Natural Sacred Energies
While mainstream religions look to a holy book, a central prophet, savior, or religious figure for their spiritual understanding, Witches look to life itself; they contemplate and study nature. The earth, the sea, animals, and the heavens are themselves among the many, living, ever-changing expressions of sacredness. Witches learn to pay close attention to the natural world in order to find inspiration and magical insight within each moment.
Since Wicca is a nature religion, one important goal of the path is to experience the life force of nature, the animating energy, as it flows within you. Witches believe that this force is, in essence, the divine. Through experiencing this natural energy, Witches come to know that (as author Barbara Arranger says), “matter is clotted, lumpy spirit, and spirit is finely strained matter.” Once you recognize this energy within yourself, it becomes easier to notice that this same natural energy shapes the substance of other people, stones, birds, trees, water, and everything else you can see.
These are not Witch beliefs; Witchcraft is not a spiritual system of beliefs, per se. It is an experiential practice. You don’t need to believe in the sacredness of the earth. You don’t need to believe that natural energy pervades all things. The practices of Wicca facilitate your immediate and personal understanding of these principles.
No Witch worth her cauldron invests herself in beliefs. Beliefs spring forth from the limits of the critical, thinking mind. Thinking can help you understand spirituality in theoretical terms, but it stops short when it comes to the experience of spirituality. The thinking mind does have its purposes, its uses. It knows how to do math, how to read a book, and how to make decisions. It knows how to drive a car, make dinner, and not step in front of a bus. However, thinking comes to a halt when faced with whatever cannot be rationalized.
Critical thinking is limited because it relies on opinions and beliefs. It is locked in the head and does not know how to inhabit the entire body. Spirituality is a holistic experience. It includes not only the head but everything else as well. The full human potential, which is capable of multidirectional, simultaneous experience, comes to the fore when we literally come to our senses – our sensations and experiences of life. Opening to your full experience of the world, of your body, and of the energies that flow within you are the first stages of awakening your spiritual power. Let’s begin the process.
Practice: Experiencing Life’s Energy
You can try this exercise from where you are sitting right now. Close your eyes and take several deep, slow breaths. With each exhaled breath, feel your body relax and release all the tensions that it might store. Become internally quiet; try not to allow thinking to interfere with simple breathing and sensation.
Breathing is not a concept. It isn’t a thought or an activity that you can think your way through. If you find yourself thinking your way through this exercise, break it down into segments. Begin by just breathing and paying attention to where the breath begins and ends in your body. Then try adding on the other parts of the exercise.
If thoughts come up, simply observe them with detached curiosity. Perhaps you might notice how thoughts are creating muscle tensions or contractions in your body. Notice, too, how these tensions transform themselves into your emotions. Try not to get involved in the story line of your thoughts and subsequent tensions – that is a trap that can keep you from the experience of this exercise.
Now, refocus your attention on your solar plexus region (around the lower stomach and navel area). Focus your attention on the feeling of the life force inside of your body within this region. Most likely it will feel like a humming, buzzing, or tingling sensation. Now, widen your awareness. Allow your focus to include your chest. Feel the inner body’s energies in the chest and in the solar plexus regions. Now include your hips and legs. Feel the sensation of energy buzzing within this region. Now add your arms and hands into the awareness. Finally, add your neck, head, and face into your awareness. You should now be fully aware of your inner life energy from head to toe.
Stay with this feeling for a few minutes. When you sense that you are ready, open your eyes. How did it feel? If you felt “cut off” in any area of experiencing your body, it is important that you continue with this basic energy practice several times a day for 5-10 minutes at a time, until you are able to sense a unification of your body’s energies.