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What do people do when they do energy work? - Input Junkie
October 4th, 2014
11:40 am


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What do people do when they do energy work?
In a recent conversation with a friend, it turned out that we do different things when we do grounding, and I suspect there's a lot of individual variation hidden under grounding, shielding, and the elements.

I'm not just talking about which element you ground to, though there's variation there, too.

I'm curious about the details. Let's take a look at grounding, just for an example. I ground by using the feeling of energy going into the ground beneath me. If I'm not on a ground floor, I may try imagining the that there's earth beneath the building, but I don't give the idea the amount of detail it deserves (what about basements? soil? bedrock?), and I can't say that it seems to help very much.

The kind of detail I'm interested in (which doesn't mean I expect anyone to address all these angles, and I expect that I haven't covered all the sorts of variation) is what senses do you use/imagine when you do energy work? If you're using methods which aren't based in your senses and can find any way to write about it, I'm definitely interested.

Back to grounding to earth.... Suppose you imagine a tree. Is it a sort of vague tree in general? That's pretty much what I do if someone is leading a tree visualization.? A particular type of tree? A specific tree that you've experienced? Or constructed?

Do you use ideas from science, or do you only build on your direct experience?

Do you have a conscious goal when you ground? Whether you do or not, how do you decide you're done enough?

The same sort of questions apply to shielding, with the addition of when and how you decide to shield.

Elements get a smidge more theoretical-- which elements do you use? Why? (I use the four Greek elements because they seem to be good enough. I'm certainly not demanding that everyone go on a quest to find the best elemental system, though I would definitely read a fantasy novel based on the premise.) Do you imagine one default for each, or include different modes like water, steam, vapor, and ice?

Does anyone use the chemical elements at all?

Possibly of interest: What Universal Experiences Have You Been Missing without Realizing It? A huge discussion of how different people are from each other-- it includes sensory, emotional, and sexual variation, and I recommend it highly. I believe giving attention to the fact that other people really are different from you and not just doing it to be annoying counts as a spiritual practice. And, of course, you're different from them, and not just doing it because you're fucking up.

Celestial Matters, a fantasy novel by Richard Garfinkel. The four Greek elements and Ptolomaic astronomy is true. So is feng shui. Greece (some centuries after the classical period and China are the superpowers. Unfortunately, while the Greek side is well worked out, the Chinese side is relatively sketchy. Still, quite a good novel. It has the minor virtue of being an alternate history novel which (so far as I know) doesn't have cute references to people from our time line who were born long after the divergence.

The wikipedia link pointed me at Inne pieśni, a novel on similar themes in Polish. It sounds very interesting, and I hope someone translates it.

The has been doing a series of programs about the chemical elements.

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[User Picture]
Date:October 4th, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC)
Does being drunk count as a universal experience? I've never drunk enough alcohol to experience even mild intoxication, and I plan not to do so in the rest of my life.

I did a supplement for Steve Jackson Games last year that was based on the Chinese elements or xing. They're interestingly different from the Greek elements or stoicheia: Where the stoicheia are often conceived of as indestructible basic substances (an idea that was applied to the modern chemical elements), the xing are more like phases that matter passes through—actually an idea that's easier to fit together with Aristotle's concept of the unity of matter and form than Democritean atomism is. And where the Greek elements come in opposed pairs that struggle against each other, the Chinese elements are cyclical: Each element nurtures another element, is consumed by another element, represses another element, and is repressed by another element.
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Date:October 4th, 2014 07:39 pm (UTC)
Here's mine, all kinesthesic-sensory.

My overall metaphor comes from Hindu/Jain sources. You know those holiday lawn decorations, such as inflatable Santa Clauses etc. I've seen one of them attached to a water source to keep it pressureized and wiggling, with openings at various heights to let water spray out, producing, one hopes, a decorative snowfall. The lower outlets are small, and most of the water is supposed to go all the way up and come out of the top of his head.

I'm the Santa Claus, and can somewhat adjust the openings and the overall posture of my balloon -- which are also affected by externals, wind, objects, etc.

If the intake is blocked or pinched, the whole balloon loses presssure and sags. If enough water is coming in, but there are blockages such that it can't get all the way up to the top and out, it can spew too much out of one or more of the side openings, producing steam or ice (depending on the weather).

So my 'grounding' is about opening the intake and clearing/relaxing the blockages above it, starting at the lower ones. One image that helps me is, a cord or small hose unwinding down to reach the water source.

[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2014 04:12 am (UTC)

The inner sensorium

Complicated question! There are so many different forms of grounding, but the one I'll describe is the most pertinent to your questions. In the year of my 2nd degree training was a lot of focus on the 'bones' of trancework, one of which is creative visualization. This was a practice I did every morning, till it became a part of me:

Facing East, cut the Invoking Pentacle of Air, like a window into the high, wild sky of Spring. A breeze comes whistling through it, cold and fresh: "Hail, Guardians of the Watchtower of the East, Powers of Air and Knowledge!"

Facing South, cut the Invoking Pentacle of Fire, like opening a blazing wood-stove: the red-gold flames, the crackle and roar, tang of smoke, rush of dry heat: "Hail, Guardians of the Watchtower of the South, Powers of Fire and Will!"

Facing West, cut the Invoking Pentacle of Water, the door to the sea, the rain, the wet salty spray, the waves pounding in under a pouring silver sky, the splash of it: "Hail, Guardians of the Watchtower of the West, Powers of Water and Daring!"

Facing North, cut the Invoking Pentacle of Earth: the cave's mouth, the rocky tunnel down and down, the stone walls, smell of wet stone, the dark, the cool quiet: "Hail, Guardians of the Watchtower of the North, Powers of Earth and Silence!"

Sit down, close eyes, breathe. The path up the hill is warm and dusty under bare feet; sun is hot on bare skin; the air is heavy with the scent of balsam. Up and up the trail through the forest in the heat, till suddenly it opens out to a little rocky ledge overlooking a deep, blue, circular lake like a sapphire in the midst of the steep green hills all around it.

In the center of the lake is a little circular island with one enormous weeping-willow tree growing in the middle of it, the tendrils making a perfect curtain all around the island. And from the top of the tree (this is magic) a fountain is blooming, spraying up in a dome and pattering down the swaying tendrils to the grass underneath. But the lake is smooth as glass; the sky above as clear and blue.

Hot sun on bare sweaty skin, dusty feet - the spring, the leap, the swift fall, the delicious cool all over! Swimming, the stretch, the sensuous water, strength of arms and legs.... the smooth, sandy bottom, the grassy edge of the island - the thick, soft grass all full of forget-me-nots and tiny daisies... the wet curtain of green willow-tendrils, and the cool green room at their center, dry, but surrounded by water tinkling and sparkling down all around, a million tiny prisms casting rainbow glints everywhere. Taste the droplets - so cold and clean, with a hint of green from the leaves..

At the base of the great tree, the white roots form a perfect seat, clean and smooth. Sit there, lean back against the trunk: the water from the depths of the earth is rushing up through it like an Artesian well, with a smooth, taut, almost-hum vibration, powerful and inexhaustible. This is where everything begins.

The flow, the surge, straight up the spine from the deepest roots to burst in a cascade of light overhead and shower down again like music....

_ _ _ _

... the real point of this exercise is to get all the 'inner senses' working together to make an experience as much like 'waking reality' as possible: sight, sound, scent, touch, taste, movement, stillness. The shape-shifting at the end, merging into the fountain-tree, is the odd part - mostly because it doesn't feel odd; it starts to feel like the natural, inevitable thing.

This practice doesn't 'go anywhere' - after one becomes the tree, being the tree doesn't last all that long; the trance fades and mundane reality comes back of itself. It's very relaxing, though, and definitely does increase the vividness of one's mental imagery.

Edited at 2014-10-05 04:14 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)

Re: The inner sensorium

That's a lovely induction. Thank you.

It reminds me of something I've been wondering about. The watchtowers seem like the remnant of a more complete story. (Who built them? What was being watched for?) I've never heard of a context for them. Have you?
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2014 05:49 pm (UTC)

The Watchtowers

You're welcome! It was fun writing it out - it's been over 30 years since I was doing that practice daily, but it still endures so fresh and bright in my memory-banks that I get sensory 'ghosts' of it just from thinking about it. That place is as 'real' to my memory as any of the actual real places I've loved - heh, "anything Virtual Reality can do, trance can do better."

The Watchtowers: it's my understanding that they come to us from the Qabala ==>Rosicrucianism ==>The Golden Dawn, and that the Guardians of the Watchtowers were the Archangels Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Uriel. Gerald Gardner borrowed a lot of Golden Dawn ritual practice, took the Qabala out and substituted bits from The Golden Bough - this is why us Wiccans use a bastardized version of the Greater Key of Solomon.

The whole Western Esoteric Tradition is a jumbled hodge-podge of everybody's mythology, going back all the way to Gilgamesh, so there's no sorting it out: too much has been lost, too much has been faked, and too much is just incomprehensible without any context.

That said, the Watchtowers have a Babylonian feel to me - I have not a shred of documentation for this, but it would not surprise me if that concept was picked up by the Hebrew magi in Babylon, and grafted in to their esoteric tradition after some trimming to make it fit. Great tower-builders the Babylonians were, and it seems the 'Royal Court' idea of God and His Angels may have come from their culture.

On the other hand, they could have come from one or another of the alchemists of the Dark Ages egregiously misinterpreting a very bad translation of a forged manuscript wrongly attributed to Prester John. The New Age gots nuffin' on the Dark Ages for proliferation of woo and utter bollocks.

To me, it doesn't matter. I see the Western Esoteric Tradition as a vast storehouse of metaphor and the raw material of metaphor; a museum of the Collective Unconscious (which is also a metaphor) of the children of Europe. None of it is true in a literal, rational sense. All of it is true - or it would not have stood the test of time - in a magickal sense, where magick comprises all the ways to hack one's own brain and those of others without having to know anything about the actual brain. Any sufficiently advanced magick is indistinguishable from science. (^^)

EDIT: I just burst out laughing at the realization - for the first time in all these years! - that my 'inner sensorium' sound and feel of cutting Pentacles is that of opening tent zippers - not just any tent, but my first, best tent (which I still have) and its big triangular screen windows with nylon zippers. LMAO, "zip an Invoking Pentacle"; I'll be giggling over this all day.

BTW, of course at the end of the practice, one has to say Farewell to the Guardians, etc. and zip the Banishing Pentacles shut.

Edited at 2014-10-05 06:33 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2014 05:53 pm (UTC)

A request

Hey, would it be all right with you if I direct sathor to this post? It fits in with some of the things he and I have been talking about.
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC)

Re: A request

That's completely fine with me. Public posts are public.

Edited at 2014-10-05 08:29 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:October 12th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
I typically use all of the cardinal elements (air, earth, fire, water) in any workings that I do, as well as the nameless God (YHVH). I did "ground" when I was younger, which was just harmonizing my energy with whatever was in the earth via visualization - but anymore, if I do anything, I usually let it happen on its own. Kneeling, or sitting cross-legged, lighting some incense (Myrrh is my favorite, but I haven't had any in a long time - I have tons of Dragon's Blood, though.) controlling my breathing, and clearing my mind.

Grounding for me is probably more an act of meditation...actual acts of Magick are a wholly different thing. When I meditated often, I would usually visualize my chakras, and starting from the muladhara, I would visualize peeling them open and flooding them with energy. As long as I was controlling my breathing, by the time I was done, I was in a trance state (the very deep ones usually included full-body "vibrations" of varying intensity.) It has been years since I've experienced a real "trance state" though...and it's something I regret not doing more of.

As for real magick, my style is rather similar to Elenbarathi's visualization...I am somewhat knowledgeable on the Golden Dawn, Qabalah, the Greater Key of Solomon and others. I have, surprisingly, avoided most of the pop culture new age stuff - I only had a little taste of that when I was very young and first introducing myself to the work. I visualize and draw a circle, sometimes with a pentagram/pentacle (whatever you want to call it) within it beneath and around me. This will often result in a sphere of sorts to work within. Then I call in each of the cardinal elements, and ask for the guidance of the one God. I have used archangels and they seem to work the same as "elemental rulers" or just plain old spirits of the elements. I have also integrated parts of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram - namely, the prayer - because it seems to have a great deal of energy behind it, for whatever reason. (Ateh, Malkuth, Ve-Geburah, Ve-Gedulah, Le Olahm, Amen - with the hand motions, of course.) "Rending the Veil" beforehand also seems to have some value in my experience.

Nice to meet you, by the way.
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