Before doing the visualisation, make sure you are sitting comfortably and are somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, in and out, and relax.
Imagine you are in an old cottage, in the country, close to a wooded hill. The cottage is sparsely furnished, but comfortable, with armchairs by an open fireplace. It is night. The room is lit by the glow from the fire and a lantern, which hangs on a hook. You take the lantern and leave the cottage by the front door.
Walk down the cottage's garden path and into a country lane. A hedge rises high on either bank of the lane, so you cannot see what lies immediately the other side. You walk, aware of your footsteps and the sounds, sights and scents of the country lane in the night-time.
After a while you come to a gate in the hedge. It is a very old gate, worn by the elements – the gales of spring, the sun of high summer, the storms of autumn and the ice of winter. Yet it is still a sturdy gate, latched and closed to all except those who know the way to open it, such as yourself. You go to unlatch the gate. Pay attention to how easily or difficult it, the stiffness of the mechanism, the weight of the gate. Unlatched,the gate swings open and you step through.
On the other side, you find yourself in a dark wood with an overgrown path that winds through the trees and grow thickly around the base of the hill. The night is dark, and only the glow of your lantern illuminates a few steps ahead. You know you must tread carefully.
You follow the path through the woods. It is a familiar path, and in the past you have taken it up the hillside, out of the woods to a summit. However, you know that at one point, almost hidden, there is place where the path diverges, and a narrow route goes deeper into the thickness of the trees. Tonight you are taking the dark path.
You push through undergrowth and twigs to following the obscure path through the wood, the way is not easy or obvious. Fallen branches and twisted roots are obstacles hard to see in the gloom. There is no moonlight, just starlight overhead, which cannot penetrate the canopy at its thickest. Your lantern illuminates just a few steps ahead.
You hear sounds around you – wind in the branches, rustling in the undergrowth, a distant bark, a hoot. Twigs catch your hair, strands brush against your cheek. Find your way through the dark wood, but beware of dangers, and keep to the path.
Quite suddenly you find yourself in a small clearing at the edge of the wood before a cliff face at the bottom of the hill. The cliff face is too steep for trees to grow on it, while the woods lie on all other sides. In the face of the cliff lies the entrance to a cave. It is to this cave that the path leads. The entrance is black. You cannot see inside. You pause for a moment, contemplating this, then you step inside, into the darkness.
What do you find inside? Your lantern will illuminate a small area around you - explore as you will, taking your time...
Then, suddenly, your lantern starts to flicker. It goes out. You are in total blackness.
But then, more slowly, after a while, you realise that somehow you are able to perceive something of your surroundings. Perhaps your eyes have become attuned to the very dim starlight through the cave's mouth, or perhaps there is a fissure above you through which the stars shine. Or perhaps you are using your other senses - hearing, smell, touch - to understand your environment. Or perhaps your understanding is purely of the mind and spirit. Spend some time developing these senses. See what more you can learn within the dark cave.
Spend as much time here as you desire, but when you are ready, leave the cave. You retrace your steps through the dark wood, yet your newly developed senses help you find the way back. Now the wood does not seem so frightening. You easily find the path to the old gate in the hedge. You open the gate and pass through it to the lane, latching the gate carefully behind you. Then you walk back along the lane, up the garden path and into the warm and comfortable cottage. You close the door, and relight your lantern before hanging it again from its hook. Your journey is complete.
To return to your normal world, shake your fingers and toes, stretch your legs and arms, then open your eyes. It is good to ground yourself after any meditations or magical work - you can do this by having something to eat and drink.
You can view more guided visualisations in my book Pagan Portals - Guided Visualisations.
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