Archive for the ‘Raven Grimassi’ Category

Cauldron of Memory: Eighth Day of Samhain (30 Oct. 2020)

[Edited/updated 20:18 EST]

[Samhain: Season to Taste]

[1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | 7th | 8th | 9th]

First snow this morning. Facing east.

The late author and teacher Raven Grimassi published a 2009 book* with the same title as today’s post, and among several techniques he discusses for connecting with the ancestors, lucid dreaming has particular advantages:

If you have trouble with visualizations, or with pathworking in general, there is another method of ancestor contact at your disposal. This is accomplished through the Dream Gate, which is a portal to a particular area of dream consciousness.

There are essentially two states of consciousness in the dream state. The first level is the one in which the dream dictates a series of events or a storyline. At this level we are subject to the dream and we react to whatever is taking place. In effect we are a drafted actor without a script. In the common dream state our subconscious mind is operational but our conscious mind is a passive spectator.

The second dream level is one where we take conscious control and shape the dream as we wish. This is often referred to as lucid dreaming. The advantage of lucid dreaming (in an occult sense) is that we can come into contact with inner plane realities with both halves of our consciousness fully operational. This allows us to function in the magical setting of the subconscious mind (where anything is possible) while at the same time having the benefits of the conscious mind (where everything has connection and direction) (Cauldron of Memory, pgs. 140-141).

Now your reaction may be “But I don’t remember my dreams, so that’s not gonna help”. This is where the dream chalice technique from an earlier post in this series can prove useful. For many people, the light trance that sitting around a night-time fire brings can also help provide another alternative practice. Through such access-points we can stand at the doorway, and decide if we wish to go any further. Another of the many functions of ritual itself can be a similar light trance that we induce through repeated words, chants, gesture and dance.

berries through the snow

Simple candle-gazing also works well for solitaries. You may wish to establish a quiet period, perhaps with few other lights, so that the semi-darkness helps with focusing on your candle-flame. As with any ritual, what we bring to it makes all the difference. How we feel about it, how we set it up, what props we include, what significance we assign to them, what we do with our experiences, whether we choose to record them, and where they fits in with everything else that we are — these things build our spiritual lives piece by piece. And as we learn to choose where we place our attention, rather than letting it be grabbed by whatever is shouting most loudly, we reclaim a priceless spiritual tool.

The metaphor of a cauldron is a potent one. Some of us may experience memory as a thread, or the roots of a tree. Exploring our metaphors can reveal new practices. If memory is a cauldron, bringing to ritual, to our bedside, to our imaginal lives, an object to represent memory can be most useful. Magic shops market small cauldrons for such purposes, and you can make your own from clay. Those with foundry skills may find making a cauldron a remarkable project. Found objects, gifts and other things may serve as cauldrons. A bowl, piece of driftwood, a sea-shell — my own cupped hands — can all be cauldrons in dream and in ritual.

Alternatively, if memory is a tree, then images of trees and their roots, working with a favorite “tree of memory”, drawing or photographing trees, and meditating on the linkages between “roots and recall”, between the solidity and stability of a tree, and the persistence of memory, even memories we have stored deeply, can turn the experience of remembering into a magical and imaginal exploration.

This same cauldron or tree of memory includes “memory of the future” — visions and dreams, hunches and nudges, all part of our largely untapped ability to gaze up and down the time-track. Most of us get glimpses, while some may get more. We live in a particular time and place in the physical realm, because such focus is powerful and has its special lessons to teach us, but we can also learn to look and attend elsewhere, and remember/(re/dis)cover what is needful, whatever things in our long lives we have set aside, and take them up again and use them today, leaving other things in turn for our tomorrows.

What do I wish to leave in safekeeping for my future self, and for my descendants of blood and spirit? What is the spiritual heritage I am building day by day? Making a practice out of consciously leaving things for the future helps shape the futures we both desire and earn.

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*Grimassi, Raven. The Cauldron of Memory: Retrieving Ancestral Knowledge and Wisdom. Woodbury, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 2009.

Death and Joy

[Edited 5 June 2019]

This post is a step away for an interval from the ongoing Major Arcana series. As I let the energies of that series percolate a little before moving on with it, I wanted to acknowledge two things.

RavenGrimassi

Raven Grimassi, 1951-2019

First, a death. Pagan scholar and author Raven Grimassi passed on March 10 at 67. With some 20 books to his credit, Grimassi’s influence spread through his writings, but also through his many animated workshops. An enlivened teacher, he held on to a love of learning and growing throughout his life, as I witnessed firsthand while attending one of his workshops (shortly after publication of his Cauldron of Memory: Retrieving Ancestral Knowledge and Wisdom) which continues to contribute to my own path.

In particular, his work with sound as an “access technique” to other realms inspired me and many others. My own experiences with the potency of what I’ve called the “Cauldron Sound” feature in my workshops at MAGUS and in blogposts here.

Raven, may the next spiral of the Long Journey bring you joy, wonder and more growth.

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Second is John Beckett’s post earlier today on joy.

In this era of unsettling change, raw emotion, and anxious uncertainty, we deeply need reminders to return again and again to what sustains and feeds us, and helps us live more richly and fully. Future historians might call our time an “Age of Distraction”, so susceptible are we to the incessant clamor all around for our attention, time and energy. The whole world is now Spinal Tap — turned up to 11 all the time.

Because such voices no longer cease of their own accord, even for brief intervals, in our endlessly wired-and-tired day, it’s on us to choose to turn them off from time to time, if we value our own spiritual integrity or wholeness. For we don’t get the “whole story” if we listen to the loudest voices, though it’s natural to pick them out first from all the shouting. Long ago the Wise alerted us to the “still small voice” that greets us at the borders of our own inner spaces, and points us toward things of much greater value and benefit to us than most of the outer rumor, that old word that once meant “noise”, but has become an unsubstantiated report or story.

The older meaning of “noise”, however, still fits — fits more than ever. Any practice that carves out quiet for us, that encourages reflection, that lets the small inward voice reach us to warm and heal and advise us, is one to hold on to and cherish. Indeed, if we don’t assert our own reality, to turn a phrase only a little, then “rumor has it”. We abdicate when we listen unprepared, unequipped. We start to doubt ourselves, an often much worse doubt than suspicion of anything or anyone else. We no longer trust what we know to be valid and true and constructive. We close our eyes to the dawn, then stumble in the dark.

Instead, in the words of OBOD ritual (insert your own to taste):

Let the four directions be honored, and let the gateways of the Quarters be opened, that power and radiance might enter our circle for the good of all beings.

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Image: Wikipedia — fair use.

Posted 12 March 2019 by adruidway in Druidry, John Beckett, joy, Raven Grimassi

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