Meditation is has become very popular due to the mental and health benefits that you can gain from calming yourself down and sitting in silence for a few minutes every day. If you are not familiar with the physical and mental benefits, give it a fair Google search and do a bit of reading, then come back.
But meditation can be a bit different when you are using as part of your magick practice. When a witch meditates, it’s not just for the health benefits, it’s also to exert control over their mind and body. This control over the physical is the first step in gaining control over the physical and mental energies that witches deal with.
When a witch performs a ritual or casts a spell, energy is gathered and released with a specific intention in mind. This energy needs to be focused on the intention otherwise the spell or ritual can backfire or go awry. Let me give you an example..
A witch is upset about a break up and want’s to cast a spell to bring their lover back to them. They are gathering the materials they need for the spell, getting all set up and when they go cast to the spell, their thoughts are wondering.. maybe this isn’t the right way.. I want revenge.. They hurt me, they should hurt too, what did I do wrong.. so on and so forth. Their focus is lacking. When focus is lacking, the Universe doesn’t understand what you want. You’re send out mixed signals, and it’s going to go with the strongest signal (whether it’s topic/intent of the spell or another random thought).
So you see, learning to focus your thoughts and your energy can come in handy. But in reality, learning how to gain this focus is a lot harder than it seems.
“A most important form taken by the radiant energy, and the first you should learn to use, is air. You must learn to control it by learning how to breathe. Just learn to take a really deep breath which fills your lungs, by giving full play to the abdominal muscles during the act of inhalation. Remember, you do not have to pull in the breath. Atmospheric pressure takes care of that. You simply have to expand your ribs, and the air will rush into your lungs.
Do not make the mistake of trying any forcible expansion of the chest. Let the muscles just below the ribs do most of the work. If you do it properly, you will feel the expansion in the small of your back, and at the sides, as well as in front of the body.
Keep in mind the picture of the air penetrating into every part of the lungs, so as to provide your blood stream with the Oxygen it needs. At first it takes watchful attention to make breathing deep and regular. Consistent practice will establish you in good habits of breathing.
Do not make any particular effort to keep up the fullest deep breathing all day long. When you rise in the morning, take four deep breaths, with just as complete exhalation before each one as you can manage without any sense of strain. Remember to exhale before taking the first of these four breaths.
During the day, repeat your four breaths at noon, just before the evening meal, and just before going to bed. The rest of the day, you need only determine to get full value from the act of breathing. Your subconsciousness will attend to automatically to the establishment of the proper rhythm. Don’t try any trick exercises, such as are found in some books on the use of breathing for occult development. Most of these breathing stunts have no practical value. The few which are really useful are also dangerous, unless practiced under the supervision of a skilled teacher, competent to judge the condition of the pupil.
Listen to your breathing. It should be practically inaudible. If your breathing exercises are noisy, they are wrong. The remedy is to slow down the alternate expansion and contraction of the abdominal muscles.
Adhere strictly to the rule of observing four stated periods for taking the deepest possible breaths. Observe these religiously. The rest of the time, let your subconsciousness do the work. It will, if you make up its mind by your definite intention. If you are suddenly upset by something, stop for four deep breaths, before you try to think, or say, or do anything whatever.” – Tarot Fundamentals
Gaining control over your physical and mental energies is something that I have seen in books that focus on Chaos Magick, such as Liber Null. The above section was taken from Tarot Fundamentals by Paul Foster Case where he discusses the importance of understanding your breath or your life power and how that relates to the tarot card The Fool.
This life power is the energy that we control with our conscious and subconscious mind. When we are able to better control the energy that is our physical form, we are one step closer to manifesting what we want and channeling our energy.
The normal state of our body, which is tense in some areas and relaxed in others is an uncontrolled state. When you control your bodies relaxed or tensed states, you are exerting more control over your physical self, which is putting you more in tune with the energies of your body.
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The exercises below are arranged in a way that you can work your way up step by step, or you can jump in where you wish. Each step is it’s own exercise and builds upon the preceding exercise. If you are just starting a breathwork or meditation practice, start at the first step. If you have some breathwork practice under your belt, then start where you feel comfortable.
Use the method above as described by Paul Foster Case to take 4 deep breaths without sound multiple times per day. Once you have mastered 4, I like to add 1 extra breath to each session, using this as a meditation multiple times per day.
Meditation doesn’t have to be done with your eye closed. It can be completed with your eyes relaxed but open. Gazing is the practice of staying very still and focusing your eyes on an object without the object going out of focus. This is where the term “witches gaze” comes from. Witches have gained the reputation of having a penetrating gaze that gets deep into your soul, this is a practice that can help develop that skill.
Sit somewhere quietly where you wont be disturbed for a chosen amount of time. Set an object on a table in front of you, or choose a light switch or plug on the wall opposite you to practice your gaze on. Don’t use an object like a candle where your mind will be active trying to make sense of the images you see in the flame. Choose something that is unmoving and static.
Set the timer on your phone for 2 to 10 minutes. Stare at the object of your choosing for the set amount of time. Do not let your eyes go hazy and loose focus and stay as still as possible. Really focus on seeing what you are looking at. Try to keep your thoughts from wondering while you do this.
This meditation is all about being as still as possible. The fewer muscle twitches and small micromovements the better.
To get into position, lie down on the floor or somewhere comfortable where you won’t be disturbed. Set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure that your body is in a fully supported position that will be comfortable for an extended period of time. To fully relax, tense and release your muscles, starting with your toes and working your way up your body. Continue to lie in the same position and notice all of the small movements in your body. Aim to slow and eventually stop these movements. Think about why the movements are occurring.
Questions to Ask
What is causing an automatic movement to happen?
Is your body falling asleep?
Do you have pins and needles in a part of your body?
What is keeping you from being still?
Aim to increase the time that you can remain completely still to 30 minutes before moving onto the next exercise.
Meditation of the Dead
This meditation is about keeping your body as still as possible. This uses the breath control and the stillness meditation from the above. Please be careful when completing this meditation. If you have any health problems or concerns, stop immediately.
Lie down in a comfortable position on the floor or bed. Relax and slow your breathing. Become still as you have learned in the previous exercise. Breath in and out so slowly that it could go unnoticed by someone who sees you. These are those long deep breaths from the breath control that you have been working on.
While you are doing this, the lack of large amounts of air coming into your body can be scary as you are breathing so deeply and slowly. Go at your own pace. See how long you can hold the pose for and aim to increase your time the more often that you do it. Address the fears that come up. Remind yourself that you are in complete control of the situation and you can stop at any time. What holds you back? What is causing you to move or increase the frequency of your breath?
These meditations will not only help you gain more control over your physical body, but the emotions and fears that get brought up give you the chance to address them in a safe situation. Take your time working up to through these exercises as there is no rush to complete them in a certain time frame.
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Tips & Tricks
- Keep a journal with you when you do these exercises. Write down the exercise that you did and any thoughts or emotions that came up.
- You could also use the journal to practice automatic writing after your session.
- Support your head. When you are relaxing I notice that the first thing that wants to move is my head, so using a pillow that helps to keep your head in place is helpful.