Today, I present to you a guided meditation for hope where we delved deeply into myth. Fair warning: after listening to this, you might never look at water, vultures, or Pandora's box the same way...
It's been a while since I last recorded a guided meditation but some of my friends have encouraged me to get started on this again.
I hope you will join us for a bath in the river of hope!
Simply play the video, get into a comfortable position, and enjoy the journey. If you prefer reading to listening, you will find a transcript of the meditation at the end of this post.
When you're done, you can find more information about the imagery and myth below! (I recommend that you go through the meditation before you check out the additional information.)
Imagery and myth in this guided meditation for hope
In this guided meditation for hope, I mention a few things that may have you wonder if I'm being a bit too... hopeful (or dare we say out to lunch?).
Rest assured, I'm not out to lunch. I wish I could be out to lunch but just like you, I'm pretty much stuck at home.
Pandora's box is a jar and contains the spirit of hope???
Yes. What we think of as a box these days is a mistranslation. It was actually a large jar (πίθος pithos) in Greek.
In terms of the spirit of hope who got trapped in the box, I also didn't make this up. The spirit is called Elpis (which is commonly translated as hope). In his poem Works and Days, ancient Greek poet Hesiod described it as follows:
In other words, it was Zeus being Zeus...
Vultures as a positive sign??
During this meditation, I mention that vultures were seen as a positive sign in Ancient Egypt (contrary to the the negative association we often have with vultures). There are many sources that confirm this.
For instance, Brooke Byrd writes:
"The vulture held a very high place of honor in ancient Egypt."
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this guided meditation! If you have suggestions for future meditations/visualizations, please leave me a comment below.
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Guided meditation for hope transcript
Welcome to this guided meditation. This visualization meditation about hope. So just take a moment and get into a comfortable position and make sure that you are in a safe, comfortable space, not driving or not operating any machinery. Just take a deep breath and really focus on your exhale. And let any tension that you carry, wash away with that breath in and out, any tension you're holding in your jaw or your shoulders, just let that go and allow yourself to sink into deeper, deeper and even deeper relaxation.
And as you're relaxing more and more, you're arriving in a place in the imaginal. And this place is a beautiful body of water, surrounded by trees and the sunlight is reflected on the water surface. It's warm here. And the sunlight is warming your skin. Just stand here for a moment. And enjoy the scenery. And suddenly you notice a strange glint coming from a rock that's near one of the shores. Curious, you draw closer and closer and what you notice there looks kind of strange.
It looks like a jar. So you're circling around the stone, this rock. And as you're circling it, you suddenly find the answer deep in your subconscious. The jar is actually Pandora's Box. And if you recall, when Pandora's Box was opened, all this evil was unleashed on mankind. And perhaps at times it has felt to you like this has happened recently... a box was opened and things got unleashed that were hard, terrible, and challenging.
Now, what you may not recall from that myth is that not everything escaped from that box. In fact, there's one small, timid spirit that got trapped when Pandora quickly shut the lid again (well it was actually a jar but for the sake of this exercise and to keep with how history has developed this myth, let's call it a box). So when Pandora closed the box one lonely spirit stayed behind. And this spirit was known as Elpis, which is generally translated as hope.
That's right, my friend. When all this evil was contained in this box, there also was right there the antidote. Hope. And now it may be time to unleash that hope. And as you reach out with your hand, thinking about whether you dare to touch this jar, this box, you find yourself hesitating. Taking a step back. Concerned about all this power in this tiny little object. And as you stand there wondering, suddenly a giant vulture sweeps down.
And a part of you might react negatively to that vulture. But then you recall reading of how vultures actually were seen as something really positive in ancient Egypt. Perhaps there are sign of rebirth. And while you're trying to work out your feelings about this weird little creature, well, actually, it's pretty big looking in front of you, the vulture does not hesitate. The vulture grabs the year, flies it right over this body of water, this beautiful river.
And there the lid and the body of the jar come apart and the vulture takes off with the lid. The jar falls into the water and as it falls into the water, hope the spirit of hope, the one that got left behind, finally manages to escape out into the world, out where it is actually needed. And as it falls into the water, hope disperses and in dispersing, it becomes stronger and stronger, and the water in front of you now takes on a golden glow and suddenly you are overcome with a desire...
... to take a bath in that water, to allow yourself to bathe in this river of hope. And as you're taking off your shoes and anything else that you like to take off, you feel a sense of... a warm feeling, it's hard to name really, but as you're getting closer and closer to the water, you recognize that hope is actually the perfect way to describe it. It's a sense of optimism, of well-being.
Of knowing in your heart of hearts that all will be well in the end and if it's not well, it's not the end. And so with that part, you take your first steps into this beautiful body of water. And notice how your worries are washed away. And this is not unrealistic hope. This is hope that's born out of the experience on this planet itself. Out of all that life saw and persevered through and isn't it fitting that hope is now in water and this is where life itself began.
And as you're pondering this, you're letting the water wash all over you or splashing your face. Noticing where you feel the need in your body to run this water over certain parts, and if so do that. And as you stand there are you taking a couple of really deep breath? Turning around, watching the beautiful, beautiful trees. And as you're looking back to the shore, you notice that there is a small fire safely contained that's waiting for you.
As you leave the water, it's a place to dry off. And isn't it fitting that fire is the reason Pandora's box was unleashed in the first place? For Zeus, god of the Greek pantheon saw it as fitting punishment for all of humanity to unleash evil, to give Pandora the box just because Prometheus had stolen fire from the gods, but right here in this place, you, a mortal, you have it all, you have fire and you have hope.
And as you let yourself sink into the beautiful white sand, near this fire, the vulture comes sweeping down, coming to rest in front of you just a couple of steps away, looking at you curiously. And as you look at the vulture and back at the golden water behind you, you think to yourself, maybe ancient Egypt was right about the vulture. And as you think those words, the vulture almost seems to smile at you before flying away.
And you decide it's also time for you to leave, knowing that any time you come near water, you can get a sense of this feeling of hope that you experienced and the river of hope. The next time you shower or take a bath or the next time you splash your face, Elpis (hope) can be right there with you and with this reassuring thought you slowly come back to the room that you're in. Taking a deep breath, wiggling your toes and feet, gradually, gradually, gradually open your eyes.
If there's anything that you experience that you like to remember, take a moment to write it all down. And if you'd like to see similar content to this visualization, to this guided meditation, just hit the subscribe button. And I look forward to seeing you on the next journey. Bye.