High Priestess Sadhana: Self Generation

This is a sadhana I was requested to write for my lama. A sadhana is a Buddhist ritual, over-simplified but true. Depending on the type of sadhana there is a set formula they follow, like any ritual tradition, and the methodology and cosmology behind them isn’t exclusively Buddhist. My lama believes that the Western Mystery Traditions are like yoga for Westerns, and that the tarot contains all the archetypes you need for spiritual realization. So what he wanted to do was to combine Tarot imagery with Buddhist sadhana structure, to use Buddhist technology with images and archetypes that are more familiar and acceptable/accessible to the average person in the Western world. So I wrote him this.

This is a basic self-generation sadhana, which in Western lingo would basically be an invocation. Normally you’d be given an empowerment by a lama, some explanation, and some training to do a ritual in a Buddhist context. In the empowerment the lama would “implant” the energy or Seed of the being into you, so that you can then call on them. Alas, most lamas don’t have High Priestess empowerments so it’s not an option. So this script serves as a visualization for generating and embodying the nature and force of the High Priestess, it might lack the “punch” of a proper sadhana due to the lack of initiation involved, but if you work with it you can build that connection on your own without the empowerment. (And from there offer it to others, which actually was discussed at one point)

One of the hardest parts in creating this was coming up with syllables for Creation, and the mantra. In Buddhist ritual every time you create something major in the visualization there is a syllable that accompanies it, from a PAM appears a lotus, from a RAM a sun disk. We didn’t want to lift those syllables, and they wouldn’t work (what tarot card has a sun disk or skull cup?) and they don’t come with mantras. They do come with their own Seed Syllable though, the Hebrew letter. So what we decided on was breaking down the letter, into all the letters needed to spell it, and rearrange them to make the syllables. (Gimel is Gimel Mem Lamed, so the syllables and mantras are different combinations of G, M, and L in this case) It’s not perfect, and I want to rework it, but it works for now. Also some of the descriptions and wording is very Buddhist, it’s hard to shake the tone, but I think it is still clear without a background in Buddhism what is meant and intended. You should know what a Gimel looks like as you’ll visualize a few of them.

My lama prefers the BOTA deck, so the image was taken from it, it’s almost the exact same as the Smith-Rider-Waite tarot. The point of this is to clear your mind, draw the High Priestess into you, abide in her mindstate, take into yourself her gifts, and with experience wield the power of her archetype when embodying it. Oddly enough my lama prefers the BOTA deck and has all the books about it, but isn’t a member of the BOTA. I on the other hand was a member, but don’t have all the books, so we balanced out. The meaning of the High Priestess is also drawn from Case’s understanding of her.


bota-tarot-key-2[1]Begin by performing some basic mindfulness meditation to clear, slow, and focus your thoughts and ready yourself for the visualization. See everything in the room melt into light and fade away.

From empty space a Gimel appears, deep blue in colour, it radiates outwards becoming a tranquil ocean.
From the sound GAM appears a yellow square resting motionless on the surface of the ocean. From the sound MAL a grey cube arises in the centre of the square. And from a GAL appears two pillars on either side, one white and one black each topped with a lotus sculpture. Between them drapes a curtain decorated with pomegranate fruits and leaves.

Above the cube rests your consciousness in the form of a Gimel, deep blue in colour. From it light shines out, carrying with it a calming wisdom to all sentient beings. The light is drawn in again, and the Gimel, you, become the High Priestess sitting on the cube. Behind you stretches the curtain, to your left is the white pillar, and to the right is the black pillar and you rest between them as a point of balance. You wear an inner robe of pure white, over which appears a deep blue cloak resting on your shoulders and flowing down past your feet, transforming into water, connecting you to the ocean. You are the ocean, and the ocean is you, you are but a ripple on the surface. In your right hand rests a rolled up scroll marked with the word TORA, the Law, and your left hand rests peacefully in your lap. A white veil hangs from the sides of your head, which is topped by a silver crown in the shape of two horns with a sphere resting between them.

On the centre of your chest appears an equal-armed cross, glowing with the radiant white light of a full moon, and at its center appears another blue Gimel. Around the Gimel see three blue spheres of light representing the syllables of her mantra LAM LAG MAG. Repeat her mantra and let it bring about a state of equipoise and stabilize the image. LAM LAG MAG.

These lights shine out of the Gimel activating the cross, which then bathes the ocean in the cold white of a full moon. The light dispels confusion, forgetfulness, and ignorance, leaving the surface of the ocean perfectly calm and clear to the depths. In turn the ocean reflects the light out into the Cosmos clearing away the confusion, forgetfulness, and ignorance of all sentient beings, illuminating them and guiding them back to their personal wisdom, to the store house of knowledge in their unconsciousness.

The light is drawn in again, dissolving the ocean as it goes. The ocean dissolves into the yellow square. The curtain behind you dissolves into the pillars, which in turn dissolve into yellow square. The square dissolves up into the cube upon which you sit, which in turn dissolves into the water flowing from your robes. The scroll and the crown melt into light and pour into you, your entire being glows with their light and then melts into the moon white cross on your chest. The cross dissolves into the blue Gimel at its heart which glows with the light of the ocean and the moon. Finally the Gimel dissolves into Nothingness.

Rest in meditation until your thoughts naturally emerge.


4 Responses to High Priestess Sadhana: Self Generation

  1. polyphanes says:

    That’s a fascinating ritual structure. I can dig it immensely, and if that’s indicative of how sadhanas work, it’s possible to apply to many, many other aspects. Given its use of syllabic mantras based on holy sounds, I might ping you about applying it to the Greek gods and grammatomancy, if not the whole mathesis crap that’s being built up.

    • Kalagni says:

      It’s indicative of how a simplified section of a sadhana works. Depending on what’s being done the process of generation can have a lot more steps, and empowerments as it goes along. We wanted to keep it simple for experimenting.

  2. Andrew says:

    I think it’s quite elegant, and Polyphanes may well want to apply it to the question of pathworkings in his tetractys. More than that, I like how the image is built up in stages, and structured around encountering each part of the image in a set path. This is the kind of thing that would make the image useful as its own tool for palace of memory work – a single locus capable of holding a whole sequence of memory elements in a particular order. I like it a lot.

    • Kalagni says:

      Thanks. This is very simple, my yidam practice has 34 arms each holding something different and 16 legs each standing on someone different, now that is memory work :-p

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