In this brief segment, Grey School of Wizardry apprentice Frater Adservio (who is also the editor of this e-zine) shares a personal favorite technique for meditation as well as why meditation is important to ceremonial magick.
© Frater Adservio, 2017
I am, first and foremost, a practitioner of ceremonial magick. To many, this conjures up notions of various ritual practices, such as the Golden Dawn’s Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram or Thelema’s Star Sapphire. To be fair, these are a very important part of my practice; it is the use of rituals and ceremonies that marks me as a ceremonial magician. However, there is another very important aspect that is sometimes overlooked: meditation.
Meditation is not, obviously, the exclusive purview of ceremonial magick (nor, for that matter, are rituals and ceremonies themselves, but I digress). It is, however, a vital part of the Art. There are many reasons for this, and we will briefly present two of them.
- It promotes balance.
The Hermetic Qabbalah, which is the underlying foundation and philosophy of much of my magickal work, posits that within creation there are two great and polar forces which function as the anchors for everything that exists. These are the Pillars of Mercy and Severity on the diagram of the Tree of Life and the white and black pillars called Boaz and Jachin found in Masonic lodges and many occult temples. Their echoes are found in everything that manifests in this material plane, as all such things are subject to duality: cold and warm, up and down, yes and no.
The practice of ritual can be considered to be an active phenomenon; it involves consciously performing a physical action that is meant to have a specific purpose and result. It would be associated with the Pillar of Mercy, the positive and outgoing Pillar.
Of course, you should not have just one of these two Forces (usually, at least). This creates an imbalance and impedes wholeness and unity. As a result, the passive practice of meditation is needed to balance out the active function of ritual. By having both polarities represented equally, it is possible to proceed up the Middle Pillar that leads to apotheosis and reunion with the Divine. This is the ultimate purpose and goal of ceremonial magick as I practice it.
2. It promotes self-awareness.
Ceremonial magick is full of opportunities for self-delusion. Pathworking, the evocation of spirits, and divination are just three areas where our own subconscious hopes, thoughts, and mental activities can influence us and lead us astray. If you summon a spirit and it tells you something, how can you know that you weren’t just creating a mental fantasy to reinforce your existing beliefs? The answer is through meditation. By meditating, you become intimately familiar with your own mind and its workings. Over a long enough time spent in meditation, you naturally develop the ability to recognize your own thought patterns and mental activity and to distinguish it from genuine perceptions of external (or exteriorized) forces and beings.
With the importance of meditation established, we will now present a simple technique that the author has found useful, simple, and effective. I cannot claim to have invented it, but rather have learned it from a variety of sources. One of them is this article. It is based on the formula of the Tetragrammaton. Rather than reiterate this topic at length, I will simply quote a relevant and succinct description from SymbolDictionary.net:
The tetragrammaton is central to the doctrines of both the Jewish and Esoteric Kabbalistic traditions, where it is equivalent to the four kabbalistic worlds of creation, the four elements, the four archangels, and the four cardinal directions. Christian kabbalists added the letter “Shin”, rendering “YHShH,” or Yeheshua, Jesus, as proof of the divine origin of Christ.
Kabbalistic doctrine assigns four states of the manifestation of creation the the four letters. The four weapons of Ritual magick symbolize the essence of the letters of the tetragrammaton; these also form the basis for the four suits in Tarot cards. Ritual magicians emply various pronunciation of the names in theurgic rituals, usually intoning the names of the letters rather than trying to recreate an ancient pronunciation.
The “four letters” in question are the Hebrew letters Yod, Heh, Vav, and a second Heh. They are transliterated and written in English as YHVH.
The meditational practice itself is very simple, and is as follows:
- Take a natural and comfortable breath in. Either say or think “Yod.”
- Exhale naturally and comfortably. Either say or think “Heh.”
- Take a natural and comfortable breath in. Either say or think “Vav.”
- Exhale naturally and comfortably. Either say or think “Heh.”
- Return to step 1 and repeat.
That’s it. It is not complicated, requires no special preparation or tools, and is entirely self-contained. Once you have gotten comfortable with the mechanics of it, you can deepen the practice by contemplating the symbolic meanings of the letters. Yod is a masculine and fiery force that outflows from itself in order to create. Heh is a receptive, watery force that receives the power of Yod and generates from it the letter Vav. Vav is an airy force that mediates between the higher two forces that created it. Lastly, Heh is the dense and material force that solidifies the forces it receives from Vav.
This pattern can have many layers of symbolism built onto it. The Four Qabbalistic Worlds, the Four Elements, and the mediation of Christ and similar figures between the supernal Godhead and earth/mankind are a few examples.
The benefits of this meditation are many. It build awareness of and connection with the Godhead, promotes a holistic spiritual realization, and connects us with thousands of years of symbolism. It also has other possible side effects like stress reduction and lowered blood pressure, as do many forms of meditation (Meditation, 2016). It is also worth noting that this is but one technique
Even if you only have five minutes a day to meditate, give it a try. You may soon find that you will MAKE time as you come to appreciate its benefits.
Meditation: In Depth. (2016). National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved March 08, 2017 from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm
Tetragrammaton. (2009). SymbolDictionary. Retrieved March 08, 2017 from http://symboldictionary.net/?p=1355.