Notes on Healing Methods
by Adam Winbigler
In moving through the forest of the Ovates, one of the skills I felt particularly moved to develop were those of the healer. What follows is the result of that work, combined with experiences I brought with me to the Order. I present them here in the hopes that others may find them useful:
The Earth and Star Method
● Any instrument with which you may produce a sustained sound; that is, when played, the sound resonates without needing continued playing. I currently use a set of tuning forks, but prior to that a single bell did the job just fine; use whatever you have handy, including electronic means.
● Your usual set-up for magickal workings, by which is meant the series of rituals which you use to prepare the workspace.
This cleansing may be performed at any time, though for more potent results you may wish to time it around the changes in season or the eightfold Wheel of the Year; it can also be timed to coincide with fortunate astrological aspects, if you wish to invite a specific energy in. It can be performed solo (that is, on oneself by oneself) or on a willing participant. If you are performing this healing on another, modify the following instructions so that you are giving them to your client rather than performing them yourself.
When you have made your preparations, assume a meditative posture and begin to breathe deeply. Focus on your breath, on the rise and fall of your chest, and notice the way your body feels as you breathe in and out. Gradually, widen that focus until you are feeling your entire body. Do not take note of it, or pass judgment on it, simply feel it. Then, slowly, retract that focus inward, towards your center. You may notice the darkness behind your eyelids seem to intensify or that you suddenly feel colder than before; this is perfectly normal for a shift in state of consciousness.
You will know that you have reached your center by three sensations, two of which are universal; these are a proximity to a great deal of energy and a deep feeling of safety. The third sensation, which is universal in kind but unique in character, is the way in which the seat of your soul will present itself to you. Some see a vast, blazing star; others behold an abyssal, swirling black hole; still others are granted visions different from either of these, and some do not “see” at all, but instead perceive with the psychic analogue of their other senses, whether tactile, auditory, or otherwise. However you sense it, take a moment before proceeding to bask in your own radiance.
When you are ready, shift your awareness downward, past your hips through your legs and into your feet. From there, continue moving your awareness down toward the core of the Earth. When you have stretched as far as you feel you can in that direction, leave yourself a tether point to wrap around, and gradually raise your awareness back up into your body. Proceed up past the center through your shoulders and neck up to your head and out, up into the vast expanse of space. Once again, leave yourself a tether at the limit of your reach and come back down.
Gradually let the cord that you have strung fill your awareness. Feel it connecting you to the Earth and to the cosmos, like beads on a string, and feel the energy of the cosmos filtering down from above and that of the Earth rising up from below to commingle in you. You’ll notice a few spots in which they gather, and we’ll start with the first of these, a spot of red energy at the tip of your tailbone.
This is the root chakra, the center of groundedness and safety. Ring your instrument thrice. On each ring, breathe in and feel the root expand; on the exhale, feel it spin and begin to share its energy with the rest of your energetic system. Take a moment to adjust to this new energy, then shift your awareness upwards, to an orange spot that sits just behind where your belt buckle would be.
This is the sacral chakra, the center of movement, creativity, and pleasure. Once again, ring your instrument thrice. On each ring, breathe in and feel the sacral expand; on the exhale, feel it spin and begin to share its energy with the rest of your energetic system. Take a moment to adjust to this new energy, then shift your awareness upwards, to a yellow spot just above your navel.
This is the solar plexus chakra, the center of personal power. Once again, ring your instrument thrice. On each ring, breathe in and feel the solar plexus expand; on the exhale, feel it spin and begin to share its energy with the rest of your energetic system. Take a moment to adjust to this new energy, then shift your awareness upwards, to a green spot in the center of your chest.
This is the heart chakra, the center of unconditional love. Once again, ring your instrument thrice. On each ring, breathe in and feel the heart expand; on the exhale, feel it spin and begin to share its energy with the rest of your energetic system. Take a moment to adjust to this new energy, then shift your awareness upwards, to a blue spot in the center of your neck.
This is the throat chakra, the center of communication and self-expression. Once again, ring your instrument thrice. On each ring, breathe in and feel the throat expand; on the exhale, feel it spin and begin to share its energy with the rest of your energetic system. Take a moment to adjust to this new energy, then shift your awareness upwards, to a navy-colored spot in the middle of your eyebrows.
This is the third eye, the center of perception and intuition. Once again, ring your instrument thrice. On each ring, breathe in and feel the third eye expand; on the exhale, feel it spin and begin to share its energy with the rest of your energetic system. Take a moment to adjust to this new energy, then shift your awareness upwards, to a violet spot at the very top of your head.
This is the crown chakra, the center of connectedness and harmony. Once again, ring your instrument thrice. On each ring, breathe in and feel the crown expand; on the exhale, feel it spin and begin to share its energy with the rest of your energetic system. Take a moment to adjust to this new energy, then allow your awareness to expand outward to the whole of your body.
Feel the way the energies of your chakras swirl together into the bright, golden light that is you. And then, feel it glow even more intensely as the energies of the cosmos and the Earth mix in as well, pushing the radiance beyond the barrier of your skin to fill your entire aura with bright, golden, healing light. Feel it course through you for a time. Then, when you are ready, reach up into the heavens, and (with thanks) release your tether and return that awareness to your body.
Take a moment, then do the same with the tether anchoring you to the Earth. Now sit. Feel the energies continue their interplay with each other throughout your aura, their luster gradually fading as they do. When the glow has finally dissipated, give your fingers and toes a wiggle. Become aware again of your physical body. When you are ready, open your eyes and rejoin the waking world!
What is Nwyfre?
Nwyfre has its origins as a Welsh word meaning “sky,” attested in manuscripts from as early as the 1300s. It came into its magickal usage thanks to none other than Iolo Morganwg, the 18th century bard and forger. In his writings, he likened nwyfre to the Holy Spirit, and as Druids have taken it up to various degrees in the decades since, it has come to mean something more like “breath of life,” akin to prana or qi in Eastern traditions.
What follows is my interpretation of nwyfre, and I share it here to encourage you not to adopt it for yourselves, but to investigate it, and to see if your experience of nwyfre is similar to or different from mine. For my part, I understand nwyfre as Spirit in motion, or better yet as the part of the interconnection all beings share through which movement is possible, because nwyfre is the current on which Awen (“flowing inspiration”) moves. This movement of Awen is what makes art, magick, music, poetry – in short, all those things that make life beautiful and worth living – possible. By becoming aware of and stimulating the flow of this energy in ourselves, we can encourage Awen to manifest in us more potently.
Luckily for us, any action which stimulates vitality does the same for the flow of nwyfre in us! The actor, the artisan, the athlete– all partake of Awen’s flowing upon nwyfre. Though in the following pages I will guide you through more esoteric methods of awakening to and empowering the flow of nwyfre through you, do be sure not to forsake the others. Nwyfre flows through our hearts, minds, and souls every bit as much as our bodies, and so it is vital (forgive the pun) that we do things that keep all of our juices (literal or metaphorical) flowing!
Tree Spirit Exercise
As its name suggests, this exercise is designed to connect you to the spirit of a particular tree. It is recommended to perform this exercise exactly as laid out below the first time you do it– this will give you a familiarity with which you can make your own additions to it on subsequent attempts. Druids and other nature-oriented spellcasters may find it especially useful to perform this exercise at least once with each tree to whom they have a particular connection, adapting it to fit. If at all possible, perform this exercise in the physical presence of the tree to whom you will be connecting. If you cannot do this, do not despair; journeys inward to visit your tree(s) can have equally powerful effects, and in any case the method is the same.
Make your usual preparations for inner journey work, then assume a meditative posture and focus on your breath. Feel its temperature. Feel the way your chest rises with each inhale and falls with each exhale. Gradually, shift to box breathing– four second inhale, four second hold, four second exhale, four second hold, repeat. If you cannot do this, or if you are unable to maintain it for very long, resume deep breathing.
After a time, allow your breathing to resume a more natural flow and just focus on the feeling of your body. Gradually, take note of the fact that the darkness around you is, little by little, giving way to twilight. A purplish tinge reminds you that there is a sky above you, and twinkling in it faintly are stars. You swear if your hearing was a little sharper, you could clearly hear their song– tinkly, like wind chimes. The earthy scent of moss and pine needles rises to meet your nose, and there’s enough light that you can distinguish the silhouettes of the trees against the early morning sky. You turn and notice that one of the trees, quite close by, has a different shape from the others.
This is a tree you know from the waking world. You have sat in its shade, you have climbed it as a child; perhaps you played among its branches in a tire swing or a treehouse, or eaten of the fruit it produced. You know its distinct aroma, the feel of its bark under your hands, and the memories of it you have made over the years wash over you as you embrace here, in this ancient wood. Relax into the tree. Feel its energy and yours begin to mingle, and open yourself to its presence. Receive whatever message it may have for you.
Then, ask if it will allow you to experience what its life is like. Wait for an affirmative and if one is given, proceed.
The first thing the tree spirit will show you is the experience of having roots. Feel them– like long, sinuous toes sinking deep, deep into the earth. Feel the tingle of bioelectricity passing through them– the means by which trees communicate. And feel also the further tingle of the roots drawing moisture and nutrients up into the trunk. This is what it is to be rooted, grounded, connected, supported, secure. It is to this feeling that we connect when we take a deep breath with the Earth beneath us. Do so now. Experience the way that new energy courses through the root system.
Now the tree spirit guides you upward, following the sap as it carries the nutrients up into the trunk. Feel this part of the tree– upright, solid, resolute, enduring, straight. Wind and rain have lashed the tree, but the trunk has not given way under the onslaught. It bends only in pursuit of the sunlight, towards which it is ever-growing. This is what it is to be indomitable, powerful, purposeful. It is to this feeling that we connect when we take a deep breath with the Sea around us. Do so now. Feel the way that the new energy amplifies your strength and surrounds you like armor.
The tree spirit guides you further upward still, into the branches that crown the tree. It is morning now, and the Sun in his full glory beams upon the tree. Feel the warmth as a leaf basking in the rays of the sun, gently swaying in the occasional breeze. But the tree also shares with you its memories of storms; of branches whipping and shaking in the wind, sometimes breaking; of the burn of a lightning strike; the heavy weight of a downpour of rain. It also shares with you other memories; perhaps decades of sunrises and sunsets, if it is old enough; the song of the birds that have nested there for generations; maybe even its own fond memories of the joyful sounds made by you and your playmates beneath. This is what it is to be free, vital, alive, open to change, and receptive to whatever life may bring. It is to this feeling that we connect when we take a deep breath with the Sky above us. Do so now. Feel its wind stir your branches and revel in the swirl and caress of the breeze.
Gradually become aware of yourself as a separate, human, creature again. Thank the tree. Leave it an offering if it feels appropriate to do so (and, if you perform this ritual in the presence of the tree, in a way that is eco-friendly). Whatever may require dispelling or unwinding, do so. Have a bite to eat and drink some water to ground. When you are able, write your experience down. Documenting your experiences is crucial so that you may properly compare them to each other.
I hope that these practices will prove useful to all who choose to adopt or adapt them. Bright blessings to all, and especially the healers. May they always remember to begin with themselves; after all, as the microcosm, so the macrocosm.