The Healing Temple

magickal-paths

We will begin the next series this week. To get you started, please enjoy my article and pathworking featured on WitchVox this week…

Healing is a topic that comes up frequently as request for magickal working. And, as magickal workers we employ a variety of techniques to answer this call to service and help. Sometimes, it is not quite as easy to rally for ourselves or to even recognize what type of healing we need. You see another in need and can extract the information needed to be of help and narrow down what sort of options, both magickal (and, at times medically) the individual may benefit from. When it comes to our own needs assessment, there is the tendency to under or over play the nature of the situation and if not fully engaged in intention that is clear and objective, we wonder why our best efforts fail to produce the results we are hoping for…..

Read the Complete article and pathworking on WitchVox:

Creating a Healing Temple

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Delays in Writing!

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Hi Everyone… Thank you for following my blog. As time will have it, back to college, new job interview and a move back home for one of our kids has soaked up all of my writing time these past few weeks.

I will be caught up with everything by mid-month, and back to posting regularly.

Good luck to everyone with back to school and end of summer duties!

Blessings… Robin

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Sensing the Subtleties in ALL of Their Expression

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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.

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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.

Blessed Be!

Companion Post:
Magickally Human
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:

Magickal Alignment

holy_union_by_ap0str03An exploration of energy and the practices that support and enliven our spiritual/magickal work

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Sensing the Subtleties: Part Five

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Hearing (Auditory)

You breathe deeply into the meditation of grounding; preparing and anchoring yourself in anticipation of entering sacred space. 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.

Just as the eyes are often considered to be the “Doorways to the Soul”, the ears could be said to be the keys to open the sound of Life, Light and the Universe. Sound (through the modality of hearing) is the one of the byproducts and components of the energy that surrounds and gives form to all that it surrounds. Color (through the use of sight) is produced also through the varied levels of vibration. Our physical being is composed of light, color and each has their own body note or tone. It is the resonance or discord of one’s body note with another’s that can create either harmony or tension with that individual.

In esoteric and spiritual practice, the sensation of hearing allows us to engage with the vibratory patterns that are continually surrounding us in a responsive way. We hear the sounds that place us in a contemplative state. We hear the sounds that bring us to a space of the ecstatic. We hear the words spoken in love, devotion, anger and fear and we immediately react in accord with how those sounds have stirred our energetic flow. Hearing clearly brings us to a state of understanding and holding the space of silence allows the Divine flow of vibration to move through us as we hear the sounds of the Universe.

Calling All Babies
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“Although a concentric series of barriers buffer the fetus from the outside world–amniotic fluid, embryonic membranes, uterus, and the maternal abdomen–the fetus lives in a stimulating matrix of sound, vibration, and motion. Many studies now confirm that voices reach the womb, rather than being overwhelmed by the background noise created by the mother and placenta. Intonation patterns of pitch, stress, and rhythm, as well as music, reach the fetus without significant distortion. A mother’s voice is particularly powerful because it is transmitted to the womb through her own body reaching the fetus in a stronger form than outside sounds. ….reactive listening begins eight weeks before the ear is structurally complete at about 24 weeks. These findings indicate the complexity of hearing, lending support to the idea that receptive hearing begins with the skin and skeletal framework, skin being a multireceptor organ integrating input from vibrations, thermo receptors, and pain receptors. This primal listening system is then amplified with vestibular and cochlear information as it becomes available. With responsive listening proven at 16 weeks, hearing is clearly a major information channel operating for about 24 weeks before birth.” Birth Psychology: The Fetal Senses

Scientific research has proven that hearing is one of the senses that develops first in a fetus as new life grows within the Mother’s womb. As soon to be parents, we are encouraged to talk to, play music for and generally maintain a soothing auditory environment for our baby while in utero. The interesting aspect to this is that the growing fetus is still nearest to the original state of being an infinite life force of cells and energy before this new life is brought into the physical manifest world. Why then would we not imagine that sound (as vibration) plays an instrumental part in spiritual practice and has the potential of allowing us to re-member that state of vibrational being?

Read More Hear (not a typo !)…

Unborn babies are hearing you, loud and clear by Meghan Holohan (NBC News)

Chants and Music

Music and the organized patterns and structure of tones and sound have always been key components in spiritual practice. Even in the practice of silence, there is inherently a “sound”, albeit inaudible that is produced. It is for this reason that certain chants and certain forms of music have been used continually.

Seed Sounds and Bija’s
Mantra(m)

def. A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god, a magic spell, or a syllable or portion of scripture containing mystical potentialities.

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A saying from the Vedas claims that “Speech is the essence of humanity.” All of what humanity thinks and ultimately becomes is determined by the expression of ideas and actions through speech and its derivative, writing. Everything, the Vedas maintain, comes into being through speech. Ideas remain un-actualized until they are created through the power of speech. Similarly, The New Testament, Gospel of John, starts “In the beginning was The Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God…” In mainstream Vedic practices, most Buddhist techniques and classical Hinduism, mantra is viewed as a necessity for spiritual advancement and high attainment.

Mantras catalyze a powerful vibration which corresponds to both a specific spiritual energy frequency and a state of consciousness in seed form. Over time, the mantra process begins to override all of the other smaller vibrations, which eventually become absorbed by the mantra. After a length of time, which varies from individual to individual, the great wave of the mantra stills all other vibrations. Ultimately, the mantra produces a state where the organism vibrates at the rate completely in tune with the energy and spiritual state represented by and contained within the mantra.

At this point, a change of being occurs in the organism. The organism becomes subtly different. The general effect is one of resonance; where the vibration of the practitioner moves in accord with the varying vibratory energies surrounding him/her; thus gaining access to more refined realms of consciousness.

A widely used Tibetan Mantram is:

This mantra is spoken aloud or silently to invoke the blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

Om Mani Padme Hum
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“The mantra Om Mani Pädme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Päd, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.”

Read More Here:
The Meaning of the Mantra in Tibetan Buddhism

 

The Sacred Sound of the Universe

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Another of the most widely used chants or mantrams is that of “OM”. It is in fact so widely used that many spiritual paths consider this seed sound to contain all the resonance of the universe in in stages of creation. Composed of three sounds- A, U, M its vibrational structure is transformative to the individual as well; changing and refining the energetic pattern of those who consciously and routinely chant it. Continued and sustained toning of “OM” regulates the breathing patterns and once attunement to the vibrations of the sound is achieved, the sound, the practitioner and the surroundings all become one- breathing and toning in union. In our coven practice we routinely tone Om as the final expression of the working we have set into motion. It is a way of sending this energy out into the greater Universe to be acted upon and realized. Try toning “OM” as you sit in meditative practice and allow its energy to move through you calming and joining in resonance all parts of the self.

The Shaman’s Drum
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Shamanic drumming uses a repetitive rhythm that begins slowly and then gradually builds in intensity to a tempo of three to seven beats per second. The ascending tempo will induce light to deep trance states, and facilitate the shamanic techniques of journeying, shapeshifting, and divination. Practitioners may progress through a series of trance states until they reach the level that is necessary for healing to occur. When ready to exit the trance state, the practitioner simply slows the tempo of drumming, drawing consciousness back to normal. Shamanic drumming continues to offer today what it has offered for thousands of years: namely, a simple and effective technique of ecstasy.

According to Jim Ewing, Reiki Master and Elder of the Southern Cherokee Tribe…

Inducing Meditative States with Sound

“Of course, the ability of sound to induce meditative states was well known thousands of years ago to ancient Hindu and Buddhist cultures, which used rhythmic chanting, singing bowls, finger chimes and other methods to transcend ordinary consciousness, as well. Drumming, by combining the vibrational tones of meditation and the 180-cycles-per-second beat approximating the base resonant frequency of the Earth itself, thus, becomes not only a powerful meditation tool, but a way to tap into our psychic inner ability to travel over vast distances, effect cures, and know — and affect — the future.

The physiological effects of sound, particularly regarding altered states, have also been well documented, shown to produce alpha, beta, and theta (psychic) states in the brain.” 1.

You can read more about the effects of Sound on Healing in:

Mitchell L. Gaynor, M.D., Sounds of Healing: A Physician Reveals the Therapeutic Power of Sound, Voice and Music, Broadway Books; New York; 1999).

The effects of sound in producing altered states has been researched and documented in countless publications. For those of you who want the research, check out this pdf:

Altered States During Shamanic Drumming: A Phenomenological Study by Anette Kjellgren & Anders Eriksson. University of Karlstad. Karlstad, Sweden

The Science Behind the Spiritual Groove

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One of my favorite Sound Healers is Tom Kenyon. I have used his sounding materials for many years now and can attest to the transformative nature of sound used in a very specific way to stimulate the brain. His work is extensive and the scientific basis for all of his subsequent spiritual work comes from his practice as a Psychotherapist and founder of the Acoustic Brain Research group. Please take the time to visit this site and review the information for a more in depth perspective of the potential held simply in the ability to hear…..     Acoustic Brain Research

The Sounds of Ritual
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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.

The above is my experience of sound flowing through ritual. We carefully select the appropriate chants to raise the needed energy and thought and care is given not only to the words, but the rhythm and emotional response that will be evoked to stimulate the flow of energy. Sound in all of its forms, from the resonance of foot on carpet (floor or ground) to the overt sounds of chanting and drumming. The sound of air moving through lungs and the co-mingling of that breath within a space primed for magick contributes to the signature of sound within ritual space.

Rhythm and repetition also play a vital role in maintaining this shift for long enough that the body can attune itself physiologically. This is the reason why most effective rituals make use of chants that repeat and continue for long periods of time. This is also why the quality of your singing voice is of no matter. It is the intent and once you get beyond the performance jitters, the word, whether sung or spoken becomes the sound of great power, infused by the flow of breath and air and fired by the will of intent all brought to a cohesive and dynamic form of sound vibration. This is the principle of the mantra used in Eastern practice. Setting into motion a specific pattern of vibration that unlocks

Opening to Hearing the Sounds of In the Pause Between

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I have for many years now used sound as a tool of choice in many of my workshops. I have tested its efficacy and effect for myself and have had confirmation by those attending regarding the shift in the room’s energy and their personal state of readiness as a singing bowl or drum was being played. Hearing the sound of a bell rung or the singing bowl sets the tone for the class and opens the participant to a deeper level of hearing the information to be shared. Some of this sound is structured as formal music, but most is reliant on the tones and rate of vibration of those individual notes in shifting consciousness and subtle body response.

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A singing bowl will generally elevate the vibratory rate being higher in pitch and more ephemeral in quality of tone. Using the drum draws the energy in the earth and the space of long notes of reverberation. Rattles tend to agitate or stir the vibrations and energize. I have a sistrum that I particularly like to use and although to some it is very annoying the original intent of this Egyptian instrument was to clear the space of stagnant and cloying energy. The sound is much like a shortened syncopation of a tambourine.

And, the sound of simply breathing can produce the same effects as any other instrument. Listening to the inspiration and exhalation as air passes through nose and fills the lungs; the pause of silent hold before the woosh of exhale and gentle pause of respite before the next cycle begins is the music of life. Repeating this pattern, as is done in most meditative practices to begin, sets up a specific pattern of vibration that gently fades into the background of our hearing as we enter our own inner domain. You can practice this type of hearing using a Four-Fold Breath exercise.

Journey of the Senses

Amp It Up!

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This is an exercise meant to heighten your awareness of the subtle (and not so subtle) sounds of sacred space. This could be your space of meditation, a ritual you are attending or any space that you routinely perform your magick and spiritual work in. If you attend a Yoga class, this is a great exercise to employ since breath and the movement of joint and muscle make wonderful sounds as they support the physical work. If there is a ritual you have access to attend, make note of how sound has been woven into the ritual. Afterwards, journal the highlights of what you remember and how you felt as you experienced and participated in its creation.

You may also do this as part of a meditative session. This space is in essence your sacred space and offer up the intent to become aware of the effects and dynamics experienced as you chant, breathe and move into your meditation. Take into account the sounds made as you prepare; meaning the sound of you sitting down, any candles or other tools that you may place as part of setting up the space; the lighting of a candle or any other.

Awareness of the impact of sound in our ritual and sacred experience opens new pathways of energetic resonance and exploration. Learning to breathe deeply into these new inroads and expanding them as needed also brings a heightened awareness of your own place as vibration of sound within the framework of sacred structure. You are part of the structure created and also distinctly unique in your own energetic signature of contributing sound to it.

Articles:
1. Shamanic Drumming: A Form of Prayer by Jim Ewing

Resources

Reading:

Color and Music in the New Age by Corrine Heline
The Mystery of the Seven Vowels by Joscelyn Godwin
Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde by Joscelyn Godwin
Music, Mysticism and Magic: A Sourcebook by Joscelyn Godwin
The Spiritual Dimensions of Music: Altering Consciousness for Inner Development by R. J. Stewart

Other:

The Music of Language: Words are Energy
A wonderful article from the Daily Om

Sound Healing/Shamans and More:

Tom Kenyon, Scientist, Sound Healer and Shaman

Michael Harner, Anthropologist and Shaman

Sandra Ingerman, Shaman

Music To Inspire the Spirit

The Planets by Holst
The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivladi
Hidden Sky by Jami Sieber
Lush Mechanique by Jami Sieber
Kiva by Steve Roach and Mchael Sterns
Serpent’s Lair by Steve Roach and Byron Metcalf
A Warning From the Elders by Byron Metcalf
Anything by Loreena McKennitt

Music Attuned to the Equinoxes and the Solstices

Spring Equinox
Handel’s Messiah
Wagner’s Parsifal

Summer Solstice
Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
Wagner’s Die Der Meistersinger

Autumn Equinox
Bach’s Passion of Saint Matthew
Wagner’s Tannbauser

Winter Solstice
Schubert’s Ave Maria
Wagner’s Lohengrin

Companion Post:

Magickally Human
Engaging the Senses: The Sense of Hearing

About this Series:

Our spiritual work relies on our physical and subtle states of being working co-creatively and collaboratively. We engage the senses in this work continually, but rarely give equal importance to them all. The sense of sight is commanded into presence through practice of visualization techniques. Sound is stimulated with drumming, chanting and toning. Touch is engaged as we handle tools, light candles, and more. The sense of taste is only accessed as a means of grounding with cakes and ale. And, we are alerted to awareness and being fully present in ritual space or meditative practice as the heady scent of incense and oils purify and set the stage for the work at hand. There will be collaborative posts speaking to the Physical experience of each of the senses in the Magickally Human Blog.

Next Post:
Sensing the Subtleties in ALL of Their Expression
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Sensing the Subtleties: Part Four

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Taste (Gustatory)

In esoteric and spiritual practice, the use of taste brings us to a place of harmony with the natural world. If we make healthy choices those foods we eat honor the earth and her bounty. In ritual, the blessing and consumption of cakes and ale, signal to the consciousness that return to the mundane world is at hand. Foods and drink given as offerings or libations to Deity are expressions of our gratitude and devotion. And, in specific spiritual practice, certain taste sensations that occur during meditative work can signal transformative changes that are occurring in the physiologic state. Those who practice certain breathing protocol that incrementally open the senses at physical and subtle levels often report a metallic taste in the back of the throat after a particularly deep experience. Scientists, who have weighed in on this sensation attribute it to a detoxification that has been stimulated by the change in brain patterns (commonly occurring in altered states).

Our sensation of taste keeps us healthy and adds to the enjoyment of having a physical body which is used to explore and enjoy this world. The spiritual and physical sensation of taste are intrinsically connected as anyone who is a foodie will attest; with food being a spiritual experience of bliss as it satisfies the needs of the physical to explore the gastronomic delights.

Cakes and Ale

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A favorite component of many pagan rituals is that of the sharing of ‘Cakes and Ale” and the offering of blessing of “May you never hunger” or “May you never thirst”. This simple act of sharing food and drink brings the participants back into a state of being grounded and re-connection with the physical body and earth after rising on the planes of sacred work. The cakes and ale are blessed (often by those representing God and Goddess, or priest and priestess) and given in love and perfect trust.

Food as the Spirit of Celebration

“Throughout the ages, food has been a part of human celebrations, life passages and holidays. We seasonally rejoice in different foods each time of the year and there have been entire festivities dedicated to each harvest.”
Read more here: The Ritual and Celebration of Food by Gina Citoli

We see similar spiritual communal sharings in the taking of the Holy Communion or Eucharist in the Christian practices. The wafer represents the body of Christ and the Wine the blood; thus making the arcane sacred and the sacred the fuel of the arcane.

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Throughout all spiritual practices we see the breaking of bread, sharing of food and drink or offering of special foods as a way to honor the individual, the divinity within that individual and the space of their connection to the Divine.

The Care and Feeding of the Temple

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Image-Artist: David Ho

We eat not only to sustain our life, but also to feed the physical body that is our earthly vessel. To be most effective in our spiritual work, we must be (w)holistically balanced in body, mind and spirit. This concept is the basis of a dedicated Yoga practice. In its truest form this path of spirituality embodies not only the Hatha (physical exercise) component but incorporates the attention given to the foods ingested, the practice of meditation, the work of service performed and more.

Any who have an energetic practice (Kundalini, energy healing, etc..) know how important it is to replenish and feed the body foods that are nourishing and renewing. This is not to say that you have to be on a vegetarian diet or no sugars/alcohol allowed. What is important is that you are fueling your body primarily with those foods that are supportive and the occasional indulgence of a dessert, drink or other treat is part of a general state of temperance and balance.

The other aspect of this practice is that of giving thanks for what we eat. Acknowledging that our food is sacred and thanking the source that provided it. This is the act of envisioning the food as vibrant with energy and life that resonates with the vibrant and living energy that makes up our physical and subtle bodies. When we honor our bodies with the choices of food we make we are honoring ourselves as a Temple of the Sacred.

Arousing Aroma
(excerpted from companion post at Magickally Human)

AromaMagickalHuman

What’s the connection between smell and taste?

Most of your sense of taste is really about your sense of smell. Do you think that the spaghetti and meatballs you’re eating taste delicious? Much of the reason is because you like their smell. In fact, you’re doing a lot of sniffing. Not only are you smelling before you take a bite, but while you are chewing, odor molecules from the ground-up food inside your mouth float upwards taking that remarkable smell journey.

And, finally, we arrive at the place where the “nose knows”. Wine, cheese and coffee tasters as know of the pleasure and benefits of having an accurately and healthily working sense of smell. The first line of test before something enters your mouth for tasting is how it smells. You can often discern whether what is cooking will be bursting with flavor and taste just as good as it smells as you are walking through the door at dinner time.

Place this connective experience in the setting of a ritual or contemplative meditation and you have a recipe for re-creating and re-membering the effects of sacred space. The smell of incense and the giving of cakes and ale create indelible memories in the mind’s eye. Using the same incense or making offering to Deity of the same cake and/ale takes you back to the power of transformation.

The Tasteful Memory of the Moment

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“ I remember sitting here on a day just like this six months ago. I was sitting alone and enjoying a cup of my favorite drink, hot chocolate. I was thinking about how it had been an ordinary day and that nothing extraordinary was ever going to happen. The mug was warm in my hands and I lowered my eyes to take a sip when the cup was abruptly knocked from my hand. Hot chocolate spilled over my freshly cleaned white blouse and at first I was too startled to see who had caused the disruption. I looked up, ready to launch a series of tirades at the one who caused this. And, then I saw your beautiful blue eyes that were liquid pools of deep oceans looking at me so apologetic and embarrassed. There was a reassuring gentleness in them and I melted as you stared into mine. We held our gaze for what seemed eternity and then both burst into laughter at the sight of hot chocolate everywhere. You offered your jacket to me and promised to pay for the cleaning of my white blouse. You offered to buy me another cup of hot chocolate, but only if I would stay and let me join you. And, as you lovingly wrapped me in the warmth of it and your wonderful smell I knew this was the beginning of a long relationship…”

As we become more discerning in what we place in our bodies, the taste associated with those foods heightens and becomes the stores of memory of a space of gratitude and space of satisfaction. Taste holds the key to recalling those moments in your life that often become the touchstones of change and growth. The memory of a favorite food and the love associated with its preparation become the holographic image projected with the first bite of that food again. We can use this sense to bring us immediately into the time and setting that was at hand when we first experienced this food.

Journey of the Senses

Down Memory Lane

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This is a simple exercise meant to heighten your awareness of the connection between taste and memory. You will follow the same protocol for three days, selecting a different food for each that you have had before and associate with a specific memory.

Day One: Select a food that you strongly associate a pleasant memory with.

Day Two: Select a food that you strongly associate a negative memory with.

Day Three: Select a food that you would like to hold the memory of an experience you create while in contemplative space.

Begin each session sitting in a space where you will not be disturbed. Take a few deep and cleansing breaths to relax and center yourself. Pick up a piece of the food and with your eyes closed slowly chew it, savoring each bite. Become aware of the taste and texture of the food. Take another bite and now open your inner visioning to recalling the memory that is the focus for this tasting. Again, chew the food slowly, engaging all of your senses in this process. Finish the food and allow the memories to move through you.

When you feel complete in the experience spend some time recording your experience in a journal. Use the same protocol with the other two memory foods. When you have completed the cycle, read through what you have written. This information can be used to actively create specific memories with food.

Resources:

Taste, Memory: Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter by David Buchanan and Gary Paul Nabhan

Food As Medicine: How to Use Diet, Vitamins, Juices, and Herbs for a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life by M.D. Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D.

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh and Lilian Cheung

Companion Post:
Magickally Human
Engaging the Senses: The Sense of Taste

About this Series:

Our spiritual work relies on our physical and subtle states of being working co-creatively and collaboratively. We engage the senses in this work continually, but rarely give equal importance to them all. The sense of sight is commanded into presence through practice of visualization techniques. Sound is stimulated with drumming, chanting and toning. Touch is engaged as we handle tools, light candles, and more. The sense of taste is only accessed as a means of grounding with cakes and ale. And, we are alerted to awareness and being fully present in ritual space or meditative practice as the heady scent of incense and oils purify and set the stage for the work at hand. There will be collaborative posts speaking to the Physical experience of each of the senses in the Magickally Human Blog.

Next Post:

Sensing the Subtleties
The Sense of Hearing (Auditory)

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Exciting News from Robin!

I am happy to share with you some exciting news about some articles that have been published and new blogs launched!

Circle Magazine– Current Issue 117- “Re(de)fining Your Magickal Practice”
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Available at Circle Sanctuary online or local bookstores

 

Sage Woman Magazine– Issue 86- Review of The Dreaming Girl Tarot
Shipping Soon! Available at BBI Media online or local bookstores

 

The Portal Magazine, UK – Summer Solstice 2014- Issue 6- ” Me,Myself and I-Developing the Magickal SELF”

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Available here: The Portal

and if you’ve not already checked out the Solstice article and poem available on WitchVox– “Mother’s Flowering-The Summer Solstice”

 

New Blogs:

Magickally Human

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Exploring all that it means to be human and the magick of that gift in spiritual work. We are currently exploring the gifts of the senses with companion posts in The Sacred Vessel

 

A Witch’s Sacred Journey

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A blog of experience on the Path of the Witch. We are currently taking the first steps with A Year and A Day on the Witch’s Path online course.

 

The Sacred Literary

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Suggested readings and discussion of select books. We are currently exploring the Hermetic text, The Kybalion by the Three Initiates.

Ongoing:

Womb of Light- The Alchemy of the Goddess at Sage Woman Blogs
Currently writing a series of articles about the Nine Muses

Temple of the Cosmic Spheres
We are currently exploring the Temple of the Sun and Solar Year just transiting into the astrological sign of Cancer

The Enchanted Gate
Photos and poems of the Natural world
And, as always, I welcome comments and suggestion about to better serve our community with writings, content and posts.  Have a blessed day!…Robin 

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Sensing the Subtleties: Part Three

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Touch (Somatic Sensory)

In esoteric and spiritual practice, the use of touch is closely connected to the principles of vibration and rhythm. A pebble dropped in a pool of water sets off a visible series of vibration. A hand reaching out to touch another, although emitting no sound (something we usually connect with vibration) sets off a series of vibratory responses. Everything that is composed of energy emits a specific rhythm of vibration. When in the process of touching something, the two fields of each independent source come in contact with one another. Even in the gentlest of touches the energetic field that surrounds the recipient of that touch will respond.

The Principle of Vibration

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Ripples of sound
Waves of form
Hovering-undulating
Shaken to the Core
Stirred, quickened and stimulated
By the Cosmic touch.

Grid of matter- interwoven and formed
By friction, movement- displacement
Whose resonance gathers the discord
Of harmony back into itself.

The chord is struck and its echo
In frenzied activity darts here and there
Reverberating in a cavernous chamber
Nautilus-like paths guiding the
Arcing trajectory of unrelenting motion.

All appears silent and still of form
Until microscopic probes of light and energy
Reveal the seeming chaos of matter
Each moving in concert with the other
Creating the illusion of solidity and
Opaqueness of Light.

The chord is struck again
And all play a game of musical chairs
Each rushing hurriedly to claim a new
Crevice, pocket or fold in the web of time
Reshaping and reforming.

Re-creating the illusory mask of
A calm sea in a field of matter
Pointing towards the horizon
Of emboldened manifestation.

The Kybalion states that:

Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.

This principle states that all of form is in a constant state of movement. Inertia is the non-movement form that remains vibration of a sort, nonetheless. Resonating with similar patterns of vibration attunes us to the subtleties held in each increment of dynamic. Vibration produces sound. Sound permeates our worlds. And it is the vibration of a sound that we respond to physically, energetically and etherically. Our breath and the subtlest of our movements disrupt the waves of vibration surrounding us as it sets into motion its own pattern of vibration.

The Principle of Rhythm

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1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3
The metronome strikes out the beat
The perfection of rhythm
The movement of feet.

Release and contraction
As above, so below
Measure upon measure
synchronicity and flow.

The silent strings that are plucked
~ lips moving in rhythm~
Sound with not a single word and
The pause carefully paced between breath.

The call of Will to action
That with physical ears is not heard
Still moves in crescendo and climax
Inspiration created in the womb of exhale.
Limitless space at its birthing
Spirit of humanity extending
And moving beyond its SELF
To part the veil that holds time.

The Kybalion states that:

Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides;
all things rise and fall;
the pendulum-swing manifests in everything;
the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates.

I see this as the companion to vibration and to some degree a subset of the Principle of Correspondence. Rhythm provides the container or boundaries (or the lacking there of) and vibration provides the quantifier or needed disruption to produce the resultant cyclical rhythm. Expansion requires a state of contraction (as the necessary point of tension) to enable it to expand anew. Either state if held too long, would result in over compensation of the other, causing a new cycle of rhythm to be established. Stillness or inertness is simply an illusion; which relates back to the connection to the Principle of Vibration once again. The illusion is that of non-movement, which although it may appear unable to be measured is a lower and longer wave of motion or rhythm that may not be perceptible unless we are in resonance with its rate of vibration.

For more about the Hermetic Principles (aka The Universal Laws) check out our current book study, The Kybalion at The Sacred Literary blog.

Ephemeral Touch

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These are the principles that explain the energy that is felt when holding a specific type of crystal, magickal tool or even holding a book that has been infused with the reader’s energies. These are the laws that govern the response of touch when placed upon flesh or any other object of focus. When an energetically charged amulet is put on and comes into contact with the skin of the wearer it sends a signal of vibratory response that triggers a specific mind-set or rhythmic mental wave pattern that is released towards the work at hand. As we sit in devotion and the energetic presence of the Deity, guide or other being we wish to connect with fills sacred space, we often respond by getting goosebumbs or feeling the sensation of hot or cold across our skin.

In healing work, the ephemeral touch is the vehicle of sensing and re-directing the flow of energy within the patient. The healer senses the areas of discord and dis-ease within the meridians and subtle bodies and moves through each in turn as adjustments are made in accord with what is being felt.

“Touch is used in most of the healing and therapeutic modalities. Reiki and Therapeutic massage are just two of the ways in which touch is used to promote health and well-being. A massage can be just what is needed to relax or to energize you in a more productive manner.

Within the practice of Nursing, Therapeutic Touch has become a process of intervention for more than 30 years. Although its roots are in mysticism, the medical community is now looking at various alternative and holistic practices, including the premise that specific forms of touch can engage the energetic body of the patient and be changed to promote healing. Reiki and other related healing modalities are now incorporated in the treatment of Cancer patients as part of their regular regimen. Doctors of Osteopathic medicine are trained in Osteopathic Manipulation techniques that relieve patient pain and realign the skeletal and muscular system with care provided by a licensed physician who can address the related medical needs of their patients.”

Excerpted from: Magickally Human Companion Post

Although there is the purely physical component employed in this type of healing touch, the core principles and primary reasons for its effectiveness are found in the ephemeral and subtle fields of energy applied.

Feeling Your Way

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The sense of touch, like no other, reminds us of the unity of the physical and Divine aspects of ourselves. We experience the physical world both in tangible form and at the many levels of subtle energy that collaborate in informing the responses to that experience. We experience the sacred as flesh comes in contact with the presence of the Divine and thrills and is excited by that touch. The lesson of this earthly life is to greet all of the worlds with the joy of a child and the anticipation of the returning tide flowing over firmly planted toes.

Journey of the Senses

The Experience of Purposeful Repeat

A simple exercise meant to heighten your awareness and sensitivity to touch is to sit with a variety of items, explore them through touch and then record your experiences.

The First Day:

In a quiet setting where you will not be disturbed lay out 6 random items that easily fit in your hand.

For the first pass, with your eyes open, select an object, each in turn and use your fingers and hands to explore its surfaces. Spend 3-5 minutes on each item. After you have finished with a particular item, set it down and record in a journal as much information as you can about that item. Make note of its texture, dimensions, weight, etc. Be sure to include any energetic information you experienced as well. Perhaps it made you feel jittery, or your hand became warmer than usual while holding it.

The Next Day(s):

Using the same items, select one to begin the exercise.

Now, as you hold and explore the object, KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED. Allow whatever information or sensation wishing to present itself to come easily to you. As you did the day before, after finishing with each item record everything you experienced. Repeat this same process for each of the remaining items. When you have finished with all go back and read through and compare what was written about each item over the two days. Some questions to consider would be:

Did you process more information by having your eyes open or closed? Was there a consistent thread of information that was more easily gathered when your eyes were open or closed? And, which of the objects did you feel most connected to?

This type of work strengthens your ability to make the connections between sight and touch as well as opening to new ways to enhance the information you wish to convey or receive if there is no overtly visual form attached to the process.

Companion Post:
Magickally Human
Engaging the Senses: the Sense of Touch

About this Series:

Our spiritual work relies on our physical and subtle states of being working co-creatively and collaboratively. We engage the senses in this work continually, but rarely give equal importance to them all. The sense of sight is commanded into presence through practice of visualization techniques. Sound is stimulated with drumming, chanting and toning. Touch is engaged as we handle tools, light candles, and more. The sense of taste is only accessed as a means of grounding with cakes and ale. And, we are alerted to awareness and being fully present in ritual space or meditative practice as the heady scent of incense and oils purify and set the stage for the work at hand. There will be collaborative posts speaking to the Physical experience of each of the senses in the Magickally Human Blog.

Next Post:

Magickally Human
The Sense of Taste (Gustatory)

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Sensing the Subtleties: Part Two

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Sight (Visual)

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Sight is defined as:

the sense through which a person or animal becomes aware of light, color, etc., by using the eyes; the ability to see; and or the act of seeing someone or something.

and the physiological actions of sight provide …

the process, power, or function of seeing; specifically : the physical sense by which light stimuli received by the eye are interpreted by the brain and constructed into a representation of the position, shape, brightness, and usually color of objects in space.

If we think about the function of sight and the components that engage this action, the esoteric implications of the visual sense of sight and its potential offer the gift of greater clarity. When we engage ourselves at a spiritual level the sensations we experience are often those of light. More importantly the vibrations and energy that we sense are the direct products of our response to the patterns of light that surround, whether we have our eyes open or not. I particularly like the definition as one of awareness. Just as we are continually surrounded by various smells (as we discussed last post), the amount of visual stimuli we receive on a daily basis is profound both in its quantity and in its scope of effect. Even behind the lid of closed eyes, we are able to visualize within the initial darkness that sends the signal to the brain that rest and reflection are at hand.

This is the cue that you are removing yourself from the physical world and its visual distractions. As we further relax into this intention, patterns form in this darkness and beads or bursts of light or color, albeit very small at times, begin the dance of wave and motion. We may discount these as floaters resulting from over used and tired eyes. Sometimes this is true but when you simply relax into the paintings that arise from mind and consciousness to inner screen, you soon become aware that this is the precursor to a journey of sleep, meditation, a simple daydream or a revelation of clarity opened by an unknown inner vision.

Inner Sight and The Esoteric Path

The eyes are often thought to be the “Doorways to the Soul”. They are indeed the gateways through which information is sent throughout the brain and nervous system. Having crossed the threshold of physiologic response this information is then processed and interpreted via the specific states of consciousness you are focused upon when receiving this information. During deep states of meditation or trance work, what is seen and then perceived and interpreted is often not what can be seen with physical sight. The illusory veiling of the physical world is parted as consciousness and awareness have shifted and the resources for interpreting what is coming through the lens of eyesight are from a much deeper reservoir of information than would normally be drawn upon in a normal state of consciousness or awareness.

In our personal practice we learn to trust what can be sensed in this inner landscape and use the imagery of our waking and conscious mind as the library from which we find the book of mystery that lay hidden as a waking dream. As our perception of both the physical and inner worlds changes the images that we encounter evolve and expand in accord with the adding of more points of visual reference. This is the cycle that moves us forward in growth. The aperture of our inner camera opens wider and wider, letting in more light as the worlds of the astral and ethereal sit at the periphery of what we normally take time to notice.

The Third Eye

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The Awakening of the Third Eye is a concept used within the context of mystical and esoteric pursuits as a means to enlightenment and stimulating the intuitive senses. This Eye of the Wise is placed at the Ajna or Brow Chakra and sits roughly at the space between the eyes externally and the pineal gland internally. This is the seat of energetic fuel for those who have “Second or inner” sight. When we strive to open to this place of inner vision we are connecting to the storehouse of images that form the language upon which our interpretation of those intuitive “knowings” may be expressed. Sometimes, this information will play out on our inner screen, similar to watching a movie run through the visionary landscape of our dreamtime.

Great care is taken in the development of the Third Eye in most mystical practices. Specific meditative and visualization techniques may be employed to encourage the opening and healthy flow of energy through this particular chakra point. One of the keys however is in the focus on all of the chakras. Those rare states of awareness where we feel completely at one with our Gods and the world are those when the flow of energy through our chakras is running in a smooth and complete circuit connecting us to all parts of ourself and thus enabling our deeper connection to all that is around us. Additionally, as we move upwards in the line of chakras, the upper centers work in tandem with one another. Developing our intuitive nature also requires that our heart center (where compassion and understanding arises) and throat center (the way in which we communicate through the breath of word) are in sync so that we work from a place of integrity, especially when the need arises to share an intuitive vision or insight. As this inner sight opens information is received from the Crown Chakra and intuitive insight has now risen to a place of Divine wisdom that parts the veil even further for us to peer into the mysteries we seek. this is the wellspring of simply “knowing” and not having the need to explain what or why you know, you just are in a state of trust and flow.

The Pineal Gland

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Our pineal gland is located deep inside the middle of our brain. René Descartes was a French philosopher who believed it to be the seat of the soul. This simple crystalline like structure within our brain is thought to have been exposed at one time, enabling those earlier versions of ourselves to interact directly with the cosmos and the beings that inhabited a much different type of world than we know now. As humans evolved and our physiology took a form that was more conducive and in alignment with the evolving physical world to which we were to inhabit, the skull thickened and covered this gland which lay dormant awaiting a new awakening. It, of all of the glands is the least known as far as how it relates to daily physiologic functioning. All of the glands within the physiological body have specific areas of focus to insure health and vitality. Stimulating the glands through specific spiritual practices to enhance and awaken their ethereal properties ( much like the comparison of our physical bodies that have specific intent and the subtle bodies that work in response to the ephemera around us).

The pineal gland, until recently was one that scientists were unclear regarding its purpose. Scientists have now found that it produces melatonin, which has an affect on sleep patterns. The Medical profession describes the pineal gland as being:

“a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain that produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions. Its shape resembles a tiny pine cone (hence its name), and it is located near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove where the two rounded thalamic bodies join.”

I find the pineal gland’s regulation of the circadian cycle as an indicator of the deeper levels of importance it has on the subtle physiology. The patterns of waking and sleep are also the states of consciousness that allow us to move through the “other” worlds. Our attunement to the seasons and the waxing and waning of the Solar year’s light- our Sun- and the impact of solar energy on our nervous system and spiritual centers are all states of awareness and function that are key to spiritual practice.

 The Inner Screen

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Our inner screen is the space of consciousness onto which we project the images we have stored, created or just seen. As we sit with eyes closed we enter our own personal internal space, upon which we may imagine, create and visualize the experience we wish to have. It is from this portal that we may then move our consciousness to the inner planes or astral levels to receive or retrieve information.

Visual artists instinctively use this inner screen as their metaphorical palette of inspiration when creating a new piece of art work. They are able to “see” the finished or in process project and then transfer this image to whatever medium they are working with. Our inner screen is the space of consciousness onto which we project the images we have stored, created or just seen. As we sit with eyes closed we enter our own personal internal space, upon which we may imagine, create and visualize the experience we wish to have. And, it is from this portal that we may then move those images of our consciousness out into manifest form through the act of creativity.

Visualization

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One of the basic practices for successful spiritual practice is cultivating the ability to clearly and accurately visualize within the landscape of the mind. If your practice is a path of magickal work, visualization is a requirement. And, apart from its use in the spiritual realms, being able to visualize the events of a business meeting, the route that was taken to get from point A to point B or the faces of those you’ve just met in a social setting is a very handy tool.

Candle gazing or similar focus of attention on a select object is a very good exercise to enhance and strengthen your abilities to recreate on your inner screen what you see in manifest form. The goal is to eventually bring the exact replication of what you have stored in your visual memory into clarity of form and shape on your inner screen without having to have the object in front of you. It is actually very similar to the process of having a “photographic memory”, and can prove to be very useful when trying to remember something that had been written down. You imprint the memory of that paper in your mind’s eye, recreate it and then retrieve whatever the bit of information is that you need.

Journey of the Senses

A Basic Practice to Develop Visualization Skills
Candle Gazing

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Sit comfortably with a lit candle approximately 18 inches away from you. A tall white pillar candle works well for this or a taper in a 2-3” candle holder. Try not to use a tea light or flat candle as you don’t want to have to tilt your head and gaze down while doing this exercise. Relax with a few concentrated breaths and allow your gaze to soften while staring at the candle. Begin by taking the entire candle and its holder. Then, draw your gaze in and up towards the lit wick and the blue white flame. Hold this point of gaze for several minutes. Then, close your eyes. You should be able to see the outline of the flame and light. Try to hold this image on your inner screen as long as possible. In the beginning, it is natural for it to dissipate, but with practice, you will experience a lengthening of the time you can hold the clear, bright image behind closed eyes.

When you have mastered doing this with the candle in front of you, begin to practice conjuring up the image without the candle being there in physical form. How much of the image can you bring to life? You can move on to a variety of objects, using the same basic principles. Have fun and remember to relax while doing this exercise. Relaxing puts you in a more receptive state of mind, which translates to drawing more of what you see into the storehouse of images.

Companion Post:
Magickally Human
Engaging the Senses:The Sense of Sight

About this Series:

Our spiritual work relies on our physical and subtle states of being working co-creatively and collaboratively. We engage the senses in this work continually, but rarely give equal importance to them all. The sense of sight is commanded into presence through practice of visualization techniques. Sound is stimulated with drumming, chanting and toning. Touch is engaged as we handle tools, light candles, and more. The sense of taste is only accessed as a means of grounding with cakes and ale. And, we are alerted to awareness and being fully present in ritual space or meditative practice as the heady scent of incense and oils purify and set the stage for the work at hand. There will be collaborative posts speaking to the Physical experience of each of the senses in the Magickally Human Blog.

 Next Post

Part Three: Touch (Somatic Senses)

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Sensing the Subtleties: Part One

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The Five Senses

Our spiritual work relies on our physical and subtle states of being working co-creatively and collaboratively. We engage the senses in this work continually, but rarely give equal importance to them all. The sense of sight is commanded into presence through practice of visualization techniques. Sound is stimulated with drumming, chanting and toning. Touch is engaged as we handle tools, light candles, and more. The sense of taste is only accessed as a means of grounding with cakes and ale. And, we are alerted to awareness and being fully present in ritual space or meditative practice as the heady scent of incense and oils purify and set the stage for the work at hand.

Note: There will be collaborative posts speaking to the Physical experience of each of the senses in the Magickally Human Blog.

Smell(Olfactory)

In esoteric work, stimulating the sense of smell takes many forms. This includes the careful selection of incenses to awaken the senses, fragrant blends of oils used to anoint and purify, flora and greenery from the natural world and a myriad of human scents added as energy rises and celebration, working and altered consciousness take hold. All of these scents act and react with the emotions evoked and the desire for goal that is fueled by the emotional need. Even the scent of a fragrance filled candle or recently extinguished candle trigger a variety of emotions and thoughts.

Breath and air are key players in energy practice and with the inhalation through the nose all the senses are alerted that spiritual practice has begun. There are multiple scents that we are completely unaware of at a conscious level, but are nonetheless part of the sensory experience. With that thought in mind, carefully choose where you engage in your meditation or ritual practice. If possible, try to find a place where the air is clear, if indoors and not near a heavily traveled area if outdoors. Nature settings are preferable for a variety of reasons, but the scents that surround you will be supportive in allowing you to engage all of your being in the practice.

The Pituitary Gland

The seven endocrine glands are vital components in developing spiritual awareness. Each of the glands has a specific function and contribution towards the overall evolution of spiritual progress. Just behind the bridge of the nose sits the pituitary gland, the master regulator of all the glandular system. A symptom of a Pituitary tumor is decreased sensation of smell confirming the relationship of this sense with that of the endocrine system.

This gland is stimulated by the use of incense and specific oils during meditation and ritual work which in turn signals to the nervous system that sacred work is at hand. Many of the incenses used in ritual work, such as Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal have been used in this manner for centuries so the energetic inroads have been laid in opening the user to latent memory and spiritual action. Bundled Sage is the scent of choice for shamanistic work and purifying space of unwanted negative energies. It is for this very reason that most seekers on a spiritual path incorporate some sort of olfactory component into their work.

Begin your own exploration of smell and make note of what impact certain scents have on your spiritual work. Try different incense or oils as you sit in meditation and see what different emotions are evoked. See the mediation below to get you started.

Journey of the Senses
An Incense Meditation from the Daily OM

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“When we focus on incense sticks during meditation, we move into a mystical space that is both physical and spiritual at once. Like us, the incense stick is earthbound with an ember that burns for only a finite time, but the diaphanous spirit it releases is unbound by time or space. Rather than shutting down our senses to focus on an inner realm, incense involves our senses as we follow whirling smoke upward and outward while we take its scent into us, filling us as we breathe”…… Read More

Companion Post:
Magickally Human
Engaging the Senses:Part One

Next Post
Part Two: Sight (Visualization)

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Our Physical and Subtle Anatomy: Part Two

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An Overview

In the last posting we discussed the mechanics and physiology of our physical form. Now we will consider the components of our energetic and subtle anatomy that surround, interpenetrate, inform and enliven that physiology.

Our Subtle or Energetic Anatomy is composed of three major divisions:

The Subtle Bodies (Bodies)- Expand and hold energy
The Chakras (Vortices)- Filter, receive and disburse energy
The Meridians and Nadis (Channels)- Control and direct the flow of energy

Each of these components works in connection with the other and all are important dynamics that insure the health and well-being of our physiological state. In fact, the state of dis-ease usually begins within the subtle bodies and eventually works it way out and into our physical level becoming manifest as a disease process. This is the underlying principle of the mind being able to heal or produce the state of health we choose as our focus. The mental working in tandem with the emotional is potent in its ability to manifest, both positive and negative energies within our physical body and each impact and interact with our subtle energy.

Another component of our energetic physiology is that of the impact these subtle energies have on the physiologic Endocrine system. The seven glands, often referred to as the Seven Stars or the Seven Gates play a major role in spiritual development in accord with our ability to stimulate and engage them at a spiritual and energetic level. Notably, in the spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism and Egyptian High Alchemy, specific exercises and/or sound are used to stimulate these centers: the gonads, the liver and spleen, the adrenals, the thymus, pituitary and pineal glands. We’ll take a look at these in future postings.

The Subtle Bodies are sheaths of energy that surround us. Depending on the system you adhere to there are seven to twelve subtle bodies, each forming a layer of energy that is composed of the densest to the most refined of energies as the layer extend out and beyond the form and shape of our physical body. The seven layers are thought to be a reflection of the universe and represent the overlay of our energy as part of that of the Universal whole. See the picture below:

Subtle Body Man

More about the Subtle Bodies in a future post

The Chakras are the conduits through which universal energy flows in and through us. They are represented as wheels or vortices that are positioned along the etheric central column pathway that parallels our physical spinal column. These gateways contract and expand opening and closing like the petals of a flower. They are often compared to the Lotus, each having a specific number of petals in accord with the vibratory rate they emit and respond to and in accord with the level of refinement.

There are seven major chakras that are the usual staple of reading and energetic practice, however, there are hundreds of minor chakras. Each chakra has a specific color, elemental and function associated with its energy. See the charts and figure below for the basic information relating to the seven major and Transpersonal chakras:

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Additionally, each of the seven chakras have a specific tonal quality. The chart below lists the Hermetic tone and the Eastern Bija mantras that are associated with each chakra.

Slide1

Chakra Man

To read more about the chakras please see my articles posted in The Magickal Pen:

Chakras: The Vital Organs of the Subtle Bodies- Part One
Chakras: A Renewal Practice-Part Two

The Nadis and Meridians: Specific Energetic Pathways

The Nadis and Meridians are highly specialized energetic pathways that run in multiple directions throughout our body. It is these pathways that Chinese Medicine, Accupuncture, Accupressure and other healing modalities make use of by way of stimulating the flow of Chi energy to move in a non-restricted and healthful pattern.

The Nadis are highly specialized and localized pathways that align with the Chakras and act upon the energy flow moving up the central column, inclusive of the spine, spinal fluid, and the nerve bundles. In the Eastern Kundalini Yoga practice the Nadis and the rising of the Ida and Pingala coiling up the Sushumna is the serpent fire that opens the awareness of the practitioner to union with his/her Higher Nature.

Nadis

The Ida is the lunar (Feminine) energetic path and the Pingala is the solar (masculine) energetic path. The union achieved at the Crown chakra is the product of the combined polarities of moon and sun, feminine and masculine giving birth to the Divine Child of your Higher SELF.

The Meridians are the pathways of the body that help to regulate and maintain a balance of flow from organ to organ. Each major Meridian or channel is responsible for a specific organ and their surrounding structures. The Meridians play a major role in Traditional Chinese Medicine and the treatment of dis-ease, thought to be cause by a disruption of the natural flow of the Chi within the body.

There are 12 major meridians in the body:
• Lung meridian
• Large Intestine
• Spleen meridian
• Stomach meridian
• Heart meridian
• Small intestine meridian
• Bladder meridian
• Kidney meridian
• Pericardium (Circulation/Sex) meridian
• Triple Warmer meridian
• Liver meridian
• Gallbladder meridian

More about the Meridians in a future post

Exercise:

Let’s begin with a very simple exercise to run pure energy through the chakras

A Chakra Renewal Meditation

Turn your focus and attention to your breath. Allow your consciousness to move with the rise and fall of your chest and the filling and release of the lungs. Continue in this manner for several breaths, allowing each to become softer, smoother and slower. Now, shift your awareness to visualize seven clear glass spheres within your energetic self, each aligned with a specific chakra point along the central column. And approx. 7-8 inches above your head is an eighth glass sphere. This is the transpersonal chakra; the gateway between your parts of Self and the Divine.

Beginning at the root chakra, visualize the sphere filling with ruby red energy and light. As it continues to fill it becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with vivid orange energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with sunshine yellow energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with emerald green energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with sky blue energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with indigo blue energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

Visualize this sphere filling with amethyst purple energy and light. As it continues to fill the sphere becomes larger and more brilliant in color and form. When it has reached full capacity, turn your awareness to the sphere just above it.

You have reached the uppermost sphere, that of your transpersonal space. See this sphere fill with brilliant white light. It pulses radiant light and seems brighter than those below it in clarity and intensity. When it has reached capacity, see all the spheres equal in size, perfectly transparent and filled to capacity with colors that are clear and vibrant. Allow this image to permeate your being for several minutes. Feel the strength and power in each of the spheres and connect with this enlivening energy, engaging all of your sensations.

Visualize a line of energy moving upwards from the ruby red sphere of the root chakra. This energetic pathway is the same hue of red as that contained within the sphere itself. It moves, and swirls and as it reaches upwards it blends and mingles with the orange energy within the sphere of the belly chakra. Allow the integration and synthesis of this energy to build and circulate.

Now, extend this energy and visualize it moving upwards towards the yellow of the sacral chakra. Allow it to blend and merge creating an energetic column connecting each of the three spheres in turn. Each, feeding one into the other, merging and unifying into a singular stream of vibrant and pulsing energy. Continue in this manner moving up through each of the chakra points rising all the way up and ending at the transpersonal chakra.

When reaching the transpersonal chakra, allow the brilliant white energy of the transpersonal sphere to pulse, infused with crystalline luminosity. As this energy builds it becomes brighter, fuller and more expansive. Allow this energy to grow and expand until it is overflowing and spilling down, pouring its energy into each of the spheres below it. Each, in turn filling with the brilliance of Light, the vibrancy of their individual colors fading and folding into the density of a brilliance of white. This transformation continues downward through each chakra and when it returns to the root chakra allow this energy to circulate, moving up and cascading down through each of the chakras for as long as is needed.

When you feel energized and have a sense of balance, beginning at the transpersonal chakra, see this energy slowly dissipate as each globe clears and returns to a state of transparent glass. Move downward from one sphere to the next. Each in turn fading in brilliance, returning to its resting state of transparency and size.

When you have returned to the root chakra and the spheres are once again clear pure transparent glass, chant a sustained “ OM “ to complete the working and coalesce the rate of vibration within each of the chakra columns in each of the subtle bodies.

The Next Post:
Sensing the Subtleties

If you’ve done the meditation above, or something similar, various sensations were sure to arise. Learning how to maximize the physiological sensations as tools of information received from the spiritual experience is a necessary point of focus if you want to gain greater insight. This next group of posts will focus on the five overt senses and their function in esoteric work. A companion post will be available in the Magickally Human blog that focuses on the physical presentation of these senses and the awakening of their awareness to be fully present in both mundane and spiritual endeavors.

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