The first skill in Hermetic Magick, as I practice it, and in performing magick in general, is conscious mental concentration. Which is the ability of altering your consciousness at will to achieve a specific desired state of consciousness, and concentrate on that state during the ritual.
The most common practice in magick and witchcraft, is to access to the subconscious by activating a trance state. Many techniques can be used for that purpose, but this is not our goal here. The goal is to go way beyond that and altering consciousness without using a full trance state.
Before we do that, let’s understand what exactly we mean by different states of consciousness, by practicing few exercises :
Important Note – I’m not “teaching” anything. Those are the exercises I personally use for the reasons and objectives mentioned. I’m only sharing them to inspire you to find new ideas that may benefit you in your own journey.
1st Exercise :
Sit in a comfortable position. Your back should be straight. Close your eyes and try to enter a meditative state. Do not think of anything. When your mind brings a thought to your mind, recognize it then let it go. Forget it. And keep your mind clear. Focus all your attention inwards. Concentrate on the peaceful darkness, the void you see with your eyes closed. Feel that peace and calm your mind gradually to the point of no-activity. Do that for a bout 30 minutes.
This classic meditation exercise allows you to feel the disconnection between you and your conscious mind. To understand that you are the “watcher’ behind the scenes. When you feel this awareness of yourself… you bring strength to the divine spirit within you and become aware of the activity of your conscious mind without identifying this activity with your “self”. In other words, it helps you to realize that you are not your mind.
2nd Exercise :
Repeat the first exercise, but this time with your eyes open and looking or gazing at a spot of your choice. Then instead of focusing your attention inwards… focus it outwards. Try to hear everything around you, whatever your ears can pick up, hear it. You may hear many different things. Focus on one then move to another. After that, use your eyes to see all little details around you. Things you don’t usually pay attention to. Stupid meaningless things. Whatever is around you, move your eyes to each thing and look at it, as if you see it for the first time. Feel that connection with it. Feel its existence. Move your hand around yourself slowly… feel the muscles your using to do that… feel the air you’re moving while you move your hand from right to left, slowly then from left to right. Use a different hand and do the same.
Spend about 30 minutes to 1 hour. The objective of this exercise to let you connect your conscious awareness to your subconscious level of awareness. Everything around you and within you, you’re aware of it subconsciously. To establish a connection between the conscious and subconscious, you need to bring what you’re subconsciously aware of, to your conscious awareness.
3rd Exercise :
Now sit in the same position explained earlier. And think of one thought. It could be anything. Your hand, a car that you like, a loved one, a job, the weather, your pet… anything. Pick one thing and keep it in mind. But do not “think about” it. Keep it in mind as it is. For example, if you think of a car. Then only bring to mind the image of that car. Or look at a picture of it. The way IT IS in the picture. The color, the design etc Be focused on it, don’t just look at it. Try to “Study” each detail as if someone will ask you about it tomorrow and you need to answer all questions correctly.
Next day. Repeat the same exercise but this time THINK ABOUT that same object or thing. The car for example. This time, allow your mind to go wherever it wants with it, but not to think of anything else. Where and how it’s made? Who could be selling it around you? How it would be like to drive it? etc Anything and everything you could think of. Again, study each thought carefully. Spend time and effort on each thought. When images arise, let them show up and daydream if you wish.
Next day – or the same day if you have time! – repeat the same exercise. This time, start with the same object or thought… then let your mind drift to something completely different. For example. Start with that car… think of how that color, let’s say it’s black, look wonderful and attractive…then think of a black race motorcycle with the same attractive color… focus on thinking about that new object… and do the same with it, move to something different…the man driving it for example, think of his outfit how it would feel like if you wear it… how cool you would look like? imagine yourself wearing it. At the end, while you’re deeply busy thinking about this last thing… wearing the outfit for example. Suddenly use your will to force your mind to think of the first target again, the car, remember it and focus your attention on it again. Then remind yourself of how your thoughts moved from that car to “wearing the outfit”… go through that process again fast as if you fast-forward a video, when you reach that final scene, get back to the first thought, the car.
This exercise was long, you can do it in one day or during several days. It’s extremely important that you complete it. The objective of this practice is to realize and understand how your conscious mind works and how you can control it, at will. Your thoughts must be under your full control all the time.
I suggest you spend a week or few days repeating those exercises. They’re easy, fun and very important.
In the next part of this post, we will examine how the different levels of consciousness operate. And how you can move from one level of consciousness to another, at will.
We discussed how to be aware of your thoughts and connect your conscious to your subconscious. In this post we will discuss and demonstrate how you can train your mind to operate in different levels of consciousness.
I will try to keep this short and as simple and as easy as possible.
First Exercise :
Sit in a comfortable position. Back straight. Close your eyes and think of an object of your choice, hold the image of that object in your mind, similar to daydreaming. Relax and just think about it visually. Most important is that you keep your body at minimum activity as possible. Just sit quietly and without any movement if possible. Breath normally and comfortably while you’re thinking and imagining that object, in any way you like. Do not concentrate on the act of visualizing it clearly. If visualization is an issue for you, simply think about that object.
You can do that for 15 to 30 minutes.
The objective of this exercise is to allow you focus all your conscious attention on one thought or idea or image. That means this thought exists in your conscious level of awareness.
Second Exercise :
Similar to the first exercise, choose the same object and think about it. But this time, while you’re looking or gazing at another object, that is not related in any way – as possible – to the object of your choice. For example, if you choose to focus on a pen, then you can gaze at a chair! It would be easier if you hold the image of the pen in your mind while gazing at the chair. For people familiar with sigils, this exercise should be really easy.
You can do this exercise for 15 to 30 minutes.
The objective of this exercise is to train your mind to hold a thought on a subconscious level, without conscious interference.
Third Exercise :
This one is a bit complicated but extremely important. What you need to do, is to start with the first exercise for a bout 5 minutes. Then move to the second exercise and practice it for another 5 minutes. Next you need to condition your mind to connect that object, with a specific emotion. Let’s say that your object is a pen. Imagine that pen in your mind’s eye or think about it… then feel a powerful emotion about it. Let’s assume your chosen emotion is “happiness”. Think of that pen and feel happy that you have it. Once you can clearly feel that emotion, hold it and remove the image or thought of the pen from your mind. Just feel happy that you have that pen, without directly imagining it. I hope that makes sense. Think of it like getting a really good news about something that didn’t happen yet. You would feel happy and excited “about it” without directly imagining it in your mind. You just feel that emotion of being happy about it. This is what you want to be doing in this exercise. The trick here is not to allow your mind to bring the object – the pen in this example – to your conscious awareness! When that happens, simply ignore or forget that thought and concentrate only on your emotion. That’s why we started in part one with controlling your thoughts.
Remain in that state for 10 minutes.
To take this a step further. Repeat the same exercise with different emotions for the same object. You already experienced the emotion of happiness, next you can try the emotion of hate, then pain/sadness, anger, pleasure…etc The more emotions you use in this exercise the better, as long as the object of your concentration remains the same.
The goal from this exercise is to move a thought or idea deep into the unconscious but at the same time, keeping an active connection with it in the conscious sphere of the mind. This requires “slight of mind” as Peter J Carroll described it.
Those three simple exercises will allow you to train your mind not only to control your thoughts, but also to move a thought through different levels of consciousness at will. And this skill is one of the most important skills in Hermetic magick, and magick in general.
I hope that you find this information helpful,