What will they think of next? How about a fantasy ticket to time travel into the antediluvian prehistoric consciousness? This latest New Age cross-pollination in the media sees Youtube hosting meditations with a pop culture theme taken from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.
The new year is a time for new or renewed goals and projects. One of the increasingly popular tools used toward those ends is meditation. True to its capacity for merging superstition, spiritualism and weird science, the Internet abounds with free media on the subject. It offers everything from the Tibetan practice of Tonglen (see here and here); to open-your-third-eye, ajna chakra 12th house astrological pineal gland weirdness (a favourite preoccupation of René Descartes: see here, here, here); to conspiracy fears of electro-magnetic frequencies and the pseudo-science of 'healing' sound frequencies, supposedly aligned with brainwave frequencies to achieve different cerebral purposes (here, here, here and here - the last link theoretically addresses relationships; after listening, one Youtuber stated, "my balls felt like concrete"). Go past self-exploration, and you encounter the untold secrets of Tibetan yogis, the book that cannot be read (the Voynich manuscript), and so on.
Pine cone symbolism, in this case at the Vatican, apparently refers to the brain's pineal gland and the third eye, the seat of the soul. In the 1st century CE, this sculpture was a Roman fountain. Image Source: Richard Cassaro.
I love that one of the source sites cited here is called Lunar Insight; do fools speak the truth? Shakespeare thought so. Macbeth (Act V, Scene 5):
Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Curiously, time and time travel for the mind are common meditative tropes. Deep contemplation of time is implemented to tap the consciousness and improve life in the present. For example, if you want perspective on your life, you can meditate in order to travel years from now to speak to your future self to seek advice (as, here). Or you can use controversial 'Emotional Freedom Techniques' to (it is said) get the right and left sides of the brain to agree to resolve painful memories of the past (this cross between neurolinguistic and acupressure therapies officially resides on a spectrum between "possibly discredited" and "probably discredited"). Similarly, pop-Buddhists say you can clear your 'negative karmic mass,' accumulated from a traumatic past (here). You can also hypnotize yourself to revisit happy memories (here).
One of many fanciful maps speculating on the location of the legendary prehistoric island of Atlantis. Image Source: Bergonia.
I had no idea, however, that Youtube had spawned new genres of pop cultural fantasy role-playing meditations. With some of these guided journeys, you can open your consciousness to travel to J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth (you can go to the Shire, or a lost Elven valley, or Rivendell). What a mash-up! In this Millennial mixture, Far Eastern spiritual practices are used to bring the mnemonic fantasy of the Far West to life. Profound collectivism overlaps with ultimate individualism. Unless you live under a rock, you know that Middle Earth grew out of Tolkien's scholarly research at Oxford on Anglo-Saxon culture and Old and Middle English (for a taste of the relevant texts, see Anglo-Saxon translations at The Fortress of IF). Middle Earth marked the author's effort to give the European peoples (especially those in the northwest of the continent) their lost or missing common Ur-mythology.
Tolkien's fantasy world symbolized the mythical sea-faring memory of the real world's prehistoric societies. His vision of Europe's original source culture was Atlantean: he took the legendary island of Atlantis and turned it into Númenor. In the video below, you travel to Númenor (an island described in The Silmarillion, the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, The Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth), thousands of years into past consciousness, to the time before memory:
A journey beyond the wine-dark sea to encounter the sea elves? How therapeutic.It is said, in legends older than Homer, that there is a deathless land in the uttermost west. It has gone by many names, but few are the mortals who have set foot there.
It is also said that somewhere on the western coasts, lies a hidden haven, where the Elves take ship as the ages grow old, and sail from our world to their home across the western sea.
Let us take you there, for Elves linger there yet, unwilling to forsake this world. See the lonely shore, the white walled town, and their graceful white ships, for some the Elves will welcome the old souls who believe in them.
Haven of the Sea Elves meditation. Video Source: Youtube.
In the video below, the makers of the video aim describe their series, Middle Earth Meditations, as a journey into a legendary past:
Video Source: Youtube.