Planning

The thirty-eighth bead on the blessing cord is the blessing of Planing. It is the blessing of earth in Hod. Hod has to do with our mental capabilities and mental faculties. When we apply this energy to the power of earth we get Planning. The blessing of planning helps organize our steps so we are more likely to get to our goals. This being said, don’t be afraid to change plans when you meet up with synchronicity or guidance that the goal isn’t for you. They say a plan is only as good as the first battle, and then it must change and adapt.

One of the concepts brought up in most human religions is that of the Divine Plan: that we are all here for a reason, we have a purpose, and the more we accept that we are working on this purpose, the more we are doing our great work. I feel like most of the people I read for are asking “what is my purpose?” or “why am I here?” These readings always make me laugh because they almost always say “well, I knew that” or “that is good confirmation” when the answers come through. Our plan or purpose from the divine is not just one thing or the lesson from one instance. Our purpose is what we naturally choose, mixed with our aspirations to make ourselves better people.

The “master plan” or “divine plan” is made up of all the choices and goals we make on a day to day basis. Not just what we consciously choose but what we choose with our whole being. We are constantly being guided by our Holy Guardian Angel and our Psychic Self. All the goals we work toward teach us more about ourselves and what our Great Work really is. The events that happen, the signs, personal development, and how the goal changes over time can teach us a great deal about the lessons of our “Divine Plan.”

The first step to having a plan is knowing what it is you want to accomplish. What are your

goals? There are two types of goals. There are means goals and end goals. A means goal is a specific goal as a step towards getting you to your goal, like getting a job to pay the bills so you can support yourself while you write the great American novel. The hard part of these goals is that you can eventually start to think of them your end goal. An end goal is more of the essence of what you want to do with your life. Like being happy, enjoying your life, feeling accomplished, and doing what makes you feel whole. The end goal is really the essence of what you desire.

To get a better feeling of what the essence of your goals in this lifetime are here is an exercise I learned from Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mind Valley, to get in touch with them. Get out a timer, a piece of paper and a pen. Separate the paper into three sections using a line of your pen. Write  one of these three questions across the top of each section: What do I want to experience in life? Where do you want to grow? What do you want to contribute to the world? When you have done that, set your timer to two minutes and begin to write your answers to the first question. Repeat the process with each question. The timer makes you go with your first instinct by not allowing you to dwell too long on each answer.

Now look over your answers. You may now have a better idea of what it is you want to create in your life. Now that you have seen them, you may want to form them into a kind of mission statement. Your mission statement may change over time but writing it out so you know what you feel is your mission in life is can clarify your choices that form your plan. If that seems too big for you, formulate what your goal is for the next five years or even just the next year. I like to make a list of my goals for the next year in the time between Samhain (Halloween) and New Year’s. Up here in the northern hemisphere it is a dark time full of reflection and celebrations with family. It is a good time to start thinking about the goals for the next year and to look back at the last year’s goals and how you did on accomplishing them. This can also inform your planning. What type of plan works best for you?

I then like to break up this year-long goal in my planner into goals for the month. This takes work to separate out what are reasonable steps I can accomplish to get to my goal every month. This is making a plan. I say “reasonable” steps because sometimes when we are in the planning phase we can get a little overzealous and over work ourselves. Always plan breaks from your work into your plan. The length of the breaks are proportionate to what it is you have observed you need to keep your balance. This could be a day off or a week off where you do something fun and relaxing. Breaks are important so we don’t have a break down. Make sure all these goals are done so you can change them when needed, not set in stone. Remember that a plan changes once it hits the battlefield. It is okay to change the plan and okay to change our goals when we find they were not exactly what we thought they would be.

There are times where planning seems to fail us and we don’t know what the next step is to our goal or even the steps to clear our path to it. We may be stumped on what the goals are and how to get there. The following meditation is a spiritual way to get a vision of a goal and the next step.

Meditation of Planning

Hold the Thirty-eighth bead of the blessing cord. The bead of expression, the blessing of water in Hod.

Count yourself down into a meditative state.

Allow the screen of your mind to expand until it is a sphere around you. Feel a sensation of rising as your sphere begins to fill with an orange light. Resonate the God name El-oh-heem Tza-ba-oth.

The orange light surrounds you like a mercurial mist. Ask your guides and guardians to be with you to answer your questions. Ask the space around you:

“What is the best goal for me right now?”

Clear your mind and stare into the orange mists. A scene or symbol begins to emerge from the mist. You may have a thought, memory, feeling, or hear words in your head describing what your next goal will be like. Note all the sensory details about this answer. Suspend all doubt and take what comes first to your inner vision. Know that if you receive nothing, you may receive it in a dream or synchronicity in the physical world. Have faith in yourself and your process that you will recognize it at this time.

Again the orange mist rises and obscures the image or symbol. Your mind clears. Ask your next question of the space around you.

“What is the next step that is best for me?”

Again allow the mists to part and show you a vision of what your next step should be. Take in all the sensory details about this answer. Be open to it being something you might have not expected. A sign may show up in your daily life, so be open to perceiving it.

Thank your guides and the energy of this sphere for the answers you have perceived. State to  yourself that you will remember clearly all salient details of this meditation. The orange light rises again to obscure all from view.

Feel a gentle decent as the orange light begins to fade from your sphere. The screen of your mind returns to normal coloring and then shrinks back to its normal size.

Count yourself up to waking consciousness.

Give yourself clearance and balance. Ground if necessary. You may want to write down your answers in your journal.

Contemplation

What do you want to experience in your life? Where do you want to grow? What do you want to contribute to the world? What is the next step towards those things? How can I better plan ahead to reach my goals? What have I learned about what types of plan works best for me? Am I willing to change my plans if necessary?

Connection

The thirty-seventh bead on the blessing cord is the blessing of Connection. This is the earth of Netzach. We live in an interconnected world. There is not an action that can be taken that doesn’t have an effect on the world around us. We are a collection of molecules swimming in a sea of other molecules. We label things with words and illusionary boundaries so that we can consciously function. We are all part of the oneness of all creation yet we dim down our perspective so we can make choices for the part of creation we “control”. Without these words of binding, we can’t express what it is we are consciously speaking about.

This is why when we have our own vision of oneness where we experience a dissolving of all barriers we can’t seem to put it into words that others would understand. People who have had this experience of being part of the Mystery of the All, more then just a part, have a hard time explaining it to those who haven’t felt it fully. This is perhaps why some traditions call it a Mystery.

Breaking the One down into parts is how our conscious mind makes sense of the swirling chaos of oneness. We separate things in our mind by naming them, placing limits on what they are and are not, and putting the rest of what they are out of our minds. We do this so we can focus on a particular part of the All at a time. Without this we could not do our work in the world because we would be constantly distracted by all the information coming in from all directions.

It is amazing how the universal consciousness lets us have our personal will about our connection. We can slip into a closed circuit of our personal consciousness and not have to be aware of the world around us. I would say that we can recede inside our own heads but even this is an illusion, for our minds and spirits are all parts of the One. We shutter ourselves into thinking that we can only be aware of ourselves and all else we have to see from our own perspective.

We can dissolve these barriers at a whim. Often the work of the magician is to be able to melt the self-imposed barriers so we can gather energy and influence. We do this through connection and merging. An exercise that comes to mind from Raymond Buckland’s Scottish Witchcraft is to get an ordinary stone and open up to connection to it. Imagine the barriers between you and it becoming more and more hazy. Feel the energy and spirit of the stone and begin to have an exchange of energy. You could use this to pack a stone with energy or you could do it to recharge one’s self. This small exercise leads to opening up to energies of the earth or a tree and having an exchange of power.

This merging and connection also leads me to speak about a trick of invisibility I learned. Imagine yourself and your consciousness, the lines of the boarders of your body come into your mind. Begin to imagine them blurring and becoming one with the scenery all around you until you are as one with all that is around you. Because you have let go of your conscious limits and boundaries, you begin to become unnoticeable to those who use their conscious mind to see the world. You disappear, just a part of the greater all.

In this meditation we return to the garden landscape of Netzach and try merging to connect to all that is around us in the garden. Then returning to our “separated” state to get a sense of the power of the blessing of connection.

Meditation of Connection

Hold the thirty-seventh bead of your blessing cord. This bead of Connection, the bead of Earth in Netzach.

Count yourself down in to a meditative state.

Allow the screen of your mind to expand until it is a sphere around you. Feel the sensation of rising as a green light begins to fill the sphere around you. Resonate the god name of Netzach: Yod-heh-vau-Heh Tza-ba-oth.

The green light surrounds you and becomes a mist. As the green mist begins to fade, You see a garden around you. This is the Garden of the Gods, a sacred space where you can connect to all of nature. Greenery abounds around you. Take some time to observe the plants and animals around you. Take in all the sensory details of the garden. What does it smell like? What does the grass feel like beneath your feet? What sounds do you hear?

Find a comfortable place in the garden. It could be leaning your back against a tree or a warm spot in the grass. When you have your spirt body comfortable in that spot, begin to imagine the boundaries of your spirit body blending and blurring. You are becoming more one with the scenery around you. Your skin becomes blended like in a painting. As you are now you can begin to sense yourself becoming one and merging with all the energies around you. You may experience the energies of connection to nature even more fully in this blended state. Feel the sea of energy that makes up the garden. Feel the vibration of the energy all around you. Trade energy with what is around you. Feel any tense or unhealthy energies for you taken on by that which can use or recycle that energy. As this energy moves out, newer and fresher energy that the world around you has to spare flows naturally flows in.

When you are done, visualize the boundaries of your spirit body firming, disconnecting from the blended state. Your skin becomes solid once more. As you become more separate from the energies you merged with, know that at anytime you can return to this connected feeling. You are always a part of this amazing creation.

Green misty light begins to fill the area, obscuring it from view. The green begins to fade as you feel a gentle descent. The screen of your mind begins to return to its normal size.

Count yourself up into waking consciousness.

Ground and center yourself.

Contemplation

How can you better connect with nature? What energies do you need to connect with more for the pattern of what you want to create in your life and the world? Why do we separate from the all? Is there another purpose to this disconnect that has nothing to do with conscious organizing?

Generosity

The thirty-sixth bead of the blessing cord is the blessing of Generosity. This is the earth of Tipereth. Tipereth has an energy that brings forth our True Will or our Great Work, what we came here to this world to complete, and how we choose to answer that calling. You can see the hallmarks of True Will by looking for how it serves not only the person but also the web of life. It takes a generosity of spirit to be able to do this Great Work as a gift to the divine that is within us all. This generosity shows our nobility of spirit and our inner sovereignty.

Generosity comes from the Latin word generōsus, meaning “of noble birth”. A good noble took care of their community by allocating resources, planing, implementing, and educating. They did so because without the community they would not be in the exalted position they were in. To take that into our spiritual realms, a good noble or sovereign is sufficiently in control of their own lives that they can give of their time, energy, resources, and wisdom to help those were less fortunate or in their charge. We each have this sovereignty within us, no matter our wealth, class, time, schedule, or energy level. We can adopt the noble path of generosity and give in the name of the gods. They love when we make these types of offerings and help to refill us so we can give again.

The community you aid with your generosity or your Great Work may take many forms, and not all of them are on a grand global scale. It could be once a year giving a homeless person an old jacket or a tent. It could be helping with the school bake sale for your kids’ marching band. You may feel called to go to an impoverished community or disaster area and offer your help and expertise. Generosity doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. You can generously give a smile or a complement. You can buy a friend a coffee or tea because they are having a tough time. Give a friend a book you enjoyed and think they will also.

 

The blessing of generosity teaches us how to give and share our gifts with community. Many  cultures and religions have tithes that they give to their religious institutions or charities. A tithe is a percentage of your income that you give back to the community with no expectation of return. Even if they didn’t expect return they still might get it in form of the rituals of the temple or from the gods themselves. You may also want to give a tithe of time in service to your community, if you do not have physical wealth to offer.

Generosity can feel like a sacrifice of time, energy or resources that could be used for yourself and your goals. We turn to the solar gods of Tipereth for our model. Most of the solar gods have a cycle where they sacrifice themselves to the land or its people. Many of the pagan solar gods sacrifice themselves so that we may take in their blessings by consuming a part of them. The young Oak King is sacrificed by the older Holy King at the summer solstice to bring his energy into the land so the fields will ripen. This also brings about the turning of the “wheel of the year” as the darker time of less daylight begins. The change of wheat from green to gold symbolizes the god’s energy in the land. From his sacrifice the wheat and all the plants ripen. This is an archetypal example of the generosity of the gods. We pagans are not alone in this, the Christian faith’s Christ sacrificed himself to take on the world’s sin. The rite of transubstantiation is to make the wine and host into the blood and body of Christ. People take some of the energy of his holiness, his sacrifice, into themselves with the sacrement. We pagans have the Great Rite in token, where we drink in the blessings of the gods after an athame is used to gather energy and it is brought into the wine as a symbolic ritual of the male giving up his seed and energy to the womb of life.

These divinities show their generosity by giving freely of what they have to help their people, just as the Sun, the symbol of Tiphereth, gives freely of its light and warm. We are only seeds of gods and don’t have the same expectations because we are human. Our sacrifice to generosity doesn’t have to be big or even something that we need or use any more.

This generosity has great benefits to it as well. Generosity has been scientifically proven to make people happier. I have never met an unhappy generous person. It improves your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. It can connect you deeply to what your Great Work is in this world, something beyond just your vocation or career.

In this meditation we move into the energies of Tipereth and ask: “How can I offer up a service in generosity?” Our answer comes from our own Holy Guardian Angel, the Watcher-self, the god seed within us. Your answer may come in the meditation or be an encounter with a need you can fulfill in the days after the meditation. Take this chance to be an answered prayer for someone else.

Meditation of Generosity

Hold the thirty-sixth bead, the bead of the blessing of Generosity, the blessing of earth in Tiphereth.

Count yourself down into a meditative state.

Allow the screen of your mind to expand into a sphere around you. Feel a rising sensation as your sphere begins to fill with radiant golden yellow light. Vibrate the God name of Tipereth: Yod-heh-vauv-heh el-oh-ah Vah-dah-ath.

The golden light surrounding you call out to your Holy Guardian Angel. You may see it as a golden ball above you or coming toward you. They may look like any appearance that they wish.  Thank your Holy Guardian Angel for being with you in this time.

Ask them “How can I offer up a service in generosity?”

They may give you a feeling, a word or phrase, some sage advice, or a image of someone. They may also say nothing at all.

Ask what you can give to your Holy Guardian Angel in thanks for its help and communion. You may be surprised at the answer. It may ask you to do a generous service for yourself or someone else.

Ask any other questions you might have about becoming a more generous person. Know that your Holy Guardian Angel has heard you and is willing to guide you after this meditation to a situation where your generosity is needed.

Thank your Holy Guardian Angel again. The golden light begins to fill your screen of the mind around you, obscuring your Holy Guardian Angel from view. The golden light begins to fade and the screen of your mind returns to its normal size.

Count yourself up to waking consciousness and ground and center yourself.

Contemplation

What can you give back to your community? What types of need call out to you? Do you look at what you want to do and what the need is in the world and make a compromise of the two? How can you be a more generous person?

Industry

The thirty-fifth bead in the blessing cord is the blessing of industry. It is the blessing of earth in Malkuth. In this blessing we take the power of Geburah and apply it to the earthly plane. Industry is the passion for work and creation. Industry is what we do to get all the things we need done done.

When I think of industry I start to think about some of the people I know who do craft-fairs. They personally produce a great deal of product with their many talents. They pack in as much crafting time before the fair as they can. There is a sort of furious fire of creation fueled by this deadline. Industry like this can bring stress because of the intensity of its energy, but it is this power that can help us achieve so much.

One of the things that can hold us back from the blessing of industry is the slowing effect of procrastination. We all avoid that which we feel is annoying or unpleasant, putting it off to the last minute, even though we know it is necessary or good for us. This makes changes more and more difficult. At times when I find myself doing this I make a list of all the things I know I should do and then rearrange the list for what I don’t want to do the most to be at the top. Then I take a day and just do everything I can on the list. I am always amazed how much less times it takes me to get things done then I thought once I just get started.

Another way I stoke the fires of my industry is using the Pomodoro technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. Basically you make a list of all the things you need to do. Then you choose one to work on for traditionally 25 minutes which is called a “pomodoro.” They are called pomodoros because the timer Francesco used was tomato-shaped and pomodoro is tomato in italian. During this pomodoro you focus only on the task at hand. Any time you think of something or want to do something else you write it down on your list and get back to the task you were focusing your pomodoro on. When the timer goes off, you take a three to five minute break and then start a new pomodoro on either the same subject or a new one from your list. After you have done four pomodoro sesions with breaks you take a longer break that is 15 to 30 minutes. If you finish before the pomodoro is up it is suggested that you focus on over learning. Over learning to study something to refresh you memory about it. I just clean if I have extra time in the pomodoro, there always is more cleaning to do.

In this meditation we take some of the energy and power of Geburah and send it to future moments and times where we need to have the fire of industry. You might want to make a list of the things you need to get a move on about and prioritize them so you are ready with a few instances where you are going to need the blessings of industry. Don’t choose more then three things for this meditation because with the get-it-done energy of Geburah we can also invoke the stress and anger of Geburah and unbalance ourselves. Stress and anger directed toward a positive end can be useful but too much can be unbalancing. Industry can also be turned into overwork if we aren’t careful. Use moderation and your good sense.

Meditation of Industry

Hold the thirty-fifth bead, the bead of the blessing of Industry, the blessing of Earth in Geburah. Count yourself down into a meditative state.

Allow the screen of your mind to expand to create a sphere around you. Feel a rising sensation as the sphere fills with a red light. Vibrate the god name of Geburah: El-oh-heem Gi-boor

The red light around you begins to fade and become a red sphere of light above you. At any time you can access the energy of Geburah by calling it down from this sphere. Before you conjure a picture of yourself doing the work that is on your list. See it in as much detail as you can. Ask the image of you doing this work what the reason is that you haven’t finished this project. Clear your mind and be open to any answers. It may be that the image changes or begins to talk to you to tell you why. You may get a feeling of knowing. Whatever the reason, forgive yourself for it. You may have a person show up as the reason you have issues getting this done. Forgive this person and embrace them.

Bring your attention back to the image of you doing the work you have put off. Draw down the red energy of Geburah with a breath in and with your exhale send it into the image of your work. See your image self surrounded in the red light. As you do, they begin to work harder on getting this project done. Time seems to speed up in the image until you are at the finish of the project. Breath in more light and send it to the image of the completed project. Begin to feel what it is like to have the project done. Use all your senses. Know that this project will be completed in the proper time. Release the image knowing that as it fades it goes into manifestation.

You may repeat this process with two other projects or continue to your return with the rest of this meditation.

The red light again fills your view obscuring all else. You feel a gentle decent as the red light fades. Your sphere returns to the shape and size of the screen of the mind.

Count your self up into waking consciousness and ground and center yourself.

Contemplation

What are you procrastinating on? How do you feel about what you are procrastinating on? What are your reasons why you don’t want to do it? What actions will move you forward on your path? Can you change the way you think about your task so that you enjoy it or at least are relieved when it is done?