Ritual Magic? Ceremonial Magic?

   High Magic?

"Magick"? What is it?

 The word magick has been associated with Aleister Crowley who defined the and embodied it in rituals-
Ritual Magick. 
 Tehuti93 explains in the essay below.


  Aleister Crowley defined Magick as the science and art of causing changes to occur in conformity with Will.
With all due respects to Aleister,  Ritual Magic is more an art form than a science. Scientific experiments, using the same methods, the same data, the same constants, can theoretically be replicated.  Ritual magic, on the other hand, can not be guaranteed to produce the same experiences even though the ritual is the same. The  laws of ritual magic are not bound to the laws of cause and effect as are scientific laws.
Ritual magic uses all of the five physical senses and many inner senses as well:
Vision is stimulated by  the symbols of the deity that the magician will invoke. Example: if you are working with Kaballah  to invoke Thoth/Hermes/Mercury, you might want a picture or drawing of the god; the color orange for Hod; the letter 8, signifying the number of Hod on the Tree of Life.   Altar candles of suitable colors also stimulate the visual field.
Taste is stimulated by wine and bread, if you are having a communion.  You might use a pinch of salt and other foods  and drinks pleasing to Thoth as well.
Hearing is stimulated by the chants and the words of the ritual, as well as any music that you might be including in the ritual.
 Scent is stimulated by oils, perfumes and incense.
Touch is stimulated by the physical movements of the ritual, by contact with others if your working is a group working. A splash of water is felt as touch as well as awakening. The entire setting should stimulate the emotions as well as the senses. A silent (or chanting) meditative interlude before the climax of the ritual can  activate the third eye, the heart center, or various energy points in the body.
Some ritual magicians perform the ritual solely in their own head. No props. No altar table tops. An onlooker might just see a person sitting in a chair or lying on the floor. In the height of the bombings of London in the Second World War, Don Fortune and her group assembled separately at appointed times and performed their inner workings. Since the city was under siege, travel was not recommended. Unfortunately, during one of Dion's solitary sessions, a bomb struck the house -- well I warned you it wasn't a science!  So a ritual can be all mental, it can be physical and mental.
Magick can not be all physical with no mental!


  Any ritual has an intention or a reason for doing it. That intention should be crystal clear and satiable in words. You can't mush over the intention. You have to ask yourself, "What would have to happen in order for the intention to be attained?"  It isn't the worst idea to write the intention, put the paper on the altar, and burn it as part of the ritual, burning so that it is purified, watching the smoke ascend to the heavens (or to the direction of your smoke detector!)  An alternative to burning is to keep the paper under your pillow until the intention is achieved.


  In preparing for your ritual (besides assembling your ritual materials) you might want to do something a little special: take a ritual bath to purify your body, adding special oils or herbs to the bath water. Many magicians work in hooded robes. The idea of these robes is concealment; during the ritual, you are not Harry Smith but a special personage with a magical name. The woman working across the ritual table from you is not your next door neighbor Sally Potter. She, like you, is an instrument for the ritual. Magical rings or special jewelry that are only worn for magical work helps the ritual magician to get into the magical role and to leave the mundane role at the door.
  In working alone, I always like to exit the ritual room after I have prepared the room,  meditate to clear my mind, and then reenter the room as though for the first time. I carry a key in my hand, to symbolize that I have entree to the room.  In fact, I always carry an extra key on my key ring.. This is not a key to any closet or door. I carry it as a symbol that it can open many doors that I don't know about yet. When I find the door, the key will open it. 
  We could all open many doors if only we had the key. The hardest doors to open, those old doors that always stick or seem to be half painted shut, are those doors that go within.


  In our example we choose for our intention the attainment of increased spiritual awareness. By referring to a set of "tables of correspondences" (we will use those published by Dion Fortune in her Mystical Qabalah) we find that this goal is governed by the activities of the sixth Sephirah --Tiphareth or Beauty.
  Thus we may proceed to compose a ritual using Tiphareth's correspondences. Our temple and altar, therefore, will be draped in yellow and golden colors, the color of Tiphareth in Briah.(If we are working in another  of the four Kabalistic worlds,  we use the color of that world). Tiphareth is the sixth station on the Tree of Life. The number six should therefore be used, perhaps in the knocks, circumambulations, or the number of candles. Our incense would be olibanum, frankincense or cinnamon, the incenses of Tiphareth and the Sun. We would wear yellow robes and upon our breast we would display a golden (or gold colored) six sided lamen, bearing the symbol of the Sun.  If our wardrobe does not include ten robes of ten main Tree of Life colors, with sub-colors for the different Kabalistic worlds, we can imagine the color of the robe and have a small patch of the appropriate color in the ritual space.
 We would start our ceremony by meditating on our goal and by reading inspirational writings on its theme. We would examine and display at the appropriate Tarot card (in this case card 14, Temperance, assigned to Knowledge and Conversation of our Holy Guardian Angel).
  A purification bath, using water and a little salt is helpful. Our intention is to cleanse our mind as well our body  in preparation for our ritual. We then put on clean clothes, and then our robe, remembering why we are doing it! Every act should be done with remembrance of our Intention.
  Entering our Temple (or whatever prepared place we are using), we should state our intention aloud. The following formula is an example; "I will apply all my powers to align myself with the Divine powers of the Cosmos to achieve the following aim: To gain further awareness of my Spiritual Nature, and I hereby perform this Ceremony to this end." Whatever words we use, the intention should be stated, with specified examples of the results that we are seeking.  There is no room for muddle-mindedness here.


  We now proceed with the "preparation of the place." We want to symbolically cleanse and seal the Temple. Our bodies are also a temple, so these too should be cleansed and  "sealed". All outside worries, anxieties, fears, grudges, annoyances and apprehensions must be left at the gateway to the ritual place, and it is good to vow to do so as you enter.  In doing a  ritual, all outer actions represent an inner process.It is essential that we purify our inner consciousness in preparation for the ritual work.
  We  walk around the perimeter of our working space purifying it first with Water, sprinkling towards the East, then South, West, and finally North, with the intention of cleansing the "atmosphere" of the place. Next we purify it with Air,  incense (or a knife/atheme)  in the same manner for the purpose of  making the area sacred. We purify with fire, circling our space with a candle. We purify the space with Earth, perhaps sprinkling salt.  It is important, that in all of these activities, the ritual case gets completely encircled.  Finish where you started, in the East, so that we will have walked a complete circle in each of these operations. These cleansings seal the ritual space.  Once the space is sealed, no one should enter or leave.
As we walk to the four quarters of the space, we might evoke the Four Archangels: Raphael, power of AIR; Michael, power of FIRE, Gabriel,  power of WATER and URIAL, power of EARTH.
We could use the Kaballistic Sign of the Cross: "Atoh (touch forehead), Malkuth,(touch solar plexis), va Gevorah (touch right shoulder), va Gedulah (touch left shoulder), la-alam, Amen (fold hands in front).
Then, facing east: "Before me Raphael, behind me Gabriel, to my right hand Michael, to my left hand, Uriel, for before me flames the pentagram (see it in your mind's eye) and behind me shines the six-rayed star (see it in your mind's eye.)
With this preparation having been accomplished, we now turn to the Invocation. The Invocation is basically a prayer of petition, calling down the particular aspect of power corresponding to our intention. In our example, we would feature the Divine Name, Tetragrammaton Eloah Va Daath.
At this point, we would visualize the Magical Image of Tiphareth, which is a small child with arms outstretched, vividly standing before us.Tiphareth has another magical image, the sacrificed king. The envisioning of the Magical Image should produce great energy. After the Magical Image is summoned, one might want to have a communion service (bread and wine), making appropriate  utterances as one eats the bread (which might be served on the shape of a pentagram) and drinks the wine from the cup.
Close with Kabalistic Sign of Cross, and close the 4 quarters, thanking the archangels for having come and bidding them to return to their appropriate spheres. Touch the ground and rub any excess energies into the ground, and open the Sacred Space.
Often, a ritual is followed by a modest meal. The purpose of this food is to get yourself grounded, and "bring yourself down." The last thing you want is to have people running out and jumping into their cars while still half on the astral plane!
Then we should sit down and write a record of our experiment. Just as exoteric scientists keep careful journals of their work so should we, as esoteric scientists, follow this practice. By doing this immediately following the ritual we may catch many insights that, like dreams, will rapidly fade with the passage of time.
  In the end, our awareness of the magical nature of all Life becomes enhanced. We see and understand the Dance of Creation, Preservation, Transformation, and Resurrection that goes on around and through us. Then we will experience continually the miracle of Being --- the truly magickal experience.

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