Working with Sacred Space: What I learned about Magical Temples
It's been four full years of ritual magic abstinence for me. Now this time is coming to an end. Next week, I'll be consecrating my new temple, and then slowly from there begin to engage with it: Take all my time to realise its beings and patterns, to see where it touches and ties into the land around me, as well as the Inside-Land, the abundance of light and life we call the Inner Desert.
So before I get myself into new trouble, I thought I take a moment to reflect on what I have learned so far about working with and from within magical temples. As this topic has been central to my practice as a lone-practitioners, there are already quite a few posts that reflect on this topic. Here is a short selection, which both illustrates my own journey on this topic, as well as some foundational learnings and working assumptions I’d still subscribe to today:
Getting rid of structure | 2012: This post I wrote when taking down the temple in which I performed the rituals described in the Holy Daimon book. It was by far my largest and most romantic temple yet - hosted in a large abandoned, two-storey annex building to the countryside farm from 1917 we lived in at the time. Seven years later this post still resonates with me - in particular with regards to the light it sheds on the magical need to be as skilled in creating new structures as in dissolving existing ones. This is especially true when working with magical paraphernalia. Normally the largest one of these is formed by the actual temple we work with.
Building it up | 2012: This post from later in the same year speaks to an entirely different approach I took to build out my new temple. It is an echo of a wonderful time - the months when Josephine and I were in deep conversations which ultimately led to the emergence of Quareia. Which basically means: I got myself into so much trouble and so often almost blew up myself that finally I convinced Josephine to lend a hand to struggling magicians like myself... -- The post is still a great reminder to me of the importance to work from the inside out, and not the reverse, which often foolishly can seem so much more easy.
Taking it down | 2015: Three years later it was already time again to dismantle all outer access to the temple I had worked incredibly heavy in. In fact this period of magical practice had been so intense it led me into my own 'dark night of the soul' following the crossing of the abyss in 2013. -- This post still feels as if I had written it only yesterday. It speaks to the interference of our human bodies, stories and patterns and how magical tools (and temples) become part of our organic being over time. Whenever it is time for this being to go through significant phases of transition, it also means we might need to shed the 'skin' we have built up in terms of outer magical tools and places.
A Manifest for Working with Spirits | 2015: Finally, shortly after taking down the outer structure of my last temple, this manifest came through loud and clear. While not directly connected to temple practice as such, it still sums up all I have to say today about how to work with spirits. Rather than focussing on the locus of interaction - the physical or visionary space of the temple - we should focus on the fuel from which it is run and accessed through: our human presence and how its patterning by our values and intentions.
Now, looking back on this journey from my current vantage point in late 2018, the real advise my experience with magical temples offers up to me is plain clear: Do not interfere too much, but allow the temple to build itself. Better still: Do not call too loudly, but listen intently. Do not aim to form and create, but to perceive what already exists. Most importantly: listen to how the temple wants to emerge from within. Operate off the assumption that it already exists, resting calmly, quietly in the dark of the future. All you have to do is to hear it's calling - and then walk towards it with a light.
As so often in life, it seems, women have an advantage to men on this subject? Or maybe life just chooses to teach them harder and earlier from the onset? Either way - giving physical birth can be quite the humbling experience with regards to any dreams of grandeur about who is in charge, who controls what happens next, how this will all go about and most importantly WHAT we are about to give life to…. 'Life is always right.' they like to say. And we might want to add, wise are the ones who shut up often enough to look life in the eye quietly, and listen. This is especially true when working with beings and powers of age immemorial, beings who hold agendas and biographies reaching back in time further than the emergence not only of any of our individual selves - but of all of mankind.
I guess here it is: I'll approach this new temple in humility, silence and joy. One step at a time. Eyes closed. Carefully orientating myself towards the hand that guides me: a future version of myself, my noble self, reaching back in time to me. And far out beyond it, the sphere of my Holy Daimon.