again: her fiancé had a serious job prospect open up in Chicago, an opportunity worth a lot more money. Everything went on hold while he went to interview after interview, and agonized over the choice for weeks. Depending on his decision, my children might end up a day’s drive away from me.
By this time my relationship with Ali had become very serious indeed. If my children moved to Chicago, there was no question that I would need to be near them. But, unless Alison came to Chicago as well, I’d be a broken man.
Continue reading “Blood and Bone”
Besides meditation, I did more mundane kinds of research on the habits of bears and the folklore surrounding them. I also looked up the meaning of “bear” (which means “brown”, but has a fascinating history — I’ll post on it at some point soon) and words related to it. I realized that the name Orson means “little bear”. The name Acadia goes back to the Greek region of Arcadia, which means “land of the bear”. Ali herself had gone to Ursinus College, “Bear College”. The name of Arthur, the king revered by most of the revival druids (especially in Britain), is probably related to the Welsh word for bear…
Cave of the Bear
And the next time I meditated, a saw the bear in its real form. It was there among the rocks, on the other side of the stream, a brown bear, on all fours and looking in the water, dragging its paw in the stream, fishing. Then there was a flash of silver and a splash, and the bear had a fish in its mouth. It lay down like a dog, holding the fish on the ground between its paws, and began to eat. After a moment, as I continued to watch, the bear looked up at me. I was a little afraid, but not too much. Although the bear was clearly strong and powerful, there was something in its gaze that welcomed me as a respected equal.
I crossed the stream and the bear approached.
Continue reading “The Great Bear IV: Temple of the Bear”
There is a word — it comes from Latin facere, “to make”; more specifically the nominal form, facticius, “handmade thing, craft”. It descended into Portuguese as feitiço, and came to refer specifically to handmade charms and talismans crafted by the inhabitants of the Guinea coast of Africa, frequently visited (and ravaged) by Portuguese sailors in the 1500’s. It was borrowed into French, and then English.
(The use of “fetish” in the psychological / sexual sense comes from the idea that a fetish is something “irrationally revered”.)
Maine is known for its fascination with the Moose, and Bar Harbor has moose everywhere — on signs, on posters, flashing in neon (I kid you not), on t-shirts and postcards and…
But what I kept seeing were the bears. There were no bears on signs (neon or otherwise), but they were everywhere else. Particularly in the shops. Particularly in this one shop…
Continue reading “The Great Bear III: Old Grandfather”
Early in the spring of 2010, when I was having considerable trouble with both my health and my finances, I tried meditating to get a message about what the root of my problems were. I often have difficulty meditating on these topics, perhaps because I am so “close” to them — I feel like I may have some serious blocks or false ideas or strong attachments that prevent me from getting a clear signal. When I talk to Apollo or my anima about these things, I often get silence, or cryptic answers that make no sense.
Continue reading “The Great Bear II: Trapped in the Earth; Bearing a Ring”
My spirit guides tend to be very, very polite. They’ll rarely smack me over the head with a message; they’ll usually wait until I ask explicitly for help or direction with something. And sometimes they’re evasive or silent even then — especially if they know I won’t like what they have to say. But if they have something important to communicate, and I’m not tuned in, they’ll coyly slip me hints and synchronicities until I finally wake up and get the message.
The Bear, it turns out, is one of those. She has been dropping me hints and signs for twenty years, and I’ve never picked up on it — until last month.
Continue reading “The Great Bear I: the Dream, the Trail, and the Second Temple”
While vacationing in Acadia, Maine, I recently found myself strongly drawn to carvings and pictures of bears in the shops and on signs and so forth. And once, while hiking, I thought I heard a bear (they have a distinctive shuffle). I meditated on this, and began to remember the many times in my life when I had dreamed of bears, or encountered them while hiking. And when I did a visualization meditation in which I invited the bear to meet with me, it helped tremendously to resolve some issues with protection and financial security.
The Bear is known the world over as a symbol of protection, self-sufficiency, rebirth, the sun, and the abundance of the earth. During the winter, the mother bear retreats into hibernation, and at that time she gives birth to her cubs; little wonder that she is associated with the sun. She makes her dwelling in the Earth, and therefore has a special knowledge and intimacy with it. Tales the world over speak of bears turning into humans and vice versa: the whole Korean nation, for example, is supposed to have descended from a she-bear who made herself human by eating 21 cloves of garlic and retreating into a cave for a month. The bear is associated with protection not just because of her size and power, but because of her well-known fierceness when guarding her children — a necessary fierceness, because a father bear will sometimes kill his own cubs if their mother does not protect them.
I created this meditation based on my own recent experiences. In it, I guide you through a visualization of a landscape of forested mountains, rushing streams, and brilliant starry nights: the natural home of the bear.
Continue reading “The Bear: Downloadable Guided Meditation for Security, Abundance, and Rebirth”
These seven mini-meditations were first posted as part of the blog Druid Journal Meditation, which I worked on in 2007 and 2008. Since that blog is now defunct, I’ve reposted the meditations here, along with some ruminations on their meanings.
Continue reading “Seven Meditative Vignettes”