Book of Shadows
~ Meditation * Visualization * Grounding * Centering * Anchoring * Shielding ~
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The Mind is a good servant, but a poor master.

Mother Witch

Meditation
Visualization
Centering
Grounding
Anchoring
Shielding

My Book of Shadows~ (BoS) is the all inclusive term I use for my entire collection of witchcraft lore and philosophy. Organized within are four smaller books. I repeat the Book of Shadows title for the first of those four books which concerns the craft of magick. It is again divided into two basic sections; my spell book and corresponding elements for those spells.

Meditation is the ability to hold a thought (or the lack of one) to narrow one's field of awareness and shut out distractions for a focused, limited amount of time. Like a muscle, with exercise, it grows stronger. Many meditation exercises ask you to empty your mind…(like that is possible for less than an Adept or a moron) or hold in your mind a mystical, grand or complicated idea or thought.

Some critics say to not pick a special place or time of day or particular posture to anchor your meditation training in, since future usage will require you to meditate anywhere, anytime. I instruct new meditation practitioners to go where you cannot be disturbed to begin with. The anchoring will be in your mind not in your physical location, since that is the purpose of meditation – to take you out of the physical limitation. As you grow more focused, you will be able to meditate during a bombing raid. I suggest that to start, sit comfortably and just be in the moment. Look around you and study the details of your surrounding, then close your eyes and be acutely aware of the sounds surrounding you, the temperature of the air on your skin, the hardness of the floor or the softness of the chair, that muscle that is releasing in you thigh as you relax, that foot twitching that stops, the sound of your breathing, the beat of your heart.

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Visualization is the ability to see, hear, feel, touch, and taste with the inner senses. Our physical eyes do not see, they merely transmit nerve impulses touched off by light stimuli to the brain. It is the brain that sees, and it can see inner images as clearly as those in the outer world. Visualization is important because it is through internal images and sensations that we communicate with our sub-conscious. And visualization is the critical component of successful magick, being about to focus your energy into an image that will effect change. When our inner senses are fully awake we can visualize extraordinary beauty, taste ambrosia, and hear the songs of the Gods.


I have no idea how long The Rock visualization has been around. I think I heard it for the first time while training with an English priestess/Irish priest I the early 80’s. I have no idea if it has a copyright. This exercise works best with a moderator reading it to you. It works better if you can close your eyes, sitting in a comfortable chair or as we did at mother’s table, resting our heads on the table.

The Rock - Ground and Center. Imagine that you are standing on the seashore, looking out over the waves. The sun is setting. There is a warm breeze. You look down and see a rock about the size of a silver dollar in the sand. With your projective hand, (right for right handed – left for left) you pick up the rock. Inhale deeply thorough nose, blow through pursed lips to exhale. Inhale and exhale again. Inhale again but as you exhale, let the rock fly! Watch it sail across the sky and splash into the sea just below the horizon. You look down again and see a rock about the size of and orange, pick it up. But when you look up you realize that the horizon is twice as far away. Mentally squint your eyes to see it the distance. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, throw the rock with all your might. Watch it sail across the sky and splash into the far waves below the horizon. Now look down and see a rock the size of a grapefruit and the horizon is farther still. Inhale, exhale and release. See the rock hit its mark.

Did you feel the difference in the weight of each rock and the increased effort in the release of power that went with each sized rock? That is what you should feel every time you do magick. Releasing your magickal intent with that level of effort.

This visualization is good on several levels. It is a good test of your ability to make variations in your visualizations. It is a great exercise for energy raising and releasing. And on any day, when you are having trouble relaxing…just superimpose your boss’s face on the rock, or change the rock into that ringing telephone, or visualize the rock being the tension in your neck or the knot in your stomach. And toss it away!
From: 03 14 2002 Dark Moon Circle

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I began my circle teaching the beginnings of magick and within the first exercises, one of my more sensitive witchlings found herself dizzy. I forgot to teach my clan the basics of energy work. So this is where we begin.

Centering

Finding your center is easy. When you get excited, where are the butterflies located. For most of us it is somewhere around the solar plexus, below the heart area. There is your locus of energy gathering and from there you draw it up and out, directing it to its transforming destination. It is the area you work on to calm and quiet before entering into magickal or sacred work. Breathing is essential to calming one’s center.

Mother called that state of quiet control the Slow Will. So when I say put yourself into the Slow Will, you will know that I am saying calm yourself, find your center and drop down into that area of quietude.

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Grounding

One form of grounding is a drawing in of energy. It allows the flow of additional energy from an outside source instead of depleting your own resources. Most often a tree rooting visualization is used to exercise drawing energy from the earth to assist your efforts. Grounding allows the practitioner to have a feeling of solidity, so that s/he does not get light-headed during practice. Without it, you will find yourself easily spent or the opposite – high - while working. Immediately after working, one can feel sick to one’s stomach, cold or hot flashes, severe headaches, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Sometimes the headache can persist for days afterwards. I worked with a woman who got nose bleeds after working if she worked too long or without sufficient grounding. I am the queen of overworked headaches, palpitation and nerves singing.

The second form of grounding is drawing the excess energy away from the body after working. We often ground in the earth, wood or carry a grounding stone with us. My Red Haired daughter is a Stone Witch and has gotten us all addicted to stone work. We each have stones that give us energy and draw it off. It depends on the nature of the stone which you will discover, by holding it in your hand, closing your eyes and sensing the energy. Don’t be surprised if an individual stone does not comply with the standardized stone usage lists explaining what one color or type of stone is best used for. They all have different personalities no matter what humans tell them they are. And if I sound like a complete idiot now – I blame Red. Don’t take my word for it – go to a rock shop for several hours and play with the stones. Then come tell me what you learned. I’ll bet it breaks the rules.

Some systems of belief have decided that this excess energy that can make you sick is almost evil and must be very carefully released so as not to hurt the earth. Well, a box of chocolates can hurt you too, but don’t blame the chocolates. Like magick, energy is neither white nor black. Excess energy is just that, too much to contain in your container. It is nonsense to think that channeling it into a sister element or brother spirit will harm them, especially if they helped give it to us in the first place. We release negativity into Mother earth each Dark Moon Esbat. She’s a big girl, she can take it.

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Anchoring

One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting,
yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake
in the mountains... -Diane Ackerman

Have you ever smelled a perfume that immediately brings the intrusion of a person’s essence into focus? Or on a particular rainy day, does a memory of a previous rainy day rush back to you claiming your attention? A song? A holiday? A time of day.

I first noticed this “anchoring” effect, which became a technique in my early workings, when I was a child doing a paint-by-numbers painting. Now while sewing, crocheting, gardening, drawing or painting with a particular music or movie playing in the background, days later when I pick up the garment, blanket, planter, drawing or painting, I can remember the exact phrase or melody as I pick up the crochet needle, garden tool, pen or paintbrush.

This is anchoring: The act of binding a spell, ritual or visualization with something that can instantly put one into the frame of reference for a more focused work. A particular piece of music to put you into a particular state of meditation. An incense that takes you to your ethereal temple. A scented oil that immediately puts you into a healing focus rather than a loving focus.

As you work, anchoring happens naturally. It’s what I call being chosen by an oil or incense or music because the item has anchored you to a moment in time as a memory trigger without your consciousness. This work is much more effective if you do it consciously. Choose your oils, music, time of day/night, incense, chant, sitting position specifically for only one effect and never convolute their use by generalizing them for other purposes. Search you history for meanings that have already anchored you to an emotion and never work against them.

To me, sunset will always represent romance and/or travel. The events of my history have already anchored this emotion in me. So, if I do a money spell at this time of day, no matter what the spell calls for, my energies will be divided and tugged away to feelings of romance. I would not like to think how this money spell might express itself tied up with romance!

It is the same for the wind, that wicked suitor who chose to become my spirit guide. Consequently, I do not do wind spells at sunset or at night when I am to be the student…unless the spells are for love or romance or are deeply spiritual they don’t have a chance of success. The wind releases me in a way that I cannot control and forbids me to focus on just anything. My family can tell stories of “Work” nights when in the midst of our studies around Mother’s table, my restlessness dragged me from the table to the back yard…to Dance with the Wind. The bright of the day is best for my wind spells, since those hours do not tempt me so.

Green is a color that evokes longing in me and dark gold evokes changes and expectation. I can use these color emotions in spells that might not normally use green or gold. Amber-Rose is a color that evokes a more romantic love and desire to me than red does due to that color’s connection to sunset and the memory of a beloved’s face in that flattering light of what we photographers call the golden hour. Evolution had me using red candles more often for healing and strength than for romance.

I cannot use saffron in any of my workings because my only experience with the herb was in a soup made by a person who negatively affected my family for decades. I disliked like her. I disliked the soup, but out of respect had to tolerate both. Still, I have never successfully been able to detach myself from the distaste I had for both. Consequently, saffron is nowhere in my life, mundane or magickal, because the scent brings so much useless hurt and anger.

Then again, I can use Lilac, Hyacinth, Gardenia, Mint, Apple, Apricot, Wild Mustard, Daffodil, Clove, Cinnamon or Walnut for any working that my mother’s good energies might influence or bless. Redwood or Cedar oils tap my Uncle’s wood carving energies. Almond is the fastest way to connect with my beloved sister’s energies. Although, Rose, Pecan, Honey, Licorice, Lemon, Vanilla, are all fixed with her energies too.

So spend some time listing, colors, flavors, dates, places, times, scents, stones and events that have anchored you. Mimosa, Carnation, Paprika, Orange, Peach, Honeysuckle have all attached themselves to me in a freeform way or if they evoke a memory or event or person in my life it is mild or benign.

Healing spells often require Camphor, Eucalyptus and/or Menthol, the exact three ingredients in the Vicks© aromatic rub your mother used to sooth your childhood illnesses away. Why wouldn’t those scents trigger a focus of healing, comfort and a happy outcome in a magickal spell? Why work to make Violet a healing scent, if these give you a better “healing” focus? (Violet works for me because it is attached to Grandmother, who was a healer.)

Balance your works with those things that have already become part of your nature and don’t resist you inclinations even if the books and advisors say that “nature” suggests you do it another way. Your nature is a part of that nature. Consciously design your work with anchors that put you in exactly the place you desire at the time you desire, while not resisting those that chose you despite your planning! (From: 03 14 2002 Dark Moon Circle lesson)

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Shielding

Mother said I was born with a protective bubble around me. She said that from a small child I walked through life not bothered by the petty irritations, the daily fodder of life that so often consumes the lives of smaller spirits. It was the first intimation to her that I was an “old soul”. If one is not gifted with a Karmic shield . . . brought with you from another lifetime . . . one should build one’s own.

Daily, we are hit by a barrage of sights, sounds, scents and energies, both positive and negative. A shield protects one from voluntary or involuntary, intellectual or emotional, psychic or magical energies of all kinds. These energies are essentially distinguished by their intent. Emotional energy is the echo of experience. Intellectual white noise, the mind chatter of some people can take over completely. Psychic energy is radiant energy seeping out in all directions, unfocused and undirected. Magickal energy is a focused beam of energy, directed and precise, to hit a target. There are negative people who shed their unhappiness everywhere they go…many without even knowing or meaning to do this. If you are a moderate to high energy Empath or Telepath…life can get mentally noisy and emotionally exhausting.

Defensive magick is traditionally taught as protection against psychic vampires and malevolent spirits, both human and spiritual. My practical experience is that defensive magick protects you against the unconscious, wild and undisciplined energies of others. It also protects others from your undisciplined or intense energies.

The shield is a metaphysical energy constructed around you for protection. The shield is thought by many that once cast, it is permanent (I seem to be a living example of that truth). Thus a friend, mentor or Adept may not construct a shield for you. If a Witchling feels that she is not skilled enough to construct it properly, the Adept can ward her until such time as she feels confident to shield herself. (I automatically do this for family, friends and students.) Visualization is the witch’s most essential tool. If you cannot hold an image in you mind for a full 10 minutes, unwavering and undistracted…you are not ready to build your shield.

It cannot be stated often enough that the more intimate a connection one has with any of one’s magickal creations the more successful the effort.

Your shield should be flexible, strong enough to protect you and semi-permeable so as to not hamper you perception and sensitivity. It should be thought of as a second skin, a partner that breathes and grows as you grow. Allowing it to filter negative energies while not closing you off from reality or the beauties of life.

Preparation

Before you actually build your shield give thought to some of the details you would like to incorporate. Don’t be surprised if they change during the actually visualization. Visualization is as much a commune with the elements and divinity as prayer. You never know when you will get unsolicited assistance with your work.

Shapes - Spherical is the most common, but you shape the shield and it can be cylindrical, cubed, pentagon, pentagram, and any other shape you like.
Colors - Any color of the rainbow. White, blue or blue-white are the most commonly used colors. Try to avoid black; carrying around a black aura is not the most inviting to the people you live and work with.
Textures - Vary widely; from mirrors, stone walls and water to steel spheres, woven lattice work and laser force fields. Whatever your mind conceives of as protecting is what you use. Entouve it with the ability to breathe.

Sit in a quiet place. Ground and center. Skyclad is best for visualization, but if not possible, dress in loose garments or add being skyclad to your visualization. Visualize any tie that is connected to you from somewhere or someone that is hindering, unfruitful, or otherwise negative as thin golden threads or spider webs being cut by you with a knife, scissors or sword. Each thread need not be named…they know who they are. Quit when you feel you effort sufficient.

The Process

Begin to visualize the form you've chosen. First visualize it in miniature in your palm. See it from all side . . . how it glows, moves, twists, grows. Pear into all the little nooks and crannies. Place the image in you lap and watch it expand to completely surround you. Sinking into the floor beneath your seat. Visualize how it looks from the inside. Listen to it breath. Hold this image for 15 minutes and repeat for 6 days, adding strength and definition to your shield. Hold the image for 30 minutes and repeat for 6 days, adding strength and definition to your shield. Hold the image for 30 minutes once a month for a year, adding strength and definition to your shield. Once a year, usually on you birthday, lower the shield and rebuild it adding strength and definition.

© 2004-2017 Ardriana Cahill


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