Ceridwen and the Raven: Self-Reflection

Today was a draining day. My depression had become crippling to the point that most of the day I didn’t do much. I tried to draw but all I wanted to do was to lay on the bed and sleep. I felt ill and desperately wanted for the day to be over. I managed to have a small one hour nap around 6pm. Eventually, dinner time came around and I ate and then did the dishes. I planned on going to bed after, too exhausted to think.

Sitting down at my desk, I noticed that I only had two things left on my to-do list for today, one of which was OBOD study, the other being meditation. Of course, meditating was the last thing I felt like doing. ‘Better get this over with’ I thought as I picked out the OBOD booklet to start work. I figured if nothing, I could at least speed read it and then re-do it tomorrow.

The week’s task was of course, a meditation. Typical. I’ll do it tomorrow I thought, scanning the pages. But my mind wanted something else, it seemed. As I read the text, it began producing images and feelings associated with the meditation. Feeling prompted to actually do the meditation I closed the door, did some breathing exercises and sat before my altar.

Bala LakeSnowdonia
Scenery

Llyn Tegid, North Wales. Photo credit

I won’t describe the full meditation but it involved some deep self-reflection next to Llyn Tegid/Bala Lake, a sacred site in North Wales. Breathing deeply and watching the dances of light on the lake’s surface, I soon found myself in the presence of the Goddess Ceridwen. She stood before me at the water’s edge, seeing through me and watching my thoughts.

As the meditation had prompted, I thought about my life journey and what my main downfall was. Ill health, of course, both mental and physical. My memories flashed before me as I saw times in hospital, times I behaved badly towards others because of mental illness, and other times where I had neglected or inflicted harm upon myself. I didn’t feel sorry for myself. Instead, I felt a sense of shame or embarrassment.

Ceridwen asked me what I most desired in life. I replied ‘To be able to support myself and Charlie, to be happy‘. ‘And what is stopping that?’ She asked. ‘My ill health‘ I immediately responded. She smiled knowingly, and something almost dawned on me.

Yes, I do have various illnesses. But they are all manageable. I don’t treat myself well, for years I have struggled with a personality disorder that has influenced me to hate myself, and not look after my health. How am I going to be happy, unless I look after myself?

I’ve spent so much of my life feeling sorry for myself. And I don’t know where the line is between self-care and laziness. Am I not going out because I honestly can’t, or am I just being lazy? It’s a harsh truth, and probably something that seems obvious to a lot of readers. Of course looking after myself better will result in me feeling better in other ways. But for those of us with chronic illnesses, it is way too easy to give up at times.

I had a strong sense that Ceridwen absolutely believed in me, in almost a pushy mother kind of way. She wants me to succeed and I know I can. I just need to try. I need to not give in to the culture of chronically ill people being useless and unable to do anything. Of course, I need to figure out my own limits and work with them, but I do feel a renewed sense of healing and focus.

Before the meditation was over, I felt something heavy land on my shoulder. A large black raven to my left, preening me softly. Ravens and crows have long been my guides, but previously it’s mainly been crows. I felt a sense of calm and love from the bird, whose talons gripped my skin softly.

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Photo credit: Chris Aydlett

‘He and his brethren will guide, protect and take care of you’ Ceridwen said. The raven preened my hair delicately some more.

He will help you heal by facing your deep and hidden truths’. 

And so I awoke, back in front of my candle-lit altar. A new feeling of calm washed over me, and I have a strong feeling this is the beginning of an entirely different part of my life.

This meditation was more influential than I thought it had been when I was in it. I guess I was expecting some kind of life-changing revelation. But my revelation is something that has always been obvious from the start. I believe that meditation gets us in touch with our inner selves, the selves that are not influenced by media, other people or negative thoughts. They will tell us deep truths which we can find difficult but we know that we need to face. And that’s what I need to do. I need to face my inner self, my inner demons as others may call them.

I certainly plan on working with Raven wholeheartedly, I know that he has many lessons to teach me. And I will be meditating a lot more too. I find it difficult to quiet my mind most the time, but sometimes I feel almost dragged into it as with this one.

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