Meditation Meditation is important in ritual work. Listen when a spell calls for any sort of meditation. It is used to calm the body, cleanse the soul and remove any unwanted energies from the body before ritual is performed. It can cleanse the mind. Try different meditation positions. Many people can meditate while sitting, but I have trouble and must lie down on my back. Others cannot lie down at all to meditate. Try meditation to different types of music or to cassettes of nature sounds. You can incorporate chanting and drumming into your meditations as well as they produce a mind-numbing effect.
A Meditation I have read many books and articles on different types of meditations and I have found one meditation in particular very useful. Begin by lying or sitting in a comfortable position. You may wish to play some type of soothing music or nature sounds such as ocean waves, water running or a rainstorm. Once you are comfortable, close your eyes. Let your entire body relax beginning with your toes. Feel your toes slack. Let it move up your legs. Feel your legs relax, then your thighs, then your stomach. Let your arms relax, your neck and then your face and head. Slowly, you will find yourself surrounded by light. This light will spread until you seem to float in a void of white light. Reach out before you and grab some of the light. Tear it open and step through the hole. You find yourself in the middle of a wood. The white hole remains open behind you. You are standing on a little path. Look around you. Is it night? Day? Are there birds singing? Paying attention to detail during meditation will help you get better in your astral travel. Follow the path. After a while you will see an old moss-covered bridge. Step onto the bridge. A small burbling stream flows beneath it. As you look over into the stream, you will notice that your pockets feel weighted with stones. These stones are your worldly troubles, worries and problems. You cannot take them with you where you are going. Pull the stones from your pocket and drop them into the stream. Watch the water bubble over them. If you feel any more stones in your pocket, keep emptying it until it is empty. Continue across the bridge to the path on the other side. Soon, the wood will open up into a large clearing. There are mountains in the distance and before you is a small hill with a single tree. Grassy hills with wildflowers stretch off into the distance. This is the astral plane. Once you get proficient in visiting this area, you can go anywhere you wish. You might meet people here, or animals. Talk to them and listen to what they have to say. Get to know your surroundings. Explore a little but don’t get lost. Confusion on the astral may cause you to leave part of yourself behind when you leave. After you have finished your business on the astral, be sure to leave the way you came. Go back across the bridge and enter back through the hole. Seal it up behind you. Let the light die around you and feel yourself return to your body. Open your eyes.
There are some troubles that you can run into on the astral. Remember that there are dangers there the same as anywhere else. If you meet a being that makes you feel in any way uncomfortable, just surround yourself in a bubble of light. They will soon leave.
Visualization Visualization is very important in spell work. In order for your spells to work well, you must be able to conjure up images of people and objects in very great detail. This will help to make your magic stronger. There are a variety of techniques used to practice visualization. My favorite is the candle method.
Begin in a quiet, dark room. Light a candle and sit comfortably with the candle in front of you. Do not stare directly into the flame, but choose a place near the base of the flame that is not painful to look at. The blue area near the bottom is good for this. Stare at the frame and let the image imprint itself into your mind. When you feel that you have stared at the candle long enough, close your eyes and imagine the image of the candle burning there. See the flame flickering and note the color of the candle and the way the wax is dripping or how it melts into a clear liquid at the base of the wick. Envision the candle until you cannot envision it anymore and do it a second time. Do this as many times as you like (at least twice) for one week.
After the first week, try and envision the candle without it in front of you. You can do this in meditation or any time that you have free time in a quiet place. Once you can envision the candle, try envisioning other objects. Try, for example, an apple. Without having one in front of you, imagine an apple in your mind. Hold the apple in your hand. feel the weight of it and smell it. What kind of apple is it? What color is it? What does it feel like? Once you get the hang of fruit, try the same with people. You may want to begin with a photograph. Then work with people you see around you. If you are sitting on the bus, look at someone across from you. Close your eyes and see how long you can envision them before you loose the image. Try becoming different things. Try envisioning being an animal, say a bird. Feel yourself flying and landing. Try being a fish and swimming or a horse and running. Try being an ant. What does the world look like from where you are? After a short time, you will get quite proficient at this.
Dreaming Dreams are very important. Witches learn to pay attention to dreams. Sometimes they are prophetic and can tell the future or they allow one to astrally travel to another time or dimension. At other times, dreams are just the mind’s way of sorting out the day’s events or dealing with a problem that you have been thinking over. Whatever the reason, dream recording should become an important practice.
I keep a dream journal by my bed. I have practiced remembering my dreams since I was a child and so I have not trouble recording them later or remembering the dreams years after I dream them. Many of my childhood memories were dreams.
Once when I was about five years old, I dreamt that I was a grown woman, probably in my twenties. I was lying in a hospital bed when suddenly, I began to float out of my body. I sort of hung on the ceiling looking down at myself. The room was grayish white and there was a television in the corner. There was a door, but no windows. Some doctors were looking over my body and talking, but I could not understand what they were saying. I floated up through the ceiling and then woke up. I can’t help but think now that I must have been experiencing something from a past life or that I was having a prophecy of my own death. I could not have known at five years old that people who have come back from death described death as being the same way.
My dream journal is just a blank journal with lines. Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I open my eyes and blurt out whatever I can that I dreamt about. This helps me remember. Then as soon as I get my contacts in, I take up the book and record my dreams.
Once your dreams are recorded, you can try interpreting them. I do not use dictionaries as definitions for certain symbols can be different for different people. For example, if a woman who is terrified of rats dreams that she is covered in rats, she might interpret that as being an nightmare in which she was being warned not to take on something that will be too difficult for her so that she is in over her head. I, on the other hand, have had and love rats. To me they are symbols of curiosity, cleanliness, and play. If I had the same dream, I would interpret that I was going to have great fortune.
Try practicing determining the meanings of your dreams. Notice what happens that day and see if it has anything to do with what you thought the dream was about. You can get quite good at this. Dreams can be your mind’s way of telling you what you need to do.
Heal Thyself You can heal yourself simply by paying attention to your chakra centers. When you are looking at your chakras in meditation, you may notice that some appear dull or might have black spots on them or areas where no light shines through. Sometimes dark or mottled spots may appear. This is a manifestation of a problem with your health dealing with whichever chakra has been affected. Silver Ravenwolf describes one way of healing yourself and bringing your chakras back into balance by using what is known as a “vacuum ball.” Visualize a ball before you that is devoid of light, much like what you might imagine a black hole to be. Visualize this vacuum ball sucking in things around it from the spiritual plane such as light and dust. Open the chakra that has been affected. For example, if you have a sore throat, open the throat chakra. Visualize the vacuum ball sucking all of the spots off of the chakra until it is clean. Close the chakra and allow the vacuum ball to sink into the ground. If you are very ill or your symptoms are more apparent, it may take many cleanings to get your chakras back in tune with each other.
The Temple Or the Altar Space. Most witches prefer to work out of doors, but sometimes this cannot be accomplished. Wherever you work, the rules are generally the same.
The room or space should be large enough to house the sacred circle: the circle of power in which a witch works. The circle is usually six or nine feet in diameter, but if neither of these sizes can be accomplished, then you can improvise. The altar sits in the center of the circle facing east – the direction of birth and beginnings. A candle or colored lamp or bonfire sits at each of the four Airts or directions. Blue for west, yellow for east, red for south and green for north. These will represent the four powers of the elements that are called on to protect the circle. One should always enter the circle from the east, the place of new beginnings. The altar is also set up to face east. Depending on your path, the altar may face a different direction. Wiccans, however, have the altar facing the sunrise.
Your sacred space should be a space in which you feel comfortable. A clearing in the woods or a clearing in your living room are both fine places to work as long as you are alone or it is quiet. If a coven is working, the entire coven stays within the circle. Usually, each member has their own job to do within the circle to keep it in good working order. Do not allow children in the room or pets other than cats that are free-roaming as they may cross the boundaries of your circle and inhibit your working. Cats do not seem to have an effect on the power of a circle and can easily cross between the worlds. You will learn about circles in a later chapter.
Cleanse your ritual space by sweeping. Sweep out the bad energies. Chant something like:
Sweep, sweep, sweep this place By powers of Air, I cleanse this space.
Carry a lit candle around the area, making sure to thrust it into all corners and closets. Do the same with salt water and burning incense. You may want to wash the area with holy water as well. Draw a pentacle over the area with your finger for protection.