Our tradition uses guided meditation to help impress certain symbols on our members’ subconsciousness. Below is our Yuletide meditation. It takes place in the Glass Castle, which is the northwest area of our compass. It is the home of the Holly King, who we honor as Odin, Janicot, the Grey Wanderer, Merlin, and by other names. To use this meditation let yourself relax comfortably and picture yourself drifting downward and inward to the third realm, the lower realm. The third realm is a place of darkness and mystery. Let yourself sink down into the third realm and rest there peacefully.
Meditation: Visiting the Holly King
It is dark when you awake in a silent grove of snow-covered Holly trees. Snowflakes so fat you can see their perfect, crystalline designs drift silently down in the moonlight to land on the prickly green leaves, blood-colored berries, and glittering, cold-hardened ground.
You have the sense of others being present with you, and you look around the grove for confirmation. From between an archway made by two tall Holly trees, you see shining eyes watching you. A black goat steps into the center of grove, followed by two companions — goats of white and grey pulling a small sleigh. The black goat indicates that he has something important to show you, and you climb into the sheepskin-draped sleigh.
All three goats begin to walk through the forest, slowly picking their way through the prickly Holly trees. You hear tinkling, jingling silver bells as the rig moves — and see that the tack has been adorned with them. As the stand clears to a meadow, they pick up their pace. Now trotting. Now in a full run across rolling, snowy hills. Icy wind whistles in your ears, and the frigid night air stings your face, making your eyes water. You are grateful for the soft, warm lap robe.
With wonderment, you realize the crest of the next hill has given way to a cliff, and your team of shaggy steeds is running with sure-footed swiftness upon insubstantial air. You feel the lightness of flying in your body as you look at the white and grey patchwork of the earth below you, accompanied by a flock of small brown birds. They are wrens, you realize.
Through a distant mist you can see a sparkling castle of glass. Moonlight shines like starfire from its faceted walls. Palest blue, white, and silver banners hang from its towers. Music drifts to your ears — a choir, strings, horns. The brightness and warmth of the music stand in contrast to the chill beauty around you.
The goats land in a snowy courtyard beyond the large, mirrored castle doors. The black goat says that he will wait for you outside. You ask him what place this is and he answers, “There are many names for this place. Some call it Merlin’s Tomb. Others, the Fata Morgana. I call it the Castle of Glass. It is the home of the Holly King and his glass orb. He awaits you.”
The doors of the castle open and you find a glass staircase, which you begin to climb. You glimpse of a feasting hall where a cheerful gathering has assembled — the smell of roasted meats and spiced cider, a peek of evergreen garlands, and the joy-filled sounds of laughter, music, and story-telling reaching your as you make your ascent. Perhaps you will make merry with these revelers later, but for now, you know you must continue upward.
The staircase is very long, but you are not physically fatigued by the climb. You are almost floating. Still, as you ascend, you feel light-headed. When you reach the upper landing, you take a moment to catch your breath and steady yourself. You find a carved branch leaning against the wall and decide whether or not you wish to use it as a walking Staff.
In front of you are two large, intricately carved glass doors covered in symbols beyond count. Among these you notice a wren, a goat, and a holly leaf. You move to touch the doors and they swing open.
The room inside glitters with a cold, pale light. Upon a carved glass throne sits a cloven-hoofed man with a long “salt and pepper” beard. He wears a wreathed crown of Holly boughs and goat horns on his head, and his robes are grey, white, and silver furs. To his right leans a staff of Holly, encircled with its own living leaves and berries. Above his left hand hovers a large glass orb. His stormy grey eyes regard you with detached mirth. “I am Winter’s King, the Holly King. Called by many names.” His soft voice holds the rumble of distant thunder, and you shiver as he speaks. The scents of pine needles, orange zest, and cinnamon fill the room, and you feel alert and sharp in the coolness of his presence.
He gestures to the orb. “This is the treasure of the Glass Castle.” You gaze into the glass orb and can see both misty and crystalline images swirling within it. Shapes and symbols emerge — some from your past, some from your present, and some from your future.
The symbols swirl faster, and you become overwhelmed with information, emotion, and possibility. The Winter King catches your eye with his piercing gaze and stops your crystalline vision with his chilling voice. “I have a message for you,” he says. He leans forward and whispers his secret message in your ear. [long pause]
He bids you farewell. You hurry down the glass staircase, past the festooned hall, and through the mirrored doors. The goats wait for you in the snowy courtyard. You climb into the sleigh and they soar into the air, accompanied again by the wrens, as you fly back across the misty moat. The goats take you beneath the snow clouds and over the tops of the holly trees, landing gently in the same grove where you began. You thank them all, and especially your black goat guide, before settling beneath a large holly tree to rest.