Movement as Meditation and Ritual

Here in the United States, we have this odd time-shift that happens twice a year. In the Spring, we move our clocks forward one hour, and in the Fall, we move them backward one hour. Its a concept called “Daylight Savings Time” – and to be honest not everyone observes it. I believe that Arizona is the only state that does not move its clocks in such weird ways.

Well, this morning is the result of the Fall time change. And I am ok with it. I’ve not really been observing my daily ritual and routine by the time of a clock, but rather by the rising and setting of the sun. For me, its a manner of connecting with the world around me – and I thoroughly enjoy it. While I dread some days where I go into work, every morning holds a moment that might be similar to the morning before, but is truly unique regardless.

Last night was Samhain, and while I had planned to attend one particular ritual, my back had other plans. One of the joys of getting older. My body begins to betray me in ways I had never dreamed before. But then, I’m not that old. I just turned fifty a month ago. So, instead, I have to amend the statement somewhat. Its not my body that’s betraying me, its me that is betraying my body. I do need to eat a little healthier – man cannot live on Taco Bell and Dairy Queen alone, though I am certainly testing that theory these days. I also need to exercise a bit more.

Over the past year, I have gotten away from the routines I had previously. A huge part of that had to do with my hour-plus commute from home to work, and then from work to home. By the time I made it home, I was exhausted, and in no mood to exercise. Just prior to my birthday this year, I purchased a home that was a ten-minute drive from work. And I have continued the routine I had fallen into — coming home, and not exercising.

Well, Samhain is the start of a new cycle of the Wheel of the Year. And its certainly the time to start new routines. For the next month, I an adding a daily walk back to my routine (for as long as the weather holds out) and some Tai Chi movements to help stretch and limber my muscles. I figured I would start with something simple, and add a new stretching routine every third month. The first movement that I am adding is “Part Wild Horse’s Mane”. While I know there is a spiritual element to this, its important for me to learn the physical movement first – this is why I am only adding a new form every third month. I have a month to concentrate on the physical form, and a second month to add the spiritual element to it as well.

While there is an aspect of physical health needs involved in all of this, my secondary goal is to add the elements of achieving balance through the movements as meditation. As many people know, meditation is a primary aspect of what I believe and practice. Plus there’s other elements that add on to this as well. I learn to move more graceful, become more conscious of my poor posture and change my daily habits to better that posture, and in some manner — learn to dance. Anyone who has seen me dance….had better stop laughing now.  ::grins::

When people ask how my beliefs fold into my daily life, its things such as these that make the difference for me. Not everyone is drawn to Far Eastern practices. I certainly am. Not everyone sees movement as a form of meditation, I certainly do. There are even those who would scream about cultural misappropriation.

That’s perfectly fine for me. I don’t need or desire a debate with people over such things. I know what works for me. I reject no method or technique. I understand and feel the intentional draw and pull that works for me, and then utilize that to understand the connections around me, and how I can be a more complete “me” from that. And when it comes to aspects of spirituality, that’s what matters most, in my opinion. The Gods and Goddesses that call me, call me regardless of what Pantheon or system they are part of. Each is a unique, individual relationship that is cultivated through ritual, meditation, and honor. Its not for me to worry about the “why” — rather my focus is on the “what” and “how”.  But that’s a conversation for another time…very soon….

The last part of this blog post is on why I see Movement as Ritual. Or, rather HOW I see Movement as Ritual. The largest majority of my rituals are impromptu and somewhat different in form. I utilize the framework that I have been learning in the Bardic Grade of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. But there’s always other elements that I add. For instance, my walks back at the old house where built on a round-about track. There was always an element of North, South, East and West as I walked. So there were certain points of my walks where I would greet the directions as I would in a ritual. And in a manner of speaking, I treated it as a ritual. Between each direction, there were central foci that were aimed towards a particular aspect of that cardinal direction. I will be setting up the same here, at my new home. I have already mapped out a two circuit walk through the neighborhood for a distance close to four miles. That’s a mile longer than I walked before – so I will be stretching myself a bit more.

The first few times I walk this circuit, I will not be focused on the ritual aspect, but rather on reaching out and trying to locate where the Spirits of Place are. This area is far more rural than the sub-urban environment I previously lived in, so there’s a need to “explore” a bit more to see where my “neighbors” are. But I will also be scouting out appropriate locations for my cardinal points in the circuit as well. In essence, I am making sure of where I am and what is out there before consciously setting up my little ritual state. For me, that’s just a matter of courtesy….but that may just be me.

In what I practice and believe, every movement is a sacred, conscious action. A deliberate motion, which is attached to everything around it. Every swing of my arms, every step I take upon the grass or concrete, emanates a ripple into the environment around me. And while I may not see their “eyes” – I am watched, observed, noticed… and each movement, along with its associated intent, is noted.

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