May 03, 2012
"I know a place ... "
I have some still-sharp memories of Timbers Girl Scout Camp, when I was there in the early 70s. Actually, 1972 was my last summer there -- my parents sponsored me for a blissful double session: a whole month! And we would sing songs around the campfire nightly. I remember one in particular:
"I know a place where no one ever goes
Where there’s peace and quiet, beauty and repose
It’s hidden in a valley beside a mountain stream
And lying there beside it
I find that I can dream ... "
Mental imagery is a crucial component of meditation and what I will call "liturgical magick."
When I was taking my online ordination courses, one of the sources hosted was a .pdf of an old book on the basics of ceremonial magick. When I was more involved with NeoPaganism in this area I would guide people through relaxation visualizations. It was a lot of work to keep the narrative going (once upon a time being a Dungeonmaster in AD&D was good training) and I always appreciated it when someone would return the favor and guide me.
The feminist spirituality classic Motherwit by Diane Mariechild and The Spiral Dance by Starhawk both introduced me to creative visualizations long before my ordination studies in 2005. And I've always been a strongly visual (even slightly eidetic) person. So I often take refuge in visualizations of one kind or another.
[The role of meditation and visualization both in target archery is so well-reported that I'll pass on adding my amateur's perspective.]
When I need the refuge of that place that no one (but me) ever goes, I have a mental Rollodex of favorites:
When I need grounding/Centering/Shielding: the Temple Church in medieval London. I enter between an armed Saracen knight on one side, a Templar knight on the other. These two "opposites" are reconciled in single duty, and walking between them I know I enter in to a secure place of quiet and safety. They will keep "intruders" (thoughts & distractions) out.
When I need a big fresh lungful of settled-down calm-mind air: Imagining any of the shores I've been to, but most especially Lake Michigan at Point Betsie or at Old Indian Trail in the Sleeping Bear Lakeshore area. The waves pound in, the wind streams past, tears come to my eyes. I hear the roar of water striking sand and the call of gulls. There's nothing and no one else.
When I need to block voices and distractions in settings of crowds and chatty colleagues:
I am in a crowded shopping mall with music blaring, merchants in front of their "storefronts" trying to outshout each other regarding the quality of their wares ... I'm being jostled and harried. But then I see a dark entrance that has a simple sign, "ROSARIES," and when I go in, it's quiet and smells faintly of incense. There are counters full of display cases of rosaries, from all lands and all eras. There are only a few other people in the shop, and the Keeper is a woman who looks like the character Guinan from Star Trek: Next Generation. I know that I am welcome to breathe in the incense, spend as much time as I want looking, praying, handling the beads.
I think this last image is probably my most powerful.
I *do* know a place!
Posted by lizcal at May 3, 2012 01:11 PM