|5. An essay focusing the “Two Powers” meditation or other form of ‘grounding and centering’, as used in meditation and ritual. (300 word min)|
TWO POWERS ESSAY
The Two Powers or Two Currents are the twin forces of sky (light, order, inspiration, completion) and earth (dark, chaos, primeval stuff of creation, potential). These forces encompass all that is and mixing the energies of light/order/inspiration with dark/chaos/creation brings about a state of energetic balance where magic happens and where the energies of the worlds can be centered, placing the person (or group) imbued with them at that center ready to embody the cosmos and do the work of the moment. While the traditional Western four elements are not a part of ADF’s cosmology, there are often associations of cool/water/earth to the current of chaos/potential and of warmth/air/fire to the current of order/completion. I do not, however, have any feeling of gender to the powers. In fact, I think this is a hold-over from Western cultural cosmology that is better left where it belongs- as an aspect of modern gender definitions in Western culture and neopagan duotheistic gender balancing. It has no place for me in a religious practice that seeks to find balance between reconstruction and releasing those things that taint our ability to grow and move forward. I also do not think of these as opposite or a true binary so much as different paths or characteristics of one current as it moves through the vast sky and sea of creation. My own hearth cultures are Anglo-Saxon (for Grove workings), in which the Two Powers are often seen as Fire and Ice, and Celtic (for solitary), in which the Two Powers of Underworld and Heavenly energies might be seen as filling the Three Cauldrons of Warming (loins), Vocation (heart), and Wisdom (head). I have found both models work well for me as part of both Tree and Mist narratives. Both also integrate well with the Three Hallows of Fire (sky), Well (earth), and Tree (myself as the center), smoothing the way for recreating the cosmos and opening the Gates as I move forward in ritual or magic.
This has become my regular grounding and centering practice. The first time I attempted this meditation in mid-May 2018, it was using recorded guided meditations online. I was initially immensely annoyed by these; they focus largely on seeing energies move and are often very fast paced. I move energy through a combination of narrative, intense emotion, and kinesthetic sensation, which takes time to build. I am incapable of making mental images in any context. I was becoming rather frustrated but kept at it over several weeks. My Grove uses the Two Powers during every high day so at Midsummer I was able to experience this meditation very successfully for the first time. After this it became a process of building those pathways and connections through repeated practice; I can now complete the entire Two Powers in five to ten minutes, depending on the recording and the situation. I am not yet consistently able to guide myself through it but have gotten steadily more successful. My biggest struggle here is needing to improve my ability shut out external stimuli and focus on my own inner space and goals. This is something I continue to work on in my meditation practice, which has been continuing for more than five months now.
I find the Two Powers particularly powerful during group ritual, where we have used the Druid Mist and the Tree versions of the meditation. I find myself experiencing an increased sense of energy flow and connection with the group as well as a physical sense of moving energies dancing through me and out into my group and back into me from them. My Grove did one very unique Baltic hearth culture version using Belobog and Chernobog to represent light/order/warmth and chaos/darkness/cold. During solitary Two Powers Meditations I almost entirely use the Tree meditation; it is very similar to one I used during my previous pagan practice many years ago. I had at one point been able to simply move my body through a series of positions, say “Roots Down; Branches Up” and ground and center with energies very similar to our Two Powers. I find the dual metaphor of self as tree and as world tree/pillar resonates with my experience of energy flow when I am in balance. I do use the Druid Mist version to ground and center as part of Otherworld journeying as it melds into the process of grounding and centering then moving between the worlds very well. Overall, I have been very satisfied with this grounding and centering practice as something which flows smoothly into the core order or as a stand-alone practice. It is versatile enough to be a common thread in the weaving that is ADF’s Indo-European focus and to meet a variety of needs within as well as across hearth cultures and individual practice.