Meditating on Magick
Can You Use Meditation In Magick?
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the benefits of meditation. You know: relaxation, focusing, mental health, slowing aging… magick… The usuals. You can probably also guess which of those we’re focusing on this month.
Meditation and magick are complementary disciplines. Many magickal traditions either have incorporated meditation into their practices or had something similar already in place. Usually, these meditations are preparation for a working or part of the work itself. Often this is focused either through a visualization or breathing exercise. “When you learn to properly meditate, you actually alter how your brain functions–lowering the brainwave frequency into what has been termed ‘alpha’ brainwave level. It is this relaxed level of consciousness that is needed when working magic,” according to Michael Furie in Supermarket Magic.
Furie, who practices Witchcraft in the Irish tradition, suggests meditating daily for longer and longer periods of time to make it easier to slip into that mindset. He also says there is no one “right” way to do it and suggests visualization exercises to help.
Meanwhile, Qabalistic practices utilize both visualization and breath work. When working with the Divine names of Archangels, Angels or Heavens, which is a cornerstone of the practice, it is important to use the sound as a way of channeling energy into the ritual. This is referred to as “vibrating.” “To vibrate a word you need to breathe from your diaphragm and prolong the duration of the syllables. You will know when you have found the right pitch for your vibration, as you will literally feel your rib-cage and possibly the rest of your body, vibrate with the power of the word you are uttering,” according to Practical Qabalah Magick.
The book also has several chapters of visualization exercises with descriptions of colors, angels, images, and temples. These visualizations are workings within themselves. For example, the temples are supposed to be astral locations that when visualized help focus the practitioner’s intent and bring more of that kind of energy. Take the Chesed Temple, which is considered a place of holiness, purification, and preparing for great works. The visualization “is the place to work when you wish to develop your fortunes.” (Rankine and d’Este 148)
While this might work for some people, the closest I get to getting into more ceremonial magicks like that type of Qabalah is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. The LBRP is a Golden Dawn ritual which “utilizes the symbol of the Pentagram as a general means to banish and invoke the elemental forces,” according to The Sanctuary of Maat Order of the Golden Dawn. I won’t describe it here, but I will link to this pdf (see “Exploring Further”). Mostly I used it as a guided meditation and Ryan, who introduced me to it, was kind enough to write it down (above) and include a map to the directions in our bedroom because I have all the directional sense of a broken compass.
That said, I have trouble keeping my mind empty when I meditate so I do find simple visualization useful. I recently made one up that I find very helpful. It’s a little strange so bear with me. I lie on my back and imagine with each inhale and exhale part of my body opens up like a compartment on a robot. I start by opening the tops of my feet, my legs, my hips, my hands, arms, shoulders, torso, neck, and head until I reach the top of my head and then I start down the back of my body. When everything is open, I inhale and exhale for a few minutes, imagining I’m airing everything out. Then I close everything up going in reverse order. I find this a relaxing five to ten minute exercise.
When I do magick, I do similarly simple workings. Either I use a small ritual like making a sigil or when I’m stressing about something I can’t physically fix, (ie. Did I remember to put something away at work?) I do a semi-meditation that involves chanting in my head (Yes, I put it away.) and visualizing me doing what I’m chanting until it clicks in my head and the worry fades.
Do you have a favorite meditation or visualization? If you have any you’d like to share with me, I’d love to hear them.