A Beginning - On the Creation of Sacred Space
Calling this post a Beginning could be considered a lie. Actually, what happened is much more a re-connection, a resumption of work picked up in times long past. What happened is similar to a river bed, having laid dry for so long, it started to think of itself as a long stretched, meandering valley instead. Until after decades, maybe centuries, the water returned. At least this is how what happened feels on the inside. But sometimes it is good to stay on the outside. Especially when the whole point of writing things down is to anchor yourself back in everyday reality. To return to a state of normality and blending in with the things around you. That's why for now I prefer to call it a Beginning.
After almost 10 months of preparation I consecrated my new temple today. We had moved houses in September. Cleaning out my old temple, which had been in use for almost four years, had felt like sawing off the branch on which I was sitting, cutting down the roots that gave me strength and a place in this world. Yet, it had to be done. As my wife always says: 'You got to die one death, if you are lucky you only get to chose which one.' In this case I had chosen to lay my old temple to rest, part from the powers and beings that had fuelled it during such an important time in my life.
Since then we went through all the stress of buying a new place, having it refurbished top to bottom, dealing with the many craftsmen it took to renew this place, learning about things we had never known existed - or assumed we would ever be asked to pay for - and ultimately through the unavoidable process of moving itself.
Having gone through this rite of passage and looking back from today, I have to say it was one of the best decisions we took. For beside many other good things that we encountered since then, without giving up so much in the first place and being ready to let go, what happened today would have never had a chance to come through.
Over the years past I had to rebuild my physical temple many times. I had temples in cave-like cellar rooms from the early 20th century, in wooden barns put up before WWII, in tiny London city apartments and in the open darkness of woods. Yet, what I had never done was to consciously chose a place, build and consecrate my temple on the inner realm. It was only after reading Josephine McCarthy's 'The Work of the Hierophant' that I became aware of how genuinely powerful places of sacred work are actually constructed. What we see from the outside is nothing but a faded echo, an imprint of the living forces working actively on the inside. At least, that is how it used to work before Christianity monopolized and perverted the knowledge of sacred architecture in the West. Oh yes, and before the 19th century occult French revolution and its subsequent British one hammered down the last coffin nail of mistaking inside and outside when dealing with occult powers...
Essentially I had taken many long winded routes and detours to build up an inner space, charged with power and maintained by balance, that would support my magical work. The good news was that Josephine's book offered a direct way to approach this work. With the sleeves rolled up, bare hands and a mind very focussed.
“An inner temple is a necessity for a magical lodge/group to operate at a level of full power as it is the filter. doorway, meeting point and information library for the majority of the inner work that a lodge will do. IT is a place where beings of different realms can come together, a place where power can be shaped and where major magical actions can be instigated safely and filtered out into the outside world. It is a higher octave of the outer temple and the two compliment each other” (Hierophant, p.59)
Now, the techniques Josephine shares in her book are meant and written for groups only. Thus as a sole practitioner I needed to adjust the approach to build the astral temple for my work to come. If you are interested in how to do this in the most simple and purest way, I recommend reading her three books on ‘Magical Knowledge’. All of the tools necessary are openly shared in these.
Like many of us I had spent a good chunk of my early magical years building temple paraphernalia and implements in order to be able to work in a ‘complete temple setting’. Funny enough, all of this had to go out of the physical room I was about to consecrate. What was needed was a completely clean slate. Once you commit to true inner work, it is not for a book on Golden Dawn implements or your nostalgia for ancient Egypt or Greece to tell which forces, beings and symbols you’ll be working with. In fact, for a start there won’t be any symbols at all. However, there will be true inner contact - something that all the early Golden Dawn temple work revolved around, yet never managed to maintain.
So I started out in an almost empty room: Having marked out the four quarters of the sky with a candle each, some coal and incense in front of me and the door tightly locked. What happened then was one of the most remarkable magical experiences I ever had. Obviously, would I have had the chance to observe my physical movements during the operation it would have been completely unspectacular: a person sitting in silence, smoke filling the dark room, then a candle being lit in each quarter, a person in meditation, a person walking clockwise through the room, pausing in front of each of the sparse altars, then more silence and meditation...
Many years ago, when I was still a school boy I had a huge inner urge, a desire to move forward, yet at the same time my life felt completely lost and without direction. I am guessing that is how many of us felt? No place to run to, but all the power of youth building up in our muscles to escape from where we are today. Back then I read an article where someone said these wonderful words that I’ll never forget:
“I am looking at a person waiting at a bus stop. It seems he isn’t doing anything in particular, just standing and waiting for the bus. His body is calm, his shoulder leaned against the glass of the commercial window. Yet, when I am looking at his eyes, I can see worlds are moving inside. This is the burden and this is the secret of being human: a wall of blindness separates inside from outside.”
I came out of this temple work feeling completely exhausted and yet completely charged with energy and life. As I am writing these words, the inner gates of the temple are still open, the flames still mediating the flow of power from one sphere to the other...
We are living in a world full of wonders. Powers beyond our imagination ready to fuel our bodies, our minds and lives. Yet, all the doors will stay locked and bolted. They will stay closed and veiled in silence for as long as we chose to. For as long as we fail to reconnect the deeds we do on the inside with the deeds with do on the outside. That is all that magic is. Well, almost.