Monday, September 24, 2018

Building Meditative Shrines ~ Inner Spiritual Growth

I have recently started looking into Greek Magic, or what a number of practitioners today would consider and use as magic. Some would actually consider it Mysticism. In any modern practice of the Arts, meditation is a great asset, and for good reason. It is a great way to connect with Higher Powers, bring forth your own personal powers, and to simply grow and develop spiritually.

One of the reasons I regret not becoming a serious worshiper of the Greek Gods in my much younger life is because I was surrounded by nature and natural tools. You may remember, I grew up in very rural North Carolina, literally in the middle of a forest, and my family owned quite a bit of it, with wells and streams running through it, not to mention groves and small hills. This was not my grandmother Sue's home, but rather, my grandfather Pete's, my dad's dad, my infant home. Had I been as devout as I am today, I would have probably built numerous shrines and altars all through those woods and around my home. Maybe even a small temple or two.

Of course, it would be sad now because I had to move a long time ago and the property isn't even in my family's possession anymore. Recently, I even went back to look at it, and it's been utterly destroyed by the new owners in the most filthy way imaginable. The house is barely standing, and old cars and auto parts make up the yard and driveway. However, such a peril was unknown at the time of my childhood and teenage years, and I don't know how much of the present forest has remained untouched. It's possible that somethings I would have constructed might still be there today. Who knows?

But building these special areas not only gives you a place of worship, and expresses to the universe your reverence to the Divinity, it also improves your relationship with them and your own inner mental, physical, and spiritual being. You can create natural places in the meditative world, an area that you yourself can choose to keep exclusive for you to return to in meditation any time you want for prayer, worship, sacrifice, etc. 

The first step is to choose the God you want to honor, but for this post, I'll pick two, actually; Poseidon and Artemis, as I think it will help the reader and practitioner open their perspective on Deity a little wider.

Even though I won't be giving an example of each Olympian here, a reasonable mind would probably be able to make proper equivalents in other meditations that they may create, such as realizing that a natural place for Zeus might be a Peak Sanctuary, or a place for Athena being an olive grove or a shining city. Also note that the meditative building of a temple or shrine may not be something you can accomplish in one meditative session. You may find yourself returning to the spot several times to work on the project. This is to be expected. The point is to develop.

1) As with mostly every meditation, this will require a quiet, peaceful surrounding for the best results. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, breathe deeply; become completely relaxed from head to toe.

2) In your meditative state, you're walking down a stone path toward a wooded area in the distance. Take note to the beautiful nature around you as you make your way. Hear the birds, smell the breeze, adore the green grass and flowers about. Become tuned with the natural world. Eventually, you may even come to hear or see horses and deer, the sacred animals of the two blessed Gods.

3) When you enter the woods, you see a vast forest before you, amazing in beauty and very welcoming. There are no dangers to you here, all is good. You walk through this forest and explore as the bright sunlight comes through from above and brightens the day, much to your delight. Eventually, you come upon a beautiful flowing stream, full of pebbles and rocks, and surrounded by rich soil on its banks that hold thick trees with bright leaves. It's a classic picture for a calendar or a meditation video.

4) Here upon these shores, you will now begin construction on your shrines and altars to Poseidon and Artemis, being to honor Poseidon as the God of the flowing fresh waters, and Artemis as the Goddess of the forest and wilderness; She is as well considered the Goddess of freshwater fish. There will be an altar constructed adjacent to the structure you build, but you may find it easier to start with the altar. Remember also that at the fresh flowing streams, rivers and springs of natural places also reside The Naiads (the freshwater Nymphs). Now's the time to find building material in this realm. Both aspects of the Gods here will be very earthy, so get the materials from there. Start by building the altars to Poseidon and Artemis by collecting rocks from the stream, but not before you have asked kindly of The Naiads and given a proper sacrifice. As for what to offer to them, look around and I am sure you'll find some forest berries you can drop into the waters.

A simple stacking of rocks, elevated upward from the ground, is a classic altar of ancient times. Begin by creating a circle with the stones, the circle being the size you'd like for the altar to be. If you want to make the entire project easier, build the altar in front of a tree stump or other natural structure, as this can later be used as the shrine area. Then simply fill in the open rock circle and keep stacking until it's reached a height of about a foot or two. Now construct the shrine behind it, a few feet away. A shrine is a holy structure made to hold or house images, objects or relics representing Deities or Divine Beings.

Upon this shrine, you can place either small statues of the Gods, which you can take time to carve from the wood around you, or symbols of them would be fine too. You might find deer antlers lying around for Artemis, or a stick that resembles a trident for Poseidon.

5) The final step is consecration of the shrines and their altars. Declare them verbally as the sacred areas of these Gods, and rinse them with waters from the nearby stream for purification. In the last act, ask for Greek Sphinxes to be assigned to protect the structures. When you return in meditation for workings, remember as well the nearby stream. This water can be used each time to purify the altars and to wash your own hands and offerings before you do ritual.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.