Meditation and pathworking
Meditation is my primary magical tool. I have written before about the importance of meditation for achieving awareness, improving focus, and all-round well-being. I have also mentioned in videos that increasingly, my spiritual practice takes the form of active imagination or pathworking. It is through this kind of inner work that I have moved towards a magical practice.
I use several terms for this kind of work: active imagination, pathworking, astral travel, and trance work. I differentiate a little between these terms, but essentially I understand them to be the same thing.
Before I had a formal meditation practice, I was able to slip into my imagination during ritual. But as soon as I started to meditate daily, I noticed a sharp change in those trips to the imagination. They started to become more vivid, more active. I was able to allow myself to loosen my control and let the journey carry me. I felt called to them, and they quickly became the cornerstone of my ritual.
The neural pathways that meditation opens up and strengthens are evidently vital for this kind of work. Over time, my meditation practice has strengthened and deepened. In the past months I have found less time for pathworkings, but they continue to become more vivid and visceral, too.
I don’t have the necessary mental energy to do pathworkings every day, but meditation has become my go-to daily practice. Meditation ties me over; it keeps me tuned into that mode of being, keeps my connection with the Otherworld strong.
Trance work as magic
Most magical practices require an altered state of consciousness to do a working. How you achieve this state is up to you, but for me, meditation is the only method that has really produced results. In recent years I have not tended to cast a circle; but recently I have started to meditate for ten minutes or more with my prayer beads as a means of creating sacred space.
In my previous video on pantheistic witchcraft, and previously here on the blog, I talked about how I understand lucid dreaming to be an experience of the Otherworld. This is the state in which I believe it is most possible to touch the web of existence, to achieve inner and outer change.
Meditation is my key method for moving towards this state from consciousness. After a few minutes of formal meditation, I am ready to move into a trance state and journey in the dreamworld.
Meditation tips for this method
I talk about the basics of a meditation practice here; and it really is as simple as just following your breath. But there are various different things you can focus on when it comes to a meditation practice. I have formulated my meditation practice to best suit my spiritual beliefs and to strengthen my spiritual and magical practice.
- As you go deeper into the meditative state, you may find that the solid distinction between you and everything else becomes somewhat blurred. Turn your attention to this feeling, or try to find it in yourself. If you don’t feel it, return to the breath, but keeping feeling it out every now and then.
- Experiment with keeping your eyes closed or open. Keeping them closed will allow you to become more attuned to your inner self. It may also aid you in feeling that sense of blurred boundaries. But keeping your eyes open can create a greater sense of connection with everything outside your body. Your attention moves outward; and so a sense of infinite connection can be achieved.
- If you want to build up an active imagination or pathworking practice, make sure you keep this separate to your meditation. Guided or visualisations meditations are more in line with things like active imagination, but they are actually two very different animals. The aim of meditation is to achieve a state similar to deep, dreamless sleep. Pathworking on the other hand is tapping into your dreamworld.
How does meditating and pathworking effect change?
For me, the jury is still out on how much change we can effect externally using magical systems. I definitely believe that the mind is a powerful and poorly understood tool. I also strongly believe in the butterfly effect. Very small changes that we make to ourselves, our psyches, and our environments, can conceivably ripple outwards into Cosmos.
But perhaps the most powerful change you can ever make is in the labyrinth of your own psyche. When you meditate, when you dream, when you access the Otherworld, you are entering a powerful state where your conscious mind meets the unconscious. In this way you can develop greater awareness, receiving information from your unconscious. And you can also work with your unconscious to effect changes deep within you, to heal you, to open yourself up to creativity and joy.