Tarot, Crystals and Herbs, Oh My!

Last week we learned about The High Priestess.  Today, we’re continuing our journey through the Major Arcana with THE EMPRESS.

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The Empress from the Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot by Chic and Sandra Tabitha Cicero
  • magickal title – Daughter of the Mighty Ones
  • the third key
  • the 14th path
  • earth
  • cool, dry
  • feminine, receptive, passive
  • Libra
  • Venus

The path of The Empress is the mediator between Father and Mother, Chokmah and Binah, union of the powers of force and form.  She is the Universal Mother whose womb we must all be born from to reach a higher level on the Tree of Life.  The Empress is the root-essence of emotion, not that of the full spectrum of emotions manifested in Netzach.  In her Venus aspect, she is all-loving.  The red and green of her gown suggests the Venus/Mars opposition in balance.  She is seated on an earth-brown throne, a symbol of The Empress as form builder.  Her ankh is a symbol of Venus and eternal life.  Her sceptre with its Sun orb implies her dominance of the heavens.

Interpretation

Beauty, happiness, love, pleasure, success, luxury and dissipation, if placed with negative cards

As a Significator

A woman of authority, power, and wealth, a political figure, a mother, a pregnant woman

ANGELICA (Angelica Archangelica)

  • fire
  • The Sun
  • Cancer
  • masculine, projective, active
  • warm, dry
  • healing, protection, exorcism

AQUAMARINE

  • feminine, receptive, passive
  • water
  • The Moon
  • Pisces
  • cool, wet
  • Chakra – Throat/Heart
  • peace, purification, courage, psychism, healing, meditation, love, self-knowledge, purpose and direction

Pathworking III – The Astral Temple

This week’s post gets into the fun stuff – building your own astral temple.  Before we begin, if you’re new to meditation and astral travel, the process I use can be found in my blog post Pathworking I, which you can read here.

What is an astral temple?  It is a magickal space created in the astral using meditation, visualization, and energy directing techniques.  It’s a space unique to you between the worlds, a place where you are no longer constrained by the limitations of ordinary reality.  It is a place where you can work with guides, angels, demons, and other astral entities, as well as commune with the gods and make magick.

The astral temple can be anything you want it to be.  It can be as simple as a stonehenge, woodhenge, stone circle, or forest clearing, or something as grand as a gothic cathedral, Egyptian temple, pyramid or wizards tower straight out of a fantasy novel.  A hut, a saxon long house, a castle, or a cave.  You’re limited only by your imagination.

Your astral temple can be on a hill, the summit of a mountain, perched on a cliff, or hidden deep within a forest.  It can be on an island surrounded by a limitless sea, or floating in the air.  Again, you’re limited only by your imagination.

Before taking the journey to create your astral temple, sit down with paper and pencil and begin to take notes on what you want your temple to be.  Get as detailed as you possibly can.  Do some rough sketches of how you would like it to look.  You don’t have to be an artist for this, and your drawings don’t need to be perfect.  They’re just aids to assist your imagination and will help to focus your ideas.  Don’t let your design get unwieldy.  If your design as a maze or corridors and rooms, you’ll have a hard time visualizing that all at once when it comes time for construction.  Your temple needs to have ‘solidity’ in the astral.  That means you having it firmly in place in your mind.  If your temple is so complex that you cannot remember all the rooms/hallways/details, etc., then it’ll lack realness.  As time goes by, you can add to it, and when you do so bit-by-bit, it makes the whole structure easier to visualize and appear solid in your mind.

To give you an idea of what an astral temple can be, I’ll share how mine started and evolved over the years.

My astral temple began as a stone henge (not Stonehenge, but a henge made in stone) on a hill surrounded by a forest.  I was happy with this temple for many years, but at one point I decided I wanted a temple building in addition to the henge, and with vivid imagination in full gear, I decided I had to have a wizards tower straight out of a Dungeons & Dragons novel.  So I went ahead a created another hill in the surrounding forest that was in close proximity to the hill with henge.

Around this point in my life, I was heavily influenced by Celtic myth and Arthurian legends, so, reading so much lore about the Isle of Avalon, I wanted to recreate that in the astral.  Now, this was the 90’s and the internet wasn’t what it’s like today – you couldn’t just google whatever your heart desired, so I had to find a topographical map of Glastonbury to get an idea of the shape of the isle when surrounded by water, what the Tor, and Chalice and Wearyall Hills looked like, etc.  I traced what I thought would be the isle’s outline onto blank paper, then added the outlines of physical features (the Tor, hills, etc.)  I marked where the two springs would be, then went ahead and started designing the temple complex.  My stone henge would be on the Tor and the tower would be on Chalice Hill.  I decided the two springs would meet in the abbey grounds where they formed a large pool, before continuing on in a single stream.  I added forests and to the north and east I decided on having rises and small cliffs.

With everything ready, I went into meditation and began my work, seeing this island forming out of thin air around the small forest and hills I had already created.  When that was done, it was literally an island floating in space.  I decided to keep it that way.  Back then, I was very inspired by the artwork of Gilbert Williams and Rob Schouten, with their images of floating temples and spaces, heavily influencing how I imagined the astral.

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Gilbert Williams
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Rob Schouten

That was more than enough work for one session, so in subsequent sessions, I  built up the woodland, placed the two wells, pool and streams, created as much of the abbey ruins as I could from the few pictures of the place I could find in books at the time (remember, no google back then).  My last step was to place a protective sphere and wards around the floating isle to keep it safe from unwanted visitors and negative energies.

And just like that, I had a whole temple complex in a place as close to looking like the Isle of Avalon as I could envision with just a topical map as a guide.  As time went by, I added more to it, elemental shrines, caves, and other small details.

Now back to you.  Once you’ve fleshed out your ideas enough, you’re ready to begin.  If you’re using my process of relaxation and meditation, step out of the sphere and see yourself in a place appropriate to your plans – if your temple will be in a forest, see a woodland path beyond the sphere, follow it until you reach the place where you’ll build your temple.  If your temple will be floating in the sky, step out of the sphere and see that it is floating in the sky.  You can then fly to the location where you will begin building your astral temple.

If you’re creating the landscape that your temple will be built in like I did, work on that first.  See the dirt and rocks forming into the landmass you determined in your notes.  See the grass and trees grow, flowers blossoms, etc.  Add any water features that you want.  Once you’ve done the big work, travel around your space and add the details to the landscape that you want.  This sounds simple and easy, but it takes time, and should be done in it’s own session or sessions before moving on to include the temple itself.

When it’s time to build your temple, see it being built brick-by-brick, or log-by-log, depending upon what you’ve chosen.  If it’s a circle of standing stones, see them being shaped out of the earth, then moved into place.  Take you time with this step, focus on colours and textures of the building material(s) you’re using.  Once construction is complete, walk around your temple, looking at every inch of it, making alterations as needed.  If your temple is a building, move into it, again scanning to make sure everything is how you envisioned it.  If there are multiple rooms, walk into each one, ensuring the ‘bones’ of the temple are to your liking.  This should probably be it’s own session as well.

In an additional session add details – if you’re temple will have a library, furnish it to your liking.  Add statutes, wall paintings/engravings, design elements, furniture, spell and ritual items and tools, etc.  In this session you’re ‘moving in’, and will want to include everything you’ll need for your astral workings in your temple.

Once this step has been completed, finish your sessions by setting protective wards around your temple.  See it surrounded by a sphere of white light, an impenetrable shield that only you, and those you invite in, can cross.  Once you have this image firmly in your mind, place some sort of warding image or symbol on the outside of the sphere in each of the four directions.  These wards can be pentagrams or protective sigils you have designed yourself.  Draw them on the sphere, seeing them flaming with power.  You can include a chant or statement of intent if you wish.  Once this final step is completed, you can finish your session and return to waking consciousness.

And just like that, you have your own astral temple.  If you’ve gone to all this trouble, you’ll probably be visiting the space regularly, but life does get in the way, so you may go through periods where you’re not traveling as much, and that’s OK.  But your temple and wards will need maintenance, so traveling at least once a month will do.

Remember to take detailed notes and make some sketches after each session.  Also, nothing is set in stone.  You can make changes to your temple or surrounding area as needed, just like I did.  The important part is taking the time to visualize those changes, deletions, additions taking place.

So what can you do in this fabulous, shiny new temple?  I’ll save that for some upcoming blog posts.

 

 

 

 

Tarot, Crystals and Herbs, Oh My!

Last week, we continued our journey through the tarot with exploring the magickal attributes of The Magician.  Today, we’re taking a look at THE HIGH PRIESTESS.

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The High Priestess from The Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot by Chic and Sandra Tabitha Cicero
  • magickal title – Priestess of the Silver Star
  • the second key
  • the 13th path
  • water
  • cool, wet
  • feminine/receptive
  • Virgo
  • The Moon

The path of The High Priestess is the longest path on the Tree of Life, from God the Crown to God the Son (from the source of all to the slain and resurrected one).  The Hebrew letter Gimel is attributed to this path, and means camel.  The camel is the only animal that can carry us across the Abyss.  The 13th path is the ultimate source of water and represents the root-essence of consciousness.  The High Priestess is the counterpart of The Magician, thus receiving creative force and initiating form.  The High Priestess is a higher form of the energy contained in the Temperance card.  Her lower body forms a downwards pointing arrow, a reflection of the upwards facing arrow seen in the Temperance card.  This symbolizes her function as regulator of the flow and direction of vibration.  Together, the two arrows form a current of consciousness, waxing and waning.

Interpretation

Change, alteration, increase and decrease, fluctuation

As a Significator

Someone trying to get in touch with him/herself, someone who holds a secret, a wise woman, psychic, researcher, scholar, an ideal woman

If you would like to try a tarot meditation with The High Priestess, see my posts here and here.

ADDER’S TONGUE (Erythronium Americanum)

  • water
  • The Moon
  • Cancer
  • feminine, receptive
  • cool, wet
  • healing, sleep, prophetic dreams, fertility, peace, meditation, purification, love, friendships, fidelity

AMETHYST

  • feminine, receptive
  • water
  • Jupiter
  • Aquarius
  • cool, wet
  • Chakra – Third Eye
  • courage, dreams, healing, happiness, psychic abilities, peace, love, protection against thieves

Tarot, Crystals and Herbs, Oh My!

In last week’s post, we started learning the magickal correspondences of tarot, crystals and herbs.  If you missed it, you can read it here.  We’re continuing on this week, and sticking with the order of the tarot cards, next up is THE MAGICIAN.

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The Magician from The Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot by Chic & Sandra Tabitha Cicero
  • magickal title – Magus of Power
  • the first key
  • the 12th path
  • air – active / earth – passive
  • Gemini
  • Mercury

The path of The Magician lies between Kether (the source) and Binah (the organizer of form), the Crown of Understanding, the beginning of material production.  The Magician is the architect and builder of the house that the divine spirit resides.  He is The Fool in the act of experience.  He is a form of the Egyptian god, Thoth.  He is a symbol of the step towards manifestation from the silent, pre-thought stage that is represented by The Fool.  The Magician stands before a transparent altar, which suggests that the thought of manifestation is present, but is yet to be actualized.  The four tools resting upon the altar represent the four elements, the four suits of the tarot, the four Qabbalistic Worlds, and the four-lettered name of God.

Interpretation

Wisdom, cunning, skill.  In certain instances, occult wisdom.  The ability to use the power from above and direct it into manifestation.  May be a builder of houses (Beth, the Hebrew letter associated with The Magician, means house).  The Magician is the house in which the divine spirit resides.  Creative in home life, may be an inventor.

As a Significator

A person becoming aware of their potential.  A magician, builder, artist or inventor.  The ideal man.

If you would like to try a tarot meditation with The Magician, see my posts here and here.

ADAM & EVE ROOT (Aplectrum Hyemale)

  • water
  • Venus
  • Libra (Taurus)
  • Feminine, receptive
  • cool, wet
  • love, happiness, represents perfect union, fidelity

AMBER

  • masculine, projective
  • fire
  • Sun
  • Leo
  • warm, dry
  • Chakra – Solar Plexus
  • luck, healing, strength, protection, beauty, love

 

Pathworking II – Guides

In pathworking I, I shared the process of relaxation and deep meditation I use to prepare myself for astral work or self-hypnosis.  You can read that post here.  It’s not better or worse than other techniques, it just works for me, and if you find it works for you, great.  If not, use the technique you’re accustomed to.  If you’re a beginner and you’re finding it’s not working, you may just need some patience and time practicing the steps.  If after a dedicated amount of time using the technique without success, do some research and try other methods until you find something that works for you.

In this post, I’m going to share a pathworking for meeting guides.  Spirit guides are exactly that – spirits that guide us.  They can be human (masters, ancestors, non-living adepts), or animal spirits, or otherworldly entities (mythical creatures, angels).  I personally believe that guides are unique life forms, and not archetypal forces or aspects of our higher selves.

An individual can have major guides and minor guides.  Major guides typically guide each of us throughout our lives, whereas minor guides can come and go as they are needed for a specific time period in a person’s life.

For this pathworking, and all future pathworkings that I will post, I will be basing them off of the techniques used in Pathworking I.  Basically, at the beginning of each pathworking we will start inside the sphere as described in that post.  We won’t be working to meet a specific guide in this post, so I can’t say who, or what, you will meet.

Cast your circle in whatever manner you are accustomed to.  Perform the breathing exercise, followed by the lightbody exercise, and finishing with the rainbow descent.

Stand up in the sphere.  The wall of the sphere before you shimmers gently, prompting you to walk up to it.  Is the wall still opaque, or does it become transparent?  If it is transparent, see a woodland path beyond the sphere.  Whether or not it’s transparent, you can step through the shimmering wall, and onto a woodland path.  Look around you, at the grass, rocks, trees, and sky.  Try to feel the breeze, hear the sounds of forest life around you, and smell the trees and flowers around you.  If you can’t manage this, it’s OK.

Begin walking forward, along the path through the trees.  As you walk, touch the trees and plants, see if you can actually feel them.  Again, if you cannot, it’s OK.  The path twists and turns around the ancient giants, slopes down and crawls upwards.  Be aware of any animals or other entities you may see beyond the treeline on either side of the path.  Continue to hear, touch, and smell as best you can.

Eventually, the path opens up into a clearing in the trees.  Stop walking at the entrance of this clearing and look around.  Is it a wild natural space, a garden, or perhaps a clearing with a stone circle at its centre?  Whatever image comes to you is correct.  Step into the clearing and spend as much time exploring the space as you need.  Capture as much detail as you can for future trips to this space.

Once you feel you have spent enough time exploring, notice a bench, or a log, or low stone off in the distance.  Sitting on it, or near to it, is the guide you’re meant to meet at this time.  Can you tell what your guide is from this distance (human, animal, or other)?  Don’t force the image.  Try to avoid tailoring what you see to what you expect your guide to look like.  As examples, if you were expecting a female human, but see a male, don’t try to force the guide to appear female.  If it’s an angel, but doesn’t look like what you expect an angel to look like, try not to alter the image to your tastes.

Approach your guide and introduce yourself.  Begin a conversation with them.  Let it flow naturally.  Get to know them.  You may actually hear them speak, or it may be a voice inside your head.  As your guide questions – what aspect of your life are they there to assist with?  How long have they been with you?  Where do they come from?  Is this the best way to meet with them?  Is there anything you can add to the pathworking techniques that are tailored to their nature that would make the process of meeting with them easier or more effective?  Ask them if they need anything from you. Are there things you can do in the physical world for them, things to strengthen your bond?  Spend as much time with them as you need, or as much time as they’re willing to spend.

When ready, thank them for appearing to you and unless otherwise stated by them, let them know that you will be contacting them again in the future.  Walk away towards the entrance to this forest clearing.  Step onto the woodland path, and retrace your steps to the sphere, again listening, touching, and smelling as best you can.

The side of the sphere you exited from still shimmers slightly, allowing you to pass through with ease.  Sit down and begin to reverse the rainbow descent, now the rainbow ascent.  Once you have made it back up to red, slowly being to wiggle your fingers, move your hands and feet, then arms and legs, finally opening your eyes and returning to the waking world.  Record your experience with as much detail as you can remember.  The next time you perform this pathworking, reread your experience so that you can better visualize the forest clearing.

Repeated visits to this location will make it easier and easier to visualize.  It can change in appearance over time on its own, and you can also make conscious changes to it.  Eventually, it will become a permanent place within the astral, a safe space for you to spend time in.

Two things to note – if you don’t initially see a guide, don’t despair.  Stand in the clearing and set your intention of this being a place for you to meet your guides.  Send it out into the astral, then leave in the manner described above.  Try again another day.

Your guides will know much about you.  If the entity you have met is asking a lot of questions about you, questions a guide really should know, there is every possibility of them not being a guide, but a potentially problematic, possibly dangerous, entity.  If at any time you feel uncomfortable in your exchange, you can immediately imagine yourself safe in your sphere, where you can then perform the rainbow ascent and return to your waking self.  Don’t let this frighten you or put you off.  Keep performing the pathworking, if for nothing else, firmly establishing the space in the astral.  The more ‘solid’ it becomes, set with your intention of a safe space to meet with your guides, the more of a sanctuary it will become.  Casting a circle around yourself prior to the pathworking can usually prevent such negative experiences, but is not a guarantee.

As an aside, we will be discussing astral wards in a later post.

Tarot, Crystals and Herbs, Oh My!

In my post ‘Learning Your Craft‘, I gave some suggestions on studying various topics, like tarot, crystals and herbs.  That gave me the idea to do the work for you (plus I’m a bit bored in lock up).

Since the best place to start is at the beginning, we’re starting with THE FOOL.

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The Fool from The Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot by Chic & Sandra Tabitha Cicero
  • magickal title – Spirit of Ether
  • the zero key
  • the 11th path
  • air – active / earth – passive
  • Aquarius
  • Uranus

The Path of The Fool (the path of fiery intelligence) is the first connection between Kether (the crown) and Chokmah (wisdom).  In The Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot, the ‘fool’ is the child-god Harpocrates, representing the sum of all possibilities of life yet to come, the potential to do anything.  The child-god is giving the Sign of Silence, alluding to the fact that higher spiritual knowledge cannot be communicated verbally, there is only truth in silence.  The babe and wolf imagery represents the opposing forces of innocence and ferocity, balanced and counteracting each other in this image.  The child-god is reaching for a yellow rose, signifying is search for initiation of spirit-life.

Interpretation

Idea, thought, spirituality.  If the reading is about spiritual matters – endeavouring to rise above the material.  If it is in regards to material events – folly, stupidity, eccentricity, mania, unless with very good cards.  It is too ideal and unstable to be generally good in materials matters.

As a Significator

An adolescent, or innocent (inexperienced) person, someone who needs to make a decision, someone who is about to embark on some sort of venture, a traveler, an adventurer

If you would like to try a tarot meditation with The Fool, see my posts here and here.

ACACIA (Acacia Senegal)

  • also referred to as Gum Arabic
  • air
  • Sun (Mercury)
  • Libra (Virgo)
  • masculine, projective
  • warm, wet
  • money, protection, meditation, psychic development & growth, when combined with Sandalwood stimulates psychic centres, increase power of spells

AMAZONITE

  • feminine, receptive
  • earth
  • Uranus
  • Virgo
  • substitute – Aventurine
  • gambling, success, attract money, balancer of emotions – flows with the emotions towards others

 

Pathworking I

In this series of posts I’m going to share my process for pathworking.  This first post will focus on the steps I take to prepare for the journey.

In popular usage, pathworking is a term used to describe any meditative visualized journey through an inner landscape.  Originally, pathworking was a technique derived from the Qabalah.  In the Qabalistic system, a pathworking is a journey along the 22 paths of the Tree of Life.  Each path has specific symbolism and landscape, and corresponds to one of the 22 tarot cards in the major arcana.  These inner journeys were undertaken to gain information, instruction, and to meet and work with entities associated with the Tree of Life.

I use the term pathworking in the more modern sense –  to describe any creative visualization that involves traveling through an inner landscape.

More often than not, I do pathworking for a specific intent, rather than traveling to a place of contemplation or just to see where I end up and what happens when I get there.  For contemplation, doing my breathing, relaxation and centering techniques are more than enough to put me in the proper condition for such meditative processes.

What are suitable intents for pathworking, besides that which I already mentioned above?  Past life work is one example of pathworking, as is the tarot meditation I wrote about in this post.  Discovering and meeting guides is another intention that can fall under the term of pathworking.

Before I do any meditation or pathworking I do a series of exercises to prepare myself for the work.  I prefer to lay down when I meditate, but if I need to sit, I will do so in a chair, my forearms resting on my thighs, with my hands on my knees.  I never meditate sitting on the floor with legs crossed or in the lotus position.  This is just personal preference.  As I cannot fall asleep on my back, lying down isn’t a problem.  If you can fall asleep on your back, and can fall asleep easily, this may not be the best position for you.

I begin with the fourfold breath.  This is an easy breathing technique that involves breathing in on a count of four, holding in the breath for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and finally no air for a count of four, repeating as many times as necessary.  The key to this breathing exercise is to breath deeply, much more deeply than you’re used to.  You want to get oxygen into the lowest part of your lungs, and you’ll know you’ve achieved this because your abdomen will distend much more than it does during regular breathing.  When you exhale, you want to do so from the abdomen, pushing all that air from the deepest part of your lungs out.

The four count can be a fast or as slow as you wish (or can manage).  Keep in mind, the faster your count, the more likely you are to get lightheaded and dizzy.

Once I’m calm and grounded and as relaxed as I feel I’m going to get at this step, I move on to the lightbody exercise.

Beginning at the soles of the feet, visualize white light radiating from them as you feel the tingling life-force.  See that light encompass your entire feet, feel them relax and go limp.  Move up to the ankles, calves and thighs, relaxing the muscles as you do so.  At this point, also see this brilliant white light at the tips of your fingers, slowly moving up to the palms of your hands, letting them relax, then visualize the light continuing to move up your arms, the muscles relaxing as the white light continues upwards. Seeing it moving up your torso, the muscles in your body getting more and more relaxed.  Bring the light up into your shoulders.  Spend time here relaxing the muscles.  We hold so much stress in the shoulders, so you will want to pay particular focus here.  Feel the tension release from your shoulders, and when ready, move the light up into your neck, then your face.  Slowly feel your facial muscles go slack before moving to the base of your neck where it meets the neck, and the back of your head.  Feel the stress and tension dissipate, then see the white light move up to the crown of your head.

At this point, you should be so relaxed that your awareness of your physical body and its surroundings is diminished.  However, if you’re still feeling somewhat present in your body and environment, spend some time visualizing the white light as a cocoon around you as you focus on relaxing muscles and calming the mind.

Next we’re going to do what I call the rainbow descent.  Visualize yourself sitting in the lotus position in a sea of red.  Your body is red, all you can see is red.  If you’re having a problem seeing the colour, imagine something commonly red, like an apple.  See it in your mind’s eye clearly, then let the apple grow until it’s so large, all you can see is red.  Do this for each colour that you’re having difficulties in seeing.

Feel yourself slowly floating downwards, more and more and more.  Begin to see the red change to orange.  Your body is also orange.  All you can see is orange.  Continue to feel yourself descend, slowly, gently, down and down and down.

Now everything is yellow, all you can see is yellow as you continue your gentle descent downwards, going ever deeper, your awareness of your body and environment slipping away more and more and more.

See the field of yellow give way to green.  Your body is green, all you can see is green, as you continue to float deeper and deeper, the green slowly changing to blue.  You’re so deep now that you can’t feel your body.  It’s as unsubstantial as air as you continue to float down and down and down.

See the blue dissolve into violet.  Your body is violet, and everything around you is violet.  Continue your descent down, floating in a sea of violet that changes into indigo.  Continue to floating gently and easily downwards into the darkness of indigo.  Down and down and down.

Gently, your body comes to rest in what feels like soft clouds.  You are clam, relaxed, and totally unaware of your body and environment.  See yourself inside a sphere.  It’s large enough that you can stand up in.  The inner walls of the sphere are opaque, you can’t see beyond them.  They can be of any colour, and can be shiny or matte.  This is not important.  What is important is that this sphere is your entryway into the astral.  From this point you can travel anywhere you wish.  From this point you can return to the waking world.  You can call up this sphere wherever you are in your pathworking.  You don’t need to retrace your steps unless the pathworking calls for it.  You can enter and exit it at any time.  This is your place, and it is a safe space.

This is my process that I have been using for well over 20 years.  You can follow it as described, or alter it to your needs/desires.  The important thing is that the process gets you out of your body and waking consciousness and into the inner worlds.

In upcoming pathworking posts, I’ll share inner journeys for past life work, meeting guides, building an astral temple, and performing astral magic.  In the meantime, practice these three techniques until you’re comfortable with them.

 

What I’m Reading

I always have at least one book on the go, regardless of the time of year or how busy I am with work.  But with more time on my hands these past few weeks, I get the opportunity to read even more than usual.  Here are the books that are stacked at my favourite place to read, right next to the fire.

Descendant by Bob Freeman (I’m giving this one a second read)

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Descendant by Bob Freeman

Descendant is a supernatural thriller filled with daring action, adventure, and artifice set against the backdrop of a very familiar world – but it is a world in which preternatural entities, clandestine magical orders, ancient bloodlines, and unholy alliances converge within the shadowed recesses of our darkest imaginings.

Federal Agents Selina Wolfe and Martin Crowe are called in to investigate a series of bizarre deaths in a small rural community.  What first seems to be a misadventure involving black magic and satanic ritual soon takes on even more deleterious overtones, as the agents become embroiled in a plot by a sinister cabal intent on unleashing Hell on Earth.

Help the Witch by Tom Cox (Just finished this one and I’ll do a proper book review on it)

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Help the Witch by Tom Cox

Riddled with talismans and portents, saturated by shadows beneath trees and whispers behind doors, these ten short stories broaden the scope of folk tales as we know them.  Inspired by our native landscapes and traversing boundaries of the past and the future, this collection is Tom Cox’s first foray into fiction.  Funny, strange and poignant, he elicits the unexpected and unseen to raise our hackles and set imaginations whirring.

Aleister Crowley and the Practice of the Magical Diary

This important collection includes Aleister Crowley’s two most important instructional writings on the design and purpose of the magical diary, John St. John and A Master of the Temple. These were the only two works regarding the magical diary published in Crowley’s lifetime. Both were first published in Crowley’s immense collection of magical instruction, The Equinox. John St. John chronicles Crowley’s moment by moment progress during a 13 day magical working. Crowley referred to it as “a perfect model of what a magical record should be.” A Master of the Temple is taken from the magical diary of Frater Achad at a time when he was Crowley’s most valued and successful student. It provides an invaluable example of a student’s record, plus direct commentary and instruction added by Crowley.  With commentary and introductory material by editor James Wasserman, Aleister Crowley and the Practice of the Magical Diary is the most important and accessible instruction available to students of the occult regarding the practice of keeping a magical diary.  This revised edition includes a new introduction by Wasserman, a foreword by noted occult scholar J. Daniel Gunther, revisions throughout the text, a revised reading list for further study, plus Crowley’s instructions on banishing from Liber O.

Grimoire of Aleister Crowley

Group ritual has been a cornerstone of spiritual practice since time immemorial, yet its history and importance have often been overlooked by occultists of the modern age. This book is the first comprehensive presentation of group-oriented rites for modern magicians inspired by the works of Aleister Crowley. It contains rituals written by Crowley for his own magic circles, many of them unpublished during his lifetime, plus rare ancient texts that were Crowley’s own inspiration.

The rituals are newly edited and explained by Rodney Orpheus, who brings to this volume decades of experience in performing and teaching Aleister Crowley’s rituals within Crowley’s magical order Ordo Templi Orientis. He introduces each ritual with a clear overview, setting each in its historical context and explaining its function and mode of operation, and includes detailed notes on the setting and performance of each one.

Whether absolute beginner or seasoned expert, magicians of all paths will find this volume to be an eminently workable and extremely powerful grimoire spanning centuries from ancient Mithraic and Bacchanalian rites, Goetia, and Gnosticism, right up to present day Crowleyan invocations and sexual magick.

Hitler’s Monsters by Eric Kurlander

Magic Circles in the Grimoire Tradition by William J. Kiesel

Magic Circles have been depicted in popular expressions of magic and witchcraft as well as detailed with full rubrics in traditional manuals of magic such as the Clavicula Solomonis or Liber Juratus.  Using narrative, visual and textual material available from European grimoires and manuscripts, the author discusses the various forms and functions of this important piece of apparatus employed by magicians in the Western Esoteric Tradition, including their role in providing authority and protection to the operator, as well as examples of their use in divination and treasure finding.  Additionally, contemporary examples of the magic circle at work in modern esoteric praxis are provided and discussed in light of the traditional approaches they exhibit. This monograph serves to explicate this important tool of ceremonial magic and is valuable to practitioners of the art magical with its technical data, while also providing context in historical settings for the merely curious reader of occult subjects. Illustrated throughout.

As an aside, don’t expect a ‘What I’m Watching’ post.  I don’t watch enough TV to make that an interesting post.

 

What I’m Listening To

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Vindsvept – The YouTube Collection

I’m a news junkie, I like having it on in the background.  I love-hate politics, so I enjoy the political coverage.  I think it’s important to keep up-to-date on what’s happening in the world.  But with the news coverage focused solely on the Coronavirus (for good reason), it’s getting to be a bit much, and I’ll be honest, boring.  So the TV is staying off more and more lately, and instead I’m enjoying all of my favourite music.

I listen to Vindsvept a lot!  The artist is a young man from Sweden that makes the most beautiful folk music, which is available on Bandcamp here.  He has four musical collections available, ranging in price from $4 USD to $20 USD, although you can be generous and pay more, if you wish.  I love the YouTube Collection because he adds to it bi-weekly, and you can update your download without paying extra for the new songs in the collection.

Oh, and he just had a baby, so I’m sure he’ll appreciate you buying some of his music now more than ever.

But the main reason why I love the YouTube Collection is because I love folk music.  There are some great songs in there that work well for meditation and ritual.  But even better, his music is ideal for ttrpg’s.  Give a good listen, and you’ll find songs perfect for wilderness scenarios, town scenarios, battles, and victory/end of campaign music.

Windswept Realms is becoming my go-to for meditation, as each volume is an hour in length, making it ideal.

For something darker, I put on Sigillum Diaboli by Lamia Vox, which you can also find on Bandcamp here.

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Sigillum Diaboli by Lamia Vox

From her Bandcamp page:

We are taken on a journey where Sabbatic fires burn into the night, incense smoke dances around the sorcerer’s circle and while whispered incantations are delivered. The album alchemically combines ritualistic elements with vocals and chants, martial percussion, combined with haunting ambient soundscapes, creating its own ceremonial atmosphere.

It’s dark ambient at it’s best, and definitely worth the €7 (or more)!

My musical tastes run the gamut, and I can write a book length post on the artists I love to listen to (that would probably get really boring really fast), but I’ll just stick to my ‘happy place’ albums that I couldn’t live without:

Esthero – Breath From Another – feel free to disagree, but she has the most beautiful voice ever!  Angels weep at the knowledge that their singing is no more than the sound of toads croaking compared to her.  Plus, she’s such a wonderful person (and a fellow Canadian!)

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Breath From Another by Esthero

In This Moment – Black Widow

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Black Widow by In This Moment

Marilyn Manson – Mechanical Animals

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Mechanical Animals by Marilyn Manson

Imogen Heap – Speak For Yourself

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Camouflage – Sensor

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Sensor by Camouflage

Is there something you think I should be listening to?  Let me know

 

 

 

Daily Practice – Learning Your Craft

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With more time being spent at home, now is a great time to learn more about different aspects about your craft.  This can be anything that you have an interest in – the magickal properties of herbs, crystals, learning tarot, numerology, gematria, astrology, etc.  Some of these subjects can seem daunting, but if you take things small step by small step, before you know it, you’ll be on your way to being an expert.

If learning more about herbs is your thing, pick one herb a day to learn about.  Use your books and the internet and read all you can.  Here are the key things you will want to discover:

  • the magickal usages of the herb
  • the planet associated with the herb
  • the zodiac sign
  • the element associated with it
  • it’s qualities (feminine/masculine, hot/cold, wet/dry)

Then, read up on it’s mundane and medicinal qualities.  You’ll often see a correlation between it’s medicinal and magickal usage.  Look at pictures of the herb – it doesn’t hurt to be able to identify the plants you’re using in your magick out in the wild.

Like the herbs, you can learn tarot by taking it one card at a time.  Start with the major arcana, then move on to the minor arcana.  Study the cards in their order – with the major arcana, that’s cards 0 to 21.  For the minor arcana, start with ace through 10, then the court cards.  Do one suit at a time.  Key things to know about the cards:

  • it’s placement on the Tree of Life
  • the element associated with the card
  • the zodiac sign
  • the planet
  • it’s meaning in regular and reversed position
  • it’s qualities for use as a significator card
  • the element associated with the four suits

For use as a meditative tool, there are other aspects to the card you will want to learn about:

  • it’s placement on the Tree of Life
  • the zodiac sign associated with the card
  • the planet associated with the card
  • the active and passive elements associated with each card

Once you’ve done your research and you have your ‘cliff notes’, you’ll be able to use these notes as your learning tools and reference material.

Yes, you can spend as many days as you want on one card, or herb, or crystal until you’re satisfied with your memorization, but keep in mind that you’ll soon have a lot of information about a lot of cards, herbs, etc., and that your memory of their qualities will get fuzzy.  It’s putting what you’ve learned into action that solidifies the information in your head.  Once you start making incenses and oils, or start doing tarot readings or meditations, and do these things on a fairly regular basis, you’ll begin to become truly well-versed and confident in the subject.  It takes time a patience, but you can do it!