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THE MEANING OF LIFE
To gather experience over countless lifetimes.

We Realize who and what we really are, and come to behave like That.

Ignorance of That and associated bad habits result in mistakes and consequential suffering.

The accumulation of experience eventually brings us to realize that we are not separate from others, which forms habitual devotion to the ultimate welfare of all.
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Part III: Standard Preliminaries

As detailed in the previous part of this series of articles, for commentary I have divided the procedure for the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram into three phases.  The first phase, I am describing as “Standard Preliminaries.”  I am describing the steps in this phase that way because they represent a condensation or simplification of a similar phase in almost every ritual in almost every wisdom tradition on the Earth, both Western and Eastern.  While the steps in this phase are probably not used in other rituals exactly as they are described here, some variation or equivalent steps are probably employed. 

Throughout the following commentary, remember that I am focusing here on how you can use this particular ritual for:

  •          Exploring and getting familiar with whom you really are
  •          Getting accustomed to identifying with That, instead of identifying with being human
  •          Behaving like who you really are, beyond behaving like a human
  •          Expressing your true self, and celebrating that

You should experience the whole ritual as a kind of play or dance, in which you play the part of the real you, the part of Pure Consciousness.  This is the author of all experience and of the illusion of the entire universe.  Even rituals that are different from this one, like spell casting for example, are exercising your status in the universe as author of reality.

Remember that for beginners, this ritual is designed to be practiced as often as possible, at least once each day if possible, to provide the opportunity to build the habit of identifying with Pure Consciousness.  It offers the opportunity to build the habit of expressing oneself as, behaving like, and celebrating the truth of whom you really are.

Always, before you begin your practice, start by quieting your mind.  If you know how to meditate for tranquility, do that.  If you know how to enter what is called an “alpha state,” do that.  If you know a relaxation breathing rhythm or visualization, do that.  Otherwise, simply sit quietly in the dark for a few minutes, and try to free yourself of worldly concerns, for the time you are doing this practice.  You should start in a peaceful, tranquil, relaxed state of mind and body.

Step 1 – Watchers Benediction

(The word Benediction is equivalent to “Blessing.”)

stars_smallThe first step in this progressive shift of consciousness involves becoming aware of and paying attention to two things.  (Recall, as explained before, paying attention is a form of offering, the purest offering, because attention itself is the food of all things.)  First, we pay attention to those beings that have brought the teachings to us, and whose example we endeavor to follow.  This is referring to the Goddess herself, the first and supreme teacher of magic and mystery.  This also refers to all the magi and witches who brought the teaching to you, handed down through the centuries.  More immediately, it refers to your own teacher. (If you do not have one, do not visualize me as I am not a teacher and am only repeating here what I have been taught – see About on this website.  If you do not have a teacher, then visualize a multitude of ancient wise ones, male and female).  Second, we pay attention to the final purpose in our magical operations, called “The Great Work” which involves benefit for oneself and for others through realizing whom we really are, learning to behave like That, and helping others to realize the same.

So we start our mini mystery play in a darkened room.  Turning our attention upwards toward the sky, we pay attention (pay homage) to the awareness of The Watchers who pour their love and help on us.  For an idea of who The Watchers are, see the article on this blog site entitled The Mighty Ones.  We are here focusing on certain beings who have long ago realized who and what we really are.  They have been behaving like That for so long, that they are barely recognizable as human in the ordinary sense of the word.  They do not incarnate out of habit as we do.  If they incarnate at all, they do so out of loving devotion to helping the rest of us understand the nature of Reality, so we don’t take the bad times so seriously.  They don’t necessarily incarnate as a single person like we normally do.  Depending on the needs of the times, and their urge to help, each might incarnate as several people at once, or as animals, shelters or bridges, or as beings that are ethereal, non-terrestrial, and supernatural.  One of the many meanings of their name, “The Watchers” comes from a practice they do each night.  Hovering over the earth, casting their attention (food) down on us with a shower of love and interest, they “watch” us.  They “see” the teeming masses of life gleaming with light.  Here and there, certain among us shine brighter than others, having the wish to help others too.  To these, The Watchers offer particular help and inspiration, to aid in their growth and performance of the Great Work.

(It is suggested that in reciting, a slight pause is made at the end of each line shown here, and a greater pause between paragraphs shown here.  Obviously, use singular or plural, depending on whether you are practicing alone or with someone else.)

The Watchers Benediction

May those
Who are the Great Guides and Guardians of Humanity
Bless every one of us.

(Contemplate a shower of light and love upon the Earth in response to your prayer.)

May they find in us (me)
a willing and pliable instrument
for their sacred purposes.

And may they grant us (me)
the Help and the Benediction
with which,
we (I) will be able to accomplish
All the things that need to be accomplished.

 

 

In our progressive shift of consciousness, we are now no longer thinking about work, or noises around us, or money or anything like that.  We are focused on becoming a Watcher ourselves, and all the fascinating and beautiful things that means.  We are focused on joining a team of powerful and transcendent beings who, by virtue of their identifying with all things, constantly work for the benefit of all creatures.  As one of them, imagine knowing without a shadow of doubt, with evidence in every act of awareness, that you are Pure Consciousness and that everything is an illusion caused by That.  Imagine becoming an invisible extraterrestrial helper of some civilization in a distant galaxy, or even this civilization right here!  Imagine gazing down on the ocean of life, finding not only those brightly shining seekers of Reality, but also those with the mistaken idea that their nightmare is real.  Imagine drifting among these people, unseen or even appearing as an angel, secretly arranging things to help them, heal them, and changing their luck.  (See Invisible Helpers, a link to which is shown at the left of this web page in the box entitled “Books.”)  This imagined life will become less and less your own imagination, and more and more your reality, as you practice identifying with Pure Consciousness, and learning how to act like That.  Because this whole ritual helps you do both of these things, the more you practice this ritual with the right intent, motivation and knowledge, the closer that will come to being your reality. 

(NOTE: the word “extraterrestrial” means “not of the earth” or “beyond the earth.”  It does not necessarily mean “alien.”  There are extraterrestrials all around us, some seen and some unseen, who are not aliens, but who are also not of the world as we normally think of it.  For example, a street bum might be a disguised wise man who has transcended this world, and simply refuses to take part in our society.  As someone who is beyond our world, this street bum might be extraterrestrial, but not an alien.  That being said, the word extraterrestrial of course also applies to aliens in the typical sense of the word.  Some Watchers are from here, and are not aliens, and others are not from here at all.  Still others were originally from other worlds but have chosen to be born here among us for several tens of thousands of years, like interstellar immigrants, working closely with us, as one of us.)

(Further NOTE: It has recently been asked: why are these Watchers not successful in preventing or eliminating wars, hunger, disease and acts of predatory inhumanity?  One answer is this: every one of us is an incredibly powerful magician, whether we know it or not.  We constantly create our reality, based on wisdom, compassion and selflessness, or based on ignorance, greed and anger.  We are, in fact, as powerful as the Mighty Ones themselves, including the Watchers.  While the Watchers may have skillful techniques for being able to reduce the suffering of thousands of people at a time, there are limits to how much more skillfull they can be against several hundred thousand “magicians” who are all involved in fighting a war for example, or supporting a policy in ignorance for another.  So the Watchers are always looking for help to perform the Great Work of enlightening people and reducing their suffering.  By performing this part of the ritual, and the final dedication described later, you are adding your efforts to this end.)

Step 2 – Light Candle

candle_of_art_smallThe next step in this progressive shift of consciousness involves lighting a single candle, called the Candle of Art (or a Kether Lamp if you have one).  Typically the Candle of Art is always a clean, new votive candle in a cleaned red votive glass, as may be bought at any church supply store.  (This should be lovingly cleaned before each practice as part of your deliberate preparation for the practice.  To clean a used candle out of a votive glass, simply put it in a sink under running hot water for a few minutes, allowing the hot water to overflow the sides of the glass.  After a few minutes the candle will pop out easily with a bit of pressure from a dull knife.  While the glass is still hot, a paper towel will easily rub away any remaining wax, leaving the glass as clean as new.)

Beginners of this type of prayer often think of it as a Remembrance of something like the “Big Bang.”  This is not untrue.  But what the practitioner should keep in mind is this: the “Big Bang” is a constant, ever present event that is happening in every quantum (instant or instance of existence).  It happens constantly on subatomic levels, and constantly on macroscopic levels that encompass the entire universe.  It happens constantly in your own awareness when you blink, sneeze, have an orgasm or wake up in the morning.  It happens between every two thoughts.  It happens between every two instances of cognition.   The entire illusion of existence constantly arises out of an ever-present Nothingness that is the Reality behind the illusion.  The illusion of existence is constantly being built and rebuilt with every “Big Bang” that we call a “moment” of experience.  So, with this prayer, we are taking a step further in our progressive shift of awareness, further than the wish to become a Watcher, drawing our attention back to the ever-present endless source of experience and existence itself.

You have to ask yourself: Who or What is it that can possibly be present for the “Big Bang,” since Nothing existed before that?  In fact, this is a question you should always be asking yourself, throughout every ritual, and throughout every moment of existence.  This is the question that we are always eerily reminded of by the owl:  “Who?”  The answer to that question is unspeakable.  Awareness is what That feels like.  It is not a person.  It is not a mind.  It is Nothing you can name, because it is That which names all things.  That is “Who.”  That is the real You.   (See the 4 page essay, Nothingness by Alan Watts, a link to which is offered on the left side of this web page.)

So, standing in the darkness (facing East), with match or lighter in hand, say softly aloud the following prayer,  paying attention to the Nothing before the Beginning, which was not long ago, but is Now and Ever. 

(Your instructions are on the left, and the commentary is on the right.  Words on the left should be softly spoken aloud by you.)

Lighting the Kether Lamp or Candle of Art:

[Contemplate primordial Emptiness]  
“In the beginning…”
“Before the Elohim created the heavens and the Earth”
Remember the “beginning” is the eternal NOW, the present moment that is always at hand.  Remember the word “Elohim” (pronounced el-oh-heem) breaks down into three syllables: El, oh, and him (pronounced heem).  “El” refers to Supreme Deity (the creator of the illusory Universe) and refers to the One Consciousness, with which you are intimately associated, as your own awareness. “Oh” is a singular female suffix.  “Heem” is a plural male suffix.  So “Elohim” includes innate divinity, which is at one time both the male and female, One and Many.  (There is one infinite environment [female], filled with an infinite number of points [male].  When the extents are infinite, each point is at the center [each of us equally aware as though we are the center of the universe]) 
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“Everything was Formless,
And Darkness was upon the face of the Deep.”
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This refers to the Nothingness out of which all experience is constantly appearing.  See “Nothingness” by Alan Watts, for an explanation of this.  Click on the link under “Books” on the left of this web page to read his 4-page essay.
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“And the Ruach Elohim moved upon the face of the Waters and said:
Yehi Aur… let there be Light!”
[Light candle]
“And there was Light.”
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Ruach Elohim (pronounced roo-agch eloheem) adds to the idea of Elohim already described, the notion of an identity, as in a soul or divine spirit.  (Ruach meaning “breath” and implying life, as in the breath of life, here the “breath” or live spirit of the Elohim.) You experience this as your own sense of being something, your own sense of existing.There is an inherent quality of Consciousness, and that is an urge, pressure, desire, or tendency to experience something, anything.  It’s like a primordial habit, energy or force behind the coming into being of experience itself.  This inherent drive is symbolized as a wind, or more intimately: a breath, the breath of life.You intimately experience these words, “Yehi Aur,” casting your attention forth, at every moment.  You gaze into the emptiness. Since attention is the Divine Light of Consciousness, the act of being aware is an act of casting Divine Light into the Emptiness.  This act of casting light into the emptiness is the “Big Bang” that is happening in every quantum or instance of existence.

This act of casting forth your attention is the original primordial experience that is ever happening on the crest of the wave of the eternally present moment.  Experience has spontaneously arisen out of the emptiness.

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“And the Elohim saw the light,
That it was good,
And all the morning stars sang together,
And the Children of God shouted for Joy.”
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“Saw the Light:” That candle, shining into the darkness, causing all visible experience in the previously darkened room to arise, is symbolic of your own awareness that likewise causes experience to arise out of Nothing.  Just looking at that particular candle is an incredibly profound act.  You are looking at your own awareness, shining forth.  You are aware of your own awareness.  This is “Ruach Elohim.”"That it was good:” “Good” is a word for “God.”  (Good-Bye means “God Be With Ye.”)  In this special setting, in this ritual act, just as you see the candle, Consciousness becomes aware of its own nature.  Consciousness becomes aware of the fact that it is aware.  This simple state is a blissful experience.  A “good” and joyful experience indeed.”Morning stars sang together…:” With the casting forth of the light of awareness, a billion galaxies of stars (candles) shine forth out the emptiness, in that light.  Every single one of them is that same One Consciousness, each like your own candle, each perfectly aware, reveling in the Cosmic Drama that is Experience.  (Referring back to the Watchers, these are the points of light that they see, gazing down upon the Humanity.) [For more information on this Cosmic Drama, see the essay called Cosmic Drama by Alan Watts.  You can click on the link at the left of this web page under Books, to read this 5-page essay.]
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[Raise hands with candle to the heavens]

“Holy art Thou, Lord of the Universe!
Holy art Thou, Whom Nature hast not formed!
Holy art Thou, the Vast and Mighty One!
Lord of the Light… and of the Dark.”
 
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And as one of that infinite number of “Children of God”, you too shout for joy in this adoration.  And whom are you addressing here?  “Who?” That Pure Consciousness that creates Nature but is not created by Nature.  Note that “Dark” here refers to the Nothingness that is still ever present while the illusion of experience seems to play on.

 Having lit this special candle, you are now in a sacred space, devoted to recognizing and celebrating Pure Consciousness.  You are aware of everything around you through the light of this one candle, this One Consciousness.  In our progressive shift of consciousness (our ritual) we have reached a shift to where everything is for you brand-new, newly arisen from an ever present “Big Bang.”  Notice the power of habit, which remains past the end of illusion, and the resulting ever present rebirth.  Everything is still there as you last saw it.  This is the principle of reincarnation in your immediate experience.

Just as all of experience emanates from the one light of the One Consciousness (of which your awareness is an immediate instance), so are all the lights in your sacred space also lit from this one candle.  So if you have both a Kether Lamp, and a Candle of Art, you should now use a small taper to draw the light from the Kether Lamp to the Candle of Art.  When you have both candles, the Kether Lamp represents the One Consciousness and the Candle of Art represents the Ruach Elohim:  the One Consciousness’s sense of existing, of Being.

Step 3 – Light Incense

incense_smallSmell is an interesting sense.  It has the ability to call up long forgotten memories and associations with a vividness like none of the other senses.  Some say it is the last of the senses to fade at death (others say hearing is the last to go).  No one currently knows for sure how we smell, but it is known that through smell we are aware of not only the shapes of molecules, but also of the different atoms that make up those molecules.  Somehow, through smell, we are able to touch and feel atoms and groups of atoms.  Through smell we are touching the building blocks of the physical universe, and identify them and easily associate them with vivid memories and experiences.  The presence of a smell in an environment powerfully taints our experience, coloring it with a particular emphasis.

In the next step in our progressive shift of consciousness, we light a taper from the One Light (our Kether Lamp or Candle of Art lit in the previous step).  We use that to light either self-starting incense charcoal, or stick or cone incense.  If charcoal is lit, then we make an offering of resinous incense (like frankincense) to the fire of Awareness.  Either way, a beautiful smoke rises up, up, always upward, away from the mundane world of objects and concerns, upward toward space, toward the Nothingness that is Consciousness Itself.  As this offering is made your environment starts to smell special.  It is a special smell that is not of food, nor of fuel exhaust, nor of body odor, nor anything in your typical world.  This fills your environment with something special, something sacred. 

Depending on the incense ingredients, the specialness can be focused on different aspects of existence.  In this case, using frankincense, or incense of the four Elements, your environment becomes an overwhelming and enveloping experience that is dedicated to Pure Experience, Pure Consciousness. 

While this should not be an obsession, the practitioner should be ever mindful of the incense, being sure that it does not go out.  There should be some small wisp of smoke rising at all times, throughout the practice.  This mindfulness is one of the ways that one’s attention is kept on the point to the whole practice: to be mindful who and what you really are.  The mindfulness of keeping the incense going is mindfulness of your practice.  It is keeping from straying into other less profound thoughts.

NOTE: when using charcoal and resinous incense, if you are going to keep a wisp of smoke going at all times and there is not open window with a constant draft, it is easy to smoke out your room, to the point of coughing and stinging in the eyes and throat.  This is because a few grains of resin on the charcoal burn only a minute or two, and quickly fill the room.  Therefore, if there is no constant breeze of fresh air, the best idea is to abandon the thought of keeping a wisp of smoke rising, and instead pay attention to the presence of the scent in the room.  At first, put only a tiny amount of incense on the charcoal, enough to fill the room with scent.  Then pay mindfulness to that scent in the room.  During your practice, you will notice the scent beginning to fade.  Only then, put a grain or two more on the charcoal, noticing the smoke rise as a further offering.  In this case, it is the presence of the scent that you are being mindful of keeping up, and not the constant rising of a wisp of smoke.

Think about this current state for a minute.  You have taken the familiar room around you, and you are seeing it in a “different light.”  You are seeing it the Light of the Pure Consciousness, which is what you really are.  You have extended that One Light to a fire (incense or charcoal), and this fire has filled the world (that you are seeing in a different light) with a sacredness, focused on something special.  You have filled the world with a focus on Consciousness.  You did this by lighting a slow-burning fire.  So, when you see the charcoal light up, or the stick incense begin to glow, you should see and feel the whole familiar world is also lighting up, and being burned away and consumed.  But notice that if undisturbed, the burned stick incense is still there, as ashes, after it has burned.  The ash holds exactly the same shape as what was burned.  The charcoal, after the sparkles of fire have run through it is also still there, in the same shape as before.  So you should see the world around you, in this special light has also been burned away, yet appears in the same shape as before.  Though, like the ashes which are a fragile appearance of what was there before, so is the world around you also a fragile illusion.  By lighting the incense, seeing everything in this “special light,” you have burned away the normal world.  While it still appears exactly as before, the smell of the incense is a constant reminder that it is all like ashes, holding a shape, but void of any inherent reality.

The pervasive scent then, is your Consciousness basking in an infinite emptiness, which appears around you like the ashes of burned incense.

So, let’s recap the steps so far.  You have empowered the Watchers to help you, and dedicated your practice to the Great Work.  You have done this in darkness, before you did anything else.  Next, you paid attention to the on-going Moment of Creation, and seen your world arise anew, as it does in every moment.  While the world constantly arises out of habit nearly the same every time, you are aware of it now through the One Light of Consciousness, just as you always are.  But for this practice, you know about it and are thinking that way.  Next, in the step of lighting the incense, you have seen the world as ashes and filled this newly created and familiar world with a special Presence of Consciousness.  It’s like you are basking an infinite ocean of emptiness that seems to have form and is perfectly aware.

This is the state of mind that you are practicing in the hope of never leaving.  This “special light” by which you are seeing things, being aware of the fact that everything is an illusion that seems to have shape, like incense ashes, is a state that you never want to leave.  With enough practice, you will not need these steps to help you think and see this way.  These ritual steps will instead become celebrations or forms of self-expression, like a dance of joy for being who and what you really are.

Step 4 – Ankh of Light

An Egyptian Ankh

An Egyptian Ankh

At this stage, in our progressive shift of consciousness, we have seen the universe arise anew.  The universe has arisen out of Nothing, and being born of Nothing, is still ultimately Nothing.  For the next step: what about you?  What are you in all this?

Like some other rituals in traditional Western Mysticism, the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram includes in its progression of shifting consciousness, the performance of another simple, yet profound practice.  It is called by traditional witches “The Ankh of Light”, also known in other Western Mystery traditions as “The Qabalistic Cross.”

With this step, we withdraw our attention from our sacred environment, and turn it on that which is most sacred: the Creator, the Author of the Universe.  We turn our attention on Pure Consciousness itself, and its place in all the illusory Creation.

So, let us go through this next step which is performing the Ankh of Light.  As I did with the lighting of the candle, I’m including here a commentary on the right, with the script on the left.

The Ankh of Light, or Qabalistic Cross:

 

[Contemplate primordial Emptiness]Your hands should be folded at your solar plexus (just below where your bottom ribs meet, on the front of your chest).  This position of the hands is called the “kavach mudra.” .
The hands of the traditional witch or practitioner of Western Mysteries become powerful conduits of life force, prana, witch-fire, or chi (all words for essentially the same thing).  Your solar plexus is a main center of this energy.  By folding your hands at this center, you are conserving and getting ready to direct that energy through your hands as a magical act.  During ritual practice, whenever you are not doing something specific with your hands, this is where they should be.
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Become aware of a globe of brilliance above your head, larger than your head, and resting on, or slightly into the crown of your head. 
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The globe of brilliance is one of 4 specific centers of energy, or psychic organs that you will activate, by paying attention to them (since attention is the food of all things, you will feed them and activate them).  This particular energy center (above the crown of your head) is a psychic organ by which your “individual” consciousness resonates most closely with that of the Universal Consciousness.  (The two are not separate or different, but only seem so.)
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Breathe deeply of pale blue prana (life energy – the aura of the Sun) from the ocean of it around you.  Leaving your left hand at your chest, bring your right hand from the kavach mudra down to your side briefly, then up to the top of your head as you take a deep breath and “vibrate”: “Ah-Teh”
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To “vibrate” a magical word means to intone it slowly, in a low key, drawing out the sound of the word.  It’s a low droning or chanting.  Words of power in any magical language such as Aramaic, Enochian, or Sanskrit, are formulae of vibrations, composed of a specific and powerful sequence of syllables. So as you intone the words of power, you pay attention to each individual syllable, and the vibrating sound of each.  You should hear and feel the vibrations coming not from your throat, but originating deep within your chest, and emanating from the energy center you’re focusing on (the one above your head in this case).  Further, you should feel those vibrations emanating out from the energy center, throughout the Universe, echoing in the depths of space.  Try to hear (in your imagination) the echoes of the sound of each syllable as though the universe were an infinite cave, echoing the sound back and forth throughout.The word “Ateh” has a dual meaning that creates a direct reminder of your relationship with the One Consciousness.  It means at the same time “Thou Art” and “I Am”. These words “I Am” are powerful triggers for the practitioner of high magic.  Just thinking “I Am” brings one’s attention straight back to the core of one’s being, to that core of Awareness that is Pure Consciousness.  Think of it.  The fact that you can say or think “I Am” proves that you are aware.  It proves that you exist right here, right now.   

Thinking “I Am” is a simple and direct expression of Awareness, and knowing that you are aware.  Knowing this is an act of recognition of your true being, of whom and what you really are.  After all, everything seems to exist, and everything shares that exact same quality of existence, not a different quality of existence.  Awareness is what it feels like to exist.  Since everything shares the same quality of existence, everything shares that same feeling, that same Awareness, that very same experience of “I Am.”  In thinking “I Am,” you are aware of being an instance of the Ultimate Deity.  You are aware of your personal relationship with That to whom you refer here with the words “Thou Art.”  (See Be Yourself on this website.)

So, as you vibrate this word, you should be aware at once of:

  •          who you are (as just described),
  •          who you are paying attention to,
  •          the globe of brilliance above your head, and
  •          the vibrations emanating from your diaphragm out through the globe above your head and throughout space. 

All the while, feel that you are a direct manifestation of that One Consciousness, that your awareness is a direct expression of that One Consciousness.  You are making this sound as a proclamation and celebration of Consciousness, filling the universe with this expression.

Practice drawing all of these ideas and experiences into one act of sacred self-recognition and self-expression.  You’ll get better at it each time you practice, until vibrating “Ateh” is all you have to remember, and it all happens together.

Paying attention to this globe of brilliance, and expressing yourself in this way is a direct practice of identifying with Pure Consciousness, with the origin and existence of all things.  You should be absorbed in the experience of Pure Consciousness.

This experience can be extremely blissful.  If you are practicing alone, do not hesitate to stop for a bit, and bask in this experience.  It is among the most Holy of experiences.

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Now move your hand down before your face and on down to your solar plexus as you visualize a pillar of white light, about the thickness of your neck, descending from the globe above your head down through the middle of your body to your feet where another globe, smaller than above your head, forms below your feet.  You are either standing on it or slightly into it, and it is either black with green swirls or a swirling mixture of the four elemental colors: citrine, olive, russet, and black – the colors of the four seasons.  As you bring your hand down to your solar plexus from above your head, visualizing thus, vibrate: ”Mal-Kuth” 
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Now, extending the “point” of awareness into two dimensions (a line), you are recognizing that the existence of Awareness implies something to be aware of (even if it is an illusion that you are aware of).  And that objectification of Nothingness, of Pure Consciousness, appears as an infinite universe. The globe at your feet (the metaphorical feet of Pure Consciousness) is called here Malkuth, which means “kingdom” and refers to the entire expanse of the universe of all experience.  The globe above your head is faintly reflected at your feet and objectified as the entire universe itself, with all of its galaxies and worlds.  This universe too is you… it’s how Pure Consciousness expresses and celebrates itself.  It’s how Pure Consciousness hides from itself, to make the illusion seem real.In this exercise, you are focused on your place in the entirety of experience.  You are at one extreme (above your head) the primordial origin of everything, and the center from which everything emanates.  At the other extreme (at your feet) you are also shown forth as all existence and all the ways in which that manifests.  This is part of what it means to know who and what you really are.  (By “you” I am clearly not referring to a human being.  I am referring to the core of your being, that core of Awareness, which is Pure Consciousness.) 

As before, you should vibrate the word of power, feeling each syllable echo throughout the emptiness around you, now proclaiming and celebrating your issuing forth as the universe itself.

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Bring your hand now to your left shoulder, in which forms a blue globe of light (embedded in and around your shoulder), also smaller than the one above your head, the same size as the one under your feet, and vibrate:”Ve-Geh-Doo-Lah”
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“Ve Gedulah” means “And the Glory.”  So far you have said “Thou art (I Am) the Kingdom and the Glory.”Here you are beginning to recognize the patterns within the expanse of Mind that Pure Consciousness creates around itself by virtue of experience.I have said that attention is the Divine Light that causes all things to seem to emerge from the darkness of Emptiness.  Now we’re getting a bit more specific.  You can cast your attention in many different ways.  You can look at something with anger, or love, sadness, understanding, fascination, excitement, boredom… the list is endless. Among the endless “flavors” of attention (food) that we’re capable of, we’re focusing on that of Glory, which includes things such as the splendor and bliss of great beauty and magnificence, love, expansion, birth, growth and compassion.  Continuing the symbolism of attention being Divine Light, here we are seeing that Light as blue in color.  

As before, the word of power is vibrated, filling the universe with the bounding and rebounding sound and light of love and compassion, birth, expansion and growth.  All this (the sound, the light, and the experience) emanates and radiates from the globe of light at your left shoulder.

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Bring your hand to your right
shoulder, as a shaft of white light the same size as the one descending from above your head extends from the blue globe at your left shoulder to the red globe that forms in your right.  Vibrate:”Ve-Geh-Boo-Rah”
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“Ve Geburah” means “And the Power.” Here you recognize a polarity of types of attention (types or colors of Divine Light).  Where at your left shoulder there is blue light, here is red light by contrast.  It represents the type of attention that is complementary to the previous.  Where the blue was compassion, this is severity.  Where the blue was birth, this is the death that makes rebirth and renewal possible.  This is the clearing away of the old to make a place for renewal.  Where the blue might have been attraction, by comparison here we have rejection.Between the blue light at the left shoulder and the red at the right, you have the most fundamental polarity at the root of all classifications or specific ways that you can cast your attention.

So when vibrating this word of power you should feel the universe bounding and rebounding with the red light, the sound and the feelings of severity, contraction, power, and selective intelligence.

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Slowly clasp both hands together, with arms outstretched before you, slightly above shoulder height.  As your arms raise to meet each other, Vibrate:”Leh-Oh-Lam”
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Up to this point you’ve said: “Thou Art (I Am) the Kingdom, the Glory and the Power.”  Now, the words “Le Olam” mean “throughout the ages” suggesting all time, all worlds, all dimensions, and all experiences throughout existence.  While vibrating this word of power you should consider your form of a glowing cross, flaming up brilliantly, filling the universe with that light. So you should feel that you are a glowing cross of white light, with globes of light at all four ends, shining brilliantly.  With the uppermost globe of brilliance larger and brighter than the others, you are in the form an ankh of life.  Archetypal symbols are living entities, and here you are, recognizing yourself as just such a living symbol.   

Ankh sandal strap

Ankh sandal strap

The shape of the ankh is based on an ancient Egyptian sandal strap.  There’s a loop that goes around the ankle and the opposite end attaches to the sandal sole between the toes.  The other ends attach to the sides of the sole at either side of the foot.  Here the ankh, the sandal strap, means “going” or on-going-ness.  It is therefore a symbol of progressing events and experience that we call “life” so some people say the ankh means life.  It represents the continuing experience that creates the illusion of life.  The ankh is therefore a “Stream of Consciousness.” 

What you have paid attention to (fed with your attention) is the fact that you and your experience of life is an endless flow of experience.  You have recognized it extending from Pure Consciousness (I Am) and shown forth as the whole universe (the Kingdom).  You have recognized it as the source of ultimate Glory and Power (and all that those imply).  You have recognized that this applies throughout all time, all worlds and dimensions.  There are no exceptions, and there is Nothing outside this on-going-ness.

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And without breaking from the previous vibration, as you bring your clasped hands to your solar plexus again, vibrate:”Ah-Men”
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With the word “Amen” you draw this whole expression to your heart, drawing it to you as your personal experience, not some philosophical description.  It’s like saying “all this is me, this me right here, right now, right here.”  This is a magical “grounding” of the experience.  You are bringing it from an ideal fantasy, to an immediate reality, as real as everything you are aware of, proved by everything you are aware of, by your simply being aware at all.
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Contemplate your form as a brilliant ankh of light.
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So this is your place in all the illusion of existence.  You (referring to Pure Consciousness, not to you as a human) are this Ankh, this living being that is a cross of light that includes and originates all experiences.  This is one way to focus on, pay attention to, and bask in whom and what you really are.  This is one way to sing forth and celebrate whom and what you really are.

 

So far we have covered, in this Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, four progressive shifts of consciousness on our way to a state that is one of the most profound in Western Mysticism.  I have mentioned that these four progressive shifts of consciousness are found at the beginning of nearly every ritual in wisdom traditions, whether Eastern or Western.  These four progressive shifts of consciousness are:

1.       Paying homage to a traditional lineage (Watchers Benediction)

2.       Declaring and focusing on one’s intention (Watchers Benediction)

3.       Recreating the Universe and purifying that by recognition that it is illusory (Candle and incense.  In more elaborate rituals, this step will include an additional purification by water.)

4.       Establishing the significance of Consciousness in that (Ankh of Light)

Hopefully you can see how these steps, when done with the intention and attitude described here, can acquaint you with who and what you really are, and help you build the habit of thinking of yourself as That. 

Next, in Part IV of this series, we will continue this journey of consciousness, into recognizing a pervasive, more detailed magical universe that is perfectly aware of you, and responsive to your every thought.

Mer-Amun MerAmun

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2 Responses to “The Habit of Behaving Like Who We Really Are”

  • Ea-Maat says:

    Excellent! I particularly liked the analogy of the ash of the incense retaining its form to the World retaining its ordinary shape while having its illusory aspect revealed. Would it also be possible to equate Ahteh/Malkuth to the God and Goddess respectively? The point of awareness reminds me of the God and Malkuth the manifesting Goddess? Just a thought. Thank you so much for providing such a detailed explanation of each aspect of this ritual.

    • Mer-Amun says:

      re: Ateh / Malkuth equated to the God and Goddess respectively:
      Thanks for such a stimulating question!
      I think from one perspective, that equation makes sense. When we try to understand this kind of polarity (Ateh / Malkuth) through a personification, we do usually attribute Consciousness to the God, and that which Consciousness is aware of to the Goddess. The only think I would add is that the most important lesson to learn from the polarity represented by the God and Godess is that they are really one and the same, the “Ancient Harmony.” So your question brings up an important aspect of the Ateh / Malkuth polarity presented in the Ankh of Light. That being the fact that while Malkuth is a faint reflection of Ateh (or Kether), when looking at the two, you are looking at the same thing (the Ancient Harmony). This means that when looking at Malkuth, you are lookinng at one appearance of Consciousness itself. So, by extension, the world around you (Malkuth) is a reflection of your own mind. In other words, when you look at the world around you, you are looking at a veiled or masked apparition of Pure Consciousness itself. While this illusion of Consciousness all around you (Malkuth) seems objective, separate and varied it is actually all one Consciousness, the very same Consciousness that is the core of your Being. The Goddess (the world around you) is Conscious and aware (the God). The God (Kether) manifests all around you as seeming appearance (Malkuth, the Goddess). The two are One (the Ancient Harmony) and only seem distinct when you are aware of the great illusion. This is why, when you pray in earnest to any version or aspect of the God or Goddess that you might perceive around you, whether in your imagination or in an image before you, you will always get an answer. The world around you, imaginary or physical, is as perfectly aware of you as you are of it. It’s as alive and feeling and responsive as you are, because it shares the very same consciousness, awareness and responsiveness that you have/are yourself.

      This experience of looking around yourself (at Malkuth), and seeing your own Mind and Consciousness (Ateh or Kether) reflected back at you like this, is an experience that we will examine in detail, both in ritual and in commentary, in the next part of this series of articles.

      re: thanks for providing a detailed explanation:
      I’m so happy you find it useful. Please keep in mind though, that these things have multitudes of meanings, and can be explained in a multitude of ways. In keeping with the theme of this website, I am deliberately focusing on one type of explanation: that of drawing the meaning and significance of the Mysteries into your own immediate and intimate experience. Hopefully, by thus being able to recognize this meaning and significance by yourself, from your own personal experience, you can move from this explanation to exploring the other meanings for yourself.

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