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Guest Blog: Richard P. Vaden

Back in 2006 when I made my first voyage to Ireland with Mark Vecchio and students, I had the privilege of getting to know then theater student, Rich Vaden. Since then, I've traveled with Rich to Turkey and Greece on another one of the myth tours (where he performed a Homeric Hymn for our group in the theater at Delphi), have seen him perform in college productions, and have had the opportunity to see the play that he wrote and performed in, Hide and Seek, in two different incarnations: one at the Berkshire Fringe Festival, and one produced by Scheherazade Theatre in Pioneer Valley and performed at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre in Times Square. He's remarkably talented, and a good friend. Right now, he's off in Ireland, chaperoning the same trip where we met, so I asked if he'd be willing to write a guest blog about his trip. He sent me this piece earlier in the week, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

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May 22, 2010 Strandhill, Ireland, Co. Sligo:

"Mythical Meditation"

Since I've arrived in Ireland, its been a developing process of trying to strip away the blocks my own modern mind has placed on the process of delving deeply into the myths and the mythic imagination that Ireland (its culture, landscape and legends) inspire. One of the tools I have been using is meditation. At each sacred location we visit (thus far: Tara, Newgrange, The Lake Isle of Inishfree, Maeve's Cairn/Knocknarea, & Knocknarea Glen) I take, at the very least, ten minutes to meditate using a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu techniques, with my own personal "stank." This is the way that I find most helpful in tuning into the mythic aura/tone/atmosphere/energy of the locations.

When I achieve a meditative state, I listen to the nature around me (the birds, the wind, the sheep, the earth) and try to allow it to inhabit the fiber of my being. I let it guide my consciousness and, hopefully, my subconscious. I try to feel the nature of the mana of the place, its quality and strength, as well as my own response to it (can I focus? can I feel it? can I attune myself to it?) This is all done while simultaneously trying NOT to try to do anything. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes I am not.

Today, in the Glen of Knocknarea, close to Maeve's Cairn, I was able to attune myself to the nature literally surrounding me. I began to feel a pulse, a rhythm, almost a language that was formed between my mind/soul/body and Mother Nature. I believe this was possible because A) I have been practicing this meditation daily (sometimes twice or three times daily) since I arrived, and it takes that many times for me to achieve a meditative state in an environment of "meditation on the go;" and, B) The myth of Meave is one that is filled with elements that are particularly powerful to me: the Moon, the Goddess/Queen, the Power and Divinity of the Feminine, the Bull, and the mixture of earth and water, and thus, fertility. These elements are post powerful to me astrologically (if you know astrology, I am a Pisces, with Cancer Rising, and Taurus Moon, thus the aforementioned elements in combination are particularly regenerative to me).

During my meditation, I focused on what was around me, the confluence of these elements, the elements themselves, and the myth of Meave. As I ended my meditation, raising the Kundalini through my chakras, I could almost feel the power of Meave flow through me, from my first, all the way to my seventh chakra, and the cares of the modern world melted away. Afterwards, I felt a bit of the Goddess in me, or at least flowing through me ever so slightly. It felt like pure power mixed with compassion, sensitivity, and abstract wisdom (that is, the feeling of having passively learned/absorbed something profound, without knowing what it is). It was an experience for which I am eternally grateful and I look forward to my further exploration of Mythical Meditation.

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