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6 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2008 - 9:14AM #1
xLivinglifEx
Posts: 61
I always wondered what it took to do ceremonial magick.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2008 - 11:39AM #2
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
Well, I'm probably the least experienced in it, but I know enough to help you at such a basic level. It may be better this way since I'm sure most everyone else is probably not too keen on going over fundamentals.

The Key word is "Ceremony". So you need the "trappings", so to speak; no pun intended consciously.

You need a Wand, a Cup, a Dagger, a Disk or Pantacle, a Chain, a Scourge, Oil in a special Flask and a special Lamp. These are symbolic and practical at the same time.

You'll need a platform upon which to put everything and above which is the Lamp, which illuminates all. The platform is your Altar.

All of this and what you do with these things are and happen within a Temple.

You'll need to draw a circle and perform certain rituals before even getting into the Ceremonies Proper, though the rituals are also Ceremonies too...

Depending on what you're up to, you may need to also construct or imply a triangle and have a supply of a certain special something which gets utilized to populate same. This is getting into stuff you'll need to know all about before you try unless you're foolishly reckless.

This is very very general and next to useless, as the details bring all the parts together to create Whole much greater than their sum.

You're going to need to do much reading. I don't think anyone here will have the time or patience to explain much more than this.

I'll obviously share what I know, though, So hit me up to be a Friend.

Take care.
What Fatal Flowers of Darkness Bloom from Seeds of Light!
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2008 - 7:01PM #3
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832
Strictly speaking, any ritualistic behavior done with a specific intent or purpose can be considered ceremonial magick. Such things as a baptism, marriage, purchase or lease of a residence, job interview...just depends how you define the term. Granted, most people reserve that term for the more "mumbo-jumbo" arcane sorts of rituals, but certainly, any religious ritual can be thought of as a form of ceremonial magick. Something as simple as saying grace before meals could be regarded as ceremonial magick even.

That said, I suggest taking a look at Donald M. Kraig's Modern Magick. It's a pretty decent all-around basic intro to CM. Then, if you find you're interested in a specific branch of ceremonialism, there are basic books for most of those these days.

Eyes and I are into Aleister Crowley's Thelema, so between the two of us, we can likely suggest some good starter works on that if you find you're interested.

I would also suggest looking into some books on witchcraft. Some people find that it is more practical and workable for their everyday needs than the "ivory tower" study and ritual work often done by ceremonial magickians.

Browsing a good bookstore's CM section is a great place to get a sense of what intrigues you these days. The solid people in the various branches will be well represented in most New Age independent bookstores as well as the large chains. On the whole, I've found that Borders carries a wider variety than does Barnes & Noble. No others of the large chains where I currently live, so that's the extent of my knowledge.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 04, 2008 - 7:12PM #4
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832
Incidentally, all the trappings that Eyes mentions are specified if you really decide to get heavily into all the paraphernalia. Some think it important at least to assemble and try out all that stuff, others experiment a bit with it, use some but not anywhere near all that. I would be among the latter.

The most such I've ever used to any extent was a plastic cube patio table covered with a nice cloth, a wand I whittled from a fallen tree branch, a candle and a few other things. So, you needn't get fancy with this sort of stuff unless you feel you wish to. A hanging lamp over your altar? Well, yeah, that's what you're supposed to do if you want to go the whole bells and whistles route, but you certainly don't need to get that elaborate.

I would not, however, suggest moving the toaster and condiments off the kitchen table to set up a temporary altar for doing rituals. There IS something to be said for having a particular area set aside and implements you use only for rituals. If space is an issue, and you must have a temporary altar that can be easily dismantled, then I'd suggest a nice trunk or storage box that might double as your altar so that you can conceal your tools and implements between uses.

Nothing says implements such as incense burners, candleholders, bowls and such can't be things you already have and select for ritual use. However, there are procedures for cleansing and dedicating previously used items that most people I know do follow if they don't make or buy tools solely for ritual use. A number of reasons for this, which I can explain if you like.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 06, 2008 - 12:52PM #5
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
Hey Dot! One of my first friends... How are things out there?

So, I started with the Formal Answer to the question. As Dot indicates, anything is a ceremony. Brushing your teeth for example. The brush is the wand, executing your will. the sink is the cup. the toothpase is the dagger and your mouth/teeth may be the disk. I may have to think a bit more about that one... Maybe the mirror is the disk? The water I believe is the medium

When you write, your Pen/Quill is the Wand, the Ink well is the Cup, the Dagger would be used to keep the Quill's point sharp, and the Paperweight is the Disk. I think the Paper may be the medium...

There's a two-word phrase which I can't remember right now for what would correspond to the Water when brushing your teeth and the paper when writing. I'll post it later or tomorrow.

The wand is the instrument which, like one's hand, is your cutting edge. I guess the Hand is the Natural Wand.



Anyway. the symbolism is Key. Physical embodiments of the interfacing of your Sprit, Mind and Soul with the Universe, of which you are a part.

I have thought it somewhat "unnatural" to draw a circle on the floor to at least symbolically isolate yourself from something of and from which you necessarily are...

I have to admit I'm not a practicing Ceremonial Magician with regards to what I consider it to mean. I do however realize that whether we like it or not or realize it or not, we are basically magicians just by thinking and doing whatever it is we do with our lives. Practitioners of Magick I feel realize it on a more conscious level and actively develop technique to make the most out of all the Energy.

However, beware about being selfish and self absorbed. The Dark Side that way Lies.
What Fatal Flowers of Darkness Bloom from Seeds of Light!
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 07, 2008 - 7:44PM #6
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832
Well, actually, I don't know that I'd agree necessarily that such a simple and typically automatic task like brushing teeth is magick. Granted, it does have purpose; however, for many people, I think habitual acts of this type don't involve much intent. You're brushing because it's something you do, not something you think about sequentially as you're doing it, mindful of each step in the process that will culminate in the desired result.

As far as everyday tasks go, I'd say that planning what to have for dinner, finding a recipe or two, assembling ingredients and equipment required, etc., would be much more akin to how I understand CM. Intent and purpose, definitely, with focus and concentration required.

Thus, I opine that essentially mindless habitual acts such toothbrushing, showering, making the bed...whatever...don't really qualify even though they certainly are purposeful.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 08, 2008 - 12:49PM #7
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
It's very fortuitious that you said that, Dot!

During my meditation class Monday the instructor discussed the idea of doing something we do every day, such as drinking a cup of coffee, and trying to be very "mindful" of it.

I thought of the Zen tea ceremony.

That made me think of Ceremonial Magick.

I had a "realization" that when one is performing a CM ritual, they are very "in the moment"; very "mindful". Very Zen. Any time spent being in the moment is time spent being aware that one is alive and is time very well spent. Time is all we have when you think about it. Time is said to equal money. Invest your Time wisely.

An everyday task like brushing ones teeth is a ritual. It applies force to acheive a purpose. Magick, at least from one perspective is any action (including speaking or even thinking) which directs force towards an end. So, to me, brushing one's teeth is an act of Magick. Whether one is mindful while doing it is their problem or joy. Can't a Ceremonial Magician go through the motions of a ritual mindlessly if they've done it enough?

I hope I'm not offending anyone, but I reckon we're not all here to just create an echo chamber. What do you think?
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 08, 2008 - 2:24PM #8
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832

EyesoftheWorld wrote:

It's very fortuitious that you said that, Dot!



Glad you think so, Eyes.

I had a "realization" that when one is performing a CM ritual, they are very "in the moment"; very "mindful". Very Zen. Any time spent being in the moment is time spent being aware that one is alive and is time very well spent. Time is all we have when you think about it. Time is said to equal money. Invest your Time wisely.



Precisely. Which is one reason why Crowley said it was only a magickal act if the magickian is mindful and focused upon the intent.

Grabbing another beer almost reflexively, for instance, is not a magickal act. Sure, you have purpose, but it isn't one that you're thinking about when you act reflexively or impulsively. There's that disengagement or disconnect that renders it just something you're doing automatically.

Even if the friend you're with asks you if you want another, and you stop to consider whether you do, whether you should, etc., I still disagree that something this mundane and essentially unfocused is magick. It's just a decision to be made by weighing options.

An everyday task like brushing ones teeth is a ritual. It applies force to acheive a purpose. Magick, at least from one perspective is any action (including speaking or even thinking) which directs force towards an end. So, to me, brushing one's teeth is an act of Magick.



Nope, I still don't think so. Here's why. You're disregarding the crucial aspect for an act to be Magick as in ceremonial magick. Remember that thing called capital "W" Will? There's no clear relationship to one's Will in the magickal sense with such mundane activities, IMO. As I said before, it's just something you do, a good habit, but a relatively automatic action about which you rarely think other than maybe, "Damn! I forgot to brush my teeth," or "Did I brush my teeth? < tongue swipe to check >" Thus, it's a matter of small "w" will, i.e. a focused act but an ordinary one.

Whether one is mindful while doing it is their problem or joy.



Well, sure. That's true of basically any human act, wouldn't you say? But I'm not talking about how the person executes the act which could indeed form a problem or joy but rather whether or not the act is linked to Will obviously enough that it can legitimately be considered a magickal one.

Can't a Ceremonial Magician go through the motions of a ritual mindlessly if they've done it enough?



Of course, but here you're clearly talking about something that IS linked to the mage's Will when it's a formal ritual such as the LBRP, let's say. That's a failure in execution, not a distinction between what is or is not ceremonial magick.

What do you think?



You just found out, didn'tya? < sassy grin >

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6 years ago  ::  Oct 10, 2008 - 5:41PM #9
EyesoftheWorld
Posts: 1,707
Hello, Dot!
I do enjoy sounding ideas off of you and thinking about your ideas.

I think the "issue" here is that I am not in any way a Cermonial Magician. I have never performed or witnessed any Magickal Ceremony.

I have the association of the word "Magick" with exerting a Force to manifest a Change to bring Reality closer to one's Will.

So, if I want my teeth clean or cleaner, I consciously choose to brush them. They become clean/cleaner. My Will hath been done. Magick!

The Wand/Cup/Dagger/Disk paradigm is to me, artificial and to me seems like dramatic trappings.

However, I can appreciate the focus a ceremony produces. The Zen-like in the momentness, which I feel would be enhanced or facilitated by the "weapons", garments and setting.

I think I'm almost getting into "placebo" territory and I know I really don't know what I'm referring to, as I have not even seen CM, so I'm quite eager to learn what it is that CM can acheive.

I am however, maintaining that any act which successfully alters Reality to bring it nearer to what you Will Reality to Be is indeed Magick.

So... though brushing one's teeth usually does not occur in a Magic Circle, I don't see why it's not a Magical Ceremony. Please explain why it is not. Does CM have to happen in the context of a Magical Circle? I have thought that CM seems very controlled... though brushing ones' teeth is rather controlled...
Is it not CM if the "technical" Magical Weapons are not used? I'm confused, but cheeful!

And by the way, the two word phrase I was blanking on earlier is "Magical Link". Ii is that which impacts. or comes into contact with that which you want to change. It is the instrument/article containing or expressing the Will. Example: A persuasive letter which wins back your former lover.
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5 years ago  ::  Oct 23, 2008 - 4:03PM #10
Phoenix_Rising
Posts: 45
*lightbulb goes on*

So when I write poetry, being very mindful of every word (and it's spelling) and phrase and the sound and syllable count, as well as how and where each word appears on the page; while focusing my intent on the act of creation, it's a magickal ritual.  When I write out my weekly grocery list, which is a listing of items I am low on or out of only so I don't forget what I plan to go to the store for, it's not really a magickal act.

When I take a daily shower without mindfulness only to clean my body so I don't stink when I go out in public, it's not a magickal ritual, but a cleansing bath with scented bath oils or salts and candles and music meant to cleanse my spirit and my body (done with mindfulness and intent) is.

I don't fully get the references to some of the tools yet, like the Disk or the Lamp and Chain, but I'm willing to learn.  I'm also not entirely sure of the correspondences used in this sense to the two examples I gave (I have used a pen as an athame before, with an invocation similar to: "The pen is mightier than the sword, so let words guide us on our path").  Would either of you care to enlighten the newbie while I wait for my recently-ordered books to arrive?

Am I on track or way off in left field?

Phoenix Rising
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