When in the early phases of developing a magical path, the most commonly recommended starting point is meditation. While at first meditation may sound complicated or bring to mind images of someone with legs crossed hovering six inches off of the floor, the best way to learn to do it is just sitting down and doing it.
We are often in states of light meditation without even being aware of it. An example of this is the period just as you’re falling asleep when the bed may feel like it’s moving, or you might feel like you are falling. When you are deeply engrossed in a book or project you enjoy or concentrating on a specific task you are in a light state of meditation. Once you note the sensation, you can try to recreate it again at will through meditation.
Meditation Exercise 1
1. Begin seated, or prone in a comfortable position.
2. Inhale and exhale completely, counting ‘in-2-3-4-and-out-2-3-4-5-6'. Preferably taking two counts longer in exhalation than inhalation. Work in counted cycles of ten. Try breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth if comfortable.
3. Starting with your feet concentrate on feeling the energy in each body part, or group of body parts. Feet and toes, calves and knees, thighs and hips, pelvis and lower torso, chest and shoulders, each arm, hands and fingers finishing with neck and head.
Concentrate on feeling the energy that animates each section. What does it feel like to be a toe? Where does the energy of a toe reside? Spend roughly 2-5 minutes in each group. Find and release any tension. Often we aren’t even aware of the clenched jaw, or tensed abdomen until slowing down and taking a moment to assess. Mentally scan your body for hidden tension. One of the biggest obstacles I’ve come up against is the tendency to furrow my brow in the early/mid-stages of meditation.
Once each group has been grounded and made aware, we are ready to begin thinking about the chakras, beginning with the root chakra. This is located at the base of the tail bone about an inch behind the prostate gland, or slightly above and behind the female cervix.
There are a lot of ways you can draw in energy and direct it into your inner space. Directing your attention by feeling the physical body part is one method but definitely not the only effective method. Try a few different methods and find one that is effective for you. Some of my favorites; While exhaling you can ‘breathe out’ through the place where you wish to direct energy into, you can ‘grow roots’ to the center of the earth and draw energy upward through them as a tree would draw water, you can envision the air in the room around you as sparkling and charged with colored light and draw it into your lungs and circulate it through your body as you inhale. The mental images you can use to raise and direct energy are almost infinite.
Chakra- ‘Chukr’, Sanskrit. Wheel; energy centers in the body where major nadis converge.
The chakras Include but are not limited to 7 primary upper, and 7 primary lower. Minor chakras are in the fingers and toes, extremities and junctions of joints as well as many other places. They are subtle, magnetic, and can be detected by fluctuations in electromagnetic measurements. Animals have energy centers as well, although they are often located differently than ours.
The nadis are the pathways for energy in and around our body. These are often the same channels that are treated when you receive acupressure or acupuncture. It has been theorized that the aura is the visual representation of the nadis extending around and through the body. Through some methods of photography the auras and energy fields of living things have been captured on film. Through the analysis of the pictures, the health and mental well being of the subject can be determined. Illness can also be treated and prevented through examining the condition of these energy fields.
Through meditation and the manipulation of chakras, touch healing such as Reiki and Seichim or through other alternative therapies such as acupuncture and acupressure; energy levels can be replenished and balanced. Emotional and spiritual barriers can be overcome and well being can be enhanced through vibrational therapies.
Through working with these energies and altering their flow and patterns we can alter our body chemistry. Injury to the physical body alters our hormonal, emotional and chemical balances and healing can be stimulated and with energy based therapy in conjunction with standard medical treatments. Energy blockage and illness can be caused by emotional difficulties as well as organic causes.
Learning to open and cleanse the chakras is a solid first step towards a deeper understanding of energy based health.
Meditation Exercise 2
Begin with steps one through three of meditation exercise 1.
4. Continue controlled/counted breath cycles.
5. Start in the root chakra, Muladhara, located in front of your tail bone, near the male prostate, and the female cervix. The color of the chakra is red. While thinking about the collected energy in all of the body parts and groups you have been working with, pull that energy inward and upward into the red chakra, letting the energy pour into it, filling the space and making it glow. As the energy begins to pool, feel it turn the chakra like a waterwheel or pinwheel. The analogy of a flower, and in particular a lotus blooming is another effective visualization used to help open the chakras.
6. The next chakra Svadhishthana, is the sacral chakra. It is located centrally above the fleshy mound at the small of your back. When the root chakra is clearly lit and maintained, then the energy can be pulled up into the lower back and pelvic cavity. The pelvic floor and sacrum make up this chakra. The color is orange. Again as with the root, let the energy fill the area, pool and turn the wheel of the chakra.
7. The third chakra, Manipura is the Solar Plexus. This is where we store energy, and often where many blockages related to motivation reside. Ever feel like you just can’t quite get it in gear? Try thinking about the energy of the sun filling the space just beneath your rib cage.
As you work through each chakra, blockages may be seen as dark spots, cracks, fissures, or other mentally generated imagery. The same energy that is used to open the chakras can be used to repair areas of damage by directing it into the chakra and visualize the damage melting away and the dark places warmed to light in your minds eye. Use the same process as before to light and open the solar plexus chakra.
8. The next chakra is Hrit, Anahata, the heart chakra. It’s color is the green of a deep and flawless as an emerald. Energy based healing often raises and directs energy through this chakra and out through the pathways in the hands and fingers. Envisioning a tree branching and growing leaves through your spinal column branching out through vertebrates in your neck and upper back; and your sternum helps this chakra open. Draw energy inward and upwards, pooling, turning the chakra, holding, and pulling in and up again to the next chakra.
9. Vishuddha the throat chakra is blue, and useful in communication. It’s element is Ether, or Akasha. Unexpressed emotion is often stored here, swallowing one’s tears, or pride - a lump in your throat; and create blockages. Taking a little extra time in cleansing this chakra is often necessary.
10. The next chakra is the third eye, Ajna and it is a center for higher knowledge, inspiration and intuition. It's color is purple. The third eye is often anointed with a drop of essential oil during ritual or magical endeavors.
11. Sahasrara, the thousand petaled lotus, is the spot on the top of the head where an infants fontanel would be. When energy is being released in magical work, it is through this space that much of it leaves us. It is also a place where we loose a lot of body heat, and a good reason to wear a hat in cold weather.
12. Work back downward through the chakras returning each to its normal level of brightness. Sometimes visualizing closing a zipper along the front of your body from top to bottom helps to close out any additional loose ends.
This exercise when done properly takes a good amount of time and concentration. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the way through, or fall asleep during the first try. Meditation is a learned art, and like any art form it takes practice.
The Gold Ball
1. Either seated comfortably or reclining, begin breathing deeply and becoming aware of the space around your body.
2. Rub your palms together vigorously as if you were lightly rolling a ball of dough between them then shake them out as if flicking water. Repeat this a few times.
3. Holding your palms between ½ and 1/4" inch apart feel the warmth and vibration of the other hands energy.
4. Begin to roll that energy, again as you would a ball of dough or an egg between your palms. Move your hands outwards as you roll allowing the ball to grow. Only move your hands when you feel the energy between them fill the space and push your hands outwards.
5. Move your hands inwards by ½ to 1 inch and feel the boundaries of the energy between your hands. With practice you will feel a warm resistance between your hands.
Visualization in Meditation
To create a magical outcome, a practitioner must be able to focus on a goal, while visualizing it in as much detail as he or she is capable of, often for long periods of time. An apple is a common and familiar object to practice with, and one which you should take the time to work with because it can be examined by all of the senses readily, including taste and smell. For the sake of variety and to illustrate that the sky truly is the limit, we will visualize a merry-go round ring.
A circle is a basic shape, and trying to grab the brass- steel, nickel, or silver ring is a fun and positive image, often accompanied by associations of summer, fairs and other joyful events. The material, shape and diameter of the ring are completely up to you. Now isn’t that fun and creative.
[Steps 1-3 of Meditation 1 may be helpful to review before doing this exercise]
5. As you continue breathing, feel the energy of your body coming back together as a whole, with energy balanced both inside and out. As you breathe feel the weight of your body against the surface you rest upon. Feel the point at which you are connected to the ground and in your minds eye feel it begin to dissolve slightly.
6. As you complete a cycle of breaths, begin to visualize your chosen object. The more detail the better. What side is it lit from? Is it warm or cold? Is it heavy or light? How big is it? What sound would it make if you were to strike it? Take your time. Enjoy.
Still not feeling it? Lets get basic. Real basic. Not everyone can pick up a pencil and draw a portrait, but most people can draw a stick figure. Every shape is made up of simple lines, with curves and angles. These lines parallel and intersect and create the shapes and outlines of the world around us.
In your minds eye, the place where you experience the action in a good book, imagine a hyphen floating against a white background. Make it about an inch long, and a quarter inch in weight. We’re beginning two dimensionally, so what’s behind the hyphen remains to be seen.
Can you stand the hyphen on end for a few moments, vertically without compromising the structure? How about making him hop around a little. Maybe try wiggling his ends. If this is easy, feel free to move on to the next step.
Envisioning the hyphen as having a pivoting point somewhere along it’s length and rotate it as you would the hands on a clock. Now lets begin to make shapes out of the hyphen. Somewhere around this time I would also flesh him out a little more. A black line is similar in shape to many things. It could be made of yarn, or it could be made of iron. It could be made of the iron rebar that is used when pouring concrete structures. Because of the solidity of iron I enjoy using it as a focus for building shapes.
Taking your line by the ends, begin to bend it. Can you curl them until they touch to make a circle? Can you create angles and form a triangle? Once you can create and maintain the image of a circle for a few moments, begin changing its size, weight and material until you come to a point where you can see it as that merry go round ring we were describing earlier. Can you make it spin in the way a quarter on a table might?
Once moving through the basic processes of meditation and visualization becomes comfortable, then you can begin to envision more complex things. The first step of learning to visualize in detail is akin to learning to build the stage on which you will bring to life your story. If you were to begin visualizing a teacup, the next step would be to place it on a surface. The next could be to fill it- or empty it. You can also begin to broaden your methods of meditation and find new methods that work for you.
To continue working with the image of the merry go round ring, you could use a sensory visualization such as sound to begin creating the rest of the image. Drop the ring into the scene that it would normally exist in. A concrete floor is often a surface that a merry go round would stand on. Did you hear the ring land and the music in the background? Can you see the small stones embedded in the concrete - is there gum on the ground nearby? Can you see your feet? Do you smell the cotton candy? Pick up the ring and look around.
When practicing deep states of meditation it can be a good idea to work within a space that you are confidant will remain undisturbed. This may be a circle, shield or other guarded construct dependent upon your path and personal inclination. A simple shield is most commonly used, and with practice can be created in a matter of moments.
When beginning the steps of meditation 1 envision a bubble made of a strong material, white light, and/or the love of your chosen deities surrounding your body and expanding on your exhalation it to encompass yourself and the room you are in inside a sphere shaped shield. This bubble can be imbued with as many characteristics as you would like.(e.g.. Spikes, roses, thorns, snakes, karate choppers, sawmills, whirlwinds - whatever works for you.)
This shield can even be extended to protect your home and family. By continuing to expand the sphere as you exhale until it encompasses what you wish to protect. With each breath push the bubble outwards a little bit more.
When deciding what types of defenses to build into your shield you may want to consider if your method is passive or active. A passive shield is one that defends you only when someone crosses a boundary that you have set, or sends unwanted energy in your direction. It blocks the unwanted energy or intended harm and grounds that energy into the earth.
An active shield is one that directs energy back to the sender, in effect ‘returning’ the energy, sometimes amplifying it with a threefold (or ninefold!) clause.
Remember you are the creator of your boundaries and are thus responsible for their effects and workings. Adherents to the Wiccan Rede may want to give additional consideration to what they do with the energy that their shields intercept, and ascertain that it is grounded rather than directed into causing additional harm. If you blow a whistle and someone startles and inadvertently stumbles into traffic, you may still be liable for their damages.
To ground your shield, and maintain it indefinitely without spending large amounts of will or directed energy in the process, go back to the point just before the visualization and creation of your shield, when you would begin to feel your body’s weight against whatever surface it sits upon. Each place that is in contact with another surface is a spot where you can reach into your surroundings and draw in energy. Grow roots down into each surface, through it and into it until you come to the earth, from which you can draw energy back inward and upward.
5. Pull the energy up through your body, through each part in turn as you’ve given awareness to it. In the same sequence feel the energy rise up and through them.
6. Create your shield as you normally would
7. Connect the bubble to that earthly energy in the way you are best able to envision; Be it a knot, a braid, a waterfall, a dust cloud, growing roots from the shield into the earth - whatever. Although your personal boundary is connected to the energy of the earth it is by no means limited to a single location, and travels with you as easily as a balloon on a cord, or a jellyfish swimming in the sea that you have chosen to ride along inside. While at times you may need to ground and center to strengthen that energy and its connections, it is always available at your request.
Witches Ball Meditation
Breathing deeply from your diaphragm begin to visualize your breath moving both down through your stomach and pelvic floor and upwards through the top of your head. Feel this breath expand your rib cage and lift your shoulder blades. As you breathe begin to feel your posture become straight and your spine long, sinuous and golden. As you continue to breath your breath charges and cleanses the space around you that is your aura, your etheric space.
On your next breath allow the outer edge of your auric space to become a solid bubble that surrounds and protects you. Take a moment to imbue this bubble with whatever characteristics you may choose.
Feel the column that is your spine stretch and twist both up and down, connecting with the outer edges of your bubble with threads of light, the same way fibers of wool twist and stretch into yarn. Finding and uniting the ions around you into threads of energy.
From deep in your back, the place that supports both neck and shoulder blades send out a thread of light at the level of your rib cage and connecting to your bubble, these threads could be spun as wool, grown as vines, wings or any other visualization that appeals to you.
These two cross threads are going to be the structure that supports the rest of the threads as we weave the inner web, our personal dream catcher that can be taken along wherever we go. The threads come from the seven upper chakras and extend outwards to the boundary of our auric space or shield. Each thread is then woven into and through the others to form a web, or pattern.
Beginning from the nape of your neck, feel a thin strand drawing upward and connecting to the outermost boundary of your circle. Once it reaches the outer edge, wrap it around that border, and stretch it back across your circle and wrapping around one of the cross threads. You may stretch and wrap this thread as many times as you would like, connecting it to the threads already within your bubble, or with itself. Like a spider you are weaving your web.
From the center of your sternum visualize a green thread or ribbon, pulling and lifting your chest upwards, your shoulder blades slide down and in, folding comfortably into your back and from the top of each shoulder another green thread flows down, connecting to the bubble surrounding you. Each of these threads stretch and connect as the first. They are connected to you, and made through your intention. Each is made of sparkling shifting light, and when something passes through one of those threads you are able to sense its properties.
From the small of your back, the mound of your sacrum pull a red thread, downward and to the left. Simultaneously, either from ovaries or testicles, gender allowing; two additional red threads stretch, connecting to your bubble and joining the three dimensional pattern that is forming around you. This web not only stretches above and below you, but to your front and back like a hula hoop as well as encompassing the angles in between. You are standing inside your witches ball.
From the space just below your rib cage, your diaphragm, three yellow rays shine outward, joining the pattern. From your sides, orange rays shine outward, three or four on each side. They touch the outer edge of your bubble and reflect back inwards bouncing off of and illuminating both you and the other threads they touch.
From the divot between your collar bones, bring a thick shining blue ribbon, cascading down and outward. From the points of your jawbone, where the roots of your wisdom teeth grow, send silvery blue roots outward, connecting to your bubble.
Around the top of your head, envision a coronet of purple light. From it many petals of light stretch and twine their anthers into your luminous web.
Continue weaving and growing threads as long as you would like until you feel your work of art and magic is complete.