Working my way through Don Webb’s fantastic work, “Uncle Setnakts Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path,” I covered a bit about his topic on Natural Magic.
In this post, I’d like to cover my ideas on Magic, Ritual and Ceremony. By all accounts, I’m no expert, but I have had a lot of experience in many different traditions and so-called “currents.” Some systems worked very well for me and others not so much. In time I found a lot of overlap, and given even more time, I discovered something quite interesting about ritual and ceremony.
Starting Something New
When a person starts a new magic operation or system, it’s often best to follow the instructions to the tee – as best you can. Obviously a person on a low to middle income couldn’t supply the precious gems required in some ancient tombs, for ritual work. However, most modern practices avoid anything that’s too difficult or expensive to procure.
When I joined the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn (in 2005), I obeyed their working methodology. Respecting the teachers and other initiates, I didn’t do any public displays of “wisdom.” If there was something I had questions on, I would discuss it privately, but I never tried to openly “improve” their system. I treated this like it was my first rodeo (and it kinda was.)
Later I took lessons from an Enochian teacher (Athena) and again, I obeyed her direction without question. I didn’t debate, or push up any ego. I accepted what she had to say and if I had questions I was humble about it.
Further on, I joined Aurum Solis a few religions (like Scientology) and again, I obeyed the format of the work provided. Even within the schools of the A.’.A.’. I didn’t deviate or modify the work. Growing into mystic paths of Hinduism, gurus and shamanism – I continued the process outlined above (obeyed, and stayed humble.)
The examples above highlight the necessity of tuning into the spiritual path one is working. You do the work for a set period of time (9 months, a year, etc.) If you feel the gain is gone, or it’s time to move on you do so. But you stay true to the work while you are in those initial stages.
People who join, and then pass judgement on the teachings with, “I can do this better… I once did this great amazing thing, everyone listen to me…” are just rabble rousers.
Keep your head down, obey the work (as long as it’s legal of course – and under your true will.) If something is outside of your true will, if appropriate bring it up to the organization. If needed, leave. Obviously.
Rituals and Ceremony
I found in time that the rituals were no longer needed for the most part. I hope that doesn’t sound lazy or demeaning to those in the systems of ritual, but it feels like the ritual is a tool… a crutch to get you going, and once you get going you can bypass the tools. But I tempter this with the notion of above, first do the work as it was described. Fulfill the rituals and ceremony as required and under your will.
In the early stages it is also very useful to hold a magic oath. An oath that over the next 30, 60, 90 days, you will do a specific working. Details are linked above.
Doing a ritual or ceremony tunes a person into the current and once tuned in, you hold a special relationship with the work. It becomes part of you, or you become its friend or comrade. When I invoked an Angel from the Golden Dawn system for 90 days… at the end there was this massive connection with that being. I found I didn’t need to do a full Invocation or opening by watchtower. I could reach out, and there it was… a bond was formed.
Similarly when I did my Hekate working last year, I invoked Hekate for 30 nights consecutively. At the end, a bond was formed. These bonds are the work of the Oath of Ceremony.
Putting Away the Tools
I found that I didn’t need the tools for the work I was bonded to. I had done the ceremony and rituals to gain a bond… and then, with the bond of the work, I reached out without the tools and found an organic connection.
This doesn’t mean an initiate can start here. This is a mistake. You must go through the process as it is taught. But then in time, the initiate can make the Oath of Ceremony and afterwards the initiate reaches out as needed.
What Rituals Do
I don’t believe there is a special power in the ritual or ceremony. I think it’s a way of helping the individuals consciousness get from point A, to point B. Point A being one’s mundane state of mind and Point B being a person’s magical goal.
If I sat in a room, with no training, and said, “I’m going to talk to an angel now… let’s see… Michael the Angel, let’s have a chat.” About all I’d get out of that was an imaginative ego fest.
However, if I follows a process of ritual and ceremony outlined by my teachers and trainers, I would acclimate through a process of steps, to the realization of the goal.
That’s what Ritual does… That’s what ceremony does…
Ritual & Ceremony Acclimate Consciousness to the Desired Goal
A No-Tools Example
I think this example deserves its own post. For now, I’ll relay the highlights of an event in my life. About 7 years ago a friend of the family was kidnapped in a town in a Latin American country. They were being held for ransom.
My wife was distraught. The very night I heard about this, I snuck away to help magically. With a strong will I pushed the intent of seeing our friend…
In my mind’s eye I saw this outline of him, sitting on the floor of an abandoned building. The floor was stone or tile, there was a window… no glass – just a curtain. No furniture either. I saw a figure standing over him… a menacing figure, holding a machete in his hands. Not sure if this was real or imagination, I went along with it and visualized negative dark chords connecting into the figure. These chords I defined as those past events in his life to make him the man he was today… they were the harmful things in his life that made him willing to hurt others for money. With that in mind, I began to cut these chords… and I visualized the kidnapper relaxing. Then I raised my hands and visualized a white light entering him… as well as entering into our friend. My hope was that the kidnapper would see the same “light” or “essence” that was in him, within our friend. That he would see him as similar and have some compassion on him.
The result of the work was amazing. Two days later we got a call from our friend, he was released. The short of the story is that he was taken to an abandoned building outside of town. A man with a machete watched over him. The machete man was an angry guy, who initially bragged about the people’s he killed. However, the second day he was a prisoner, her said the machete fellow had a different attitude. He began to treat him like an equal. Talked to him to cheer him up, “don’t worry we’ll let you go once we get the money….” As luck would have it, the kidnappers had to relocate due and were unable to connect with our friends family to get the money. They decided to let him go without harming him. They put him in a taxi, gave him a few bucks and off our friend went – safe and sound.
That magically working wasn’t done with any ceremony, any ritual. It was raw intent and belief. It was the lowering of barriers and the influx of resolve. Ultimately this is magic’s evolution in our lives. It should (in my opinion) be an expression of our will. An expression that no longer requires the tools of ritual & ceremony.