Monday, May 30, 2016

A Simple Pathworking Induction

Back when I put up my original post describing a simple pathworking ritual, one of the points I made was that my magical working group does pathworking in a more freeform style than many other groups, in that we do not make use of elaborate prewritten guided meditations explaining what we should or should not be seeing as we explore the paths.

While we do not use any sort of guided imagery once we have entered the paths, we do employ a shorter guided meditation that we use as a preliminary induction to get the process started. We find that using the induction makes it go smoother and produce a more complete sense of immersion, rather than jumping right in as my pathworking ritual post implies. So this induction text goes at the beginning of step 5 in the pathworking ritual template, after all the ceremonial forms are in place.

The original version of this induction was based on this meditation from the Copenhagen Qabalah website, which is a fantastic resource for studying hermetic qabalah and the various attributions of the sephiroth and paths. If you do pathworking I highly recommend checking it out. As you will see, some of the same verbiage remains in our version along with the same general idea, but over the years it has changed substantially as we have worked with it.

The induction that we currently are using reads as follows. While it might useful to do some sort of recorded version, I never have gotten around to making one and generally one of us just reads it. When working alone, you can either read it to yourself, or listen to a recording of yourself reading it if you are so inclined, prior to exploring the chosen path.

Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath. Feel it flowing in and out of your body at its own natural rhythm. Relax your abdomen and allow it to expand as you breathe in, and contract as you breathe out. Feel the breath flowing, allowing it to sink into your abdomen and deepen at its own pace.

The next four paragraphs are optional. They lengthen the induction and allow more time for getting into the proper mindspace for this sort of work. My recommendation is to include them at least until you have had some success at pathworking and are familiar with the process.

Visualize your body from the outside. Around it you see a glowing field of colored light arranged in four distinct layers. Bring your attention to the innermost layer, a field of light tinted with the rich green of earth. This layer extends only an inch or so beyond the boundary of your skin. As you bring your attention to this layer, relax from the toes on up. Then take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my body is at peace.” As deep relaxation flows throughout your body, see the field of green light becoming still and receptive.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the blue of water that covers earth. This layer begins where the green layer ends and extends a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to your emotions and feelings. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my emotions are at peace.” As your emotions become calm and serene, see the field of blue light becoming still and reflective.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the yellow of air that covers water. This layer begins where the blue layer ends and extends yet a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to your thoughts. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my thoughts are at peace.” As your thoughts become calm and clear, see the field of yellow light becoming still and integrated.

Shift your attention to the next layer, a field of light tinted with the red of fire that burns at the heart of the sun. This layer begins where the yellow layer ends and extends yet a few more inches beyond your body. As you focus on this layer, pay attention to the sparks of will that give rise to your individual sense of being. Simply observe and let them pass, allowing your attention to detach from them. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “my will is at peace.” As your will becomes focused, see he field of red light becoming still and distinct.

The optional section ends here.

Visualize your body and the aura that surrounds it. Allow any remaining tension, stress, or worry to drain away into the earth, and as you do, see the field of ethereal light that surrounds you becoming more vibrant and harmonious. Realize that you are now observing your body, emotions, thoughts, and will from outside, and that you are more than just these facets of your personality. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I am.” Then pay attention to your attention.

Now, begin to focus on your purpose in this temple. We are alone in the temple. The powers await just beyond our sensing. We will now bring these powers to life in our hall. Nothing awaits us or concerns us but the Great Work, which we shall now continue as we explore the realm of [Name], the [Attribution].

For a standard pathworking, the end of the previous sentence is usually something like “as we explore the realm of the Universe card, the path of Saturn and Earth.”

Visualize an idealized form of yourself taking shape out of the light in front of your inner vision. See your astral double standing, facing you. Take some time to get the best image possible fixed in your mind. Once you have this Body of Light complete, look around the temple space from the viewpoint of your double and notice first that you are surrounded by a blank gray fog.

As the fog clears, you begin to make out the astral form of this temple around you. To the east you notice a portal take shape out of the mist. This could be a doorway, a large magick mirror, a window, or some other kind of opening large enough for you to enter. You pass through this portal, and find yourself in the realm of [Name]. Take note of all you experience here as you explore the landscape of [Attribution].

At this point, allow 10-15 minutes for meditation in the spirit vision, or longer if it be your will. When you are finished, the induction is concluded as follows.

It is now time to leave the realm of [Name]. Take a few moments to finish your exploration here, and then turn back the way you came.

When you arrive at the portal, pass back through into the astral region of the temple. Stand in front of your physical body, turn around, and allow the Body of Light to merge back into your physical body. Retain all that has happened in vivid presence, while you quietly remain for awhile, with eyes still closed.

As you slowly merge back into the physical, be aware of your breath flowing, gently in and out of your body. Feel your eyes still gently closed and relaxed. Feel the movement of your abdomen as it moves away from your body as you inhale and back towards your body as you exhale. Finally, be aware of your body and the space that your body occupies.

Slowly bring your hands up to your face, cover your eyes with your hands and then gently open your eyes. Remove your hands slowly from your face, slowly look up and come back to the present space in circle.

Copenhagen Qabalah recommends that you start all pathworking in Malkuth and navigate up the Tree of Life from there, which is what we originally did in our working group. It is a good method, especially since it helps to establish the entire structure of the Tree as an astral temple. However, once you have visited each path and the structure is complete, you should be able to enter each of the paths depending on what you are looking to explore and what aspects you are seeking to better understand.

However, I also think that you can take a more piecemeal approach if that is what works for you. Magick is all about finding the method that works best to accomplish your objectives, and the solution that is best for you may not be best for all practitioners. So I recommend experimenting with a number of different methods and settling upon the one that resonates best with your personal style of working.

It should also be noted that this induction can be used for any sort of astral work whatsoever with a few modifications. We have used it to explore regions of the Enochian universe and the elemental, planetary, and zodiacal realms, and the technique is the same whether you are exploring the sphere of influence of a particular entity or a portion of the Tree of Life. It has worked well for us for many years, and I hope that anyone else who wants to work with it will have similar success.

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Anonymous said...

Great method!

From my pathworkings I found that Paths 31 and 32 are indeed dual paths, just like Crowley points them out separately in 777. Paths 31-31bis and 32-32bis are like a two way street, with the elemental part of the path leading to Malkuth and thus into the material world, and The Universe and Spirit parts leading to the imaterial spheres of Yesod and Hod.

As a consequence, I work each way of these paths separately.

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, you do have to do that for 32 for sure if you are using the Greater forms, since you use the GIRP for Earth and the GIRH for Saturn.

You could make an argument for doing both aspects of 31 at once, since the GIRP for Fire also includes the Pentagram of Active Spirit. Still, if you get better results working the aspects separately, that's probably what you should do.

Anonymous said...

From what i've encountered from the 2 paths, their elemental parts have provided me with some tests of a practical nature. For example i was required to "play" with those elements (earth and fire) in a certain way and then receive some sort of reward if my results were correct. I received a fire wand and something that i can't remember right now, but i wrote it down.

Working these elemental paths did not lead me to the spheres of Yesod and Hod. I only got there while working on Spirit and The Universe, through different kinds of trials. For example for the Spirit path i was shown an image of myself in which all the physical flaws i had complained about during my life were missing and my body looked the way that i envisioned i would like it to be. The guide asked me if i want to take that body and as i came closer and closer to uniting with it, i felt the energies of my etheric body shifting around me, like my physical body was starting to change into that one. At least that was the sensation. I suddenly realized that it was a mistake and that i have to accept my physical body as it is, because it represents the perfect vessel in which to explore this current lifetime, so i rejected the offer. The guide seemed pleased with my answer and only then i was lead onwards to Hod.

This method of induction works very well for someone that is just beginning to practice working with the body of light. It is also very useful for when one is too distracted or tired, to perform such a work.

I myself have started experiencing working with my body of light ass soon as i began practicing the LBRP, after i've read Crowley's exercise in Liber O. Doing some shamanistic journeys into the underworld before that has also helped alot.