The Magickal Stance Part One: Mindfulness, Relaxation and Priming the Channel
The Magickal Stance: Mindfulness, Relaxation and Priming Your Channel
To act magickally, no matter what your end, your brain must be able to release itself. What I mean by this is that this type of work requires a relaxed state of engagement. It is a challenge to create something new while in a state of anxiety. Nor is it likely that you will be able to do the job you want, infusing intention into your potion, sigil or poppet if your mind is unfocused. I have found that making magick while mentally shaky can also lead to unwanted results
The magickal stance is neither too tight nor too loose. It is the result of transcending mental obstacles that everybody faces: worry, fear, emotional over-stimulation, brain chattiness, excitement, dread, distraction, depression, sleepiness, anger, frustration, self-doubt, the constant comparison of the self to others or preoccupation with either the past or the future (among many other things). It is the willing suspension of disbelief. The magickal stance allows a person to lose track of themselves in the stream of activity, sometimes for hours at a time.
There are many paths to a magickal stance. Cultures worldwide have developed systems that help relax the body, focus the mind and tap into a larger power. I will discuss a few of these systems and techniques, ones that I have found to be particularly useful in my endeavors. Some of them have benefits far outside the adoption of a magickal stance. I am of the opinion that, if you make them a part of your daily life, they can help with all aspects of it.
A Habit out of Mindfulness
The cultivation of mindfulness is a necessary precursor to the magickal stance although the two are not the same. Mindfulness a is receptive practice during which you inhabit the present moment entirely rather than splitting your focus between the present, past and future and all of the other things you might be doing. When you practice mindfulness, you hone your senses and dwell within your experience. As a person with pretty significant ADHD, it takes everything I have to practice mindfulness, but the benefits are worth the effort.
There is in entire industry based around mindfulness but a mindful approach is deceptively simple. It requires the repeated practice of drawing one’s attention back to the moment at hand. Over and over and over and over and over. The ability to clear one’s mind and to experience the moment in minute detail that results in the sustained practice of mindfulness can pave the way for a magickal stance. Once mindfulness becomes a natural way of interacting with your world, your ability to control your mental activity can be remarkable. Mindfulness allows you to make better choices, and in a challenging situation, to act rather than react.
Some people have an easier time of achieving focus than others. For me, it’s never been particularly easy. When I was in university, I often had to trick my brain into focus by pushing myself up against deadlines. This can work effectively with academics as well creative projects as long as there is an external “reason” like a grouchy professor who doesn’t like excuses. But with magick, most often, the only person holding you accountable is you so the ability to focus must come from within.
This is the internet’s dankest stash of mindfulness resources. http://www.wildmind.org/mindfulness
Here is renown author and Buddhist nun Pema Chodron talking about mindfulness. It is an excellent listen.
Relaxing the Mind and Body
The frame of mind necessary to create a work of art or craft or to imbue something with intention requires relaxation alert relaxation. There are many ways to go about doing this and I like to do several of them at once. A nice cup of tea can be a great way to create a sense of ritual and connect to some plant allies. I like to tailor my herb selection to my planned activities, planets I want to connect to, etc. My basic go-to is mugwort and lavender and I add other herbs to that, depending on my witchy plans. I will also choose one of my gemstone friends and apply some essential oils to my energy centers. The centerpiece of all of this is the relaxation exercise. You can do any style that works for you but the one I prefer far and away is Yoga Nidra. This is the meditation most often done at the end of a yoga practice while reclining in sivasana. An instructor guides you to feel your consciousness inhabit different parts of your body, vacillating between opposites: left and right, hot and cold, outside and inside. It has been compared to a “mental massage” and I have found that it is very toning to my nervous system. If I’m drowsy, the right one can make me feel alert. If I’m stressed at the beginning, it is unlikely I will still be stressed by the end. There are many Yoga Nidra teachers who make their recordings available online but I consider Jennifer Piercy to be an absolute poet.
This exercise has many benefits to the body and mind. It has been demonstrated to be effective in battling PTSD as well as chronic pain, depression and many other diseases that etch deep grooves into the nervous system. It promotes healthy, restful sleep (something I can attest to!) It also stimulates activity in the pineal gland or third eye. This last thing makes it an exceptional relaxation exercise to promote a magickal stancd. Visualization is an essential part of magick!
For me, direct attempts to move my third eye, if stuck, only make my wheels spin out. I have found that doing a Yoga Nidra before efforts at visualization is much more effective than trying to force it. If you make Yoga Nidra a habit, you will likely notice an easier relationship develop between your ego-consciousness and physiological responses, including your third eye.
Yoga Nidra Resources
Priming Your Channel:
To make yourself the best possible channel — a conductor of magick, a creator of art, a vehicle of the change you want to see, etc. etc, it is necessary to make a routine of mindfulness and relaxation. If you are a Reiki practitioner and have fallen out of practice, pick it back up! If you aren’t a Reiki practitioner, I recommend learning something that gets you in touch with your life force. I have found Qi Gong, Yoga (particularly Kundalini) and Tai Chi to be great tools of learning how to wield your inner force. Aikido is also Ki based and a great option if you want something more physical.
My next post will discuss methods of energetic cleansing, something else I have found to be instrumental to making the best possible magick. I will post a few of my own cleansing meditations. Meanwhile, try some mugwort and lavender tea as part of your Yoga Nidra practice to help tone your third eye!