One skill that every student of magick would do well to learn is the art of Meditation. It is a discipline that takes practice, and a willingness to quiet the mind and look within. A regular meditation practice will increase your awareness of subtle energies, and has many other benefits. It is one of the keys that will help to open the doors of magick in your own life. Meditation can be deceptive in it’s simplicity, as I have seen folks in my classes try to force themselves into a meditative state instead of simply allowing it to happen. For meditation to be successful, you can’t be in a hurry. You must simply wait and allow, which can be difficult for those who want results ‘right now‘.
I’ve been practicing meditation since I was around 11 years old, but back then I didn’t know what it was called. I had a troubled home life, and meditation was one of the things that brought calm and serenity. On a regular basis I would visit a local park, sit next to a tree and close my eyes, taking deep breaths and visualizing myself somewhere else and in a more positive situation. This is a practice that today is known as Creative Visualization. I didn’t find it difficult personally, it seemed to come naturally. As I studied more, I learned more about this and other forms of meditation, how they can be used for personal growth, health benefits and occult learning. Meditation has been proven to lower blood pressure and relieve stress. There are many forms of meditation, and most people do better at some than others. Eastern forms of meditation are focused inward, with practices on mindfulness, kundalini, chakras, observing the breath, or what I call “the 3 M’s”: Mantras, Mudras and Mandalas, or chants (mantras), hand and body positions (mudras) and symbols (mandalas). Westernized forms of meditation are more outward and goal-oriented, such as creative visualization, affirmations, shamanic journeying and pathworking. While the meditations I do are mainly the Westernized forms, I do include Eastern forms when I set aside more time to devote to them, such as Chakra healing. I remember about 20 years ago when I was in a group journey-work meditation, and the only image that would come to my mind was a tree. Just a single, enormous tree with deep roots and branches that stretched to the sky. It wasn’t until much later I realized I had been introduced to the great World Tree, and discovered the huge significance that this symbol would play in my life.
For Witches and other magickal practitioners, meditation is an absolute requirement. It is one of the most basic skills that every Witch should learn. Ritual and magickal work is more powerful, and much more effective when the practitioner is in a meditative state, particularly the ALPHA brain wave state. Visualization is also important, as your magick will work better when you can visualize the outcome of your spell as though it has already happened, as though it is real now. Let’s take a moment and explore various brain wave states that we all experience every day.
BETA is the normal waking consciousness, as we go about our day-to-day lives, fully alert, interacting with people, working, etc.
ALPHA is referred to as the “magickal mindset”, our ritual consciousness. It is the daydream state, when we are relaxed, yet still aware. We are often in Alpha without realizing it. In Alpha, we are more in tune with the astral realms, and our intuitive/psychic abilities are enhanced. We are more aware of the subtle energies around us, and our magick becomes more powerful. In this state, we are open to receive psychic impressions, and our divination skills are stronger. We commune with our deities and spirit guides while in the Alpha and Theta states of consciousness. It is very easy to enter Alpha. One of the simplest ways is through controlled-breathing techniques, combined with visualization. In my classes I usually guide students into Alpha with a simple technique: With eyes closed, inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. Repeat several times until you begin to notice changes in your consciousness, and believe me, you will. Following this exercise with some visualization will help guide you into an even deeper state. Try visualizing the number 10 and go backwards to the number 1. Once you get used to the Alpha state, it is possible to remain in it for extended periods of time, even with eyes open and interacting with people. The only downside to this is that people may find you a bit aloof or ‘out there’. Once you get used to the sensation, you will eventually learn how to switch it on and off, although I try to stay in Alpha as much as I can. (People already think I’m aloof and out there!). Other things that can help you enter the Alpha state are music (instrumental with no vocals or distracting melodies), candlelight, incense (such as frankincense & myrrh), chanting, or drumming. I encourage you to practice going into Alpha until you can do it with minimal assistance or props. This isn’t mumbo-jumbo. Even psychology experts have noted that people in the Alpha state are more creative and have better learning and memory skills.
THETA is a much deeper, trance-like, shamanic state. This is often reached after much drumming or chanting, although controlled-breathing can get you there as well. Those who do deep meditative journey-work, or engage in soul-retrieval utilize this state of consciousness. Shamans and Buddhist monks enter Theta on a regular basis.
DELTA is the dream state, when you are asleep and unaware.
Something I recommend to my students is to keep a meditation journal. As I mentioned above, while in the Alpha state you are more open to receive psychic information. This information may come to you in the form of images, words, phrases or just an impression. It may or may not make sense to you at the time you receive it, which is why it is so important to write everything down as soon as you end your meditations. Things that seem to be just random thoughts or pictures can become highly significant at a later time. There are a number of crystals that are helpful to use while in meditation. These crystals contain energies that help the practitioner become more aware of the unseen realms. You only need to hold in them in your hand while meditating. A few that I use are Amethyst, Clear Quartz and Lapis Lazuli.
Developing a regular meditation practice is difficult for many people, especially since we have so many other things to juggle in our lives, such work, family responsibilities and other duties. Start out by setting aside just 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week to sit down, shut out the world and meditate, using simple breathing exercises and countdowns. Then try some visualizations and affirmations. Explore the various forms of meditation and see which ones work better for you. Once you are able to do this fairly regularly, then extend your time limits. Some people prefer to meditate in the morning to prepare them for the day, others like to meditate in the evening to “cleanse” themselves of all the drama and yuckiness of the day. It’s really up to you. You will find it to be both rewarding and transforming.