Transforming Yourself - The Grove of the Druids - The Practice of Druid Magic

The Druid Magic Handbook: Ritual Magic Rooted in the Living Earth - John Michael Greer 2008

Transforming Yourself
The Grove of the Druids
The Practice of Druid Magic

One of the classic applications of the Sphere ritual focuses on making changes in yourself by invoking desired qualities and banishing unwanted ones. You can do this in a general way, invoking four qualities and banishing four others, or you can do it in a more tightly focused way, invoking a single quality and banishing its opposite.

How does this work? If you're using the general approach, start by choosing one quality you want to develop in yourself, and one quality you wish you had less of, for each of the four material elements. For example, you might decide that as a mage in training, you need more of air's quickness of mind, fire's strength of will, water's desire to learn, and earth's patience. You might equally decide that you need less of air's wandering thoughts, fire's irritability, water's depressed moods, and earth's laziness. You would explore these concepts in meditation, decide that the changes you have named are right for you, and then perform a divination to make sure your intention is in tune with the cosmos.

When you perform your Sphere of Protection each day, then, invoke the quality you want to increase in yourself while working with each element, and banish the quality you want to decrease. For example, when you go to the east and trace the symbol of air, you might say words like these: “By the hawk of May in the heights of heaven, and in the great name Hu, I invoke the air, its gods, its spirits and its powers. May the powers of air bless me with quickness of mind.” Imagine the yellow nwyfre of air sweeping into you, setting your mind into swift and nimble motion. Then thank the powers of air, trace the air symbol counterclockwise, and say words like these: “And with the help of the powers of air, I banish from within and around me all wandering thoughts. I banish them far away from me.” Pause, and imagine that your mind's habit of wandering is swept away by the winds and loses itself in the vastness of air.

Do the same thing to the south, west, and north, invoking and banishing the qualities of the other elements. When you complete the circle, invoke Spirit Below, concentrate on all of the changes you want to make in yourself. As you trace the circle of Spirit, say words like these: “By the bright heart of the Earth Mother, and in the great name Ced, I invoke Spirit Below, its gods, its spirits, and its powers. May the powers of Spirit Below strengthen quickness of mind, strength of will, desire to learn, and patience in me, and may they assist me to release wandering thoughts, irritability, depressed moods, and laziness from myself and my life.” Concentrate on the orange nwyfre of Spirit Below flowing into you from above and feel the changes you have willed taking place in you, and then thank Spirit Below in your own words. Do the same thing, changing the words and colored nwyfre as needed, for Spirit Above and Spirit Within, and close with the Circulation of Light as usual.

If you want to use the more focused approach, simply adapt the general approach by invoking the same quality in each of the directions, and banishing its opposite. For example, if you find that old fears from childhood are hindering your life more than anything else, you might choose to invoke courage and banish fear in each of the four directions, and call on the three forms of Spirit to seal the transformation.

Before using either approach, meditation is an essential preparation, and not only because you want to be careful before invoking changes in yourself. The more clearly you understand the changes you have in mind, the stronger and more exact your intention will be and the better the results of the ritual. This is especially important with the more focused approach, since you need to understand how the quality you invoke relates to each of the four material elements.

If you choose the second example, for instance, you will find that each element has its own mode of courage. Air brings the courage of clarity that shrinks fears down to size; fire brings the courage of will that overwhelms all resistance; water brings the courage of joy that laughs in the face of danger; earth brings the courage of persistence that moves steadily ahead despite all opposition. Each mode of courage also has its corresponding mode of fear. The better you understand these details, and the more you bring that understanding into the ritual, the better the results will be.

Another important magical principle comes into play once you finish the ritual. As soon as possible after you finish the working, take some practical step toward the fulfillment of your intention. The action you choose can be very small. For example, if you do the focused working to bring courage and banish fear, choose something that frightens you just a little, and do it. Pay attention to your emotional reactions to the thing you choose, but do it anyway. This grounds the effects of the working in your ordinary surroundings and helps the patterns you have established in nwyfre affect the material world.

Whether you choose the more general or the more focused approach, perform the Sphere of Protection ritual with the same focus at least seven times, and keep track of the results in your Druid journal. This is a potent technique and you may be surprised by how quickly the results start showing up in your life.