When I first joined up with ADF 7 years ago, wow has it been that long, my first step on my personal journey was to start the dedicant path, I did a personal dedication rite and everything. I even had an otherworldly experience right off the bat that bolstered my confidence that this was indeed the correct way for me to continue.
I knew that reading and writing book reviews was going to be simple, I could do those and still can in my sleep, but the difficult part was going to be the meditation/devotional bit.
I was never one for routine, I had trouble learning to do anything on a regular basis so why would my spirituality be any different?
So, I went with what I knew and picked up a few books on the subject to get me started. I would do the exercises, but again I would stumble when trying to get into a regular practice.
I would sometimes fall asleep during meditation, no matter if I was sitting cross legged , in a chair or lying down on a couch or bed. My thoughts would run completely out of control and I would become frustrated to the point of it ruining the rest of my day and really not being of any worth.
So, I got new books and tried again, with varying themes of the same result, and every time more frustrated than the last.
I got sick of hearing the anecdotes that everyone struggles and that is why it is a practice.
Meditation was supposed to be helpful, not this bitter poison it was turning into.
This feeling of frustration and anger, eventually turned inward, how could so many meditation “teachers and gurus’ be so wrong?
I began to think it was something wrong with me.
I continued in this self destructive vein for about 3 years before my life kind of blew up and crumbled around me.
I was under a lot of stress to put it mildly and felt abandoned by the rest of my family.
My father decided that my mother needed was a change of scenery, I don’t know how much was him just throwing his hands up in desperation but my childhood home was sold to a developer, and
I had to suddenly decide whether I should go with my parents to continue as I was or to pack up and leave home to live with my sister until I could live on my own.
I chose the later.
I didn’t really handle the move well and where meditation could have been a shelter or a solid rock to stand on it just became another frustration among a long growing list.
Over the next couple years, I had been a member of ADF for about 3 years at this point, I was not getting any better and I stagnated.
At this point my mother passed away suddenly. I was devastated and brought to a new low that lasted for another 2 years.
At this point, due to circumstances that we both had created, I was given an ultimatum by by sister. I would pay her back rent and then continue paying to live with her or I would pay that months and then leave.
I panicked at first but then decided it was in my best interest to leave, I had never gotten along with this sister and the environment was just getting more hostile by the day.
At this point Meditation wasn’t even on my radar, I had basically given up but moving kind of woke up this need in me to start again.
I also had the fortitude to entertain the thought that maybe it wasn’t me that was the problem. I tentatively looked to the adf membership handbook and Michael Dangler’s Wheel of the Year that had been gathering dust and really looked at the meditation or training the mind requirements. I found something I had either missed or dismissed when I had first picked it up 5 years before.
Michael Dangler has you begin Mental Training/Meditation Practice around the fifth week and he mentions several practices that are not mentioned in the membership handbook. The one that drew my eye was Oracle meditation.
It is simply to draw your choice of divinatory tool daily and to use that to connect to the Kindreds and ‘quiet the mind’.
I use Tarot on a regular basis and I know it well but I was wanting to learn Ogham so I decided to try and do this as my practice.
It was like sitting down to have a drink with friends/ family that I haven’t spoke to in years. It was awkward at the beginning but one the conversation got going it felt right.
For the first time in a long while I knew I had found the right way in, sitting down in front of my altar and recording the reading for the day was not a trial like sitting and meditating had been for so long and the changes it brought to my practice and life were far reaching.
I was better connected to the kindreds, closer to them than I had been in decades. I could hear them for the first time in my daily life and I didn’t have to try so very hard to reach them during ritual. I also no longer got the disconnect headaches common for me after ritual was ended. My dreams got weirder and more vivid, still not consistent but you can’t have everything….:D
My personal life had also evolved and opened up, I was and am happier and less guilt ridden over choices and decisions I made in the past.
I also want to do it daily, really want to and if I miss a day I notice and go back the next readily without the frustration, guilt and anger I had before.
My practice continues to evolve on a daily basis, when I feel I need something else I add and configure until it feels right but I have not returned to the empty loneliness before I discovered this practice.
I now do a simple little ritual every morning I can manage:
Blow three times a ceramic Ocarina from my Grandmother
Light incense from candle
Cense altar and set incense in holder
Pour water into my small well/drinking bowl
Offer 3 drops oil to kindreds(oil I had specially made for this purpose)
Breathing meditation(cross legged hands towards the earth 10 breathe grounding/ hands towards the sky 10 breath centering)
Ask “what gifts or wisdom do the kindred offer us today?”
Draw and record Ogham
Dring well/blessings(waters of life ish)also to save it from the cat.
Blow out candle
Put out incense
Blow Ocarina again(3xs) to end
It began with the ogam and evolved from there.
It still continues to evolve as I need it, I can even bring it back to the basics, ogam and breathing, when I can’t have all my tools when I am traveling.
I want to say I wanted to find this first and to not have gone through the intervening time of sick frustration and depression. I also want to say that I am glad I found it now and that hard time helped me to grow. I am of two minds about the journey but I can’t argue with the end result or the point where I am now.
I write this in hopes that I reach out across the ether to help someone else who is still going through the darkness and has yet to find their light. That anyone else is going through this alone and thinking that there is something wrong with them pains me deeply. I want to help and hope me speaking about my own trials and journey does.