Have you ever heard of a "Sunday Morning Christian"? A Sunday Morning Christian is a person who goes to church every Sunday (to be seen), sings very loudly (to be heard) and puts large bills in the collection plate. Then, in business, he does everything possible to steal and cheat He lies about his friends and enemies and he cheats on his wife. Yes, he puts on a big show of being a Christian for a few hours every Sunday, but when it comes to living every minute of the day after the manner of Jesus, he foils miserably.
So what does this have to do with Ceremonial Magick? Like the Sunday Morning Christians who think that Christianity is something you do once a week, most people think that magick is something you do. This is totally wrong.
Magick is not something that you do. Magick is something that you are!
To really be a magician means that your "mindset" is totally centered around magick. This means that no matter what you are doing, thinking or saying, títere is always in your mind the idea of how everything is related magjckally. Thus, if you are talking politics, you might be thinking about how a politician is able to convince people to vote for him or her without ever mentioning a political platform. Certainly this is a powerful form of magic; convincing people to do things for no apparent reason. When you are cooking you might be thinking about how the element of fire affects meats, their by-products, and vegetables. When magick becomes your way of thinking, acting and breathing, then you will be a magician.
This brings us back, for a moment, to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. There were really six degrees in the Golden Dawn, which, if you did well, would allow you to seek entrance into the inner order, the R.R. et A.C. If you have studied a bit about the Golden Dawn, this may shock you: The Golden Dawn was never a magickal order! The inner order, the Roseae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (Red Rose and Gold Cross; R.R. et A.C.) did practice practical magick. The outer order, the Golden Dawn, did not.
The Golden Dawn did have several purposes in the Order's overall scheme. It allowed people to meet and learn to have confidence in each other. It allowed people to learn the theories and philosophies which would later allow them to do practical magick. But for the purpose of this course, the most important aspects are that it initiated people and got them attuned to the four magickal elements.
Obviously, I cannot initiate you via a book. No one can. But what is the need and purpose of initiation, anyway?
Initiation has two aspects, practical and mystical. On a practical level, initiation gives you nothing. Rather, it allows you to begin to do a certain prescribed system of work. As an example, a person initiated into the Neophyte degree of the Golden Dawn was to begin learning the Hebrew alphabet, the symbols of the planets and the zodiac, and he or she was also to begin doing the LBRP. The word "initiation" comes from a Latin root which means "to begin."
The mystical aspects of initiation are a different story. Imagine a private club which you want to enter. You knock on the door and the bouncer, who doesn't recognize you, sends you away. Then, a person who knows both you and the bouncer comes up and introduces you to each other. From that time on you are a welcome guest in the private club. In this little story, the introduction to a higher, stronger force in the form of a bouncer, was your initiation. In reality, the mystical aspectsof initiation not only introduce you to higher powers (or, if you prefer, your higher self), but it also causes spiritual, emotional and physical effects within you which allow you to be easily recognized in the future by the higher powers.
There is another way to cause the inner changes which allow this recognition. You could go up to the bouncer day after day, week after week and month after month if need be, talk to the bouncer and bring him presents and friendship until finally, without a third-party introduction, the bouncer allows you into the club. The way that this can be done is through performing the work of this course.
In the Golden Dawn, an initiation into the Nephyte Grade gave you membership, companionship with others of a like mind, and allowed both you and the other members of the Order to see how well you could work together. Since you are not becoming a member of any order, that particular initiation is not vital to your advancement. The next four grades of the Order try to balance you with the four magick-al elements and, in fact, were sometimes referred to as the "elementary grades." We will be learning about the magickal elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, one at a time and in their proper order.
The Neophyte grade of the Golden Dawn was not related to the elements. In fact, it was not considered to be the first degree of the order. It was called the 0=0 Grade. The next degree, known as the first degree or 1=10 (first degree equals the tenth Sephira) was associated with the element of Earth, so it is there we must now begin. We must become in total harmony with this element.
Each of the four magickal elements are representative of alternate aspects of the qualities of temperature and humidity. Since we are working with the element of Earth, let's examine its qualities. Obviously, Earth is not wet. Nor is it warm (except when infused with the element of Fire as seen in lava). Therefore, we can say that the element Earth has the qualities of being dry and cool.
The next step is to learn how to become aware of and in control of this element in our day-to-day life.
Exercise 1. Make a list of things which have the combined qualities of dryness and coolness. However, don't do this just out of your head. Rather, make a list of Earth things that you see each day. Practice this for one week. Be sure to record the results each day in your magickal diary.
Exercise 2. Find a place filled with nature, such as a field or park. Wear as little clothing as you can (if possible, nudity is best), and sit or lie on the ground so that as much of your skin as possible is touching the ground. This is especially easy for women, as they can simply wear a flowing skirt with no underwear and sit on the ground with the skirt spread out. In this way there is nothing between the skin and the Earth. Spend some time contemplating, feeling the coolness and dryness of the Earth. You should do this at least three times within a week.
If you happen to find a grassy spot, or an area which has recently been watered, you may have a feeling that the magickal element of Earth has wetness in it. There are two responses to this. First, tempera ture and humidity are relative. It may be damp compared to desert sand, but it is dry compared to ocean water. At least this shows that you are thinking about the elements. However, the real answer to the idea that earth has some wetness to it is that you are mistaking the physical soil for the magickal archetypal element Earth. A physical representation always lacks the purity of the archetype. Since we are physical and learn through our senses, we move in our minds from the physical imperfect object to the pure archetype. It is in this way we gain knowledge of the magickal elements.
Exercise 3. Spend a period of up to three minutes (no more), once a day, imagining that you are the element Earth. Feel the heaviness, the slowness, the coolness and dryness of Earth. Feel the way you can absorb the pains and problems of the world (however, do not actually do so). Become Earth. Do this exercise for at least a week before moving to the next exercise.
Exercise 4. Once you have learned to "be Earth," the next step is to control the element Earth. Take a moment and imagine yourself to be Earth. Bring the feeling from the previous exercise into your consciousness. Next, hold your hands 9 to 12 inches apart, palms facing each other. Imagine a bottle or box between your hands. Now, as you exhale, visualize all of the Earth element which is in you going out with your breath and into the container between your hands. Three to five breaths should be enough to fill it. Then, with three breaths, inhale it back into you and go back to normal consciousness.
The Test. This will allow you to see whether or not you really have become not only in harmony with the magickal element Earth, but also see if you are able to control the element.
The next time that you feel lightheaded, giddy, unstable, not able to do your work, etc., form the container of Earth as described in Exercise 4. Then, once the container of Earth has been formed, with one big inhalation, draw the contents of the container back into you. Within five minutes you should feel stable and grounded.
The next time that you feel bloated, overweight, slowed down, etc., again form the container of Earth; only this time, visualize a large hole in the ground and drop the container into that hole. Quickly see the hole close. You should feel lighter in a few minutes, but it may be necessary to repeat this exercise up to five times to really feel light (but not like an "airhead") and energetic.
When you have succeeded at both parts of this test you will have mastered the element of Earth. However, if you do not succeed at it within a few days or weeks, don't worry about it. Just keep practicing. Remember, initiation is a beginning, not an ending. Continue with your studies in this course. Do not stop and wait until you perfect your mastery of the element. Be sure to record the results of your experiments, whether they be good, bad or indifferent, in your magick diary.
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.