Thursday, August 18, 2011

Essay on the two powers

The two powers meditation is a mental and spiritual exercise that helps one connect to the two powers or currents that make up all things. The two powers are divided into “the flow of the earth” or “the flow under the earth” and “the sky power”. In my experience I would describe the nature of the earth current as heavy, cool, liquid, dark, nourishing, filling, calming, soothing, and dull. The nature of the sky power seems to be fast, light, bright, shooting, electrical, warm, empty, fiery, energizing, and cutting.

The earth current is the chaos from which all things arise; the sky current is that which gives form to all things, thus together they create all things in the universe. These two powers are not stagnant; in fact it seems to me there is a constant flow of these two powers. Most people are not aware of them, just as a fish is not aware that it lives surrounded by water, that is, until the water is taken away in some manner. Many ancient cultures have similar ideas to our two powers. As a teenager and young man I studied Taoism and they name the two powers Yin and Yang. I have chosen the Irish Gaelic culture as my hearth culture. It would see the closest idea to the two powers they have is the concepts of Bri and Bua. According to Rev. Ian Corrigan’s book “Sacred fire, holy well” Bri “ the innate meaning, ability, power and/or talent in any person, place, or thing” and it is loosely associated with the earth power. Bua “ the power, meaning, ability or forms placed upon or within any person, place or thing by the will and work of a being.” And thus Bua is associated loosely with the sky power (Corrigan, 2006). Personally I see both Bri and Bua made up of both currents, the difference according to Rev. Corrigan is energy in stasis and energy in motion (Corrigan, 2006).

It would be very easy to see the two powers as a binary system. Light and dark, heavy and light, life and death, chaos and order. Though there is some truth to this, it is more complicated than that. The two powers are complimentary and have to come together to create everything. So within all things are the two powers. Water is not all earth power, and light is not all sky power. Men are not all sky power and woman all earth power. We are a mixture of both.

Some people attribute gender and cultures attribute gender to the two powers. Having felt the two powers and used them in a variety of magical workings I can understand why this occurs. What’s interesting is that there is not a constant between the genders assigned and the different cultures. Some cultures call the sky power male, while others female. Perhaps because of my previous exposure to the Taoist idea of yin and yang, I have never felt a need to assign the two powers a gender.

One the main practical applications of the two powers exercise and attunement is for the purpose of grounding. This exercise works well for ADF and fits into the cosmology very well. Our cosmology is made up of the fire, the well, and the tree, the land, sea, and sky. The two powers correspond nicely with this because the fire is the sky, is the sky power. The well is the sea, the earth power. The tree is the middle world in which we live where the earth power and sky power meet. This makes ties the concepts together and adds to our understanding of the cosmos on a spiritual level. This in turn helps to open our heart and mind up to the two powers and thus achieve the grounding needed for good ritual work.

1 comment:

  1. Well met,

    I was passing through some blogs in common and came across this post. You'll have to forgive me while I'm happy and delighted to view neo-druidism with respect and admiration particularly in those who forge a Path of meaning for themselves historically I'm very much in the camp that Ireland didn't have a "priestly" caste of draoí as linguistically the word seems to acknowledge a class of judicial filí or poets. This opening paragraph is to explain the approach I'm coming from and I hope not to offend.

    When I read the opening lines I figured the post for a neo-druidic borrowing of Heremtic principles in duality expressed in gender terms; masculine and feminine energies etc., to a degree this may well be so but you relate it first to landscapes i.e. earth and sky. Being in Ireland the sky is generally very cloudy so we don't always get that light, airy feel modern minds associate with the sky. This is before we get into the issue of micro-climates.

    The second thing you relate to is the words "brí", meaning 'meaning', 'power' or 'pep' in modern Irish. Looking to old-Irish verb forms "brí" doesn't exist in any dictionary online I know. "Bua", meaning 'to win', 'virtue', 'faculty' in modern Irish and in old-Irish this is "búaid" for virtue. I don't mean to get bogged down in linguistic semantics but I honestly don't know where Corrigan gets his ideas from? The words don't seem to match any possible avenues of innovation and they don't seem to stem from older terms at all.

    I completely agree with the central thesis statement of your post and this is a binary viewpoint seems to be counterproductive at best and I would say damaging at its worst. I think some pagans and Hermeticists gets bogged down in the gender-polarity of energy and fail to factor in their own selves as agents of that energy.

    As I said I don't hold much stock with modern druidism as an ancient Irish path but certainly credit it with the respect as a modern path, I just find myself stumbling over the use of Irish phraseology.