The Bookworm Is In Her Mind: Magick and Meditation

The Bookworm Is In Her Mind: Meditation and Magick

Welcome to the Bookworm newsletter! This month’s topic was suggested by my lovely partner Ryan.

I would love any and all feedback so feel free to reply to this email or contact me at my preferred internet lurking places down at the bottom. If you know about some resources I’ve missed, please feel free to send your suggestions along.

Meditating on Magick
or
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.

Exploring Further

On Topic

Practical Qabalah Magick by David Rankine and Sorita d’Este– I’ve recommended this book before, but if you need very specific visualization exercises, boy has this book got it.

Supermarket Magic by Michael Furie– Also a previous recommendation, but for witchcraft, the basics chapter in the book is one of my favorites so far. He has a nice section on meditation in there as well.

This article on dealing with resistance in meditation is helpful and compassionate. This site has a lot meditation resources as well.

Here’s a neater version of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram pictured above from The Sanctuary of Maat Order of the Golden Dawn.

Off Topic

A Good Time for the Truth: Race In Minnesota ed by Sun Yung Shin– Race in Minnesota is a weird thing for someone who grew up in the melting pot of Los Angeles. This book of essays, written by very diverse and talented authors, helped me understand the dynamics at work.

Hold Me by Courtney Milan– An addictive, diverse, enemies to lovers romance that features a trans heroine in a plot that doesn’t revolve around her trans status. It’s the second in a series, but I read it as a standalone and was not lost. 

Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies by bell hooks– Though written in the mid-nineties, this collection of dense movie reviews is still relevant. The films hooks reviews are broken down in terms of racial and feminist representation, and if you’ve ever questioned why representation is such an issue, read this book. If you want to learn more about feminism, read hook’s Feminism Is For Everyone.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang– An adorable, but emotionally potent romance about a woman with autism and the male escort she hires to teach her how to be better at sex.

Love Imagined: A Mixed Race Memoir by Sherry Quan Lee– This poetic memoir of being the daughter of a mother who passes and denies her blackness packs a punch (and some serious trigger warnings including rape). It defies a lot of memoir conventions and formats and mostly succeeds. The content is worth wading through some of the more questionable formatting issues (ie. handwritten letters that are nearly impossible to read.)

Oh Joy Sex Toy– I got a pretty comprehensive sex ed class (thanks Mr. Jablonski!), but there’s only so much a 12- and 14-year-old wants to hear, especially when she’s uncomfortable enough to only write ‘sex’ in tiny letters. The webcomic Oh Joy Sex Toy is the positive sex education everyone should have. Though primarily sex toy reviews, there are a lot of strips on various kinds of sex, masturbation, genitals, and infections/STDs that are really useful. Plus it’s all written and illustrated in an inclusive, compassionate, and funny way.

Looking for me? I’m lurking around FacebookTwitter, my website, and now my Goodreads Author Page.

My Twitter stories The Blind Leading The Blind and Singing To Success are currently running on the Everyst app.

I recently started reviewing for IndieReader. My first published review of A Dude’s Guide to Surviving His Wedding is now up.

Additionally, you can read my articles on music and culture in TUBE. Magazine including my recent interview with music engineer and musician Patrick Hills and my blurbs about some amazing artists including Gina Nelson and Cryo.

This Saturday the next edition of the Bookworm is going out to my subscribers. If you’re interested in getting this newsletter as it releases or you just really want to learn about sigils, subscribe here.

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