I don’t often get the chance for an impromptu morning meditation. With this last semester, I spend my early mornings getting ready to teach an early morning class at the college. Typically, when the sun is peeking up over the horizon, I’m getting a shower and getting dressed. Last night, however, was a little different.
Its not often that I get bouts of insomnia, but last night was one of those times. I sat up and read, figuring that I could make my eyes tired for sleep. It didn’t work. Around 4:30am, I decided I would stay up – and step outside for a dawn meditation. I’m really glad I made that choice.
Not wanting to sit in the fresh grass clippings from the previous day, I carried my trusty bar-stool outside with me and placed it next to my home-made stone circle. I could feel the cool damp of the grass on my bare feet, as well as the dirt that adhered to my now damp skin. After I placed the bar-stool, I remembered that I still had a good amount of bird-seed in the pantry, and went in for that. I happened to remember the pouch of tobacco that I had in a kitchen drawer as well – and retrieved both items.
Now, I don’t chew tobacco – I don’t even smoke. But I keep some around for ritual – because it is pleasing to the Gods, particularly my two patrons – Crow and Coyote. I didn’t want to carry the two bags out there with me, so I cupped my right hand and poured some bird seed into it. On top of that, I added a wad of the tobacco and headed back outside.
My first stop was the bird-bath, where I deposited the bird-seed on the ground and then retrieved the tobacco from where I had set it. Then I came to the stone circle and placed a small amount at each of the cardinal locations – stopping for a moment at each to silently give thanks to the spirits of the land. I started in the south, went to the west, then to the north, and finished in the east. This was also where I had placed the stool. I sat down on it, with my feet barely touching the grass, and waited for the sun to come up.
The sky lightened into a light purple, which gradually painted over the dark canvas above – from the east to the west. A few minutes later, the bright eye of the sun peeked over the horizon and the light began to pour all over the landscape around me. I took the opportunity to go through my grounding and centering exercises, feeling the power of the tall cottonwood tree under whose branches I was currently resting. I then turned to the stone circle and silently noted my thanks to the Kami for watching behind me, and to Crow and Coyote for their continued guidance on this Path.
There’s not much to my personal ceremonies. I’ve never been a huge one for overly worked rituals with a lot of words and hand motions. The way I personally see it – keeping it simple is the most elegant thing I can do. That doesn’t mean that this works for everyone else, but it certainly does for me.
Once I came back into the house, I realized that this was Lughnasadh — another aspect that I have not embraced all that much in my personal practice: the Wheel itself. In retrospect, this is the perfect time for me to start back into working the Wheel back into my practice – the time of Harvest. In a way, I’m harvesting where I’ve been – and preparing for where I am headed to.
Many people have heard me utter the phrase before: “the times they are a-changing.” Its no different for me. Every year brings new challenges, new experiences, new ways of seeing things. Over the past few years – the more recent ones – I’ve managed to embrace the conceptual title of “teacher” – become one in my everyday life – and realize (with a little help from Crow and Coyote) that being Spiritual in your Daily Life does not equate to being a Priest. Not really sure where the trail will lead me into the coming Winter…but I certainly know that getting there will happen across a canyon floor where there will be no shadows. There’s a time to stand at the Edge of the Circle – and there’s a time to step into the middle of it. I’m now dealing with the experience of getting into the middle….