Thursday, January 7, 2010

Activating the senses in ritual

This morning, I was reading a blog post by Donald Michael Kraig on visualization. In it, he mentions the fact that we get most of our sensory input through our eyes.

Later while shoveling the driveway, I found myself thinking about this fact. (A lot of my thinking happens when I am doing physical, no-mind needed tasks, which is why I go load the dishwasher when I hit the wall of writer's block.)

I used to do ritual with a Wiccan group for awhile that had a checklist for ritual design. One of the parts of it was a list of all the senses. The thinking was that ideally all the senses should be engaged during a ritual. The same checklist was applied to guided meditations and visualizations. It turned out to be helpful when we ended up with a blind (from birth) participant.

Coming back to Golden Dawn (I dropped out from official membership for a couple of years while I was between Hathor and Bast Temples), I had forgotten all about this checklist. Off the top of my head, the only ritual that I know of in Golden Dawn that would get a checkmark for each of the five senses is the Neophyte initiation ritual.

The Neophyte ritual is unique in the fact that the candidate being brought into the system is blindfolded during a large part of the ritual. This opens the door for the other physical senses to notice things that they would not normally notice. It also opens the door to the possibility that the astral senses will pick up on some of the energies of the ritual.

This is not to say that the rest of the Golden Dawn rituals do not engage the other senses. The other rituals do, but the Neophyte ritual is the best at filtering out the input from our primary sense (visual). There is some effort to tone down the reliance on the visual in the other rituals, but it depends upon your officers having memorized their lines, so that the lights can be turned down.

{*Answers the phone here---comes back and realizes that he has lost the thread of what he had been thinking. Hopes that someone can figure out where he was going originally.*}

Now, there is one ritual that is extremely visual, and that is the keystone ritual of the Inner Order (RR et AC), the Adeptus Minor ritual. The reason for that is the Vault itself, which functions as a diagram as well as a magical nuclear reactor.

Anyway, I thought I would throw this thought out there, so that others could think about how much emphasis their rituals are placing on the various senses. While it is simple lodgekit, it also has a place in practical magical work.

No comments: