The lower self or the indwelling personally is a part of the higher genius which has become lost in the plot of living. It surrounds itself with thinking which is useful for its existence but is useless for getting itself out of messes.
It can get in the way of magic because it will only allow events which fit into its limited worldview to manifest. In initial training work, we try to balance this personality, so it does not interfere, but for some magical workings, it is better to try to shut it off completely. We see an example of this in the 5=6 ritual of the Golden Dawn where a symbolic death causes the lower-self separate, and the self is pushed down to rule the darker aspects of the self.
For a while, I have been looking at why magic does not work in cases where it should. One of the issues focused on the use of emotion in a ritual. I was taught that emotion focused on the intention was desirable. Magical power often manifests as emotion when it plays out in the sphere of sensation.
However recently I have been talking to magicians who found that rituals where they were putting emotion in, were not working. I concluded that some of the problem was the lower self. The lower-self rules emotion as part of its natural power. When we come to use it in ritual, all the neurosis that the lower-self might express in that emotion comes to the fore. If we do love magic, the lower self brings all the emotional baggage which effectively has kept us single or unable to create a committed relationship.
It is, therefore, better to switch the lower-self off to allow the Higher Genius to take over. Emotion will come, but it will be a reaction to the Higher Genius power and will rather than Lower-self desires.
If we look at traditional magic, we can see lots of techniques which would switch off the lower self. After a lower-self rebellion, a long ritual or extended periods of chanting divine names would cause the lower-self to switch off at least long enough for the rite to work.
However, it is only part of what must happen. Switching off the lower-self must also be accompanied by the filling of the vacuum with the higher-self.
This exercise is designed to do both and might explain why the Golden Dawn did not put water into their elemental cup.
- Before your ritual sit comfortably and hold your elemental cup (if you dont have one a normal cup will do. Regulate your breathing and allow yourself to relax. Allow thoughts to arise in your mind, all your thoughts about the coming ritual, all your worries and fears. Each time you have a thought push it into the cup and see it slowly filling with water.
- Now visualise yourself as the cup full of water (your feet are the stem). It should not feel much different from your normal state of consciousness. You can see the worries, fears and emotions moving around inside you.
- Still the water and allow it to clear.
- Now allow the water to slowly drain from the cup as if it were going through you and into the floor. Do not force this just let it slowly drain away.
Pause for a few minutes to contemplate yourself as an empty cup.
- Then carefully without any emotion at all state the intention of your ritual. It should be stated as if you were doing it for someone else.
- Then say “I surrender to the will of the Higher Genuis.”
- Look above your head to see the white light of your Higher Genius. Reach up and draw that white light down to your forehead. Tap your forehead and see a hexagram form on your brow. Allow the white light to flood your brain. With this act, you are allowing the Higher Genius to take control of your thoughts.
- Now allow the white light to flow down and to fill the cup. If you wish you can see yourself either walking on water or being upheld by your lower self. You should feel noticeably different.
- Start your ritual.
Please note it will take a lot of time and practice to get this right, but each time you will get better at it.