a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.



To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic
From: (nagasiva yronwode)
Subject: Ritual (LONG Grey quote; was The Practice Of Magick)
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 04:09:40 GMT

50000215 IVom

>> I disagree. I think that rituals are like lenses, focussing will
>> to a concentrated task, not just to "aid in focussing on the task
>> at hand".

"Ours Noir/brain stem" :
>hmm. what constitutes a ritual then?

what a wonderful question! my Am Her Dic says that a ritual 
is "a detailed method of procedure faithfully or regularly
followed" (sense 5). I think this covers both 'ceremonial'
and 'repeated' instances of symbolic activity which people
talk about when they say "ritual magic". picking one book 
randomly from the library shelves, I see Gray discusses a
particular kind of ritual magic when beginning

	by examining the nature of ritual itself. This is
	neither more nor less than dedicated human behaviour
	extended through varying dimensions of existence.
	Life and ritual are inseparable. Our morning tea is
	a ritual, so is evening T.V. Ritual is habitual,
	intentional, conventional, marking the number by
	which we live and die. There are religious rituals,
	military rituals, social rituals, and rituals
	associated with every possible type of human
	expression. We are concerning ourselves in this
	enquiry with magical ritual however, so we must
	decide what sets this apart from other species of
	ritualistic activity.

	The distinguishing feature of magical ritualism
	is what modern slang would term its "Way-outness",
	or degree extension from what might be termed
	average human ritualistic behaviour. It is not
	so much the methods of magical rites which make
	them unique, but the direction and intent of the
	operative consciousness behind them. They are only
	magical because they depart so far from the circles
	of consciousness controlling other human rites that
	have be come commonplace activities.


	Magical ritual practices are those which have
	been found by experience and experiment to be
	development and application of the specialised
	spiritual skills necessary to work with high-
	potency energies on Inner levels. Most of them
	are human responses to pressures applied in the
	first instance by Intelligences of a much more
	developed order of Being than mankind. This does
	not necessarily mean that such beings are
	utterly different in construction and conscious-
	ness to a human being. We may call them divine
	or whatever we please, but we have no means
	whatever of contacting them with any ordinary
	sense linking a human body with its external
	environment. Since we are provided with such
	senses, it follows that we must find extraordinary
	ways of employing them if was are to go beyond
	their merely mortal limits. These unusual ways
	of using a human sensorium may be classified as
	ritual methods.


	Ritual is not entirely a single type of activity,
	but comprises quite a number of separate abilities
	and factors conjoined for an overall reason. A
	ritualist must be a creative artist in a number
	of fields each needing its own skill and practice.
	Anyone adhering to the old tradition of making
	their own magical workings would need some
	abilities in the following; literature, languages,
	poetry, drama, (mime and elocution), metalwork,
	woodwork, needlework, painting, designing, music,
	dancing, elementary chemistry, floristry, plus
	any other skill that might have a bearing on the
	rituals worked. Additionally, of course, many
	personal qualities would be essential, such as:
	creative determination, physical stamina, sound
	health, and indeed the entire gamut of worthwhile
	human potentials. Nothing less will achieve any
	magical success worth having. If for no other
	reason, magic is well worth practising for the
	sake of its valuable effects on the practitioner.

	The problems of ritual magic are those attending
	any kind of energy patterning and directing. What
	is the nature of the energy involved, how is it
	to be generated and controlled, what are the
	technicalities concerning its use, and so forth.
	It is no more possible to answer the question
	concerning the exact nature of the energy used
	in magic than we can say for certainty what
	electricity is. As in electrical engineering,
	much is known about the generation, manipulation,
	and application of the energy in question, but
	its actuality remains concealed in the NIL of its
	origin. The more we discover about it, the greater
	its Zero-point becomes.


	The entire technique of ritual depends on an
	ability to take one piece of consciousness and
	stretch it two ways at once. Inwardly and
	Outwardly. This sounds simple, but it is far
	from being so with humans accustomed to a one-
	sided materialistic view of Nature. It would be
	equally difficult for those whose attention is
	fixed on nothing but the immaterial. Ritual is
	essentially an art of extensions between
	differing dimensions. It works on the principle
	of patterning in one scale so as to re-produce
	the equivalent in another. Ordinary human beings
	can only extend ritualised consciousness to a
	very limited degree. If it is to go further, it
	must be "picked up", channelled, amplified, and
	processed by Intelligences operating through
	Inner Dimensions. Without such co-operation, no
	purely human efforts are likely to do a great
	deal. It is the "Inner contacts" that continue
	the cycles of energy beyond their usual point 
	of neutrality, and push them along the Inner
	Paths to accomplish their release-purpose.


	It is the intention and use of any act that
	ritualises it. Otherwise it is nothing but an
	action. Every type of act, practice or thought
	can be ritualised, but especially in Western
	Occult Tradition, ritualism has become
	considerably stylised over the centuries, and
	definite ritual patterns have emerged and
	continued because they have proved practical.
	Unfortunately we have lost touch with the
	Inner side of the rites to a considerable
	extent. It is high time we made serious efforts
	to re-establish contact with the Intelligences
	using such means of working with Mankind. This
	will only be possible if we are prepared to
	put as much study and effort into the task as
	we should with any other specialised activity.

	The basic of ritual-study is to realise and
	experience the difference between a ritualised
	and non-ritualised energy. This is done very
	simply, by contrasting one event from the two
	directions. Suppose we just pick up an ordinary
	pen or pencil from our desk, press the end of
	it lightly against the centre of our forehead
	for a few moments, then replace it. No
	particular thoughts of any kind should be
	attached to this act, nor any feeling
	experienced except the physical pressure. It
	should be one of those vague things done
	automatically with no particular significance.
	At the conclusion of the action, its effect
	should be noted in relation to the person. This
	will probably be insignificant. Now the same
	action should be repeated in a ritualised

	First we bring ourselves to order by making the
	Sign of the Circled Cross. With the thumb and
	first two fingers of the right hand touching
	each other, we raise the finger tips just above
	the forehead saying:

		"In the Name of the Wisdom."
	The hand is now brought down to heart level saying:
		"The Love." Then to right shoulder saying:
		"The Justice", Then to left shoulder,
		"And the Infinite Mercy". Followed by making
	a complete circle deosil [counter-clockwise] of the
	four points while saying:
		"Of the One Eternal Spirit." Finishing by
	bringing the hand to the center of the circle while
	Now let the entire attention be focussed on the pen
	or pencil. A sense of purpose and clear intention
	must be felt. Let us suppose we seek a Michael-
	contact. Since this Archangel's position is in the
	South, we slowly turn the pen clockwise around its
	middle till it faces either true or Magical South.
	Magical South is on the right hand whichever
	physical direction we may face. As we turn the pen,
	we change it in our imagination to become the Rod,
	the instrument of Fire -- Michael. When we pick it
	up, it must feel mentally a lot longer and heavier
	than it is physically. Then we close the eyes, and
	press the end of the pen against the forehead, just
	as before. This time, however, the rod must be
	figured as a direction [sic] connection between
	the holder and the Archangel. Somewhere in another
	dimension, Michael, whatever this Intelligence may
	be, holds the other end. He or it must be reached
	out for along the rod until there is a sense of
	response. We may send a definite formulated thought
	such as: "I seek Light. Lead me thereto O Michael."
	A picture of the Being in traditional armour etc [sic]
	may be mentally built up. Then we make ourselves
	receptive and try to receive whatever impression
	will be reflected back to us along the channel of
	consciousness we have just made. There may be only
	a single word, a sense of light, a momentary flicker
	of awareness, or some far more illuminating
	experience, but there positively will be *something*
	worth making a note of. At the end of the exercise,
	some closing sign, or the Cross, must be made to
	restore "normality", and bring the circle of the
	operation to its completion.

	We must now compare the ritualised and non-
	ritualised activities and see what may be learned.
	The main difference lies in the objective. There
	is a vast difference between idly scratching our
	foreheads with the end of a pen, and focussing
	up a beam of consciousness directed toward a
	specific type of extra-mundane Intelligence and
	Energy. If indeed we have been able to extend this
	beam efficiently enough, we shall also have
	received some kind of response from the Intelligence
	we were aiming at. To some extent we have made
	an alteration to our existence by an act of
	intention operative Inwardly and Outwardly. The
	entire fundamental principles of Ritual Magic
	have been demonstrated. All else is a matter of
	degree and application.
	"Magical Ritual Methods", William G. Grey,
	 Samuel Weiser, 1984; pp. 10, 14, 132-6.

while Grey is somewhat long-winded and has a very specific
kind of magic in mind (mystical vision-questing and
conversations with his trans-mundane friends), his eventual
point, that ritualised consciousness has a particular
QUALITY about it, has always been true for me. I have, to
many of my friends, remarked that ritual is not so much a
specific activity or event as a kind of EXPERIENCE, one
which I may enter into quite unexpectedly. I am not from
a background where any uncontrolled magical encounter or
state of consciousness must be escaped and banished. Some
schools of magic teach this, and their precautions are
apparently necessary for their students.

ritual is, to me, an intensification of experience, 
and this can easily be brought on through intentional
triggers (incense, mantras, repeated activities that are
engaged with the intent of bringing it on). increased
significance is given to events occurring around me. I
find that my ordinary outlook is suspended for a more
nonverbal, receptive, and intuitive approach. I am more
likely to do irrational things (say, burning a photo,
spontaneously taking a walk or removing my clothes), my
verbal expressions are few, obtuse, quixotic, or symbolic.

this is not always a very pleasant experience for those
who live with me. certain artistic entertainments will
trigger this state of mind for me. events like movies,
plays, the examination of a book of art or a profound
poem or a walk in the deep woods may bring it on, with
no warning to my companions. I have tried to identify
some of the aspects of commonality amongst the triggers,
but there are few other than passionate displays of
heroism, the suffering of the innocent, depth of
symbolism, intricacy of special effects (in films). 

some psychoactives will also trigger this state of
consciousness (tolerance almost always dissipates it over
time, as with Cannibis and alcohol). I can bring it on
myself easily through conventional processes like 
singing in the shower, sitting meditatively, talking
quietly with people about topics which we find extremely 
meaningful to us, personally, vulnerable sharing of our
feelings in moments unusual openness and connection.

holidays also inspire a ritual state for me, especially 
during 'free time' when the celebration or rite is 
supposed to occur (e.g. putting ornaments on the tree 
at Christmas) or there is nothing designated to fill our 
schedule other than relaxed conviviality (as at a 
Birthday party during a quiet moment after lunch).

in this way it might be that ritual differs for every
person, though there are certain common factors within
each culture or group that engages it in an attempt to
achieve their various ends.

notification: I may post any email replies; cc me if some response desired.

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races