If you have been following along from the beginning, you should now know how to become aware of your body, relax your body, breath rhythmically, and focus your attention on your thoughts. Ideally you are doing this for 15 - 30 minutes twice a day, if not don't sweat it just keep at it. These are the exercises that will help your practice to be successful regardless of your path.Now I will introduce the next stage, Mantram. Mantram is beneficial on many levels, it helps develop concentration, lowers stress, and transform consciousness. For these reasons alone mantram would be recommended, but my reason has to do specifically with training your mind for the task of spell work. Many spells work on the principle of Raising Power, this is usually accomplished through repetition of key phrases. I will discuss this in greater detail, but first let me explain how to do mantram.
Once you have relaxed your body and mind, and are breathing in rhythm, recite a simple phrase over and over again, either audibly or silently. Try both techniques as they yield different results. It's really that simple to initiate, but takes a while to master. I recommend using a timer, mala beads, or a Witch's Ladder to aid in your recitation exercises. As for the mantram itself, there are many out there, and many people use something from the eastern traditions or if you are inclined towards Hoodoo christian prayers may work for you. Personally, I make up my own mantras and then use Google Translate to translate them into German or Cyrmu, my primary ancestral tongues. My primary mantra is "ich bin im Frieden mit allem was" which is rough German for "I am at peace with all that is." Try to find something that resonates with you and syncs rhythmically with your breath work.
Visualization is absolutely one of the most fun Mind Expansion Techniques of which I know. The limits are only defined by your imagination. Let me take a moment to discuss imagination. In our modern, scientifically materialistic world is has become vogue to dismiss thoughts and dreams as "mere" imagination. In fact one could argue that there is an ongoing war against creativity and beauty that could be referred to as the Genocide of the Imagination. Despite this,scientists quite often use visualization techniques and dreams to help them figure out complex problems. Imagination is where ideas are born, and without ideas there is no advancement. If no imagined that the Earth was round our history would be very different, and if no one had dared to dream of long distance communication devices, you would not be reading this now. Never let anyone dismiss your ideas as just imagination.Ideas hold power.
Okay, enough of the diatribe, time for nuts and bolts. The who, what, where, when, and why of visualization. There are as many ways to visualize as there are people teaching visualization. The method I first learned is very similar to the "Eating a Lemon" exercise described here:
Imagine you are in a kitchen somewhere.On a bench is a basket of lemons. You reach out and select a ripe yellow lemon. You feel the weight of the lemon in your hand..., you slide your fingers over the smooth waxy skin... feel the dimpled texture... You lift the lemon to your face and breathe in that lemony smell... and then you slice the lemon open. As the bright yellow flesh is exposed you see the juice run out... a lovely lemony citrus aroma fills the room. You cut a slice and put it in your mouth. You bite down on it .... the juice runs over your tongue... your mouth fills with the taste of lemon juice...
For more of these exercises go this website for Visualization Techniques. You can also try the techniques described at MindExpansionTechniques. Since I have mentioned the use of visualization in spell work and I do not currently feel like devoting my time to writing on this subject yet, let me direct to others that have; the Beautiful, the Practical, and the Technical. Once again I cannot stress enough the importance of these exercises, add them to your above exercises at least twice a week. Spell work will come later, for now, concentrate on the visualization only.
The time has come dear padwan for studies of an intellectual nature. I highly and strongly suggest that the serious student of the occult and magic study the following books, they will give you an understanding of the Magical World Perspective. The list in no particular order;
- Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
- Magick in Theory and Practice by Aleister Crowley
- A Witches Bible: The Complete Witch's Handbook by Janet and Stewart Farrar
- Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits
- The Red Book by Sera J. Beaks
- Quantum Psychology by Robert Anton Wilson
- The Magician's Companion by Bill Whitcomb
That should be enough to get you started, there will be test next month. Seriously though, read and practice, read and practice and then read some more. A quick study of Library Sciences might prove to be helpful. Test the theories, do the exercises, write it all down and then share what works and what doesn't. This is the beginning, welcome aboard.