To work magic effectively, the ability to concentrate the attention must be built up until the mind can enter a trance-like condition. This is accom-plished in a number of stages: absolute motionlessness of the body, regula-tion of the breathing, stopping of thoughts, concentration on sound, concentration on objects, and concentration on mental images.
Arrange the body in any comfortable position and try to remain in that position for as long as possible. Try not to blink or move the tongue or fingers or any part of the body at all. Do not let the mind run away on long trains of thought but rather observe oneself passively. What appeared to be a comfortable position may become agonizing with time, but persist! Set aside some time each day for this practice and take advantage of any opportunity of inactivity which may arise.
Record the results in the magical diary. One should not be satisfied with less than five minutes. When fifteen have been achieved, proceed to regulation of the breathing.
Stay as motionless as possible and begin to deliberately make the breathing slower and deeper. The aim is to use the entire capacity of the lungs but without any undue muscular effort or strain. The lungs may be held empty or full between exhalation and inhalation to lengthen the cycle. The important thing is that the mind should direct its complete attention to the breath cycle. When this can be done for thirty minutes, proceed to not-thinking.
The exercises of motionlessness and breathing may improve health, but they have no other intrinsic value aside from being a preparation for not thinking, the beginnings of the magical trance condition. While motion-less and breathing deeply, begin to withdraw the mind from any thoughts which arise. The attempt to do this inevitably reveals the mind to be a raging tempest of activity. Only the greatest determination can win even a few seconds of mental silence, but even this is quite a triumph. Aim for complete vigilance over the arising of thoughts and try to lengthen the periods of total quies-cence.
Like the physical motionlessness, this mental motionlessness should be practiced at set times and also whenever a period of inactivity presents itself. The results should be recorded in your diary.
The Magical Trance
Magic is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will. The will can only become magically effective when the mind is focused and not interfering with the will. The mind must first discipline itself to focus its entire attention on some meaningless phenomenon. If an attempt is made to focus on some form of desire, the effect is short circuited by lust of result. Egotistical identification, fear of failure, and the reciprocal desire not to achieve desire, arising from our dual nature, destroy the result.
Therefore, when selecting topics for concentration, choose subjects of no spiritual, egotistical, intellectual, emotional, or useful significance -meaningless things.
The legend of the evil-eye derives from the ability of wizards and sorcerers to give a fixed dead stare. This ability can be practiced against any object - a mark on a wall, something in the distance, a star in the night sky -anything. To hold an object with an absolutely fixed, unwavering gaze for more than a few moments proves extraordinarily difficult, yet it must be persisted in for hours at a time. Every attempt by the eye to distort the object, every attempt by the mind to find something else to think of, must be resisted. Eventually it is possible to extract occult secrets from things by this technique, but the ability must be developed by working with mean-ingless objects.
The part of the mind in which verbal thoughts arise is brought under magical control by concentration on sounds mentally imagined. Any simple sound of one or more syllables is selected, for example Aum or Om, Abrahadabra, Yod He Vau He, Aum Mani Padme Hum, Zazas Zazas, Nasatanada Zazas. The chosen sound is repeated over and over in the mind to block all other thoughts. No matter how inappropriate the choice of sound may seem to have been, you must persist with it. Eventually the sound may seem to repeat itself automatically and may even occur in sleep. These are encouraging signs. Sound concentration is the key to words of power and certain forms of spell casting.
The part of the mind in which pictorial thoughts arise is brought under magical control by image concentration. A simple shape, such as a trian-gle, circle, square, cross, or crescent, is chosen and held in the minds eye, without distortion, for as long as possible. Only the most determined efforts are likely to make the imagined form persist for any time. At first the image should be sought with the eyes closed. With practice it can be projected onto any blank surface. This technique is the basis of casting sigils and creating independent thought forms.
The three methods of attaining magical trance will only yield results if pursued with the most fanatical and morbid determination. These abilities are highly abnormal and usually inaccessible to human conscious-ness, as they demand such inhuman concentration, but the rewards are great. In the magical diary, record each days formal work and whatever extra opportunities have been utilized. No page should be left blank.
The transmutation of the mind to magical consciousness has often been called the Great Work. It has a far-reaching purpose leading eventually to the discovery of the True Will. Even a slight ability to change oneself is more valuable than any power over the external universe. Metamorphosis is an exercise in willed restructuring of the mind.
All attempts to reorganize the mind involve a duality between
conditions as they are and the preferred condition. Thus it is impossible to cultivate any virtue like spontaneity, joy, pious pride, grace or omnipotence without involving oneself in more conven-tionality, sorrow, guilt, sin and impotence in the process. Religions are founded on the fallacy that one can or ought to have one without the other. High magic recognizes the dualistic condition but does not care whether life is bittersweet or sweet and sour; rather it seeks to achieve any arbitrary perceptual perspective at will.
Any state of mind might arbitrarily be chosen as an objective for transmutation, but there is a specific virtue to the ones given. The first is an antidote to the imbalance and possible madness of the magical trance. The second is a specific against obsession with the magical practices in the third section. They are:
Attaining these states of mind is accomplished by a process of on-going meditation. One tries to enter into the spirit of the condition when-ever possible and to think about the desired result at other times. By this method, a strong new mental habit can be established.
Consider laughter: it is the highest emotion, for it can contain any of the others from ecstasy to grief. It has no opposite. Crying is merely an underdeveloped form of it which cleanses the eyes and summons assistance to infants. Laughter is the only tenable attitude in a universe which is a joke played upon itself.
The trick is to see that joke played out even in the neutral and ghastly events which surround one. It is not for us to question the universes apparent lack of taste. Seek the emotion of laughter at what delights and amuses, seek it in whatever is neutral or meaningless, seek it even in what is horrific and revolting. Though it may be forced at first, one can learn to smile inwardly at all things.
Non-attachment/Non-disinterest best describes the magical condition of acting without lust of result. It is very difficult for humans to decide on something and then to do it purely for its own sake. Yet it is precisely this ability which is required to execute magical acts. Only single-pointed awareness will do. Attachment is to be understood both in the positive and negative sense, for aversion is its other face. Attachment to any attribute of oneself, ones personality, ones ambitions, ones relationships or sensory experi-ences - or equally, aversion to any of these - will prove limiting.
On the other hand, it is fatal to lose interest in these things for they are ones symbolic system or magical reality. Rather, one is attempting to touch the sensitive parts of ones reality more lightly in order to deny the spoiling hand of grasping desire and boredom. Thereby one may gain enough freedom to act magically.
In addition to these two meditations there is a third, more active, form of metamorphosis, and this involves ones everyday habits. However innocuous they might seem, habits in thought, word, and deed are the anchor of the personality. The magician aims to pull up that anchor and cast himself free on the seas of chaos.
To proceed, select any minor habit at random and delete it from your behavior: at the same time adopt any new habit at random. The choices should not involve anything of spiritual or egocentric, or emotional signifi-cance, nor should you select anything with any possibility of failure. By persisting with such simple beginnings you become capable of virtually anything.
All works of metamorphosis should be committed to the magical diary.