For a ritual to work on the material, there needs to be an alignment of the astral between the divine and the matter.
Bizarrely this is one of the most overlooked rules of magic, and yet it has been repeated in every system throughout history across many different traditions. Matter is stable order and subject to change only according to the rules of nature. If we want to make changes to that order using magic, we have to break the rules or use them in our favour. Magicians are more famous for breaking the rules even when magical results are brought about through the successful applications of natural laws. This is done in a ritual by temporarily returning Nature to the chaotic state from which it was born and rebuilding according to the magician’s will. Any ritual designed to bring about change must align itself for a moment to the chaotic before mimicking the creation of the world.
Biblical or mythological creations are limited for this purpose. They usually show a divine force moving in chaos and building matter from its own substance. However, the magician is not God and does not create their new world from within themselves. Instead, they make arrangements with spiritual forces to bring forth their Idea which they then bring through to matter. A magician may ascend to meet these spiritual forces using various techniques, but they must be seen and brought through what was known as the Astral Plane.
The Astral Plane was the sphere of the magician. The Kabbalists called it the Foundation because it was the basis for nature and was the meeting point between spirit and matter. In the Chaldean Oracles, it was ruled by the Goddess Hekate. On its lower aspects it mirrors the material world and is the place we go to when we dream. Its higher elements reflect the celestial sun and the spiritual forces.
This has led some magicians, particularly in the Dion Fortune tradition, to believe that all magic happens on the astral and the rules of ceremonial magic do not need to be followed. This has led to magicians who are successful on the astral never getting their magic to work on the material (and often discounting the need for it completely). While a ceremonial magician’s work might look like it is taking place in matter this should not be the case. What the magician is doing is attempting to symbolically mirror the summoned astral forces using symbols in matter to help earth the spiritual powers. On the other side of the coin, you find magicians who believe that these symbols are all you need to make your magic work. They follow tight scripts and strict symbolic rules (generally based around astrology) which are expected to draw power to the material. Unfortunately, this does not always work either because the symbols and drama are not powerful enough in their own right to attract the divine forces.
The truth lies in a balance between both approaches. Symbols and rituals are needed on the physical to draw power from the astral which the magician has visited as part of their preparation work or before a ritual opening.
What follows is an astral technique for preparing for a ritual on the material. Its goal is to line up the worlds before doing your normal rite. It is best done in low light conditions.
- Clear your space using something like the lesser ritual of the pentagram. Appropriately done this serves as a protection against corruption of the lower astral.
- Sit comfortably in the west and regulate your breathing to a four-two rhythm. So, Breath in for four, hold for two, breath out for four, hold for two and repeat.
- While you are doing, imagine the world around you dissolving into chaos. Everything that exists, your thoughts, your fears, your past, your worries, are returned to their essential components – you are going for a quiet relaxed mind. Each time a thought appears let it dissolve into chaos as you breath out.
- When you have settled into this pattern, visualise a ball of white light above your head. Try to think of this as the highest form of Divinity you can. It is what you aspire to…. Don’t give it a form, just keep it as a bright star. Keep breathing as before. Now visualise inside your body around the height of your groin is a silver bowl. This is the representation of your own personal astral power.
- Keep breathing on the four two rhythm but as you breath in see the white light pouring down your spine from the sphere filling the silver bowl. As you breathe out, visualise the mist flowing outwards from your groin. It looks like someone has put dry ice into a bowl.
- The mist fills the room like incense smoke or fog. It is essential you keep breathing in and visualising the light coming from above to below.
- Keep doing this until the room is full of silvery mist.
- Take a final deep breath to fill the silver bowl again but do not breathe it out.
What you have done is filled your sacred space with the highest form of astral energy. This can now be shaped into an inner temple or used for the godforms you which to invoke. You can now proceed with your normal ritual. But as you do, visualise everything you can. If you invoke a god create it from the astral mist as you read the invocation. If done properly the mist will help you see things more clearly.
Once you have finished your ritual it is important you break the connection between the silver bowl and the created mist. This is done by doing the sign of silence, stamping your foot and imagining a cover being placed on the bowl. This is important as it will prevent you losing your personal energy