Magical Techniques and Exercises - The Psybernomicon

Basic Sigil Magic - Phillip Cooper 2001

Magical Techniques and Exercises
The Psybernomicon

Before embarking on the following exercises, you may find it extremely beneficial to make up a chain of about forty beads. These can usually be obtained from any craft shop. If you have a problem purchasing beads, use a knotted cord instead. The chain of beads can be used to show how many disturbances occur during your exercise period. It is a method commonly used by Tibetan monks. Every time you experience an intruding thought, move one bead. This will let you know how many interruptions there were.

Image Control and Nonthinking

"Nonthinking" is the ability to produce an absolute empty mind. Sit or lie in a comfortable position, on a bed or couch. Close your eyes and try to stop thninking. Let nothing happen in your mind. Hold this state of mind. In the beginning, you will be able to do this for only a few seconds. With regular practice, however, that period of time will increase. After the high-point of any ritual— the peak of gnosis—there needs to be a cessation of objective concentration. This is done with the understanding that, after having performed the ritual, the sigil must be transferred to the subconscious mind, as though the objective aspect of self acted merely as the designer or architect of a scheme and, when finished with the work, passed the plans and drawings over to the subconscious mind to fulfill.

After the peak of gnosis, dismiss the sigil from your mind. Transfer yourselfinto a state of nonthinking, preferably for about three minutes, but even one minute will do for the conscious mind to communicate your sigilized intention to the subconscious mind. If you have doubts or skeptical thoughts in your mind after your ritual, you will send to your subconscious mind the message that you doubt what you wish for will come true. This doubt interferes with the positive response. You must maintain an attitude of disinterested perseverance. Methods such as free belief often work well when there are a number of magical projects brewing or when you are doing multiple workings for other people. The purpose of this exercise is to enable you to remain in a nonthinking state for three minutes.

Image Control

The techniques of visualization or image control are not new. There has never been a time when they have not formed the very basis of magical training. Most of the so-called popular psychology books utilize the technique without going into details concerning the principles involved. Image control plays such an important part in magical operations that every opportunity should be taken to train this faculty. An earnest endeavor should be made to observe things and to be able to recall them in detail. Put some objects in front of you—a bottle, a cup, a pencil, a small ornament, or some abstract symbols painted on a card— a green square, a yellow circle, a red triangle, or a blue Crescent Moon.1 Relax and fix your eyes on one object or symbol and try to remember everything about it—its color and shape. Then close your eyes and try to imagine the object. If it disappears, try to recall it.

In the beginning, you will only be able to do this for a few seconds. As time goes by, with regular practice, the length of time you can hold the image or symbol will actually build up until you can visualize whatever you like and hold it. Use the string of beads to help you keep track of the number of interruptions each time the object disappears. The purpose of the exercise is, again, to enable you to hold one object in your mind's eye without any interruption for between two and three minutes.

When you reach this point, you may practice holding the object or symbol with your eyes open. Check disturbances with your beads. When you can hold any object or symbol for two to three minutes without it fading and without interruption, you will have achieved the goal of the exercise.

Your Inner Temple

The following exercise is important from two points of view: it will help you relax and push away distracting thoughts, and it invokes a potent symbol that your subconscious mind fully understands. With patient practice, it is guaranteed to promote response from your subconscious mind in a way that is not possible by any other means. Symbols, as you now know, are the language of the subconscious mind.

Of all the magical operations, magical path-working is the most hypnotic in its induction technique. In path-working, the operator induces a trance in much the same way a hypnotist hypnotizes a patient.

As with all serious magical work, you must start by relaxing in surroundings that are conducive to magical work. This exercise may be done seated, or you may lie on the floor. Your eyes may be open or closed. Your goal is to build up in your

Visualization (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1975), p. 86, which has been retitled: The Art and Practice of Creative Visualization (1997).

imagination an inner temple in which you can perform visualization with far greater effect. Contrary to popular opinion, the physical temple or magical workroom is, or should be, an extension of this imaginary condition. In short, a temple serves only to remind the magician of the real temple within the mind. The physical temple is also a workroom in which the magician may shut out the outside world and work undisturbed in congenial surroundings.

The purpose of this exercise is to learn more about it and yourself, to bring something up from your subconscious that will help. It is an exercise in attunement—something like visiting Alice's Wonderland. It will help you along the road to individuation. This is done by establishing attention points. These attention points are objects, situations, or archetypal entities. In this particular paradigm, they equate to the four doorways, to magical weaponry, and to a central pool. This pool becomes a valuable meditational aid. The vacuity of the pool helps you to concentrate, or rather meditate, and bring up information of a prophetic nature. If you wish to discover something, perhaps an answer to a problem, formulate this before you start your meditation ritual. When you reach the pool, think your question or problem into the pool. The pool can be used, like a crystal ball, to see into the future. It can tell you things and give answers to questions. You may substitute a crystal ball or dark mirror, but, by all means, don't forget that this is a substitute.

Meditation, unless a prelude to intelligent and determined material action, can lead to delusion. Practical magicians have always known this and acted accordingly. Meditation recharges your psychic reservoir. It provides a matrix of stillness in which forms from the realm of potentialities take shape. Until these forms have incubated and exploded into the world of material reality as physical facts, meditation is mere withdrawal. Meditate, by all means. Then act!

The inner Temple Exercise

Find somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed. Use subdued lighting and, if desired, burn a little incense.

Use soft music, if you wish. Sit comfortably and begin to relax. When you are calm and relaxed, perform the following exercise in your imagination. Light your central candle and erect the Cosmic Sphere (see page 32). Then see before you an Encircled Cross (see page 30). See this in front of you emblazoned on a door, and move toward the door in your imagination.

The door opens and you move inside. Once inside, look around to see what is in this place. You are in a large square room. You see the stone floor and the walls. In the center of this Inner Temple, set into the floor, is a small circular pool filled with water. In the middle of each wall is a doorway and suspended on each door, a magical weapon. In front of you (east) is a Sword pointing up; to your right (south) is a spear or Wand pointing up; behind you (west) is a Cup or chalice cast in precious metal; to your left (north) is a shield with a simple yet special design on it. Move to the eastern doorway. The door opens, revealing the element of Air—yellow energy. Move through this door and spend some time experiencing and attuning to this element. Allow ideas and images to come into your mind. Do this with all the other doorways in turn, seeing red at the south (Fire), blue at the west (Water), and finally, green through the doorway of Earth at the north.

Now go back to the pool in the center of the temple. Look into its depths. The pool will give you answers to your questions. Allow images to come into your mind. The duration of the pool meditation can be entirely up to you—five minutes usually suffices. At the end of the meditation period, simply close the elemental doorways in reverse order. It will be time to leave this Inner Temple. In front of you is another door. Go through it and you are back in your own time once more.

Before you forget any important points, write your impressions down in your notebook or magical diary. One day, they will become very useful. Always remember that you can enter this magical Inner Temple any time you wish. Eventually you will be able to make the journey in a few seconds. Perform this exercise regularly, until you are familiar with it. All it does is present to your subconscious mind a very specific

symbol pattern. These particular symbols have a tremendous effect on subconscious levels, because they are universal symbols. They are very powerful. The more you work with them, the more you perform the exercise with an open mind, the more your subconscious mind will start to realize that you are giving it specific instructions and it will respond in its own way.

If you do see images, if you do notice anything during this exercise, make short notes and keep this for future reference. It is impossible at first, or almost impossible, to interpret these things on a conscious level. Moreover, it is certainly extremely difficult for anyone else to interpret them, because the symbols and ideas that come back tend to come back in a language best known to the subconscious rather than the conscious mind. They do not, therefore, make any immediate sense. If you make notes (you can keep them quite short—no need for long-winded essays), later, at the critique that always follows any magical operation, you can recount what you experienced. Some of these revelations are remarkable and will often confirm the contention that the collective subconscious is truly a transpersonal dimension. You will find that these notes can be extremely valuable. They are not, however, the object of the exercise. The object is to induce familiarity with the fourfold pattern of power. Gradually, with practice, this will build a bridge between your self and your subconscious mind, which, by the way, is the real "magician." By working the Inner Temple exercise, you will learn more about it and your self.

An Internal Meditational Charging Method

In contrast to the main theme in this book, I here present a paradigm that takes a very internal meditative inhibitory approach to sigil activation, using what is termed "measured gnostic conjuration." It is important to remember that all the same basic rules and procedures still apply. It is only the method of gnosis that has changed.

There is as much self-hypnosis involved in magick, especially the inhibitory gnosis directly induced by an operator. In fact, self-hypnosis may be considered the practical key to de-

veloping the inhibitory magical trance state. It therefore benefits any and all who practice magick to master self-hypnosis as soon as possible.2

Internal Inhibitory Paradigm for Sigil Activation

By now, you should be quite familiar with the Cosmic Sphere and the Four Gateways of Power. If not, you should become familiar with them before you proceed with this magical paradigm.

Using the concept of color magick and a sigilized intention, we will build up a hypothetical rite using yellow magick. Bear in mind that it is not the color itself that causes power to flow, but the associations made in your mind—in this case, the color yellow for charging a healing sigil. Prepare your temple space. You may wish to use two candles—one plain, to symbolize your subconscious power, and the other yellow, to symbolize the color of the magick you are using. You will need two vessels—one for burning your incense and the other for the symbolic destruction of the sigil.

Remember that you have to work within your imagination, in an imaginary Inner Temple, in this paradigm. Basically, this is a magical activity that is done within a nonlocal space accessed by your imagination. The idea is to create a consistent, realistic fantasy temple that includes all the symbolism you wish to encounter. You will enter this Inner Temple, opening the four gateways in such a way as to induce an inhibitory form of gnosis—one in which the operator is in a light state of trance known as "measured gnostic conjuration."

Perform the Sun/Moon centering (see page 27) and then erect the Cosmic Sphere. This serves to protect you and to contain the power that you are about to raise. Now imagine that you are entering into an Inner Temple (see page 102). Using your imagination, see a doorway before you and see yourself passing through that door, into the Inner Temple with its four doorways. (Those of you who have read my other books will already understand this concept.) Add wording like: "I now enter the sacred dimensions of the Inner Sanctum." Then, direct your attention to the uppermost point. See the symbol of the crown and let your mind consider that which is God. Power flows from this point as you will it. See this as bright light in the appropriate color pouring downward in abundance.

Direct your attention toward magical east. See a door with the symbol of Air on it (the Sword). See and declare in some positive way that the doorway is now to be opened. See the door open and allow the yellow energy that came from above to enter your Inner Temple. See this happen and see the magical Sword inside the doorway. Enter the doorway in your imagination and absorb the magical weapon into yourself. This is done by feeling and imagining the Sword entering into your body, point up. Absorb the weapon.

Now return to the center of the Inner Temple using your imagination. This may be acted out with physical gestures. Do whatever you feel to be right. Direct your attention toward magical south and perform the same ritual procedure. See a door with the symbol of Fire on it (the Wand). Open it and allow yellow power to enter the Inner Temple, then enter in and absorb the weapon. Now direct your attention toward magical west. See a door with the symbol of Water on it (the Chalice). Open the door, see yellow power entering through the western door, and absorb the weapon. Finally, direct your attention toward magical north, seeing a door with the symbol of Earth on it (the Shield). Open it and allow bright yellow energy to enter through this door. Absorb the weapon. At this point, you will have acquired all four weapons, albeit mentally.

Now turn your attention to the symbol concept of the magical, or central, pool. Use your own ideas and preferences to make it the size and shape you want when you imagine it. You are going to change the image of the pool in a way that the subconscious mind will understand and act upon. Look at this pool and know you are about to use power. If necessary, declare this in some positive way, like: "I now call on my never-ending supply of subconscious power." Impress the sigil on the surface of the pool, then see the placid surface change into a huge foun

tain reaching high into the sky, gleaming with light and power. Hold the sigil firmly in your mind until you believe it has been emblazoned on your subconscious, or for a minute or two at the very least. Then see the fountain change to a calm pool again. Reverse the procedure by using your imagination to see and feel the weapons being returned to their correct doorways, beginning at north (Shield), then west (Chalice), south (Wand), and, finally, east (Sword). At conclusion, leave the Inner Temple, and destroy the sigil or prepare it for disposal. Then disperse the Cosmic Sphere and return to normality.

Building up the depth of trance can and does take some time. Returning to normal consciousness can be done more quickly All this, of course, can be done as a seated meditation. It is far better, however, to combine physical action with inner imagination. With regular practice, you will find that you are capable of inducing a state of gnosis and maintaining it. This ability can only be acquired through training and practice. It will enable you to carry out these ritualistic manuevers in a magical operation, and still be able to hold your magical state of awareness. You should be able to quickly deepen the state, or bring yourself up to near-normal hypothetical consciousness when necessary and to do all this while standing up as an active participant in the ritual. There is bound to be a teeter-totter effect in gnosis (trance depth) as you rise from passive to active participation. These techniques are not minor auto-hypnotic processes. They are a more direct vehicle, through which the magician can produce a desired effect in accordance with his or her will.

The following assumes that your intention has been decided on and rendered into a graphic sigil. Your temple, altar, and equipment have been prepared. Incense and a bit of drumming can also assist, but the ritual is best done somewhere where you are not likely to provoke an interruption. Unless you are an adept—in other words, you have complete confidence in your abilities—you are unlikely to succeed in performing just one ritual. Far better, in the early stages, to restimulate the sigil over a fixed period—say a week or ten days. You must decide on this for yourself.

The Ritual Rubric

Light central candle. Erect the Cosmic Sphere, then enter the Inner Temple. Face east, saying:

"To the east, the gateway of Air through which blow the winds of eternal change."

[Visualize the doorway.]

"I now declare this gateway open so that the yellow power may flow freely into this temple."

[Face south.]

''To the south the gateway of Fire and the triple flame of creative power."

[Visualize the doorway.]

"I now declare this gateway open so that the yellow power may flow freely into this temple."

[Face west.]

"To the west the gateway of Water and the land of images."

[Visualize the doorway.]

"I now declare this gateway open so that the yellow power may flow freely into this temple."

[Face north.]

"To the north the gateway of Earth and past mysteries."

[Visualize the doorway.]

"I now declare this gateway open so that the yellow power may flow freely in this temple."

The main body of the work is now carried out using the symbolism of the pool and fountain. This is also a good time to light 'the second candle, symbolizing the color of magick you are conjuring. It is also a good time for the drumming or

music to start and to light the appropriate incense. Hold the sigil in your imagination and, if you like, chant a sigilized mantra. To end the ritual:

Close the Four Gateways of Power. Face north and say:

"Let there be peace to the north."

See door close and fade from view. Face west and say:

"Let there be peace to the west."

See door close and fade from view. Face south and say:

"Let there be peace to the south."

See door close and fade from view. Face east and say:

"Let there be peace to the east."

See door close and fade from view. Say:

"Let there be peace all around."

Extinguish color magick light and say:

"I now declare this temple closed."

Leave the Inner Temple and close down the Cosmic Sphere. Say:

"Let there be peace within."

Extinguish central light.

1 Alternatively, you can use the four tattva symbols and the methods outlined in Ophiel's book to develop this faculty in yourself. See Ophiel, The Art and Practice of Getting Material Things Through Creative

2 Leslie M. LeCron, Self-Hypnosis: The Technique and Its Use in Daily Living (New York: Signet, 1970).