Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Suggestions for Daily Practice

Daily practice is absolutely vital to any practicing magician. This point cannot be emphasized enough. As I've mentioned, trying to be an effective ritual magician without doing daily practices is like trying to be a professional football player without doing any sort of exercise or conditioning during the weeks between games. It just doesn't work. Unfortunately this point is hard to get across - a number of popular authors in the occult field are researchers rather than actual practitioners, and I have also met a number of magicians who reached a certain point in their practices and just stopped because they felt that they no longer needed those practices. Naturally, if you were to decide at some point that you no longer wanted to work magick, stopping your practices might be appropriate - they take time and energy that could be spent doing other things. Still, the point of learning to do magick is not that once you learn it you realize you don't need to do it. The point of learning to do magick is so that you can do magick! Otherwise it wouldn't be worth the trouble.

So that being said, what sorts of daily practice should the aspiring magician undertake? Here are some suggestions from my own practice.
  • Meditation. If you can do nothing else, meditate. There are many different meditation techniques, and in my experience there is not that much difference between them. You should select a style or technique that appeals to you and go with it. I personally practice Tibetan Vajrayana meditation, but that is a personal preference on my part based on how my mind tends to work. I do think that Vajrayana appeals to many of the same people who find ritual magick a compelling spiritual path - it incorporates mantras and visualizations and because so much is going on in the practice there is little room for the mind to wander.
  • The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or equivalent. This ritual is the foundational ritual of the Golden Dawn tradition for a reason - it works. There are many rituals that are constructed along similar lines, such as Aleister Crowley's Star Ruby, Sam Webster's Milk of the Stars, and others too numerous to list here as the basic form can be adapted to just about any pantheon or set of symbols.
  • The Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Hexagram or equivalent. I have found that opening the operant field on a daily basis using the LBRP-LIRH combination is the fastest way to get noticeable results from any subsequent practice. There are also a number of LRH equivalents, such as Crowley's Star Sapphire.
  • The Middle Pillar Ritual or equivalent. The Middle Pillar Ritual was written by Israel Regardie and is a method by which the names of God corresponding the spheres on the middle pillar of the Tree of Life are vibrated while the magician visualizes energy of the appropriate color filling the point on the body related to each sphere. There are also equivalents to this ritual, such as Crowley's "Elevenfold Seal" which appears in Liber V vel Reguli. As a Thelemite, I use Crowley's version which invokes the Thelemic deities rather than the Judeo-Christian names of God used in Regardie's Middle Pillar. I suspect that Regardie was thinking of the earlier Elevenfold Seal when he wrote his ritual, which would mean that the Middle Pillar is in fact a variation on Crowley's ritual rather than the other way around. Nonetheless, I give the Middle Pillar here as a "standard" because I am of the opinion that more magicians are familiar with it.
The above set of practices is completely adequate for the aspiring magician. Daily meditation practice should be done in a separate session from ceremonial practice. Ceremonial practice can consist of the three rituals shown in the order that they are given, and of course more can be added. When it comes to practice, more is usually better. Here are a couple of other pieces that I add to my own practice that may or may not be applicable to yours.
  • Holy Guardian Angel invocation. This is fairly free-form and I add it following the Animadversion. I vibrate the name of my Holy Guardian Angel and visualize celestial light raining down from above and filling my body until I can imagine it glowing from within. I then say the following benediction adapted from Crowley's Gnostic Mass:

    Fill me with the Divine Light, set my True Will in motion, and bring me to the accomplishment of the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.

  • The Prayer of the Aeon. This is from Crowley's Mass of the Phoenix, and is not a mere parody of the Lord's Prayer as it may at first appear.

    Now I begin to pray, thou child
    Holy thy name and undefiled
    Thy reign has come, thy will is done
    Here is the bread, here is the blood
    Bring me through midnight to the Sun
    Save me from evil and from good
    That thy one crown of all the ten
    Even now and here be mine

    It is a prayer of aspiration to the attainment of the sphere of Kether, the crown of the Tree of Life, in which all opposites dissolve into unity. I use the prayer as the conclusion of my practice, ending on the final vibration of AMEN.
Hopefully this will give you some idea of how to assemble your own practice. Sticking with the practice is what is really important, so you should not try to incorporate anything that doesn't appeal to you. That will only lead to you dropping the practice, which obviously is not desirable.

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Anonymous said...

I've wanted to ask you this for some time, but I keep forgetting. So daily practice keeps the practicioner in shape for when you do ritual work. But what if they were to perform a ritual every day for a week or more. Wouldn't that count more than the daily practice? Because they would be exposed to the energies of the spirits they would call upon, besides going through the regular set of rites.

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, it does. On days when I do larger rituals I often skip the daily practice sequence. The point of daily practice is to keep you doing magick every day, and when you are doing other rituals instead you are still fulfilling that requirement.

The way I teach practical magick is that you basically open your larger rituals with the same sequence from your daily work. So then, you really have done your daily ritual set for the day if you do any larger operation.

Anonymous said...

Just as I thought :) Thanks!

fu said...

Hello Scott,

I know that you like to teach your students to perform LBRP/LIRH as a daily practice, and to open for rituals.

In my readings of other different sources, several state that they perform another LBRP at the end, in order to "close" their magical workings.

I have a couple of questions:
1) Why do you perform LIRH instead of LIRP?

2)Would you advise adding an LBRP at the end of my practice? and why or why not?

currently I have been following your daily practice routine for about 4 months now. Mine looks like this:

Statement of Intent (I have not yet begun to perform any specific magical rituals)

I look forward to your response.

thank you

Scott Stenwick said...

Question 1: LIRH instead of LIRP is for two reasons. First, doing LBRP/LIRP is kind of self-negating. You doing a general microcosmic banishing followed immediately by a general microcosmic invocation. The traditional Golden Dawn groups don't even teach it that way. They teach LBRP/Middle Pillar with no invoking form between the two. Second, the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is a microcosmic ritual and I want to get my students doing macrcosmic work as soon as they can. This is facilitated by banishing the microcosm to create a "clear space" and then invoking into that space the macrocosmic forces of nature. The interlocking of the two realms creates an "operant field" in which thought, intention, and ritual translate more easily into external manifestations. It improves practical work, and also accelerates your progress obtained from daily practice.

Question 2: You can add another LBRP at the end of your practice sequence if you want, but I don't think it's necessary. Usually the Qabalistic Cross on its own is sufficient, to "seal in" the energy of the practice. I will say that if I got to the end of my daily practice and felt kind of unsettled, I would probably close with the full LBRP rather than just the QC.

That sequence sounds good to me. Do you feel like it's working well for you?

fu said...

thank you for the clarity in answering my questions.
I truly appreciate and respect your insight.

So far the sequence that I have been doing, has been working well for me.

It's short enough where I could definitely perform the whole sequence everyday. Unfortunately, my workdays are long and full, and my commutes add to that by being packed full of traffic, which leaves me with little energy to do nearly anything at the end of the day.

Most days, If i can muster it, I just do QC/LBRP/LIRH/QC. I do that because it doesnt take longer than 15 minutes, and I can go through it with intent. Id rather perform it with intent, than try to do the entire sequence going through the motions and trying to rush through it.

Weekends, however, is when I have the time to do the full sequence (with MP/meditiation/study) and take my time and do so with intention.

Thus, far I can definitely notice a difference on those days when I do perform the daily, and on those I do not. Moreso with the weekend; I really get to refocus and recharge, and start the new week off right.

Thank you again for your informative blog and insights.

Scott Stenwick said...

I have a pretty demanding job with long hours too, so I know what you are talking about. Most days I get through my ceremonial forms, but I don't have time to meditate nearly as often as I would like these days.

We all just have to live our lives as best we can and adjust our practices accordingly. If what you're doing is working for you, by all means keep at it.

MovieMagus said...

I started to do LBRP/LIRH in the morning and LBRP/MP at night. Is this a good regimen?
I will add meditation to this mix.
What do you think of adding The Bornless One?

Thank you!

Scott Stenwick said...

Are you doing LBRP/MP at night with the deliberate intent of working only with the microcosmic aspect of the divine - that is, in the subjective psychological realm? If so this will do that. But if not, you should do LBRP/LIRH/MP both morning and evening - or you can just do it once a day. I do something similar in the evenings before I go to bed and I rarely do anything when I wake up in the morning besides get to work.

To add meditation, do this:

Qabalistic Cross

The final QC "seals in" the results of the practice.

The Bornless Ritual is a good practice, but I would recommend getting really comfortable with LBRP/LIRH/MP before trying it. Once you feel ready to add it, your daily sequence would look like this:

Bornless Ritual

If you want to add meditation to this, add it after the Bornless Ritual and before the final Qabalistic Cross.

MovieMagus said...

I didn't have a specific intent, I wanted to start my day with invocation and to end it with banishing. I will start to do

Qabalistic Cross

in the mornings and nights during Qurarantine and probably do it once when things normalize.

About Bornless One, I did it before as a daily practice and I really like it and I wanna do it again in due time. However, I read in a few places that Bornless One can turn your world upside down and leave you in shambles, as it can be also used for K&C with the HGA and the universe resists that.

I don't understand that as it was originally an exorcism from PGM as far as I know.

In any case, thank you for your advice as always.

MovieMagus said...

I wanted to get your opinion about my latest addition. I started to read the Oration to God from Dee. I am getting ready to start with Heptartica Mystica, and I thought it would be a good addition to prep for the real deal.

My daily practice goes like
LBRP (opens and closes with QC)
Middle Pillar
Oration to God
The Bornless One
Prayer to HGA (I improvise everyday something for my HGA, asking to connect and help)

The Bornless One feels a bit weird after Oration to God (assuming the godform with BR moments after telling how pitiful you are in OG), but I like the flow of the practice.

What do you think/advice?

Again, thank you as always. I will use your e-book for my Mystica rituals.

Scott Stenwick said...

Personally I have not done that, inserting the Oration to God into my regular daily practice. It is calling on a specific aspect of God at the beginning (YHVH Tzabaoth) and while it does transition into "Make me xxx" as an identification with the divine, when you do it after the Middle Pillar (which is a generic identification with the divine) it's like a step backwards.

If you want to insert it into your daily practice, I would move it in front of the Middle Pillar. So you set the operant field, then call on YHVH Tzabaoth to help you identify with the divine, and then do the Middle Pillar to fully accomplish that identification. But I also think that it's still a little out of place. You can do your regular daily work without it and your Heptarchial rituals should still work fine.

MovieMagus said...

I made the change, thank you.

However Oration to God is kinda generic, especially when I take out the references to Jesus Christ. I think you are thinking Fundamental Obesiance where he directly refers to YHVH Tzabaoth. In the Oration to God (at least in the one which was supposed to be his daily practice), there is no direct reference to a specific God name.

As Always, thank you again, and I hope to let you know about my Heptarchial operations/results, will use your book for it. It's mind boggling to me that so few people use the Heptarchial part of Enochian.

Scott Stenwick said...

You are correct, I was thinking of the Fundamental Obeisance there. Still, the basic flow of it is the same. It begins by entreating the most high God and so forth, even though a specific name is not used. So, since you are entreating, it is like a step backwards from the Middle Pillar uniting you with deity.

Basically, if you've already united or at least aligned your consciousness with the divine when you complete the Middle Pillar, who are you addressing in the Oration?

Philip said...

Would you recommend LIRP/LIRH in the morning and LBRP/LIRH at night?

Scott Stenwick said...

No. The way I do it, you only use the LBRH if there is something specific in the exterior world that you need to banish. I always do LBRP/LIRH for daily practice, even if I'm doing multiple practice sessions.