In evocation magic we strive for conscious contact with specific spirits. Sometimes this happens through visible appearance. Other times we allow the spirit to chose the best way to manifest - may it be in our inner realm, in dreams, in inner sight, etc. However, I guess we'll all agree an unsuccessful rite is a rite without any conscious contact.
In my recent posts on Ancestral Magic I shared some adventures I encountered while exploring a type of magical contact that's new for me. To embark on such a journey the magician needs two keys mainly:
- A technique to enter into the inner realm and access the stream of ancestral consciousness and
- the ability to maintain what I call an 'elastic awareness' that maintains an unintentional and open state of consciousness.
Josephine hands over a great key for the first point in her Void exercise. However, it is the second point that will make your journey through the void a successful spirit encounter or just plain daydreaming. So it seems there is something to be said about how we use awareness in magic - may it be in rituals or in expeditions into the inner realms?
Funny enough, the best teacher on it I found so far is Fritz Perls. This man certainly knew a lot about contact, awareness and how to bring these two together in order to travel to places we haven't known before. Perls didn't apply his techniques he created to magic or any type of spirit communion - but to commune with ourselves.
So let's take a brief look at contact and awareness in Perl's own words:
"It emerged that we had to shift the concern of psychiatry from the fetish of the unknown, from the adoration of the 'unconscious', to the problems and phenomenology of awareness: what factors operate in awareness, and how do faculties which can operate successfully only in the state of awareness lose this property?" (Perls, Gestalt Therapy, p.15)
Contact as such is possible without awareness, but for awareness contact is indispensable. The crucial question is: with what is one in contact? The spectator of a modern painting may believe that he is in contact with the picture while he is actually in contact with the art critic of his favorite journal." (Perls, p.15)
"In the struggle for survival the most relevant need becomes figure (or better: Gestalt - ed. Acher) and organizes the behavior of an individual until this need is satisfied, whereupon it recedes into the background (temporary balance) and makes room for the next now most important need. In the healthy organism this change of dominance has the best survival chance. In our society such dominant needs, for example, morals, etc., often become chronic and interfere with the subtle self-regulating of the human organism." (Perls, p.18)
Well, sounds like a lot of psycho-bullshit? I guess Perls would agree pretty much. So let's give it a try and turn it into practical experience...
As you are reading these lines become aware with what you are in contact already. Scan through your bodily emotions while reading this. What does your stomach tell you? What contacts are your legs and feet picking up? Read this with minimal brain activity and allow your conscious to meander through your body... Can you feel your blood rushing underneath your skin? What type of awareness is present in your chest? What type of awareness is in your mind?
Perls said: contact can happen without awareness but never the other way around. The first step in exploring our Inner Realm is to create what I called an elastic awareness. An awareness that rather than pursuing it's own intent and direction is open to be approached, to accept and to explore without desire... Our awareness needs to learn to sit still and perceive. Full of contact. Then we will realize how much we have ignored before. And that rather than trying harder, trying not all often can be the key.
Please don't get me wrong - this has nothing to do with replacing your magical strive with a strive for Nirvana. The goal of this exercise is not emptiness, but fullness. It is to perceive and become aware of the richness, the diversity and multitudes of contacts we are engaged in at any moment. This exercise is a fundament in order to be able to listen to the spirits. Because the spirits are talking to us through the contacts in our bodies.
When you are in bed and before your fall asleep create contact with your bodily senses again. Walk through your body, limb by limb and pick up the emotions and sensual impressions that are already there. Don't try to create any contacts. Just allow your awareness to flow through your body and discover the things that are present already... Once you have explored your entire body allow your conscious to rest and come to a halt in your chest area. Now all impression merge into a single vibrant perception of your bodily field of contact. Full presence. You feel the energy in your body, undistinguished from your conscious.
Then slowly expand your field of awareness beyond your bodily borders. Allow your senses to expand beyond your skin... I normally do this by listening to the things around me. The wind on the leaves of a tree through the open window, a passing car, the slow breaths of my dog in the room next door. Whatever ambient sounds there are, just allow your senses to merge with them. Your field of awareness expands. And after a short while you will find it has become a sphere of consciousness, expanding beyond the room you are lying in, into the night, including street lamps, concrete and cars... all contacts presently waiting for my conscious to find them.
Normally I come to pause once the sphere of awareness has grown to roughly 100 feet in diameter. I then rest in the present awareness of all things inside my consciousness now. My body, the body of my wife, the darkness, the body of our dog, the house, the night sky, the streets... It is a wonderful feeling, liberating, without any intent or tension, completely calm. All stress from my workday has disappeared as I myself have vanished. What is left is a glowing sphere of consciousness, allowing the night wind and ambient sounds and wandering cats to pass through it.
Combine Step 1 and 2 into a single exercise and perform at any moment throughout your normal workday. Make it a habit to discover contacts you were involved in but not aware about. Make it a habit for your senses to expand beyond your body. Feel the grass on the front years behind the window, feel the electric buzz of computers and coffee machines around you, feel the rush of a street car and the energy fields of 40-something people in it passing by... Allow your awareness to become an open system, to become the Linux version of consciousness.
Once this third step works well for you in random situations you shouldn't have any problems to explore your inner realms. Well, you might have problems at your work place now instead though. Cause sitting in your chair, eyes closed and drooling isn't really the picture of a high performer many bosses have in their mind. But hey - there is a price to be paid for any big achievement!
Let me close this on a final note that connects back to the journeys into my own Ancestral Magic I had shared before...
Last week I was at an airport, tired and exhausted, arriving at night, standing on the escalators and watching the commercials passing by. When suddenly I felt Immar's presence within me. This had never happened before - I hadn't even considered the possibility that Immar might contact me on her own initiative! Yet while I was ascending to the next floor I could clear feel her gaze through my eyes. There was a significant amount of surprise and astonishment going on on her end... Maybe that is how I looked to her when I gazed at the ziggurat? She stayed with me on my entire journey through the belly of the airport. Only when I entered the taxi and spoke to the driver I felt her presence withdraw. Probably because I had left the timeless entrails of the airport, these synthetically lid passages of glass and commercials, of silence and polished floors. A space without any intent except for passing through it. An open system, a passage of time.
When I had entered the taxi my mind had closed again. I started to re-focus on my journey to the hotel, showing the address to the driver, watching passer-bys and starting to think about the day to come...
I learned it early on in my Arbatel Experience and am still so much working to get it right. My angel told me in no ambiguous language: "Everything will be good, as long as you don't have a plan."