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Afon Rheidol   Photo courtesy of Jenny Fell ©

Relax and close your eyes. Let the stresses and strains of the day drain away, down through your feet and into the ground. Concentrate on the movement of your breath, in and out.

You find yourself walking along the bank of a river. The light of the sun is dancing on the surface of the water. It is so bright that it begins to dazzle you and your vision of the physical world is blotted out. You gradually become aware that you have stepped beyond the ordinary world into the Otherworld.

As you gaze, half-blinded into the river, you see in the distance shapes bobbing along the surface of the water. When they approach you realise that they are the hazel nuts of wisdom which have come from the nine hazel trees growing over Connla’s Well. Suddenly there is a bright movement in the water and you catch a glimpse of a salmon as it swallows one of the nuts.

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You climb down the riverbank and lean out into the water. If the time is right for you to grow in wisdom you are able to reach into the water and catch either the hazel nuts or the salmon as they pass you, floating or swimming on the gleaming surface of the water.

The wisdom that illuminates may be so dazzling that it overwhelms our vision and we are unable to assimilate it in its raw state. As Finn cooked the salmon of wisdom and Taliesin tended the potion of herbs and water boiling in Ceridwen's cauldron, so we must cook the fruits of wisdom before we can digest them.

Gather kindling and branches of dead wood that are lying near where you are and make a fire on which to roast the salmon or the nuts. Notice how easy or difficult it is to find the wood for the fire. How easy is it to find the resources you need?

Light the fire, noticing how easy or difficult it is for you to do so.

When you have lit the fire, take a few moments to call upon Brigit and to ask for her blessing on your undertaking.

blue salmon

Meditate upon how you would like to use your wisdom. Do you want to enhance something in your life with it or use it for others? To solve a particular problem, either personal or in your work? To become an inspired poet, or healer, or craftsperson?

Think about how fulfilling your own creative potential could also benefit a community you are part of.

Then eat the salmon or the hazel nuts. You become aware of the taste as if you have never tasted anything ever before. It is an experience that overwhelms you. For a while there is nothing but yourself and the taste of the hazel nuts or the salmon you are eating. You are drawn into the world of the hazel nuts and have a flash of knowledge of hanging on the hazel tree; its branches move gently in the wind, its roots deep in the earth draw up moisture and the minerals it needs for nourishment.

You experience being the salmon as it moves through the water that is its element. Sometimes it swims fast with the current, sometimes it struggles against it, using all its will-power to reach its birthplace and give birth in turn.

You realise that you have access to the wisdom of the Otherworld and of other worlds.  

Then, gradually, you become aware of the sound of the water and feel the earth and grass beneath you. You find yourself lying on the riverbank.

You notice a glow inside you, a feeling of warmth and joy, of clarity and inspiration. Looking down at your body you see that it is shining.

Sit for a while, taking in all you can experience of this. In the months and weeks ahead, when you need to you may remember this experience of the wisdom that illuminates.

Eventually, when you feel ready, become aware again of your breathing, of the movement of your breath in and out. Then slowly come back into the room and the everyday world.

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© Hilaire Wood 1999



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