[Ivy's Pentacles]


Regardless of whether you're particularly spiritual or Pagan-religious, it is indisputable that other states of consciousness can be very valuable to us when trying to understand how our minds work and use them to the fullest. These are exercises to get in touch with the usually unseen and shifting consciousness.

Exercise 1—Shadow Play.

Take a blank sheet of paper and a soft pencil or stick of charcoal. Sit down and observe a scene that interests you. Forgetting about objects, names, and things, observe only the play of light and shadow over various forms. Block in the shadows, not with the lines but with patches of broad strokes. Do not be distracted by local color; do not worry about reproducing “things.” Let the patches of shade create forms. Spend at least ten minutes on this exercise. Remember, the point is not to create a “good” drawing or to prove your artistic talent (or lack of it); the point is to experience another way of seeing, in which separate objects disappear and only pattern remains.

Exercise 2—Rhythm Play

Close your eyes. Listen to the sounds around you, forgetting what they represent. Be conscious only of the vast rhythm they create. Even in the city, forget that the whooshes, thumps, clicks, chirrupings, rumbles, and bangs are passing cars, workmen’s hammers, footsteps, sparrows, trucks, and slamming doors—hear only the intricate, organic pattern in which each is a separate beat.

—Starhawk, The Spiral Dance

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