In our daily lives we are always asked to be in the moment. Present. Ready. Aware. And through that focus we tend to find a pattern of feeling that we can easily slip into. Filing paperwork becomes a dance. Writing out emails becomes second nature. And even making phone calls can go smoothly without any extra thought. But are those tasks helping us become better meditators?
There really is no simple answer to that. When we as humans fall into a trance like state and achieve calmness, it can occur at wildly different times. For most, a calm room with little to no interruptions is the main place where they can relax. However, this is not always the norm. In my youth, the times I would feel most peaceful would be in the throws of a concert right in front of the pumping sound system. The vibration of the music would feel like it was syncing up with my heartbeat and the music itself was pumping my blood. Now that I’m older I’ve found that other things can be relaxing. Painting, working out, singing, creating, going for walks, and dancing have all been added to my arsenal of relaxation.
That doesn’t make them mediation though. There is a difference between being meditative and actively meditating that a lot of people tend to avoid. We lead busy lifestyles that take away our free time and we make excuses. After a long hard day, doing a meditative task can sometimes be more palatable than actually meditating. But it doesn’t give us the same dividends.
When we are meditative, we are zoned out. Our minds are blank and we aren’t building anything upon the task we are doing. As we perform the task, our minds wander to whatever thought becomes the easiest to have while performing a task. And what happens when you think of something else other than the task at hand? We mess up the task and we lose that focus. As opposed to when we meditate. When we meditate we are not zoning out. We are in fact zoning IN to our minds. We centralize our focus to our breath. To the singular action of sitting still. To the moment of being alone with our own brain and thoughts. We are building our meditation muscles when we focus in instead of zoning out. By giving ourselves this opportunity to be in with our t minds we can then go further than just the mental space of our own thoughts. Only then can we find more of the magic we connect to.
A Wiccan priest, a Gardnerian initiate, and founder of Seax-Wica, Raymond Buckland (1934-2017) is credited with bringing Wicca to the United States in 1964. Not only did he start the first American coven, known simply as the Long Island coven, but he also founded a sect of Wicca known as Seax-Wica, established the First Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the U.S., served as a public face of paganism and authored many books about the Craft.
In his early years, Buckland earned a doctorate in anthropology and spent years in the air force, both of which may have contributed to his desire to explore theology in that it is nearly impossible to study humankind without learning of the various cultural customs, of which religion is one. Buckland formed a relationship with Gardner via written correspondence which grew to a closer acquaintance and desire to espouse the Gardnerian path in America. Eventually, Buckland and his wife Rosemary flew to Perth, Scotland to become initiated by High Priestess Monique Wilson, one of Gardner’s priestesses.
Buckland’s influence on Wicca was unique in that he profoundly influenced the development of Eclectic Wicca as well as established a foundation for Solitary Wicca practitioners. While Buckland himself was a coven leader, he recognized the desire of others for another path for Wiccan worship and study. In allowing a young initiate named Fitch to create an “Outer Court,” aimed towards Wiccan study outside of the confines of a coven, a path to Paganism and Witchcraft without formal initiation was established. This path is considered to be instrumental in the evolution of Eclectic Wicca. Ten years after Buckland brought Wicca to the United States, he established the tradition of Seax-Wica. Seax-Wica draws heavily from Anglo-Saxon paganism and was disseminated to willing learners through a correspondence course which boasted over a thousand members. With his publication of The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft, Buckland documented a holistic approach to Seax-Wicca, including the notable lack of a requirement of initiation. Buckland pioneered the establishment of a foundation for those who wished to study and practice the Craft but did not wish to do so through the common means available at the time. Solitary wiccans were equipped with the tools for practice and study through his publications. It is also vital to note that Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, affectionately nicknamed “Uncle Bucky’s Big Blue Book” has been a staple in many Wiccans’ bookshelves and has been deemed a foundational narrative by many practitioners.
All in all, without Raymond Buckland, Wicca would not have been the same. Buckland profoundly influence the proliferation and evolution of Gardnerian Wicca, Seax-Wica, solitary practice and Eclectic Wicca in America and in Wicca practitioners everywhere.
”I guess I’d like to be remembered as someone who did his best to expand Gardnerian from the U.K. to the U.S., who tried to write truthfully about the Craft (without ever breaking his original oath of secrecy) and as someone who very much enjoyed working with others in many different fields.”
As I walk around town running my errands in my short shorts, heels, and plus sized figure, I get looks from strangers staring at my hairy legs as though my legs were a personal affront to them. If I were my younger self, I would have been mortified to walk around with “unfeminine” body hair visible. The fearful thoughts of “what would others think of me” and “i look so disgusting” would have filled my head with shamefulness to be seen in “revealing clothing.” I would have ruminated on how unattractive I seemed to others, and therefore myself. These thoughts and internalizations of others’ perception led me to starve myself, develop anorexia and consequently lose my hair from the stress of it all.
Now I barely notice the stares and looks of consternation from others as I bask in the glow of the newly emerged spring sun. My thoughts turn outward as I’m appreciating the beauty of the blooming flower, green grass and tall trees that grow in abundance all over my town. I feel gratitude for the endless blue skies and perfect 70 degree weather.
The God and Goddess created this world and all in it. The wonders of nature reflect them. I see the Goddess in her mother form as a mother duck tends to her ducklings in the pond below. I see the God’s strength in the strong rays of sunshine which illuminate the sunny patch of grass in front of me amidst the arbor circle. I feel their warm embrace with my eyes closed to meditate. I am engulfed in Their protection and I feel love. I love the God and Goddess. I love their world and all they have created. I remember that They are a part of me and I am a part of Them. Therefore to love Them, I love myself.
I love myself enough to present my body however I feel like. Hairy, hairless, fat, skinny, covered up, revealed.. I love myself. I let go of my stress and fill myself with contentment and gratitude. I love the God and Goddess, everything that is Their creation and myself as a part of that creation and as a part of Them.
Ostara is such a beautiful time of year, with the cold of winter finally leaving to bring us the warmth of the spring. For more information on Ostara, check out our Ostara post. With the flowers blooming and baby birds singing, I’m inspired to create and celebrate the God and Goddess through art. Here are some ideas to help you celebrate the Ostara season:
Start your gardens indoor if your area is still cold during this time OR if your plants require lots of sun and warmth to grow.
Upcycle your old plastic eggs into decor by painting them
Send spring greetings to your loved ones with seed packets inside
Protest St. Patrick’s Day by making a serpent wreath for your front door
Make an Ostara tree with your upcycled egg decor
Make an Ostara spring Goddess corn dolly to honor the Goddess
Go on a nature walk and gather local blooms while thinking positive thoughts to create an enchanted flower bouquet
Create a spring altar piece with upcycled materials around your home or a quick trip to your local craft store
Brew your own dandelion wine. Get the recipe here.
Make a raindrop sun-catcher. Get the tutorial here.