An Approach to Spiritual Retreat and Rejuvenation: Going Dark Week

The Druid's Garden

Perhaps now more than ever, the idea of taking regular retreats is a critical one. Last week, in my post on the Winter Solstice, I shared the deep need for restorative activities that allow us to heal, process, and deepen our practice–particularly in today’s age and as we move further into the age of the Anthropocene. Finding restoration activities are particularly critical because so many of us are languishing, dealing with the real effects of deepening climate change, dealing with the long-term upheaval and separation due to the pandemic, among a host of other issues. Thus, this week, I want to share one practice that I’ve developed over the years that is particularly helpful–I call it “going dark” or “inner life retreat.”

What is a Going Dark Spiritual Retreat?

Going dark to explore the world of the subconscious and dreams Going dark to explore the world of the subconscious and dreams

The principle of going dark is very simple–rather than…

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A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Restoration at the Winter Solstice

The Druid's Garden

The time of the greatest darkness is upon us at the winter solstice. Each morning, the sun seems to struggle to rise and hangs low in the sky. The world is covered in frost, cold, and snow, and the darkness of winter sets in. This is a hard time for many, perhaps more so now than before, given the cultural darkness and challenges that so many of us are facing globally and locally. So facing the darkness, in this very challenging time, takes something extra.

Winter Solstice Snow Winter Solstice Snow

In my first post on this series (Receptivity at the Fall Equinox), I made the case that the traditional Wheel of the Year was developed and enacted under very different conditions than our present age. We now live in the Anthropocene, a period of human-driven climate change and cultural unrest which is very different than the Holocene, the period of…

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Creativity, Mental Health, and Well Being: A Case for the Bardic Arts

The Druid's Garden

Creativity is the birthright of all people. When humans are young, play and creativity are central to our own development. Children don’t worry about it being ‘good’; they just make things, play with crayons, laugh, dance, and sing. They play. As children get older, school and society often discourage individual creativity and play, particularly in a culture that values economic growth above all else. The result of this has been a stifling sense of creativity, with many adults believing in the myth of talent (that you have to be good at something immediately to practice it creatively) or insisting they have no creativity.

The bardic arts are those in the druid tradition that focuses on creative works: storytelling, creative writing, fine arts, fine crafts, and any other endeavor where you are building in your creativity. The ancient bards were part of the druid community and were the storytellers and historians…

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How to Let Go

secretsoftheserpent

I have told people you before I am not much on meditating.  I have nothing against it, but I see it as wasting time.  Well in the sense that the western world meditates.  Meditation in the western world is an escape mechanism.  People concentrate on something, someone or some event and think it is making them present to the moment when all it is doing is letting them escape their problems temporarily. It will help you concentrate but not make you feel better.  If you really want growth you must use mindfulness.  Instead of trying to forget your problems you need to focus on your problems directly.  


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The Glass Floor and Ceiling

secretsoftheserpent

Every human being is trapped above a certain floor and below a certain ceiling of success.  It is an invisible prison.  Whenever you venture below that floor an invisible force pulls you back up and when you venture above the ceiling that same invisible force pulls you back down.  You think you have free will and you think you are free, but you are only free as long as its not above this ceiling and below this floor.  


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Self Esteem

secretsoftheserpent

As human beings we are always scanning our environment and assessing where we stand.  On the totem pole of value we want to know if we are near the top, near the bottom or somewhere in-between.  Based on what you think, you are going to have a certain amount of inner resources.  You will have certain amount of confidence, charisma and expression and it is all dictated by where you think you stand in a certain environment at some point and time.  Here is the secret.  People are run by this.  Depending on the situation they have a little more or a little less of the internal resources.  This is the life of everyone on this planet.


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Embracing the Wilds at Lughnasadh

The Druid's Garden

Wildlife Wildlife

When you think of the term “wild”, what comes to mind? Perhaps wild can be defined by that which is its opposite: civilized, tame, domesticated, and controlled.  Wild, on the other hand, is free, unrestricted, unbounded, and sovereign.  And while I resist binaries, there does seem to be some truth in the difference between that which is wild and that which is tame–a manicured city street vs. an old-growth forest has a world of difference: in the smell, in the biodiversity present, and in the energy of the space.  A wild place is hugely biodiverse and serves the needs of a wide variety of species. A wild space is in a place of ecological balance, where all resources are cycled and used. The human-tamed spaces are most frequently designed for human needs exclusively, and in the modern age, are also prime producers of pollution and waste. There’s, of course…

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Common Sense

secretsoftheserpent

 

I have said many times before that the brain is a living computer.  It is a computer that is always on.  You can not turn it off even when you are sleeping.  It is constantly recording, remembering, learning and creating.  Our minds are very defensive.  Because of our true ancient history our minds defend against so much.   Our collective subconscious is very powerful and it does not want to go through the trauma of that history again(see Lemurian Magic).  

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Emotional Intelligence

secretsoftheserpent

 

Emotion is the root of all action. The mind may regulate action, but intellect rarely pushes us into action. Emotion is what pushes us. Intellectuals spend all their time thinking while doing nothing. We must feel a sense of meaning that move us to action. The mind can not operate without emotional stimulation. Emotion is what helps us remember. The things you remember the most is because there is an emotional charge connected to it. Emotion also helps us to suppress. The things we suppress have an emotional charge connected to it.

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Dear Daughter

secretsoftheserpent

Life needs to be experienced and lived in order to be understood.  Life is not theoretical.  It is real.  It’s here.  There is pain, suffering and intense joy that needs to be experienced.  The ups and downs are life.  There are mistakes to make and traps to fall into.  All to learn.  This world is full of traps to keep you from growing.  This letter is not to make you fearful it is to keep you from falling into the traps of others.

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