by Christopher Penczak
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
When I started on the path of witch, my teachers stressed to me the importance of meditation. Not only is it a skill that witches should learn to help with spells and rituals, but meditation all by itself is quite magickal.
What is magick? Magick is change, change that matches your will, your intention. Everything changes, but when we put focus and energy towards creating a specific change, when we bend and shape the energy of life, we are doing magick. Most people equate magick with only outer changes and spell craft. When we manifest something in the world, a new job, relationship or healing, we are certainly doing magick. Many books and techniques help you harness the power of nature, through the use of herbs, stones, colors, candles, and symbols. They are powerful ways to do magick. Because it is written about less than our recipe books, many forget that magick is really about creating inner change.
Good witches know they can change themselves much more easily than anybody else. We have sovereignty over our own body, mind, heart and soul, our own four elements, before anyone or anything else. Changing ourselves is the easiest thing to do in theory, but the hardest thing to do in practice because we often fear change, and fear changing ourselves most of all. But even though it is difficult, such changes bring us the greatest spiritual impact. We all have our patterns, and by knowing our patterns we can figure out what works and what doesn't. We can change what doesn't work. We leave to evolve and improve ourselves.
Many people use magick to handle their problems. I'm highly in favor of it. Magick is a great way to communicate with the goddesses and god, with the universe, that you need a change in your life and the current situation isn't working out. Magick is a way to be clear about the change you want. If you have a problem with someone or something else, you can use magick to help resolve it. Unfortunately, many are tempted to first change the other person or situation, before looking at their own role. Let's say someone at work really annoys you. They don't necessarily mean to do it. They aren't being malicious. They simply are driving you crazy. Most would do a spell to change the behavior of the other person. Or a spell might be geared toward moving the person to another department away from you. Both would work, but require a lot of energy and miss the obvious. This person, no matter how annoying, is an honored teacher.
Yes, they are a spiritual teacher for you. They don't know it. You didn't know it, but now you do. You should treat them like the great teacher they are and learn their message or lesson. That will solve your problem.
I learned you ultimately do a spell to get your end result, in the most efficient way without being attached to the results. You simply ask it be for the highest good and do not interfere with another's will directly. You seek to solve your problems by gently bending and shaping things, and you're the most likely one to bend because you are conscious of the situation. To solve your problem, you can change the problem person's behavior, move them or change your own reaction to the situation. If you were no longer annoyed by their behavior, the problem is solved.
So how do you change your reaction? How do you change your own patterns? You need to go within. That is the magick of meditation. By working with your inner energies, your inner patterns, you transform. You can understand why you react to things as you do. Does it have something to do with your past, in this life or another? Does it remind you of some else? Does it mirror something in yourself that you don't like? Does this involve a lesson in life that challenges you—your quest for control, security, identity, love or truth? You'll never know if you don't go within to find out.
Meditative magick works through three steps—altering consciousness, interacting with the inner world and using your will to transform. There are many ways to use these basic steps, and you will find that they will aid your magick in the outer world as well.
The first step is altering your consciousness. By getting into an altered state of mind, usually alpha state, you can access your inner energy patterns—your conscious and unconscious thoughts, emotions, dreams, hopes and fears. Most importantly, you can connect with your inner guidance, awaken your psychic abilities and connect with healing spirits and gods.
I start my meditation practice by lighting a candle, saying an intention asking for divine guidance, breathing deeply and closing my eyes. You can use a body relaxation, incense, guided countdowns and soothing imagery to get into your altered state.
The altered state allows you greater access to your energy. Then you interact with the inner energies—through visualization and psychic senses. Your intuition, feeling and inner sight will give you a sense of self-awareness. You can literally feel your energy. When you are in meditation, think about a problem, and feel how it makes you feel. Do you like that feeling? If not, transform it. Use your magick.
In your inner vision, imagine yourself the way you want to be. Use images of colored light and simple symbols to work with the energy. If you need patience, think about what color feels most like patience to you. To me it would be blue. Then imagine yourself surrounded in that color. The more you do it, the more you will learn patience. You could also create an affirmation to give you more patience. When you meditate on patience, and think about the situation, your annoying co-worker, you might have an intuition as to why the situation bothers you so much. Often just the knowledge will help diffuse the situation. Other times, it gives you a starting point from which to work. Sometimes all you have to do is identify the pattern and you will remember not to react in your old unhealthy ways.
Other techniques for magical change include creating an inner sacred space that you can go to anytime and anywhere, regardless of where your altar or ritual tools are. Build an inner temple of learning and healing. Create a gateway to your spirit guides. Look into an inner mirror or crystal for glimpses of your past lives. All of this takes place on the inner planes, but creates a powerful and lasting change.
Meditation is a practice. The key word is practice. No one perfects it, but the more we do it, the greater our skills become. Because we are focusing on magickal meditation, rather than simple breath count or single mantra meditation, there is an expectation among some that every meditation will be overwhelmingly magical. In these cases, which we all have, the meditation practice itself become a teacher. Every experience cannot be a peak experience. We learn to work with what happens and the best experiences might not be what we expect. Sometimes the most vague meditations will have the best lesson or experience in it. As with our meditative magick, the subtle can be the most powerful and spiritual experience we have.
Many new to meditation have a difficultly even knowing when they are in a meditative state. It's really easy to get into this state, though most people think meditation is a mystery. If you have ever been in a daydream, and I'm sure you have, you have entered an altered state. The difference between a daydream and meditation is that during meditation, you are consciously guiding the experience, rather than unconsciously drifting.
Other, particularly in class room settings, or when witches share their visions, those with vague impression, non-visual experiences or simple feelings feel their experiences are not as valid or leave disappointed. They think meditations should be filled with special effects, crystal clear messages and be a spiritual epiphany. Visions and voice are often symbolic and have to be interpreted, but "just" knowing the answer through a feeling can be the most important psychic sense to develop. As a teacher I've heard about many people's grand visions, but often they lose the message in the pretty pictures. If intense visions are the way you receive information, that's great, but if you don't, find the path that gives you the most helpful messages. Everyone is different.
Use your meditation skills to enhance all areas of your life and your magick. Listen to the voice of your soul, to your own highest guidance and let it take you on your own incredible healing journey. Look through magickal eyes and see the spirit of all things.
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2003. All rights reserved.
"Life happens. Life in the flow."
We learn over time that nobody can solve our problems, but someone can guide you how to solve the problem. You may receive guidance through a teacher, a guru or even strangers that you run into every day. As we practice yoga we learn that the more we know, the less we truly know. Every day I am reminded how much I truly do not know; a very humbling experience.
Yoga teaches me to be present. To just live for being and enjoying life as it is right NOW. Not ten minutes from now, no five days ago, but right now. We are taught to get out of our heads, to release worries and fears of the past or the future and to only live for this very moment. Presence.
"Lead me from untruth to truth, lead me from darkness to light." ~ Buddha
Through yoga we are reminded that we do have a dark side as well as a light side. We are not to repress the dark side, but embrace that side of our Self. We are the yin and the yang. We ultimately cleanse the dark stuff we hold inside. We shine the light on this. We must make friends with dark side. Both positive and negative balance out the whole. Daily practice refines and improves our inner vision to see our Self more clearly. We no longer need to run from fears. Face them and say I'm not running from you anymore. So much is in our heads, so much dark is only in our heads, self-doubt judgment betrayal. Yoga grounds the body so that the light and dark sides of ourselves become clear. So much is truly untrue. But as we diligently practice we are able to find the middle ground and walk our centered balanced line in life. We gain balance in centered lightheartedness. We can have harmony in both light and dark.
"Yoga tells us that the world is actually a projection of our own thoughts and we can modify our inner world to manifest into our outer world. When our inside realm is at peace and in harmony, our outer world shines this projection back at us." ~ David, Jiva Mukti Yoga co-founder
Yoga is observation.
We can observe our world and see what part that is in us is begin reflected back to us. We can then see what part of us needs modification or adjustment in order to have our outer reality reflect back to us the peace, happiness and love we so greatly desire and deserve.
Yoga is already inside of you. Happiness is there. Yoga helps you peel away the onion layers to get to the core. To freedom. The deepest Divine connection to the Ultimate Light Source.
Come out of wanting and back into acceptance and Joy. A yogi or yogini can turn any situation into bliss. That is a yogi. Yoga is being now. Ultimate yoga is meditation. Just BE.
Yoga is love.
"Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls." ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Through a dedicated practice of all forms of yoga we can participate in the world with a sense of freedom, unaffected from trauma, depression, anger, etc. The freedom is balance in both.
Maggie Anderson is a Yoga & Spiritual Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master Instructor, Soul Coach®, Past Life Coach, Magnified Healing® Master Teacher and Angelights Messenger. She is the author of How I Found My True Inner Peace and Divine Embrace. You can contact Maggie at SpiritualCompassConnection.com.
"Follow Your Bliss. It's Your Spiritual Compass."