PREPARATIONS FOR MAGICK:
YOURSELF, THE WATER AND THE INCENSE
By Brian Goldstein
(Frater Achad AL)
Copyright © 2006 e.v.
Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Assuming your Body of Light is the first act of any magickal operation. This is done simply as a matter of focus. Although this may be difficult at first, it gets easier over time and can happen in the “twinkle of an eye” once you are experienced in these matters. Try not to get overly anxious for results, just keep working at it. Along the Way, you may find that you learn a great deal.
The preparations for magickal operations aid the process of assuming your Body of Light, and serve as “boosters” to your Magick.
This paper provides suggestions as to how you might prepare yourself and your water and incense for magickal operations. It is intended only as information, for use, if you Will, in developing your own practices with respect to these matters. The formula suggested, however, can be applied in just about any type of magickal operation involving purification and consecration.
Getting into Your Body of Light
Your physical body is surrounded by, and exists within, your Body of Light. Consider your physical body as an extension of your Body of Light. In Magick, your job, at least initially, is to attune your consciousness to your Body of Light, so it becomes more usable to you in the Great Work.
In the practice of Magick, we come to learn of, and know, different aspects of the Universal Consciousness, personified as “Gods”, through direct experience in the Body of Light. Your physical body is here in Malkuth, and remains so. However, with training, your Body of Light can travel to other Planes and Spheres.
For example, you probably have already read that the “traditional” Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (which uses the “Four Winds” formula of organizing the Elements in your Sphere) is performed on the cross-sections of the Paths of Samekh and Peh on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Because the Planes or Worlds overlap and coexist, your physical body remains here while your Body of Light (and consciousness) goes there.
For those beginning their journey on the Royal Path of Initiation, it is recommended that you begin working with, and gaining experience in, your Body of Light right away. At first, it is recommended that you not try to project your Body of Light to some place else. Rather, simply be aware of its coexistence with your physical body during magickal acts, including preparations and your rites. It will become clearer, more luminous and easier to project, over time.
A great deal of magickal literature focuses on the initial purifications of the Magician’s personality. These purifications are intended to elevate the Magician’s consciousness from the physical to more subtle Planes, and into the operator’s Body of Light. The initial purifications separate the “dross of the World” from the more subtle.
Purificatory baths or washings are recommended by many systems. These are extreme and helpful acts, but not always convenient every time you want to perform magickal work. If you don’t have time for a bath, simply wash-up and make yourself clean. Then, we suggest that you face east, and take a cool drink of water. As you feel the water enter your body, feel it emanate out and draw in energy, all at the same time, which magickally “cleans” every part of you from within and without, to the ends of your hair, to the tips of your toes and nails. Feel the water “wash” over you and illumine your Body of Light, knowing that is coexists with your physical body.
From this point, simply take note of your Body of Light existing in harmony with your physical body. It may help to picture your Body of Light as misty white ball (resembling a soup bubble) which envelopes the form of your body. As you move your physical body, note that you also influence the movement of your Body of Light. Although you will learn how to separate them over time and change the form of your Body of Light (all of which will happen quite naturally as you develop), it again helps to focus on the physical body and the Body of Light being together when initially learning these practices.
Wearing holy garments and vestitures, like a robe and talismans or other things, further reaffirms the fixing of the concentration on the magickal work and purifies you of unwanted thoughts.
Now, assume you are in your Body of Light. At first, a little imagination is required. However, you may find that there is a response to these types of suggestions planted by the imagination, which will lead to direct experiences in your Body of Light. You might even affirm to yourself at this stage that you ARE in your Body of Light.
When you have placed yourself in this magickal state, your goal is to perform your magickal work in your Body of Light. To do this, you touch with the hands of your Body of Light, smell with the nose of your Body of Light, taste with the mouth of your Body of Light, see through the eyes of your Body of Light and hear with the ears of your Body of Light. By practicing this, you will develop the senses of your Body of Light. This is necessary so you can come to know the energies and forces which are available to work with in our rites. These energies or currents are directly perceptible by the Body of Light.
A word of caution - try not to get distracted. Magicians tend to practice magick in places where they cannot be disturbed so they do not get distracted. It is particularly awkward (and even disappointing) if you are on the Astral Plane conversing with a spirit who is offering information to assist you in the Great Work and you unexpectedly leave because the phone rings (especially when it is someone you don’t want to talk with anyway) or an alarm clock goes off, or whatever the reason. If you do get distracted, simply bring your attention back to your Body of Light and return to your work without any self-criticism (but learn from the experience).
We should also mention the Sphere (more precisely known as the Sphere of Sensation), which is referred to here and in other documents of the Order. Your Body of Light is actually this Sphere. As suggested above, your physical body exists within this Sphere. Your “aura” is the Light which shines in your Sphere. It may be different colors depending upon the nature of your magickal work at the time. When you cast a Magick Circle, you extend and organize your Sphere. When you purify and consecrate your Magick Circle, you are purifying and consecrating your Sphere, which is why this work is so fundamental and important. The purification and consecration process “cleans” your Sphere and places it into action for magickal work.
Having described the Body of Light, we now turn to its use. As with any magickal work, you must try to feel what you intend to do through your Body of Light. This is not always articulated clearly in magickal literature, but this is the thrust of the nature of the work. For example, if you are tracing and charging a Pentagram, you need to feel the current flow through your arm as you trace and charge the Pentagram, which means you start the flow of the current by suggestion and end the flow of the current at the appropriate time.
In a relatively short period of time, you will likely find that there are natural “responses” to your suggestions. As you gain experience with these responses and try to figure out what works best to get the intended response, your knowledge in the particular area will grow. This is why magick is “practiced”, like the business of law or medicine is practiced. You learn by regularly doing and experimenting (trying different things). This is something which is commonly stressed to new aspirants who expect immediate results (which sometimes happen, but not always). In all due course, your Pentagrams will become clearer, your invocation of the Archangels will take on more detail and become clearer, your consciousness will transfer to your Body of Light and the details of other magickal formula will “unfold”, all simply by performing the work in a sincere way and persevering in the work. Express your Will, keep an open mind and learn from the responses (i.e., what follows from the work).
The following are suggestions for preparation of the water and the incense for use in Magick. As indicated above, these are only suggestions. The formula suggested can, however, be adapted for use in purifying and consecrating anything to the Great Work.
The Holy Water
We begin with the water itself, which can be tap water and should be in a cup or chalice.
Move to the “Foot of the Altar” (in the west facing east). Place your cup or chalice of water on the Altar. Depending upon your preference, hold your active hand or Wand over the top, or point the tip of the Dagger straight down into the water, and say:
“I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water, may all spirits and uncleanliness of the world of phantasm depart, may only love and joy enter therein, wherefore I do bless thee, consecrate thee and charge thee to aid me in the Great Work as Holy Water in the most beneficial, powerful and correct way, consistent with the nature and powers of Water in the Most High, so mote it be!!!”
Note that this magickal act involves an “exorcism” or cleaning of the water, followed by a charging or consecration. Be clear when speaking. While performing the act in your Body of Light, you should feel the energy pushing out any impurities from the water, while at the same time charging the water in a way which is consistent with its nature. Keep in mind that the water which we use to purify with in our rites is of a substance more subtle than the physical water, which is a symbol of the magickal water used.
The next step is preparation of the salt. This can be sea salt, or many magicians use kosher salt. However, regular table salt will suffice. This may be placed in a small bowl or even some sprinkled into the palm of your passive hand. Very little is needed. Hold the bowl or salt in the palm of your passive hand, and hold your active hand or Wand over the top, and feel the flow of the current begin as you say:
“Blessings be upon this creature of salt, may all malignity and hindrance be cast out therefrom, may only love and joy enter therein, wherefore, I do bless thee that thou may aid me in my Great Work. So mote it be!!!”
Salt is magickally known for its natural cleansing properties. It also is a symbol of the Element of Earth.
Combine the water and salt, stir it, and your Holy Water is ready for use. When combined with the water, the natural properties and energies of the salt are released, and the resulting Holy Water is symbolic of the passive Elements of Water and Earth.
The following is another, different formula for preparing your Holy Water. Under this alternative formula, you also will need some ash from some incense you previously burned in a magickal rite (which, itself, is highly charged). The entire operation can be performed at the Foot of the Altar (in the west facing east).
Begin by exorcising the water itself as described above (“I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water …”), but proceeding with the salt as described below.
Extend your active hand, palm downwards, or Wand over the salt and say:
“May wisdom abide in this salt; may it preserve my mind, body and soul from all corruption; may all spirits of the world of phantasm depart from it so that it may become heavenly salt; may it feed the thrashing Ox and strengthen my hopes with the Horns of the Winged Bull. So mote it be!!!”
Next, extend your active hand, palm downwards, or Wand over the ash and say:
“May this ash return to the form of Living Water, may it become fertile Earth, may it bring forth the Tree of Life.”
Finally, add the salt and ash to the water as follows while you say:
“The salt of eternal wisdom, in the water of preparation [add the salt], with the ash whence the new earth springeth [add the ash], [stir the concoction] be all things accomplished unto the Age of Ages. So mote it be!!!”
Your Holy Water is now ready for use under this alternative formula.
As to regularity of preparation, this is a matter of personal choice. You may prepare the Holy Water before each rite, or on an “as need” basis using a batch previously prepared, for instance, on the New Moon (or shortly thereafter) and preparing another batch (usually at least once each Lunar Cycle) when this runs low or out. However, before using your Holy Water, whether freshly prepared or a previously prepared batch, we suggest that you breathe on it. This breathes Life into the Holy Water, and renews it. As you breathe on it, feel the current flow from you and swirl into the Holy Water, filling it with the Love of our Lady of the Stars. This is best done immediately before the Holy Water is used.
The Holy Incense
So much can be said about the Holy Incense. The Holy Water is used to purify. The Holy Incense (which is symbolic of the Holy Fire) is used to consecrate. Note also that the incense emits a smell while it burns. Thus, the use of the Holy Incense is symbolic of the active Elements of Fire and Air.
The selection and preparation of the incense can greatly assist in fine tuning your mind to the work at hand. For any working involving the invocation of your Holy Guardian Angel, incense of the Abramelin is appropriate. Because the aspiration of your Holy Guardian Angel is the primary goal of the work in the First Order of the T.·.G.·.D.·., it may be appropriate to have some Abramelin incense available at all times and burn, even a little, in every working, whether as part of the initial consecrations or as an offering to your Angel at the end (or after completion) of your working.
Incense of Abramelin is also appropriate for general workings. The smoke from this incense naturally consecrates your Temple to the Great Work. However, it is not the only incense to use on every occasion.
We refer you to the Order’s paper on “Notes on the Greater Ritual of the Hexagram” for suggestions of different incense to use for Planetary workings (which would include incense appropriate to each Day of the Week based on Planetary attributions). These are just some suggestions, for your information. See the book 777, column XLII for other correspondences. Based on your own practical research, we encourage you to develop your own list of correspondences and preferences. We also encourage you to use your own ingenium in creating blends of incense, based on the various correspondences or aspects of your work at the time. This can be a fun, and seems to add to the work.
In preparing your incense, also consider the incense as an offering to the forces you are working with at the time. Accordingly, the scents should be as beautiful as possible, and properly corresponding to the nature of the forces invoked.
The Holy Incense can be prepared for use in formal rites, where purifications and consecrations are performed after casting the Magick Circle (whether by a Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or some other formula). Alternatively, the Holy Incense may be prepared for immediate burning (outside of any formal rites) as you go about your business with whatever you are doing (mundane or otherwise). In either case, the incense may be “charged” in a way that directly relates to an aspect of your magickal work at the time. This requires you to formulate and project your Will in a very specific way, contemplating your task at hand.
By way of analogy, consider your magickal work to be akin to planting a garden. You first must figure out what seeds you want to plant. The seeds determine the fruit. You also must identify the proper time to plant your seeds, so they can begin to grow in a healthy, balanced way consistent with your intent. After planting, you must care for and nurture the seeds (by continually revisiting them) until the seeds bear fruit, harvesting (and using) what ripens along the way. Finally, you must complete the work by harvesting the garden, gathering the fruit of your labor, and preparing for the next garden.
The Lunar Cycles and Solar “tides” are natural periods for magickal gardening. Each Lunar Cycle lasts only a little more than 28 days. A Lunar Cycle begins with a New Moon (which, by definition, is in the Zodiacal Sign in which Sol is in at the time) and involves the Moon moving through the entire Zodiac (staying in each Zodiacal Sign a little over two days) until the next New Moon in the following Zodiacal Sign (where Sol will then be in at the time).
The Solar “tides” are periods during a Zodiacal year, marked when Sol enters Aries (the Vernal Equinox), Cancer (the Summer Solstice), Libra (the Autumnal Equinox) and Capricorn (the Winter Solstice). Hence, Lunar Cycles and Solar “tides” relate to the subject luminary (the Moon or the Sun) moving through the Zodiac. An understanding of these astrological matters will greatly assist your work.
To use a Lunar Cycle for creative work, you would plant new seeds by projecting your Will (either in the Sign of Horus in your rites or by charging your incense as described below) on or shortly after the New Moon. (See an ephemeris in this regard to make sure the Moon has actually begun to Wax when you plant your seeds.) Thereafter, during the Waxing Moon, you would nurture the seeds with the energies you raise in your rites and by further projecting your Will (either in your rites or by charging more incense), so the seeds grow magickally and spiritually to their utmost, maximum, beneficial and correct potential. On the Waxing to Full Moon, give thanks as the garden begins to bear fruit, ask for any errors to be corrected and do your best to supplement the work commenced during the beginning of the Lunar Cycle so the seeds are fully nourished with the necessary energies. During the Waning Moon, clean or sweep the way for further growth of your seeds by stating in your projections that any obstacles or impediments to your high and noble work shall be overcome and, to the extent necessary, banished, harming no one on the way. During the Dark of the Moon (which is the three day period before a New Moon), gather the fruit of your work (completing it), meditate on what you have learned, try to see how it all fits together with (or modifies) what you previously learned, and see how the work naturally leads you to the work of the next Lunar Cycle. There should be a consistent flow to the work.
The Solar “tides” involve longer periods of time than Lunar Cycles, and can be used to further your work during a Lunar Cycle or work requiring longer periods. It helps to consider the astrological aspects of the Solar “tides”, and integrate these into your work.
After you select the particular scent(s) to be used, having considered the work to be performed and the astrological aspects, the work is simply to bless and consecrate the incense to make it “Holy Incense”. If you are using granular incense (which is particularly good for ritual, but not the best for burning about the house during ordinary affairs), place the desired amount in a small bowl. Hold the small bowl in your passive hand and your active hand or Wand over the small bowl. If you are using stick incense, hold the incense stick with both hands or in your active hand. Face east. Assume your Body of Light. Now, let your Higher Genius express itself as to the blessing and consecration of the incense. As you begin to speak, feel the current begin to flow into the incense. You might say something like this (but use your own words as you Will):
“Hallow be thy incense that we offer here today; may all spirits of the world of phantasm depart; may only Love and Light enter therein; wherefore, I do bless thee, consecrate thee and charge thee to draw into thee the most beneficial, powerful and correct energies to assist me in prosecuting the Great Work of the Universe here today; may this work … [clearly and articulately state the purpose of the charge, writing it down if necessary before you begin]; [add such adorations as you deem appropriate and say “may this incense contain such qualities and attributes to be ever so pleasing to the Names spoken and adored here today”]; [if the Moon is Waning, place the charge in the context of the Waning Moon as described above]; [say whatever else you deem appropriate, and then close]. So mote it be!!! ABRAHADABRA.”
Your Holy Incense is now ready for use.
May the energies sent forth by your work bring Harmony and Love to the Universe, and assist you in developing magickally and spiritually to your utmost maximum, beneficial and correct potential. So mote it be!!!
We have not discussed the Holy Oil in this paper. Although oils can be used like incense as scents, the Holy Oil itself involves a different formula, which becomes especially important to aspirants of the grade of Dominus Liminus or higher.
The process of preparing the Holy Water and the Holy Incense also purifies and consecrates your Sphere of Sensation, and brings energies into action within this Sphere to assist you in the Great Work. This is why these simple acts are so important. They are symbolic of higher or greater work. This is also why the old grimoires recommend that everything in the Temple be purified and consecrated, from minor implements to the charcoal used to burn your incense. Any time you engage in these acts, you are, in effect, doing it to yourself. For this reason, you will likely find that this cleansing process is natural to you.
Purify and consecrate everything in your Temple, and make the Light shine!
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in the Great Work,
Frater Achad AL (Brian Goldstein)
Anno. IVxiv: Sol in Cancer, Luna in Capricorn, Die Monday, Full Moon.