The Two Powers 2

Tree in sunset. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Tree in sunset. Image from Wikimedia Commons

I can’t believe it’s week 24 of the ADF Dedicant Path already! This week’s homework is to reflect on the Two Powers meditation I first encountered back in Week 11.

The Two Powers is a cornerstone of ADF meditative work, and I’ve been working with it pretty consistently (give or take a few interruptions and false starts) for about 13 weeks now on a near-daily basis. My morning ritual is a short shrine rite based on “Your First Druidic Working” from the DP manual, with a 3-5 minute Two Powers meditation in the middle bit.

The basic technique of visualising/imagining energy flowing through my body from the earth beneath me and the sky above me has been easy to grasp, and reminds me of other forms of meditation I have practiced, such as OBOD’s “Light Body” meditation. It varies day to day though, depending on how focused or how tired I am. Some days I can get into the groove and just feel it, and other days I have to really will myself to go through the motions without much “result”.

There is also a huge difference between doing the Two Powers indoors or out. Indoors at the shrine, it can be harder to connect the symbolism of the Two Powers with the reality of land and sky. Outside, when I can really feel the earth beneath my feet and the wind and sun on my face, it all feels so much more real and vital. Doing the Two Powers meditation sat on a glacial boulder by Eidfjord in Norway was particularly moving.

The Dedicant Path Through the Wheel of the Year suggests that one might think of the Earth and Sky powers as “feminine” and “masculine” respectively. I don’t think of them in this way, nor in the reverse. Gendering natural concepts and forces is one of the things that pushed me away from other forms of Wiccan-influenced druidry and paganism. I just don’t see the need to impose our (heavily culturally constructed) notions of gender roles onto non-human nature. Frankly, I find it all a bit unsettling.

Yggdrasil. Image from Viking Mythology

Yggdrasil. Image from Viking Mythology

Another way of understanding the Two Powers is that of “Chaos” and “Order”. The Earth power can be seen as chaotic in the sense of unstructured, pure potential, whereas the Sky power, through the life-giving energy of the sun, can be seen as ordering that potential into particular forms. For me, the Earth power feels cool and nourishing while the Sky power bright and airy.

There isn’t an exact match to the Two Powers in the Norse hearth culture as far as I am aware, but it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine oneself while meditating as being almost like Yggdrasil, connecting the depths of the underworld to the heights of Asgard. “Being a tree” is a pretty commonplace pagan meditation, and it connects well with both the Two Powers and the ADF central symbolism of the deep well, the world tree and the bright fire.

 

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