I have been asked to share my current perspective on a very old post. “Energy Raising” appeared in this space on November 29, 2009. You may want to click on that link and review the post before continuing.
One potential way to approach revisiting the subject is to categorize the way magic works into various magickal models (Energy, Spirit, Information, Psychological, and Meta-Model, respectively). I am not a fan of magickal models because they create distinctions that appear clear but are actually quite muddy. For example, some would say evocation doesn’t raise energy and is not part of the energy model. However, in order to create an environment conducive to the appearance of a spirit you have to use the energy model.
In order to evoke a spirit you need the energy of the space it is being evoked into to be compatible with said spirit. You can call a spirit of water into a desert environment but to be successful you need to have a cup of water there at least. That cup also needs to resonate with the energy of water and welcome, not a trap. You also have to have the energy within your circle (or non-circular sacred space) that allows you to perceive and communicate with the spirit. This can mean fumigation, creating sacred space, or many other things. No matter how you do it the environmental energy is important.
Even when I talk to spirits without any ceremonial preparation all the energy in my head has to be conducive to the process. If I am worried about my wife, thinking my boss may walk into my office, or highly focused on baseball it isn’t going to work. I'll end up talking to myself and thinking I was talking to a spirit.
There are those that would say that this is the psychological model of magick. They are right, but psychology contributes to energy. I used to be obsessed (psychological problem) and that obsession made it very hard to have the clear my then frenetic mind (psychological problem) and allow whatever energy I needed to take over my mind to create the right magickal mind set. This circles right back to the energy model. See the problem?
There are those that would say that this example of magic is still psychological, and the terminology has just been switched to to energy. This is not case. The energy I am speaking of is energy that relates to the working. For example, if I am working with a water spirit, I need the energy of my mind to be attentive to images like the undines (water spirits). Basically, the idea here is that you need to create a harmony between your internal self and the type of magick being done. I need that energy to be cool within me like when you feel cool pool water lowering your body temperature. I could not get to a place to allow that to happen in a frenetic obsessed state. The psychology involved would interfere with creating the internal environment conducive to allowing in the right kind of energy.
I am pretty sure that all models come down a method of entering an ecstatic state while maintaining bodily function enough to be a magician. Without that bit of bodily control one is so receptive that one crosses from magician to mystic. For our discussion here the definition of ecstatic state I use is, “a state of mind entered into willfully by the magician characterized as different from one’s normal state of consciousness to such a degree that consensus reality is perceptually altered to such an extreme degree that magick is not only probable but dominant, resulting in a reality shift so great that consensus reality conforms.” For clarity’s sake, that is my definition not anyone else’s. I deliberately removed the normal reference to a religious component. Magickal states are very similar but not always religious.
What does that mean practically? It means that when I am in a circle with others they see this overweight white guy as a swarthy Mediterranean type and that such change carriers into consensus reality to such a degree that their perception of me changes due to their experience. Or, that in such a state the magick done is so effective that those impacted by can make perfect sense out of their changed reaction. Nothing extraordinary happened because reality has changed making the extraordinary thing perfectly ordinary.
So here are the elements of the original post rearranged into magickal model categories. The original state is in italics.
Solomonic -- Those who practice from the ancient grimories tend to work themselves into a lather (for lack of a better phrase) by building themselves to be "God" as in the Christian G_d. The technique though can be used in a variety of ways to assume the authority of the deity in question. Beware though that you pick one that doesn't mind you doing so. This is basically a specific form of an ecstatic state.
I originally receive some blow back when I said that magicians were building themselves up to be God. Consider this passage from the Lesser Key of Solomon:
I DO invocate and conjure thee, O Spirit, N.30; and being with power armed from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by BERALANENSIS, BALDACHIENSIS, PAUMACHIA, and APOLOGIAE SEDES; by the most Powerful Princes, Genii, Liachidee, and Ministers of the Tartarean Abode; and by the Chief Prince of the Seat of Apologia in the Ninth Legion, I do invoke thee, and by invocating conjure thee. And being armed with power from the SUPREME MAJESTY, I do strongly command thee, by Him Who spake and it was done, and unto whom all creatures be obedient. Also I, being made after the image of GOD,…
This turns into an ecstatic state as defined above with a religious fervor attached to it. There's nothing wrong with that. It works.
Evocation -- while some wouldn't call this energy raising, I am including it here. The point is calling a spirit to visible appearance and asking it to do something. Whatever that is employs the energy of the spirit which is why I mention it here.
Solomonic magick uses evocation but there are other forms. I posted not long ago about a water spirit crawling out of my offering cup. It was just as real as anything I evoked using Solomonic methods. However, I was so focused on my offering I created an ecstatic state that allowed me to perceive the spirit.
Invocation -- bringing a spirit into oneself for communion, learning, and understanding or to use that ecstatic state and the knowledge/energy of that which is invoked to do the work required.
I did this a lot when working with Flower. We entered an ecstatic state using a quatrain as a statement of intent that I received from deity during meditation that immediately proceeded each working. Repeating this over and over took us to another state of consciousness. Deities took us so far over the edge that there were times they literally moved our bodies. They would converse so we could hear. Their strength and love was so intense that we wanted to make love right there. We never gave in and they respected that. They know we are human and for use sexual activity has ramifications.
The energy model came in here in a less obvious way. It was more physical energy. The room was clean, dedicated to magick and a little incense burned. The energy that really mattered was our sensitivity and receptiveness to those deities.
Tap into local spirits, those puppies "know the lay of the land". this may be especially true in small towns with long histories. If you can tap into the underlying force of a small town, you could be a very influential person in local life, should you want to be. Is this energy raising? I could make an argument. I may lose it but I could make it.
I would change this to eliminate small towns. Local spirits are everywhere. Just go out and say a magickal hello. They will present themselves if they want to.
Personal energy -- I hate using the energy word because one sounds like some New Ager but energy it is. As a ceremonialist, we raise our own energy through different processes, the most common of which is a rite called the middle pillar. Having raised the energy one tries to rise to the highest level of awareness one can (see ecstatic states) and then, either through prayer or technique, endeavor to use that energy. All of these change the practitioner's state of awareness but it can also attract a specific being when the proper technique for that being is employed.
The two forms of this that I have seen used a lot are raising a cone of power (which is basically a circular dance) and doing the middle pillar. Both of these use energy generated by the practitioner for use in the ritual. Another common method is taking all one’s internal emotional energy and pouring it out into one’s hands and using that. This is my preferred method.
Again, the concentration required to do these things does create an ecstatic state, if you have that capability. I truly believe (and I use that word because I do not know) that no matter what you’re doing to work magic, to achieve this you are getting into an ecstatic state.One potential exception is herb magick (discussed below).
Institutional -- Another term I have made up in which one joins an energy flow already in progress. This is like hanging around other creative types when one is learning art or writing or music. Just being around the same type of person you want to be helps attune you to the process. Of course, the inverse can be true. Know who you are hanging out with for you will become them and vis versa. To use this properly one must also contribute to the group. All take and no give results in Johnny being ejected from the energy pattern. Besides that, all take and no give is just selfish.
I would say the same about that now.
Necromancy -- I've never known anyone that did this. However, it sounds it could be related to vampirism in that energy is taken rather than raised. Necromancers can pull the energy from dead things. Anyone that has touched a compost pile and felt the heat knows that dying and decomposing creates its own type of energy.
I would say the same about that now but I likely shouldn’t even mention it as I know little about necromancy.
Prayer -- prayer is very often eschewed in the pagan world and many feel too Christian doing it. Yet prayer has a long standing pagan history and, in my opinion, is least likely to offend the god of your choice. I've never heard of a god that is upset by being prayed to. However, I'm sure someone will correct me.
Prayer is not only responded to by spirits but can raise one to an ecstatic state. It is also a very kind way to do magick, in my opinion.
Prayer is not only responded to by spirits but can raise one to an ecstatic state. It is also a very kind way to do magick, in my opinion.
I put this in a cross-over category because it goes with everything. A prayer can work no matter what you are doing. I would change this to remove the word kind. I have prayed without being kind. Some deities are cool with that. Most may offer some form of ‘correction’. Be careful here. No one wants to be corrected by a god.
Herb magick may be the exception to everything I have said about energy and ecstatic states. You can do this quite effectively by combining herbs and uttering some words. I could argue that the herbs have energy conducive to the magick.
Chemistry -- this is not a term used in the occult but I use it to describe bringing like natural substances together to create a specific magickal effect.
Alchemy -- much like chemistry but with a much more internal goal in mind and using much more scientific-looking equipment in the process.
I wouldn’t say this now. Instead I would say that I do not know enough about Alchemy to offer an opinion or categorize it.
Sex -- Yes, getting off alone or with a partner can do it but there is a lot more to sex magick than that. What? I don't know. I'm not into that but it seems obvious to me that this is the grossest form.
Over the years I learned why I said this was the grossest form. A more sublime sex magick is called Tantra. Few people in the west really know what it is. It is a hell of a lot different from simply having sex to raise energy. Aside from that, I do not know about tantra.
Plays -- you can certainly get into a zone as an actor and take your audience into a different state of consciousness. I've heard of one group that has acted out some of Crowley's rites to find the actresses in certain plays end up a bit whacked. So, if it can be done to ill effect, I'm sure it can be done with positive effect.
I do not know anything more about plays than I did back in 2009.
Meditation -- Until recently, I wouldn't have added meditation. A good proper meditation can raise and/or release a ton of energy.
See my comment on ecstatic states. They all apply to meditation. Though meditation could be applied as much to mystical ends as to magical ones.
That encapsulates the original post. Further commentary follows:
I do not consciously use any of these techniques for the most part. I can simply think of whatever I want to reach an ecstatic state. The longer I focus the stronger the state and the stronger the magick.
My original go to method was the middle pillar ritual. The problem with this is that the middle pillar the ritual comes from the Qabalistic Tree of Life, a glyph that represents the creative forces of the universe. Doing this ritual is participating in that act of creation. When I relied on that rite I was insecure and felt that I didn’t really know what I was doing. I am sure that my insecurity impacted the effectiveness of my magick and not in a good way. Essentially, I was giving energy to my insecurities and manifesting that with my magick. Our internal perspectives can be detrimental. Mixing fears and insecurities with magickal energy can be damaging.
My current go to method involves seeking an astral place. This combines the ecstatic state with the Qabalistic four-worlds model involving the worlds of fire, water, air and earth. These are not elemental. There are a hierarchal descent of power that mimics all of creation from a single source point.
The place I enter is home to the highest levels of fire. It is abstract and open. It isn’t so much hot as active. I try to absorb this place. Then I say a word appropriate to the spell. I may make myself the word by saying “I am compassion”. (This is actually too big a sentence for the place but I am only human.) Then I drop lower to the realm of water, love, emotions, unity. This place is abstract too and feels like a cool pool in a dark forest. There is no light that falls upon the pool except the light generated by compassion. Here I mightsay, “may love sooth”. Then I find the place of air. In this place you can see things, most of which are recognizable. Here form is given to the work. I may create a vision of a friend being comforted by someone or finding peace through prayer. Then I find myself in normal conscious or a close approximation with my hands on the ground or wrapped around the talisman I am working with.
Energy is contained in each location, with no particular ceremony required to raise more. This relates to the energy model in that each location has an energy of its own that descends through the universe. The mage interacts with the energy as it is slows down into manifestation.
As a starting point for those who are interested: The trick to successfully using this method is focus. If you can pass the following test you are capable of sufficiently strong focus:
Go someplace where you can hear constant traffic noise. This may be in a park, or even your backyard if you leave close enough to a busy street. Concentrate on rising up to meet “G-d” or goddess or whatever divine being you want. Spend some time. Focus. When you simply cannot hold it anymore let yourself move back to normal awareness. If you find that the traffic noise went away and came back as if someone turned a radio off and on you passed the test. If not, work on building concentration and focus.
If you can do that study the four worlds of the Qabala: Aztiluth (fire), Briah (water), Yetzirah (air) and Assiah (earth), and work from there.