here is a link to sun’s witch academy database, where you can find information on a variety of topics as they are posted!
the oldest documented evidence we have regarding the origin of meditation comes from india, somewhere in the time period between 5,000 and 3,500 BCE. hints of meditative techniques being developed in the west came as early as 20 BCE, though these attempts were not popular. meditation remained firmly rooted in asian culture until at least the late 19th century - the only exception being some meditative judaist practices, which seem to have been developed separately from many of the techniques and beliefs in central, eastern, and southern asia.
there are so many different forms of meditation. many people consider it difficult to achieve or understand, and it can be. for me, meditation is less focused on emptying your mind and more about focusing inward, about tuning in and listening to your body, to your senses, and to your own personal reality. it takes living in the moment to a higher, more impactful level. it can be extremely restful and healing if done properly, with care and commitment.
for those who have adhd or minds with fast-moving thoughts, for those who find it difficult to calm your mind and empty it, i would give this advice: don’t worry about having thoughts. the goal should not be to not think at all (at least, perhaps, not at first). instead, choose a method of meditation that includes giving you something specific to focus on. then, when extraneous thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them and calmly release them, and use the opportunity to refocus on your meditation.
meditation can be used for a number of things, some depending on belief system. these include stress reduction, improved emotional health, increased self-awareness and knowledge, longer attention span, improving sleep, controlling/mitigating pain, relaxation, reflection, and more.
i personally am not certain how widespread this belief is, but apparently some witches consider meditation as a prerequisite to any spell-casting or magic making, believing that you need to be in a specific headspace to make magic work. i personally don’t subscribe to this, seeing as i have cast a number of spells and done a number of workings before i ever got interested in meditation - HOWEVER! if you feel that you need meditation in order to work your own magic, that’s okay! meditation can help us become more aware of ourselves and our own energy, so it makes sense that people would feel more attuned or connected to their own energy and their own magic when meditating. meditation could possibly help you feel the effects that your magic is having more easily, if you are struggling with that, rather than just relying on trust. ultimately, your beliefs are up to you.
guided, affirmation/chanting, sound bath, binaural, breath, etc
zen, vipassana, metta, mantra, transcendental (unadvised), vedic and yogic systems (unadvised), self inquiry (atma vichara), taoist systems, qigong, christian systems, sufi systems, and more (i will go into more detail on these in a future post; for now you should simply know that many culture-specific methods would fall under cultural appropriation if used improperly, so do your research and tread wisely.)
these meditation techniques are written by me - they might not work the best for your personal usage, they are more meant to serve as examples for what some kinds of meditation can look like. i encourage you to do your own research and find other methods that may work better for you!
(from my post on centering)
find a quiet place where you are unlikely to be interrupted or distracted. close your eyes and sit cross legged with straight posture, if you can. avoid lying down. focus on your breath, and draw deep breaths of air into your belly, rather than your chest. once you have a rhythm, begin to take note of each individual part of your body and how it feels. let tension relax and bleed out, let negativity and pain leave your body. let it be replaced by your own peaceful, healing, centering energy. with each breath you take in, your energy consolidates around you and centers your focus on yourself, on your world, on your current moment. each exhale will carry anxiety, distraction, and disruptive energy out of your body and will release it into the universe. focus on this for as long as is needed. when you are ready, remember to give yourself a moment to reconnect to the physical world and settle your energy within yourself. don’t attempt to jump right into the next thing after meditating.
(focused on the breath)
find a quiet place where you are unlikely to be interrupted or distracted. close your eyes and sit cross legged with straight posture, if you can. let yourself breathe naturally and easily. as you do so, begin to pay closer attention to your own rhythm of life. how long do you inhale? how much do you fill your lungs? is your breath shaky or sure? does your exhale last longer than your inhale? simply evaluate your natural breath. focus on that. eventually, you may wish to attempt to improve your quality of breathing, such as taking deeper, calmer breaths. focus on slowly shifting from how your breath is to how you want it to be. as you inhale, imagine yourself drawing in positive, healing, calming energy. as you exhale, imagine yourself releasing negativity and stress. when you are ready to exit meditation, take some time to ground yourself and settle your energy.
choose a simple and easy to remember affirmation that has personal value and importance to you. (for example: i am patient; i have willpower; i am well-rested after sleeping; etc.) use this simple affirmation and focus on it, either repeating it in your thoughts or out loud. the goal here is to focus only on your affirmation until you enter a trancelike meditative state. if other thoughts enter your mind, don’t panic, simply acknowledge them and then release them, taking the opportunity to focus even more upon your affirmation. when you are ready to exit meditation, take time to ground yourself and settle your energy before moving on.
meditation can be an intensely personal experience. you can create your own meditations, either by writing a guide (as specific or loose/vague as you want!) and then following it, or by improvising the path you take while meditating. i often find that it is nice to have something to write or type on near to me, in case i have any thoughts during or after meditation that i want to remember.
the final words i will leave you with are these: if meditation isn’t working for you, or you find yourself too stressed about meditating “correctly,” you don’t need to use it. meditation is supposed to relieve stress, not cause it! the first time i considered attempting meditation was a few years ago, and it was not working for me at all. i didn’t understand it, couldn’t do it right, etc etc. so i let it fall away from my life and focused on other things. only recently have i come back to it with a higher vibration, a different perspective, and a better understanding of how i can use it to grow and heal. maybe you will eventually come back to meditation, and maybe you won’t. ultimately, you just have to do what is best for your practice and for yourself.