I have long called this technique the “House of Memory”. Some call it the Inner Temple. Some build a palace, others a city, still others a cave. Although I call it a house, mine is in fact a castle. Many of my friends have built or found glades, mountains, and forests in the weird recesses of their minds. As I speak to more and more witches in my life, I have come to understand that what I once thought was a a unique exercise in visualization, projection, and memory (possibly of my own invention) is, in fact, something that many of us have done deliberately, unconsciously, or even in a previous life. Despite – or perhaps because of – this intuitive prevalence, I find little mention of this technique in books or even on the internet.
Some of my readers, I’m sure, have been long familiar with this and similar techniques. If you’ve built one already, what do you use it for?
Finding or Creating a House of Memory
Begin by entering a meditative trance: relax the body, relax the mind, and drift off into the Void (or the astral or wherever it is you go when you trance). Once in a trance-state, focus on a room. From the floor to the ceiling, make it around yourself… as if you were looking at it through your own eyes, actually standing inside the room. It is best to make it simple, so that it is easier to visualize it as the same every time. Build every aspect of that room; be sure to include a door, if you are going to have more rooms than the first. Make every important detail… in fact, every detail you can cram into the visualization… paradoxically, remember to keep it simple so that you can recall it exactly as it was. If there are bookshelves, include them. Keep them empty for now, you can add to them later.
Once you have completed building your first room, look at it. Walk around inside the room, observing and trying to memorize every detail. The texture, the smell, the color – maybe even the taste. Don’t be worried if you don’t get it quite the same every time, that’s natural; there will be some parts, quite likely, that will be different every time you’re there. Once you have the room solidly in your memory, leave (preferably by the door, if there is one) it helps maintain the “reality” of the construct.
Come back. After a while—a few hours, a day or two, even a week—come back to your house of memory, trying to rebuild it in your head as accurately as you can. Simply the act of rebuilding it will stretch your “mental muscles” and improve your memory as well as your skill at visualization. Repeat this step until you are confidant in your ability to recreate—or, rather, return to—the room each time.
If you are planning on adding further rooms or areas to your House of Memory, begin doing so now, before the “permanence” is too well established. Depending on your personality, a certain amount of transience can be good.
Begin filling your house of memory. However you wish to file the information is up to you… some use scraps of paper in bottles. I use books. One might wish to create a filing cabinet or indexing system of some sort.
Return to your house of memory often.
Maintain it… simply sit and think (meditating upon the house, then sitting down inside and meditating there is a method of reaching deep levels of relaxation and meditation), file information… dust the shelves. Without putting effort into the House, it will eventually fade out.
Through this construct, which exists in both our own minds and as a place in the astral realms, we develop the foundational skills needed for more complex visualizations, for astral projections, and for shamanic journeys. Further, we can, with practice, bring others to our Houses of Memory or seek our theirs in dreams and journeys.
The House of Memory is a real place in the more subtle corners of reality, and rituals performed here can be as effective as those performed in material reality.
Practitioners inclined to visionary work, underworld journeys, and the like can use the house of memory as an Inner Temple – a place to connect with the divine, to meet guides and powers, and as a starting point for exploration of the inner worlds. Teachers can bring their students to their own inner spaces to help instruct them. There are probably uses for the house of memory / inner temple that I have never imagined.