Notable and quotable 9

An absolute Beltane belter from Julian Vayne, and an enticing invitation to meditate differently from Nimue Brown.

Up the May!

Lovely post from Julian Vayne at the Blog of Baphomet on Beltane, climate change, Pan, and more:

In ancient times Pan was a dependable minor deity (once charmingly referred to, by Professor Ronald Hutton, as ‘the Citroën 2CV of Gods)’. By the dark dawn of the industrial revolution, when the ‘peasants’ got re-branded as the ‘working class’ of Britain this all changed. People flooded into the cities, driven off the newly enclosed land as the long haul of climate change began it’s exponential curve. The subsequent sense of loss for the countryside and rural life conjured Pan into the pens of poets, the brushes of painters and the temples and groves of occultists and witches. Let us reclaim and replant the wild wood from which we were untimely ripped by oppression and industrialization!

Love that about Pan being the 2CV of gods. I once heard Ronald Hutton describe a cauldron as “the handbag of Hades”. I love it.

There are some great ideas in Julian’s post for making your Beltane fun and mind-expanding. And the title of the post is a quote from Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, too.

Meditation done differently

Nimue Brown at Druid Life has a great post about those murmuring thoughts that interrupt you while you’re meditating. She asks, what if, instead of pushing them away or ignoring them, we actually followed them?

What is that inner chatter? I’ve started listening to it when I sit or lie down to contemplate. It isn’t empty noise. It is things I’m trying to figure out, worries, things I am keeping track of, stuff I must remember to do. It’s fragments of observation and making sense of things, feelings and memories. The noise in my head is my life. Sometimes there isn’t so much noise – this is the case when I’m on top of things, and have done my processing and got to grips with everything. A long walk will often enable me to achieve such a state.

Being unable to quiet that inner chatter is why I thought for many years that I couldn’t meditate. Then someone told me that the technique was just to allow the thoughts to arise but not to follow them. That was helpful, but I still found that meditation was likely to increase my anxiety, not lessen it. There’s a growing body of evidence that some people are adversely affected by meditation.

So I think Nimue’s suggestion of following the thoughts that arise instead of ignoring them sounds massively helpful.

One thought on “Notable and quotable 9

  1. “There’s a growing body of evidence that some people are adversely affected by meditation.” …
    Perhaps the word ‘meditation’ could use a bit of reframing? Rather than seeing meditation as a unity, a single activity, relatively simple, with a specific goal, instead use the word to describe a whole alphabet and grammar from which we build self-consciousness modifying techniques. What we tend to call ‘meditation’ or ‘mindfulness meditation’ is historically but one myriads of techniques for self-modification of one’s body-mind. Perhaps better to hold an image of ‘meditation’ as build from an alphabet of tools such that the techniques taught by Ignatius Loyola on how to think, the methods used by Scandinavian warriors to become berserkers, Tibetan monks to melt snow falling on them with their will alone, the Voudon Hougan or Mambo allowing the Loa to ride them, and are all part of the realm of ‘meditation’. Ask, where do I want to take consciousness, and then choose the best vehicle to get get there?

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