The past five (5) weeks (10, if you incorporated the Magickally Human posts!) have taken us on a journey looking more closely at the interplay between our physical senses and their effects on our spiritual work. We engage and overlap the specific senses continually as we move through our daily routines, but more especially we call into presence all of our senses when we engage in ritual, meditation, prayer, healing, energetic practice and any other endeavor that has requirement of stimulating our subtle selves into a pattern of growth.
In repeating the passage that I used to open the last post of auditory sensation I am going to add a few other components to call your attention to:
…. You close your eyes, shutting out the distraction of outer visual stimuli and you breathe deeply feeling the sensation of air passing through nostril and into lungs as you are guided into the meditation of grounding; preparing and anchoring yourself in anticipation of entering sacred space. Feeling centered and readied, you open your eyes now seeing with enhanced sight the space around you and move towards the entryway. Breathing deeply you draw the fragrance of pungent incense into your nostrils and a foreign taste moves subtly over your tongue, giving hint as to the richness of this scent. You dip your finger into a small bowl of salt water that has been charged for the purpose and intent of connecting you more deeply to the elements and internally note the coolness of the water and the feeling of gritty roughened salt as you anoint your third eye, lips and throat. You step forward and cross the threshold of ritual space and pass between two drums placed on either side of you echoing the rhythm of your heartbeat. The sound moves through the space of physical ear and awakens the paths of pranic circuit that lay within the subtle fields of your being. A rush of energy moves through you and you immediately feel the core of your center respond in resonance. Vibration of rhythm and tone courses through the neural channels and every cell is enlivened by the changes taking place in you as heartbeat picks up the pace in excited anticipation of what will transpire. The call has been sounded and with focus and intent you have answered what ear has captured. Boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom; each dual strike syncopating the placement of one foot in front of the other carrying you into the space of magick and arriving through the Gates of Sound, Sight, Smell, Touch and Taste.
As you step into what will become sacred space, you take in the sight of decorated altars and carefully selected and placed ritual tools. You move around a circle of space coming to rest where you will in the order of all ho are in attendance. You look around the circle at others who are eager for the magick to begin and feel the stirrings of energetic quickening from each as the atmosphere changes in quality and feel. All of your senses are heightened in this space of “betweeness” and each will support the other in crafting the memory of this celebration and the physical effects it stirred to be carried into your manifest daily world…..
The experience above is one that can be felt in group or solitary working. It is solely generated by our own sensorial responses and even if the physical stimuli are not present it is an easy enough task to conjure something similar that will give same response. This is the task of using the senses in spiritual matters. Memories are stored and connections established at the levels of our subtle bodies and subconscious mind and calling them to the foreground as needed to accomplish whatever the goal may be becomes another tool of our own making.
Moving through the senses as a whole I offer the reminder of what role each may play. The sense of Smell is vastly underused, yet one that is profound in providing the bridge for re-awakening past experience that may be used in the present time. A simple way to train this action is to use the same incense every time you sit in meditation. Do this for a period of a month. Then, burn the incense at another random time, say when you first arrive at home or if you want to really test this theory, when you are feeling most agitated. As soon as the aroma hits your nostrils, you will be transported back to the space in which you normally smell this scent. You will immediately recall the space of meditation, relaxation and contemplation and perhaps even the visual surroundings (if you use the same space regularly) will flash in your mind’s eye. You’ve just revived a memory and crafted a visual to go with it!
And, what about this visual? Sight makes an indelible imprint on our memory. Even the least practiced in visualization call describe in detail a singular experience that deeply influenced them. Unfortunately, there is no determiner as to whether it will be positive or negative in nature of the experience, but with practice, the details will become more vibrant and the memories more palpable in evoking emotion. Visualization is the first step towards manifestation. The great inventors saw in their mindscape what could be and eventually that image became the stuff of concrete reality and something you could physically touch (in some way).
Getting physical in regards to spiritual work is what fuels the desire towards continuation. The physical action of chanting, drumming, sitting in meditating, laying on of healing hands, preparing a ritual space, purifying, wielding magickal tools, etc.. is our preliminary contact with what is untouchable (note I did not say unrecognizable). Holding the hilt of our athame as we cast a circle, gives the correct tactile stimulation to trigger the response of directing energy through its blade. Sitting as we prepare to meditate signals to our physical body that action will now be internalized and awakens the consciousness to limited distraction of unnecessary movement. Using hands to lovingly prepare a meal or food to used in ritual activates the palate in anticipation of what may be tasted.
If it tastes good eat it! The sharing of cakes and ale as a tool for grounding and return to the sensation of the earthy realm primes the memory of community and what called that community into gathering. The tastes that sit at the back of the throat as the endocrine system stimulates the subtle senses (often metallic in taste) signal a breakthrough in spiritual practice.
And, what we hear by way of vibration through word, breath, sound and more becomes the whispers of guidance and echoes of all the layers and levels of experiences that evoked that guidance that we fervently seek in the silence of spiritual practice. When we are consciously engaging all of our senses we are committing to being fully present and intent-filled in our spiritual work.
I gave this example in the companion Magickally Human post and it is worth repeating here…
…Living fully present means engaging all of the senses in all of your endeavors; even if this is not a pleasant process. Changing a baby’s diaper is not always a pleasant olfactory (smell) experience, but the love and tender care you are offering overrides this. The other consideration is that when you are familiar with the normal smell associated with this task, anything out of the ordinary can give you a heads up on an upcoming illness and the need to seek medical attention…
The Sensation of Ritual
In concluding this series, I finish with the visionary experience that is the completion of the ritual engagement of our senses at the start of this post. Fill in the blanks yourself and as you read through it, open yourself to experiencing the words, not only through sight, but imagine all of your senses fully engaged.
We cross the threshold of Sacred Space as we chant calling forth the energy of what will be the magick of our working. Deep bellows of sound echo reverberating against wall or tree and we are now bathed in the quality of its vibration and the potency of its rhythm.
The words of the invocation spill out from throat and heart, Will infusing them with the command to be present and to aid the celebration. Each syllable produces its own state of resonance and each word holds mystery of a numeric calling that awakens all who attend to its transformative energies. Quarter energies flow through container of power and Deity leaves its imprint on all that it touches.
Drums beat out syncopated rhythm, rattles provoke and stimulate energetic pattern into acquiescence. Bodies move and respond in due course and streams of light and energy coil like serpents through and around the space of magick weaving their tapestry that will become the mantle of our making.
Sound rises from throat and body taps out the path that flows cyclic in nature of release and return. All is primed and readied for release of desire as Will forms it composition crafted by mind, heart and will. Energy peaks and thought is carried on winds of change breathed out from enlivened sound in anticipation of drawing what is desired in magnetic attraction.
All that is heard is the profound silence of sound that is breath, heart beat and gentle sway of foot on floor or ground. The sound arises majestic as thoughtform takes shape and creative act of manifestation waits for final calling. What is birthed in the energetic stamp of the silence is the sound of universal and cosmic response. We breathe into its essence drawing into lung and physical body the enlivened matter that will feed and sustain subtle shape and form.
Voice of thanks and bidding Hail and Farewell breaks the mystical silence and once again the space of sacred intent is restored to mundane structure as we process out leaving trail of sound and vibration, a chant of completion joyously released to enliven all who step into its magick.
Engaging ALL of the Senses- By Design
End Note About This Series:
I hope you have enjoyed this exploration of the Senses and have gained some deeper insight on how to enhance and actively use them. Be sure to take a look at the collaborative posts in The Magickally Human Blog. As always, I welcome comments and suggestions about how I could have made this series more information.
Join me in Late-August for a new series:
An exploration of energy and the practices that support and enliven our spiritual/magickal work