A BRIEF AND LUMINOUS TEA TIME
Last March I talked about a Druid contemplative day in Gloucestershire, England, and the way in which “our meeting grew out of the still simplicity of the space and our shared contemplative intent”. We now have a regular group, which meets for two hours in the afternoon on the second Tuesday of every month, except for May and November. In those months we meet for a full Saturday, sometime after the festivals of Beltane and Samhain. These days offer an introduction to new members, and also attract people from outside our local catchment area. Sixteen people are now at least provisionally involved, about half of whom attend our Tuesday sessions.
I feel very blessed to have a group of ‘like intent’ for contemplative practice. It supports and extends my solo practice, without simply replicating it at a collective level. I feel recognised and nurtured by the presence of fellow travellers and the strength of a commonly held intent. I also feel more confident in my note and in the value of sounding it
Our Tuesday pm gatherings – which do include a slot for tea and cake as a very English soul food – have so far had a very simple structure. We have a personal check in, make an unfussy entry into sacred space and sit in meditation together for about 20 minutes. After that (and this is the Druid bit) we tune into our individual and relational presence within awen. Traditionally awen has connotations of divine inspiration, especially in the fields of poetry, music and prophecy. For modern Druids awen can be also seen as the manifestation of the immanent divine, the breath of the Goddess (Shakti, Shekinah), the enlivening presence of spirit or more simply the way in which space can be palpably and numinously enlivened by people of like intent.
In terms of the practice, we discover ourselves, touched or inspired by awen, in an enlivened relational field with each other, as well as in the space and within ourselves. Sometimes we share it in silence and sometimes we are moved to speak, finding an authentic here-and-now language for our felt sense of connection. I can see a possibility of moving on to other expressions of this connection – chanting, toning and movement as the group develops. The practice is open-ended, but tends to go on for 35-40 minutes.
We then exit sacred space, celebrating and also grounding ourselves with tea and cake. These meetings have prompted me into a greater intentionality about my wider inquiry, which includes sharing it through this blog.