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 your comfortable with them.