The ingestion of sacred or holy substances has a long history in religious, magical and mystical traditions. Having been influenced by Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics, I have been trying to come up with a way of utilizing a “sacred meal” in my daily life. The ritual below is what I have come up with. I present it here simply as an example of how I have devised a way of incorporating magic into my everyday existence. If it gives another some ideas of their own, so much the better.
Ritual of Increase
Bake some unleavened bread
and cut into wedges.
Take one of the wedges and break/cut into roughly ½ to 1 inch portions and place the pieces into an airtight container/wrapper. These broken portions will serve as the sacred meal (“Sacred Amplifier”) for the next few days. Place the remaining wedges in the freezer for future use. Remove a single wedge from the freezer as needed.
Upon awaking from sleep or shortly thereafter take the Sacred Amplifier (a piece of the unleavened bread) from its container and face east. Hold the Sacred Amplifier in the open palm of your left hand. Your right hand should be open with palm supporting the left hand. Either stand or kneel while looking at the Sacred Amplifier and say:
From my hands you have been created…Earth from Earth.
You are bread, sustainer of body through the ages.
From my will you have been created anew…Spirit and Earth.
You are the Sacred Amplifier, promoter of magical increase through the ages.
With your ingestion my ability to transform myself and my environment according to my will becomes amplified.
Consume the Sacred Amplifier to complete the ritual.
Last week while driving to work I quite unexpectedly took notice of the many vehicles that shared the same road as me. I wondered what each of the many different vehicles said about the way their owners felt about themselves. Did that sturdy flatbed truck indicate that its owner feels (or wants to be perceived as) rugged? Did that outrageously expensive vehicle indicate that its owner feels (or wants to be perceived as) financially successful? Did that sleek speed demon indicate that its owner feels (or wants to be perceived as) powerful? In all honesty I do not know what (if any) feelings those objects speeding past me reflected from their owners. I do know from experience, however, that the vehicle one drives can be a window to the soul. When I was a teen a low riding Firebird would have said it all for me. In my case, however, owning a Firebird would not have said much about how I felt about myself. It would have spoken a great deal about how I wanted others to see me, however. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I could not afford to own that tiny bit of heaven and had to settle for a Plymouth Duster. While my Plymouth Duster did not speak as eloquently to others as I imagined a Firebird would have, it did say enough about me to suffice.
Anyway, while pondering the many vehicles speeding by and the personalities they may or may not reflect, I asked myself what if anything my vehicle reflected about me. While my Toyota Highlander may say a great deal about me to others, I quickly realized that I was not intentionally projecting anything through it to others. Feelings/thoughts about myself and my vehicle remained separate.
As so often happens nowadays when I think, my thoughts eventually turned to my magical practices and I asked myself if the practices I am engaged in are in any way connected to my feelings about myself or a need to present myself to others in a particular fashion. What I learned is that my current magical pursuits are much akin to my Highlander. My magical practices and how I feel about myself appear to be like water and oil. Oddly, this does not seem to be the case when I consider “demon” work. I have no interest in working with “demons.” However, I realize that the idea of working with “demons” does indeed invoke feelings of extraordinariness and power within me. What is more, I can see myself using “demon” work to project these feelings outward to demonstrate just how extraordinary and powerful I am.
So, my question to you is…”Are your magical practices and your feelings/thoughts about yourself intertwined and do you use those practices in a way that projects those thoughts/feelings to others?” As a follow-up I would ask…”Is using your magic to cause others to see you as you wish to be seen something negative?” I think it can be if you are lying to yourself as to why you are engaged in your practices or your particular tradition. If you are engaged with practices or a tradition in order to paint some picture of yourself in the eyes of others while telling yourself that you do so for other reasons, then you cheat yourself of the true benefits of working with those practices or that tradition.
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For whatever reason, I am currently drawn to planetary magick and will probably be concentrating my efforts on acquiring more knowledge (and hopefully experience) on this segment of occult learning. Presently, I am reading Practical Planetary Magick by David Rankine and Sorita D’Este. I am not sure if this one source will be enough to get me where I want to be, but it certainly seems to be a decent introduction to the material. While I am mentioning reading material, I would like to give a plug to an article concerning the Olympic Spirits and their relationship to the planetary spheres/powers/gods by Nick Farrell. I found this article to be well worth the read.
As of late the idea of the “Great Work” (magnum opus) has been on my mind. Whether or not the concept of the Great Work has always had a spiritual dimension is debatable and I leave it to the reader to reach their own conclusions. Despite this, the term “Great Work” has come for many to signify the culmination of one’s spiritual pursuit. Apparently, exactly what the culmination of one’s spiritual pursuit consists of varies a great deal from author to author and from tradition to tradition. Some see it as a completion of one’s work while others, such as Crowley, intimate that it is a never ending quest (although some of his thoughts on the Great Work would seem to contradict this). What I have found rather frustrating is that many of the so-called definitions of the Great Work are so general that they are essentially useless to me. They are like someone suggesting that I get a diploma without anyone delineating the subjects of study and necessary requirements. When discussing the Great Work I think it would be advantageous to clearly articulate the qualities or characteristics that the Great Work bestows. At least that way, I can see the target and determine if I want to shoot my arrow in another direction.
One of the explanations that I have seen on multiple occasions concerning the Great Work with respect to planetary magick is that the term “Great Work” represents the culmination of the balancing within oneself of the seven planetary powers. This equalization of the seven planetary powers is oftentimes graphically expressed by the septagram (pictured below).
Balance in one’s life is certainly needed. However, I wonder if simply balancing the powers is enough. I tend to think that the planetary powers would manifest within an individual along a continuum ranging from the weak side to the strong side. If this is the case, then there is certainly a qualitative difference between a balance that occurs on the weak side as opposed to one that occurs on the strong side. Is one type of balance to be preferred over another? It is a judgment call, but my gut reaction is that a balance toward the strong end is to be preferred. An implication of this is that the Great Work would become, if the continuum is infinite on either end, a process rather than an end. But then again, maybe a balance at the zero point should be preferred. I certainly have much to think about.
Exactly what is a mystical experience? I’m not entirely sure. There have been many attempts to define it, so the reader has ample reading material should he or she choose to explore this topic further. In addition to the link above, the reader can find an introduction to the mystical experience here. While I have actively sought to induce mystical experiences, I have never been able to do so. However, I have had two extraordinary experiences that might fall into the “mystical” category that have come upon me without any conscious effort on my part. The first relates to my first and only evocation-invocation some twenty-eight years ago. The experience entailed a type of union with the location of the magical working. I am not sure if I was imprinted in the earth or the earth was imprinted within me. All I knew was that this spot of ground and I were inexorably linked for eternity. Part of me would remain here even after death. The second experience certainly has a location component, but is more of a situation experience than a location experience. This was by far the most powerful “mystical” experience I have had, trumping the evocation-invocation experience by miles. It took place many years ago on a cold crisp winter morning here (except there was abundant snow on the ground at the time).
I had taken my youngest daughter sledding in this park. As I watched my daughter trudge through the snow while pulling her purple sled behind her I was totally overcome by a vision of what heaven would be like. It would be my persisting in a timeless moment of that very instant. It would be a timeless moment where I and my daughter with her purple sled would play in the snow while my wife and eldest daughter awaited our return for lunch. It was a perfect moment. I hope I go to heaven when I die.