Nine Purifying Breaths: Physical Forms

2016/04/09

I mentioned in my last post why I was doing the Nine Purifying Breaths, but I didn’t make it too clear on the other reasons people should practice it. As much as I hate the panacea tone behind it, it really is one of those exercises that is pretty much good for all occasions. In general though it is great for clearing out the mind before another practice that requires focus and clarity, like meditation or skrying. It is also good before doing a lot of energy work, as it gets the channels cleaned out and primed. If your mind or energy seems to be out of balance, and you’re not sure why it can help bring your system either back into balance, or redistribute the energy so it will balance itself out soon enough. I also recommend it as a daily or weekly practice (despite the fact I let it drop recently) as a way of keeping things moving and in shape, mental and energetic preventative maintenance. Also as I get into more complicated forms of the practice you can see more specific uses.

In talking about the physical side of this practice there are a few assumptions readers will have to work with. First there are energy channels in the body, secondly the carry different types of energy, one of those types of energy is the type you’re breathing in, it’s connected more to the breath than anything, and these subtle energetic channels can be affected by physical posture and pressure, especially the ones connected to the breath energy.

“All lamas have their own rituals” as discussed last time, so the descriptions of the physical actions that go along with this practice are varied, though many of them share the same logic or symbolic purpose, just expressed different. Before I discuss the version I favour there is a variant I want to share.

Previously I mentioned physically blocking the nostril to direct the breath and energy into the appropriate channel. I have read instead of lifting the corresponding arm up. So for instance if you’re drawing energy/breath into the right channel, instead of blocking left nostril, you would reach your right arm out to the side at the height of your shoulders. This raised right arm opens the right channel, makes it dominant. It doesn’t prevent energy/breath from entering the left channel, but it makes more enter the right. For exhaling though you would still block the nostril to force the energy out the other channel, but if that isn’t an option you can raise the opposite arm to open the corresponding channel. I mention this alternative form, because while I don’t prefer it or find it as effective, if you do this practice regularly there are times when inhaling through one nostril will be impossible/uncomfortable; cold, allergies, sinus infections, deviated septum flaring up. This way you can breathe normally if you can’t do single nostril breathing.

Every method I’ve read or been taught that mentions the position of the fingers in the hands says the same thing, thumb pressed against the ring finger. Oddly though I cannot find a reason why this is done, while the fingers represent different elements, those meanings shift from teaching to teaching, and no combination really seems that impressive.

For actually bringing up your hand to your nose I’ve learnt three methods (or two plus one). The first is the plus one, in that case, it’s simply just put your finger on your nose, don’t be fancy. The other two methods are fairly different in posture and purpose. I would practice the basic form without worrying about doing anything fancy with the hands. Once you understand the practice you can experiment.

The first method raise the arm out to the side on the same side as the channel you are going to clear right arm for right channel, left arm for left channel. Then bending the elbow and twisting the wrist bring the hand in to block the nostril on the same side of the body. As you bring your hand in you draw a loop in the air. Imagine you’re drawing this symbol þ in the air, but rotated so the straight line is on the top, you’re drawing a loop hanging from a line. As you make this spinning motion you’re gathering in a cloud of radiant light to inhale, pulling this cloud in front of your face. Then you simple move the finger to the other nostril to block it for the exhale.

The second method focuses more on the channels and physical practice. Starting with both your hands pressed against your legs as described last post, put your hands into fists (still holding the thumb against your ring finger). From here draw your fists up your body, roughly inline with the inside of your shoulders, between the side of your torso and your nipples. (I’m going to describe the procedure for clearing out the right channel, because it’s easier to explain one way, and reverse it. So this would be inhaling through the left nostril, exhaling through the right.) Once your fists are more or less level with your shoulders shoot your fists out to your left. Your left arm should be stretched out completely, your right arm will be bent across your chest, and you want to push your fist just on the inside of where your left armpit is. There is a muscle there, it’s the part that “frames” the shape of your armpit when you raise your arms up. Press your fist into this muscle. Bend your left elbow and block your right nostril, so you are reaching across the body. Breathe in as described previously, and then move your finger to block your left nostril and breathe out. This posture does two main energetic functions, first what you’re doing with your right fist by the armpit is pressing down on the channel connected to that arm and the breath, this prevents you from drawing the energy into the arm and forces all of the energy into your channel. Also because the right arm is held up during this movement, it’s physically opening that channel a bit more to make the expulsion more efficient.

Last post I recommended the seven point posture, this is for two reasons. First sitting up straight, without supporting your back forces the channels to be upright and open, leaning against a chair can put pressure on the channels or muscles that close it a bit. Obviously if you need to use a chair, do so, but if you can sit upright without one for a while that is the better choice. Secondly sitting cross-legged forms a loop in the bottom of your energy system. While some energy can flow out the base of your spine, or out from the soles of your feet, most of it will flow down one leg, and then get reabsorbed back into the other leg. It’s not about avoiding energy loss in the sense of you only have so much or anything, but more about keeping the internal pressure constant. If you’re trying to force energy out a channel through your nostril you don’t want any “leaking” out your feet because that will mean there is less force pushing out from your system.

I also described pressing your wrists against your legs for the last three breaths. You want to push on the “highest” part of your femur, which if you’re looking down at your crossed leg tends to be around a third of way in from the outer edge, the part of leg facing more behind you. Like pressing on the armpit, this is pushing down on the physical analog of the main energy channel connected to breath and your legs. This is again to help “seal” the pressure when you exhale through the crown of your head. The reason you bend over is a similar purpose, as you breathe out you’re bending over at the waist to close that channel behind the outflowing energy, so none of the gunk can sink back down. My one teacher described it like the way you fold or roll up a tube of toothpaste to force everything out. The channel reopens completely when you sit up.

The physicality of the practice also went a bit long, so next post I’ll begin complicating the energetic/spiritual practice.

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Nine Purifying Breaths: Basic Form

2016/04/05

I want to talk about one of my favourite Buddhist energy work techniques. Personally right now my system is a bit sluggish, and considering I’m doing a retreat and spending the next three weeks pretty much living in temple with my Rinpoche I need to be at my best, so I’m doing this a lot. Also a few weeks ago I was at a party and a friend asked about clearing out her system, and I wanted to do a write up for her and forgot.

The Nine Purifying Breaths (དགུ་རླུང་བསངས་ gulung sang) is a great technique, it’s simple, it’s effective, and it has the potential to be really complex and powerful, but doesn’t have to be. It’s also a fairly popular technique. Without even pausing to think I can come up with three books I’ve seen it in. The “trouble” is the way it’s written about differs, I’ve learnt it from four different lamas in four different forms. There is a Tibetan saying (according to my Rinpoche, google came up with nothing) “Every lama has his own rituals” which basically means everyone does things a little bit differently.

This post will be a little bit different from all the times I’ve been taught it, or read it, but I’m going to write it in a way, that will allow people to “scale up” as needed and able. What I mean is the practice, as is most traditionally taught relies on a fair amount of Tibetan Buddhist symbolism, but if you aren’t familiar with what red or blue or green symbolize, or what a snake or chicken symbolize the practice will be more bizarre than helpful. That said it’s a practice that I’ve effectively seen simplified by teachers to make it accessible, and those of us with more of a foundation in tantric practices can add in more as we go.

The Nine Purifying Breaths is pretty much what it sounds like, a set of nine breaths that purify your energy system. They do a lot more than that, especially in the complex forms, but at the basic level it’s a great way to get energy moving and cleared out. It’s practiced in all the schools of Vajrayana Buddhism, and as far as I can tell historically it predates them and comes from the Bön tradition. (I can find historical mentions of the practice, but never any mention of who came up with it, which suggests it came from Bön)

Before we can even begin you need to have a sense of the Energy System we’ll be working with. First disclaimer: If this doesn’t match the way you see your energy body that is fine, these things are our codification of abstract stuff beyond our understanding, so just practice it this way with these visuals and then you can go back to your own system, that does work. What is described here is a model, not ultimate reality.

Pay attention to the placement of the channels, don't worry about the colours or the other shapes.

Pay attention to the placement of the channels, don’t worry about the colours or the other shapes.

The practice will focus on the three main channels: The central channel which opens at the crown of your head runs through the spine (or just in front of it) and opens out the base of your spine, and the left and right channel which open at the nostril go up behind the eyes over the skull and down the side of the spine and then curl up into the central channel just above the base of the spine. There are traditional colours associated with the channels, but they differ occasionally, and aren’t important for the basic version of this practice. The central channel is about as thick as your thumb or index finger, the left and right channel are a bit thinner than your pinkie finger. Some other practices and systems have the left and right channel swirling around the central channel, or looping at certain points, in this case they just go straight down. Do not worry about your energy centres and how these channels do or don’t interact with them, it’s unimportant at this point.

Onto the actual practice: Sit in a proper meditation posture, if you can do the Seven Point Posture I recommend that. This is one of the few practices where I feel the need to stress sitting on the ground in some form of crossed legs. Getting it to work properly in a chair is a bit of extra work, though it might not seem like it, because how the subtle channels interact with the physical body it is important.

In both hands place you thumb firmly against the base of the ring finger and keep them there until the practice is done. Raise your right hand and with the ring finger press it against your right nostril to close it. Take in a slow deep breath through the left nostril. As you’re breathing in picture radiant clear light flowing in with the breath, into the left nostril, up the left channel behind the eye and over the skull, and down beside the spine, and then finally into the central channel. Don’t worry if you can’t “fill” the central channel, you’re not trying to, you’re just trying to put your breath into it. Pause holding the breath and move as much of this light into the central channel as possible. Move your right hand over, and using the ring finger block your left nostril. Breathe out your right nostril. As you breathe the light moves from the central channel into the right channel where they connect by the base of the spine, travels up the channel around the back of the head over the skull, behind the eye and out through the right nostril. As the light moves through this channel it clears out the obstructions, the negative/stagnant energy, the gunk and crap stuck in that channel, the breath that comes out isn’t the clear light that came in, but instead is a thick oily smoke. You can guide the smoke to either settle into the ground where it is absorbed by the earth and carried deep into the planet to be purified there, or it can spread out into space like smoke would and as the light and wind catch it it is scattered and purified into nothing. Repeat this two more times.

Now repeat the same process, but switch sides. Taking your left ring finger block your left nostril and breathe in clear vibrant light through the right nostril, up the right channel, down the channel, and finally into the centre. Move the left hand over and block the right nostril. Breathe out the left nostril, having the light drain from the central channel into the left channel through the connection by the base of the spine, up the channel, clearing out the gunk as before, then finally releasing the oily smoke through the left nostril. Repeat this two more times.

Place both your hands on your legs near your hips, palms up. Press down with your wrist putting a bit of pressure on your legs, your wrists should be over your femur. (I’m going light on the more technical/physical instructions, but I feel this is a good practice even in the simple form) Breathing in through both nostrils draw in that radiant clear light into both the left and right channel at once, up behind the eyes and over the skull, down the back and curling up into the central channel. Pause holding your breath for a moment to draw as much of the light into the central channel as possible. Now continuing to press down on your legs, slowly start to bend over from the waist as you breathe out. While the breath is physically leaving your nostrils, the light is actually going to travel up through the central channel, as before clearing and purifying as it goes, and out through the crown of your head as that oily smoke again. You don’t have to bend all the way over, but as far as you comfortably can. When you’ve finished breathing out the black smoke from your head sit up straight and repeat two more times.

This post is becoming longer than expected, so I’ll have to explain the more complicated/detailed elements in another post. For now practice it this way.

I will give some advice though. If it’s your first time doing it, or the first time in a long time, only do nine breaths. It might seem simple, and you might want to try again, don’t. Give you system time to adjust. After a day or two you can try doing the nine breaths twice in a row if you want. You should never do more than three sets of nine even if you’re used to it. That’s a general rule I see, and I find trying to do more will leave you more light-headed and open than is useful. You can wait a few hours and do another set, just avoid doing them too close together. Also I’ve been told you’re never to do more than three sets of three in a day, but I’ve never done that many, so I can’t say if that limit is symbolic or there for a purpose, but I can think of several reasons why it would be unwise.

The way I put it here has you do three breaths on one side, three on the other, and then three for the central channel. Another way to do it is to do one breathe on the right, one on the left, back and forth until you’ve done three each, and then do the central channel. I find that is less effective in the simple form if your system isn’t clean yet, you’re pushing some of that energy gunk back and forth, rather than slowly pushing it out of the system. If your system is in good shape though and you don’t have much to push through, then it’s fine. I find it’s less effective in general with the more complicated forms, probably because you’re doing more complex visualizations and energy work, and switching energy types and visuals back and forth is less productive than the repetition.

Since this is something I’ll have to revisit soon to explain more, ask questions and I’ll try to incorporate them into the following posts.


Black Mountain of Fire

2015/08/11

There are a variety of simple methods of establishing authority and focus within a place before a magickal working. Some traditions call it Centring, though to others that’s more of an energy work technique unrelated. It’s often a preliminary before banishing or creating space, but they can also be used to do both of those, when the practitioner is competent enough in them. The Qabalistic Cross is a great example of such a technique. (There is more to it than just that though)

It’s an alignment or realignment with the source of your authority, a recollection of your force, and a gathering of power

I wanted to share a method that was given to me by a spirit I work with. I’ve found it has a similarity to a Buddhist practice I’ve found in one ritual thus far (though it may be in more). When I need to establish a sense of stability and confidence within a practice, I will often do this, or a variation of it before hand. I find it is also great for giving my energy body a quick jolt, the energetic equivalent of a warm-up sprint.

It is a series of visualizations tied to breathing. While I mention the in breath and out breath they don’t have to be consecutive, if you need more time to do a visualization or part of the energy work, take it, but make sure when you resume to pick up the breathing pattern at the next step.

Stand or sit in a stable position, take a deep breath in. As you breathe out see yourself as a giant black mountain, a flat dull black like coal. It should be a large visualization, a mountain, but at very least cover the space you’ll be working in. As you take another deep breath in feel yourself as solid as possible, the core of this massive dark mountain, and as you breathe out feel the weight of the mountain pressing down on the Earth. You’re not just resting on the surface of the planet; your mass is pushing down into the planet.

Your in breath is used to stabilize this image, and with your out breath project your mind down into the core of the planet. Feel your awareness shoot down into the centre of the planet until it reaches the core. While the core contains molten rock and metals, you’re looking for an energy that has the sensation of fiery iron. That is actually what you’re trying to connect to, burning molten iron, red iron fire. Try to sense and locate the energy, but if you can’t project out the request, there is something down there that helps, ask for the Iron Fire.

Once you’ve connected to the Iron Fire energy take a fast deep breath in and draw that energy up through the earth, through your central energy column, the centre of the black mountain, and out through the crown of you head and out through the tip of the mountain. It erupts as light from the top of the mountain, the Iron Fire component of the energy being absorbed and transformed within you. The flow and radiance continues regardless of breath, the movement continues from the core of the planet through you into space.

(I’ve found after some time, that the light is actually connecting to a Star above me. Not a real physical star -I assume- but a symbolic star, either a representation of Celestial energy, or perhaps a higher aspect of myself. This star, or the awareness of it, is not required for this technique to function, I mention it as an observation that grew over time.)

As this energy flows up through your mountain body it begins to radiate outward from the centre, as it moves out it transforms the black material into a clear crystal. Eventually you’re left as a large crystal mountain, perfectly clear radiating a beam of light from below out through the top, and radiating a halo of light out through the crystal body. You transform your body from the coal black, to a clear crystal blazing with light.

(From here, if you so desire, you can continue to radiate out in an attempt to clear out the space, though it might take some work to become proficient at that. I find it is more efficient to clear the space normally after the next step, but it can be part of this is you so desire.)

Draw the light back in, up from the core, down from the heavens, in from the world around you, and see the mountain dissolve into your self, your body becoming the radiant crystal.


Examining Orgonite

2015/08/03

Recently I was gifted with several pieces of orgonite from a friend of mine. I’ve been curious about orgonite and the assorted orgone tech for a while, but my experiences have been very slim with them.

To back track, if you’re wondering what orgone is, it is a term coined by Wilhelm Reich to more or less refer to a universal form of life energy. Reich was an early psychologist and student of Freud’s and he worked various ideas about energy and energy bodies into his models of psychology. His take on this universal life energy was more mechanistic than what most sorcererous folks are used to, it isn’t about will and belief, but a natural interplay of form and matter. He viewed it more in lines with electricity (in terms of how it operates) than some subtle energy controlled by people.

This led him and those following his ideas to theorize and create mechanical devices meant to manipulate orgone. He felt that organic material attracted orgone, while inorganic material repelled it, and by combining these materials in certain ways you could alter the flow of orgone. There are devices to shoot beams of focused orgone, or to reprogram it, and a variety of things. The simplest is a shooter, which is a hollow tube surrounded by alternating layers of organic and inorganic materials. Polyphanes has done some work with that side of the tech, which you can see here. He theorized that the attraction/repulsion worked somewhat like a maglev or rail gun, drawing in, repelling, attracting, repelling down the line.

Orgonite is one of the later pieces of orgone tech to enter the stage being invented by a couple in 2000. Their idea is that you don’t need the strict layers of organic/inorganic materials, but more a roughly 50/50 balance. Orgonite, rather than being ordered layers is a collection of mostly inorganic material suspended in an organic resin. Orgone is believed to have two main types, positive orgone (usually just called orgone) and dead/ly orgone. From an energy model you could see it as clear energy, and polluted energy. Deadly orgone is supposedly created by lots of things, but most commonly cited are things that disrupt orgone/energy as they understand it, so powerlines, power plants, radio towers, and the like.

Anyways orgonite supposedly gathers in the deadly orgone and transforms it back into positive orgone and releases it. Now since the 2000 creation of orgonite some people have expanded this idea. So rather than just making generic positive orgone, they would make specific frequencies of positive orgone, based upon what went into the orgonite. This is where it sounds like it crosses a bit back into the magickal realm. By using different metals and crystals as the inorganic compound in orgonite the energy released would be tuned to certain things. It might be more of a healing energy, a faster clearing energy, more resonant with the throat chakra, whatever.

So now I have three pieces of orgonite from my friend. Sadly this is a small sample size, but I’ll talk about what I noticed. First off I’ll admit outside of Reich’s armor theories, I don’t give him much credence, yeah, I believe in invisible life energies whirling around us, but his model of such doesn’t totally work for me. Then even looking into the orgon-tech the orgonite doesn’t seem to fit that theory. Reich’s orgone accumulating box was layers of material, shooters are layers of material, everything was about the alternating flow of organic/inorganic. Orgonite has both materials, but they are more haphazardly aligned, there isn’t layers, you have inorganic stuff floating loose in organic medium. It’s seems like mixing all the dough and filling ingredients for a pie in a bowl, rather than making dough, filling, and constructing a pie.

None the less, not buying his theories, and feeling orgonite doesn’t even match those, there is definitely something to the orgonite. I pick it up, and I can feel a buzzing coming from it. Even one of my woogity-accepting but not really perceptive friend was surprised at what he could feel from them.

IMG_20150804_204348The Dragon one has a sense of elevation, to use a standard model, it’s almost as if it is releasing energy that is more attuned to an astral level than a physical one. In fact while holding it it becomes easier to shift my awareness up out of the physical. When it’s “resting” is has a similar sense, but undirected. We all know places where the boundaries might be a touch thin, it feels like that, not majorly, but enough that if you knew what you were looking for, and how to use it, you’d see it.

IMG_20150804_204320The Triskelion feels the most like I’d expect orgonite to feel like. I can’t get a clear bead on if it is programmed a certain way, but what does come out of it seems like it’s been cleaned and stripped down, and is ready to go. I get the sense that it would be good to work with sensitive energy blockages. Sometimes you can tell a blockage is holding the channel open, and if you remove it it would collapse, or it’s holding back too much energy to safely release at once. I could see using this on the person to slowly over an hour or so breakdown and hopefully purify some of the blockage, but it would do it in a way a lot slower and gentler than a person could. Or more accurately, would. I would not want to spend hours slowly removing a blockage from someone, but having them hold/tie the orgonite to the area for that time, that’s not an issue.

IMG_20150804_204402Lastly is the Heart piece. This is my least favourite, and it’s not cause it’s a heart. There is something to this that by body disagrees with, everytime I keep it with me, I feel sick after a while, and I don’t mean a little off, I mean verging on violently ill. I get the sense it’s trying to cleanse me, but the trouble is I’m not the model it’s appropriate for. It’s a cleaner designed for PVC pipes, and I’m lead. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just my body and energy don’t work in a way that is compatible with it. That’s not uncommon for me, there are several energy systems that my body does not like, even after working with Reiki for a decade, when I get Reiki offered to me it bothers my system. Despite not working well for me, I’m really glad I was sent this piece, because it was the first one to give me a clear reaction, it really makes me realize something is going on.

Something very odd I noticed about all of them though, is that I can’t meditate when in contact with them. I’ve taken each of them to temple with me, a few times, and decided as a way of passively exploring what they do, I’d meditate with them, and see what happens. Every time I’m meditating with them touching me, I can’t meditate for the life of me, it is as if my monkey mind was given a PCP-laced banana. I was almost completely unable to bring my attention where it should, and it would run off faster, more violently, and farther than it does under any other circumstance. I have no idea and no good theories on why, it is just an observation.

My last observation, is that I suspect orgonite doesn’t work, at least not as the theory posits it. I’ve tried following the way the energy moves in them, what happens, I’ve tried looking at the whole, and at parts, and from a mechanical perspective I can’t see how or why it works. If I step out of the orgone model though, it seems rather simple: orgonite is a talisman. I know a lot of orgone-followers prefer to look at their stuff as more scientific/mechanical than magick, but it’s a blurry line at times. Here is the thing though, orgonite contains a quartz crystal to direct the energy, then is surrounded by other stones and metals which change the energy “frequency.” This is not dissimilar from any for more crystal/metal magick, save the suspension in organic resin. Most of our traditions have us use this metal because it does this, this crystal cause it connects to that, and I think the orgonite is doing the same. When the orgonite is completed, it’s charged, in this case my friend’s husband gives it some reiki to get it going. Also when my friend makes them she is guided by her intuition on what metals and stones to use, and my cursory reading on the subject shows that’s fairly common. Also this sounds like it is more or less making a basic talisman.

So as much as I respect my friend, I feel I have to disagree with her premise in believing in orgonite. I feel she’s actually making a magickal talisman. It’s not so much about the ratios of the materials and the way they interact, but more about their sympathies, and how she connects them, and gets them going. I suspect that orgonite would function just as well if it used an inorganic medium instead of organic, but that’s just a practical ingredient, the nuts and bolts are the metals, gems, and energy involved in their creation.

Now, again I’ll say, there is definitely something too the pieces. They work, they have a noticeable charge, they’re doing things. I just disagree on the mechanics on /how/ they work. That being said I think the idea of using the orgonite method would be fascinating to tap in terms of talisman creation. I could suspend crystals, metals, and herbs in specific simple patterns and seal them in resin to later consecrate. It’s definitely something I’ll be thinking more about.

I can’t say for sure, and will experiment more, but that’s my current standing on orgonite.


Lack of Perception

2015/06/28

I can’t sense anything right now. I close my eyes and open my mind and there is nothing. Not the exquisite silence of heavens, or the empty hum of reality, but nothing, a lack.

I run my exercises, focusing energy in my hands and running it down my arms and across my chest. I draw in from my arms to my belly. Through all of this I feel nothing. I feel the results, a growing pressure and warmth in my belly, but not the energy itself.

I gaze at the candle obscured in the smoke, and I don’t know if anyone is there, but my life shifts, so I know Behrat is listening.

This happens to me from time to time, I don’t know if there is a reason, I don’t know if the reason is personal or situation. For some reason from time to time, a week or few every other year or so my perceptions just vanish. It’s very disconcerting. While I might not be the most psychically sensitive person in the world, I still tend to live in a world populated by spirits whom I get impressions of, I navigate a world filled with currents and eddies of energy that I feel as I move through them, but right now, it’s as if that sense is shut off.

I still get results within reason when I work magick like this. As I tell my students just because you don’t perceive a spirit doesn’t mean it isn’t there, so continue your work. None the less I know how awkward it can feel to not be sure if you’re just yattering at the darkness or if the spirit you seek is hiding beyond vision.

On the other hand I know too many people place too much emphasis on the whizzbangs of magick. They’re so into sensing thoughts, spirits, and auras, that they never apply themselves to making changes, or direct more energy to honing perceptions than they do to living a good life.

It’s hard, and I want the other half of my world back, but I take times like this to remember that seeing spirits doesn’t make me a sorcerer. Sensing the blue fire I call from my hearts and run through my body doesn’t make me a sorcerer. Knowing how or why someone is damaged just by being in their field doesn’t make me a sorcerer. Knowing what I want in the world, moving towards it, effecting change through magick, moving forwards and enjoying my life as I take each step on a journey taking me deeper and farther within and without, that’s what makes me a sorcerer.

I’m writing this not because I feel the need to share for its own sake, not because I want someone to tell me how to bring my senses back (but suggestions and theories are not unwelcome), I share this for two reasons.

As mentioned too many people focus on the shiny lights in their magick, not on the planning and execution and getting results. I want to remind them that’s not the point of magick, and I want to encourage those who have never lived in the threshold worlds with spirits and flows of energy just beneath the surface, you can do magick too, even if you can’t sense it. Sensing doesn’t make it work. I know a handful of competent sorcerers who need to be hit with an energetic transport truck before they sense anything, but they still work.

Secondly, this isn’t something I see talked about too much, and when it first happened to me in my late teens I didn’t know what to do. Had I lost my gifts? Did someone Bind me? Maybe I was delusional and finally coming to my senses. If I had the reassurance then that this happens, it would have been easier the first few times. So to anyone out there, who it seems like half of the world just went silent, or goes silent from time to time, don’t worry. I can’t say why it happens, in general or in any specific case, but it doesn’t mean it’s permanent. Take a break, or keep working, it’s up to you, but chances are it will come back. Let the silence remind you next time you complain about being too empathic or whatever. If you want it back, you can eventually work towards it, or it will happen on its own.

This too shall pass, and I await the world to bloom around me anew, but I know not to worry and through all this, I’m still a sorcerer.


Review: Hands of Light, by Barbara Ann Brennan

2014/07/31

handsolightHands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field – Barbara Ann Brenna
Bantam, 1988, 294pp., 0553345397

This is a rereading review. Hands of Light was probably one of my first energy work books I read way back, I was possibly still in high school then, which is scarily more than a decade away… For various reasons I’ve felt the need to go back and recover some old stuff, and this book was high on my list.

Hands of Light is probably one of the best books I’ve read on the energy body and energy healing, it definitely has its flaws, but overall it’s a great book.

Let’s look at the flaws first. First and foremost this book is very newage in its delivery, the author’s language jumps from culture to culture with little-to-no understanding of the basics, but using them as buzzwords. (The highest levels of your chakras exist in the Ketheric template, for instance) The book deals with channelling, spirit guides, white light, universe as happy-love, and things like that. The material is great, and even when she’s framing it as newage as possible there is a lot of good stuff in the book, you just have to be willing to filter out some of that language. The second problem is this text is very prescriptive. Red means this. A bulge here means that. Cancer will look like this. If you don’t know me, I have issues with prescriptive texts like that, people can and do perceive (not even see) things radically differently, and our energetic bodies, like our physical ones, are too complex to say X=Y with certainty, but it might be a good indicator. Must like the newage language, if you’re willing to reframe her descriptions as personal and a bit nebulous you’ll get more from it. Originally I thought she was more of an authority, so I tried diagnosing and evaluating people by her colours and symbols, sometimes they were right, sometimes they were wrong. Perceptions don’t map 100% across people. (Normally I wouldn’t comment about that in a book, but as I went through that way back I thought I’d bring it up.) I assume that is in part due to Brennan’s background, she has an M.S> in Atmospheric Physics and worked as a research scientist with NASA (these claims pan out), which may not be the most conducive to accepting a more flexible subtle reality.

So what are the good things about this book? It is detailed. It’s nearly three hundred pages (which are 8.5X11) so there is a lot in here. It covers the aura, how it interacts with the “Universal Energy Field,” therapy and energy healing, physical manifestations of psychological-energetic imbalances, the chakras, major chakra patterns, how they operate and interact, past life damage and healing, layers of reality and the way templates affect the bodies, various methods of perception, how to heal and a lot more. Brennan covers the basics all books on the subject hit, but does so more in depth, and covers a lot more.

The book also has a lot of exercises, and case studies for you to work with, these really help people who want to learn, and they’re practical and effective. The perspective and depth of Brennan’s work is what sets it apart. Even after all this time it’s the only book I’ve read that really handles the idea of multiple layers of the energy body in a way that’s rational and informative. Usually it’s glossed over or not mentioned, but her model is the one closest to my own, as well as the models used by several groups I’ve worked with.

With everything she covers this book really is probably the best resource or place to start, if you’re willing to be a bit more flexible, and divorce the newage language. I honestly think if you work through this book, follow the instructions, then you’ll have an amazing foundation for energetic healing.

While it is white light newage, no doubt, if you’re looking for a book on the energy body, and how to work with and heal it then this book is a great starting point and resource.


Review: Eastern Body, Western Mind – Anodea Judith

2013/02/14

eastern bodyEastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self – Anodea Judith
Celestial Arts. 1996. 502pp. 9780890878156.

I’ll confess, I’ve had this book for years now but could never bring myself around to reading it. I suspected it would be horrible and newagey. Currently though a friend of mine attends Naropa University, and apparently it’s used in one of eir psychology courses, so I decided to give it a chance.

The basic premise of the book is to relate the chakra system to Western psychology. Anodea Judith doesn’t really focus on one school of thought, shifting from Jung to Reich to Freud and others, but her main focus is on developmental theory. Each chakra is given an entire chapter, which is then broken down with basic explanations of what the chakra does on a physical, energetic, and mental level, as well as looking at the period of life it represents what traumas may be present, what these traumas do to the person on all levels, how the chakras react, and of course what can be done to help fix this. She does what I have to consider a very thorough and good job of exploring the chakras and linking them to the psychological model.

Her explanations are well constructed and seem consistent in themselves and with my experience. What impressed me though was how realistic she was. She give examples of people who had been through the traumas, how it affected them, what it did to their body, mind, and energy, and she talked about what advice she gave them to help deal with these issues. Nowhere does she proclaim how amazing she is for having cured these people, in fact she next mentions them being “fixed”. A lot of books that deal with energetic diagnosis and healing read more like bragging rights “I could tell by the way he held his hands he had cancer and abandonment issues, so we sang Kumbaya and he was healed.” Not only are these examples unrealistic, but they’re not helpful, and probably damaging. But Judith never went there, she acknowledges that even when handling a trauma on all levels at once you still have a lot of work to do, it will take a lot of time and effort, and may never be truly fixed, only better. To me it was great to see a more realistic approach and an acknowledgement of the limitation of the techniques.

Now trauma can be a strong word, so I should clarify this isn’t just a book about dealing with the energy system of people who have been abused (for an example of trauma), but traumas include various disruptive events that all of us have experienced some of. Premature birth, physical injury, emotionally dominating or absent parents, continual criticism, and a lot more, I can guarantee that everyone has had some of the traumas listed, and could see themselves somewhere in the descriptions. She makes a few factual mistakes, attributing “Tat Tvam Asi” to Buddhism, or saying the mantras are only supposed to be silent, but she also has a good understanding of many other aspects, in fact this work is the first time I saw a model of the criss-crossing Ida and Pingala that actually made sense. The information and interpretation is of great use if you’re just looking to understand yourself, your partner, your parents, or anyone, and it’s even better if you’re looking to navigate or improve these issues. I’m glad I got over my concerns about the book and actually gave it a read, it was worth it.


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