Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

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Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Luce » Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:34 am

I have a myriad of quick questions pertaining to the basic rituals. If anyone can answer some or all of these questions, it would be most appreciated. The forum seems slow lately so I thought I'd ask a bunch that have been bugging me :) As the title suggests, most of these questions come up as a result of not having someone there with me to show me in person. I'm hoping to fill in the gaps caused by trying to learn from books.

1.
How long should the LBRP & Middle Pillar take? I have a feeling I'm doing them too quickly based on what I read in a couple of threads. Here is a breakdown of the time it takes me to do each step:

LBRP
Q-Cross (x2): 30 seconds each.
Pentagrams+Divine Names (x4): 20 seconds each.
Archangels (x4): 10 seconds each.

Total time doing ritual: 3 minutes (60 seconds doing q-crosses, 1:20 doing pentagrams, 40 seconds invoking archangels).

Middle Pillar
Spheres (x5): 30 seconds each
Circulation: 45 seconds

Total time doing ritual: 3 minutes 15 seconds (2:30 on spheres, 45 seconds circulating).

Would an experienced member be willing to post a similar breakdown?

2. I *think* I read somewhere on here that Jim said he teaches people to inhale while drawing the "up" lines of a pentagram, retain breath while drawing the horizontal lines, and exhale while drawing the "down" lines. Did I read that right? Related to the previous question, how long should it take to draw a pentagram? Mine only take about six seconds, but after reading the breathing thing, I thought maybe it should take longer. Also, does this technique apply also to hexagrams?

3. I read an experienced member's post in which he said that during the Middle Pillar he'll focus on the sphere until it is formed, and that this can take a few minutes. I don't really understand what this means. I kind of just use my imagination and pretend they are there while vibrating the names. I wouldn't really know when they are "there." When doing this technique correctly, is there actually a point at which you know the sphere is there? Do you see it via visualization, or do you feel it? It's strange for me to read that this person focuses on the sphere until it forms. For me, I could wait 5 seconds or 5 minutes and there isn't a point where anything changes. I was imagining the sphere at 5 seconds and I was imagining the sphere at 5 minutes. There's no point at which the sphere is "ready." Can someone explain this to me?

4. I know that the pentagram ritual relates to Geburah. because of the 5-points on the Pentagram, but it also relates to Malkuth because of the elements. Is the name AGLA a geburahn name, or is it more of a Malkuth name? Also, I'm a bit confused because I read that it's called "lesser" because it relates to the spheres under Tiphareth, but Geburah is above Tiphareth. I have the feeling what I read is wrong, because even the Q-cross relates to spheres above Tiphareth.

5. Related to number 3, is there a point at which the archangels "click" (if that makes sense). I usually just vibrate the name once, and imagine that angel in the right place. I try to feel the element coming off him, and then I move on to the next one. In other people's experience, is there a definite point at which the archangel will "be there"? Again, for me, there's not much difference between the first second and the 20th (if I wait that long). I guess I just want to know how much of this is concrete and obvious (if that makes sense). Is it like, "RAAAA-PHIIIII-ELLLLL... (focus on the visualization, feel the elements... 40 seconds go by... BAM there he is, okay time to move to the next). Or is it like, (RAAAA-PHAAAA-ELLLL... (focus on the visualization and the elements, okay, that seems like I've been doing it long enough, time to move to the next one). Mine is definitely the latter.

6. Just out of curiousity, when you do the LBRP, do you actually see the lines being drawn (if your eyes are open?). If someone is in the room with you, have they ever told you they've seen them?

Thank you very much to anyone who answers!!
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby gerry456 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:06 am

How long should the LBRP & Middle Pillar take?

I've seen a guy on youtube doing LRP hyper fast and I must admit it looked a bit neurotic to me.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Takamba » Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:42 am

If you aren't building control, concentration, and a sense of one's "invisible" force in those exercises; you're just rote reciting a ballet without a soul. Hence, the "Art" in the science.

There's not genuine one answer fits all.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:11 am

Luce wrote:1. [/color]How long should the LBRP & Middle Pillar take? I have a feeling I'm doing them too quickly based on what I read in a couple of threads.

It varies. I haven't timed it and, since you're talking about pieces of minutes for each part, that's too nit-picky. Half an hour for a Lesser Pentagram Ritual would be way too long, and one minute would be awfully fast. Does that help?

I just timed the Qabbalistic cross at about my usual pace (which, however, varies) and - once I'm in place, settled, centered, and all the other stuff (which can take, oh, a whole minute sometimes), the Qab Cross itself was about 45 seconds. Repeat: On any given occasion this can vary.

If you think yours is too fast, submerge yourself in the visualizations more. I could easily double the length of time and not feel it was too slow.

Some of the rest of the things you ask about actually depend on how large the room is!

Middle Pillar

This seems way rushed (but there are significant variances per person). After centering preliminaries, I do three patient vibrations per sphere, reach the bottom, return and do a single vibration top-to-bottom. Without circulation, this is easily 5 minutes and can be as much as 10.

2. I *think* I read somewhere on here that Jim said he teaches people to inhale while drawing the "up" lines of a pentagram, retain breath while drawing the horizontal lines, and exhale while drawing the "down" lines. Did I read that right?

Yes.

Related to the previous question, how long should it take to draw a pentagram?

Like all these other questions, it depends. I just timed my usual pace and, beginning after I have placed the implement at the starting point, and ending when I have returned it to the center of the drawn pentagram but before the separate step of vibrating the Name, it took me 15 seconds.

Also, does this technique apply also to hexagrams?

Yes.

3. I read an experienced member's post in which he said that during the Middle Pillar he'll focus on the sphere until it is formed, and that this can take a few minutes. I don't really understand what this means. I kind of just use my imagination and pretend they are there while vibrating the names.

I don't know what that person meant either. All sorts of things can take several minutes when first learning. In my early months of the Pentagram Ritual, I would sometimes spend 5 minutes or more creating the form of each archangel. After I got completely used to this, those fully developed forms came almost immediately, but there was a definite stage of learning how to do it.

The word "pretend" shows a magical weakness which, however, is just fine in beginners. You need to experience these things as actual - to feel them, feel energy and life moving into them, etc. But, in the beginning, I understand that one is usually doing the best one can just to get a blue blob of something behind one in the west.

I wouldn't really know when they are "there."

Then you are still in the pretend stage you described.

When doing this technique correctly, is there actually a point at which you know the sphere is there?

Yes. It clicks in with as much certainty as suddenly realizing, when driving a little groggy, that there is another car coming right at you on the road.

Do you see it via visualization, or do you feel it?

Both. Sometimes I hear it, too. I've never smelled or tasted one, but that could just be me.

Is the name AGLA a geburahn name, or is it more of a Mal'kuth name?

G'boorah and Malkhooth are related, since one is 5 and one is 2 x 5. But to answer your question directly, this name is primarily attributed by magicians through the Middle Ages and later to G'boorah, and I think that's probably (broadly) the implication when it appears in the Hebrew liturgy.

If I were to create a distinctly Mal'koothian meaning it would be in the sense of being are (to the point of overwhelming) in just how huge and omnipotent and awesome God - the entire force of the universe - is in comparison to the distinct, more or less separate, human speck that one experiences oneself to be. A variation of, "Oh, (****), you are soooooo {*******} big and powerful, what the {****}!!!"

Also, I'm a bit confused because I read that it's called "lesser" because it relates to the spheres under Tiphareth, but Geburah is above Tiphareth. I have the feeling what I read is wrong, because even the Q-cross relates to spheres above Tiphareth.

Yes, the Qab Cross alone relates to the entire Tree, which blows that theory out of the water. Truth be told, I think Mathers just named it Lesser because he wanted to put a Greater and Supreme later on: lesser in the sense of "the thing to learn early on." If I were starting all over again inventing things that had never been invented before, I might flip these around because the "Lesser" subsumes all the aspects of our being and universe, whereas the nature of the "Greater" and "Supreme" are to isolate specific portions from the whole. But, y'know, they're just names so I don't care much.

5. Related to number 3, is there a point at which the archangels "click" (if that makes sense). I usually just vibrate the name once, and imagine that angel in the right place.

Yeah, it gets to where you feel there are four other people in the room. This may only come after you've had other interactions with them, though (not sure there's a generalization here). I know Raphael was way more real to me after he and a large group of his minions helped safely land a plane I was in that was in minor danger.

I recommend a practice hinted at above. Do the ritual up to the archangel point and then sit or stand facing east and take all the time you need (easily 5-10 minutes) to build up Raphael in minute detail and feel him gradually move into and occupy the "housing" you are creating. (Don't expect perfection the first time. It will improve with repetition.) Then walk around your space to the south and sit or stand facing south as you do the same for Mikhael. Etc. with all four. When done, go back to the center, face east, and continue the ritual with "Before me," etc. Do it this way for a minimum of two weeks then, depending on how it feels to you, take the training wheels off.

Is it like, "RAAAA-PHIIIII-ELLLLL... (focus on the visualization, feel the elements... 40 seconds go by... BAM there he is, okay time to move to the next).

I see him before I start speaking. It makes no sense for me to say he's "before" me if, like, he isn't in front of me. you are composing a Yetziratic shell suitable to house and attract and express a Briatic being, and, when conditions and construction are correct, that being will occupy the shell. You then affirm what is true and magically seal it, empowering the whole thing further with Magick Word which is the archangel's name.

6. Just out of curiousity, when you do the LBRP, do you actually see the lines being drawn (if your eyes are open?).

Of course. If not, then you still need to work on your visualization.

If someone is in the room with you, have they ever told you they've seen them?

If they are magically trained and also visualizing, yes. But this isn't just "we're all pretending together." In open temple, the officiating officer (and often others) can detect incompletions, wandering attention, gaps in completing the figures, faded and weak formulations, etc. Most of the time, to encourage the flow of the ritual, we just secure and correct these ourselves from across the room rather than have the person retrace them, but sometimes there is reason to make a comment, or give counsel after the fact - and these are objective phenomena in the sense that two or more separate people, watching on the same plane, can see the same thing.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Luce » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:56 pm

Thank you very much for the detailed response! These answers were very encouraging to me, but slightly discouraging as well. They were really encouraging because I kind of always wondered if what I was getting was "it." That no one really sees the pentagrams they draw, the arch angels don't really obviously appear, etc. etc. So to find out that this stuff is more real than I worried it was is really inspiring. I'm naturally a bit skeptical (mostly unintentional -- I just find myself doubting a lot) so hearing that these things are definite and noticeable helps me quite a bit.

But it's also a bit discouraging... Oftentimes I really do feel like I'm just doing some sort of ballet. Now, I normally do feel emotionally calm, energized, clear-headed, and there is a general feeling of purity and holiness, but there's no real overwhelming effects. Maybe comparable to taking a nice warm shower or something, and I really want more out of my rituals than this.

The problem is that I've been doing the LBRP almost daily for about a year and a half now... I feel like I should be out of the "pretend" stage, but I agree that I'm in it for the most part. It's tough because I'm doing what I consider fairly elaborate rituals (LBRP, LIRP, LBRH, LIRH, MPR, SIRP, SIRH, Star Sapphire, etc.) but most of the time I just feel "more charged" and it doesn't feel that much different than just doing an LBRP! To be completely hones, when I did a SIRP for fire, it doesn't feel THAT much different than when I did a SIRH for Venus! And that just can't be right, haha!

I've probably tried to go too far ahead without perfecting the fundamentals... I probably shouldn't be learning all these advanced rituals if I can't even get real results with an LBRP.

If I may, could I ask some follow-up questions to my questions? I've been mulling over your answers for the past couple of days and there are certain things in your post I was hoping to get clarification on.

1. When you say that you see the pentagrams, do you mean that they actually are in your visual field of view? Words escape me, but what I mean is that if you drew a pentagram , and there was, say, a plant behind the pentagram, would the blue light of the pentagram actually block your view of the plant? Or at least obfuscate it? What I mean is, are the pentagrams actually opaque or at least translucent? Or are they just "seen in your mind" and in actuality you can see the plant or the wall just fine? It sounds like you're saying you actually see them and that they would block your vision, but I just want to double-check because I know talking about this stuff is so hard because you're probably not seeing the pentagrams with your physical eyes, but does it feel like you're seeing them with your eyes?

2. When you vibrate God names, is your voice deep and bellowing, or is it opera-like? I can basically make two types of vibrations: the first one is really deep and baritone, while the other is a little bit higher than my normal voice and sounds more melodious. The deep one seems to vibrate more in my chest, while the higher one seems to vibrate in my head. I read an article that said you use two different kinds of vibration in the LBRP. Is this true? Should the vibration be lower than your normal voice or a bit higher? Is the q-cross, the God names, and the archangel names all vibrated with the same kind of voice?

3. That comment I posted about the Middle Pillar *I think* refers to the spheres "clicking" into place. Like you said the archangels are all of a sudden obviously there. Do you do the MPR on each sphere until the spheres "click" into place, or do you do it for a set amount of time? When I do it, I just imagine the sphere is there, do it for a bit and then move on. Nothing seems to "click" into place -- should I do it for longer and should my goal be to try to get that definitive moment where "Oh, there's Kether, it's in place and charged now."

4. I don't want to be nit-picky, but I was wondering how long it takes you to vibrate a God name. I'm assuming it depends on the length of the name? This may seem like a silly question, but the reason I ask is that I timed myself and I normally do the vibration for maybe 10-15 seconds... But I timed myself to see how long I could do it, and I was able to 45 seconds. Should I go for the 45 seconds because this is how much breath I have, or should I try to just make it louder so all my breath is used up in 15 seconds?

5. What is the best method to be able to "see" things during ritual? Tattwa journeys? Dharana triangles? Repeatedly drawing a pentagram in the air with eyes open and trying to see it? Just doing more LBRPs? Doing the "egg of light" Hebrew letter meditations? I feel like actually seeing the pentagrams and archangels would be a big breakthrough moment for me that could prove quite useful. If one of the above methods would be most effective (or a different method altogether), that would be really helpful to know.

Thank you so much for your help! I hope these questions aren't too cringe-worthy.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:20 pm

Hey Luce, despite my shortness on another thread, I wanted to throw out a quick thank you for your questions on this one. Whether you get answers or not, I find them to be very valuable questions and, for that... Cheers!
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Luce » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:48 am

Thanks, Gnosomai, that's very kind of you to say :)
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:28 am

Luce wrote:The problem is that I've been doing the LBRP almost daily for about a year and a half now... I feel like I should be out of the "pretend" stage, but I agree that I'm in it for the most part.

In 1987, I'd been at this stuff for at least a decade, and had reached 2=9 in A.'.A.'. four years earlier and was IX° O.T.O. (with a long list of titles and offices and hot shot stuff)... I was also more than a little good at magick and had impressed most people that had seen me do any.

But that spring, I took initiation in FLO (which later contributed one of the core streams of Temple of Thelema's system) and, I have to tell you, that changed it all - as if I hadn't known anything at all I'd been doing up to that point. Doing even something as simple of a pentagram ritual in a group of intensely trained and like-focused people under Adept supervision leapt the entire experience through the roof compared to anything I had done before, in only six to nine months, and accelerated and fed everything else I was doing.

So, if you're asking what - from actual experience, rather than conjecture - I would counsel anyone with these questions, it's that unless you can commit yourself to long-term training in a quality, disciplined, well-crafted, magically empowered group setting, the odds are that you can go on for decades and just {*******} never get it.

Now, that may not be the only way or the whole story. I probably would even side theoretically with the idea that it's too narrow a view. But it's what the whole of my experience says, so I have to suggest that, yes, there is a substantial barrier that you haven't gotten past yet which at least one way of overcoming is to submerge yourself within a group mind where these things are routinely part of everyone's experience.

I don't just keep recommending T.'.O.'.T.'. to the world because I have something to sell - but because, for those who commit themselves to it and persevere, it works.

Your questions are exceedingly tedious, but I'm certain they're sincere so I do my best to help you along. On the other hand, when the questions start sounding like a desperate need to tell whether a wall is painted lime green or key lime green, one has to suggest that maybe the point is being missed somewhere.

1. When you say that you see the pentagrams, do you mean that they actually are in your visual field of view?

Yes, absolutely. Though, to be clear, the physical eyes aren't involved except to assist with focus. Remember 100% of all seeing is done in the brain. Your eyes give signals which result in the brain composing certain images, but it's still all done in the brain. The visual cortex is the real field of vision. Similarly, other things can be seen without the eyes sending anything to the brain, and that's what's happening here.

Words escape me, but what I mean is that if you drew a pentagram , and there was, say, a plant behind the pentagram, would the blue light of the pentagram actually block your view of the plant?

Yes. (Although most of the time my attention is so much on the pentagram itself that I don't even notice anything else. It's a matter of concentration. But yes, it's like a swath of luminous paint that blocks anything behind it.)

...you're probably not seeing the pentagrams with your physical eyes, but does it feel like you're seeing them with your eyes?

Yes.

2. When you vibrate God names, is your voice deep and bellowing, or is it opera-like?

I recently wrote another thread here advising a series of drills to get the voice right. To oversimplify, it's as deep as one can go without the voice being strained, and at a particular place that "clicks" into rightness in the drills I gave. (I don't know what distinction you are making by "operating" unless you only listen to mezzos and sopranos. It resembles what an operatic baritone might do.) NB -There are specific other techniques that use sound differently, but they're outside the range of what you're asking about or working on here.

Do you do the MPR on each sphere until the spheres "click" into place, or do you do it for a set amount of time?

Well, you do it until it's right, but, after the beginning phase, that tends to be pretty consistent amount of time. But if you mean, "Do you [as a matter of technique] do it for 15 seconds and move on," the answer is no.

When I do it, I just imagine the sphere is there, do it for a bit and then move on. Nothing seems to "click" into place -- should I do it for longer and should my goal be to try to get that definitive moment where "Oh, there's Kether, it's in place and charged now."

It might help you to realize that you are not just moving something down your body, you're moving it down through the worlds. The first sphere should be your best of reach of existing only in Atziluth and then, at each layer, this gets denser and denser into your layers until the last sphere is in Mal'khooth of Assiah and you feel it hit your physical body like a baseball bat.

4. I don't want to be nit-picky, but I was wondering how long it takes you to vibrate a God name.

It depends on technique. Normally probably 10 seconds (I just timed one, but it subjectively feels at least half again as long as that).

I'm assuming it depends on the length of the name?

Possibly, but I think the better technique - the one I encourage in most scenarios - is to adjust speed of a name so that they all fit into the same length of time. Shaddai El Chai is thus said much more briskly than Yod Heh Vav Heh, and WAY more briskly than El.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Luce » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:03 am

One member says my questions are "very valuable" and the next says they are "exceedingly annoying." :roll:

Jim, I think it's important to remember what it's like to be an absolute beginner without any magical training whatsoever. You probably do remember what it's like, but it's still not the same as actually BEING an absolute beginner. You haven't been one for decades, and so these questions probably seem really annoying and silly. But you gotta understand my perspective: I have never in my life seen anything mystical or supernatural or unexplainable. I've never seen anything nor heard anything nor smelled anything during my magical practices. So when someone says they can see their pentagrams, my first thought is "no way, they can't actually mean that they REALLY see them.. it just must be imagination" and even when someone says that they really do see them, my thought is still,"but, like, do they REALLY see them, like see them in the way they see the wall? Like ACTUALLY see them?" It just seems so unbelievable to me because I've never experienced anything like it at all. I just see nothing when I trace pentagrams. Just my finger moving through the air. I believe you, of course, but my mind still scrambles to come up with some sort of rational explanation.

My inexperience also leads to silly questions about timing. I don't feel much when I vibrate God names, so my first instinct is to think that I must be doing something wrong. Maybe I'm vibrating them too deep? Or too long? Or too short?

Probably the best analogy I can think of for me is Christianity. When I hear people talk about Christianity -- even experienced members on this forum -- I cringe... but I have to remember that I've studied Christianity for a long time now, and before I converted as a teenager, I knew nothing about it and I would have said comments and asked questions that were just as silly. You've been studying magick for a lot longer than I've been studying theology, so it's probably even more frustrating for you.

But thank you for answering my questions and seeing my sincerity despite your annoyance.

I really do want to join a temple... I've never met anyone in offline life that practices magick or knows the kabbalah more than "the religion Madonna is into." My primary problem is that I'm a Canadian. Magick is the most important thing in my life, so I would move and go to California to join TOT if I could (the only thing really keeping me in a location is finishing up grad school). But there'd be no way for me to legally stay in the country longer than six months out of every calendar year, and it would technically be illegal for me to work while I'm there (though I do work online so travelling around is an option otherwise -- I can work anywhere I have WiFi). I know there is a TOT thing in Toronto, but from what I can see on the website, there isn't a whole lot going on when it comes to classes. They seem to have occasional meet-ups and stuff, but it isn't enough to warrant changing cities, whereas the amount of classes in California would be. I'm assuming I couldn't get a student visa for TOT...

Concerning my questions:

Do you (or anyone reading this) have the link where you explain the vibration drills? I tried to search for the thread but can't seem to find it.

Also, how can I see these darn pentagrams? I know you didn't answer that question, and it may have been intentional, but if there's a specific recommendation, I'd love to hear it. I'm trying various ways to see them but am not having much (any) luck. I've practiced some of the exercises you've mentioned, but I need to be deeply relaxed to ever see anything (to the point where my body is numb). But when I do the LBRP, I'm obviously not as relaxed... I don't understand how to see the pentagrams while I'm walking around with my eyes open.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Takamba » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:01 am

I don't think the "exceedingly annoying" part was about the questions themselves (all very good questions), but the frequency and lack of silent contemplation in between receiving answers and posting again.

Yours is an example of why I personally would get annoyed at someone who has only learned from books and never practiced under the guidance of someone else in person. I met a guy once who put forth all manner of claims about OTO attendance and A.'.A.'. lineages and when he performed the LBRP I just walked away and haven't dealt with him since. Not because I'd say he was or wasn't any good at it, but for shiboleth's sake, he did it all wrong; so I knew his claims false. No one instructed him the way that it isn't in the books. (From what I've read in this thread, those veils have already been lifted for you; if not, it seemed plain to me that things are described correctly and you should just follow instruction and come back later.)

The questions all seem to be based on you yet not perfecting your body of light. Maybe this is true because you stunted your growth with a pretend stage. Maybe I was lucky that as a I child I was taught how to use active imagination as a relaxation and concept exploration tool. A visual imagination (the iMagi Nation) is very necessary to the practice of magick. It isn't just pretend. Your dreams at night, although incorporeal and not automatically effective to the world of Malkuth, are not just pretend at the moment. A well visualized ball flying at your face can trigger a dodge response. That's real.

Do the exercises you know to do. iMage the body of light. iMage the circulations. iMage the pentagrams. iMage the flames uniting them. iMage the blue egg. Feel free to do some with eyes closed for now, don't ask what masters do. Close your eyes, sit in a lotus or half lotus, imagine in front of you a television screen. Keep imagining it until you can project stories on it. Watch those stories create themselves. You've begun to learn to see something. Open your eyes. Play with your hands and see them alight, imagine them aflame. Form a blue ball between your palms and play with that ball.

The more you do the prescribed exercises you already know (not just intellectually imagining or pretending the spheres, circulations, flames, and stars; but actively imagining them), your body of light will grow in strength and power. But you must silence yourself and actually do the work. Your questions aren't annoying questions; your constantly tugging at the robe and saying "mister? mister? mister? mister? mister?" is the annoyance.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Luce » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:56 am

I must have read Jim's answer a dozen times, and reflected on it for hours over two days... I had follow-up questions that I couldn't figure out -- things I was hoping to get clarification on (e.g., did Jim mean x or y... What about z? Did I interpret x correctly or am I projecting? etc.). I didn't just jump onto a separate topic -- they were clarifying questions. I'm alone in a hotel this week; a lot can happen in two days!
Your questions aren't annoying questions; your constantly tugging at the robe and saying "mister? mister? mister? mister? mister?" is the annoyance.

Your commentary on Jim's post is exceedingly helpful. Thanks!

I guess just be thankful I'm not tugging on your robe. :wink:
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:00 am

Luce wrote:One member says my questions are "very valuable" and the next says they are "exceedingly annoying." :roll:

Even though you say you've reread my post many times, please read it again. I didn't say they are annoying. The word "annoy" doesn't appear on this page until you used it. That's a projection: You're the one judging something as annoying, not me.\

I said they were exceedingly tedious.

Jim, I think it's important to remember what it's like to be an absolute beginner without any magical training whatsoever. You probably do remember what it's like, but it's still not the same as actually BEING an absolute beginner.

Yes, I remember. Not counting the employment of Sybil Leek books at 13 or 14, once I seriously showed an adult interest in the subject my first priority was to get someone to train me.

You haven't been one for decades, and so these questions probably seem really annoying and silly.

Just to be clear: This is your characterization of your questions, not mine.

So when someone says they can see their pentagrams, my first thought is "no way, they can't actually mean that they REALLY see them.. it just must be imagination"

What you aren't getting is that imagination - the brain's capacity to generate images - is how you see everything. It's quite misleading to think that it has to come through your eyeballs, since there is not enough data pass through your eyeballs to give you the visual nuances you likely claim that you see. All sight is done by imagination.

When you realize this - really get it and understand it so that you don't trust that any of it is true, but all of it is useful - you can start to let go of distinguishing between things seen that are stimulated from light striking your retina, and those that are not.

I suspect it is not your failure of being able to see certain things, but of some psychological barrier to taking them as being as real as, say, images of other cars on the freeway.

But thank you for answering my questions and seeing my sincerity despite your annoyance.

I'm not annoyed. You're the guy who keeps bringing that up.

Do you (or anyone reading this) have the link where you explain the vibration drills?

I don't, it was in the middle of answering someone else's questions. Go to Google and search for something like site:heruraha.net vibration name
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Luce » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:08 am

Sorry, I didn't mean to project; I just thought answering tedious questions must be annoying. I'm just glad you're not annoyed; I'm really not trying to be obtuse, but it seems my posts or personality or something really (****) people off. I'm sure when I'm more experienced I'll look over these posts and shake my head at myself.

I keep being told that I need to understand that seeing doesn't happen in the eyes, but I feel I already know that. When I say "it's just imagination" I don't mean "doesn't happen with the physical eyes." I guess imagination is a poor choice of words, but I can scarcely think of any other way to say it.

I wonder if my visualization is so bad that it creates a gap when I talk about it with experienced visualizers. It always feels like people just don't get what I mean, and it makes me want to pull my hair out.

When I draw a pentagram I can imagine that it's there... But I can see everything behind it completely fine. It's not there in my field of vision. It's the same thing as if I imagine a soda can on my shelf. In some sense I'm imagining it being there, but in no way, shape, or form is it in my field of view. There is no visual indication at all, and I don't just mean my physical eyes. I mean anywhere in my visual field of view (goodness, it's hard for me to get my thoughts accross on this subject).

When I talk about this, I think people think that I do see it in my visual field, but that I'm just sitting there thinking, "but am I really seeing it with my eyes? Or is it just in my head?" This is most emphatically not the case. It doesn't show up in my visual field at all.

It's the same with closed-eye visuals. I think people think I'm just second-guessing myself and asking if it's real or not. But that's not the case! I really truly cannot see anything when my eyes are closed. I sometimes see things before falling asleep, and I had one experience during deep relaxation where I actually started to visualize. I was sitting there and I really saw things behind my closed eyes. But this is NOT normal. It's not an issue of seeing the stimuli and just getting all heady and wondering if it's real or not.

I asked all my friends if they can close their eyes and see a red triangle. Most of them can, and they say they are actually seeing it. I can't do this. I've only been able to do this during periods of deep relaxation, or when I'm falling asleep or waking up. When I do see something I accept it! I never sit there and ask if I'm seeing it with my eyes or in my head or blah blah blah. When I see it I'm ecstatic.

The one time I saw something during meditation I was so excited! But I was so relaxed my whole body was numb. I could actually see stars and planets and stuff, but this is not a normal experience for me! So for me to try to translate that into seeing pentagrams while I walk around... Ho boy, that seems bloody impossible.

So again, when I imagine a pentagram during the LBRP, there's nothing in my visual field. Nothing overlaying reality, nothing blocking any physical object, nothing. For example, you know when you stare at a light source and then look around and you see light spots on objects? It's not even like that, at all. Or when you stare at a tattva and look at the wall and see a green triangle on the wall? It's nothing like that at all. Nothing is in my visual field.

I guess if anyone is willing to share, I do have one question I think would help me a lot to know if I'm broken. Related to the above example, when you stare at a tattva and look at a white wall, you see the complement color shape on the wall. Can you see that exact same thing on the wall without first staring at a tattva? Can you just right now look at the wall and see a green triangle in the same way you could if you first looked at a tattva? Is it normal for people to be able to do that? Can everyone do that?
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Mar 17, 2016 11:23 am

Luce wrote:Sorry, I didn't mean to project

We never do :)

When I draw a pentagram I can imagine that it's there... But I can see everything behind it completely fine.

That might be a matter of depth of concentration. A similar phenomenon occurs when we try to think a single thought. Obviously our brains produce many thoughts simultaneously but, when we concentrate on a particular thought, our awareness of the others recedes according to the depth and thoroughness of our concentration. They don't go away (just like furniture doesn't go away when you draw a pentagram, unless it was a Banishing Furniture Pentagram), but the thought you're concentrating on is "opaque."

Let me ask you a question, though: Can you hear the pentagram as you draw it? Like surging electricity with a crackle or something similar? Do you feel it being present as if you were spraying (oh, I dunno) whipped cream that hung in the air? Can you smell or taste it? Any of these?

...when you stare at a tattva and look at a white wall, you see the complement color shape on the wall. Can you see that exact same thing on the wall without first staring at a tattva?

Yes, easier. Also, without using the tattva it has sharper edges. In the past I've actually had to work to make sure I didn't simply "put it there" myself.

Is it normal for people to be able to do that? Can everyone do that?

Many people can do it. Most people can do it with enough practice.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Luce » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:33 pm

Let me ask you a question, though: Can you hear the pentagram as you draw it? Like surging electricity with a crackle or something similar? Do you feel it being present as if you were spraying (oh, I dunno) whipped cream that hung in the air? Can you smell or taste it? Any of these?


No, nothing. There is no indication it's there. I'm just moving my finger around and trying my darndest to actually form it, but there's no perception of it at all. No stimuli, no nothing. It feels almost the same as if I just was drawing a rectangle in mid air to show someone where I live on an invisible map ("imagine this box is Canada, and I'm over here in this corner"). Or if I was doing a dance that involved moving my hand in a specific way.

So I don't think it's that I'm just refusing to accept it as "real." There's just nothing to accept. It's not that I see a blue overlay of a pentagram and I'm just thinking "no, that's imagination" or hearing something and thinking "am I really hearing that with my ears?"

I DO feel subjective effects from the ritual (calm, a sense of purity or cleanliness) but as I said, it's similar to taking a relaxing bath or doing something else that is psychologically and emotionally calming and cleansing.

But when it comes to the actual experience of drawing a pentagram, it's not really any different than the first day I did the ritual. If I got my friend who's never done magic to trace a pentagram in the air, I think his experience of tracing it would be the same as my experience of tracing it.

I didn't even know this was abnormal until this thread. I thought most people just trace them in the air and picture them in their mind to be there. When I trace them, I try to imagine in my mind that they are there, but there's no perceptual difference for me at all.

But if most people can look at a wall and see a triangle on it, I must be really really bad at visualizing. I just stared at the wall and tried to see a triangle but I don't see a blessed thing. Just the wall. No colors, no hint of lines, nothing. All I see is the wall and those floaty things that move when you look at them.

What do I do?? I feel like I don't even know how to really train my visualization because I don't even have a base from which to start. I think this is one of the core problems that leads to all my questions. I can't just do these rituals and figure things out for myself because I don't even have that basic experience or skillset to go off of.

I promise I'm not just being heady and rejecting the triangle. It's not that I see it in some way and am just denying it because it's not actually light hitting my eyes. If I were to stare at a wall and try to imagine a red triangle on it, and then were to draw an exact picture of my visual field, I wouldn't be drawing a triangle. I would draw the floaties, the visual "noise," and of course, the wall.

I have no way of knowing if I am actually drawing pentagrams in the astral or not, and this makes it really hard to take what I've learned and run with it to figure it out for myself.

To further explain, let's say I have two experiences, A and B.

Experience A: I draw a pentagram as part of the ritual, trying to draw it in the astral, knowing it should be blue electric-light.

Experience B: I just trace a pentagram with my finger without trying to do anything in the astral or anything magical at all (like if I was just trying to show the shape of a pentagram to someone who didn't know what one was and we didn't have paper).

My experience A and B feel the same.The only difference is that in A I'm trying to think in my head that I just drew a blue pentagram. But other than that act of intentionality, there is no difference. In A I'm trying to make one in the astral and in B I'm not, but according to all my perception and stimuli and field of view and hearing and feeling, it's the same.

Are you able to see if someone draws something in the astral through a video, or does it have to be in person? If you saw a video of an experienced magician doing an LBRP, could you tell what color pentagrams were being drawn? I'm assuming it would only be able to be seen in person, right?
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Takamba » Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:48 pm

I'm going to recommend learning about alpha state meditation techniques. Essentially that's that pre-sleep like state you go to when you do have those visualization experiences you mentioned that are rare for you. Self-hypnosis is a technique I'd also explore. Maybe a guided audio visualization method. Essentially, you just need to practice letting go and letting visual work for you.

Jim keeps recommending "concentration." I think this is throwing you off. It's too soon to encourage you to learn to concentrate on the objects, we need to get you to relax and let go of yourself first so that you can begin to find the objects you need to concentrate on.

Here's a basic wikihow on the topic: http://www.wikihow.com/Enter-Alpha-State-of-Mind
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:38 pm

In addition to Takamba's recommendation, I'd just like to observe that it sounds like you're beating up on yourself for the wrong reasons and letting yourself go too easily on the things you should be challenging yourself on.

FWIW:

- For most people in my experience this stuff doesn't come naturally. It requires a certain knack. Once you get the knack, it becomes much easier to develop. You have to figure out the knack for yourself; it's not something that can be given to you. A good analogy are Magic Eye images. Other people can tell you until the cows come home that all you need to do is look through the image to see the picture but, until you're able to let your eyes relax and actually look through the picture, you'll just continue to stare at a rectangle of static. Once you do get it, though, your eyes will automatically click in to any Magic Eye image for the rest of your life.

- On another thread, you listed a laundry list of rituals you currently have in your repertoire. I can't necessarily say what's right or wrong for your specific case but I might consider paring that list down to just the Lesser Pentagram rituals and put your focus on quality rather than quantity. Drill this baby every day, 2-3 times a day, and do it with the intention of developing your visual imagination. Take your time with the pentagrams and Archangels, every time. Start to train your subconscious that this is important and she will start to work with you. If you just keep punishing her by using phrases like "I think I'm broken", I can guarantee that she'll take you at your word and play the part.

- In-between your practice of the ritual proper, you might consider putting some time into visualization practice. Tattva cards are great for this. Sitting for 5 minutes a day, closed eyes, putting my focus on visualizing a pentagram is how I got there. It took a few months, and from there it took another year, maybe, before it really started translating itself into open-eye visuals... but it's getting there.

- On another thread you started and have since deleted, a very specific block to both visualization and discipline was pointed out to you. This is not unconnected, unfortunately. All of this is about using your self-consciousness to control your animal body in order to free your subconscious to communicate with your super-consciousness. Your self-consciousness needs to be in the driver's seat if you want your animal body (your visualizing mechanism) to follow its guidance.

- Cannabis, at a threshold dose, helped me. I don't think it's anything specific about THC's mild hallucinatory properties since, for me at least, they don't kick in until higher doses. At a threshold level, it simply helps to shut off my analyser and give my body the feeling of being in a heightened state. From there, is a much easier step towards believing that I can actually see things that aren't there physically. If cannabis isn't in your wheelhouse, alcohol at buzz rather than tipsy level might do it. Or just a really charged temple environment (candles, incense, bells, mantra, the whole nine yards), anything to break your rational mind out of consensus reality and into magical reality.
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Quaestor Lucis » Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:05 am

93 to All!

Do you (or anyone reading this) have the link where you explain the vibration drills?


I think that's what Mr. Eshelman meant by "vibration drills":

I don't think your technique (as I understand from your description) is particularly good. This doesn't (for example) sound like Gregorian chant (though that would be cool in its own right). I don't have anything I've written on the subject (it always makes most sense to me to teach this in person, one-on-one), but let's try something simple.

The idea is to get the deepest, most resonate utterance possible, with each syllable having its own weight. If I were to exaggerate hugely (hugely!), you want to turn into a cathedral style pipe organ, the kind of instrument that is physically felt and, more importantly, is emotionally felt for its resonance and depth.

Why do this? I suspect it is mostly psychological, and secondarily does set up a resonance in the physical body that has various advantageous effects.

To practice, stand upright and do a little shaking loose the physical stress and tension, and a little light rhythmic breathing. Then take a deep breath, and aim your voice substantially lower than you think makes any sense - as low as you can go (we're looking for a "floor" that is below what you eventually will use) - and slowly let out the most resonant "Ahhhhh" on a single note that you can. (You can use other syllables, but this is a good one for mouth shape and sound.)

Concentrate primarily on your physical body sensations. Watch the breath, how it moves out, how everything feels in your body. (At this point, it probably will feel all wrong.)

Take another deep breath and, this time, start at the same place and then, every few seconds, raise the tone a note or two. Pause at each place to witness how your physical body feels. At some point - still down in the deep registers - something will happen that is quite different, that resembles a tuning fork suddenly having the right note sounded near it. Your body will take on a new "buzz," will enter into the vibration more. If you move up, past it, this effect will stop. After you've found it once, you can move up and down past it, and find that when you are exactly on that spot, you will have this additional, distinctive "buzz" in your body, but you won't have it above or below that.

This is the note you should use.

Except, it will change. It will change (just a little) more or less every time you work. It varies with you, the room, the temperature, your physical and psychological condition, etc. So you need to practice finding it, after which it will be pretty automatic to go to (or near) the right spot every time (and easy to tweak it, with the highly recognizable feel, if you don't hit it outright).

Unless you are using specialty techniques that assign distinctive notes to each Hebrew letter, you should keep your tone steady throughout an entire vibration. Make every syllable of even length and weight with the others. YOD HEH VAV HEH is four even syllables of equal weight, but so is AH DO NA EE, etc.


hope, it will be as useful for you as for me)
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Quaestor Lucis » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:58 am

Mr. Eshelman, what is FLO?
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Re: Ritual Questions From an Autodidact

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:11 am

Quaestor Lucis wrote:Mr. Eshelman, what is FLO?

Fraternitas L.V.X. Occulta (Fraternity of the Hidden Light)
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