Monday Meditation: Narcissus


Chapter Seven 

Seasonal Meditations: March 

Narcissus meditation 


 The narcissus is a member of the daffodil family and has been bred to produce some spectacularly pretty spring flowers. The usual colours are shades of yellow, and cream, though others have been produced in other combinations. They usually bloom throughout the early spring and are often on sale in pots having been ‘forced’ to bloom a little earlier than they do naturally.


The scent of the narcissus is very sweet and almost hypnotic. It is available as an absolute, but is very expensive and aromatherapy books advise caution when using it as it is considered somewhat narcotic in effect and can be toxic.

The flower is named after a handsome youth in Greek myth who fell in love with his own reflection in a forest pool. Unable to reach the beautiful image, he pined away and died, and the flower sprang up where his body lay. The various different versions of the story all reflect a moral of avoiding self-obsession, though the details of both the events and the outcome change from one version to another. This meditation is aimed at promoting both understanding and love for the inner self.

To do the meditation I would suggest buying some ready prepared bulbs in advance and waiting till they are in full bloom. You may also like to buy them as cut flowers, but buying them as bulbs means that you may plant them later and have a reminder as the bulbs grow and spread and flower every year thereafter. If you are unable to obtain the flower, you may use the absolute, placing a single drop on a strip of blotting paper.

If you can manage it, performing this meditation outdoors on a sunny day enhances the effect; sitting by a sunny window works well too, with the pot or vase of narcissus flowers in front of you. Go through your usual preparations of grounding and relaxing; breathe the sweet, intoxicating aroma of the flowers, letting the petals brush your face. 



Let the sweet scent fill your mind and feel the soft brush of the flowers against your skin.

The soft breeze touches your face and brings a fragrance of fresh leaves as well as that of the flowers. Sunlight dances through the newly opened leaves above you; each leaf is still soft and crumpled from the bud. You are in a grove of trees, widely spaced and the grass below them is finely grown and neatly trimmed as if this were parkland and not wild meadows.

Spring flowers grow here and there but the strongest scent of all is coming from a short distance away. You can see an ornamental pool, perfectly round and encircled by smooth stone, coated with a soft layer of the deepest moss. At the four points of the compass there is a stone urn, fixed securely to the stone surround of the pool, and each of these is filled with narcissi in fullest bloom. Today they are at their very best; you have come at the perfect moment to see them and smell them.

Go over to the pool and walk around it, clockwise. It’s a surprisingly large pool and it seems quite deep. A few deep green leaves from a water lily float on the dark surface of the water but it’s far too early for the flowers. The fragrance of the narcissi floats on the mild spring air and bird song begins. A single flower head floats on the water.


It’s very peaceful here and you sit down on the stone encircling the pool. The moss acts as a cushion, softening the stone for you. In the centre of the pool there is a statue that might well be a fountain, but the water is still today and the statue does not seem to cast a reflection. Then you notice that the water does not seem to be reflecting anything, not even the sky.

Lean out a little way and look into the water. What do you see in the water? Do you see yourself looking back? Do you like what you see? What would you change if you could? Let yourself have some time contemplating this.

A brisk wind rises and shakes the surface of the water and disperses the images you saw there, as if they were being wiped away by magic. You glimpse the bottom of the pool and maybe a goldfish or two before the breeze drops entirely and the surface of the water is completely still, and becomes mirror like. As you sit there, inhaling the sweet fragrance, let yourself gaze into the water. Who or what will appear there for you, now? I will let you spend as long as you need here.


You come back to yourself and see that the short spring day is drawing to a close, and the pool is now reflecting the sky as you would expect. The evening star has appeared, and shines as brightly in the water as in the sky and you know it is time to go back. As you look, the flowers seem to have faded already, past their best now though the scent is as sweet as ever.

As the daylight fades too and the evening sky turns to deep blue, walk back to where you started, leaving the lovely pool behind and when you are ready take a few deep breaths and open your eyes. You are now back.

10 things to help depression

Excuse me, I am more writing to myself than anyone else. It helps to make lists some times.  By the way, they are in no particualr order of importance, just as they occurred to me. I’m having trouble concentrating properly right now.

#1. Vigorous exercise of some kind. Not the easiest thing when all you want to do is crawl under the covers. Solution: get a dog. A dog will probably ensure that you get out for a brisk walk at least a couple of times a week. Exercise is up there on the list of things it can be impossible to do without someone else motivating you. A dog might just be the motivator. Mine was, until she got cancer 7 months ago and has slowed down.

#2. Physical contact. Massage is good, hugs are better. That said, I am not a touchy feely person generally and only within certain bounds I set for myself(which are often illogical when I try to explain; but to sum up its probably about INSTINCT.) My boss gave me an unsolicited hug and kiss on Monday and I felt like decking him. Decking your boss= a bad thing. A really, really bad thing…..

#3. This one is purely personal. Vast amounts of smoke. I don’t smoke and never have but I do love incense a lot. There’s a lot of evidence for the benefits of incense. My favourite is a Coptic one called God’s Smile (available from the Pan’s Pantry link on my Cool shopping list) which is used to treat depression. I’ve just used the very last of my supply a few minutes ago and am beginning to panic about it.

#4. Essential oils. Certain essential oils have intense properties of relieving depression. The same oils  carry a enormous price tag; Some neroli(orange blossom oil) retails at over £1 per drop. For what it’s worth, you get about 20 drops per millilitre. Years ago, in a very black spot, I tried to get a single drop of neroli out of the tiny vial, and in my haste, spilled half of it on the bathroom surface. Objecting to waste, I wiped it up with my hair like Mary Magdalene, and went off, to deliver child to school, intending myself severe harm later. By the time I’d driven the seven miles to school, the aroma had begun to lift me and halfway home I was singing a sea shanty. Other oils are also very powerful. Jasmine, rose, sandalwood, frankincense, lavender and most of the citrus oils are good. I’d recommend Valerie Ann Worwood’s The Fragrant Mind for further study. 

#5. Spending time in nature. Combined with exercise, if you can actually get beyond your front door, sunshine and fresh air can get you through some bad times. Again, refer to #1 for motivator

#6 Watching something funny. Many mental hospitals are using humourous dvds to treat patients with great effect. The simple act of smiling for more than 20 seconds produces feel good endorphins. Laughter is even better.

#7 Talking to someone who knows and loves you and you can trust. If there isn’t anyone, at all, try the Samaritans or some similar organisation. They’re trained to care , true but I’ve only ever found kindness and understanding there. You don’t get through the training otherwise. If all else fails, revert to #1: dogs are good listeners.

#8 Do something for someone else. Practise random acts of senseless kindness, like leaving flowers for the nurses at the local hospital.

#9 Music. This is sometimes a bad move if you tend to gravitate to certain kinds of music. Go to a music store and find something a bit different. I found a cd of Italian baroque improvisations which lifts me every time I hear it.

#10 Remembering that this, too, will pass. Knowing, even if you have to write it on post-it notes and leave it everywhere, that even the darkest days will eventually pass,  is a strange comfort when you can’t imagine anything other than the current pain, but it is a comfort.

#11……over to you….?        

I’m off to either walk the dog or put on a funny dvd.

How to survive Christmas..and almost anything else!

This is based partly on a piece of advice my father has given me on a number of occasions, sometimes when I’ve been stressed out about packing up a house for a move or exams or whatever.

You just tell yourself from time to time that this time next week/next month/whatever time frame is involved, it will all be over; the things you worried about and stressed about won’t matter any more, because they are done with and are now just memories.

Put simply: This too will pass.

Christmas is just ONE day. It really it worth remembering this every time you get worried you haven’t done enough, bought enough, made enough….ENOUGH, it’s just one day. Whether its good or bad for you- one day. One day of twenty four hours like any other where you eat and sleep and visit the bathroom and so on. One day. Not any more magical or special than any other day of the year, any more than New Year’s Eve is somehow more powerful for making resolutions.

If there is any magic, it’s inside you and it’s there any day and every day. So go and be magical, wherever and whenever you are.