The Magickal Journal
One of the main stays of magickal work and studies is keeping a journal. This offers opportunity to look back at early steps and progress made, pulls to the surface areas that may need more practice and is a great tool for committing to writing those moments of inner reflection and the change, event, images and feelings that presented.
I had always been rather resistant to the thought of journaling, particularly the idea of having to take “precious” time away from the actual practice and experience of doing the work. It took some time before I realized that this simple, yet powerfully effective tool, would be my most informative resource for what was actually affecting change in myself at all levels of being- physical- mental-emotional- spiritual. So, I started out slowly. I only recorded the highlights of whatever endeavor I was engaged in. These were as simple as some new idea I had come across or a different energetic exercise I had tried.
After a few months of beginning in this manner, I soon became hooked and couldn’t wait to write down everything I tried, read or experienced. The additional incentive came by way of being able to look back after several months and actually see a thread of pattern to the magickal process I was undertaking. To see the progress made when I had started a new practice and how that practice had either been used as a stepping stone towards something more fulfilling or had become a routine and seamless core of my magickal work.
I now have several journals, all being kept concurrently and each relating to a specific area of my magickal work. One for astrology, one for qabala, one for my esoteric writings, one for ritual writing, etc.. It may seem like overkill, but keeping a specific journal for each gives me a way of organizing and keeping relevant material together, especially when I use that material at a later date.
An added bonus to developing the discipline of journaling came as he foundations for my being able to write and find my voice in that writing evolved from those journals. And, although I use technology as the main tool for the writing I do, there is some material that I commit to pen and paper first as they require the tactile energetic. These I keep in a special journal and use the writings as needed for blogs, workshops, books and teaching.
Some tips for getting started:
- Select a journal that you absolutely love. It can be something as simple as a small spiral bound notebook or as elaborate as a finely crafted writing journal.
- Personalize it in some way. This serves a two-fold purpose. First, it ensures that you will be using something that you enjoy using. And, secondly, when you engage a component that requires kinesthetic (the actual hands on of gluing, pasting, drawing, etc..) and thinking ( selection of what will be your stamp of personalization) you have created an important energetic link to the object.
Digital Image by: Luke Bailey
Adding to the Image Bank
Visualization is a key component to successful magickal work. Everyone has the ability to conjure up an image of something they are familiar with on their inner screen. This process of familiarity is drawn from the storehouses of memory and all of the images we continually are exposed to as we move through our daily activities. The image of what we wish to manifest or draw to ourselves becomes the goal to which will and desire are catalyzed into action.
This skill is one that can be further enhanced by the simple act of consciously observing your surroundings. Each image of observation is recorded and stored for future use. Additionally, the other sensorial experience we attach to this image embed it in a way that smell, sound or touch is the only trigger needed to recall the image to mind. For me, the smell of baby powder pulls up the image of freshly bathed babies and the wonderful sensation of holding my precious infants close to heart.
Observing Your World:
Select an activity that you regularly and routinely do such as walking or driving (safety first, please) to work or school, a class you attend, your favorite coffee shop, etc. For at least one full week each day make a note of one thing new that you observe that you never noticed before. It can be something as trivial as noting how long a light takes to change or something more covert such as the first bud of a flower or plant. Each day try to “see” something new. Becoming more aware of the little details that cross your path each day, you become more aware of the inherent interconnectedness of all things. You will also more clearly see what effect you may have on that minor detail, or how it may effect you in ways you were unaware of previously. Be sure to record your experiences in your journal.
Breath work is a staple of magickal practice. Control of the breath and knowing when and how to use the levels of energetic dynamic that can be achieved by breath begins with the basics of learning how to breathe correctly. Energy follows awareness and is move along its current of flow by breath.
The Four-Fold Breath Technique
The Four-Fold breath practice is one from Eastern practice that is used to clear the mind, act as a point of focus and move you into the automatic response of relaxed and even space of inhalation and exhalation with pause of hold in between. It also develops awareness and control of the breathing process, which is the foundation of energy work. This technique also provides greater relaxation and deeper breathing, using fuller capacity of the lungs. This is an excellent way to begin a meditative session or use as way to relax into and open to the journaling process.
Begin by sitting in a quiet, comfortable setting.
Focus your attention on the rhythm of your breath. As you begin to feel your body relax focus your attention more fully on your breathing.
Take a full deep breath- inhaling for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Hold this breath for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Exhale for a moderate count of 1-2-3-4
Hold at the completion of exhalation for 1-2-3-4
You may continue to breathe in this manner for several sets of the four. Eventually, your breath will establish its own rhythm and attention to counts will not be necessary.
Tips: Try to maintain an even steady rhythm of in-flow and out-flow. This allows greater ease of holding at the fullest point of expansion and holding again once the breath has been expelled.
Do not be surprised if the first few attempts bring inability to hold at the peak and base of release and intake for the full 4 counts. Depending on the state of relaxation and possibly any additional pre-existing respiratory conditions, you may fond this difficult at first.
Usually, after several times of practice and with each practice any rhythm, flow or relaxation issues decrease and then generally fade. Remember, for some this may be a new type of physicality and awareness of breathing that is normally left on “auto-pilot” as we go through our day.
If you have been following the exercises offered as Foundations of Practice, you are off to a great start in the process of internalizing the information contained in Lesson One. These were meant to shift your awareness into that of being a conscious participant in your daily routine and to prime the engine, if you will for the work that follows.