Tag Archives: meditation and visualization

Ego Trip

Sometimes it is nescessary to remind ourselves of our cosmic insignificance.  At other times, it is nessecary to remind ourselves and those around us of who we are, what we’ve done, and what we are capable of.

The following is a personal meditation.  Perhaps others might find value in making one of their own.

Ego Trip

I am the Satyr Magician.

I am an explorer of four worlds,

charging wildly into madness,

with a machete in one hand

and a jug of wine in the other.

 

I have lain with the Heart Encircled by A Serpent.

I have been seduced by both the Moon and the Sun.

I have seen visions of the Cosmos and of Elder Ages.

I am an initiate of the Seven Spheres

and of the Underworld and the Four Realms.

 

 

I have battled ghosts and Shadows.

I have been adopted and abandoned both by familiar spirits.

I have been assaulted by Guides and rejected by my ancestors.

My flesh has been home to goddesses and demons.

I have crafted new life from fragments of my soul.

 

I have survived every enemy that has arisen before me.

I have been both lover and beloved,

and I have survived those endings, as well.

I have built myself up from raw earth

only to burn myself down again for fun.

 

I am the product of both my experiences

and my ambitions.

I am the Obsidian Dream.

I am Teiresias of Dionysos.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under witchcraft

Nullification

I am, by constitution, suspicious of narratives that center around the dissolution of “the Ego”, or (worse yet) explicitly one’s sense of self.  One might make an argument that this is a product of my Western individualism, but it owes as much to my suspicion of any programme so clearly open to abuse by a charismatic leader.  This is one of the reasons I  just can’t love Peter Carroll as much as many of my friends do: what they read as “become more malleable” I read as “become the perfect victim”.

Conversely, on the other hand, we space ghosts – witches, magicians, sorcerers, psychonauts, et al. – spent quite a lot of time conceptualizing ourselves as the center of the universe.  My refusal to give up my individuation is not an endorsement of megalomania.  I, for one, take great comfort in my cosmic insignificance.

The following meditation serves as a reminder of that insignificance.  A grounding before or after ritual, or when the pressure of our obligations to the larger world become too much.  As a note: the phrases “ouden eimi” and “nemo sum” are Greek and Latin, respectively, and mean “I am no one.”

 

Nullification

Ouden eimi.

Nemo sum.

I am no one.

 

I came from nothing.

To nothing I shall return.

I am forged of dirt.

I am a sack of meat.

 

Ouden eimi.

Nemo sum.

I am no one.

 

My mind is a morass

of lies and memes.

My soul is enslaved

by the mad godling Demiurge.

 

Ouden eimi.

Nemo sum.

I am no one.

 

I am made of starstuff.

So are cockroaches

and brain-eating amoebae.

So are gods.

 

Ouden eimi

Nemo sum.

I am no one.

Leave a comment

Filed under witchcraft

διγενὴς ἔκστασις : Queer Spirit Journeys

[This post was originally written ten months ago for a queer occult Zine that, to my great disappointment, seems to have gone defunct without publishing.  The tone is more … literary, and the content a bit more intimate than most of my posts. ]

The void opens before me and the crystalline spire of the World Tree rises into infinity where there ought to be a horizon. The ground beneath my feet is an illusion for my convenience: there is nothing but the void and the Tree.

In the physical realm, I am uncomfortably male. Although I reject all the social tropes of masculinity, excepting only a few which are synonymous with being a decent human being, I am generally read as so butch that I am routinely mistaken for straight. While wearing a skirt. In a gay bar.

In the Otherworld, however, things are more complicated.

My most familiar spirit approaches me before I even reach the Tree. She is eager, and there is mischief in her eyes. Until recently, she appeared as a gorgon; now, just a woman. I ask if she has any adventures planned for me, and although she is one of the few spirits whose voice I can hear reliably, tonight she answers only by taking my hand.

Together, we walk to the World Tree. She places her hand on the shimmering facets of the bark, and slides into the pillar of crystal. I follow.

It is quite telling, in retrospect, that I have been fixated on leaving my body since I first began my study of the occult at the age of sixteen. Although I have never mastered astral projection, my success with Michael Harner’s visionary techniques, to which I was introduced by a friend a decade later, has been markedly greater. Enough so, in fact, that I began having experiences that my source materials could not help me contextualize almost immediately. I began seriously exploring and experimenting with visionary techniques in the spring of 2009. At first, as I imagine it is for many people, it was all or nothing: the trance would either elude me, or I would find myself in a mindscape which I could barely comprehend. Those first visionary experiences were frightening—some of them are, still, as I have no cultural context in which to ground them.

We descend, spiraling into darkness, and emerge at the edge of a stone circle. There is a drummer hiding in the shadows on the far side. Beautiful dancers writhe in the inconstant light of a small fire. I cannot see their faces clearly, or hear their voices over the drum.

I leap into the circle, joining the dance with abandon. Our bodies collide to the rhythm of the drum. There is nothing but the drumbeat and the heat of the fire and flesh. My hips and breasts sway as I dance and spin, round and round the fire.

It probably goes without saying that, at first, my spirit-body appeared as an idealized version of my mortal flesh: a little more muscular, a little less soggy around the middle. For a while, before I realized that it was irrelevant, I tried to form an “astral body” that was more “realistic”. Then I just let it be what it was: trying to dismantle that small bit of vanity was a distraction from the real work of exploring the spirit world. So, the first time it was radically different, I almost didn’t notice.

I was at a Qaballistic workshop at the local New Age store. The instructor was leading us on a visionary journey to Malkuth, the Earthly Kingdom. The path led across a bridge over a river, where we were to abandon certain symbolic representations of our mortal lives. Seeing my reflection in the river, I was surprised to see that I was a woman. My tattoos and ritual garb were what I had formed as I entered the visionary trance, but my flesh was not. For much of the rest of the journey, which was clear and productive, I was viscerally and self-consciously aware of the differences between that body and my mortal one—and of the fact that I had been unaware of those differences until I saw my reflection.

The drummer has slipped outside the fire light, and moves around outside the circle of stones, deosil to our widdershins, so that he is always just out of sight. One by one, the other dancers disappear as I make my way around the circle again and again. One turn I am a woman: my center of gravity lower, my breasts swaying and bouncing with my gyrations. The next I am a man: my cock slapping against my thighs as my center of gravity rises. Though the movements themselves are not so different—I am a terrible, unoriginal dancer, either way—the relative proportions of hip to shoulder create the illusion that it is otherwise, both visual and tactile.

The goddess I met at the end of that journey was not the Queen of Malkuth, but the Titan goddess Rhea: vast beyond my imagining, reclining nude and crowned and flanked by lions. To this day I have always-but-once been a woman when summoned to her presence in my visionary work. Other spirits, too—such as the equally vast but yet-unnamed goddess of Elemental Water—prefer that I be female in their presence. I have always been male in the Elemental Realm of Fire. My gender in the Otherworld is increasingly uncertain and malleable: male, female, both, neither. I shift at random, or at will, or at the behest of the spirits with whom I entreat.

All that remain, now, are myself and the the fire and the drummer I still cannot see. But my body has solidified in the image of Hermaphroditus: full breasts and hips, bearded and phallic. My hair is thick and glorious, from my head to my feet. Horns crown my head. A satyr’s tail sways behind me, and a satyr’s Priapism sways in front.

I leap into the fire, and we consume one another. My flesh is incinerated, then reformed, as I swallow the flames. When I emerge, the drummer has reveled himself: my Natal Demon. My Genius is there, too, and my most familiar spirit.

We dance.

scan0041.jpg

* διγενὴς ἔκστασις – “Diges Ekstasis”, lit. two-kind displacement, alt. trance of doubtful sex. διγενὴς cf. LSJ.A, ἔκστασις Middle Liddel.A.II.4

2 Comments

Filed under art, witchcraft

Project Null is Going Off The Rails

It’s amazing how productive you can be while not sticking to the plan.  My formal daily practice has basically fallen apart in the last weeks, even as my various experiments have increased in breadth and depth.

I have been re-re-reading Liber Lux and am working on several write-ups therefrom.  I have almost finished Jason Miller’s Sorcerer’s Secrets and am in the process of incorporating some of his excellent suggestions into my practice.  Mr. Miller might be slightly annoyed to see him work included in my Chaos experiment—that’s not how he self-identifies—but, really, where is the line between innovative syncretism and Chaos Magick?

Meditation and Dreaming

As I mentioned above, my formal meditation and dream work have basically fallen apart.

Although I have not sat down to meditate deliberately in over a week, I have actually spent hours in trance.  Sitting outside in the cold one day, waiting for a friend, as a trance settled lazily over me for nearly thirty minutes.  I spent five hours at the loom the following day, not even half of which I can remember.  These meditations certainly don’t qualify as the concentrations Peter Carroll (and many other occultists like him) prescribe, but I refuse to concede that they don’t count.  I actually have a whole rant about this planned for the near future.

While my sleep schedule has been restored to the point where I no longer drug myself with chamomile and valerian at 10 o’clock every night, my ability to recall my dreams in the morning is spotty at best.  This is something I have always struggled with, and will probably continue to struggle with for years to come.  Most of my dreams, though—what little I can recall of them—have been clearly mundane: fragmentary remains of my bout with super-hero obsession a couple weeks ago, and my increasing state of holy-fuck-i-need-someone-to-sit-on-my-face.

Shielding

My shielding experiments continue, and I’m fine-tuning a protection talisman. At the suggestion of Chirotus Infinitum in the comments to my last shielding post, I attempted to use the image of a ladybug as shield. The visceral experience was indescribable. And it brought back a series of shape-shifting experiments from my high-school days that I’m in the middle of writing up, and will probably share after I have finished my write-up of Peter Carroll’s chapters on Evocation and Invocation, because they’re highly relevant.

Manifesting My Desires.

While none of last week’s sigils have quite manifested, my experience so far says to wait two weeks before getting antsy.  Also, those are socially complex endeavors, and while I haven’t actually found any new lovers, yet, the value of my social capital (to abuse a metaphor) seems to be rising.

I have another batch, this time aimed just at boosting my social situation, in the works to fire off this afternoon.

In the mean time, I have also been tinkering with my Web of Influence, again: drifting into a trance to tend the threads and make certain that things are moving down the pipeline (to deploy a cliché). Interestingly, though I had not yet consciously begun to incorporate my Web of Influence into my sigil work, I could see my manifesting sigils on the web as glittering lights.

Visionary Practice

I went on a pair of highly fruitful visionary journeys at the Dark and Full Moons that I still haven’t quite parsed.  In the first, I re-established contact with my my chief familiar spirits and discovered, as I had discovered when I was doing some of my work with Elemental Fire, that a portal to Chaos had opened in my Inner Temple.  I didn’t have the nerve to explore it the first night, but I did the second.  Beyond the door was a vast void: not the swirling mass of potentiality I had assumed the Chaos current would appear to me as, but the gaping void of Χαος.  I could barely sense an intelligence to it, it was so vast and alien, but it was definitely aware.

At first, there was nothing there that I could perceive, an I thought that I was walking through a black void like the astral fragment I use to access the Otherworlds.  Slowly, though, the vastness of the space in which I was moving began to dawn on me.  I began to perceive fling things moving through the void at almost unimaginable speed.  There were countless multitudes of them, but the scale Chaos made them seem few and far between.  At that point, Sue, ZG, and SKM joined me, forming a protective triangle, and helping me keep track of where I had come from for when the time came to leave.

We drifted until we came to a lone floating chunk of rock, which we landed on essentially out of my mortal, terrestrial instincts.  Faster than I could think, an insect/crustacean-like creature (I never saw the whole of it), whipped around from the other side of the boulder and impaled me through the heart with a many-jointed limb.  Although we were able to overpower it and reclaim the “blood” that had stuck to its talon, we took that moment to flee back to the Inner Temple.

Gods and Spirits

Since the conclusion of the ceremonial experiment and the Invocation of Baphomet, I now have ten gods and spirits living on my altar.  I speak to fewer than half of them on a regular basis, and I don’t think that’s appropriate.

A few weeks ago, even the gods on my altar demanded a portion of my weekend coffee offerings.  I was happy to oblige, of course: I had only not included them because they had not asked, before, and coffee is such a non-traditional offering that I didn’t wish to offend.  Yesterday, I began incorporating Jason Miller’s Rite of General Offering* into the ritual, and today I will bring back fruit from the cafeteria to add to the offering.

So far, I have rarely asked the spirits I work with for much in the way of manifesting the world I desire.  When I have, though, the results have been spectacular.  When one friend was at risk of being evicted, I got Sue to change the landlord’s mind.  When another needed a specific job, I asked Sue to make sure it happened.  When I was wallowing in a crushing pit of despair last week, I dedicated an evening’s festivities to Dionysus, asking him to purge me of the negativity and obsessive behaviors in which I was engaging; I have since heard that it was the best such party in some time for everyone else there, and I have been pulling out of my emotional morass much more quickly than usual, and am now struggling against a new, but less self-destructive so far, set of obsessive behaviors.

Although I do still intent to built my home defense servitor, and ideally do so before the end of the semester, I think it best that I tend to these relationships before adding anyone or anything else to my altar.

a Change in Plans

Although it might not seem so from my previous weekly reports, my experiment in Chaos Magick has been more productive that I would have anticipated at this early stage. It has also been productive in ways I ever could have imagined, many of which are exceptionally difficult to articulate—a dilemma with which I imagine all my mage-blogging peers can identify.  Some of them have come to light today, some I may never be able to talk about.

I originally conceptualized Project Null as a simple follow-up to the ceremonial experiment: a way of continuing my formal study of the Western magical tradition and of not loosing the momentum I had built up over the course of the previous year.  I set the time frame for the ceremonial experiment at a year because I was originally using Penczak’s year-and-a-day system as a map.  I set a year time frame for Project Null because that was how long the ceremonial experiment had lasted.

It seems, however, that Chaos Magick is even less suited for such a survey than ceremonial magic was.  And I haven’t finished processing or internalizing a number of the lessons from that experiment yet.  And this semester is much, much busier than I had anticipated.  And Project Null is digging things up from my youth that I haven’t though of in a decade or more.  And each and every one of these things deserves my full attention.

Project Null is not being cancelled.  But the deadlines are.  This shit is way too interesting to not let the phenomenal organic growth I’m experiencing progress at its own rate.  Hopefully y’all will understand that this is a carefully considered tactical decision, not just a drunken satyr flaking out.

——

* – Miller, Jason.  The Sorcerer’s Secrets.  Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books (2009).  pp53-5

ETA: Jason Miller reference clarified and cited properly.

Leave a comment

Filed under witchcraft

Vision of Thanateros

Back in Kansas City, before I officially started Project Null, I was making my last trip out to Camp Gaea.  I was floating on lake Onessa, with just enough of me out of the water to keep from drowning, tranced out and seeking the Initiation of Water.  The below NSFW image is one to two visions I had that afternoon.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art

Reining In and Cutting Loose: My Unruly Mind vs. Project Null

Project Null officially kicked off a week ago today.  This is the first of what I hope to be weakly updates on my progress through the project.  This week has been more theory than practice, but both aspects have been solid.

Despite classes, my reading has been progressing swiftly.  I have finished Carroll’s Liber Null and Psychonaut.  I have re-read the Simon Necronomicon.  I have read most of Frater U.D.’s Practical Sigil Magic, and the first half of Stephen Mace’s Stealing the Fire from Heaven.  The last two are particularly exciting, because between U.D. and Mace, I have what I feel is an adequate grasp of A.O. Spare’s sigil methods.  I’m waiting on Amazon to get around to shipping Jason Miller’s Sorcerer’s Secrets, and I’m really looking forward to reading that, too, though I don’t yet know if it’s “Chaos” enough to qualify for this project.

Mind Control

Outside of my constant struggle to recall and master my dreams, I have never encountered the Psychic Censor in quite the way Peter Carroll describes it.  Perhaps I struggled against the very perception of the supernatural when I was younger—I did, after all, begin practicing magic at the age of sixteen—but I cannot now recall.

For me, much of my struggle is against what I have often described as my “unruly mind”.  Owing to my overwhelming (and largely irrational) fear of medicine in general and psychiatry in particular, I have never been diagnosed with anything.  But when people complain of their struggles with ADD/ADHD … well, the Rotten Card above is a familiar experience to me.  Outside of my magical practice, I rarely work on only one thing at a time: music or television plays in the background while I study or do housework; rather than see either task to completion before moving on to the other, I will often do laundry and another cyclical chore, such as the dishes, in tandem to create a natural flow of breaks.

Beyond that, I often struggle against the vestigial remains of the protestant work ethic which was instilled in me as a child: the idea that one must, at all times, be productive, and that even in moments of leisure (earned only by suffering) one must still be doing something.  Working on my art does not rouse this nagging voice; even smoking weed and watching television—the most useless and slothful activity in which I engage—does not bring the restless, almost painful feeling that comes from inactivity.  But meditation?  Simply sitting in the quiet of my own presence and listening to my breathing?  That drives my inner Puritan into a mad frenzy.

Since beginning the meditative practice called for in Liber MMM approximately ten days ago, I have rarely managed to perform my meditations two days in a row.  When I have, it was over the weekend.  Around half of each meditation session—which has averaged five minutes, went as far as six once, and as little as three—is spent thinking about journaling or blogging about the experience.  During the first several sessions, my mind was awash with a riot of images.  Counting my breathing has helped with that, but not eradicated it completely.  Regardless of the position I sit in—and I have tried several—my body almost always grows restless, and on two occasions this actually manifested as physical pain.

On the plus side, there have been several days where I was able to carve out small blocks of time to sit and trance, without a timer, in the sun around campus.  Those sessions were actually more fruitful, in some ways, than my planned meditation sessions.

One interesting thing that’s come up while I’ve been doing these meditations is the relization that my aura is loosing its differentiation again: without doing chakra-specific meditations, I’ve dropped down from the “usual” seven to four: a crown above my head which somehow includes my third eye, a point at my heart, one at my loins, and one below my feet.  Also of interest is that, though it’s better now than it was a week ago, my crown feels tightly congested.  (And that was before hayfever season kicked in to high gear three days ago.)

Magic

I have not actually launched any sigils, yet, though I have done a bit of work recharging sigils I have previously fired.  There’s not actually anything new that I want right now.

What I have been doing is daily banishing.  I’ve actually only fucked that up twice, and was on one of those occasions able to go home, do my banishing and card-of-the-day, and put things right.  I’ve been keeping it simple with a banishing pentagram and the Qabalistic Cross, but that seems to be doing me a fair bit of good.

Thursday night, for the full moon, I busted out with the full Pentagram Rite for the Stele of Jeu.  It was fucking incredible, and deserves a post ahttps://i2.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6tl5sNn7A1qe9nxqo1_500.jpgll its own.

More interesting than any of that, though, are my experiments with creating my own Alphabet of Desire.  Which also deserves a post of its own, but will have to wait until I’ve made it a little further along that road.  For now, suffice to say that I’ve had some interesting and positive results with producing personal sigils by automatic drawing, but because of the nature of some of the work, I am uncertain of what about half of the characters mean.

Dreaming

Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, smok...

I have been doing better at recording my dreams on waking than I have done with my daily meditations, but there have still been a number of days where, for one reason or another, I didn’t write down my dreams.  In one instance, it was because the nightmares were so terrible that I was afraid attempting to record them would draw me back down into them.  In at least one other, it was just that I’m a fucking idiot first thing in the morning, and have no idea what’s going on (why, yes, that was one of they days I didn’t do my morning banishing).

So far, though, nothing interesting or significant to report in the dream arena.

Leave a comment

Filed under witchcraft

Magical Self-Care III

Elemental Cleansing Ritual

I wrote this ritual specifically as a part of this self-care packet.

This ritual calls for a private space. Outside is ideal, but not necessary. You must be near enough to the ground to feel and call upon Elemental Earth (assuming you have any trouble with that), and/or have some sort of Earth talisman to aid you. You should also have a lamp or candle and a bowl or body of water nearby, or some other talisman of those elements. A crystal, feather, or some other Air-symbol might be appropriate for the sake of appearances if nothing else.

Begin by casting a circle. Slow your breathing and enter a meditative trance.

Concentrate on the Element of Air.

Breathe deeply and fill yourself with Elemental Air. Contemplate the Air as it enters your lungs. Feel it permeate your body as you hold your breath for a half-count. Breathe it out slowly, and feel yourself grow slightly lighter as you do so. Breathe in, hold; breathe out, hold. Feel yourself growing a little lighter with each cycle. Breathe slowly and deeply. In, hold; out, hold.

Feel the Air coming in through your pours as you breathe in through your nose. Feel yourself growing boyant. As you exhale breathe out through your pours as well, and feel your stress and tension oozing out of you. The Elemental Wind begins to stir, taking away the stress and negativity that you are driving out of your pours. Breathe in, hold; breathe out, hold. Your body is loosing touch with the ground.

The Wind grows stronger and your breaths begin to quicken: still deep, but changing steadily. The Wind grows warmer, too. Breathe: in, out, in, out, pause; in, out, in, out, pause. The wind grows warmer and blows harder and your breath quickens further.

Conjure the Element of Fire .

Fanned by the Wind, Fire lurks within—rising up to burn away darkness and impurity. The quicker your breath, the hotter the Fire burns. Breathe: in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out.

The Fire cleanses. The Fire seers away all that is not wanted, all that stands in your way. Your breath will grow shallow. At times you may seem to loose substance. This is an illusion of the flames; embrace it or ride it out, whicheverbest suits your needs.

Breathe: in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out.

When the Fire has done its work, slow your breathing gradually. Feel points of cool moisture invade the hot, dry space of the Fire. The Fire will burn that Water away, at first, but as your breathing slows it is the Fire which will be overwhelmed.

Quench Yourself in the Element of Water.

Let your breath become like the tides: in slowly and out slowly, followed by a pause. The Water soothes you, washing away whatever darkness and self-doubt the Air and Fire have left behind. Your breathing slows further and you begin to grow heavy.

The heavier you grow, the slower you breathe, and the deeper into Water you sink. Light disappears, and there is only the eternal action of the Tides.

Breathe: in slowly until your lungs can fill no more, out slowly until there is nothing left, hold for as long as you can. The water has washed you clean. You are an empty vessel.

Seek Solace in the Element of Earth.

In time, you reach the end of the Water, resting on the bottom of the ocean floor. Your breath begins to change: a pause appearing between inhalation and exhalation.

Time slows, you grow heavier still, and the Earth seeps into you even as you sink further into it. Breathe in, pause; breathe out, hold. Breathe in, pause; breathe out, hold.

The Earth fills you and restores you, filling you with a vital Life. The dark void of the ocean floor gives way to an earthen russet then to a leafy green. Breathe: in, pause; out, hold. In, pause, out hold.

You are one with Life. You are one with the Earth. Lush soil, tall trees, and green vines and ferns surround you. You are within them, among them, of them. Breathe: in, pause; out, hold. In, pause, out hold.

Slowly, your breathing begins to return to normal. The forest releases you—one leafy branch, one serpentine vine, one blade of grass at a time.

You are whole, now: scoured by Air, purged by Fire, quenched and cleansed by Water, and restored by Earth. Come back to yourself.

Close the circle.

Sleep is probably a good idea.

Leave a comment

Filed under witchcraft

Magical Self-Care II

Crystal Chalice Visualization

Adapted from material by Chirotus Infinitum, devised for a student feeling somewhat less than whole. Although this exercise is simple enough to be performed by nearly anyone, it was devised for use by an experienced magician who had done himself a great deal of ill.  Again, given to me as a contribution to my Book of Shadows project.

Begin by performing a relaxation ritual.

With your eyes closed, focus attention on the heart area. Visualize a shallow crystal chalice there. The chalice is cracked and chipped, and filled with a thick, foul-smelling black liquid.

Now visualize a stream of brilliant white light descending from above and pouring into the chalice. The light dilutes the black liquid in the chalice, and as the chalice overfills, the dark liquid pours over the side and is absorbed into the earth. As the liquid in the chalice becomes lighter and cleaner, the chalice’s chips and cracks begin to close and seal. The chalice becomes deeper, with a higher rim.

Perform the relaxation ritual again.

The next time the visualization is performed, imagine the chalice in a more repaired state, with a deeper bowl and higher rim. The fluid in the chalice should also get progressively lighter in color and consistency as the light continues to dilute and displace the dark liquid.

This ritual may be performed once a day, and the results should be recorded in your ritual journal.

Healing Waters Meditation

Adapted from techniques taught to me by Aradia. A ritual bath is an exceptionally helpful setting for this ritual, but in no way required.

Begin by entering a meditative state. Breathe slowly, deeply.

Visualize yourself standing in a featureless black plain. The gleaming obsidian landscape stretches off forever to meet an infinite obsidian sky. Dwell in the darkness. Marvel at its beauty.

Step forward and a path will appear in the darkness. As you follow the path, a tree will appear, and the path will lead you there. Other trees appear on the horizon, and soon the void has been replaced by a forest, the path become a deer-track.

The path opens up into a clearing, and the tree you have been seeking stands in the middle. A deep, clear stream runs beside it.

Sit beside the stream with your back against the tree. Listen to the sound of the water moving against the rocks. Let it soothe you. Dip your feet into the water and let the stream draw all your tension out of your feet and disappear down stream.

When you are ready, undress and fold your clothing at the base of the tree.

Step into the waters. The temperature is perfect to soothe your aches. As you slip deeper into the stream, let it wash away your aches and worries: drawing them out of your pours and taking them away to the ocean.

If there is a particular part of your body that hurts, or a particular concern which is overwhelming you, focus on that. Push that pain into the current and the the stream take it.

When you are ready, return from the waters, refreshed and renewed.

Thank the tree and the stream.

Dry yourself, dress, and return to the waking world.

Leave a comment

Filed under witchcraft

Magical Self-Care I

A Relaxation Ritual

Adapted from material developed by Chirotus Infinitum for one of his students and given to me as a contribution to my formal Book of Shadows while we were working together in the proto-coven. It seems to be rooted in a number of ceremonial/Golden Dawn exercises, and could be described as a variant on the Circulation of the Body of Light. The text was originally written by Chirotus, with some adaptation on my part to fit the format of my Book of Shadows.

Sit or lay in a place where you will not be disturbed for at least five minutes. Remember to turn off your phone and any other distractions. Get comfortable. If you are sitting, your back should be straight. Whether sitting or lying down, your legs and arms should not be crossed. If sitting, rest your hands, palms down, in your lap. Your eyes should be closed.

Visualize a golden ball of beautiful, warm light surrounding your feet. If you cannot “see” the ball of light when you visualize it, that is okay – just know that it is there. Truly know that if your powers of visualization were different you would be able to see it. The ball of golden warm light always brings peace and total relaxation. Wherever the ball of light goes, tension departs. Let it go and, as it goes, feel your feet filled with the warm, golden glow of peace and total relaxation.

Now allow this ball of light to rise up your legs and up your torso. Then allow it to go down your arms to your fingers, and finally up your neck and into your head, until you are completely covered in the warm, golden glow of total peace and relaxation, and all tension is gone. If you notice tension anywhere, send the ball of light there and the tension will vanish.l

Stay in this state of deep relaxation for a few moments. Know that you can return to this state whenever you like simply by doing the relaxation ritual. If you are having trouble sleeping, ry this ritual when you lay down at night instead of suffering or taking pills. Be at one with yourself.

When you are ready to come out of this state of deep relaxation, take three deep breaths and feel fresh life and energy coming into your body with each breath. Be sure to record your experience in your ritual diary.

Golden Light Cleansing

The golden light cleansing is very much like the relaxation ritual described above. The difference is partly a matter of scale, but chiefly a difference in style. This work is my own, though it is not absolutely unique.

Begin with the relaxation ritual or any beginner’s trance. Once you are relaxed and adrift, visualize a ball of brilliant, glowing, warmth. Allow it to suffuse not just your body, but your very soul with gentle lassitude, beginning with the crown of your head.

As your head and neck relax, do not move the ball of golden light. Instead, visualize it growing larger and larger, moving down your shoulders, arms, and chest. By the time it reaches your feet, you are not just filled with golden light: you are made of golden light. You are warm, quiet, and at peace. You are one with everything and nothing.

Hold that feeling for several minutes: the golden light, the oneness.

When you are ready, allow the golden light to fade to brilliant white, then to soft silver.

Take three ritual breaths.

Ground and center if you need to.

1 Comment

Filed under witchcraft

Inner Temple

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under witchcraft