Monday, 30 March 2020

Self Isolation

Here is an extract from an article in the latest Raven Newsletter. I thought it might be helpful.

     I saw a very helpful piece on breakfast TV the other day from Dame Joan Bakewell who was talking about planning ahead and using routine to help fill your time and avoid feeling alone and trapped in your home.
     She said she had invested in a couple of bird feeders and a book on British Birds so that she could learn about the birds which came into her garden, and also that making a routine which includes exercise and activities you are interested in, or would like to try out.
     The internet is a big help to anyone who is feeling lonely, it can be a source of company and socialising. There are various social media platforms such as facebook and twitter, but you can also find groups dedicated to a particular hobby or pastime. And don't forget things like online gamine, these also have a social aspect to them.
     The internet is a great place for doing research and even for travelling the world from your armchair.
     But do remember to make time to move about. If you have a garden, spend time outdoors if you can. Gardening is a great form of exercise - I suspect some gardens will be getting more attention this year (ours included) than they have for a long time.
     I have always loved watching the garden wake up and the succession of plants opening through the seasons.
     At the moment we have a mystery plant in our side garden. Well there are eight of them and they are planted amongst the hostas, which makes us pretty sure they are something we have deliberately planted, but neither of us can remember what they might be. So we are quite interested to see how they develop. I suspect they might be alliums of some kind, these are plants in the onion and garlic family, as I remember something vaguely about slugs loving to eat hostas, but staying away from alliums. And we may therefore have planted some alliums to keep the slugs away from the hostas.

     In many monastic orders from all religions, periods of self-isolation or Retreat, are used to allow the spirit to withdraw from the humdrum world and experience a period of calm, quiet contemplation.  So you could build a little time into your daily routine when you deliberately spend some time meditating or thinking about something in nature, or the nature of the Universe.
      A simple way to choose a subject to meditate about is to open a book at random and put your finger on a word, and use that word as your meditation focus. Or you might take a gemstone and look at it and think about what it might signify, or how it makes you feel. You don't need to know what the books say on the subject, see what it means just for you.
      Spare time means you can do stuff you have been putting off, or learn stuff you have always wanted to do. Trying magical and psychic exercises is an obvious example. Again, make a special place in your routine to do these. Some people say that first thing in the morning is a good time to do it, but it is up to you.
     If you are at home more and are able to wake up more naturally rather than using an alarm clock, you might find that you begin to remember your dreams more. So now would be a good time to start a dream diary and write your dreams down as soon as you wake up - keep the diary and pen by your bed and write them down before you do anything else, otherwise they will fade and the details will be lost.
      Astral travel practise is another obvious exercise for just before you go to sleep.
     I would always imagine myself sleeping inside a blue protective bubble, before doing any dream or astral exercises. The blue bubble works well to protect against nightmares too.
     If you've never had a go at casting a spell, well now you will have the time. So have a think about the kind of spell or magic you would like to try. At this time sending out healing thoughts and energies would be helpful to everyone. You could also send out thoughts of friendship and joy to other people who might be feeling lonely or alone. You could do spells to help people keep in touch, or encourage kindness and thoughtfulness.
     You could have a go at creating your own spells and rituals. Like the country Witches of old, think about what you have to hand and how it might be used in a spell or ritual.
     Night time has always been special for Witches. So why not take a few minutes, if the sky is clear, just to pop outside and look at the Moon. Blow her a kiss and look at Her shape. We don't only need to look at the Moon when she is Full. She has beauty in all her phases.
     If you are wrapped up well. you could also look at the stars, see if there are any constellations you can recognise.
     If you have a look on the internet you will find places which tell you which constellations and planets might be seen from your location, and where to look in the sky. If you have a pair of binoculars this can be helpful too. You can see a lot of detail on the Moon's surface with a decent pair of binoculars.
     You might find that this time of isolation gives you the chance to make deliberate changes for the better in your life. To evaluate your priorities and even where you feel you might like to go in the future.

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