I have always believed that acquiring the right state of mind is an important part of any ritual, because it opens the pathways to the ether, so to speak, besides expanding the spirit. Much of any ritual is devoted to changing the state of consciousness of the practitioner anyway. However, spells sometimes work when the practitioner doesn’t believe in them, or when little effort is actually put in, such as my ‘blessing’ of the water. Something strange and mysterious is indeed at work here. However, I do not advocate a careless approach, because these things deserve to be taken seriously, if playfully – ‘mirth with reverence’. Nor do I recommend doing a spell in a spirit of experiment, ‘just to see’. The universe has a sense of humour and the laugh could be on you. Most likely, nothing will happen, and nothing will be proved.
Getting in the right state of mind is mostly the point of magical ritual. It starts with relaxation, and total relaxation, while a most simple thing, is hard to achieve. If you wish to become proficient at rituals then daily practice of conscious relaxation is a good start and will benefit you generally, into the bargain.
Choose a time of day to practice your relaxation and decide that you will do it every’ day, Five minutes spent daily is better than an hour, once a week. Morning or evening may be best, and devote as much time as you can to it without getting bored and without overstretching your schedule. The most important thing is that you keep it up, for this is a ritual in itself and will be strengthened by habit. I suggest that you start with ten minutes and work up to half an hour, or more, if you wish. Try not to miss a day. If you do, forgive yourself, start again, and tell yourself you won’t miss any more. Or, if you must, take one day off a week, then limit yourself to that.
Settle yourself on your bed, for that will suggest relaxation to your unconscious mind. As you become more adept you may wish to move to a chair, so you do not fall asleep. Concentrate on your body, using whatever means most appeal to let go of tension. Some people favour the tensing of each muscle in turn to unbearable intensity, and then relaxing. I think that’s a good way to get cramp. Just allow all the tenseness to flow out of you, as if a river of light is passing through you, or you are rocking on the waves of an unseen ocean. If you prefer, you could imagine that all your muscles are powered by little people who now, in response to your command, are downing tools and walking out. Whatever your preferred method, go through your whole body slowly, either from head downwards, or feet upwards, spending special time with the altitude of tiny facial muscles. Check, and check again, gently and lovingly rooting out any pockets of tension and liberating them.
When you feel that you are successful in relaxing you may progress to rhythmic breathing; in a 2/ 4 sequence, breathe in to a count of four, hold for a count of two, breathe out to a count of four, hold for a count of two. Use your abdominal muscles, not your throat, and do not strain at any time. After a while your mind will associate this rhythm with relaxation and the process will become effortless. This, in itself, is a ritual that can be of great benefit to you, for when you receive a shock, or are in a state of strain, you can turn on your rhythmic breathing and it will calm you down. I have found that this does work in many life situations, if you can separate yourself for a while from the stressor.
Having achieved this relaxed state, you can now progress to visualization, pathworking or shamanic journeying, if you so wish. These are outside the scope of this book. However, I do suggest two things you may concentrate upon while you are in this state of relaxation. One is building an ‘astral temple’ – a sanctuary made of mind-stuff, where you may retreat inwardly when you relax. This is a safe base on the subtle planes for any other visualizations or inward journeys you may choose to undertake. Build a place that feels right, don’t have a hut on an exotic beach just because it is somewhere you would like to go for a holiday. Often if you ask your inner self. while you are in a state of relaxation, to provide an image of a safe and beautiful haven, one will spontaneously arise for you and might not be as you imagine. Go into your astral temple each time you are in a relaxed state. This will reinforce and strengthen your temple.
Alternatively, an obvious use of your relaxed and open state is the simple visualization of your wishes. If you have a purpose in life such as a job, relationship, travel, then imagine that this is now real. Imagine in delightful detail how it is to receive the letter, get the keys, step off the plane, be in a loving relationship. (Steer clear of erotic imaginings, because you will get distracted’) Affirm to yourself that this is real in your life, not ‘going to come’ but actually manifesting. Doing this regularly is a powerful tool for progress. If you do these visualizations, don’t forget to ground yourself before resuming daily life. This is explained in the step-by-step ritual description. For the purposes of ritual, this relaxation is of great benefit for it breaks down some of the barriers that we erect against the vast ocean of spiritual power that is available. Having learn to relax, you may choose to adopt this process before embarking on ritual. Or having perfected the association between breathing and relaxing, you can use it as a short cut, to unwind you, and get you closer to the required state.
Having relaxed, ‘ritual’ consciousness is well within your grasp, for it is more or less similar to that ‘floaty’ state we all go through twice a day, as we fall asleep and as we wake up. Attaining this drifty state paradoxically makes you more aware of subtle reality.
Another aspect to state of mind is whether or not you ‘feel good’ about the whole process. If you do not, I would strongly recommend that you leave it well alone. Remember, magic works in the direction of belief, not intent. If you really do not believe that you can possibly get that job, don’t do any spells for it. Choose, perhaps, a general spell for luck and prosperity that you can do with conviction, or just don’t do anything and get a good night’s sleep, instead. Of course, a negative state of mind may be something you need to address in yourself, but that will need to be done in a general manner, not forced on an issue, for in a battle between the will and the imagination, imagination always wins. Perhaps this particular job is not for you, anyway. Only you can distinguish between negative thinking and true intuition.
Spells and Rituals: A Beginners Guide To Spells And Rituals