Saturday, April 20, 2013


By now, most of you have read RO’s description of the technology behind the rites we do, broken down into planning, preparatory, conjuration, communication and dismissal pieces.  If you need a reminder, here's the address of his post:  The planning stage obviously involves us both, normally at similar levels of effort.  However, while the conjuror’s preparatory actions are pretty simple, involving holy water and self-annointing with Abramelin oil, my activities here are usually pretty substantial.

My ordinary reality is very linear.  My mind is also pretty linear.  Therefore, before I try to do any trance work, I have to spend a little time getting non-linear.  What I mean specifically by this is that  before I fall into the “seeing” state, the edges of reality have to soften a little, helping to minimize the constant  judgment of things that float through my mind and senses.

Those of you who have done astral and trance work will immediately recognize that when the phrase “this isn’t real” goes through your mind, it’s hard to get back on track. Sometimes, after this sensation, it’s all over.  Therefore the preparations are meant to quiet that part of your mind just a little bit.  It’s a totally new way to control your mind and sense of reality, but at its basis, it is self control.  It's self control without any rigid tie to your mundane expectations about how things work.

Recognizing that my mind is intimately associated with my physical being, much of what I’m about to say involves full relaxation of various body parts.  The muscles in my sacral spine, hips and butt are tightly linked to my emotional state, use of imagination and ability to go into trance.  Tension in this region can actually be interpreted as light anxiety, if I am not paying attention.  I have spoken to a handful of people about this, and full relaxation of this part of their bodies leads to an open feeling, one tinged with gratitude. 

I generally do this exercise in a warm bath that has been consecrated to the purpose with hyssop (either tea or oil) and salts.  When I have them, I put in about a cup each of table salt, baking soda and Epsom salts.  Often, I darken the bathroom, using only candles of appropriate ritual colors as illumination.  When every muscle between the bottom of my rib cage and my knees is completely empty of tension, I move to the next step.

Once I am feeling “open,” I want to fill myself with a feeling of the sacred.  I have some chants I use to do this, but strangely, one of my favorites is the Te Deum Laudamus from the old red Lutheran hymnal.  I like it because of the way it weaves major and minor keys.  It’s also something I have known for a long time, and it ties the very young religious me to who I am now.  I sing this in the darkness of the bathroom, always nerdily happy with the wonderful acoustics, until I start to talk to the Universe (meaning not to any being in particular) about being clean and open and ready to reach past my ordinary experience.  This part of the preparations varies extensively, is ecstatic and normally ends up with me chanting and singing and talking to myself/ me as creator god until the bath water is cold, which is the only thing that normally ejects me from the bathtub.

At this point, I wrap my wet hair in a white towel, put my robe on and go into the temple, where typically RO is waiting for me.

In one of the following posts, RO and/or I will discuss the next step, the anointing with oils.  This gets into the relationship between conjuror and seer, as we consecrate each other to the Work in the temple.

Be thou blessed.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Seership: One Possible Recipe

I’ll talk more about the spirit-in-the-crystal-ball stuff soon, but this post will be a bit of a personal retrospective about how my seership came to be.  

I had a rough childhood, and probably developed some dissociative tendencies at that time.  That will serve to partially explain why it’s relatively easy to get myself out of the way to permit occupation by gods and angels, which is how this all started for me.  

The witchcraft community that I was part of for many years calls this “aspecting.” However, it didn't start there.  

When I was a kid, I loved church.  I loved to sing, I loved the candles, the high ceiling, the feeling and sense of sacredness.  It seemed natural to me that I was Mary at the Christmas pageant for a couple years running starting when I was about 10 years old.

I present this event in particular because it may have been when I first aspected a deity.  When I played Mary in the children’s Christmas pageant, I WAS Mary.  Mary was in me.  People commented upon the strangeness of the thing.  Looking back, that in itself was sort of weird.  Means that those Lutherans actually could sense the presence of the sacred… Who would’ve thought?

So fast-forward through my years as one of the first female “altar-attendants”, my terrifying visionary experiences in church when I felt guilty about teenage problems, the time the pastor decided that he would save my soul… the end result being my apostasy from all things Christian.

Many years later, I much more purposefully learned how to contain and present the gods in public ritual when I was a priestess in the Reclaiming community.  It came naturally – making my own personality quiet so that something else could enter.  In those early days, I held Erishkegal, Psyche, Hekate, Inanna, and many others.  With some help from my teachers, especially Shen-Tat at Coven of the Witches, I learned how to let myself go AND re-establish myself when I was finished.  The last time I aspected publicly was at a pagan festival near Denver, where I was filled by Quakoralina, the Faery Star Goddess.

Often, when aspecting is done in wiccan/pagan/faery ceremony, the deity/spirit who is to be housed in the witch performing the aspecting is subject to an invitation by other celebrants (typical those who are organizing the ceremony).  The idea is for the aspecting individual to open themselves to the deity in the safety of sacred space, moderated by others who are monitoring the process.  

The personality of the individual is quieted during this operation, such that the deity can participate in the rite or even address the celebrants.  It perhaps a form of hypnotism.  This is analogous in many ways to being “ridden” in Voudou.  In many cases when I was performing this purpose in ritual, I literally have no recollection of what transpired, emphasizing the point that moderators are very important.

All this is different from seership, where the personality of the seer must be close enough to the surface to be able to utilize the senses (both physical and astral) to sense and interpret the message of the disincarnate being called in the rite.  There are important things in common, however:  a safe environment is required, the “personality” and body must be relaxed in such a way that sensual data can be used to feel the presence of a non-corporeal entity.  Interestingly, many of the basic preparations for the two things are the same, and that is what I’ll address in the next post.

Be thou blessed.

["Cleopatra" J.W. Waterhouse]